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Cambridge Folk Festival moves online for 2020

Bella Hardy is among the artists involved.

Bella Hardy
Credit: Kaitlyn Raitz

Cambridge Folk Festival at Home 2020 will be taking place at the end of the month.

The unique event will mark the Cambridge Folk Festival by inviting the public to create their own festival atmosphere at home and enjoy a host of special entertainment and activities. It takes place from Thursday 30th July to Sunday 2nd August.

Cambridge was forced to cancel this summer’s festival due to safety concerns in light of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, which has led to the widespread cancellation of live events across the world.

Cambridge Folk Festival at Home 2020 will include a mix of exclusive video content from artists, social media opportunities for audience interaction, and Cambridge-curated playlists which can be streamed online.

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BBC Folk Singer of the Year Bella Hardy will lead the Cambridge Folk Festival’s Virtual Choir and she will lead a workshop the morning of Saturday 11th July teaching participants to sing the popular folk song, The Parting Glass in three-part harmony. If they wish, participants will then have a week to record themselves and submit videos, as many of which as possible will be assembled into a video collage to be shared during the Festival weekend.

A highlight of the weekend will be the Songlines Interview, featuring Songlines Magazine editor Jo Frost in conversation with Fatoumata Diawara, which will be available to watch on Facebook.

Further talks and workshops being run remotely over the course of the weekend will include a talk about environmentalism from folk singer Sam Lee, a storytelling workshop with professional storyteller Alex Ultradish, a movement workshop created by Debbie Norris, who choreographed the folk ballet The Sisters of Elva Hill which premiered at the 2019 Festival, and yoga sessions. Further talks and workshops will be announced in July.

“The Folk Festival has been a highlight of Cambridge’s summer calendar every year since 1965,” said Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities at Cambridge City Council. “I know folkies from Cambridge and much further afield will be missing the chance to gather at Cherry Hinton Hall to make and hear amazing music. We want to do what we can to bring the festival into people’s homes, and I look forward to enjoying the programme.”

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