Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band:


Saturday Skiddaw View Main Stage

If there is one musician who embodies the dynamism and vitality of the current English folk revival, it’s Eliza Carthy. Beloved of staunch traditionalists and iconoclasts alike, Eliza’s music effortlessly crosses boundaries of genre and style. Whether performing a centuries-old ballad or a self-written song, her powerful, nuanced voice, fiercely beautiful fiddle playing and mesmerising live performances have influenced a whole generation of young musicians.

Describing herself simply as a “modern English musician”, Eliza Carthy is one of the most recognisable faces in British folk. Launching head-on into the scene in the early 90s, she quickly became one of its great innovators. She has spearheaded the re-emergence of English traditional music as a vibrant, exciting genre that could stand proud next to other world musics. With a wealth of experience under her belt, Eliza’s talent has matured and is flourishing. She continues to bring new audiences to English folk through well-judged collaborations, recordings and performances.

Bella Hardy:

Friday Skiddaw View Main Stage

Since the release of the critically acclaimed ‘With The Dawn’ two year ago, Bella Hardy has spent a winter in China as British Council Musician in Residence, ex- tensive time in Nashville co-writing and ob- serving from coffee shop windows, and opened tours for Grammy winner Mary Chapin Carpenter. Bella, her fiddles and her notebooks, have once again been traveling, thinking, flying, driving, training, reading and gazing. She pulled together a trusty band of musical companions as she went, and in January 2017, called them into Chem19 Studios in Glasgow to make a record of her new creations under the expert leadership of producer Paul Savage (The Delgados). 

“She has created nothing short of a masterpiece” - The Sunday Times

Tide Lines:

Tide Lines

Friday Globe Hall Late Dance

Tide Lines are a four piece band from Scotland who are heavily influenced by the traditional music of the West Highlands and Islands, but whose highly eclectic sound is driven by acoustic and electric guitars, with drums and keyboards. Their first single, “Far Side of the World”, entered the UK download charts ahead of popular tracks by Coldplay and Beyonce, as well as Adele’s “Hello”, less than 24 hours after the band was launched on social media in June 2016. Tide Lines consists of Robert Robertson from Lochaber, Ross Wilson from the island of Mull, Alasdair Turner from Alness, and Fergus Munro from Glasgow.

The Small Glories:

Friday Skiddaw View Main Stage and Saturday Globe Hall ('photo credit Julie Vincent)

Folk powerhouse pair The Small Glories are Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a dynamic duo planted on the Canadian Prairies.  A self-professed “study in contrasts,” Luft's folkie yin proves a perfect match for Edwards’ rocker yang.  Thrown together purely by accident for an anniversary show at Winnipeg’s venerable West End Cultural Centre, The Small Glories is a partnership that could almost make you believe in fate.  

Straight out of the gate these two veteran singer/songwriters built a buzz around their tight harmonies, authenticity, visceral live performances and equally well-matched guitar prowess that doesn’t come around often. Luft packs a mean banjo as well.  The Winnipeg Free Press asks, "can two singer-songwriters be better than one? Yes, emphatically, yes, if the two in question are Cara Luft and JD Edwards... It’s our loss they didn’t [join forces] sooner... It’s magic.”
“Two amazing solo performers who somehow manage to melt into one entity, creating incredible harmonies that still raise the hairs on the back of my neck as I write.” Jennifer Ives, AD, Live from the Rock Music Festival

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan:

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan

Saturday afternoon  Skiddaw View Main Stage (‘photo credit David W. Harris)

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan are one of the best-known and most experienced folk duos on the British circuit today. Outstanding musicianship, a lifelong grounding in traditional singing and instrumental playing, acclaimed original compositions but most noticeably a visceral chemistry between these two make Kerr and Fagan a perennial favourite at festivals, venues and clubs across the country. They met in December 1995, and formed the duo and life partnership that has become the backbone of their professional career in music ever since.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards:
Winners of the inaugural Horizon Award in 2000
First ever recipients of the Best Duo Award in 2003 and 2011, they are one of only two acts ever to receive this honour twice (along with Spiers and Boden).
Nancy Kerr is the 2015 “Folk Singer of the Year” and in 2017 was nominated ‘Best Original Track’ with ‘Fragile Water’

“Quite breathtakingly beautiful.” Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2.

Flats and Sharps:

Flats and Sharps

Saturday Skiddaw View Main Stage

Flats and Sharps have come a long way from their humble beginning busking in Penzance as 17 year-olds, to performing on the Town Square stage at the Country 2 Country Festival at the O2 in London and at Proms in Hyde Park, which was recorded for later broadcast on the Bob Harris Country show on BBC Radio 2.

