We have an almost constant line-up of various sessions, singarounds, and general chances to sing and play through the festival weekend.
This list is liable to change with some new sessions, so please check with the final version of this page come the festival itself, in our printed programme, or via updates at the festival office in the Town Hall.
Hosting Festival Folk Club, Churchill Bars, Friday 24th, 8-11pm
In 1967, a small group of enthusiast folk singers start a club to attract visiting traditional performers to Cornwall. The first recorded club night of the Bodmin Traditional Folk Club was on 31st May 1968 in an upper room at The Barley Sheaf. Nowadays the booking policy is a little more inclusive, but that clarity of purpose has maintained Bodmin Folk Club (as it's now called) through the decades.
Others have come and gone but Bodmin is the only folk club started in Cornwall in the 1960s still standing, and is currently enjoying something of a resurgence. This year their celebrated 50 years with a fabulous set of concerts in the Town Hall, Wadebridge, including Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, and double-winner at this year's Radio 2 Folk Awards, Lankum.
They're proud of both their long-standing affiliation with the English Folk Dance & Song Society and the fact that material in the Cornish language and dialect is regularly performed in the club.
And it was members of this club that founded the Cornwall Folk Festival back in 1972!
Bude Folk Musicians
Hosting Music Session at The Bridge On Wool, Saturday 25th, 1-4pm.
A group of mixed ability musicians who session together every Tuesday evening in the Falcon Hotel bar in Bude. They welcome any acoustic instruments.
Sessions in Bude vary between five and sixteen people. If they play other venues, they usually go out under the name of Falcon Folk.
Co-hosting Trans-Atlantic session at The Churchill Bars, Sunday 26th, 3-7pm
Hosting: Shanties and Song Session at Churchill Bars, Saturday 25th 2-5pm;
Singaround at The Ship, Saturday 25th 8-11pm; MC for 'Surviviors Session' at The Ship, Monday 27th, Noon-3pm
"Gids" has sung all his life, starting out as a regular at the Rashleigh Arms, then moving over to the Ship Inn at Wadebridge and for numerous other venues throughout the years and on certain occasions is accompanied by another great singer and friend Nigel Chapman (of Rum & Shrub fame), Gideon is always an entertaining host at our annual Cornwall Folk Festival and is a complete master of ad lib-improvisation, bringing real humour and atmosphere to any session- so don't miss this guy!
Lin and Ian Shevill
Hosting sessions at The Ship, Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th both Noon-3pm
Cornish girl Lin was a member of Bodmin Folk Club in her teens but was absent for many years due to work and family commitments. She returned to Bodmin Folk Club in 2012 with husband Ian in tow where they now both sing unaccompanied. Both are now staunch supporters of both the folk club and the festival.
MC for Festival Folk Club at Churchill Bars, Friday 24th 8-11pm
Just in case you're taking things too seriously, check out the oblique take on life found in Malcolm Pinch’s song writing. Mind you, he’s probably being quite serious when he claims to be ‘Watching Cat Videos on YouTube’ or advising that we should ‘Dump It In The Clay Area’. Cornwall’s answer to, well, I’m sorry — what was the question again?Artist's Website
Hosting Song Session in The Ship, Sunday 26th, 8-11pm
Martyn Babb is westcountry through and through; a singer of traditional and contemporary folk songs rooted in the west of England, but happy to venture further afield. Described by the Devon folk magazine as a local treasure; he first sang in public at Cyril Tawney's Devonport folk club in the early 1960s, and encouraged by Cyril to make each song his own, has continued to follow that good advice.
Martyn is a lively and animated performer who can take you easily from serious and moving ballads through humorous songs to up-tempo foot-tappers, along with the ability to tell a good story, and aided by a quick wit, add some laughter to season the mix. Occasionally he has been known to accompany himself on melodeon, harmonica or dulcimer. Described as irrepressible by one folk club organiser, Martyn is often called upon to use his skills as an MC in both folk clubs and concerts; he has opened as support for such as Jim Causley, Hearts of Oak, Geoff Lakeman, Fred Wedlock, and the Yetties.
