We are pleased to partner with Burrs Live, The Met’s outdoor music venue for summer 2021 to bring you Show of Hands on Sunday 29th August, 8pm.
For this outdoor show Steve Knightley and Phil Beer — undisputed kings of the folk, roots and acoustic scene — will be joined by long-term collaborator Miranda Sykes and master percussionist Cormac Byrne.
With new songs, new sounds, heartbeats and harmonies, you’re in for a real treat!
Tickets cost £25 (inclusive of fees) and are available here.
Burrs Live will be situated at Burrs Country Park from Fri 27 August to Sun 5 September
Utilising two contained fields within the park, the large outdoor space allows for plenty of distancing. The site is suitable for all ages and includes two stages, food and drink provision and plenty of toilets.
Burrs Live encompasses a festival atmosphere – please bring blankets, chairs or whatever you need to enjoy your stay. For more info on the site click here.
We’re absolutely thrilled to be hosting Grace Petrie‘s Manchester tour date at Gorilla on 1st October. Our show takes place just 3 days before the release of Petrie’s latest album ‘Connectivity‘.
Last week saw the release of the first single from the album – ‘Storm to Weather‘ – watch the official video below.
As a successful touring artist the last 18 months have brought many challenges for the independent artist, activist and social commentator. With her sold out tour in Australia cut short due to the pandemic, Petrie, like many others, was forced to commence her longest ever period in one place. The unique circumstance of the pandemic triggered a whirlwind of emotions and responses to a world turned upside-down, a world in which we were suddenly more isolated than ever, yet globally united in common experience. This forced an initially uncomfortable time out and birthed a new chapter in Petrie’s songwriting. The result is honest, exposing and empowering.
Storm to Weather is sparked by personal, political and pandemic-related isolation. It’s a slice of euphoric folk, born to blast away any feelings of defeat. Whether we dare to dream that the pandemic is subsiding or not, Storm To Weather is a gorgeous and emotive keepsake from an impossibly challenging time.
Sharing a little more Petrie explained: “Storm to Weather is meant as a message of hope and solidarity from the midst of chaos and separation. The big band feeling is supposed to speak of the better days ahead, when gigs and hugs and dancing will return. In a time so marked by loneliness and uncertainty, I found enormous comfort in singing this chorus, especially the lockdown mantra: “We will dance again next year”.”
Storm to Weather arrives with news of Petrie’s upcoming album ‘Connectivity’ due for release on the 4th of October and available to preorder on bandcamp HERE. This record comes as the follow up to 2018’s critically acclaimed album ‘Queer As Folk’, a stunning, one of a kind body of work that catapulted Petrie from cult status to mainstream attention. Fiercely independent, the release of Queer As Folk was crowdfunded and saw fans smash the £10k target in less than 24 hours.
Throughout her career, the Leicester-based polymath has won hearts in many different lanes thanks to the multiple, finely tuned, strings to her bow. Scooping praise from the likes of The Guardian, The Observer, Mojo, The New Yorker and Huffington Post, Petrie has also toured with many big names in comedy including Hannah Gadsby, Josie Long, Robin Ince and not to mention being a regular guest on the hugely popular podcast The Guilty Feminist.
This new chapter for Grace Petrie looks to be the most exciting yet. With shows booked across the UK as normal life begins to resume, this ever-evolving artist is here to both entertain and tackle key issues that many are afraid to tackle. Sharing a little more, Petrie explained: “With a planet in crisis, a government hellbent on ever-harsher anti-immigration legislation and with protest itself on the verge of outlaw, the need for speaking out and for the music of solidarity has never felt more urgent.”
Today we announce the final wave of artists joining the line-up for this year’s festival.
On Thursday evening Luke Concannon plays his first UK show in over 3 years in HOME’s Theatre 2. Credited with being one of Ed Sheeran’s main inspirations, Luke performs ‘direct-from-the-heart’ songs with unrivalled passion and commitment.
Also on Thursday 21st October, West Yorkshire’s multi-instrumentalist and singer, Jack Rutter, plays a 60 minute intimate show at Anthony Burgess Foundation at 7.30pm.
Friday 22nd October sees The Last Inklings join the line-up as support for Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening. Earlier this week the band announced their debut album ‘The Impossible Wild’ which comes out on 1st October and is available for pre-sales here.
Below is the video from their second single from the album, ‘Sleeping Giant’.
