Cambridge Folk Festival 2019

Every year, since 1965, people gather in the small village of Cherry Hilton and go into the Cherry Hilton Hall. This is where the Cambridge Folk Festival is held and this year was no exception. Let us discuss how 2019 went for the artists and the people.


The headline of the day was the one and only Ralph McTell, who was honoured to be invited again. The first time he played here was in 1969, so you could say he was there since the beginning. He loved it and joked about his stage fright with the audience.

Apart from McTell, people could enjoy the sounds of Sam Sweeney, The Rails, Rura, Lieutenant Leek, and others. This was just the first day of the festival and it only got better.


Apart from superstars like Jose Gonsales, Nancy Kerr, and Sisters from Elva Hill, there were two special treats that could be found on the site of the festival. Cambridge Folk Club provided spectators and listeners with acoustic wonders performed by local artists in an intimate atmosphere. In other words, if you were more interested in listening to songs while sitting around a bench, rather than the loud bands on stage, this was the place to be. Earlier that day, New Routes were playing with a similar theme, with four separate, but refreshing acts.


Saturday followed suit with its own line-up of awesomeness. Nick Mulaney was not only the guest curator but a performer as well. It was hard not to notice Rachael Dadd, Orchestra and the Talisk. However, our attention turned to one of our favourite singers/songwriters – Amy Montgomery.


The Unthanks graced us with their eclectic style of folk music on Sunday. It was a welcomed change of pace, as the band is known for its blend of the traditional and the new. However, what we really enjoyed was the trio of McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle with their new album “The Wishing Tree”. Seldom were people thrilled as when the legendary trio performed Nando’s Jig.

What Else?

There are actually several pieces of news surrounding the festival that might be just as important as the performers themselves. First of all, the disposable plastic has been banned and the plastic present on site was minimal. Yay for the environment!

Secondly, the festival manages, to a degree, to honour their goal of splitting the male and female performers into two equal groups. It is a big step towards gender equality and the organizers hope that there will be a greater gender balance in the rest of the music industry as well.

Finally, the dates for next year’s festival have been announced. The next time musicians gather will be between July 30th and August 2nd. The lucky ducks who are eager to start preparing for the festival will be able to get their tickets this very autumn. If you are unable to book a ticket, you might still be able to see your heroes, provided you are a good musician and you apply for the open auditions. Who knows?