Moseley folk festival set to return next month

The Moseley Folk Festival organisers’ festival empire might be rapidly growing – there’s also the Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul and Lunar festivals these days – but this is where it all started.

And this year’s event in Moseley Park from September 4-6 is a biggie too as it marks ten years of Moseley Folk.

Its strength and its longevity lie in part in its diversity and variety, with a bill that boasts a strong folk element but features a lot more besides.

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In fact two of the headline acts – The Monkees and Spiritualized – are about as far from folk as one could get.

To many the Monkees will need no introduction, probably the first manufactured pop band who came into being back in the mid sixties, they were created as America’s answer to the Beatles.

They became huge globally, enjoying a succession of hits and even their own TV show, and like many great bands their classic pop songs sound as good now as they ever did.

When they bring the festival to a close on the Sunday night expect plenty of singing along to I’m a Believer, Last Train to Clarksville, A Little Bit of Me a Little Bit of You, Daydream Believer, Valleri and Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Their Birmingham performance will be tinged with an element of sadness though following the sudden death of Davy Jones in 2012, the only English member of the group.

It’ll mean just two of the founder members – Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork – will be flying the flag. The Monkees were of course a four-piece but Mike Nesmith, the group’s authentic beatnik, has never played with the reformed line-up.

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Spiritualized headline the opening Friday night of the festival and fans can expect an array of indie psychedelic classics from the band’s seven albums released since 1990.

Its sometimes forgotten that Spiritualized are a local band, formed in Warwickshire by Jason Pierce.

Another local act well worth catching are Goodnight Lenin. The Birmingham five-piece are all second generation Irish and their Americana-inspired songs have depth and character a-plenty. The band recently went down a storm at Glastonbury and it’s great to see them back at Moseley.

The third (Saturday) headliners are Scottish band Idlewild who after a five-year break have returned with a new album – Everything Ever Written.

Other acts set to be enthusiastically received include Anna Calvi, Gaz Coombes, the Polyphonic Spree and Dawes.

Authentic folk highlights include The Unthanks, Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick, False Lights and Olivia Chaney.

There’s also Du Blonde, John Smith, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, Eliza Shaddad, Houndstooth, Meadow Lark and Peacock Angell to name just a few.

Personally I’m really looking forward to The Merrylees who offer a great fusion of country & western and psychedelia that has seen them win friends in high places, with high-profile support slots for the likes of Paul Weller, Temples and Babyshambles.

As always there’ll be plenty of workshops taking place, ranging from rapper dance (an English folk dance rather than a hip-hop thing) to learning world folk songs, all manner of fine festival food on offer and the customary selection of locally-brewed ales from Purity.