Also on Friday, we are thrilled to welcome Harbottle & Jonas Trio for another intimate show in Anthony Burgess Foundation (one of 4 show here during the festival, the others being; Sam Carter, Lady Nade and Jack Rutter).
The Devon duo of Dave Harbottle and Freya Jonas have evolved a compelling live signature sound blending concertina, harmonium, banjo, stomp box, acoustic guitar and cittern with their powerful close vocal harmonies. Touring their latest album, ‘The Beacon’, Cornish fiddle player Annie Baylis joins them to form the trio, weaving in her instrument and a third heavenly vocal.
Saturday afternoon (23rd October) sees BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning The Trials of Cato perform in Theatre 2 at HOME. Originally formed as a duo, the multi-talented instrumentalist and singer Polly Bolton has now joined their ranks. The Trials of Cato’s hotly anticipated second album is scheduled for release later this year. Entitled Gog Magog, the album is named both after the mythical giant of Arthurian legend and the Cambridgeshire hilltop, where the new album was birthed over lock down.
Opening for O’Hooley & Tidow on Saturday 23rd October we are pleased to announce two boundary-pushing artists; Lunatraktors – Margate’s ‘broken folk’ duo who rework traditional music with influences from post-punk, trip-hop and queer cabaret and John Kelly a musician and Disability and Human Rights Campaigner, whose songwriting contains all the compassion & conviction of Woody Guthrie and the fiery passion of Billy Bragg.
See the full line-up for this year’s Manchester Folk Festival here.
Each October we bring a fantastic line-up of folk, roots and acoustic music to our Manchester Folk Festival hub venue, HOME, so we were thrilled when the asked us to curate a weekend for their brand-new outdoor stage HOMEGROUND this summer. On the weekend of 7th & 8th August we’ll bring a little taste of Manchester Folk Festival to the summer. Here’s who you can see over the weekend, and it’s all FREE!
If you would like to pre-book to guarantee a table at the HOMEGROUND stage you can do so HERE.
Some artists perform on the City Centre Stage based in St Anne’s Square.
To find out more about the HOMEGROUND summer programme click HERE.
Saturday 7th August
Danny Addision has just released his second four-track EP, Porcelain, drawing influences from classical, pop and folk music. His sound, combining lush string arrangements, intricate guitar work and intimate vocals, explores how life’s hurdles lead to the breakdown of egos, ideas and relationships and how the cracks that form are a painful but essential element in self-discovery.
Lizzy Hardingham is paving her way as a powerhouse performer with “beautifully delivered songs that sing straight to the heart”. 2019 saw her storm the UK folk club and festival scene, including Cambridge Folk Festival, while in 2020 she captivated online audiences with a voice that could fill a stadium and the sensitivity to bring a room to attentive silence.
Dominie Hooper is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and performer and a founding member of international folk ensemble Band of Burns. She has also explored crossovers between music and theatrical performance and has worked extensively in a cappella song-theatre, creating immersive and avant garde choral works. As a solo artist Dominie is currently developing her debut album of original, slightly weird, folk-inspired songs.
Birmingham singer-songwriter Katherine Priddy emerged in 2018 with her debut EP ‘Wolf’, which was named ‘the best thing I’ve heard all year’ by Richard Thompson. June 2021 saw the release of a long-anticipated debut album on Navigator Records, further cementing her reputation as an exciting new artist on the scene. Priddy’s original works are delivered with maturity, depth and tenderness.
Influenced by Sean-nós singing from a young age, Hannah Marie Donelon has used this sturdy grounding in storytelling and tradition to explore the complexities of the past, identity, home and, fan favourite, heartache. With a movement towards alt country, Appalachian vocals and a ‘‘melancholic electricity”, she performs both traditional ballads and her own material.
Mikey Kenney & Stuart Graham perform on Saturday & Sunday.
Mikey Kenney is a fiddle player and balladeer from Liverpool, whose playing is steeped in both English and Irish traditional music. A well travelled musician and a member of the Band of Burns, he has also worked with the likes of Vinicio Capossela (Italy), Dan Haywood’s New Hawks, Victor Herrero (Spain) & Josephine Foster (USA). He is an accomplished recording artist and producer, with his last two solo albums ‘the Reverie Road’ and ‘the Counsel of Owls’ both being rated 5/5 by fRoots magazine.
