First Bookings for Tønder Festival 2021

2. November 2020

Many of the musicians who were to appear this year have agreed to play at Tønder Festival 2021. The first include Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Ian Noe, Katie Pruitt and Blue Rose Code.

The Tønder Festival 2020 programme was practically in place when the corona crisis ruined everything. The Festival was cancelled, but many of the musicians booked were soon prepared to move their deal with Tønder Festival by one year. Now, the first eight international names are ready for next year's festival poster.

Top Scots

From Scotland, the festive Red Hot Chilli Pipers will be here to rock us with bagpipes, drums and rock classics. Also from Scotland comes critically-lauded Blue Rose Code, stage name for songwriter Ross Wilson, who is a first-timer at Tønder Festival.

Welsh folk, Nashville tones and a Festival Veteran

This Welsh band is called 9Bach and they blend traditional Welsh folk music with rock and electronica. There's a return visit from British songwriter and singer Danni Nicholls, whom we saw here in 2017. Danni Nicholls is a sucker for country music and has recorded several albums in Nashville. Another well-known face is Anglo-Irish multi-instrumentalist Michael McGoldrick, who is coming to Tønder Festival so we can join him in celebrating the 20th anniversary rerelease of his ground-breaking album Fused.

Songwriters from USA

Katie Pruitt is a new contender on the American country scene. The 26 year-old songwriter, based in Nashville, has won plaudits for her mix of country, folk and indie rock. This is her first appearance at Tønder Festival, as it is for Watkins Family Hour, brother and sister Sara and Sean Watkins. Both have worked with their own projects, as well as with the famous band Nickel Creek. Also, a welcome revisit from Ian Noe, who has not wasted time establishing his name as one of the most exciting young singers on the American country and folk scenes.

We Are Still Here

The COVID 19 pandemic has hit Danish festivals hard, and Tønder Festival is no exception. Now all eyes are focused on next year's festival, and the job is fully in hand in Tønder. 

"We have taken a bad hit financially since the 2020 festival was cancelled. But we are doing all we can to safeguard the 2021 Tønder Festival, so our audiences can again enjoy the music, the atmosphere and the good company at our festival. It has been heart-warming to see the extent of the support Tønder Festival has been shown by our audiences, musicians, technicians, volunteers, all our partners and the whole of the local society. We still have a real need for substantial backing, and we're all really missing meeting up at Tønder Festival - so 2021 it is," says Maria Theessink, artistic director at Tønder Festival.


Red Hot Chilli Pipers (SCO)

Make no mistake: Red Hot Chilli Pipers are just as hot in Scotland as their tattooed, funky, almost-namesakes. Red Hot Chilli Pipers gained massive attention in 2007, when the band appeared on the BBC talent programme When Will I be Famous? The band's stock in trade is cover versions of old and newer rock and pop classics subjected to bagpipes and kettle drums, with a rock band backing.

The boys are kilted, and it is no exaggeration to say their stage show is unparallelled. After Red Hot Chilli Pipers took the tv audience by storm, they have toured the world, and audiences in USA, China, New Zealand, Dubai and India have danced and screamed along to We Will Rock You, Don’t Stop Believing and Highway to Hell. Red Hot Chilli Pipers played here at Tønder Festival 2017, and now Tønder audiences can sing their heads off once again, when the Scottish band hit the stage for a show where anything can happen, and there is a 100% party guarantee. Their only Danish festival concert in 2021.

Blue Rose Code (SCO)

The name Blue Rose Code denotes the Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist Ross Wilson. He finds inspiration in many music styles – folk, jazz, pop and soul. Critics praise Blue Rose Code and compare him with John Martyn, Van Morrison, Tom Waits and Jackson Browne. The Water of Leith from 2017 is Blue Rose Code's fourth studio album. Guesting the studio were some of Scotland's finest musicians, among them Julie Fowlis, Kathleen MacInnes and Ross Ainsley. The American songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman is also on the guest list. Previously, Ross Wilson's album The Ballads Of Peckham Rye won a great deal of attention and a nomination as Scottish Album of the Year at an awards ceremony in 2014. Ross Wilson has been very productive these past years and has made a name for himself as one of Scotland's strongest voices and a musician of high integrity who invites many different fellow musicians in under the Blue Rose Code hat, both at recordings and at concerts. Blue Rose Code is bringing his band. His only Danish festival concert in 2021.

Michael McGoldrick: Fused 20th (UK)

Michael McGoldrick has often played at Tønder Festival, most recently in 2018 in the company of John Doyle and John McCusker. Now he returns with a very special concept: the anniversary rerelease of the album Fused from 2000. On its original release twenty years ago, the recording was hailed as a masterpiece. Michael McGoldrick's magisterial musicianship oversees the blending of traditional folk music with trance, jazz and world music. The anniversary concert band numbers, alongside Michael McGoldrick himself, Donald Shaw, (Capercaillie) accordion; Dezi Donelly, violin; John Joe Kelly, bodhrán; Parvinder Bharat, tabla; and Neil Yates, trumpet and tin whistle. Multi-instrumentalist McGoldrick masters flute, tin whistle, uilleann pipes, bodhrán, guitar and cittern, as well as composing and producing. Born in Manchester in 1971, he helped form Flook and has also played with Lúnasa, Kate Rusby, Tim O’Brien and Mark Knopfler. His only Danish festival concert in 2021.

