Cambridge Folk Festival has announced the first headliners for the 2018 line-up. Saturday night’s headline slot will see the iconic Patti Smith and her band onstage while Sunday night’s headliner is the legendary John Prine. performing over the August 2-5 weekend.


Joining the diverse line-up and appearing as a UK Festival exclusive is singer/songwriter Janis Ian, along with Rosanne Cash and a full supporting line-up of musicians and artists including Kate Rusby & Friends, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Eliza Carthy and The Wayward Band plus blues legend Eric Bibb.

Crawley Folk Festival (Simon Jay Price)

The highly acclaimed Americana pioneer Rhiannon Giddens, will be performing on Stage One, as well as joining this prestigious event as guest curator for Cambridge Folk Festival.

Lauded as the ‘punk poet laureate’, American singer-songwriter Patti Smith is a true icon, fusing poetry with punk attitude whilst inspiring a variety of musicians along the way. With her band Tony Shanahan (keys, bass) Lenny Kaye (guitar) and Seb Rochford (drums), Patti Smith is set to take to the Cambridge stage for another legendary performance. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, Smith was a pivotal figure of New York City’s new wave movement in the 1970s, following her groundbreaking album Horses and co-writing partnership with Bruce Springsteen on Because the Night in 1978.

Two-time Grammy-winner, singer-songwriter, John Prine is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Over four decades into a remarkable career that has drawn effusive praise from so many including Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, Prine is a smiling, shuffling force for good, writing meaningful lyrics and acting as a genuine poet of the people.

Now in her fifth decade of writing songs and performing, American songwriter, singer, musician and author, Janis Ian is one of the most celebrated music icons of the 20th century. After entering the folk music scene as a teenager in the mid-1960’s, Janis has built a career around writing intimately personal songs with wide-reaching melodies. At Seventeen and Society’s Child are included in the Grammy Hall of Fame and her songs have been recorded by singers as diverse as Cher, John Mellencamp, Hugh Masekela, Nina Simone, and Roberta Flack. She’s dueted on her own songs, with artists like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

Rosanne Cash at Union Chapel in London on 23 July 2015. (Imelda Michalczyk)

One of the pre-eminent singer/songwriters of her generation, and the eldest daughter of country music icon Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums over her highly successful career, drawing inspiration from folk, rock, blues, and Americana roots. In addition to winning four Grammy Awards and earning 11 No. 1 singles over the course of her life, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2015. Today, Rosanne continues to write and perform, with her latest release, The River and the Thread, receiving impressive worldwide acclaim and attaining the highest debut on the Billboard charts of any of her previous albums.

Since his first album in 1972, blues legend Eric Bibb has released a number of superb albums and enjoyed a non-stop touring career spanning five decades, performing on stage alongside such luminaries as Mavis Staples, Guy Davis, Bonnie Raitt, Toumani Diabate, and Jerry Douglas. A progressive preservationist and a fiery singer with true soul, gospel and folk roots, it will be an honour to welcome Eric Bibb back to the Festival stage.

2018 is the first year of Cambridge Folk Festival’s historic twinning with the legendary US Newport Folk Festival. This partnership will herald the beginning of a new transatlantic artistic relationship, allowing two iconic festivals that have grown up together since the 1960s  to share ideas, experiences and indeed artists.

Also announced: Elephant Sessions, John Smith, Pierce Brothers, Irish Mythen, Darlingside, Tamikrest, The Shee, Peatbog Faeries, John Moreland, Gordie MacKeeman And His Rhythm Boys, Damien O’Kane and Ron Block, The East Pointers, Darren Eedens And The Slim Pickins’, National Youth Folk Ensemble

Full Festival ticket: £175.50; Day tickets: £29 (Thu), £62 (Fri), £72.50 (Sat), £72.50(Sun).

Booking: / Cambridge Live Box Office 01223 357851

Camping at Cherry Hinton Hall and Coldham’s Common is available. Glamping at Coldham’s Common is also available. Concession tickets (disabled access and carer, Under 21, Cambridge City Resident) are available. Please see the website for more information and full ticket prices:

Live: Y Not Festival 2017