Line-Up

Click on a band name for more information.

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike – USA
Rachel Eddy – USA
Corn Potato String Band – USA
G-Runs ‘N Roses – CZ
Ben Somers String Band – UK/France
Flats & Sharps – UK
Midnight Skyracer – UK
The Down County Boys – UK
Medicine Creek – UK
New Essex Bluegrass Band – UK
Goat Roper Rodeo Band – UK
The Reckless Abandoners – UK
The Propane Brothers – UK
Johns & Nowak – UK
Hayley Carlyon – UK
The Vanguards – UK
Gwynnie & The Old Mumblers – UK

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (USA)

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike

Valerie Smith has developed a unique style and sound that has rocked the bluegrass world for almost two decades with a string of national and international tours, critically acclaimed recordings, and Grammy, IBMA and Dove Award nominations. Val’s vocals are impressive. She has a staggeringly expansive range and the ability to portray an amazing array of emotion. As NPR radio host Dave Higgs, has noted, “She can be sassy, sultry, siren-like, sweet, smooth, soothing and smoldering—sometimes during the span of just one song!” Valerie Smith and her East Coast based band, Liberty Pike, featuring legendary Hall of Famer Tom Gray on bass, Wally Hughes on fiddle/Dobro, Lisa Kay Howard on mandolin, and Joe Zauner on banjo are consistent audience pleasers and skilled musicians. When Valerie walks onstage with her fabulous band, expect to be inspired, amused, and thoroughly entertained.

Valerie Smith’s latest recording is called Small Town Heroes, which she was invited to showcase at the 2016 IBMA World of Bluegrass Conference in Raleigh, NC. In addition to national and international tour dates, Smith continues to write, produce and record music released by Bell Buckle Records.

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Rachel Eddy (USA)

Rachel Eddy

Rachel Eddy hails from West Virginia, where she grew up steeped in Appalachian music and dance. Rachel’s multi-instrumental talents and soulful singing bring an incredibly powerful energy to the stage. She performs as a soloist in addition to touring with The Early Mays (Pittsburgh) and The Kolodner Quartet (Baltimore). Rachel was born and raised in rural WV just south of Morgantown, where her musical family inspired her to play and sing as a little girl. She grew up listening to local fiddlers, her father among them, going to old-time festivals, and attending square dances. The old-time bug bit her early in life and Rachel now performs and teaches full-time on fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass. She has taught fiddle, banjo and guitar at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins WV, at Sore Fingers Summer school in the UK, and different various weekend workshops from the hills of West Virginia to Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, London and Wales. Rachel’s love of music comes from the heart and she loves every part of her job from performing, to educating dedicated students, and the electrifying charge of playing in jam sessions around the world!

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Corn Potato String Band (USA)

Corn Potato String Band

The Corn Potato String Band earns high praise in traditional American music, keeping old time fiddle and banjo music from a one-way trip to the dustbins of history. Theirs is a story of struggle, hard knocks and triumph. Essentially unable to cope with modern life, the members of this band are outcasts of society who survive by playing the lost music of the flatlands where they were raised.

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G-Runs ‘N Roses (CZ)

G-Runs 'N Roses

G-runs ‘n Roses are a young and energetic bluegrass band from the Czech Republic in the heart of Europe. They play both original and existing songs with a strong focus on solid rhythm and tight vocal harmonies. This is complemented with fancy instrumental solos and incorporated into elegant arrangements. However youthful their music may be, tasteful it shall remain, and the band retains a deep respect for traditional bluegrass music. The band was formed in July 2006 and has performed in the current line-up since February 2012. Their first CD “Learning To Fly” was released in 2008 and their latest release “Gravity”, which features the current line-up, arrived in May 2013. Both albums received enthusiastic reviews in the major European bluegrass magazines.

The band are: Ralph Schut – banjo, guitar & vocals. Martin Burza – fiddle & vocals. Tomas Kubin – upright bass. Milan Marek – mandolin & vocals. Tomas Dvorak – guitar & vocals.

“G-runs ‘n Roses are excited to be part of the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival for the first time. We have been hearing for years that this is the premier bluegrass festival in the UK. We love playing in England, so we can’t wait to play our part in developing the unique atmosphere of Didmarton. We plan to bring energetic contemporary bluegrass to the stage, enthusiasm to the jam sessions and a smile to YOUR face”.

