Festival Preview: Cambridge Folk Festival
By Jay Plent
28 – 31 July
Let’s face it, of all the events likely to spring to mind when you say ‘summer music festival’, Cambridge Folk Festival is unlikely to be one of the first you think of, possibly not even in the Top 5. This is a shame. It’s a unique festival with a rich history, and one that, to the informed, is considered one of the finest in the country.
For over 50 years now, Cambridge Folk Festival has put on an event packed with music that ranges from Folk, Roots and Jazz, to Blues, Gospel and frankly, a baffling amount of other stuff you might struggle to categorise.
The festival never fails to electrify the music scene in Cambridge, with the run up to it accelerated by the Cambridge Band Contest, Strawberry Fair, and extensive previews and coverage by the area’s pre-eminent radio station Cambridge 105. There’s rarely a time when more is going on in the city than in the approach to Cambridge Folk Festival.
Over the years, the event has hosted hugely entertaining artists who have either achieved or gone onto achieve incredible success. Van Morrison, Wilko Johnson, Jake Bugg, Frank Turner, KT Tunstall, Dry The River, Laura Marling, The Zutons, Joe Strummer: this is just a handful of the names who have played at Cambridge Folk Festival since 2001 alone.
But equally, there are plenty of new artists to discover, and Cambridge itself is an incredibly beautiful city. It’s full of charming riverside greenery, lovely historic architecture, and a music scene ripe with talent, steadily bubbling under the city’s surface.
Cambridge may not be as swamped in musical history as Manchester is, but Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the city’s proudest and most vibrant traditions, and well worth a look.