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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Manchester Folk Festival - the very best in current folk and acoustic Music

Manchester Folk Festival has a great track record of presenting the very best in current folk and acoustic music, resulting in a rich mix of styles and artists approaching folk and storytelling from different perspectives, and the 5th edition of Manchester Folk Festival will be no exception.

The festival is run by English Folk Expo as an international showcase for English Folk and acoustic artists. Each year 180 music industry delegates join Manchester audiences to see the most exciting artists based in England. This year’s shows take place at HOME, Impossible Theatre, O2 Ritz Manchester, The Blues Kitchen and International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

HOME’s Theatre 2 welcomes two new projects, one using folk and storytelling to revisit stories of social change and one centred around global cultural collaboration. Reg Meuross’ Stolen from God is a song cycle unfolding the history of England’s involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade and new commission, Touchstone, brings together traditional English and Kashmiri songs and tunes.

The festival opens on Thursday 13 October with The Magpie Arc and Lady Maisery: in this show The Magpie Arc launch their highly anticipated first full-length album. Jim Ghedi is joined by Joshua Burnell in HOME. In The Blues Kitchen, Grace Petrie’s show sees two fantastic support artists in Lucy Grubb and GUISE while Impossible Theatre welcomes Rachael Dadd launching her new album, Kaleidoscope. In International Anthony Burgess Foundation we welcome English songsmith, Douglas Dare and The Jackie Oates Trio (“one of England’s finest and most expressive traditional folk singers”– Tradfolk). Thursday’s Festival Club will close day one with rising North-West soul-folk artist John Dhali, Northumbrian fiddler Frankie Archer and country-rock outfit Treetop Flyers.

Friday sees Thea Gilmore headline in HOME now joined by Flo Perlin and Clare Sands. Stolen From God in HOME Theatre 2 is a narrated song-cycle by Reg Meuross about the SW of England’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade with Jali Fily Cissokho,

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and Jaz Gayle. Later in Theatre 2, Moxie brings their own sound of an Irish tradition inspired by global and contemporary cultures. Impossible Theatre hosts Hollie Rogers and fusion upbeat danceable sounds from Me and My Friends.

In International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Lucy Farrell (“Splendidly atmospheric” - fRoots) and Fiona Bevan (“Startling Odysseys” - The Guardian) headline their own intimate shows. Friday closes in the vibrant Festival Club with sets from Jacob & Drinkwater, Will Page (Noble Jacks) and The Carrivick Sisters.

Saturday afternoon includes an Irish celebration in HOME as Daoirí Farrell Trio is joined by the “mesmeric” Dani Larkin. David Gibb hosts his Family Jukebox in International Anthony BurgessFoundation and in HOME’s Theatre 2 The Alliance of Kashmiri Arts premieres Touchstone – a commissioned project seeing Lala Qadeer collaborating with Dan Walsh and Alistair Anderson.

Saturday evening’s 02 Ritz show with Will Varley has escalated to what is guaranteed to be a legendary festival evening with the addition of innovative and fiery folk-rockers Holy Moly & The Crackers. In HOME’s Theatre 1, “face of the 2021 Sea shanty revival”

The Longest Johns are joined by Ceitidh Mac (“transformative, progressive and mellow”) and Angeline Morrison. In Theatre 2 The Drystones (“big bad beats for badass barn dancing”) and string accompanied Hannah Moule and the Moulettes bring their contemporary approaches to folk and traditional music. Saturday evening in International Anthony Burgess Foundation welcomes new folk project Pedler // Russell and clarinet and piano ambient exploration by Group Listening. The final Festival Club night on Saturday will feature The Wilderness Yet, SautiKano, and The Ciderhouse Rebellion.

About Manchester Folk Festival |

Established in 2017 as development of Homegrown festival in Bury, Manchester Folk Festival takes place over 4 days in venues around the festival hub venue, Home Manchester. The festival attracts over 2,500 audiences annually attending concerts in venues including Home, 02 Ritz, Gorilla, Yes, Comedy Store and Bridgewater Hall. Previous artists have included Billy Bragg, Afro Celt Sound System, Tom Robinson Band, Will Varley, Eliza Carthy, John Smith, Tunng, The Unthanks, Kate Rusby and This is the Kit.

“Manchester – this is some fucking folk festival!” - Billy Bragg

About English Folk Expo |

English Folk Expo (EFEx) is a charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation which supports the English folk, roots and acoustic music sector through a variety of projects and initiatives including the annual Manchester Folk Festival and its parallel industry showcase attracting music buyers and programmers from across the world and generating over £2m spend on artist live bookings from each event (source: the hub). It also runs an annual artist mentoring programme, hosts an online platform of resources for fans, artists and industry, collaborates with export organisations across the world on initiatives including Global Music Match and produces The Official Folk Albums Chart with The Official Charts Company

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