Along the way that have played for (and with) the Governor of Kentucky who jumped on stage to play with them. They have won fans at scores of festivals including Isle of Wight, Maverick and many Bluegrass and Folk Festivals and performed for events for Ralph Lauren and Jack Wills shops in London They were the headline act at the Ireland's Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival in June 2015 and in 2017 they performed at West Australia’s, Fairbridge Festival. Flats and Sharps are ones to watch out for in 2018, 

Luke Jackson:

Friday Globe Hall and Saturday Skiddaw View Main Stage

Luke is no stranger to Ireby and we are delighted to have him back, this time with his bassist companion Andy Sharps. Luke is a  Singer/Songwriter from Canterbury, Kent, who in 2013 was nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for both the Horizon Award for Best Emerging Talent and The Young Folk Category.  With a bold, distinctive voice and a sweet, percussive guitar style, Luke is a confident and captivating live performer. He was also winner of Fatea’s “Male Artist of the Year 2014 and 2016”. 

At the beginning of 2017 he undertook his third series of joint headline shows with Grammy Award winner Amy Wadge.

“One of the great voices of the new youngsters on the folk scene – and a terrific songwriter too” Mike Harding

Blue Rose Code (Trio):

Friday Skiddaw View Main Stage

Edinburgh born Ross Wilson spent his creative formative years in East London, then moved to South England “to be by the sea’s energy” but it is in his homecoming that he has found where his heart is.  "Life wasn’t always simple, have swapped one type of chaos for another” says Wilson.

A committed enthusiast and creative whirling dervish, Wilson has seen the past few years produce his most exciting work including the album ‘THE BALLAD OF PECKHAM RYE’, which was nominated for the prestigious Scottish Album Of The Year Awards.

 ‘…AND LO! THE BIRD IS ON THE WING’ followed up as a second album. The album was coupled with an extensive tour taking in Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, London, Cardiff and all points in between. The ending in Glasgow with a sell-out Celtic Connections show at the 1000-capacity City Halls with Sarah Jarosz.

‘An affirmation of love that links human relationships with the natural world. As sublimely paced as Astral Weeks-era Van Morrison.’ Folk Radio UK

Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage:

Friday Globe Hall and Saturday St James’ Church

A chance meeting at their local Black Fen Folk Club in Cambridge uncovered Hannah and Ben’s shared musical passions and sympathies, that over time has developed into a unique and intimate show of American roots and English folk music. Huddled round a single microphone, singing intimate duets with just mountain dulcimer, dobro and guitar Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage are a folk duo that look & sound classically timeless, yet feel refreshingly unique.

Fleetingly, they may evoke a memory of Gram & Emmylou, Shirley & Davey, or Gillian & David but their warm distilling of influences from both sides of the Atlantic produces a refined sound that is decidedly their own. Their unique unplugged presentation creates a widescreen, cinematic soundscape with open spaces and atmosphere, giving their beautifully pure vocals room to share the songs’ emotion and narrative. The material is as joyful and fun as it is intense, but the common factor is the duo’s warmth and confidence in each other; their natural ease and connection is clearly evident on the recorded music, and a genuine pleasure to witness on stage.

‘This is folk music for everyone – a master-class in proficiency, an exercise in individuality and a declaration of love of the folk tradition from both sides of the Atlantic’ ***** Spiral Earth

The Jake Leg Jug Band:

JLJ Band

Saturday The Globe Hall (‘photo credit Neil Hulse)

They bring you the authentic sounds of 1920's and 30's America - Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Ragtime - and put their own twist on it. Songs of murder, betrayal, gambling, liquor and redemption.

Signed to one of the UK's most prestigious Jazz labels ‘Lake Records’ they record their albums as part of the 'Vintage Recording Project' essentially recording all live around ribbon microphones, as it would have been back in the 1930’s. Three albums released in the last three years; ‘Cotton Mouth’, ‘Next Stop!’ and their latest offering ‘Everythin’s Jake’ have all met with rave reviews; 

"A masterpiece of nostalgic music. The band display real virtuosity and create a wonderful sound that will be hard for any other band to repeat” Folk North West

Claire Hastings Band:


Friday The Globe Hall and Saturday St James’ Church

Claire Hastings is a folksinger/songwriter originally from Dumfries, Scotland. She is a graduate of the BA Scottish Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, specializing in Scots song. Last year, Claire won the prestigious BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year award. Since winning the title, Claire has had the opportunity to perform at many high-profile events including BBC Proms in the Park with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Music Day where she sang alongside Lulu, Jamie Cullum and Deacon Blue. Other performances include Orkney Folk Festival supporting Seth Lakeman, at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and in 4* reviewed show 'A Man's a Man' at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Claire is currently one of the leading folk singers in Scotland, and was nominated for Scots Singer of the Year at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards in 2015.

