Manchester Folk Festival 2021

On Sale Now!

New On Sale – Talisk

After they wowed us at MFF2019 we are excited to announce that Talisk return to Manchester on 15th May 2022.

Tickets for the show which takes place at Manchester’s The Deaf Institute cost £18.50 inclusive of fees and levy and available here.

Photo Credit – Paul Jennings

About Talisk:

One of Scotland’s most popular folk-based groups to emerge in the last decade, chart-toppers Talisk have toured the world stacking up major awards for their explosively energetic yet artfully woven sound, including Folk Band of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award, and the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation.

Mohsen Amini (BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Musician of the Year 2018), Hayley Keenan and Graeme Armstrong fuse concertina, fiddle and guitar to produce a ground-breaking, multi-layered and instantly enthralling
signature sound that has captivated audiences around the globe.

Appearances at leading festivals – including closing out Saturday night’s main stage at the 2019 Cambridge Folk Festival, Denmark’s Tønder Festival, the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysian Borneo, WOMADs UK, Chile and Las Palmas, Edmonton Folk Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, three back-to-back years at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and five successive outings at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections – have amassed a die-hard following, whilst folk and world music media have also lauded high praise upon the genre-bending trio.

Their hotly anticipated second album, Beyond, quickly rose to No.1 in the iTunes world music charts upon its late 2018 release, meeting a five-star ‘Top of the World’ review in leading world music magazine Songlines, who brilliantly summarised the band: “incredibly infectious and endearing… fresh, invigorating, accomplished.

Talisk Showcasing at English Folk Expo 2019

Praise for Talisk:
“Extraordinary” / Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
“Doubling the power of three” / The Scotsman
“the technical ability of each member is clear in their energetic, dynamic sound” / Songlines
“an exciting sound that, in this case literally, drags an audience out of its seats.” / The Herald
“…completely blown away by the sheer dexterity and musicianship” / The Living Tradition

Manchester Folk Festival HOMEGROUND Take Over

The Bruntwood Stage at HOMEGROUND

We’re thrilled that our friends at Manchester Folk Festival’s hub venue HOME have invited us to curate a takeover weekend at their fantastic outdoor venue, HOMEGROUND.

On Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August we’ll bring a little taste of Manchester Folk Fest to the summer – and it’s free!

The music runs from 12pm – 5pm on the Saturday and 12pm – 7pm on Sunday across 2 stages, one at the HOMEGROUND site and one in the city centre.

The City Centre Stage in action

To guarantee a table at HOMEGROUND you can book in advance via this link. The site features great food and drink from a selection of Manchester’s finest street food vendors, so you can enjoy some good food while you listen to some great music! (and hopefully the sun will shine!).

Line-up will be announced soon. Watch this space!

For more info on HOMEGROUND and what else you can watch there this summer click here.

New on Sale! Stick In The Wheel

A Scruff of the Neck and Manchester Folk Festival presentation in association with Earth Agency

Friday 29th October @ 8pm

Tickets: £14 plus booking fee

Buy Tickets

Night & Day Café
26 Oldham St
M1 1JN
0161 236 1822

More Artists Announced for Manchester Folk Festival

Today we are thrilled to add 12 more artists to the Manchester Folk Festival line up for 21st – 23rd October 2021.

Tour to support the release of his 2020 album, Home Waters, Sam Carter plays at a new venue for this year’s festival – The International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Supporting Spiers & Boden, Anglo-Scottish duo Janice Burns & Jon Doran tell vivid stories about the nature of life through tight vocal harmonies, mandolin and bouzouki.

Ellie Gowers appears as support for John Bramwell & The Full Harmonic Convergence on 21st Oct at 02 Ritz

Ellie Gowers (pictured above) and India Electric Company will open for John Bramwell & The Full Harmonic Convergence on the first night of this year’s festival – 21st October.

On Friday night, The Magpies bring their unique blend of transatlantic folk to support Jesca Hoop at RNCM.

Celebrated Yorkshire cellist Sarah Smout, will support Sam Lee, also at RNCM, on the afternoon of Saturday 23rd Oct before Pennsylvania duo Native Harrow perform songs from their latest album ‘Closeness’ in support of The Futureheads on Saturday night.

Native Harrow are Pennsylvania duo Devin Tuel and Stephen Harms

Over at HOME on Saturday night contemporary folk singer-songwriter and finger-picking guitarist, Flo Perlin opens for The English Fiddle Ensemble.

