Preview: Gate to Southwell Festival 2024

Credit: Phil Richards

Headliners confirmed for GTSF 4th to 7th July 2024.

There are few things better to do while you watch the rain batter down in the middle of January than imagine yourself basking in the warm sun at an outdoor festival, and there are already great expectations for this summer’s Gate To Southwell in Nottinghamshire, the seventeenth of its kind. The organisers have confirmed international headliners including multi-award winning American folk legend Rhiannon Giddens (nominated for two more Grammys in 2024).  “Without doubt one of the most important roots artists of her generation and the most significant booking we’ve ever made” said Festival director Mike Kirrage “An absolute coup for us”.  Also booked are celebrated Scottish band Mànran, traditional Irish music stars The Haar and a triumvirate of acclaimed Canadian artists including The Fugitives and singer/songwriters Catherine McClellan and Tara MacLean.

New Year additions to the line-up feature a welcome return to Southwell for, as we described him, “one of the greatest live acts around” in Ross Wilson aka Blue Rose Code who will perform with his Big Caley Soul Band. And the festival will open with “wildly thrilling” (The Guardian) headline act Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening – a very welcome return as Kathryn performed at the first GTSF back in 2007. Plus there’ll be another award-winning Scottish act in the unique An Dannsa Dub who manage to fuse folk with reggae and dance music.

Adding to the typically eclectic and international music mix over four days at GTSF 2024, there’ll be Americana stars Campbell/Jensen featuring Glen Campbell’s daughter Ashley, Sheffield’s folk supergroup the Melrose Quartet (feat Nancy Kerr, James Fagan and Jess and Richard Arrowsmith). Reg Meuross will be playing solo, and also bringing two of his recent song-cycles: with concertina wizard Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and kora master Suntou Susso “Stolen From God” has been four years in the making; it tackles England’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, unearthing both incredible tales and uncomfortable truths. He also brings “Fire and Dust”, The Woody Guthrie Story. This time he’s joined by Welsh singer, songwriter, pianist and accordionist Geraint Watkins. Also playing are the Australian sister duo Charm of Finches and many more artists. Thursday July Fourth will also be marked by The Great American Songbook on the Folk Stage.

There are still 20+ artists still to be announced across the 3 main stages. Plus, there’ll be dance, comedy, spoken word, great food, drink, craft fairs and family entertainment, with on-site camping and glamping, all in a beautiful rural location just outside Southwell (England’s most perfect market town according to the Daily Torygraph in 2023).

Tickets are selling fast, despite the recent wet winter weather, mainly because the last three years at GTSF have been splendidly hot and sunny. Nevertheless, prophets of doom will be relieved to hear that there will definitely be a rain cover for the main Lake Stage in 2024. This will offer the best of both worlds with open sides so audiences can enjoy the inevitable July sunshine without missing any of the musical action onstage. The full line-up and tickets are available from the Festival website here.

About Mark Whitfield 2031 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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