“Hastings’ talent not just as a musician but as a compelling storyteller were obvious” The Herald

Kelly Oliver:

Saturday The Globe Hall and Skiddaw View Main Stage (‘photo credit Redwood Music)

Kelly Oliver is a singer-songwriter, she plays guitar and harmonica, and is described by The Times as an artist who 'blends traditional with bold, indie-pop'. Her debut album 'This Land', funded by an Emerging Excellence Award by Help Musicians UK, gained a 4* review from The Telegraph and her second album 'Bedlam', as well as being included in The Sunday Times Essential New Releases, was in Paul Sexton's Top 20 Albums of the Year in Prog Magazine and was nominated for Best Album from a Female Artist 2016 by Folkwords. Her last five singles have all gained BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music airplay and she performed her summer single 'Rio' on BBC One's Sunday Morning Live for her first national TV appearance. Kelly tours the UK predominantly as a solo artist and was awarded Best Female Solo Artist and Breakout Artist in the 2015/2016 NMG Awards as well as winning Best Female Artist 2016 in the FATEA Awards.Kelly recently returned from Kansas City, USA after attending the Folk Alliance International as one of their Official Showcase Artists.

'a vital voice in British folk music' - Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2


Phil & Hannah PORTRAIT

Friday The Globe Hall and Saturday Skiddaw View Main Stage

Edgelarks fly in on the tailwind of BBC award winning duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin. The new band name comes with a new project, taking the roots of their previous work - British traditional musics, Indian classical slide guitar, stomping roots beatbox harmonica party; adds a strong stem of original writing; and runs wilder with each gig. The new album, also called Edgelarks, concerns the liminal: borders, crossroads, travellers, refugees, twilight, dawn. The ideathat thresholds, despite often being places of marginalisation, are also places of change and therefore places of hope. That in the end, we have far more in common that those things that divide us, because we are all liminal we are all just passing through.    

“Extraordinary…I was absolutely blown away by them”. Tom Robinson BBC 6Music


4Square 2

Friday Globe Hall

4Square’s trademark show features the spectacle of Nicola Lyons’s simultaneous fiddle playing and clog dancing and virtuosic mandolin from Michael Giverin, galvanised by the driving sounds of Jim Molyneux’s piano and Dan Day’s percussion. The result is an infusion of folk, jazz, latin, and any other musical style they feel the inclination to absorb.  By contrast, 4Square will then stir you with their harmonious and mellow singing described by Nigel Schofield of as “sublimely wistful.”

Lucas and King:

Lucas and King

Friday  St James’ Church and  Saturday Ireby 12th Century Chancel.

Lucas & King write songs of simplicity and depth that pull influence from classic genres of music, from Country to 60’s Pop. They create a freshness and relevance to familiar sounds. They champion ‘The song’ above all which you can hear in the melodic intricacies and the Honesty of the lyrics. No frills; Unassuming, subtle and sincere. They are a truly exciting young duo emerging from Southampton. Songs of exceptional craft delivered with the spine-tingling, unforgettable voice of Bo Lucas and perfectly judged guitar accompaniment from Hayleigh King.’

“The band’s gentle blend of rootsy Americana and minimalist folk combined velvet-smooth vocals with a charismatic fragility - to spine-tingling effect…” The Argus 2015

Elaine Davidson:

Saturday The Globe Hall 

'Elaine Davidson is one of the most gifted singers and songwriters I have ever worked with. Elaine has the unique ability to write a beautiful melody, an incredibly honest lyric and deliver it with true depth and passion. Listening to Elaine’s music recalls a time of mastery in songwriting and story telling and you will get lost in the uncluttered, unfiltered true beauty of it. She is a one of a kind true English Folk Singer with a beautiful voice as well as an accomplished acoustic guitarist, see her live whenever you can, it will be a truly magical experience.’

Warren Huart (Aerosmith, James Blunt, The Fray) record producer, Los Angeles

The Tea Cups:

Saturday St James’ Church

Comprising the singing talents of Alex Cumming, Kate Locksley, Rosie Calvert and Will Finn, the a capella foursome have been creating a storm across the UK festival circuit in the past few years. Their debut album, 'One For The Pot' explores traditional and contemporary songs from all over the British Isles and beyond with a sensitive and lyrical approach to arrangement. Their critically acclaimed second album, 'Of Labour & Love' contains new and original compositions as well as murder ballads, exotic shanties and traditional songs of love and loss.

