SHE'S one of Britain’s finest folk voices and next week Kate Rusby returns to Burnley Mechanics. JOHN ANSON caught up with her ahead of the show for a quick chat.

Where have you been Kate? we’ve missed you on the live circuit

I have been touring here and there and making albums, and having babies, all the normal stuff!

What can we look forward to at the Burnley date?

Ooh a little bit of everything. Old songs, new songs, old songs with new tunes, new songs with old tunes, sad songs, happy songs. They can expect guitars, banjos, basses, accordions, tenor guitars, chatting, laughing, fairy lights, dresses, suits and the list goes on.

We are recording a new album at the moment so there will be some songs from that, and some of the songs will be from my very first album that we recorded many moons ago now. A little something for everyone I think.

Last year you celebrated 20 years as a performer. Apart from the fact you must have been a child prodigy when you started, did you ever think your career would enter a third decade?

It was actually the year before that, 2012 was the 20th year. I’m into the 22nd now. It does make me feel rather old.

The music industry is so very fickle and unfaithful that many musicians don’t enjoy longevity, but we seem to have been lucky that way.

At 10 years I was thinking ‘woo hoo’ this is great to have been going for this long. How lucky are we. So 20 years is just fabulous.

And I am immensely proud of the way we have gone about it all, keeping ownership of all the music and going it at our own pace. Those are the luxuries of running the record company ourselves, and we promote nearly all the gigs too.

What advice would Kate Rusby 2014 vintage give to her younger self just starting out?

I would say, “Don't get sad when people around you get greedy. They are not worth trying to please and they are not really your friends.” Apart from that, I wouldn't change anything as even disasters are valuable lessons learnt. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

You’ve also set up your own festival – Underneath the Stars, this summer. Tell us more.

It's actually my brother Joe's project. We are all involved though. It's all very exciting.

Over the last few yeas we have played gigs every other year up in the field where the festival is being held. We have always done the gigs to give the money to village groups, mainly the cricket club that we are involved with. The money went to build a new pavilion and then a score box etc. Lots of the people in the village then give up their time to go and actually build and maintain it all. It's such a lovely thing, I have hung out down there for most summers since I was born and now my nephews play cricket there and my girls go down and play in the river, just like I did. It's a great place for the village to gather on beautiful sunny days, a real little haven.

But anyway, I digress.

Joe decided to to expand it all and make it into a festival. Its such a gorgeous spot for a gig and this year we have a huge circus-like tent too so it's all under cover.

There are other little stages and amazing food-makers, and lots for kids. Ooh it goes on, and all as eco friendly as we can make it.

Come along if you can, from July 25 to 27. We're playing and there's a superb line-up too over the weekend — Richard Thompson, Sarah Jarosz, Puppini Sisters (who work with Michael Buble, check them out on Youtube — amazing) and others of our favourite artists. And for the first time there is a campsite too, with great facilities. So bring a tent too.

Playing fantasy festivals, which artists apart from those you’ve got, would you love to have on stage this summer?

Nic Jones, Coldplay, Grandaddy, Punch Brothers, Alison Krauss, Passenger . . . I could play that game all day.

Recording-wise can we expect a new album in the foreseeable future?

We started an album last week, so it's due out in summer. It's so lovely to be back in the studio creating again. We will be playing some of the new songs on the Spring tour so I'm very excited about that too.

I don't have a name for it yet. So far it's called 2014 until we decide on a name. There are a few to choose from. It's great getting all my lovely muso boys back in the studio, really great to see them all again. Then the plan is to do a new Christmas album next year, but anything can happen so who knows?

With so many good young folk artists joining the more established stars, how would you assess the current folk scene?

Incredibly, the scene is in a fantastic place just now. All the younger performers have made for a more diverse scene. That in turn has brought more young people into the audiences. It's really flourishing.

Following on from that, have you a ‘one to watch’ for us to look out for?

Little Rach.

Kate Rusby, Burnley Mechanics, Wednesday, March 26. Details from 01282 664400,