We’re also excited to host 4 fantastic Hungarian bands as part of English Folk Expo’s international partnership: MUZSIKÁS, Dalinda, Ötödik évszak and Pengetős Trio.

To find out more and for tickets click here.

Declan O’Rourke’s Arrivals Tour – 6th Nov 2021

We are thrilled to announce our show with “One of Ireland’s finest songwriters and performers” – RnR. Declan O’Rourke brings his Arrivals Tour to Manchester on Saturday 6th November 2021.

Playing at The Stoller Hall, tickets cost £18 plus booking fee and go on sale at 10am on Friday 23rd April –

About Arrivals:

“O’Rourke has become something of a songwriter’s songwriter, whose supporters have numbered John Prine, James Taylor….if he’s been a best-kept secret up to now ARRIVALS should finally blow his cover’” 8/10 Uncut magazine

“a masterful lyricist and staggering guitarist.” 4**** MOJO

“the quintessential songwriter’s songwriter” – Irish Times 4****

“It’s an album that confirms his status as one of Ireland’s finest songwriters and performers”RnR 5*

Award-wining Irish singer songwriter Declan O’Rourke returns after 2 years with his new Paul Weller-produced Arrivals, the most emotionally raw and affecting album of his career.

Recorded over six days at Black Barn studios in Surrey, with Weller producing (“he was there every moment, before, during and long after, discussing ideas about this and that, even down to the artwork. It was hugely impressive…”), Arrivals sees Declan O’Rourke present his art in a different yet wholly distinctive manner. The sound is stripped back to Declan’s soulful and resonant voice, the virtuosic acoustic guitar playing for which he’s renowned and only the occasional sparse arrangement of strings and late-night drums bringing colour and light to the LP’s 10 songs. Weller, a fan of Declan’s songwriting for some years, also adds his multi-instrumental abilities to the recordings, including a beautiful piano accompaniment to the closing track.

“Proffering reassurance in the face of inevitable sorrow” is what New York Times music writer Jon Pareles has said about Declan O’Rourke. Not many people would have thought that such praise would have so significant a purpose during a prolonged time of global turmoil, but – as his many admirers know only too well – O’Rourke has been spreading hope, love and emotional clarity for over 15 years.

From 2004’s debut Since Kyabram to his forthcoming album, Arrivals (his seventh studio record, and his debut for eastwest records), the Galway-based artist’s skills as a songwriter have been noticed and applauded by perfectionists such as John Prine and James Taylor. His songs have been covered by fellow artists, most notably his classic 2004 song “Galileo” which has been recorded by Eddi Reader and Josh Groban amongst others. His last album Chronicles Of The Great Irish Famine, documented rare first-hand accounts from that devastating period of Irish history and garnered numerous awards.

“Over time, I have found that being an artist is a process of stripping away layers of yourself in order to get to the core, to get to something that is pure and honest,” says O’Rourke.

He has reached that with his latest batch of songs, yet he has also reached back to what inspired him, and entranced his listeners, when he first performed his songs in small venues. “I recently played Arrivals to a cousin of mine; she used to come and see me all the time in the early days when I’d play – just me and the guitar – at open mic nights. This album, she said, led her to feel that in many ways people were going to hear me for the first time. That made a lot of sense to me.”

Arrivals deftly balances the personal and the political. The personal – it is assuredly his most emotive and intimate work to date – comes from O’Rourke’s admission that he has always been guided by family.

“It’s at the heart of everything for me,” he acknowledges. “I know situations for some people are different, but for myself, family is the well, the source. When all is said and done, your family and those around you are the most important things in the world.”

Emerging at a time when the world is in a phase of serious flux, Arrivals is also his most political and humanitarian. “We all feel very strongly about various aspects of what is happening in the world right now, and I don’t know if I ever managed to speak my mind well about them before. I am fascinated by the past, either in a nostalgic way or through seeing how history has unfolded and what has been revealed. These times are so engaging, compelling, however, that I’ve been pulled into the present. It just happened and I’m glad I let it through.”

Alongside a vision of seeing the personal and political run in parallel and occasionally intersect on Arrivals, is the way in which textural layers have been stripped away.

