Folk fans – Manchester is the place to be this week with not only the annual folk festival kicking off around HOME and the local environs on Thursday 17th October, but the city hosts the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards at the Bridgewater Hall on Wednesday the 16th and also the Young Folk Awards at HOME on Tuesday the 15th.
We’ll be reporting back from the Bridgewater and from several of the Folk Festival events that also run alongside the English Folk Expo where delegates, festival programmers and agents from around the world gather to catch up on the finest that England can offer in folk, roots and acoustic music in its mission of artist, audience and industry development.
Look out in particular for Rising Up: Peterloo 2019, a new production featuring the songs of Sean Cooney of The Young’uns and the storytelling of Debs Newbold. It premiers at HOME Theatre 1 on Wednesday (clashing with the Folk Awards) but you can also catch it the following night before heading out on a national tour.
Major names in English folk music head the folk festival bill – Kate Rusby, The Unthanks and Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman are our leading lights as well as a healthy Scots contingent from the EFEx international partnership in Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton and the whirlwind of Talisk. Variety comes in the striking Ferocious Dog, Blackbeard’s Tea Party and Grace Petrie and there are plenty of young pretenders whose names are becoming well known in the genre and beyond.
Anyone looking beyond the music and interested in the folk arts, the workshops include drypoint etching, ceramic mug and tile workshop and the sacred harp workshop plus printmaking and singing workshops. Of course, all details are on the Manchester Folk Festival website, Facebook and Twitter.
If Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys playing Greenland Whale doesn’t rev you up, then nothing will….