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FLICKY HARRISON chats to a performer who has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Leonard Cohen

JULIE Felix, the queen of folk in both the UK and America, has lost none of her feisty fight for the under dog and sharp political bite when it comes to her music.

Her work with CND was well recorded and she is still very much an activist and against Trident, but her protest songs are now mixed with a large helping of healing songs and ones detailing the goodness in nature, both spiritual and political.

The singer is topping the bill at a new folk night presented by Trevor Krueger from the Krueger Initiative For The Performing Arts.

“It’s his new venture a sort of Grand Ole Oprey for folk music,” said Julie, who will be joined by other folk artists at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre on Thursday, September 21 from 7pm.

Julie likes to mix it up a bit in her concerts and will be singing songs from 1960s music heroes such as Woody Gutherie and Bob Dylan along with her own songs.

There have been a lot of first in Julie’s life, including being the first British-based folk singer to fill the Royal Albert Hall and the first pop singer to perform in Westminster Abbey.

“I sang as part of the celebration of its 900th anniversary,” she said.

The singer comes from a musical family, her father was a professional singer and her mother just loved to sing, but initially it was just home entertainment.

“We would sing all the way to Mexico to visit my grandparents,” said Julie.

When she was fresh out of university in California the singer decided to hitch round Europe, so she caught a boat from New York to Greece and there she met Leonard Cohen, who was to influence the rest of her life.

“It was 1962 and Leonard was living on this small Greek island. I didn’t know I was going to sing professionally, we just sat around singing union songs,” she said. “I ran out of money in Ibiza the following year so started singing and playing my way around the country.”

Leonard was to remain a close friend and when Julie had her own television series he was one of her special guests.

“We were one of the only pop shows on TV. I was a fan of Dusty Springfield so she came on and Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, but Leonard was my favourite,” said Julie.

Julie won her own show through performing as resident singer on the BBC’s Frost Report with David Frost in 1966.

Once in London the folk singer caught the eye of many of the luminaries of the time, including Brian Epstein, who asked Julie to top the bill at London’s Saville Theatre.

“Brian was a lovely, kind gentleman, he like to chat and we had lots of champagne. Supporting us was a young guy who was then called Cat Stevens,” said Julie.

One of the highlights of Julie’s career was singing at the now famous Isle of Wight Festival in 1969 alongside Jimi Hendrix.

“It was unbelievable, there were people for as far as the eye could see, it was like being on another planet. I remembered Bob Dylan from Woodstock, and there was a big party afterwards, but I had to be in Gibraltar the next day, but it is lovely to have taken part in it,” she said.

Julie will be celebrating her 80th birthday at the Charing Cross Theatre in London on Sunday, June 17, 2018, when there will be an exhibition of clothing and memorabilia of her adventurous musical career.

But she is not stopping yet, with plans for a new album to be released next spring.

Tickets for her concert in Swindon are £22 from 01793 524481 or visit