Festival fever for region’s folk fans

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FOLK festival fever is just around the corner for South Yorkshire music fans with two weekend events.

Both take place over the coming Easter weekend and offer vastly different forms of entertainment.

The Sheffield Sessions Festival mainly aims to give the city’s part-time players a chance to make music with like-minded musicians.

The festival was launched last year and was such a success that organisers decided to run the show a second time.

Some of the city’s finest real ale pubs will be hosting the extravaganza, including Kelham Island Tavern, Hillsborough Hotel, University Arms, Fagans, Grapes, Gardeners Rest and newcomer The Shakespeare.

And it will be in the latter’s Bard’s Bar that the festival will get off to a great start with a Rarely Heard concert at 8pm on Friday, April 7 featuring some of Sheffield’s (and the country’s) best loved acts; Kate Green, James Reynard, Pete Smith, Tegwyn Roberts, Simon Heywood, Hugh Waller and John and Vic Bowden.

There will be £6 on-the-door charge for this concert. The venue has limited space so get there early.

Otherwise the festival will be made up of music sessions in the various pubs, from Friday to Sunday.

These will range from singarounds to music sessions, late night extras to a special shanty session at the Gardeners.

There will also be a chance at The Shakespeare on Saturday.

For information, visit www.hallamtrads.co.uk

Meanwhile, the third Barnsley Acoustic Roots Festival is held over the same weekend at Kingstone School in the town.

This will feature five concerts over three days with 15 acts along with open mic sessions.

On Friday, there will be music from Acoustic Gathering (featuring former Lindisfarne, Fairport and Albion Band members). Also on stage will be Fran Smith and the six-piece band Tarras, who also hail from Newcastle and the surrounding area. Completing the line up will be Nashville-based Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart.

On Saturday morning the festival will host a Rising Stars Award for young performers followed in the afternoon by open an mic sessions, at which some of the main stage acts will also perform. A second open mic session will be held on Sunday afternoon.

The Saturday afternoon concert will be kicked off by Canadian Miss Quincy followed by demon banjo and harmonica act Walsh & Pound. The Shee, a six-strong band, will headline.

In the evening, Brass Monkey, Jessica Lawson, Walsh & Pound and Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart will perform.

On Sunday, an afternoon concert will feature Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, the Toy Hearts and the London Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra. The evening show will showcase Edward II, Po Girl and Patsy Matheson & Becky Mills.

THE inimitable Chris Wood will make a rare appearance in the county tomorrow with a show at the Rock@Maltby, at the Wesley Centre, in Blyth Road.