Ragged Bear Festival had a great year in 2023, we have included some of our highlights below.
With thanks to friends of the festival such as Neil King, Tony Birch and Carol Henson, a collected gallery of Ragged Bear History can be viewed below
Mad Dog Mcrea
Mad Dog Mcrea blend a unique mixture of folk rock, pop, gypsy jazz, bluegrass and 'shake your ass' music. From self-penned songs of adventure, drinking, love and life, to traditional songs of gypsies, fairies, legless pirates and black flies - Mad Dog never fail to capture their audience with their infectious songs.
In constant demand and having played just about every festival and two-bit, jibe-arsed dive in Christendom, Mad Dog Mcrea are in every sense of the word, a live band. The famous purple happy bus is fired up and ready for action, and its coming to Ragged Bear.
This is music that doesn't stand on ceremony; you won't find cute arrangements and cool sophisticated posturing.
What you will get is the hardcore tradition reimaged for modern audiences. Driving dance tunes, songs about love, war, murder and betrayal. The soldier who rebels against an invasion and the sailor cheated when he comes on shore. Beautiful ballads and full on musical madness that'll get you dancing the night away.
Merry Hell is a band founded on the ever evolving Folk tradition – music made by the people and shared by the people. Though our hearts and souls are tuned to the songs which came before us, we bring you new words and music forged from our own experiences, from the lows and the loves of our lives.
Our art is energy and our hope is unity. Our pleasure is to please: let the audience be the acid test and let the music speak for itself...
Evocative and distinctive, folk duo Suthering (Julu Irvine & Heg Brignall) transport audiences with their exquisite vocal harmonies and their message of hope during hard times. Soaring above the cascading piano and delicate, fingerstyle guitar, it’s the duo’s beautifully matched voices and their fresh approach to folk which make their traditional and self-penned songs stand out.
Known for their chemistry and humour on stage, they effortlessly intertwine their important messages about the state of our climate, social conscience, and the importance of community and connecting with nature. They champion female characters, creating new narratives for women and unearthing the female heroines of folk.
With an ever growing fanbase at their side, Headsticks are reaching new heights with their self proclaimed 'Revolutionary Punk Roots Rock'n'Roll' which has cross genre appeal seeing the band gaining endless plaudits from pillars of the Folk/Roots, Post Punk, Punk, and even the rock and blues fraternities.
Since late 2012 the band have relentlessly gigged and recorded and their hard work is now well and truly coming to fruition with their new album, 'C.O.W.', their first since signing to the iconic Chapter 22 label, and also their live performances, receiving rave reviews from all corners of the musical spectrum as anthemic choruses, barbed lyrics, irresistible riffs, and uplifting beats are combined with a wry sense of humour, to deliver social commentary to encapsulate the spirit of this unique band.
Whether it's the full throttle, heart pounding stompers, the anthemic singalongs, or the haunting acoustic ballads, Headsticks deliver an experience like no other band, built on honesty, integrity, bloody hard work, and a passion for what they believe.
Man the Lifeboats
Man The Lifeboats play raucous, upbeat folk music, they craft songs with big choruses that tell stories. Songs with straight- up lyrics, pounding bass lines, lilting mandolin and fiddle melodies and stomping beats.
Man The Lifeboats have cultivated a sound that would not be out of place at a party at the end of the world.
Returning to Ragged Bear, Man the Lifeboats are firm favourites and a guaranteed good time. Not to be missed.
Anna Renae is a pop/folk singer-songwriter, weaving musical stories inspired by life's complexities. Having roots in Lancashire and Northumberland, Anna graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2017 with a First Class BA (Hons) degree in Popular Music, and is now based in Southampton.
Her debut album 'Skin' was released in March 2020, and her follow-up EP 'Speaking Her Mind' was released in October 2021, which both feature songs written between the ages of 13-21, telling stories that encapsulate many aspects of Anna's teenage and early adult life. Anna's music has received glowing reviews and has attained radio play around the world, including many plays on BBC Introducing.
The Lost Trades are a vocal harmony trio with a cool Laurel Canyon vibe. Three Wiltshire based singer songwriters (Jamie R Hawkins, Phil Cooper and Tamsin Quin) were brought together by a mutual love of modern folk and roots music, and joined forces in late 2019 for a three part harmony, modern folk adventure.
Performing both collectively and individually penned songs, The Lost Trades tell carefully crafted stories using an array of stringed instruments and light percussion, all lovingly stitched together with soaring vocal harmonies.
A live performance involves easy interchanging of instruments, with each of the three playing guitar, bass and percussion at different points. There's always a fun intimacy to the show, with the three engaging in comfortable repartee with each other and the audience like a group of old friends.
Fly Yeti Fly
With their own unique flavour of delicate-but-distinctive folk, Fly Yeti Fly are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Blending rich vocal harmonies with intricate guitar arrangements, mandolin and harmonica, and with a warmth of spirit that radiates from the stage, the Wiltshire-based duo weave songs and stories about connection, community and the seasons, with a sound that is reminiscent of the late-’60s folk scene.
Now living on their canal boat on the Kennet & Avon, their music is heavily influenced by the ebb and flow of life on the water.