John Smith has built a reputation as one of the UK’s finest guitarists and songwriters. Covid prevented him playing in 2022, so he'll be here in 2023 instead, and we know many people will be excited to see him back on the bill for Sunday - as the trio on the Lake Stage and solo on the Folk Stage.
Born in Essex, raised by the Devon seaside, and making his bones in the bars and clubs of Liverpool, John has released eight albums with over 55 million Spotify streams. He has played to audiences all over the world in living rooms, festival tents and sold-out concert halls. He is a genuine folksinger, an inquisitive truth-seeker, devoted song interpreter and enchanting writer.
Steeped in the lineage of British folk, taking his cue from Richard Thompson and John Martyn, Smith has evolved a transatlantic blend of fingerstyle and slide guitar techniques. John’s intimate takes on love, loss and the journey we make, combined with his innovative guitar work, have won him a loyal following. His honey-on-gravel voice and mesmerizing fingerstyle guitar are undeniable. Sometimes using a slide, sometimes with guitar on his lap, sometimes detuning mid-song, Smith’s obsession with the instrument has made a master of him. Whether by way of album or concert, he leads the listener, enthralled in his presence, on a viscerally emotional journey.
“There’s something wonderfully unforced about both his playing and his vocals...in the weight of experience that he brings to his songs...it’s rare these days to find an audience so wrapped up in a performance”
Simon O'Hagan, The Independent
“You’re smiling even as tears catch in your throat”
"A guitar genius…He sounds as though he arrived 60 years ago but looks startlingly young, perched on a chair, quietly confident, charming and instantly engaging”