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Ben Somers String Band (UK)

Ben Somers String Band

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Flats & Sharps (UK)

Flats & Sharps
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Midnight Skyracer

Midnight Skyracer

Over the past year, Midnight Skyracer have taken the acoustic music world by storm. This new all-female 5 piece bluegrass band play hard driving traditional and modern classics, lesser known songs and a few originals. Featuring an all-star lineup of some of the UK’s top instrumentalists and singers, the band takes inspiration from the likes of other great female artists such as Rhonda Vincent and Alison Krauss. Formed in early 2017, the band managed to squeeze in a mini tour and several festivals over the summer, proving to be a big hit at each one. In August they recorded their debut album, Fire, which has received rave reviews all round.

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The Down County Boys

The Down County Boys

First formed in 1964, the Down County Boys are the UK’s longest running Bluegrass band. During that time there have been some 31 musicians pass through the ranks, some staying for a long time and some for just a short while. The longest reigning member, and band leader, being Peter Parker, who has been playing the role of baritone vocalist and fiddle player since 1969.

Current members now include: Mick Cooper, vocal and Bass. Ray Duffy, vocal and Guitar. Chris Cooper, vocal and Banjo. Peter Parker, vocal and Fiddle.

Over the years the band have made countless TV and radio appearances and have been lucky enough to be invited to perform not only in the UK and Ireland, but also several times in Europe and in the USA. Playing some of the major stateside venues and festivals and sharing the stage with some of their hero’s.

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Medicine Creek

Medicine Creek

Medicine Creek originally formed as a side project in 2010, pairing renowned singer/songwriter Nuala Honan with double bassist Dorian Sutton and violinist Aaron Catlow of Bristol freak-folk festival favourites Sheelanagig.

Medicine Creek specialise in rootsy bluegrass and Americana, reinventing dark tales of murder and mayhem from frontier times with gospel-flavoured harmonies and violin abuse.

A shared love of American roots music combined with years of heavy gigging has honed the trio into a formidable live act, equally at home playing traditional music festivals or rowdy beer halls. Audiences are encouraged to sing loud and drink heavily.

“Beautifully rendered old-time Americana” – Venue Magazine.

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New Essex Bluegrass Band

New Essex Bluegrass Band

2018 marks the band’s twenty-fifth year performing traditional Bluegrass to a loyal following throughout Britain, Ireland and mainland Europe. They have appeared several times at nearly all the UK Bluegrass Festivals, and in Holland, France, Germany and Lithuania.

The all-acoustic stage show is presented around a single microphone, and is based upon authentic bluegrass duo singing from founder members, Paul Brewer (guitar) and Terry Hymers (mandolin), plus Richard Partridge (bass) for the trios. The Gospel quartet is completed by Greg Smith (fiddle), while Graham Turner drives the music along with his impeccable understated banjo playing.

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The Goat Roper Rodeo Band

The Goat Roper Rodeo Band

With just an upright bass, two old guitars and a bucketful of aching harmony, The Goat Roper Rodeo Band are preaching ‘Country Blues’ like you never heard… It’s up, it’s down, it’s soft and loud, it’s dark and lonesome too, there’s hurt and shame and some mean old pain but there’s love in what they do! There’s a hint of Gram, a sniff of Dylan and a twist of Waylon’s blues … Simply put, it’s exactly what it says on the tin.

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The Reckless Abandoners

The Reckless Abandoners

The Reckless Abandoners made their debut in 2016 and have performed to appreciative audiences at Orwell, Crossover, Gower, Moniaive, Coastline, Tamworth and Cornish Bluegrass festivals since then. They like to mix things up with a repertoire that includes original songs and tunes, traditional standards and creative covers, and their music is a refreshing mix of upbeat and mellow bluegrass and old time, with touches of honky tonk, Western Swing and blues. Bandleader and lead singer Maria Wallace has a big soulful voice, complemented by a line-up of experienced and talented musicians, including Phil Stott (mandolin/vocals), ace flatpicker Mark Gibbons (guitar), the multi-talented Eleanor Wilkie (also a member of Midnight Skyracer and The Rye Distraction) on fiddle/vocals, Julie Cross (double bass) and Bruno Pichler (dobro) – also known for his work with Hot Rock Pilgrims.

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The Propane Brothers

The Propane Brothers

Bluegrass super group from the UK – high octane solos, lonesome harmonies and trendy footwear. This five-piece band have an impressive list of achievements and awards between them having all performed internationally in acclaimed bands. The Propane Brothers is certainly more than the sum of it’s parts, an explosive live act not to be missed!

Reuben and Benjamin Agnew (guitar and bass) are two brothers from Northern Ireland and perform as part of Cup O’ Joe. Their tight, sibling harmonies and instrumental prowess have already made them 2015 BBC Young Folk Award Finalists as well as having made appearances on Irish television.

