New City Roots festival launched to promote folk music and the city of Cambridge

This year's Cambridge Folk Festival

This year's Cambridge Folk Festival - Credit: Archant

This year’s Cambridge Folk Festival provided a glorious weekend of music and arts from international headline artists as well as up and coming stars in the beautiful grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall.

Building on a successful year, Cambridge Live has announced the launch of City Roots, a city wide festival in February 2017 which will embrace the spirit of the festival, expanding it from Cherry Hinton Hall and strengthening the link between folk and roots music and the city of Cambridge. It will open with the award-winning Transatlantic Sessions at the corn exchange on February 7.

Last weekend, thousands of festival-goers were treated to outstanding performances across the stages. Highlights included the incomparable folk legend Christy Moore, making a welcome return to Cambridge for his only English festival appearance of the summer, and gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello who brought Friday night to a wild and energetic close, finishing their set by crowd surfing over the audience using their bass drums as surf boards. On Saturday afternoon, the festival heard the sad news that Charles Bradley was unable to perform due to illness, but Darlingside, performing for the first time outside of North America and fresh from their performance on Stage 2 earlier in the day, stepped into the breach and stole the hearts of the Stage 1 audience with their glorious vocal harmonies.

Traditional folk fans were spoilt for choice as leading lights of the genre, including Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy, Jon Boden, Michael McGoldrick and John McCusker took to the stage over the weekend. Festival goers also enjoyed rockabilly star Imelda May, Academy award-winning Glen Hansard in an exclusive English festival performance, Grammy award-winning American singer songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter, multi-platinum selling singer KT Tunstall and Afro Celt Sound System marking their 20th anniversary.

New favourites were discovered in the ever-popular emerging talent stage, The Den, which hosted intimate sets from up and coming young artists like Mortal Tides, Anna & Elizabeth and Wildwood Kin. A packed club tent showcased the festival’s hot tips for the future including Hattie Briggs, Ninebarrow, Patch & The Giant and The Rheingans Sisters.

Audience members participated in varied workshops over the weekend, from song writing and instrument playing to learning new crafts. The folk movement has always championed tolerance, diversity and social justice; the Festival explored this through special talks including O’Hooley & Tidow and members of Songs of Separation explaining the personal, political and social themes behind their work. Cambridge Folk Festival reinforced its reputation as a musicians’ festival, working with Sligo Live to encourage impromptu music playing in the new Sessions Café and around the site.

Cambridge Live managing director, Steve Bagnall, said: “It has been such a pleasure to see festival goers enjoying another wonderful Cambridge Folk Festival, delighting in the amazing music and getting stuck in with everything going on around the site. We are extremely grateful to all our supporters and sponsors who help make the festival so special. The launch of City Roots will give the festival a life beyond this weekend and create another platform for Cambridge Live to help develop new talent in folk and roots music.”