Manchester Folk Festival is back with another joyous celebration of the best in English folk. With its roots firmly in the traditions of the past but its eyes keenly on the future, 2019’s festival – its third outing – will present the work of exciting emerging artists alongside that of household names. Featuring both large scale and intimate gigs in the heart of the city, HOME will be the festival’s hub, with The Ritz and Gorilla also playing a key part in the proceedings. An intriguing new addition to the venue list this year is Manchester Central, which sits alongside old favourites like The Briton’s Protection, home of the much-loved Sunday Singaround.
This year, Manchester Folk Festival boasts the additional excitement of playing proud host to the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, which will take place on the 16 October. Probably the biggest event in the folk music calendar, these awards celebrate outstanding achievement during the previous year within the field of folk, with the aim of raising the profile of the genre. The awards have been given annually since 2000, and previous recipients include Joan Baez, Cat Stevens, John Martyn, Kate Rusby, Joan Armatrading and James Taylor.
As for this year’s line-up, the recently-announced first wave holds some treasures, with something to please both the purists and the more future-focussed listeners. Ríoghnach Connolly and Stuart McCallum’s The Breath is a particularly exciting revelation. Their exquisitely-written, heartfelt albums Carry Your Kin and Let The Cards Fall are things of bewitching beauty. Other artists announced in these early stages include the aforementioned (and brilliant) Kate Rusby, The Demon Barbers, Ferocious Dog, Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, The Unthanks, Rowan Rheingans and Kathryn Williams.
There is, of course, much more to be announced in the coming weeks and months, so be sure to check back in soon for the latest word!