“I was probably a bit more impetuous early on in my career,” O’Rourke explains. “You want to make something mature and evolved, so you naturally think you need to add things to make the end result sophisticated. The opposite is true, however. The more noise you add, the more you struggle to hear the space around you. That level of quietude has taken me a while to get in my recordings, but I think with Arrivals I have.”

“I would like to think my writing is just a reflection of where I am at any given time,” he reasons, “but I guess it’s possible you get better at engaging with yourself and figuring out what you really want to say. I’ve always enjoyed the company of older people and been attracted to the wisdom and philosophies that are the gifts of age. I’m also used to hearing people, particularly artists, say that as they get older, they care less about what other people think, and that you just say whatever you want. I’m only 44 now, but I’m really gravitating towards that mindset.”

Arrivals is out now.

Manchester Folk Festival Now On Sale!

Back in November we announced the first 6 artists for Manchester Folk Festival 21st – 23rd October 2021 and now we’re pleased to announce who will be joining Spiers & Boden, Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening, Jesca Hoop, John Bramwell & The Full Harmonic Convergence, The Gigspanner Big Band and O’Hooley & Tidow on this year’s line-up.

Thursday night sees shows in our festival hub venue, HOME, from , ‘the finest instrumental duo on the traditional scene’ (The Guardian) and Bellowhead frontmen, Spiers & Boden as part of their much anticipated comeback tour after eight years away, Manchester’s very own Kabantu – the award-winning Manchester collective whose music bridge countries and cultures, and Lady Nade whose star continues to rise after her ‘Best Song’ nomination at this year’s UK Americana Awards whilst John Bramwell & The Full Harmonic Convergence – bring songs from his solo repertoire as well as some I am Kloot fan favourites to the 02 Ritz.

The Breath perform on Friday 22nd Oct at HOME

On Friday, as well as Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening and Jesca Hoop we’re thrilled to welcome The Breath – Manchester based Stuart McCallum and Ríoghnach Connolly bring us their contemporary take on alt-folk and are joined by special guests Hannah James and Toby Kuhn whose combination of accordion, cello and voice is described as ‘soulful, original and conversational’. And if ‘foot stomping’ is your thing then don’t miss Sheelanagig (also Friday at HOME) who’ll be putting their groove into traditional and original European Folk music.

Why not make Saturday a day of it? Start off in the afternoon with the previously mentioned Gigspanner Big Band or choose the critically acclaimed folk song interpreter and conservationist Sam Lee, who plays at a venue new to the festival this year – The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Then on Saturday evening at HOME see an early show from Banter whose music is rooted in English traditional folk music but incorporate influences of pop, jazz, soul and big band.  And later on choose BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning duo, O’Hooley & Tidow or The English Fiddle Ensemble – a brand new band featuring four of England’s finest traditional fiddle players; Bryony Griffith, Jim Boyle, Ross Grant and Rosie Butler-Hall. Also on Saturday night, over at RNCM The Futureheads bring us their hotly anticipated acoustic /a cappella show.

The Futureheads bring their acoustic / a cappella show to MFF on Sat 23rd Oct

With 15% off when you buy 4 Manchester Folk Festival tickets* it’s worth making a day of it.

And for those who want to stay up extra late, new this year is the ‘Festival Club’. Taking place in the first-floor restaurant at HOME from 11pm – 1am each night (Thurs, Fri, Sat) the Festival Club brings you 3 of the best emerging folk artists. Tickets for the Festival club are very limited and can only be booked in conjunction with another purchase for a Manchester Folk Festival ticket that day. Artists featuring in our very first Festival Club include: Good Habits, The Brothers Gillespie, Chris Elliott and Caitlin Jones, Tom Moore & Archie Moss, Granny’s Attic, Bryony Griffith & Alice Jones, Honey We Three and Ranagri.

Tickets are now on sale for all Manchester Folk Festival shows listed above and bookable via our ‘Whats On’ page here, with more artists to be added soon!

*Buy tickets for 4 separate Manchester Folk Festival events taking place between 21st and 23rd October 2021. Offer is only available on tickets booked through HOME’s box office – here.

New On Sale! Grace Petrie

After Grace’s triumphant show as part of Manchester Folk Festival 2019, we are thrilled to welcome her back to Gorilla, Manchester on 1st October 2021.

