IN PICTURES: Songs, stories and sunshine make for a memorable Cambridge Folk Festival 2022 weekend

Billy Bragg, Clannad, Passenger, Seasick Steve, Suzanne Vega and Afro Celt Sound System at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Billy Bragg, Clannad, Passenger, Seasick Steve, Suzanne Vega, and Afro Celt Sound System at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Cambridge Folk Festival made a glorious return to Cherry Hinton Hall over the final weekend of July.

A sense of homecoming prevailed as thousands of music fans arrived to celebrate the return of the festival after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

The grounds once again rang to the sound of folk and contemporary roots music in all its different guises and old friends – performers and public alike – were happily reunited.

Suzanne Vega on Stage 1 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Suzanne Vega on Stage 1 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

As Friday star Suzanne Vega said: "It’s great to play the Cambridge Folk Festival again. It’s always a unique atmosphere and the audiences really listen.”

American singer-songwriter Suzanne will return to the city next February for a show at the Corn Exchange.

Dates for next year's folk festival have also been announced.

Cambridge Folk Festival 2023 will take place at Cherry Hinton Hall on July 27 to July 30.

Look out for tickets going on sale at www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk

New folk ballet in the Stage 2 tent at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. The Tears of Jenny Greenteeth told in dance form.

New folk ballet in the Stage 2 tent at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. The Tears of Jenny Greenteeth told in dance form. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

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Many festival-goers also participated in the varied workshops over the weekend, from singing, songwriting and playing to learning new crafts, painting, tai-chi and yoga.

Storytelling and special talks on contemporary topics including mental health and the environment were well attended and younger members of the audience were superbly catered for with a range of activities from clog dancing to face painting and fiddle lessons.


Cambridge Folk Festival 2022: Thursday

Spiers and Boden in the first of their performances at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Spiers and Boden in the first of their performances at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Back to this year's extravaganza and Thursday’s programme saw folk favourites Spiers and Boden bring Stage 2 to an exhilarating close.

During the Songlines Interview with journalist Kevin Bourke the following day in The Club Tent, they gave fascinating insights into their careers and commented on how they had played Cambridge frequently over the years in their various formations, including with supergroup Bellowhead.

Davina Sowers in her characterful performance on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Davina Sowers in her characterful performance on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Earlier on Thursday evening, Davina & The Vagabonds made a legion of new fans on Stage 2, with a theatrical performance of New Orleans blues, jazz and gospel.


Cambridge Folk Festival 2022: Friday

Main Stage 1 opened on Friday with a set from one of folk music’s oldest families, The Copper Family of Rottingdean, who shared songs they have been singing for generations, lovingly preserving them for the future.

Show of Hands on Stage 1 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. The Devon-based duo are multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners.

Show of Hands on Stage 1 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. The Devon-based duo are multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Highlights during the day included Show of Hands – the redoubtable Steve Knightley and Phil Beer, who were one of the few acts to play both Stages 1 and 2 – and The Magpie Arc, featuring multi-award-winning folk luminaries Nancy Kerr, Martin Simpson, Tom A Wright and Alex Hunter.

Made up from many familiar faces to the Festival, Magpie Arc on Stage 2 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Made up from many familiar faces to the Festival, Magpie Arc on Stage 2 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The evening concluded in style with a scintillating performance from Suzanne Vega.

Accompanied by multi-talented guitarist Gerry Leonard, Suzanne treated the Stage 1 audience to a collection of her best-known hits, such as Marlene On The Wall, Luka and Tom’s Diner.

This was followed by a rousing, crowd-pleasing set from the fabled Seasick Steve.

Seasick Steve performing his unique blues-rock on Stage 2 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Seasick Steve performing his unique blues-rock on Stage 2 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett


Cambridge Folk Festival 2022: Saturday

Passenger on Stage 1 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Passenger on Stage 1 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. Known for his 2014 hit, Let Her Go, this Brighton-based busker turned musician gained a Novello Award for it. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Saturday’s line-up featured return visits by several festival favourites, including award-winning singer-songwriter Passenger, who began his Cambridge journey playing The Den, and this year closed Stage 1 to a rapturous response.

Kate Staples, aka This is the Kit, during a downtime moment at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. 

Kate Staples, aka This is the Kit, during a downtime moment at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Highly rated, alt-folk act This Is The Kit also delivered a mesmerising set on Main Stage 1 and was followed by one of the most anticipated performances of the entire festival: Spell Songs.

The Spell Songs ensemble featured the renowned talents of Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Seckou Keita, Kris Drever, Rachel Newton, Beth Porter and Jim Molyneux.

Afro Celt Sound System. Stage 1 Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Afro Celt Sound System on Stage 1 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. A fusion of traditional Irish, Indian and African music, which has been working together for 30 years. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Another popular reappearance came from European and African-based collective Afro Celt Sound System, who fused folk traditions of different cultures into an energetic, uplifting show.