Kieran Towers (fiddle) becoming a name to watch out for on the UK and US bluegrass and old-time scenes, since having won the old-time fiddle contest at Gainsborough Festival in 2014, he recently released a duo album with Charlotte Carrivick of The Carrivick Sisters.

Joe Tozer (mandolin) has toured extensively in the UK, Europe and Canada with the band Cardboard Fox. Most recently he appeared at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, USA as an official showcasing artist – a first for any UK band.

John Breese (banjo) is another familiar face on the UK scene. Since graduating from his Masters’ Degree on classical guitar in 2011, he has gone on to tour and teach internationally with the banjo and double bass in various outfits including Cardboard Fox, The Carrivick Sisters, The Coal Porters and Thunderbridge Bluegrass Band.

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Johns & Nowak

Johns & Nowak

“Classy and compelling” Americana UK.

Camilla Johns & Andy Nowak are an English acoustic duo that like to have fun with American music; weaving together mandolin and guitar and singing songs of heartache and longing. Their music is sometimes joyful, sometimes wistful; steeped in the American tradition and all that comes with it – from fiddle tunes to folk songs, from driving instrumentals and gentle ballads; some traditional, some self-penned.

In late 2016 the pair released their debut EP which was recorded on 1/4″ tape using a vintage 1965 Neumann-Gefell microphone. They subsequently made numerous Festival appearances at Priddy, Village Pump, Gower and Iford Arts, along with a sunny tour of Suffolk and a string of folk clubs gigs around the South West.

They are likely to seen around the Didmarton fire until at least 6am.

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Hayley Carlyon

Hayley Carlyon

Influenced by artists Kate McKenzie, Sarah Jarosz and Patti Griffin, Hayley Carlyon (pronounced Car-lion) is a great find. Originally hailing from Pembrokeshire, West Wales, Hayley has been London based for the last few years. She is a singer and songwriter who delivers an impressive live set of poignant cover choices and impressive original material. Taking inspiration from coast and city, Hayley weaves a powerful and soaring voice through raw, beautiful lyrics and some enjoyable guitar work.

She has toured the UK extensively supporting a range of artists from Fyfe Dangerfield (of The Guillemots) to Ben Somers as well as bluegrass favourites ‘The Hot Rock Pilgrims’ and she is a regular, smiling face on the London bluegrass and Americana scene. Not to be missed!

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The Vanguards

The Vanguards

The Vanguards are a five-piece traditional bluegrass band based in London, consisting of Jack Baker on mandolin, Alex Clarke on guitar, Chris Lord on banjo, Laura Nailor on fiddle and Pete Thomas on bass.

They take their musical inspiration from the originators of bluegrass music. Instrumentally, they seek to create a sound which blends the mandolin style of Bill Monroe, the banjo style of Ralph Stanley and the old-time style of fiddling which typified early bluegrass recordings and which continues to influence the sound of traditional bluegrass bands into the present day.

When not playing their original material, their repertoire reflects these musical influences. Their choice of songs strongly favours those written or recorded by The Stanley Brothers and Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, but they also feature several songs made popular by Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys and Flatt & Scruggs. Their particular passion is exploring and faithfully recreating bluegrass music’s many rarely-heard compositions, particularly those written by Bill Monroe and Dr. Ralph Stanley.

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Gwynnie & The Old Mumblers

Gwynnie & The Old Mumblers

Gwynnie And The Old Mumblers feature 11 year old Gwynnie Pinnock on guitar and vocals, supported by her band of formerly Mumbles based grumpy old men. Gwynnie took up guitar roughly 2 years ago in order to take part in Gower Bluegrass Festival’s local bands showcase a couple of weeks later, having previously played at a handful of festivals on ukulele, securing a talent show win at one. Since then she’s been busy touring the British bluegrass festival and picking camp scene, learning tunes and making friends along the way. The band play a selection of old time songs in a bluegrass style, on guitar, fiddle, bass, and mandolin, with harmonies provided by her dad and friends. Come along and you’ll be able to say you saw her before she was famous…

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BBMA Open Stage

This is intended for new or inexperienced performers. The BBMA OPEN STAGE in the Clubhouse will run from 4.00pm-7.00pm on the Friday and Saturday. Just pop along to the merchandise tent or Clubhouse and sign-up if you’d like to perform. Your names will be transferred to a blackboard running order by the stage. This is also an Old Time Session area when there are no open stage performances.

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