Grace Petrie performing at MFF 2019. Photo Credit: Mike Ainscoe

Grace Petrie’s unique takes on life, love and politics, and the warmth and wit with which they are delivered, have won over an army of loyal fans across the alternative, folk, political and comedy scenes. She’s toured with Frank Turner and Billy Bragg, supported comedians Robin Ince and Josie Long, and collaborated with Leon Rosselson and Peggy Seeger. She has been a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4’s the Now Show and has appeared on Channel 4’s Random Acts. Her frequent festival appearances have included Vancouver Folk Festival, Latitude, Cambridge Folk Festival and The Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury Festival.

Her current album, ‘Queer As Folk’, was a Mojo magazine top 10 Folk Album of the Year.

Tickets to the show cost £16.50 plus 10% booking fee and are available here.

First Manchester Folk Festival 2021 Artists Announced

Gigspanner Big Band, Jesca Hoop, John Bramwell & The Full Harmonic Convergence, Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening, O’Hooley & Tidow and Spiers & Boden have all been confirmed to play Manchester Folk Festival on it’s return in 2021.

The festival runs Thursday 21st – Saturday 23rd October 2021. All of the above artists are included in the festival pass ticket available to purchase here. Individual tickets for these shows will be released in early 2021.*

Dates and venues for each artist are TBC*, but as with previous festivals we will have shows in HOME, 02 Ritz and Gorilla.

*with the exception of John Bramwell – tickets for John’s show available here.

Gigspanner Big Band

Gigspanner Big Band:

“With the Gigspanner Big Band, Peter Knight has assembled a group of musicians intent on making some of the most important and exhilarating art ever to sit under the banner of folk music” FRUK

“Amazing…a force to be reckoned with – they storm every stage they walk on” Mike Harding

The Gigspanner Big Band are a unique force in British folk music…

Their high-energy, virtuosic performances appeal equally to traditionalists and to those looking for something more experimental, and they have garnered praise from publications as varied as fRoots, The Telegraph and The Wire, where they were described as ‘melodically folk-rooted yet open and innovative beyond the constraints of genre’

Beginning life as a trio – with legendary Steeleye Span fiddle player Peter Knight being joined by percussionist Sacha Trochet and guitarist Roger Flack – the line-up has been expanded to form the Gigspanner Big Band, with acclaimed multi-instrumental duo Edgelarks (Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin – BBC Folk Awards ‘Best Duo’) and Bellowhead co-founder and melodeon player extraordinaire, John Spiers, joining the fray.

Characterised by riotous inventiveness, technically gifted individual playing and subtle collaborative interaction, this coming together of several of the biggest names on the folk-roots scene, combines a deep knowledge of roots traditions with a ceaselessly boundary pushing approach.

The new six-piece line-up released their debut album, Natural Invention, in 2020.

Jesca Hoop:

California-born but now based in Manchester, Jesca Hoop is what you’d call a musician’s musician. Discovered by Tom Waits and brought on tour by Peter Gabriel to sing in his band, it was a phone call from Elbow’s Guy Garvey that saw her move to the UK. 

Her 2019 album ‘Stonechild’,  produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, This is the Kit), received huge acclaim from fans and critics alike, and it’s easy to see why – her beautiful songs, rooted in the folk tradition are intricately detailed, acoustic-led pieces that teem with ideas.

John Bramwell & The Full Harmonic Convergence

John Bramwell & The Full Harmonic Convergence:

John Bramwell is one of the UK’s most unique and talented singer-song writers and has been performing as a musician for over 30 years.

His 2018 album, ‘Leave Alone the Empty Spaces’ is a stunning showcase of John’s skilful, widely acclaimed song-writing and his unique voice. The first completely new collection of songs by John as a solo artist since he started his adventures away from I am Kloot, the album was inspired by his ‘off the beaten path’ journey through the UK and Europe.

As part of I am Kloot, John released ten albums, receiving a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2011, for the exquisite, ‘Sky at Night’, produced by Guy Garvey and Craig Potter from Elbow.

The show promises a versatile two-hour set packed with choice cuts from John’s solo repertoire, plus an opportunity to hear some I am Kloot fan favourites.

Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening:

Musicians from Northumberland, Scotland and England invoke the dark, powerful, shamanic sounds of Ancient Northumbria and broadcast them to the modern world.

Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening are; Kathryn Tickell (Northumbrian smallpipes, fiddle), Joss Clapp (guitar, vocals), Joe Truswell (drums, programming), Kate Young (fiddle, vocals), Amy Thatcher (accordion, vocals) and Kieran Szifris (octave mandolin).

Their inspiration comes from the wild, dramatic, weather-bitten countryside along Hadrian’s Wall, which seems so quintessentially Northumbrian…and yet, almost 2000 years ago that same landscape was inhabited by people from around the world, worshipping different gods and following different customs.

Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening embrace that global perspective, bringing some of the oldest Northumbrian tunes and songs throbbing to life, intermingling them with new material and binding it all together with contemporary resonance and attitude.

Fresh sounds merge with ancient influences. Expansive sonic textures are created. Dazzling duets from Kathryn’s pipes and Amy’s accordion contrast with the dark and dirty riffs and rhythms of Kieran’s octave mandolin. Intrepid world-traveller Kate adds her fearless explorations and the inventive use of drums and percussion unites the ensemble.

O’Hooley & Tidow:

Performing together for over 10 years, much loved Yorkshire folk duo Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow were propelled into newfound fame when their song ‘Gentleman Jack’ was chosen as the theme tune for Sally Wainwright’s hit BBC1/HBO drama of the same name.

Nominated four times for BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Duo’, Belinda and Heidi’s boundless song writing has been described by The Guardian as ‘exceptional’ and The Independent as ‘defiant, robust, northern, poetical, political folk music for the times we live in.’ From an emotionally charged song about an elephant orphanage in Nairobi, to a joyous celebration of the Leeds cycling champion Beryl Burton, they explore, consider and connect subjects and stories in a distinctive, inventive and memorable way.

Having the originality and skill to invite comparison with the most celebrated harmony duos, from early Simon and Garfunkel to the iconic Kate and Anna McGarrigle, 6 Music’s Tom Robinson says ‘They sing together in the way families do. Normally, you only get that closeness in the voices with family bands like The Coppers or The Watersons.’

‘England’s answer to the McGarrigles.’  * * * * * The Guardian 

‘Brave, beautiful and full of love.’ Martin Simpson

Spiers & Boden

Spiers & Boden:
Described by The Guardian as ‘the finest instrumental duo on the traditional scene’, the multi award-winning duo of John Spiers and Jon Boden rocketed onto the scene in 2001. 

In 2011, after 10 years of successful touring, they headlined their own star-studded show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire celebrating their 10th anniversary.

Using their early success as a duo, they founded the ground-breaking folk big band Bellowhead, which dominated their time for the next few years and in 2014 Spiers & Boden made the difficult choice to rest the duo.  It was a tough decision.  Spiers & Boden had earned a place in the hearts of the folk audience that few could rival and the disbelief at the dissolution of the duo was only matched when in 2016 Bellowhead itself took a final bow.

Since then Jon Boden has carved out a career as both a solo performer and with his own band, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, while continuing to work on his creative trilogy of albums exploring a post-apocalyptic world and his work writing music for theatre.  John Spiers went on to form successful performance collaborations with Peter Knight (Steeleye Span, Feast Of Fiddles) and separately Jackie Oates, and is a member of the recently formed Gigspanner Big Band. 

In late 2019 the idea of reforming Spiers & Boden began to be discussed, quickly followed by plans for new touring in 2021.  A couple of unexpected duo videos in spring 2020 trailed the full public announcement in summer 2020 that Spiers & Boden are back!

Tunng – 19/09/21 – on sale now!

We are thrilled to present Tunng at The Stoller Hall on Sunday 19th Sept 2021.

Tunng’s new Dead Club project is a journey through life, death and grief. From Death Cafes to death cleaning, deep grief and the joy and wonder of living – the album, podcast series and zine explore the great taboos of end of life from angles both familiar and unexpected.
The project was two years in the making and features an album, 8 part podcast series produced by the band featuring long-form interviews with experts, writers and thinkers in the field of grief, loss and philosophy, and now, a live show!

Tickets: £19.50 plus booking fee.

Tickets available here.

Watch The Official Folk Albums Chart Launch Here!

Official Folk Albums Chart Launch – Live from HOME Mcr – Saturday 17th October

Presented by Mark Radcliffe
Performances from VRï, Kris Drever, The Breath and Fay Hield and her band.

Follow Folk on Foot for their monthly Official Folk Albums Charts Show

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