Cambridge Folk Festival Promises A Smoother Ride

CAMBRIDGE, UK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) – The Cambridge Evening News (CEN) is reporting that ticket buyers for the Cambridge Folk Festival will not have to deal with a repeat of the chaotic scenes of last year.

Organizers of the festival announced that the ticketing system has been overhauled after angry scenes last year saw music fans queuing for up to nine hours. The organizers were criticized for only having six staff in the box office and not allowing people to book online. Add to that, many tickets were put on eBay by scalpers for more than twice their face value, so this year organizers have unveiled a new system aimed at tackling both the queues and the scalpers.

They have doubled the number of phone lines, introduced online booking for the first time and limited the number of tickets each person can buy. They also offered tickets on sale to Cambridge residents a day earlier.

Nigel Cutting, head of arts and entertainments at Cambridge City Council, which runs the event, told CEN: "We have been the victims of our own success." "The festival has always had a big reputation but in recent years it has become increasingly popular and tickets have sold out faster and faster. "It's fantastic to know we run such a hugely popular event which draws people from all over the UK and beyond, and we are very proud of the fact. "This popularity does cause problems and we have spent a lot of time looking at ways of reducing these problems. "Many people regarded it as daft we haven't offered online booking in previous years. They will no doubt be pleased we are now doing this. "But many others have begged us not to introduce it, because they fear it will open up more opportunities for ticket touts."

The Cambridge Folk Festival, features the best in contemporary folk and roots music, and has been called “Europe’s most prestigious folk festival” (The Times). As the festival moves forward into its 43rd year at Cherry Hinton Hall on July 26-29, the lineup will include:

Legendary folk singer and activist Joan Baez; a rare festival appearance from “Queen of Folkabilly” Nanci Griffith, who last played in 1992; one of a select few English shows from Celtic rockers The Waterboys, introducing a brand new album; the eagerly anticipated return of the exceptional and passionate U.S. singer-songwriter Steve Earle, performing solo; a special, album première from Festival favourite Kate Rusby, featuring brass band and string quartet; a rare U.K. festival appearance from legendary ska and reggae pioneer Toots & The Maytals; bluegrass legends Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, playing an exclusive U.K. festival show; a rare festival appearance from thrilling kora player Toumani Diabaté & Symmetric Orchestra, bringing traditional Malian music to the international stage; a very special performance of Under One Sky, the first ever commission by Cambridge Folk Festival, in conjunction with Celtic Connections and featuring new compositions by John McCusker, Roddy Woomble, Graham Coxon, John Tams, Julie Fowlis and a host of others; one of England’s finest acoustic duos Show Of Hands, former winners of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Live Act; perennially popular Irish accordion star Sharon Shannon, with dazzling band Mike McGoldrick, Dezi Donnelly and Jim Murray, in one of a select few English festival appearances; intoxicating, critically acclaimed, English folk big-band Bellowhead, winners of Best Live Act and Best Group at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; a unique chance to see the unplugged and acoustic Alabama 3, playing stripped down Delta blues style versions of Alabama 3 songs; godfathers of folk rock, the ever-popular Oysterband, showcasing their new album.

Special appearances continue with: an exclusive U.K. festival appearance by critically acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist Bruce Cockburn; revered, English folk guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter Martin Simpson, launching his new album; hugely popular Irish traditional band Four Men & A Dog, making an exclusive English festival appearance; hot, Romanian gypsy, brass band Fanfare Ciocǎrlia, set to bring the house down; an exclusive U.K. festival appearance from one of the world’s most exciting Celtic bands, Solas, also featuring former members John Doyle and Karan Kasey; groundbreaking roots-rave fusion from Scots band Shooglenifty, showcasing their new album; a rare UK festival appearance from critically acclaimed James Hunter, renowned for his extraordinary soul voice and impassioned performances; heir to the zydeco throne and guaranteed party-starter C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band; verve and stunning virtuosity from leading exponents of traditional fiddle music, Shetland’s Fiddlers’ Bid, in an exclusive English festival appearance; expressive, country songwriting and rich vocals from Alabama’s Allison Moorer; one of Scotland’s leading multi-instrumentalists Brian McNeill, hosting the Festival Session; all-strumming, all-singing The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, performing unique, fun re-workings of rock ‘n’ roll, punk, jazz and classical music; an exclusive festival appearance from Le Vent Du Nord, joyously marrying traditional and modern Quebecois music; up and coming Scots folk singer and guitarist and winner of this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Horizon Award, Kris Drever; unique American blues hobo Seasick Steve; Northumbrian-Tyneside folk quartet Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, following on from last year’s hugely successful Club Tent showcase.

More eagerly anticipated performances include: Lau, the formidable union of three of the most innovative exponents of modern traditional music in Scotland today, Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke; an exclusive UK festival appearance from Ruthie Foster, whose powerhouse voice effortlessly mixes soul, blues, gospel and contemporary folk; outstanding, award-winning, Danish traditional duo Haugaard & Høirup; rising new-folk sensation Martha Tilston; leading Welsh Celtic band Mabon; explosive, Belgian band Jaune Toujours, mixing rock, chanson, ska, gypsy and brass band tunes; stunningly innovative roots guitarist and songwriter Newton Faulkner, introducing his debut album; Scottish firebrands Breabach, blending double bagpipes, whistle, fiddle, song and Scottish stepdance to dazzling effect; high energy English ceilidh band Stömp; BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winners 2007 Last Orders; children’s concert with one man band Mr Boom.

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