Fountain of folk: music in Marlborough

Round & About

folk music

St Agnes Fountain are about to embark on their 18th sell-out Christmas tour and tell us why you should catch them in Marlborough on Friday, 14th December.

“Marlborough is and always has been a firm favourite with the band,” Chris While of the band tells us.

“We haven’t missed it in the 18 years we’ve been touring and although we’ve played at lots of venues in and around the town, the audiences are always lovely. Andrew Bumphrey, the promoter is a dear friend of the band and such a brilliant supporter of live music so the warm welcome is felt both on and off the stage.”

Since the group’s first recording of the eponymous St Agnes Fountain album in 2001, founder member David Hughes, Fairport Convention’s Chris Leslie and BBC Folk Awards Best Duo 2009, Chris While and Julie Matthews, have brought musical invention and laughter to the season.

They have now released 12 treasured albums; eight studio albums and two live CDs as well as a couple of Best Of albums, but it is, without question their magical live performances that have endeared them to an ever-growing audience – tickets were actually being sold for this year’s tour as the curtains fell last year.

This December, the band will bring you more of their sparkling musicianship, humour and heartfelt renditions of your favourite Christmas tunes both original and familiar. Chris Leslie is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter based in Oxfordshire, primarily known for the past 19 years for his work with Fairport Convention. He has toured and recorded with, among others, Steve Ashley, the Albion Band, Jez Lowe, Ian Anderson, Chris While and Julie Matthews, Whippersnapper, Alan Stivell and Feast of Fiddles.

David Hughes is an acoustic guitarist, songwriter, author and playwright. His six albums include Active in the Parish which, in 1997 was named by Q magazine as one of their albums of the year. Chris While (vocals, guitar, bodhran, darbuka and percussion) and Julie Matthews (vocals, piano, guitar, acordion and gazouki) have been nominated ten times in the BBC Radio 2 Folk music awards in the “best song, best duo, best live act” categories and winning best duo in 2009.

Next year St Agnes Fountain will celebrate 25 years together. Last year saw them perform at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards alongside Boo Hewerdine, John McCusker and Kris Drever and many others. They are performing songs from the Ballads Of Child Migration across the UK.

To book your tickets for the December show call 01672 512465 or visit

Winters tale: folk music in Oxford

Round & About

folk music

Make a date to see contemporary folk singer-songwriter Emily Mae Winters perform on Saturday, 8th December, with Holywell Music & Folk.

Hailed as having a voice that will stop you in your tracks, Emily Mae’s songs are quickly permeating the folk and song writing scene.

A poetic singer songwriter, influenced by the likes of Gillian Welch, Carole King, Alison Krauss, Sarah Jarosz and Kate Rusby, her music splits the difference between the gentle seas of folk and country. In 2016, Emily teamed up with BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Ben Walker to produce her first commercial EP release Foreign Waters.

Her self-penned track Anchor from the release won the folk category in the Guardian Songwriting Competition. The tracks have received extensive national and international folk and Americana radio play including support from the BBC Radio 2 Good Morning Sunday with Clare Balding and the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe.

After spending last year touring doing supports, she has just released her debut album Siren Serenade, co-produced by Ben Walker and Lauren Deakin Davies (Laura Marling). Emily Mae tells us: “I’m so excited for my first ever headline show in Oxford. Hopefully it will be the beginning of the festive season so we must make this show particularly special!”

Doors open @at 7pm for the show at 7.20pm and support comes from Three Pressed Men. Tickets £12.50 from WeGotTickets + £1.25 booking fee or£15 on the door and also in person from Truck Store including £1 handling fee (cash only please). A Winter Union will perform on Friday, 14th December, with support from Steph West. Visit