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A Pearl Of Great Value

A Pearl Of Great Value

The first time I saw Jane Pearl perform was at our Warm Up concert at the Brewery Tap earlier this month. Boy have I missed out! Are they all like that in Kentucky?

Her performance was full of life, energy and humour (see, there’s a “u” between the O and the R in English), and you can detect that in this recording of “Hello New Life” made on the night. Her website is well worth a visit, too.

      Hello New Life - Jane Pearl
Silky smooth melodies

Silky smooth melodies

If you were at our Warm Up concert at the Brewery Tap on June 3rd you will have seen and heard the remarkable Lila J. If you weren’t then you missed a treat! Live music is usually great, and never more so than when you see the band are doing what they love – which Lila J clearly were.

Silky smooth in style, there’s an effortlessness to their music that is joyful to hear. Here’s a preliminary recording of their wonderful song “Gypsy Van”.

      Gypsy Van - Lila J

To hear more of them, check out their website, or look them up on Soundcloud or Facebook. You’ll be glad you did.


Quite a feat

Quite a feat

Our headline act from the Warm Up concert at the Brewery Tap on Saturday June 3rd was The Six Foot Way. We had already had nearly four hours of high quality music, and the band rounded off the evening with a high tempo foot-stomping set that had everyone off their feet. I ain’t never seen dancing like it!

About an hour into their 30 minute set “Railroad” Al’ Davies realised that although he was the compere for the night he hadn’t actually scheduled himself to play. So he grabbed his bouzouki and joined in with The Six Foot Way for the last few extra extra extra songs, before Phil the barman decided it was finally time to chuck everyone out.

Here’s a preliminary recording of The Six Foot Way feat’ Alex Davies playing “Robert McKenzie”. You can check out the band’s website here, and they are also on facebook, where you can see where they’re playing next; if you haven’t seen them live – do yourself a favor!

      Robert McKenzie - The Six Foot Way


A drop of Nelson’s blood

A drop of Nelson’s blood

Last night we enjoyed the Warm Up concert at the Brewery Tap, Mitcheldean, with 8 fantastic acts performing over 5 hours of live music. Well done to everyone who performed, you were brilliant!

While we were so wonderfully entertained, people in London were also out enjoying the warm Saturday evening – until, that is, some were cruelly killed or injured in another terrorist attack.

In solidarity, here is a draft recording from Karl Jennings – one of his own original “faux folk” songs – recorded last night. Legend has it that Nelson’s body was preserved in a barrel of rum until it could be returned to England after Trafalgar. When his body was removed, his crew drank from the rum to give them courage.

      A Drop Of Nelson's Blood - Karl Jennings
It’s nearly time!

It’s nearly time!

Folk Festival Warm Up
Folk Festival Warm Up — 3rd June 2017

It’s almost time for the first concert – our Warm Up concert at the Brewery Tap on Saturday 3rd June, starting at 7PM. The line-up of artists looks great; those I have heard before I am looking forward to hearing again, and those I haven’t heard come highly recommended. It’s going to be a great night! Here’s the featured artists:

Tom Atkinson
Ann Teek
Karl Jennings
Lightly Twned
Jane Pearl
Lila J
Sid Harvey
The Six Foot Way


Matty Groves

Matty Groves

I’ve just realised that this website was seriously lacking in the Matty Groves department. I mean, no self-respecting Folk website would be missing a version of this well known song, am I right? Don’t worry  – it is fixed now! Here is a version performed by May Thrill, from last year’s Folk Festival.

That should get you in the mood for our Fundraiser Concert on June 3rd at the Brewery Tap, Mitcheldean.

      Matty Groves - May Thrill
Concert Applications for 2017 now open!

Concert Applications for 2017 now open!

Bygonz performing at Mitcheldean Church in 2016

As of 10th March 2017 Applications are now closed.

Mitcheldean Folk Festival Concerts are entry-free and will showcase local and visiting acts and provide opportunities to perform and promote music (all types), songs, and dances. As part of the 2017 festival there will be two showcase musical concerts:

  • Concert 1: Saturday 3rd June from 7:00pm to 11:00pm at The Brewery Tap
  • Concert 2: Saturday 15th July from 1:00pm to 9:00pm at Mitcheldean Church

Note that while we are unable to pay performers we hope to record all performances where possible and will make the recording of your performance available to you after the event.

A P.A. system will be provided and acts will be allocated slots of 30 minutes each. To ensure we run to time please factor in set up time and plan your set accordingly. (Note: That applicants cannot be guaranteed a specific slot in the programme but we will try to accommodate your requirements as far as possible.)

If you are interested in taking part in one or both of these concerts please supply the information requested below by e-mail to no later than Thursday 16th February.

  • The name of your act
  • A short description of what the act does (style of music or dance)
  • Your name and contact details
  • The number of performers in your act
  • The instruments (if any) that they play
  • Which concert(s) you would like to perform at
  • Whether you have any preference on the time of your performance (earlier or later)
  • Your amplification requirements (number of mics and DIs)
  • Any other specific requirements you may have

We will contact you in March to confirm the details of your performance.

There will also opportunities for busking at designated locations in and around Mitcheldean from 11:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday 15th July and you are welcome to come and busk whether your application to perform at the concert is successful or not.

Leaving The Table

Leaving The Table

The great singer/poet/writer Leonard Cohen has died today, aged 82.

It seems appropriate to mark his passing with a version of perhaps his most famous song – Hallelujah – which was recorded in the bar of the Brewery Tap in Mitcheldean in May 2016, performed by The Baldwin Brothers.

