The latest addition to this year’s Purbeck Folk Festival, Turin Brakes join the festival’s strongest bill to date and confirm Purbeck continues to punch way above its weight.
A decade and a half since childhood friends Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian formed Turin Brakes, they have just released their most acclaimed album to date, We Were Here, completed their most extensive tour of the UK and established a solid foothold in the States where their song, Inbetween, is featured in hit TV show Elemental, a contemporary Sherlock Holmes update starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu.
“I saw them play with the likes of Carthy & Swarbrick, Jackie Oates and The Albion Band at Lyme Regis last year and they were absolutely amazing,” says Purbeck Folk Festival director Catherine Burke. “Led by two acoustic guitars and harmony vocals, they played a chilled out set of beautiful, well-crafted songs, which still managed to have its rockier moments, and I knew they would be perfect for Purbeck.”
Having released their Mercury Music Prize nominated debut album The Optimist (2001), Turin Brakes’ second album Ether Song (2003) entered the UK charts at number four and spawned the top five single Pain Killer (Summer Rain). That was followed by the top 10 album JackinABox (2005) and Dark On Fire (2007). The band signed to Cooking Vinyl in 2009 and released Outbursts (2010).
Olly and Gale, now joined by long-term collaborators Rob Allum (percussion) and Eddie Myer (bass), will draw on their distinguished six-stringed past to play Purbeck, but also showcase We Were Here, which echoes with the pastoral psychedelia of Pink Floyd, the sunset soul of Laurel Canyon and the blues of the Mississippi Delta.
“Gale and I spent much of our teens getting stoned listening to old blues records in our bedrooms,” says Olly. “That informs Turin Brakes as much as my personal love of Laurel Canyon singer songwriters – we’re hugely inspired by artists like Joni Mitchell and more recently people like Laura Marling; brave female soul singers who aren’t afraid to leap into their own wells and come up spluttering, making something beautiful with what they find.
“With this record, the four of us brought in our own very different influences – everything from jazz to hip hop to ambient music and things like Pink Floyd. Their records have been there right since The Door, the first single off The Optimist. The records of the early 70s, they’re like extra limbs to us.”
Running over the Bank Holiday weekend, 21-24 August, on a 600-acre sheep farm in the heart of the beautiful Isle of Purbeck, the Festival – which won the Fatea Music Award for Countryside Festival Of The Year – is four days of fine music, great food, fancy dress, comedy, film and magic on Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coastline.
Now in its sixth year, Purbeck Folk Festival’s inclusive booking policy ensures an eclectic mix of outstanding, original young folk, established roots, traditional and world music in a fun, family-friendly environment. The four stages are contained in the farm’s barns and a marquee venue that hosts the Purbeck Rising final and open mic sessions.
But there’s much more than music on offer with a host of additional entertainment that includes a comedy line-up, an on-site cinema programme, art interventions and workshops, a fancy dress parade, a poetry slam, kids’ activity pen and a beer festival with 40 local real ales, 20 ciders and even a Dorset pils lager!
Weekend tickets (Fri-Sun) include free camping are on sale at just £90 (£45 12-17 years, £10 4-11 years, under 4s free). Day camping is available on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at £10 a night on arrival. A limited number of Festival day tickets will also be available.
Located in the village of Langton Matravers between Corfe Castle and Swanage, the land at Wilkswood Farm is devoted to conservation and environmental protection of a wide range of habitats. There’s a handy bus to Corfe Castle/Wareham and Swanage every hour both ways, while Harmans Cross station is a 15-minute walk away where you can catch the steam train to Swanage or Corfe Castle.
Purbeck Folk Festival, 21-24 August, Wilkswood Farm, Langton Matravers, Swanage, BH19 3DU.
Box office: 023 8071 1818
Turin Brakes new single Guess You Heard is out now, from the album We Were Here.