Variety is the key to folk festival success

PUBLISHED: 12:56 26 July 2007 | UPDATED: 15:12 12 May 2010

Mike Scott, left and Joan Baez

Mike Scott, left and Joan Baez

CAMBRIDGE is home to one of the world s longest-running and most famous folk festivals. This weekend, Cherry Hinton Hall Grounds will be awash with ten thousand folk fans gearing up for five days of top quality music. The festival features an eclectic mix

Steve Earle left, and Nanci Griffith

CAMBRIDGE is home to one of the world's longest-running and most famous folk festivals.

This weekend, Cherry Hinton Hall Grounds will be awash with ten thousand folk fans gearing up for five days of top quality music.

The festival features an eclectic mix of music from traditional folk artists to more contemporary acts.

The finest American country, blues, and roots artists, and acclaimed singer songwriters will take their place at the event where bluegrass, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, jazz, and ceilidh are also regular features.

The line-up of the festival reflects the changes in the music scene from the 60s to present.

There will be performances from Joan Baez, Nanci Griffith, Toots and The Maytals, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Four Men and a Dog, The Waterboys, and Steve Earle.

The Cambridge Folk Festival will also be commissioning its first performance of Under One Sky, which will feature new compositions by John McCusker, Roddy Woomble, and Graham Coxon.

The club tent showcases are renowned for introducing new talent to folk fans, and this year is no different.

Hotly-tipped newcomer Lisa Knapp will be performing, along with Shetland Fiddler Jenna Reid, and winner of last years prestigious Kerrville New Folk Songwriter Contest Diana Jones.

Music workshops will take place over the course of the event and on Friday Steve Knightley will be holding a songwriting session.

Children will be catered for with a dedicated youth area called The Hub, a crèche, a playground, children's games, Junk Percussion with Sam Pirt, and a children's concert with Mr Boom.

The Cambridge Folk Festival was started in 1965 by Cambridge City Council with the help and expertise of Ken Woolard, a regular at the newly-formed Cambridge Folk Club.

Selling 1,400 tickets, the festival almost broke even. Its popularity grew and has gone from strength-to-strength.

The event is now a regular sell-out but still encompasses the same values from its early days.

Ticket holders will be experiencing the full festival feeling as they take up residence in tents, caravans and camper vans for the weekend.

BBC Radio 2 will have extensive coverage of the event as will BBC 4 television.

The BBC Radio 2 Cambridge Folk Festival runs from tonight (Thursday) until Sunday.

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