Well the good news keeps on coming, and organisers of the 14th Gate to Southwell have announced that the Midlands roots and acoustic festival will go ahead at its new rural location outside the Nottinghamshire town from 2nd to 5th September. The festival is headlined by three-time BBC award winners The Young’uns, one of the big hits of 2018’s festival, whose recent album ‘Strangers’ was described as both “a record for troubled times’ and “an antidote to Brexit”. They join a rich mix of international artists – including ‘supergroup’ the Gigspanner Big Band, Spanish piper-led Anxo Lorenzo Band, celebrated duo The Breath (featuring the beautiful voice of BBC Folksinger of the Year Rioghnach Connolly), the Blair Dunlop Band (led by the award-winning singer-songwriter) and re-formed Bellowhead masterminds Spiers & Boden.
After five years at Southwell Racecourse, the new festival site will be on farmland at Kirklington to the Northwest of Southwell, a site the organisers say has “lakes, trees and plenty of green spaces. There’ll be more room for camping and, for the first time, well-behaved dogs will be welcome in the main arena as well as on the campsite. There are lovely rural walks nearby and there’s the scenic Robin Hood Way which links Kirklington to Southwell and the wider area.”
Other booked acts include London ska stars Maroon Town, Edgelarks, Imar, Blair Dunlop Band, Donegal’s The Henry Girls, Harbottle & Jonas, Reg Meuross, Talisk, and acclaimed singer-songwriter Chris Wood.
On Saturday, a John Prine tribute concert will follow in the footsteps of the now-legendary specials including a birthday tribute to Bob Dylan @75 and Woodstock @50. Southwell 2021 will welcome too Winter Wilson, The Wilderness Yet (featuring the traditional talents of Rosie Hodgson, Rowan Piggott and Philippe Barnes), the alt-country of Rainy Day Woman, Thorpe & Morrison from the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, young vocalist Ellie Gowers and Shropshire singer-songwriter Jessie Reid. They’ll be joined by more seasoned performers such as steel and slide guitar blues busker N.C. Lawlor (who’s played with Seasick Steve and Shane McGowan) and guitar legend Wizz Jones (name-checked by everyone from John Renbourn to Eric Clapton, but don’t let that put you off).
“We’re planning for all eventualities,” said festival director Mike Kirrage. “We’ve got a great new location, with a very supportive landlord. Everybody involved in the festival is full of enthusiasm. We’ve already received a terrific response from volunteers and there’s been a great uptake of tickets so far. It will be such a brilliant way of celebrating once this grim pandemic has completely passed.”
For more details, visit their official site here. Plans enable the festival to go ahead even if Stage 3 of the Roadmap is still in place in September, though they remain hopeful that the country will be fully open in July as recently announced – so that all the larger festivals over the summer are able to proceed as well. As usual there’ll be camping and glamping, family entertainment, food and craft stalls, a beer and cider festival, Open Mic and other events, plus on-site parking and special bus services to and from nearby Southwell.