Billy Bragg and Wilco reunite to conclude a weekend of sunshine and amazing performances.
Birmingham’s Moseley Folk and Arts Festival 2023 wrapped up on Sunday night with the unexpected reunion of Wilco and Billy Bragg.
The headlining Americana stars and British songwriter/activist collaborated 25 years ago on the much lauded Mermaid Avenue project – an album which set previously unheard lyrics by US protest singer Woody Guthrie to music.
After his own set, Bragg was invited on-stage for Wilco’s encore, Mermaid Avenue highlight California Stars, before an on-stage hug between Bragg, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and the band.
It was just one of several stand-out moments at the 2023’s Moseley Folk and Arts Festival, which kicked off on Friday 1st September with appearances from ’60s rock royalty Graham Nash, Londoners Squeeze, and Mercury Prize nominated Welsh singer Gwenno.
Saturday saw Irish acts from across the decades perform rousing sets to a capacity crowd as rising newcomers The Mary Wallopers made way for the famed Saw Doctors. The day also welcomed performances from Rozi Plain and folk/EDM act Nogood Boyo, as well as witnessing a wedding proposal, as long-standing festival attendee Matt rowed Tiff out into the middle of the park’s lake to pop the question (She said “yes”).
Further highlights across the three-day event included appearances from a reformed Stornoway (who last visited the festival in 2011), and cult morris dancing troupe Boss Morris, who led a spectacular site-wide Sunday procession with masked woodland creatures and a huge corn dolly. There were also partnerships with Black Country Living Museum, Birmingham Comedy Festival, Verve and The Glee Club.
Meanwhile, Moseley Folk and Arts Festival also revealed Norwich six-piece Brown Horses as the winner of their Janice Long ‘Hello You’ Bursary – giving the band an opening slot on Friday.
John Fell, Moseley Folk and Arts Festival Manager, said: “Spreading out into the new ‘woods’ area of Moseley Park and Pool for the first time enabled us to expand our programming, resulting in the biggest festival so far. With Stone Club curating this area, it proved to be a hugely popular new addition for us.
“Elsewhere, it was an absolute privilege to see the legendary Graham Nash perform so many classics as the sun set on Friday evening, while Sunday’s totally unexpected Wilco/Billy Bragg reunion was a genuinely joyful moment – and the perfect way to round off what’s been one of the most popular editions of the festival.”
The 18th Moseley Folk and Arts Festival is set for Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September 2024. Loyalty tickets go on sale to subscribers and previous attendees on Friday 8th September. For more information, see moseleyfolk.co.uk/tickets.