Elton John duet partner Kiki Dee to perform at this year’s Broadstairs Folk Festival

Kiki Dee with Elton John Photo Mark Giles

The Broadstairs Folk Week celebration of English and multi-cultural folk music and dance  returns for its 53rd year this week.

Events start on Friday (August 10) and run through to August 17.

Venues throughout the town will burst with music and there are more than 500 separate events crammed into one week. The 600 seater Concert Marquee in the town’s park is the festival hub where the headline acts appear.

Among the musicians at this year’s event will be singer Kiki Dee who found fame with  the ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ smash with Sir Elton John in 1976.

Kiki Dee and Carmello Luggeri. Picture: Paul Watson

The Bradford vocalist and songwriter will be performing in the Folk Week Concert Marquee along with her musical partner of the last 23 years, guitarist Carmelo Luggeri.

Carmelo plays 3 acoustic guitars in various tunings, and a temperamental Irish bouzouki hitched through a pedal board covered in gizmos.

Kiki said: “Social media has made us more accessible – we’re playing some very different venues now. When we were contacted by the event organisers we thought it sounded fun, I had heard about the history of the festival – it started the same year as me  – so it’ll be nice to be in an informal setting, performing for a few hundred people and be part of it all.

Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri performing. Picture: Kiki Dee

“Carmelo and I don’t tend to do Summer gigs, usually it is in the Spring and Autumn, but we liked the look of this, and look forward to performing. I still love what I do. If there comes a time when I lose motivation, I don’t hit the right notes or I lose that passion for it all, I may call it a day – but for now I am really enjoying the journey.”

The 71-year-old still receives orchids and champagne from Sir Elton, some three weeks her junior, on her birthday – and in turn she donates money to the Elton John AIDS Foundation on his birthday.

“I would like to perform with him again, maybe during this long retirement tour he is doing,” she said.

Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri play Broadstairs Folk Festival on Sunday, August 12.

As well as ticketed events there will be plenty of free family fun including:

Craft & Music Fair

Free entry to a huge variety of ceramics, clothing, musical instruments, paintings, jewellery and gifts. Open from the first Saturday to the last Friday.

The Big Parade on Saturday

A family-friendly procession of music, morris and magic, starting from Pierremont Hall at 5.30pm.

Morris dancing

Photo Adam Dark

Masses of morris dancers throng the streets and a wide range of fabulous music in many of the town’s pubs.

Lunchtime sessions

There are daily lunchtime music sessions at the Concert Marquee bar and the George Inn, and the lunchtime Singalong at the Neptune’s Hall which is one of the long-time favourite events at the festival. There are also plenty of free pub gigs throughout the town.


Photo Adam Dark

Festival tickets are available for a week, weekend or a day – with or without camping on the festival’s own campsite which has on-site catering, loos, showers, dances and music – and the Panic Circus Tent.

For more details or to book tickets click here