He's made a number of radio and television appearances over the years, appeared at various maritime and folk festivals — including Sidmouth, Dartmoor, Bude, Sea Ilfracombe, Bideford and Falmouth. Martyn has also made invited visits to perform in Ireland, France (at the Brest Maritime festival), and the U.S.A.
Martyn's experiences as an entertainer over the years have provided him with the ability to connect with his audience, to explore their emotions, lift their spirits, and end the evening feeling they have made a new friend!
Story Telling and Songs at Churchill Bars Committee Room, Sunday 26th 2-4pm
Singing has always been part of Mo's life, who grew up in Wadebridge. She first performed in public around the age of 9 and has always been aware of the folk music and song around her. She started to perform her native Cornish songs in the 60s when she was fortunate enough to meet traditional source singers and musicians in North Cornwall.
She's sung on numerous occasions at an Interceltic Festival in Lorient, Brittany, and at the annual Celtic Congress events held in each of the Celtic countries. She is regularly heard on Radio Cornwall, BBC Radio 2 and Westcountry Television.*
Ramblin Mike Walford
Co-hosting Trans-Atlantic session at The Churchill Bars, Sunday 26th, 3-7pm
Ramblin Mike Walford is a singer/songwriter, member of the Guild of International Songwriters and a Performing Rights Society member. Author of the book on the New Forest Pollards, People & Ponies published by Short Publications in 1979. A former tug-boat man, security guard, deckhand and merchant seaman, Mike became a well travelled journeyman printer throughout the UK.
A close friend of Cliff Aungier, Long John Baldry and many other artists of the British blues and jazz scene in the 1960s to 1990, Mike has been associated with other festivals along with various folk clubs and has been the main organiser of the Cornwall Folk Festival from 2009 to 2016, co-founded the Wadebridge Folk Club, organises the Crantock Folk Festival in September, and runs the Unison stage at Tolpuddle, amongst other things.
Last year he put out a CD 'Footprints Shorelines Highways' of mainly self-penned songs of life on the road and on beaches.
We are emmensely grateful to Mike for the constant energy and dogged persistence he brought to this festival, without which it probably would not be here. An unsung hero in a musical world.
Thorn and Roses
FAR Stage, Friday 24th, 7pm
Hosting Singaround Session in The Ship, Friday 24th, 8-11pm and Sunday 26th 3-6pm
Running Cornwall Festival Harmony Choir workshops Saturday 25th Town Hall and Sunday 26th Goods Shed Large Room, both 10.30am-noon, plus opening slot at Roberts and Lakeman gig Sunday 26th 7pm
Thorn and Roses are a three-part mixed voice unaccompanied close harmony folk group performing traditional and contemporary material.
Slick delivery, joyful harmonies, great professionalism, plus a good injection of fun, they are Rowena Metters, Sylvia Fletcher, and Jinks Jenkin, who joined voices a number of years ago inspired by their mutual love of unaccompanied close harmony singing.
They are all accomplished singers in their own right, but since forming Thorn and Roses they have developed a style and presentation that has gained them quite a following in this country, with much interest from the Cornish communities of North America.
Last year Sylvia and Rowena, who have harmonised together since they were teenagers, celebrated 50 years as performers. They sound as fresh as ever — congratulations, you stars!Artist's Website
Wadebridge Folk Club
Hosting 'Survivors Session' at The Ship, Monday 28th noon-3pm
In contrast to Bodmin, Wadebridge is a new kid on the block, although there have previously been clubs in the town. Set up two years ago by Folk Festival team members Mike and Jan Walford, and Tim and Sue Brine, it immediately attracted a good audience to the upstairs room at the Churchill Bars in Molesworth St, giving the team the confidence to keep a monthly club running ever since. There is always a strong and varied numbers from floor singers, and occasional guest slots for the likes of Wizz Jones, Mike Silver, Thorn and Roses, Salt and Sky and The Stowes.
No guarantee can be given that any events will take place, or any artists will perform at a particular time, or at all. We will, however, make every effort to carry out the programme as advertised.