Way To Blue, an aptly and ecstatically dreamy tribute to the home grown God of All Things (folk) Nick Drake, kicks off this magnificent new folk festival packed to the rafters with this industry’s low-key luminaries and pandering perfectly to Birmingham’s love of locally produced heart-felt sounds. Curated and MC’d by Nick Drake’s producer Joe Boyd, the opening event features legendary artists and special guests inspired by Nick’s work. This spectacular collection of artists (many of whom could sell-out the show single-handedly) include the heavenly-voiced Vashti Bunyan with Green Gartside, Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam, Glen Hansard, Sam Lee, Olivia Chaney and Kami Thompson and James Walbourne (The Rails). The weekend continues its celebration of locally produced and far-off sourced folk heroes and its theme of fashioning new wonders from old treasures with 2016 BBC Folk Award nominee Emily Portman, the internationally acclaimed and previous BBC Folk Award winner Kate Rusby, supported by local stars Boat To Row, industry Irish singer Songwriter Declan O’Rourke and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. On Sunday Future Folk presents the best rising talents and those at the progressive forefront of British Folk music in a performance created in partnership with English Folk Dance and Song Society especially for Imagined Isle. Also on Sunday False Lights and Luke Jackson, previous winners of ‘Best Duo’ at the 2015 BBC Folk Awards will play alongside Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, transforming songs that are centuries old and making them personal and present again. A spectacular festival closing set from Delta bluesman Eric Bibb along with his full band on Monday, brings a fitting end to this wonderful long weekend.

Line-up: Thu 12 May: Way To Blue: The Songs Of Nick Drake, Fri 13 May: Emily Portman and The Coracle Band, Furrow Collective, Rachel Newton & Alasdair Roberts, Katherine Priddy. Sat 14 May: Kate Rusby, Boat To Row, Sun 15 May: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Luke Jackson, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, False Lights. Mon 16 May: Eric Bibb.

Thu 12 May – Mon 16 May, Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham. See: www.thsh.co.uk
Use the discount Code: ISLE10 for ticket reductions for Way To Blue, Emily Portman and Future Folk

Thu 12 May - Mon 16 May
Hana Borrowman
Published on:
Tue 10 May 2016