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Geoff Lakeman at St Ives September Festival

Date posted: August 19, 2019

Cornishman Geoff Lakeman will take a trip down memory lane when he follows in the footsteps of his three folk star sons by headlining at St Ives Guildhall during this year’s September Festival.

Geoff, who has lived on Dartmoor for 40 years, is the father of the West Country’s Lakeman family folk dynasty.

Sons Seth, Sean and Sam Lakeman all went on to become internationally-renowned folk musicians after starting out playing as children in a family band with Geoff and their violinist mum Joy.

Seth sold out last year’s September Festival opening night, daughter-in-law Cara Dillon and Sam closed the Festival in 2017 while Sean and his wife Kathryn Roberts appeared at The Guildhall in 2015. But former Fleet Street journalist Geoff has had to wait until retiring and becoming a “full-time” folk performer.

Looking forward to headlining at The Guildhall on Friday, September 27, Geoff said: “I’ve not been booked for St Ives before but I did a ‘fringe’ event one year with my jazz trio Speakeasy in one of the pubs and I’ve had a blast in the Western Hotel bar at a late-night session with Seth after he played one of his Guildhall gigs.

“I know Sam and Cara and Kathryn and Sean have also graced your main stage so I’ll be the last of our musical family to perform a solo gig there in my own right.”

Recalling his childhood in the area, Geoff said: “I was brought up in Penzance and Newlyn and spent much of my young life around St Ives.

“My grandfather Ernest Lakeman used to be the GWR station master for St Erth/St Ives, so it is a nostalgic journey for me.

“I have the fondest memories of coming to St Ives many times on the steam train, especially on Sunday school outings when we would get out on Porthminster or Carbis Bay beaches.

“And our ‘tea’ for the day was a giant bottle of pop each and an equally large sticky bun – which always got covered in sand, of course.”

Geoff, a leading exponent of the rare Crane Duet concertina and also one of the few musicians to play 1920s/30s jazz on an authentic 1920s instrument, added: “I’ll be playing some of my Cornish songs and a variety of English and Irish folk songs, Americana like Jimmie Rodgers, Louvin Brothers, Randy Newman and Buddy Miller and even some 20s and 30s jazz.”

Since retiring Geoff, who already had a great reputation as a very accomplished performer, made up for lost time by bringing out his appropriately-named – and critically-acclaimed – debut album After All These Years, with a stellar line up of musical family and friends, in 2017.

Geoff Lakeman is part of a two-week Festival music programme at The Guildhall, which also includes legendary Scottish folk star Dougie MacLean, Irish band Dervish whose BBC Radio 2 Folk Lifetime Achievement Award was announced recently, multi-award-winning Show of Hands, another BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, Kit Hawes and Aaron Catlow, Katie Kirk and Rick Williams, and John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett.

Tickets available online at and from tourist information centres throughout Cornwall.

GEOFF LAKEMAN: Will headline the penultimate night of the 2019 St Ives September Festival