New Music Festival Coming to Nantwich Includes Free Fringe Concerts

Article and Photographs: Jonathan White

The new Nantwich Roots Festival celebrating folk, roots and Americana, bringing internationally known names to Nantwich, and also giving a stage to new, emerging acts comes to the town from 11th to 15th May this year.

Sapphire Storm

The event is a ‘sister’ festival to Words & Music and is organised by the same team. The concerts will take place at Nantwich Civic Hall and The Crown Ballroom with headliners including folk legends Fairport Convention, Ralph McTell and Seth Lakeman. Tickets can be purchased from Nantwich Civic Hall and

Kirk McElinney

There are also three free fringe concerts at Applestump Records (12 Barker St) and Ebenezer’s Craft Beer & Gin Bar (2 Castle St).

Little Sparrow

The free fringe concert at Applestump Records is Manchester singer-songwriter Little Sparrow (Sunday 15th May, 1pm). Applestump Records is an independent record shop, specialising in new and used vinyl records of various genres including alternative, electronic, indie, hip-hop, rock and Jazz.

Applestump Records (photograph: Jonathan White)

The free fringe concerts at Ebenezer’s are Sapphire Storm performing a mixture of Country, Bluegrass and Americana on mandolin and double bass (Wednesday 11th May, 8pm) and soloist Kirk McElinney performing urban folk (Sunday 15th May, 2:30pm). Ebenezer’s Craft Beer & Gin took its name from the original building ‘Ebenezer’s Methodist Chapel’ built in 1857. They are a small friendly place that’s all about the beer.

Steve from Applestump Records said: “I’ve always been a big fan of the Words and Music festival and what it brings to the town. So, when Nantwich Roots was announced by the same organisers, I was obviously very keen to support the event by selling tickets and t-shirts in the shop. Being lucky enough to host a fringe event is very exciting. Our shop is such an intimate venue, Little Sparrow’s intimate and heartfelt music will suit it perfectly. It really is going to be special! The music starts from 1pm on 15/05 but we really do advise getting down early to get a good spot.”

Ebenezer’s Craft Beer & Gin in Nantwich (photo: Jonathan White)

Nicholas from Ebenezer’s Craft Beer & Gin Bar said: “Sapphire Storm approached us last year to film some music videos in our little bar. Getting a behind the scenes look, I was impressed with Eleanor and Leanne as a duo. Their take on The Foundation’s ‘Baby Now That I’ve Found You’ was particularly good and they show off their wilder side on ‘Nothin’ Better To Do’ by LeAnn Rimes. Seeing what they could do, I was determined to get them to do a gig for us, they were very busy doing their thing and releasing their first album of original material ‘Two Hearts & A Double Shot Of Whiskey’. When I saw that the team behind the Words & Music festival were organising a sister festival, ‘Roots’ dedicated to folk, roots and Americana, I thought this was a great opportunity to get Ebenezer’s involved with some free ‘fringe’ shows to kick things off and to get the Country/Bluegrass duo to play. Our second gig for the festival is Rochdale born folk virtuoso Kirk McElhinney. Described by Nitin Sawhney as “…a melting pot of sonic bliss.” A passionate singer/songwriter bringing his own unique sound dubbed as ‘urban folk’ with a fingerpicking style reminiscent of Bert Jansch, Kirk even appeared alongside the folk legend. We’re thrilled to be involved with the Words & Music festival and we’ve not had any Live Music since before the pandemic so we’re really excited to be hosting these two artists.”