Traditional Scottish folk singer Julie Fowlis on Stage 2 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Traditional Scottish folk singer Julie Fowlis on Stage 2 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Main stage 2 boasted an eclectic mix of sounds from the beautiful Gaelic tones of Julie Fowlis to the big-voiced blues rock of Elles Bailey, the indie folk of Elephant Sessions to the quirky man anthems of The Spooky Men’s Chorale.


Cambridge Folk Festival 2022: Sunday

Sunday dawned with the threat of rain but nothing could dampen the spirits of festival-goers eager to enjoy another day of first-class music and entertainment.

Clannad, currently on their final world tour, bade a poignant farewell to fans when they played the festival’s inaugural Folk Legends slot on Sunday afternoon.

Clannad's Maire Brennan on Stage 1 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Clannad's Maire Brennan on Stage 1 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. After a 52-year career with Irish band Clannad, they were appearing in The Legends slot, and as part of their Farewell Tour. Thanks to Covid, the tour has taken three years. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Nick Hart, winner of The Christian Raphael Prize last year, took to the stage in the Club Tent as part of his prize and wowed the audience with his unique and thoughtful take on traditional English folk songs.

Talking about the impact of being awarded the prize, Nick Hart explained: “It was a real honour to have been chosen as the recipient of The Christian Raphael Prize and the money was incredibly useful in allowing me to take a few more risks and push things a little further than I would otherwise.

"I was able to justify the expense of a music video and PR for the album which really helped, and getting to play the festival was a real treat.”

The Hub. The familiar red light of the location for the emerging names at the Cambridge Folk Festival. 

The Hub. The familiar red light of the location for the emerging names at the Cambridge Folk Festival. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Eighteen of the artists performing in The Den this year were considered for the prize and the winner, announced at the festival on Sunday, was Angeline Morrison.

Former Christian Raphael Prize recipient Katherine Priddy progressed to Main Stage 1 this year, where she opened proceedings on Sunday afternoon with a beguiling set of songs from her debut album The Eternal Rocks Beneath.

West African music was brilliantly represented by Orchestra Baobab, celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2022, and talented, young multi-instrumentalist N’famady Kouyaté.

The Gypsy Kings, fronted by Nicolas Reyes, on Stage 1 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

The Gypsy Kings, fronted by Nicolas Reyes, on Stage 1 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

There was much to impress from headline artists.

Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes brought the Stage 1 audience to its feet with their irresistible blend of traditional flamenco styles, Western pop and Latin rhythms.

In his own inimitable way, Billy Bragg entertained the crowd at Stage 1 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

In his own inimitable way, Billy Bragg entertained the crowd at Stage 1 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Fierce political campaigner Billy Bragg performed a powerful set, taking in gender rights, global warming and more as well as leading the crowd in a rendition of  'Jerusalem' when news broke that the English football Lionesses had won the Euro 22 final.


Pictures of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022

Jon Doran plays bouzouki as they open on stage 2 at the start of the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. Cr

Jon Doran plays bouzouki as they open on stage 2 at the start of the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. Credit: Celia Bartlett - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Audience cheering the start of Afro Celt Sound System, on Stage 1 at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Audience cheering the start of Afro Celt Sound System, on Stage 1 at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Janice Burns and Jon Doran as they open on stage 2 at the start of the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Janice Burns and Jon Doran as they open on stage 2 at the start of the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The collection of bandoneon, melodeon and concertina belonging to John Spiers performing at the Cambridge Folk Festival.

The collection of bandoneon, melodeon and concertina belonging to John Spiers performing at the Cambridge Folk Festival. - Credit: Celia Barlett

John Spiers on stage 2 during the first of the Speirs and Boden appearances at the Cambridge Folk Festival

John Spiers on stage 2 during the first of the Spiers and Boden appearances at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Barlett

Spiers and Boden in the first of their performances at the Cambridge Folf Festival 2022.

Spiers and Boden in the first of their performances at the Cambridge Folf Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Barlett

The audience in the stage 2 tent watching Spiers and Boden. Credit Celia Bartlett

The audience in the stage 2 tent watching Spiers and Boden. - Credit: Celia Barlett

Spiers and Boden in the first of their performances at the Cambridge Folf Festival 2022.

Spiers and Boden in the first of their performances at the Cambridge Folf Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Jon Boden playing fiddle during the first Speirs and Boden appearance at the 2022 Cambridge Folk Festival.

Jon Boden playing fiddle during the first Spiers and Boden appearance at the 2022 Cambridge Folk Festival. - Credit: Celia Barlett

Welcoming everyone back to the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.Introducing The English Fiddle Ensemble.

