Manchester Folk Festival 2021 Passes

On Sale Now!

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.

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Manchester Folk Festival 2021 Passes Now On Sale

The limited-edition festival pass allows you entry* into ALL** Manchester Folk Festival shows from Thursday 21st – Saturday 23rd Oct 2021.

This means you can curate your own festival experience – see an opening act in Gorilla then hot foot it to HOME for the rest of the evening. Make your choices on the night or plan your ultimate Manchester Folk Festival experience across 4 venues within walking distance of our festival hub venue HOME.

Headline artists are soon to be announced; with a full festival line-up featuring over 30 artists to choose from, offering an amazing line-up for our 4th year!

The festival pass ticket price of £75 (plus 10% booking fee) is equivalent to attending approx 3-4 events at Manchester Folk Festival, so if you’re looking to attend the full festival this will definitely save you many pounds!

You’ll receive a special-edition branded lanyard and pass which must be shown to gain entry to the events. We don’t insist you wear it all the time, but we would!

Get your tickets here.

*subject to individual venue capacity, please arrive early to ensure entry.

**due to some shows happening concurrently, it is not possible to see the full duration of every show.

Please note, this ticket allows entry into Manchester Folk Festival branded events only. English Folk Expo industry events are exempt.

Some events in the festival are standing only. For seated events the seating is unreserved.

Folk Chart Launch Artists Announced!

We are really looking forward to launching The Official Folk Albums Chart at 8pm on Saturday 17th October 2020, with a live streamed event from HOME, Manchester. We already announced the event will be hosted by Mark Radcliffe and we can now share the fantastic line-up of artists performing at the event.

Yorkshire-born Fay Hield, a core member of the English folk scene will delight audiences with her compelling classic folk voice and traditional tales of the otherworld of fairies, ghosts and the animal kingdom, while Scottish singer-songwriter-guitarist Kris Drever, a stalwart of the UK folk and roots scene, presents his mix of traditional and contemporary folk. The Breath – Irish singer/flautist Ríoghnach Connolly and guitarist Stuart McCallum will perform a set of impassioned heartfelt songs presented with jaw-dropping vocals and, Welsh chamber-folk trio VRï, bring a joyous celebration of Welsh identity.  

You’ll also be the very first to hear who has made it into the October 2020 top 40, the first ever Official Folk Albums Chart, compiled by The Official Charts Company.

This free event will be live streamed via our Facebook page.

This event is made possible by support from English Folk Expo, Showcase Scotland Expo, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and HOME, Manchester.


Official Charts Company to launch the first Official Folk Albums Chart in celebration of the popularity of folk music

Saturday 17th October – Launch event hosted by Mark Radcliffe

Live-streamed from HOME, Manchester

In recognition of the popularity of the folk music genre, the Official Charts Company announces the first Official Folk Albums Chart. Launched in partnership with English Folk Expo’s Manchester Folk Festival and supported by Showcase Scotland Expo, the first chart will be revealed on 17 October 2020

The monthly chart is compiled using physical and digital album sales, downloads and streams, from UK and Irish musicians releasing folk albums within the past 18 months. The chart is to be released on the first Monday of each month on, and to subscriber mailing lists. A monthly Official Folk Albums Chart playlist will also be available to stream on Spotify.

The very first chart will be unveiled at a special live-streamed event from HOME in Manchester on 17 October, the weekend which would have seen the fourth annual edition of the Manchester Folk Festival. Hosted by BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show presenter, Mark Radcliffe, the event will feature performances from top UK and Irish folk artists, with more details to be announced.

A broad genre taking in everything between acoustic pop and traditional music, folk artists including Laura Marling, Richard Thompson, Cara Dillon, Eliza Carthy, Karine Polwart, Kate Rusby, Seth Lakeman, Eddi Reader, Sam Lee, Tide Lines, Frank Turner, Skerryvore, The Unthanks, Julie Fowlis, The Gloaming, Dougie MacLean (to name a few) have achieved significant profile in recent months. The Official Folk Albums Chart is now set to offer a dedicated platform for this rich genre.

The Official Folk Albums Chart follows the launch of July’s inaugural Official UK Afrobeats Chart which joined a list of genre-specific charts – including Americana, Jazz & Blues and Progressive – all genres characterised by a high percentage of independent releases. Indeed, according to new Official Charts Company analysis, over 90% of the best-selling new folk albums of 2020 are independent releases*, showing the potential for the new chart as a platform for discovery.