Rest In Peace

      Hallelujah - The Baldwin Brothers
A Taste of 2016

A Taste of 2016

Here is a song from the Fundraiser event held at the Brewery Tap on 28th May 2016. This is “The Jolly Bold Robber“, performed by Smelly Eric. One of their songs will feature on the forthcoming 2016 Mitcheldean Folk Festival CD, which will be released once we have worked through all the tracks from both this event and the showcase concert held in July. There are lots of great songs to choose from!

If you were a performer at either event you should shortly be receiving a copy of your set from the recordings made on the nights, as soon as we have finished post-production. For more information please email Dave.

      Jolly Bold Robber - Smelly Eric


Review of Mitcheldean Folk Festival Showcase Concert

Review of Mitcheldean Folk Festival Showcase Concert

Jules de Bharra, Tracey Dixon and Rob Swannack
Jules de Bharra, Tracey Dixon and Rob Swannack

The 3rd weekend in July was a feast for music lovers in the Forest of Dean, for whilst Coleford’s Music Festival brought large numbers in to the area, Mitcheldean Parish Church played host to a stunning showcase concert featuring seventeen acts over more than eight hours. Following the presentation of the British Empire Medal to Pam Martin by the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, guests and parishioners were treated to some fine country dancing by the children of Mitcheldean Primary School. The concert itself commenced with a virtuoso performance of Spanish guitar playing by eleven year old Finn Wicks, whose control and artistry stunned the audience, impressed by a skill that belied his young age. The Minstrels of the Forest treated everyone to a display of Early Mediaeval music, both performing and explaining the traditions of a genre that was matched by their period attire. A change of mood and era was signalled by Vapor, a trio featuring stunning soulful vocals by lead singer Onika, accompanied by guitarist Mark Venus and guest saxophonist Tom Selway. Their powerful and professional performance of mostly original ballads echoed a quality that is matched on their two recent CD recordings.

Travelling all the way from Shropshire was the highly impressive Kim Lowings Trio, a pared down version of the band who recently released their acclaimed album Historia. Fetauring Kim as lead vocalist and accompanied by guitars and citern, their impressive set featured a range of songs that told stories augmented by sweet stirring vocals and accomplished musicianship. There followed an engaging performance by Mitcheldean’s own Tracey Dixon, whose vocal dexterity and lilt is well known to regulars at Mitcheldean Folk Club. Accompanied by Jules de Bharra for some songs, Tracey’s haunting songs held everyone spellbound and were received with rapturous applause.

In mid-afternoon both audience and stage were swelled by the arrival of the Primary School Choirs, a collection of over thirty children from the Primary Schools of Walmore Hill, Blakeney and Pillowell. Their performance of traditional and contemporary songs wowed the church crowd, supplemented by individual youngsters reading a selection of well-chosen poems. There followed Bygonz, a duo featuring Gillian and Rob Guest, whose performances on pipe and tabor, English bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy gave everyone a highly entertaining tour through the traditions of music and songs from an age long gone but not forgotten. Guitarist and vocalist Rebecca Kay then entertained us with a selection of elegantly crafted ballads, also creating some engaging harmonies when accompanied by guest vocalists who joined her on stage.

Festival and folk club stalwarts Greenwich Village have grown in confidence and skill with each appearance in Mitcheldean, and this guitar duo of Clive Shaw and Simon Richards from Lydney did not disappoint, with powerhouse guitar playing, augmented by vocal harmonies and harmonica, giving festival-goers a taste of American influenced country folk-rock. Following were Uke in Hand, who eminate from Drybrook’s Rose in Hand pub, which has played host to budding ukulele players from around the Forest. They treated us to some clever arrangements of familiar songs old and new which went down well. In the absence of Jimbob James, our very own busking bus driver Ben Coulson proved an admirable deputy, and his accordion accompanied tour of original Gloucestershire bus songs and familiar strains had the audience all joining in with his very singable choruses.

At 6.00pm MC Clint Mann took to the stage to perform, mixing songs of the Forest and its mining history with more energetic thrashing guitar songs about celebrating of the glories of life. Again, the audience joined in with choruses and foot stomping. Jules de Bharra was next up. Ably supported by guest vocalists including husband Ian, she once again treated us to subtle and beautiful arrangements of mostly contemporary songs, some with a touch of ukulele. May Thrill are another act who have been regulars in Mitcheldean and beyond, and their set this year saw the trio accompanied by piper Polly, creating a stirring mix of traditional folk tunes and songs with their usual distinctive twist.

The last three acts provided a fitting climax to the show. Asha Faria-Vare is a singer-songwriter whose lilting vocals and delicate guitar-playing enhance original songs that tell stories about relationships, saxophonists and political protest. Accompanied on some songs by her father, Asha held everyone spellbound with one of those “your could hear a pin-drop” performances. A change of style was signalled by Mice in a Matchbox, a duo from Oswestry. Sally Stamford’s gushing and gorgeous vocals were accompanied by Jim Rolt’s lively guitar to produce a highly entertaining set that was influenced by their experience of sailing around the Caribbean and selling lemonade, giving everyone bucketloads of fun.

The evening was rounded off by the ever popular Crooked End who fused progressive rock, jazz and folk in a virtuoso performance of such complexity that the word unique could not be used as a cliché. Built around the Taylor family from Ruardean, they provided a distinctive brand of excitement and skill that proved a fitting end to this year’s Showcase Concert. Last but not least, the whole experience in Mitcheldean Church was enhanced not only by the dedicated team of parishioners who served food and drinks throughout the day but also the amazing technical wizardry of Dave Stephens, who ran the sound desk throughout the whole event and provided swift changeovers and a fantastic sound system for a concert that showcased the amazing range of talent from the folk of the Forest and beyond, and which many suggested was the best one yet. Onwards to 2017!