Four days of International Roots and Acoustic Music


Thanks for a great weekend all! Hope you enjoyed it.

The Gate to Southwell Festival is now established as a premier roots and acoustic music event rivaling other well-established festivals and receiving many accolades. We are on the edge of the historic and beautiful market town of Southwell next to the racecourse, and approximately 13 miles from Nottingham and 8 miles from the A1 and Newark.
Over 50 artists performing over 4 days on 4 main stages, on-site camping, kids activities, street theatre, comedy, spoken word and lots more.

Already booked for 6th to 9th June 2019: The Tweed Project, Blue Rose Code, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente (all subject to contract) and discussions on many more alreday underway – save the date for The Gate!


Here are some excerpts of recent reviews:!muted&channel=southwellfolk

“This four-day festival, held in the grounds of Southwell Racecourse, offers something for just about everyone. The line-up this year encompassed not only a wide variety of musical genres, but there was plenty of traditional folk dancing on and off the site, there was an excellent range of workshops and plenty of children’s activities. There was an excellent and popular beer and cider tent featuring local breweries at reasonable prices and one of the best food offerings to be found on a festival site anywhere.

Last year the festival was hampered by poor weather but this year it was a different story as the sun shone for the most part and with four stages and other performance areas you were spoilt for choice when it came to the music on offer.

One of the undoubted delights of coming to a festival is to discover new music – and Southwell 2017 was no exception.”


“Our return visit to Southwell turned out every bit as entertaining as last year, the layout has been tweaked to make the site a little more compact whilst the festival has grown a little bigger with 3 stage marquees plus the bar stage and an outside dance stage, most in operation for 3 full days plus Thursday evening. Headline acts ranged from the Celtic/World fusion of Kila, the song writing and multi-instrumental prowess of Show of Hands, the eclectic, fascinating song choices of Eddi Reader to the out and out good-time rockgrass of Hayseed Dixie. The range of supporting artists was even wider and thoroughly justifies Southwell calling itself a roots and acoustic music festival rather than a folk festival.”


“However good the site and facilities are, it is good programming that makes or breaks a festival, something that the Southwell organisers have got just right. You need your headliners to get the tents bursting at the seams, breaking acts for a buzz, uptempo good time bands to jump about to, earnest singer songwriters to lose yourself in the lyrics, trad folk for the trad fans and something genre defying to keep the festival vibe bouncing along.

In many ways Southwell feels like a smaller version of the Cambridge Folk Festival, and I mean that as a compliment, the range of artists, the way the programming worked, and even the layout of the site all feel thoroughly sorted. It is getting harder and harder for festivals to stand out these days, there is a finite pool of folk and acoustic acts to pick from, most of whom will do multiple festival dates in a year. Putting a programme together that offers something unique is either very hard or very expensive, so respect to the organisers…

The other thing that a festival lives or dies by is the beer tent; good choice of ales and ciders, tick. Tasting notes and knowledgable staff, tick. A big enough bar to get served without waiting too long, tick. Sensible prices, tick. Top marks again Southwell.

Overall the Gate to Southwell Festival is a little gem, great programming, plenty of ways to get involved with workshops, lots to do for kids. All of it set within a good new site that seems set to be the festival’s home for a few years to come.”

See the links below for reviews of past years.

Folk Radio UK

Spiral Earth


Spiral Earth

Nottingham Post

Photos by kind permission of Phil Richards

Gate to Southwell Festival