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More pictures from the 2022 Cambridge Folk Festival

A sense of homecoming prevailed as thousands of music fans arrived at Cherry Hinton Hall this past weekend to celebrate the return of Cambridge Folk Festival after two years away due to the pandemic.

The Young’uns. Picture: Keith Heppell

The grounds once again rang to the sound of folk and contemporary roots music in all its different guises and old friends – performers and public alike – were reunited.

At the Cambridge City Council-organized event, Alex Collis, executive councilor for open spaces, food justice and community development, said: “It’s been truly wonderful to see the return of this renowned music event, bringing thousands of people together to enjoy music from all over the world; something Cambridge can be justifiably proud of.

“Now in its 58th year, the Cambridge Folk Festival holds a unique place in the cultural landscape of the country and in the hearts of music lovers. Honoring its traditional roots, the festival also plays an essential role in fostering new talent, giving young acts the crucial support they need to reach new audiences and develop into the stars of tomorrow.”

Mandy Morton backstage at Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Mandy Morton backstage at Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell
Seasick Steve.  Picture: Emily Scialom
Seasick Steve. Picture: Emily Scialom
The Spooky Men's Chorale.  Picture: Keith Heppell
The Spooky Men’s Chorale. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Emily Scialom
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Emily Scialom
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Emily Scialom
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Emily Scialom
A Cambridge Folk Festival hat.  Picture: Emily Scialom
A Cambridge Folk Festival hat. Picture: Emily Scialom
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Young'uns.  Picture: Keith Heppell
The Young’uns. Picture: Keith Heppell
Show of Hands.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Show of Hands. Picture: Keith Heppell
The crowd watch Show of Hands.  Picture: Keith Heppell
The crowd watch Show of Hands. Picture: Keith Heppell

Thursday’s program saw folk favorites Spiers and Boden bring Stage 2 to a close, while earlier in the evening, Davina & The Vagabonds made a legion of new fans on the same stage, with a theatrical performance of New Orleans blues, jazz and gospel.

The Main Stage opened on Friday with a set from one of folk music’s oldest families, The Copper Family of Rottingdean, who shared songs they have been singing for generations, lovingly preserving them for the future.

Many highlights followed during the day, including leading force in British folk Show of Hands, and the unveiling of the specially-commissioned Folk Ballet: The Tears of Jenny Greenteeth.

Suzanne Vega.  Picture: Emily Scialom
Suzanne Vega. Picture: Emily Scialom
Gerry Leonard, Suzanne Vega's guitarist.  Picture: Emily Scialom
Gerry Leonard, Suzanne Vega’s guitarist. Picture: Emily Scialom

The evening concluded with a scintillating performance from iconic American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega, who, accompanied by guitarist Gerry Leonard, treated the Stage 1 audience to a collection of her best-known hits, such as Marlene on the Wall, Luke and Tom’s Dinerfollowed by a rousing, crowd-pleasing set from the fabled Seasick Steve.

Commenting on her return to Cambridge, Suzanne Vega said: “It’s great to play the Cambridge Folk Festival again, it’s always a unique atmosphere and the audiences really listen.” Suzanne will return to the city next February for a show at the Corn Exchange.

Show of Hands.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Show of Hands. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dancing to Simon Care Trio.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Dancing to Simon Care Trio. Picture: Keith Heppell
Simon Care Trio.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Simon Care Trio. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dancing to Simon Care Trio.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Dancing to Simon Care Trio. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Keith Heppell
Findlay.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Findlay. Picture: Keith Heppell
Findlay.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Findlay. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Spooky Men's Chorale.  Picture: Keith Heppell
The Spooky Men’s Chorale. Picture: Keith Heppell

Saturday’s line-up featured return visits by several festival favourites, including singer-songwriter Passenger, who began his Cambridge journey playing the Den, and this year closed Stage 1 to a rapturous response.

This Is the Kit. Picture: Keith Heppell
This Is the Kit. Picture: Keith Heppell
The crowd watches This Is the Kit. Picture: Keith Heppell
The crowd watches This Is the Kit. Picture: Keith Heppell
This Is the Kit. Picture: Keith Heppell
This Is the Kit. Picture: Keith Heppell
Feis Rois in the Club Tent.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Feis Rois in the Club Tent. Picture: Keith Heppell
The crowd watches Feis Rois in the Club Tent.  Picture: Keith Heppell
The crowd watches Feis Rois in the Club Tent. Picture: Keith Heppell
The crowd watches Feis Rois in the Club Tent.  Picture: Keith Heppell
The crowd watches Feis Rois in the Club Tent. Picture: Keith Heppell
Elles Bailey.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Elles Bailey. Picture: Keith Heppell

Highly-rated, alternative folk band This Is the Kit, who debuted in 2016, also delivered a mesmerizing set on the Main Stage and were followed by one of the most anticipated performances of the festival: Spell Songs, which combined music, literature, language and art to reawaken a love of the wild.

Spell Songs with Jackie Morris at the table illustrating in the background.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Spell Songs with Jackie Morris at the table illustrating in the background. Picture: Keith Heppell
Spell Songs.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Spell Songs. Picture: Keith Heppell
Spell Songs.  Picture: Keith Heppell
Spell Songs. Picture: Keith Heppell
Clannad.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Clannad. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Clannad.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Clannad. Picture: Aaron Parsons

On the Sunday, Clannad, currently on their final world tour, bade a poignant farewell to fans when they played the festival’s inaugural Folk Legends slot in the afternoon. Nick Hart, winner of the Christian Raphael Prize last year, took to the stage in the Club Tent as part of his prize and wowed the audience with his unique and thoughtful take on traditional English folk songs.

Angeline Morrison.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Angeline Morrison. Picture: Aaron Parsons

The winner of this year’s prize, announced at the festival on Sunday, was Angeline Morrison. Former recipient Katherine Priddy progressed to the Main Stage this year, where she opened proceedings on Sunday afternoon with a beguiling set of songs from her debut album, The Eternal Rocks Beneath.

Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes. Picture: Aaron Parsons

Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes brought the Stage 1 audience to its feet – as did soul band St Paul and the Broken Bones – with their irresistible blend of traditional flamenco styles, Western pop and Latin rhythms, while political campaigner Billy Bragg performed powerful set, leading the crowd in a surrender of jerusalem when news broke that the English football lionesses had won the Euro 22 final.

[Read more: Suzanne Vega interview: ‘It was as if we had forgotten how to be public humans’, Clannad’s special farewell at Cambridge Folk Festival, Interview: Award-winning Cambridge folk singer Nick Hart, Illustrator Jackie Morris will have ‘best seat in the house’ at Cambridge Folk Festival]

Fans at Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Fans at Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Billie Marten.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Billie Marten. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Aaron Parsons
N'famady Kouyaté.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
N’famady Kouyaté. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Billy Bragg.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Billy Bragg. Picture: Aaron Parsons
Cambridge Folk Festival.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
Cambridge Folk Festival. Picture: Aaron Parsons
St Paul and the Broken Bones.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
St Paul and the Broken Bones. Picture: Aaron Parsons
St Paul and the Broken Bones.  Picture: Aaron Parsons
St Paul and the Broken Bones. Picture: Aaron Parsons

Many festival-goers participated in the varied workshops over the weekend, from singing, songwriting and playing to learning new crafts, painting, tai-chi and yoga.

Storytelling and special talks on contemporary topics, including mental health and the environment, were well attended and younger members of the audience were catered for with a range of activities from clog dancing to face painting and fiddle lessons.

Cambridge Folk Festival 2023 will take place at Cherry Hinton Hall on July 27-30. Look out for tickets going on sale on cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk.


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