Stuart Graham is an Irish Bouzouki player and singer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. At home accompanying an assortment of styles and genres, he’s become a go-to accompanist on the Leeds traditional scene. His most recent projects include work with Des Hurley of the Irish Arts Foundation, ‘Exploring The Musical Traditions of County Leitrim & County Fermanagh’. Stuart’s regular outfits include Root & Branch and the Wanton String Band, both of which allow his versatility and style to shine.
This collaborative performance sees Kenney and Graham come together to perform traditional fiddle music from their historic home counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Sunday 8th August
Quiet Houses are an Edinburgh born and Manchester based indie-folk duo made up of Hannah Elliott) and Jamie Stewart. After forming in early 2018, the pair started writing songs rooted in the wistful folk sound-world of Laura Marling and Belle & Sebastian and the quirky lyricism of indie songwriters Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile. Since releasing their debut EP ‘Armchair Tree’ in May 2019 the duo have been championed by Ryan Paul (BBC Introducing Manchester), Shell Zenner (Amazing Radio) Tom Robinson (BBC 6 Music) and BBC Introducing Scotland.
Granny’s Attic – Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne (Melodeon, Concertina, Vocals), George Sansome (Guitar, Vocals) and Lewis Wood (Fiddle, Vocals) – are a folk trio who play the tradition with verve, energy and their own inimitable style. They are all exceptional musicians and fine singers and play English traditional and original music. Since 2009 they have toured across the UK and Europe and been heralded for their lively performances, and delivery and selection of traditional songs.
Manchester based singer songwriter Izzie Walsh has a unique sound that blends country, bluegrass, folk and Americana. Izzie Walsh has built an impressive organic fanbase over the last couple of years. Not only does she have two BCMA Awards and an Indie Week UK award under her belt, but Izzie is also a former BBC Introducing Artist of the Week and has even performed on ITV’s Cold Feet.
Izzie Walsh has a vibrant touring history to date, with performances all across the UK and internationally. She has played sold out headline shows at venues such as Manchester’s Deaf Institute and London’s Slaughtered Lamb as well as co-headlining with the amazing Curse of Lono, and touring Australia with Buckle & Boots Festival. She is a festival regurlar and you’ll be sure to see her all over the festival line-ups again this year! Some of the highlights she has played to date include; Bluedot, The Long Road, Buckle & Boots, AmericanaFest UK and SummerTyne Americana Festival.
Chloe Foy writes a brand of melodic, homegrown music bursting with colourful lyrical and textural inflections evocative of much of the music she loves. Taking inspiration from classical music as much as wider transatlantic trends in folk and indie, Chloe’s songs comprise of carefully constructed arrangements that delicately compliment her cryptic lyrics. Her home-grown sound melds the silvery landscapes of Laura Marling and Fleet Foxes with the emotional integrity of Sharon Van Etten.
With her strikingly beautiful voice and emotionally direct songwriting, Chloe has captured the attention of rapidly growing UK and US audiences. With the release of her singles ‘Asylum’, ‘Flaws’, ‘Oh You Are Not Well’ and ‘In The Middle Of The Night’, she has earnt the praise and airtime of the likes of NPR Radio’s Bob Boilen and the BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq. In 2019 Chloe embarked on a successful UK headline tour before touring the EU and US in support of Jesca Hoop. To top off the year she was named a 2019 BBC Introducing “One To Watch” by Radio 3’s Late Junction.
The Trials of Cato – Formed in Beirut, the band returned to the UK in 2016 and set to performing tirelessly up and down the country, leading to BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe hailing them as “one of the real discoveries on the folk circuit in recent times.” Their debut album, Hide and Hair, gained attention in national publications, receives repeated national airplay on BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music, and won Best Album at the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Following a year of wall-to-wall touring across the UK, Europe, and North America in 2019, the band’s march was halted by the live silence of the global pandemic. Now, they emerge from their chrysalis transformed. As ever, ‘The Trials Continue’ – but this time the multi-talented instrumentalist and singer Polly Bolton joins their ranks.
The Trials of Cato’s hotly anticipated second album is scheduled for release later this year. Entitled Gog Magog, the album is named both after the mythical giant of Arthurian legend and the Cambridgeshire hilltop, where the new album was birthed over lockdown.
After they wowed us at MFF2019 we are excited to announce that Taliskreturn 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 (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.
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.
“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.”