Two of the oldest and most prestigious Folk Festivals in the world will form a partnership that will herald the start of a unique new transatlantic artistic relationship.
Cambridge Folk Festival Managing Director Steve Bagnall commented: ‘Cambridge Folk Festival has always tested the boundaries of Folk with its programme and we are excited to be working with and learning from a Festival that has the artistic heritage and ambition of Newport. Twinning with Newport will allow both Festivals to explore unique and extraordinary artistic opportunities that will excite audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.’
Since 1959, the Newport Folk Festival® has held a unique place in America’s musical and cultural history. A hub for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and the site of Bob Dylan’s famous switch to electric guitar in 1965, the Festival also hosted the first major appearances of Joan Baez, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Arlo Guthrie, and sparked the revival of gospel, Cajun and blues. Today the Festival’s unique alchemy between past and present still serves fans who crave innovation but appreciate tradition. Newport has also played an essential role in the forming of the Cambridge Folk Festival. Inspired by the seminal documentary, Jazz On A Summer’s Day, about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Ken Woollard went on to set up Cambridge Folk Festival in 1965.
Jay Sweet, Newport Folk Festival Executive Producer commented: ‘We are excited that from next year Newport Folk Festival will be twinning with Cambridge Folk Festival. This move will allow us to share ideas, experiences and some artists from two festivals that have grown up together and in their own way played a role in shaping the folk music landscape on both sides of the Atlantic. This partnership will allow us to bring a little bit of Newport to Cambridge and vice versa.’
Since 1965 Cambridge has become renowned for pushing the boundaries and definition of what might be considered folk by combining the best traditional folk artists from the UK and Ireland with cutting edge contemporary acts, the finest American country, blues and roots artists, and acclaimed singer songwriters. The line-up has reflected the many changes in the music scene from the 60’s to the present and is always a hotbed mix of the old and new. The Festival has hosted legends such as Paul Simon, Shirley Collins and Christy Moore early in their careers and this year sees Jake Bugg headlining six years after making his debut on the Festival’s famed development stage The Den.
Full details of the twinning will be confirmed after the 2017 festivals.