Lindisfarne will top the bill on Friday night.
Lindisfarne will top the bill on Friday night.

The annual Gate To Southwell Festival gets under way today, promising four days of music — including local, national and international acts — and entertainment.

THE annual Gate To Southwell Festival gets under way today, promising four days of music — including local, national and international acts — and entertainment.

There will be more than 50 acts, covering international roots and acoustic music.

Ceilidhs, dance displays, poets, comedy, crafts, family entertainment, and workshops are also part of the festival.

The music will take place on four main undercover stages — the Big Top, Folk Stage, Frontier Stage and Barleycorn Stage

Festival director Mike Kirrage said: “We have really pushed the boat out, with big names every night, so we are hoping for a bumper crowd.

“Gate To Southwell 2018 looks set to be the best yet.”

Organisers said there was something for everyone, from top Nashville singer Gretchen Peters; award-winning British folk stars such as The Young‘uns and Kris Drever; a strong Celtic programme, headed by Cara Dillon; and a blues legends feature today, including Britain’s number one R&B band, Nine Below Zero, and Louisiana bluesmen The Lil’ Jimmy Reed Band.

Nashville singer Gretchen Peters will be performing.
Nashville singer Gretchen Peters will be performing.

The festival offers a blend of rising stars, festival favourites and music legends. 
Lindisfarne top the bill tomorrow with a night of nostalgia as they look back over the past 45 years since their first hit, Meet Me On The Corner.

Among the Geordie bands’ hits are Lady Eleanor, Run For Home and Fog On The Tyne. 

Gretchen Peters, one of America’s most successful singer-songwriters, headlines on Saturday.

Grammy-nominated and recently inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame, her songs have been recorded by a diverse range of artists, such as Etta James,

George Strait, Shania Twain and Neil Diamond, and she has co-written and duetted with Bryan Adams. 

Her latest release, The Essential Gretchen Peters, features many of her classic songs, including Independence Day, Hello Cruel World, The Secret Of Life and On A Bus To St Cloud. 

Also sure to draw crowds on Saturday are The Young’uns, who said Gate To Southwell 2009 was their first proper festival.

Since then the band, described by Mike Harding as one of the best live acts he had seen, have returned to great acclaim in 2011 and 2015. 

Cara Dillon, regarded as one of the best vocalists and interpreters of traditional songs, tops the bill on Sunday.

Cara Dillon will top the bill on Sunday.
Cara Dillon will top the bill on Sunday.

She will perform alongside her husband and musical partner, Sam Lakeman, plus special guests. 

Danish roots stars Habadekuk, Devon guitarist and singer-songwriter John Smith, acclaimed Canadian fiddlers The Fitzgeralds, and Johnny Dickinson, known as the UK’s best slide guitarist, will play.

New Orleans duo Truckstop Honeymoon, known for their bluegrass, music hall jazz and rootsy rock and roll, are among a strong transatlantic line-up 

Also from the US are traditional American folk singer Jeff Warner, the Californian electric blues of Josh Cook, and Appalachian-style fiddle and banjo duo Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno. 

Canadian musicians include the fiddling and step-dancing family, The Fitzgeralds, of Ottawa Valley; The Boxcar Boys, of Toronto; hillbillies Ol’ Savannah, of Montreal; and singer-songwriter James Keelaghan, of Alberta.

Among other overseas influences playing at the festival site near Southwell Racecourse is the Latin ska dance music of Mallorca’s Dinamo.

On Saturday there will be a spoken-word showcase followed on Sunday by The Southwell Slam, an open poetry and spoken word competition.

For children, there are the interactive stories and songs of Keith Donnelly, storytelling by Mark Fraser, music from Johnny And The Raindrops and returning stunt man and juggler Dan The Hat.