Jethro Tull celebration among new acts for 2019

A celebration to mark 50 years of one of the UK’s most iconic bands tops the latest tranche of artists to be added to the line-up.

Jethro Tull’s legendary guitarist Martin Barre will bring his new show with former band members Dee Palmer and Clive Bunker to the festival. Other new announcements include an exclusive UK festival performance from American activist and musician Rev. Seckou; Irish band Jiggy whose video Silent Place took the internet by storm clocking up more than 30m views; Cajun Country Revival which hails from Louisiana, USA, with special guest Vera van Heeringen; American alt-country blues musician Amythyst Kiah; blues and world music trio Michael Messer’s Mitra; and the return of Jim Moray’s Kingstone Press Folk Slam as the traditional finale on the festival’s Pengwern stage.

Already revealed are a host of top folk, roots and singer songwriters including Andy Fairweather Low and the Low Riders with the Hi Riders Soul RevueOysterbandKate RusbyCapercaillieMartyn JosephSkerryvoreDaphne’s Flight, American trio Birds of ChicagoGary Stewart’s GracelandPhil Beer BandSteve KnightleyMerry HellEdgelarksGrace PetrieUrban Folk Quartet and many more.

There will also be a special day of programming on the Pengwern Stage by duo Chris While and Julie Matthews to celebrate 25 years of their musical partnership. They have chosen Blair DunlopBurden of Paradise, singer songwriter Charlie Dore and former Fairground Attraction lead singer Eddi Reader and another act to be announced to perform on Sunday August 25, which will be topped off with a show by the While & Matthews Big Band.

Weekend tickets are already selling at our third tier price and only a handful of Saturday and Sunday day tickets remain. Friday and Monday tickets are also available.

Director Sandra Surtees said: “We are over the moon to be hosting Martin Barre’s special celebration of 50 years of Jethro Tull as it’s a band that spans generations and genres and will be the most incredible show.

“We always look to bring a diverse mix of music to the festival and we’ve developed a reputation in recent years for programming some of the most exciting Americana and world music alongside traditional folk. This year is no different with the new headliners we’ve just announced.

“With four main music stages, there’s always lots to choose from and our visitors love to discover music that’s new to them – that’s part of the joy of the festival.”

For more about the line-up click here.

First peek at the 2019 line up so far

Tickets have gone on sale for the 2019 Shrewsbury Folk Festival as we’ve shared the first names to be added to the bill.

Two of the UK’s top solo stars Kate Rusby and Martyn Joseph will be topping the bill along with the legendary Oysterband and female supergroup Daphne’s Flight, who are returning after a triumphant performance in 2017. Scottish folk rockers Skerryvore have also been invited back after wowing crowds earlier this year.

Gary Stewart’s Graceland – a reworking of the Paul Simon classic – has also been signed up along with solo shows from Show of Hands frontman Steve Knightley, singer songwriter and activist Grace Petrie and appearances from The Phil Beer Band and Merry Hell.

Exclusive to the festival will be a special day of programming on its Pengwern stage by duo Chris While and Julie Matthews to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their musical partnership. The While and Matthews Takeover will see the pair curate performances on August 25th that will culminate in a big band show to close the night.

Other acts will include Chris Elliott and Caitlin Jones, Edgelarks, Geoff Lakeman, Granny’s Attic, Mankala, Paul Downes, Rapsquillion, Reg Meuross, Track Dogs, the Urban Folk Quartet, and Winter Wilson. Festivalgoers will also be able to watch folk opera Here at the Fair by Mick Ryan.

Festival Director Sandra Surtees: “As ever the Shrewsbury line-up will feature some of the biggest names in folk, some popular performers that have been requested by our audience and a number of world and Americana acts.

“But the festival is about so much more than just the music – there’s so much to do during the weekend for all ages. The festival has its own magical atmosphere and we have many visitors who wouldn’t class themselves as ‘folkies’ but they just come to enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere with friends and family and listen to great music. 

“The festival continues to go from strength to strength with a devoted audience who return year after year, demonstrated by the fact that we regularly sell out in advance.”

The festival has four main music stages, a dance tent featuring ceilidhs, workshops and dance shows, children and youth festivals, workshops, crafts, food village, real ale, cocktail and gin bars and on-site camping and glamping.

There are also fringe events at local pubs with dance displays held in the town centre and a parade through the streets on the Saturday afternoon. Weekend and day tickets can be booked at

Record year of festival fundraising

Visitors to this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival have helped to raise a record amount for its long-term charity partner.

Hope House, which supports children with life limiting illnesses and their families, received more than £7,000 from this year’s four-day event, including a donation of more than £2,000 from festival organisers.

The money will be used to fund music therapy sessions at the hospice. More than £63,000 has been raised in the partnership between the festival and Hope House since they established it 10 years ago.

This year the Hope House stall at the festival raised more than £2,500 and the annual collection at two of the main stages resulted in around £1,750. Money was also raised through the charging of mobile phone and other electrical devices as well as other collecting tins around the festival site.

Festival Director Sandra Surtees said: “We make a donation for every adult weekend ticket that is sold but it is down to our amazing supporters who every year continue to give a very public show of support for the work the hospice does. This year they have surpassed themselves!

“The festival is based around the pleasure music brings us so it’s only right that we are doing our bit to ensure that children using Hope House can benefit in the same way.”

Vanessa Thomas, the Major Gifts Manager for Hope House, said: “We are so thrilled to continue our partnership with the festival. It is such an incredible event that we are never short of volunteers to come along and man our stall or shake our collection buckets!