Danni Nicholls (ENG)

The English singer and songwriter Danni Nicholls, who performed at Tønder Festival in 2017, has American country, folk and roots music in her bones. Born in Bedford, she fell in love with the American folk, country and rock’n’roll music in her granny's record collection. Aged16, she inherited a guitar from her uncle, and that set her off playing and composing. She made her first EP in 2009, and today, 35 year-old Danni Nicholls sits at the top of the British music scene. Her debut album A Little Redemption, which appeared in 2013, was recorded in Nashville with the country capital's best musicians and the renowned Chris Donohue producing. Since then, Nashville has virtually become Danni Nicholls' second home, and she has recorded two further albums here. The latest is The Melted Morning from 2019. Recognition has not been wanting, and Danni Nicholls has been nominated three times for a UK Americana Award: Album of the Year 2017, Artist of the Year 2018 and Song of the Year 2020. Her only Danish festival concert in 2021.

Watkins Family Hour (USA)

When brother and sister Sara and Sean Watkins, with mandolinist Chris Thile, formed the band Nickel Creek, it marked the start of a long and successful career for some of the top talents in American folk music. In 2007, Nickel Creek called it a day, and Sean and Sara set off on new roads. Besides their solo careers, Sean formed a duo, Fiction Family, with guitarist Jon Foreman, and Sara played violin for The Decemberists and John Mayer, among others. In 2018, she joined up with Aoife O’Donovan (of Crooked Still) and Sarah Jarosz in the trio I’m With Her. She also occasionally met up with her brother at the Largo Club in Los Angeles, where they appeared as the Watkins Family Hour, inviting other musicians up on stage. In 2015, they put out an album, Watkins Family Hour, with covers of  Dylan's Going, Going, Gone and Grateful Dead's Brokedown Palace. The spring of 2021 sees the release of Brother Sister whereon Sara and Sean have written all the songs. Their only Danish festival concert in 2021.

Ian Noe (USA)

Ian Noe is big on the American country and folk scene. He is steeped in classic americana: the art of the apposite song about the woes of small town life, songs that, like short stories, sharply observe the details below the surface of provincial society. Ian Noe (born 1990) is from Beattyville in Kentucky, the same state as currently popular singers like Tyler Childers and Sturgill Simpson. In 2017, Ian Noe made the EP Off This Mountaintop and toured subsequently with Canadian Colter Wall. In early 2019 his debut album Between the Country appeared, produced by top Nashville producer Dave Cobb. The song Letter To Madeleine was nominated as International Song of the Year at the UK Americana Awards 2020, and Nashville Scene magazine placed Ian Noe among the best New Acts of 2019. One reviewer wrote that if you like Tyler Childers and Colter Wall, then you should also hear Ian Noe. Or listen to the late John Prine, who was one of Ian Noe's greatest inspirations. Ian Noe sang at Tønder Festival 2019. His only Danish festival concert in 2021.

Katie Pruitt (USA)

26 year-old Katie Pruitt rides the zeitgeist, a rising star based in Nashville. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with Catholic parents, and began her career as a singer and songwriter at college. She put out an EP in 2018, which led Rolling Stone magazine to place her name on their list of the year's 10 New Country Artists You Should Know. In February 2020 she made her debut album Expectations. Katie Pruitt says of the album "it's all about not caring what others expect of you, being free and being yourself." Aged 20, Katie Pruitt came out as a lesbian, and many of her songs deal with the frustrations and shame growing up in a conservative christian environment in the southern states of USA. On the album Expectations, Katie Pruitt mixes country, folk and indie rock, and many of the songs grow dynamically from a quiet, intimate level to a full, grandiose rock production. Her only Danish festival concert in 2021.

9Bach (WAL)

"Music is a living thing, not a museum exhibit," claim Welsh band 9Bach, who, since 2005, have been making moody folk music based on their local song tradition. The group was started by singer and pianist Lisa Jen and guitarist Martin Hoyland. Nain – pronounced 'nine' – is Welsh for granny, bach a term of endearment). Lisa Jen's songs are poetic tales set in a kaleidoscopic soundscape of

rock elements and electronic beats and loops. Lisa Jen has worked closely with Gruff Rhys of the Welsh rock band Super Furry Animals, with whom Jen also has appeared live. 9Bach has released three studio albums on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records, and Gabriel himself sings on the song Deryn, which appeared in 2016 on the album Anian. In 2015, the disc Tincian won the prestigious prize Best Album at BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Their most recent album is 9Bach from 2019. Their only Danish festival concert in 2021.

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Vestergade 80,
6270 Tønder
Denmark, Europe
Opening hours
Tuesday 11.00 - 16.00
Thursday 11.00 - 16.00

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