The Official Folk Albums Chart aims to do more than recognise the popularity of the genre. Running parallel with the chart are English Folk Expo and Showcase Scotland Expo’s initiatives for providing career development tools for emerging artists in the genre. Both will provide dedicated web pages addressing the need for profile enhancement and chart inclusion.

Kate Rusby’s most recent album made it to #12 in the Official Album Charts this Summer

“I’m absolutely thrilled about the launch of the Official Folk Albums Charts presented by Manchester Folk Festival” says Tom Besford, Chief Executive English Folk Expo.  “As a genre, folk covers thousands of artists at all career stages and it’s really exciting to see this represented for the first time by the Official Charts Company. For many artists, being recognised through chart placement can be an important step in raising their profile and building new audiences. Now more than ever, English Folk Expo and our valued partners including Showcase Scotland Expo are delighted to work with the Official Chart Company to develop initiatives like this to help to promote folk music.”

Martin Talbot, Chief Executive of the Official Charts Company says, “We are delighted to be supporting this fantastic new chart, celebrating all that is great about British and Irish folk music. The emergence of artists such as Laura Marling, Frank Turner and Kate Rusby as stars of the folk scene while also taking their place in the mainstream charts and award categories, illustrates how much love there is for this genre which is simultaneously one of the most ancient and contemporary genres in music.”

David Agnew, Artistic Director, Manchester Folk Festival adds, “in folk music the album is still an occasion, a work of art and a moment to be celebrated. With the current pause in live touring which normally supports new releases, we’re delighted to support the Official Folk Albums Chart in helping to increase audiences for folk artists in the UK and Ireland.”

Musician Frank Turner; “As an artist who has at least one foot in the folk world, I am extremely excited by the news that there is going to be an Official Folk Albums Chart for the UK and Ireland. It’s a genre that quite often doesn’t get the props it deserves from the powers that be and from the mainstream music industry, and at times that’s been incredibly frustrating. So, it’s wonderful to see the UK Official Charts Company giving it its backing. …fingers crossed, at some point down the road I might even see my name in there!“

Musician Kate Rusby adds, “It’s fantastic news that folk music will now have its own officially recognised chart. This will give hundreds of incredible musicians across the UK and Ireland the recognition they deserve.”

Rising star, Jamie Webster says, “I wrote this album to tell a story about working class life, and that’s what I feel folk music does in a nutshell. So, to be included in this year’s Top 10 Official Folk Chart to date is a massive achievement for myself as it means my album has done its job and people relate to the stories I’m telling. Also, with no gigs at the moment it’s a great way for new people to listen to my music.”

“This is an exciting time for folk and trad music”, says Lisa Whytock, Producer of Showcase Scotland Expo, “The charts will help promote the profile of musicians and will see them recognised for the sales achieved and quality of albums recorded. We also believe the charts will help with the exporting of artists, acting as a benchmark of standing amongst audiences in the UK and internationally.”

Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2’s The Folk Show presenter adds, “Some people might say that folk and charts are odd bedfellows, but I don’t think so. Whatever kind of musician you are, you want to be successful, and imagine the thrill, whoever you are, of being number one in the charts! I’m very proud to be involved with the Official Folk Chart and wish everybody involved with it lots of luck…. here we go!”

The UK’s official biggest folk albums of 2020

To offer a taste of what’s to come in the new monthly folk rundown, the Official Charts Company reveals the UK’s biggest folk releases of 2020 so far. From Laura Marling and Jamie Webster to Shirley Collins and Seth Lakeman, it demonstrates the depth and breadth of the music within the folk genre, much of which enjoys mainstream success.

Laura Marling’s Song for Our Daughter scores the biggest folk album of 2020, so far, having amassed 18,000 chart sales since its release in April and peaking at Number 6 on the Official Albums Chart.

Further mainstream Top 40 success came for 26-year-old Liverpudlian Jamie Webster’s album We Get By , which waspreceded by a live EP, Boss.

The Levellers scored their highest chart position in more than two decades in August when they scored a Top 10 placing on the main Official Albums Chart with Peace – the third biggest folk album released in 2020. Additionally, Kate Rusby debuted at Number 12 on the Official Albums Chart with her lockdown covers album Hand Me Down, the fourth biggest folk album of the year so far.

