Conservatoire Folk Ensemble: Summer UK tour

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The original ‘folk big band’ head out for Summer 2016 UK Tour + major festival dates

“Joe Broughton’s Conservatoire Folk Ensemble is something of a legend … ” – Folk Radio UK

“A whole festival’s entertainment in one show” – Liverpool Echo

 “You MUST, MUST see this to understand just how fantastic it is” – The Sentinel

“Tremendously exhilarating and joyously life-affirming” – NetRhythms

“No wonder that the ensemble received a standing ovation.” – The Journal

With 50 members in the live, touring outfit, The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble are the UK’s premier folk big band.

Formed in 1997 by fiddle player and arranger Joe Broughton (The Urban Folk Quartet, The Albion Band, Joss Stone), their energetic live sets are a sight to behold, featuring a 15-piece horn section, five cello players, four percussionists and three electric guitarists, plus fiddles, flutes, clarinets, double bass, even a harp! They also all sing too.

Though rooted in traditional folk tunes, each member brings a variety of personal influences to the set-list, which ranges from full-on rock grooves, funk, jazz, hip-hop, ska and reggae, to gentle ballads and sounds from Eastern Europe and Asia.

“The band are mainly playing with traditional British Isles folk tunes, but they’re not afraid to bring in other influences – last year we had Bulgarian and Japanese tunes too,” says leader Joe Broughton.

‘An entire festival in two hours’ is one popular description of the ensemble as the musicians play, sing and leap about, performing together and also in various duos, trios and smaller break-out mini-groups.

As Joe stresses: “The shows are ridiculously energetic.”

In the past couple of years, the ensemble have performed three consecutive sell-out nights at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and appeared to great acclaim at Fairport Convention’s Cropredy, Shambala, and Towersey Festival.

The highly skilled group pulls its membership from Birmingham City University’s internationally renowned Conservatoire. An established hotbed for emerging talent, previous Conservatoire Folk Ensemble members include BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Jim Moray, Erica Nockalls (The Wonder Stuff, The Proclaimers), Charlie Heys (of tipped duo McNeill and Hayes), and The Old Dance School.

The ensemble’s summer 2016 UK tour features several major festival dates, including appearances at Kendal Calling (headlined by Rudimental and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds), Gate To Southwell (Show Of Hands), Beverley Folk Festival (Kate Rusby), and Towersey Festival (Billy Bragg, The Wonder Stuff), where they’ll be officially leading the festival finale for the third consecutive year. They also host their own annual all-dayer, Power Folk 3, in their hometown of Birmingham.

Twitter: @Thefolkensemble

Folk Ens

The Folk Ensemble at Royal Festival Hall, London (2015) by Alick Cotterill (Music for Youth)

Summer 2016 UK Tour Listings

Thursday 26 May 2016
Foxlowe Arts Centre, Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 6AD
8pm, £14, Tel: 01538 386112
Part of Leek Arts Festival 2016

Friday 27 May 2016
West End Centre, Queens Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 3JD
8pm, £12/ £8, Tel: 01252 330040

Saturday 28 May 2016
Sutton Village Hall, Sutton, Bedfordshire SG19 2NE
Tel: 01767 260041

Saturday 4 June 2016
Huntingdon Hall, CrownGate, Worcester WR1 3LD
8pm, £16/ £15, Tel: 01905 611 427

Sunday 5 June 2016
Power Folk 3
The Spotted Dog, 104 Warwick Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B12 0NH
Doors 3pm, music from 4pm ‘til late, £7 on the door, £5 students, children free. Tel: 0121 772 3822
* The ensemble’s annual raucous afternoon gig/ all-dayer, featuring The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble (6pm) and special invited guests.

Wednesday 8 June 2016
Alexander’s Live, Rufus Court, Chester, Cheshire CH1 2JW
8pm, £6 (adv)/ £8 (door), Tel: 01244 401 402

Sunday 12 June 2016
Gate To Southwell Festival, Southwell, Nottinghamshire
Adult Day Ticket £40, Youth £22

Saturday 18 June 2016
Beverley Folk Festival, Beverley Racecourse, East Yorkshire, HU17 8QZ
Adult Day Ticket £50, Youth £40

Sunday 19 June 2016
Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire, Paradise Place, Birmingham B3 3HG
7pm, £12/ £10/ £5
* City of Sounds festival Destruction Party with The Destroyers.

Friday 29 July 2016
Kendal Calling, Lowther Deer Park, Cumbria
Adult tickets £135

Monday 29 August 2016
Towersey Festival, Thame Showground, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3JL
Adult Day Ticket £30, Youth £21, Child £14, U5 free.

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