Welcoming everyone back to the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. Introducing The English Fiddle Ensemble, the first act back on stage. - Credit: Celia Barlett

The English Fiddle Ensemble at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

The English Fiddle Ensemble at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Davina and the Vagabonds making a big impression on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Davina and the Vagabonds making a big impression on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Davina and the Vagabonds making a big impression on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Davina and the Vagabonds making a big impression on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Davina Sowers in her colourful performance on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Davina Sowers in her colourful performance on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Davina and the Vagabonds making a big impression on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Davina and the Vagabonds making a big impression on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Davina Sowers in her colourful performance on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Davina Sowers in her colourful performance on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Davina Sowers in her characterful performance on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Davina Sowers in her characterful performance on stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Janice Burns plays mandolin as they open on stage 2 at the start of the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022

Janice Burns plays mandolin as they open on stage 2 at the start of the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Vri on Stage 2 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. Jordan Price-Williams, one of the members of this Welsh folk trio. 

Vrï on Stage 2 of Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. Jordan Price-Williams, one of the members of this Welsh folk trio. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The willow fox, now a recognisable feature of the Cambridge Folk Festival site. Credit: Celia Bartlett

The willow fox, now a recognisable feature of the Cambridge Folk Festival site. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

A couple who had travelled from Wiltshire to attend the Cambridge Folk Festival check the programme

A couple who had travelled from Wiltshire to attend the Cambridge Folk Festival check the programme for the Stage 1 schedule. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Lowri Evans, one half of Tapestri, a bilingual Welsh folk duo on Stage 1 at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Lowri Evans, one half of Tapestri, a bilingual Welsh folk duo on Stage 1 at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett


Dustbowl Revival on Stage 1 at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Dustbowl Revival on Stage 1 at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. The LA-based collective proved to be very popular at both of the sessions they played. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Stage 1 Saturday headliners Chico Trujillo at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. The foremost Chilean cumbia band. 

Stage 1 Saturday headliners Chico Trujillo at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. The foremost Chilean cumbia band. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram. Stage 2 Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram on Stage 2 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. A huge sound from this 23-year-old award-winning Mississippi blues guitarist. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

St Paul and the Broken Bones, Stage 1 headliners on the last night of the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.  

St Paul and the Broken Bones, Stage 1 headliners on the last night of the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Two members of the popular, Dustbowl Revival being interviewed for Cambridge Radio.

Two members of the popular Dustbowl Revival being interviewed for Cambridge Radio. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Fans of Passenger had made their way to the front during the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Fans of Passenger had made their way to the front during the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Nancy Kerr, a Cambridge Folk Festival regular, on stage 2 in a collective known as The Magpie Arc.

Nancy Kerr, a Cambridge Folk Festival regular, on Stage 2 in a collective known as The Magpie Arc. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

A long way from home but the support was on show for Chilean cumbia band Chico Trujillo, at the Cambridge Folk Festival.

A long way from home but the support was on show for Chilean cumbia band Chico Trujillo, on stage 1 at the Cambridge Folk Festival. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The Flower Garden where it was possible to chill out during the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. 

The Flower Garden where it was possible to chill out during the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Cambridge Folk Festival site in Cherry Hinton Hall

One of the many places around the Cambridge Folk Festival site in Cherry Hinton Hall, where festival-goers can listen to music as they rest. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Alice Edwards of The People Versus playing The Hub at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. Credit: Celia Bartlett

Alice Edwards of The People Versus playing The Hub at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Taking time out beside the duck pond in The Wilderness next to the camping area on the Cambridge Folk Festival site.

Taking time out beside the duck pond in The Wilderness next to the camping area on the Cambridge Folk Festival site. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Spilling out onto the grass outside The Hub at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Spilling out onto the grass outside The Hub at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The important things to remember when camping at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Credit: Celia Bartlett

The important things to remember when camping at the Cambridge Folk Festival. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

With the camping on site, many return to their tents for meal breaks and to celebrate birthdays too.

With the camping on site, many return to their tents for meal breaks and to celebrate birthdays, too. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The main stage 1 area with a sea of chairs at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

The Main Stage 1 area with a sea of chairs at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The Spooky Men's Chorale on Stage 2 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

The Spooky Men's Chorale on Stage 2 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. This Australian men's group had the audience rolling around with their humorous storytelling ballads. Credit: Celia Bartlett - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Elles Bailey at Stage 2 Cambridge Folk Festival 2022.

Elles Bailey on Stage 2 Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. Her powerful blues roots music has earned her the title of Blues Artist of the Year for two years running. - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Award-winning Anglo-Irish folk group Flook on Stage 2 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. 

Award-winning Anglo-Irish folk group Flook on Stage 2 at Cambridge Folk Festival 2022. - Credit: Celia Bartlett