Seth Lakeman lands at Number 5 with A Pilgrim’s Tale, while Shirley Collins makes the cut with her album of brand-new material Heart’s Ease, plus folk-rock icons Fairport Convention make an appearance with their 29th studio album Shuffle and Go.

Official Top 10 biggest folk albums released in 2020 so far


© Official Charts Company. Based on sales and streaming data of albums released by Folk artists in 2020 up to September 11.

*Of the 40 best-selling folk albums released in 2020, 92.5% were self-released or via independent record labels.


To receive a copy of the monthly Official Folk Albums Chart join our mailing list.

The Official Folk Albums Chart is presented by Manchester Folk Festival and produced by English Folk Expo, the Arts Council England’s Sector Support Organisation for folk, roots and acoustic music in England. Founding partners with English Folk Expo include Showcase Scotland Expo and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

The Official Folk Albums Chart Launch presented by Manchester Folk Festival and hosted by Mark Radcliffe will be live-streamed from HOME, Manchester, 17 October 2020. Audiences can watch the live-streamed event, free of charge, via our social platforms.

For more information, click here:

Thea Gilmore postponed until October 2021

Unfortunately, due to the current uncertainties around social distancing guidelines for events in theatres and concert halls, our show with Thea Gilmore at The Met, originally meant to take place 07/10/20 has now been postponed until Wednesday 7th October 2021.

Current ticket holders will be able to transfer their tickets to the new date – you will be contacted directly by your point of purchase to arrange.

We hope you can attend the new date and are very much looking forward to welcoming Thea for her first EVER tour performing completely solo.

Following her 4th successive chart album, 2019’s “Small World Turning” (‘the most soulful, confrontational music of her career’ said The Mirror) and a rapturously received performance at the recent BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Thea will perform material from all stages of her career.

Accompanying herself on guitar, keyboard and loop station, Thea will give audiences a chance to hear some of her most special songs exactly the way they entered the world – raw, unadorned, delivered intimately by that long revered, hauntingly beautiful voice. As anyone familiar with her acoustic catalogue will testify, the results are set to be spine tingling and the shows promise to be some of the most affecting and personal of Thea’s career.

In that career of over two decades Thea Gilmore has long secured a place as one of the UKs most gifted and celebrated singer/songwriters. Since first stepping out aged 18 she has released 18 albums, 6 EPs, been lauded by titans (Bruce Springsteen, Neil Gaiman) and collaborated with roots royalty (Billy Bragg, Joan Baez, Waterboys). She recently performed on BBC Radio 2 with Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, contributed songs to the soundtrack of BAFTA winning film “Bait” and continues to explore new musical boundaries. 

Tickets for the new date of Wednesday 6th October 2021 available here.

COVID-19 Audiences Survey

As you know, this year Manchester Folk Festival will not take place as we play our part in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Although this is a challenging time for us all, it is also an opportunity for us to take some time to plan for how we can bring you events again in the future.

We have no past experience to draw upon for a situation like this – so we really need to hear your thoughts on the current situation and how you feel about attending events again at some point.

We have worked with our partners, Indigo to develop a short online survey which is available here. We would be grateful if you would spare us a few minutes to complete it. Your responses are completely anonymous, and will be used to inform our own planning, as well as being added to responses from all over the UK to help produce a national picture.

Indigo will only have access to your responses for analysis purposes, and will not be able to see any of your personal information.

Many thanks for your support in the past, and we look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Manchester Folk t-shirts now available to buy online!

Every year we get lovely feedback about our festival t-shirts and they always sell out. So we’ve decided to make them available to buy online. Although the festival isn’t able to go ahead in 2020, by purchasing a t-shirt or hoodie you are helping to support the future of the festival (and ensuring you’re a style icon – obviously!).

Folk t-shirt specialists, Mudchutney, will be providing their print-on-demand service which means there’s no waste and no boxes of odd colours and sizes collecting dust and creating trip hazards in our office. So it’s good for the environment and pleases our Health & Safety officer. It does mean shipping times aren’t the speediest though, but patience is a virtue, yes?…..

T-Shirts are priced from £17.99 plus £1.50 P&P.
Hoodies are £23.99 plus £1.99 P&P.
Free delivery on orders over £40.
To view styles or order click here.

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