May 14, 2011

Llangollen Eisteddfod 2011 to launch Folk Friday

A vibrant day devoted to British and world folk music is being launched at this year’s International Eisteddfod in Llangollen. For the first time, a special line-up of folk artists will entertain crowds gathering on the field on Friday 8th July. The programme aims to compliment the competitive performers drawn from around the world. 

Emily Smith
Emily Smith Photgraph - Simon Lees
Mervyn Cousins, Chief Executive of Llangollen Eisteddfod said: “The idea for a themed folk day is new for 2011 and we are hoping the line-up appeals to folk lovers who may want an early start to their weekend at the International Eisteddfod”

The artists include Emily Smith, one of the leading singers in the contemporary Scottish folk scene. Her powerful, clear vocals have gained her worldwide recognition and many awards, including BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award and Scots Singer of the Year at the Scots Trad Music awards. Emily Smith said: “‘I’m thrilled to be performing at the Eisteddfod this year and I can’t wait to meet some of the other folk performers.’

Jamie Smith's mabon
Jamie Smiths MABON - photographer credit
Jamie Smiths MABON evolved from a traditional four-piece Welsh band into six highly accomplished musicians playing what can only be described as Interceltic music.   Each song is a true exploration of forms and styles found in Celtic music forged into a new sound. Jamie Smith, front man of the band who lives in Risca, South Wales said: “Mabon are really looking forward to returning to Llangollen this year. It is always a pleasure performing at one of Wales’ most prestigious events.”

Another Welshman performing at the Festival is Martyn Joseph who has had five top 50 UK Chart hits and toured alongside legends such as Shirley Bassey, Celine Dion, Joan Armatrading and Jools Holland. Martyn went on to win the coveted title of Best Male Artist at the BBC Welsh Music Awards in 2004 and in October of 2010 he released his 31 Studio Album.

Winners of the 2011 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan also join the line up for Folk Friday. As well as being great exponents of their instruments (fiddle, viola and guitar-bouzouki) both are regarded as fine and influential singers. 

Llangollen’s line-up includes a number of emerging bands and artists, many of whom have competed at the International Eisteddfod in the past and will now be performing alongside some of the top names in the world of folk music.

Among those are singer-songwriter Les Barker, traditional Shropshire folk band Bartram, Brookes and Weatherall, Ty Elise, eight Bretons whose meeting place was the only Welsh pub in Brittany called Ty Elise, Champion clog dancers and and winner of BBC Radio 2 Best Live Act 2009 Laura Connolly and Dave Oliver.

Frank Hennessy
'BBC Radio Wales' Frank Hennessy'
Copyright BBC Wales
Frank Hennessy, presenter of BBC Radio Wales’  Celtic Heartbeat - the weekly programme of folk roots and acoustic music from the Celtic nations and the rest of the world and one of Llangollen Eisteddfod’s Day Presidents, will be broadcasting his radio programme from the Eisteddfod field on the Thursday and Folk Friday. Frank first appeared at Llangollen in the Royal Hotel Folk Club in 1970 as a member of The Hennesseys. Frank Hennessey said: "I'm a folk fanatic. It's shaped my life, and the very mention of `Llangollen` gives me a terrific lift, because I know I'm going to get a vision of our world as it can be, at its best. Continents, nations and tribes coming together in a great celebration of folk music"

Llangollen Eisteddfod has a special offer on tickets for this Folk Friday as part of its 65th Birthday Celebrations. All Folk Friday ground admission tickets purchased before the 14th June will be available with a 50% discount and will start at just £5! This offer is only available from the box office on 01978 862001.  Further information available at

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