“The return of distinctive harmony singing." - The Guardian

Breeze and Wilson:

Car shot copy smaller

Saturday St James’ Church

Graham Breeze and Toby Wilson have been writing, recording and playing music together for ten years. Based in Staffordshire, England, they’ve developed a reputation as a refined and extremely talented duo. They are a stellar example of what can be achieved with two voices and two acoustic guitars. Harmonically rich, musically and lyrically diverse, they invite comparison to Simon and Garfunkel, Seals & Crofts, and fellow countrymen Gallagher & Lyle. They operate on the outside edge of British folk music, unless it’s British folk music that travelled across the Atlantic to the New World more than three centuries ago. 

The Black Guards:

Saturday The Globe Hall

Winners of the Wipe Out Music Publishers “Best Kept Secret award 2016. The Black Guards are a six piece folk, roots band hailing from Cumbria’s West Coast. Known for their Rabble rousing performances they have built up a strong live following. 
In 2017 they signing a publishing deal with wipeout music and through Folkstock Records released their debut studio EP "Drawn In”.

"A very strong, polished, quality track" Chris Hawkins, BBC 6 music. 

"An unalloyed success" RnR magazine

Oka Vanga:

Friday St Jamess’ Church and Saturday Ireby 12th Century Chancel

Oka Vanga are Angela Meyer & William Cox, an award winning UK Folk & Roots duo. Originally from Cape Town in South Africa. Angie is the creative driving force in the partnership and has been described as having “considerable vocal and songwriting talents” by fRoots. in 2013 they were invited to represent the UK at the International Madame Guitar Festival in Italy alongside Clive Carroll. Shortly thereafter they released their debut album Pilgrim to critical acclaim. Described by Songlines as “beautifully pure”, it was awarded Best Instrumental Album by FATEA magazine.  

Their much anticipated second album Dance of the Copper Trail  has been hailed as their best work yet. Released in 2017 on Crazy Bird Records, it is described by Songlines as “profound, concise and meticulous” The album includes rising star Oliver Copeland on Double Bass.

Jacob and Drinkwater:

Tobias and Lucas

Saturday The Globe Hall

Singer- songwriter Tobias ben Jacob’s songs weave in themes of love, memory, adversity and hope. Lukas Drinkwater is rightly referred to as ‘one of busiest musicians in the UK.In demand as a performer and session player in the worlds of folk and jazz he has featured on many acclaimed albums.

The duo’s dynamic and emotionally charged live show with all its energy, musical chemistry and spontaneity has drawn comparisons with the virtuosic pairing of John Martyn and Danny Thompson. Jacob's sweeping vocals never fail to captivate, delivering many a spine-tingling moment; the fluidity and precision of his finger-picking underpinned by Drinkwater's nimbly rhythmic double bass; at times sweetly soaring, haunting, percussive and driving, the layers of depth a perfect counterfoil. The added compliment of stirring vocal harmonies nicely rounds off the mix. 

'Inventive and thrilling' R2: Rock n Reel

'stand out new Folk... superb.. excellent” Chris Hawkins. BBC Radio 6

Ian Douglas - Storyteller:

Ian Douglas.jpg

Saturday main arena

Ian Douglas is a Storyteller and Theatre Maker living and working in West Cumbria. With over 15 years of experience delivering storytelling, performance and theatre activities for schools, arts organisations, communities and festivals across Britain, he has developed a practise approach which mixes sensitivity, Comedic energy and wit leading to a style all of his own. The origins of Ian's work are steeped in the traditions of street theatre which has helped him develop his unique storytelling style. His work has been described as 'truly inspirational' and draws upon a rich vein of British folk tales and world myths.

Ben Gates Sound Structures:

Ben Gates Sound Structures

Saturday main arena

Ben Gates builds Sound Sculptures and giant percussion installations. His ensemble of unique self made harmonic instruments allows all age groups to musically engage with each other in a safe environment. Look out for his 'Giant Sculpture Kit' that creates abstract shapes and structures with modular sounding parts effectively making an interactive 'Sound Sculpture’.

Fun for all ages as demonstrated by our lovely Steward, Karen.

Bev Whelan - Flute and Whistle Workshop

Bev Whelan

Woodlands Country House

By popular demand Bev Whelan makes a welcome return to Ireby following her successful visit in 2017.
Bev plays Irish simple-system flute, metal boehm flute, tin whistle, low whistle and recorder. She spent many years living in Ireland where she perfected her traditional Irish flute and tin whistle style, and was a medal winner three times in the All-Ireland Championships. She plays professionally, and regularly tours Europe.

"...I thought you ran a super workshop - great for the vast difference of abilities that were there” David Drape

© Ireby Festival 2018