This year’s Kimpton Folk Festival on Saturday, July 7 offers a stunning line-up of top folk acts and a few very special surprises.

The big change this year is that instead of the glorious day of folk culminating in one incredible evening concert, there will be two – in the Memorial Hall and in our beautiful village church. It presents a very tough choice for festival-goers.

The Memorial Hall evening concert is headlined by the extraordinary force of folk nature that is the Urban Folk Quartet, delivering their unique blend of high-octane fiddle, guitar, banjo and percussion magic. Such is this band’s popularity around the world, that it’s taken us three years to pin them down to take part in our festival. Supporting them will be two of the top duos on the folk scene. Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar won their Radio 2 Folk Award when they were both still at school, but are promising to wear long trousers for this performance. And Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage will deliver their magical blend of American roots and English folk music.

Topping the bill in the church evening concert will be The James Brothers. James Fagan and Jamie Mclennan’s hugely entertaining performances draw heavily on the humour and musical vivacity of their Antipodean routes. James is from Australia and Jamie from New Zealand and they are not likely to let you forget it. As they say on their website: “The James Brothers are Two Voices. Two Instruments… No Sheilas”. They are also brilliant musicians, great singers and hilariously funny. Supporting them are is the stunning Jackie Oates performing with Mike Cosgrave and returning to Kimpton by popular demand , the rising stars of the UK folk / bluegrass scene, Jaywalkers.

Earlier in the day in the Memorial Hall there will be an unmissable opportunity to see the folk supergroup While, Matthews and While. Chris While and fellow singer-songwriter Julie Matthews have been wowing audiences for ever, but no less special are Chris’ performances with daughter Kellie. For the Kimpton Folk Festival all three come together on one stage. It will be a rare treat. Also appearing in the Memorial Hall will be Hertfordshire’s own supergroup, featuring songbird Kelly Oliver and close harmony trio Said The Maiden who will perform separate sets before coming together for a glorious finale.

Completing the concert line up are Luke Jackson, Young Folk Award winners Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente, The London Klezmer Quartet, Will McNicol and Luke Selby and Blathnaid Lynn.

As in previous years, many of the acts will be performing extra sets on the village green as part of a full afternoon of free music and dance, culminating in a mass ceilidh. Around the village there will be busking, sessions and an open mic at The Boot pub, music workshops in the Dacre Rooms, story-telling, real ale bars and craft and food stalls galore.

Brian King. Kimpton Folk Events.