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Gate To Southwell Fest dates for 2021 and new venue

Dec 18, 2020

The 14th Gate To Southwell Festival is now set to take place in September 2021 at a beautiful new location in the nearby village of Kirklington (just outside Southwell).

Having had to cancel the 2020 festival because of the Covid pandemic, the GTSF organisers are extremely confident that four days of folk, root and acoustic music from the UK and all over the world, will go ahead from Thursday September 2nd to Sunday September 5th 

The first wave of acts have already been confirmed.  These include acclaimed ‘supergroup’ the Gigspanner Big Band (formed by Steeleye Span fiddler Peter Knight), the extraordinary Galician piper-led Anxo Lorenzo Band, award-winning folk duo The Breath (featuring the beautiful voice of BBC Folksinger of the Year Rioghnach Connolly), re-formed Bellowhead masterminds Spiers & Boden, “Renaissance Man of English folk” Chris Wood, multi-talented young Glaswegian roots band Imar, veteran folk guitar legend Wizz Jones, London-meets-Jamaica ska stars Maroon Town, fiery Madrid-based roots quartet Track Dogs and Scottish firebrands Talisk,  with many more artists to be announced. Family entertainment is also taking shape with crowd favourite Dan the Hat confirmed along with regulars such as Mark the storyteller and Becky’s Baby Bops and Toddle Bops. 

gate to southwell

“We know it’s been a tough year for everyone and we’ve all missed families and friends and getting together to enjoy live music,” said Festival Director Mike Kirrage.  “We just hope this exciting news about our festival in September 2021, at a beautiful rural location, will really lift everyone’s spirits.  We’ve already booked some excellent acts and now we’re really looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces who help out, perform or attend each year. So keep well and here’s to a bright, healthy and musical 2021.”

After five years at Southwell Racecourse, the Kirklington festival site will be on farmland to the North West of Southwell with lakes, trees and plenty of green spaces.  There’ll be a lot more room for camping and, for the first time, well-behaved dogs will be welcome (at no extra cost) in the main arena as well as on the campsite.  There are lovely rural walks nearby and there’s the scenic Robin Hood Way which links Kirklington to Southwell and the wider area. A bus service will also connect Southwell with the new site.  

The organisers already acknowledge that they’ll have to adapt to the changing situation in 2021 and will be prepared for any Covid restrictions and regulations that remain in place next September.  But they’re confident that many key elements of a “normal” outdoor festival will be able to go ahead, including multiple music stages, dancing, food and drink stalls, children’s entertainment and workshops. 

Gate To Southwell Festival’s ability to bounce back from a very tough 2020, while many other events struggled financially, has been helped by grants from the Arts Council and Newark & Sherwood District Council. Thankfully the organisers cancelled early and were able to refund all ticket buyers and traders.

“Rather than risk further problems in early June, we’ve decided next September would be a much safer date to stage the festival,” said Mike Kirrage.  “There may be rules limiting ticket sales, we’re already re-thinking the stages and layout, and we accept we may all still need to socially distance to some extent.  But the fun and the music will go on!   We are a member of the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) who are providing resources and advice on all of this, so you can be assured we’ll have everything covered.”

Tickets will be on sale soon via the Gate To Southwell 2021 website – – and more artists will be added in the New Year

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