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Red Lion Free Folk Day

An event in July in Cambridgeshire
Whittlesford
Cambridgeshire
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For over 17 years local folk and acoustic musicians have been playing live music at venues in the region and for the last eight they have been housed at the historic Red Lion Hotel in Whittlesford. Bryan Causton, one of the many musicians involved in the festival and a committee member explained how the festival came about: “We’ve been running folk sessions in the area for years and for the last fifteen we’ve always had a ‘folk day’. The regular sessions on a Friday night at the Red Lion are always free and open to any performer, so we felt that the festival, which is now in its eighth year, should be the same.” Essentially the day is focused around the huge local talent, but this year the club organisers have invited the talented three-piece band ‘Isambarde’ to perform at the afternoon concert. “We always have great local support,” says Marie Mace, who will be running the Irish drum (bodhran) workshop “but we also get visitors from all over the country. We are really pleased Isambarde were able to play for us – we’ve managed to book them by running raffles and having a fund-raising barn-dance so that we can keep the festival free.” The programme for the day includes singing and song writing workshops, open stage opportunities, the concert featuring local artists such as Dan Leighton, Ted Lindley, Tony and Marie Mace, Non Smith, Tu, Penni McLaren-Walker, Richard Wells and Isambarde. The day will conclude with a grand barn dance in the evening with top folk-rock ceilidh band ‘Swindlers and Gentry’. “Everyone is welcome,” says Penni McLaren Walker, a nationally known performer who is running the song-writing workshop. “It’s such a friendly club and a great festival – whether you are a seasoned performer or beginner or just want to come along and listen, it’s a wonderful day full of wonderful folk.” The venue, the Red Lion Hotel, is providing a marquee thanks to support of Adnams brewery. There will be hot food and real ale served throughout the day. The Hotel itself is a fascinating building – originally a 13th Century Priory. “It’s got a great atmosphere,” Bryan says, “so whether you turn up for the Friday night sessions or come to our free folk day, we can guarantee a warm welcome.”

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