“The record breaking amount raised will pay for months of music therapy sessions at the hospice, helping some very special children with life threatening conditions to find fun and happiness through making music.”

The 2019 festival will be held at the West Midland Showground in Berwick Road from August 23 to 26. The first headliners will be revealed on December 1 when tickets go on sale at

More artists announced…

Lifetime achievement award

More headliners announced

Folk legend Richard Thompson is set to make an electrifying return to this year’s festival with a rare appearance with his Electric Trio.

The former Fairport Convention musician, named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time, will headline the Bellstone stage on Saturday August 25.

Other names added to the programme include the new duo of Peter Knight (ex Steeleye Span) and John Spiers (Bellowhead) and singer songwriters James Riley and Edwina Hayes.

Already announced are American singer songwriter Gretchen Peters, Steeleye Span, Irish super group Usher’s Island, Show of Hands, Jon Boden and The Remnant Kings, Gigspanner, BBC Folk Award winner Daoirí Farrell and Scottish folk rockers Skerryvore.

Chinese flautist Guo Yue and Japanese drummer Joji Hirota will reunite for the festival with the London Taiko Drummers and Canadian band The Fitzgeralds – one of the hit groups of last year’s festival – will also make a welcome return.

Other performers include Welsh indie roots band Rusty Shackle, State of the Union – the duo of Boo Hewerdine and Brooks Williams, O’Hooley & Tidow, Megson, Blowzabella, Banter, Alden, Patterson & Dashwood, The Rogues Shanty Crew, Emma Morton & The Graces, Midnight Skyracer, FOS Brothers, Inlay, and Foreign Affairs.

Dance bands will be Blowzabella, Bedlam, Committee Band, Vertical Expression, Kirkophany and Out of Hand.

More than half of adult weekend tickets have already been sold with more than six months to go!

Director Sandra Surtees said: “We are delighted to have secured this rare appearance by the Richard Thompson Electric Trio for Shrewsbury. Richard is a folk legend but he doesn’t often perform in this format so it’ll be a real treat for our audience.

“The line up contains a wide variety of traditional and contemporary folk alongside singer songwriters and north American and Canadian acts so there is something to appeal to all tastes.

“That’s echoed in the strong ticket sales we’re experiencing with many of our visitors coming back year after year as they love the festival so much!”

Weekend and day tickets are now on sale and can be booked at

First 2018 acts revealed

Buy the Resound tribute CD online

A CD launched in tribute to our co-founder Alan Surtees has raised more than £4,000 for a charity set up in his name to support young and emerging musicians.

The profits from Resound, a 15-track recording featuring tracks from artists including Oysterband, Jon Boden, Grace Petrie and Karine Polwart, will be ploughed into the Alan Surtees Trust.

The Trust, which has been formed by musician and clog dancer Hannah James, aims to open applications for its first grants next Spring. Trustees involved in the charity include Alan’s wife Sandra, with whom he co-founded the festival in 1997.

Hannah came up with the idea for the trust following Alan’s death from cancer in June.

She said: “As someone who has benefitted from the generosity of Shrewsbury Folk Festival, I want to take the baton and keep some of this support and momentum going. It seems like a very fitting way to serve Alan’s memory.

“The tracks on this album are all from artists who have had strong links with the festival and some are songs which we know were favourites of Alan’s. I hope it captures some of the spirit of the festival and the passion that Alan had for this music.”

More than 500 CDs were snapped up in exchange for donations at this year’s festival and it is now available to buy online at Fish Records.

A fundraising gig is being planned for February 2018 to raise additional funds with the first round of applications for grants opening in March. Further fundraising will be organised in future years to support the charity’s ongoing activities.

To buy a CD direct, go to:

For more information about the trust:

A very big thank you

Thank you so much for all your amazing fundraising efforts for Hope House at this year’s festival. You’ve helped to raise more than £6,400 for music therapy sessions for the children with life limiting illnesses that use the hospice.

This year’s fundraising takes the overall amount pledged to Hope House since we began our partnership in 2008 to more than £56,000!!!

The money is raised through collections on Sunday afternoon, the fee for charging mobile phones and other electrical items, the Hope House stall on site and a donation from us for every adult weekend ticket that is sold.

Vanessa Thomas, Major Gifts Manager for Hope House: “Every year, we are delighted by the generosity of the visitors to the folk festival as they continue to support this valuable service. Many children who use the hospice can’t communicate through the usual channels and music therapy is a fun way to make themselves heard. We are looking forward to celebrating a decade of fundraising with the festival in 2018.”

Festival director Sandra Surtees: “Our charity partnership with Hope House means a great deal to us. Music is at the heart and soul of the festival and we know how it helps people to express themselves so we understand how important the music therapy sessions are. We are so pleased to have smashed through the £50,000 barrier and can’t wait to continue our support in the coming years.”

For more about the hospice and its great work, click here.

And in at number one…..

Every year, we eagerly await the news from our friends at Roots Records about which were the top selling CDs of the festival. They’ve crunched the numbers and this year’s top 20 was:

1.    Skipinnish
2.    The Fitzgeralds
3.    Daphne’s Flight
4.    Eric Bibb
5.    Le Vent du Nord
6.    The Young ‘Uns
7.    Sarah Jarosz
8.    The East Pointers
9.    Steve Knightley
10.   The Unthanks
11.   Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
12.   Oysterband
13.   Chris While & Julie Matthews
14.   Joe Broughton’s Conservatoire Folk Ensemble
15.   Jamie Smith’s Mabon
16.   Coven
17.   Jim Moray
18.   Andy Fairweather Low
19.   Maz O’Connor
20.  The Rheingans Sisters