The Folk Forecast: 11–31 Oct 2021

It's our first birthday! Read on for news from Hartlepool Folk Festival, Kathryn Tickell, O'Hooley & Tidow, Salt House, Mel Biggs and more.

Hello, and welcome back to The Folk Forecast, which is celebrating its first birthday! This is the 45th issue, and in that time we’ve helped to promote countless gigs, supporting artists and audiences through some of the oddest and scariest times in our lives. At some points, it’s been been really tough to keep going, but I’m glad that I have - and thank you to those who have stuck with me. The newsletter has helped me to build a different life for myself in this strange new landscape and I hope it’s proved useful for you too.

When we were in lockdown, I spent every weekend putting issues of the newsletter together, but as life gets busier I need to find a balance to have a bit more relaxing time back, so I’m going to start doing it on a monthly basis after this. That way, I can still keep it going but find a little bit more much-needed time for myself.

Thanks again for reading, and if you’ve found the last year of newsletters useful, you can get us a virtual birthday drink on Ko-Fi. Thank you!

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This week’s playlist

Head over to this week’s playlist to hear a selection of tracks from artists featured in this issue. Listen to something new, and see which gigs you might fancy going to!

Listen to the playlist


THURSDAY 14 OCTOBER


Jeni Hankins & Alfred John Hickling — 7.30pm BST

Rosslyn Court

Rosslyn Court presents Jeni Hankins and Alfred John Hickling for an evening of old time singing.

Hybrid gig. The first hour of the performance will be livestreamed free of charge (donations encouraged). The second half will be exclusively for the in-person audience.

Find out more


FRIDAY 15 OCTOBER


Afternoon Tea Special with Paul Walker & Karen Pfeiffer — 4pm BST

Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer on Facebook and YouTube

Join Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer live from their tour in Baden-Württemberg in Germany, streamed from The Blue Carpet Stage. Expect tea, chat, music and some special guests!

Free to view, with donations encouraged.

Find out more


SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER


Hartlepool Folk Day Online — from 12.45pm BST

Hartlepool Folk Festival

Hartlepool Folk Festival presents a day of online folk. The schedule includes…

  • 12.45pm - An Hour or So with Norma Waterson

  • 2pm - Whole Lotta Rosey - The songs of Tony Rose, featuring The Melsons

  • 3pm - Folkies on Film

  • 3.30pm - Babbacombe Lee - A sneak peek at next year’s flagship production

  • 8pm - Martin Carthy 80th Birthday Concert, with Eliza Carthy

Whole Lotta Rosey and Martin Carthy concerts £15 each

Find out more


Mel Biggs and Friends* — 8pm BST

Live to your Living Room

One of the UK’s leading diatonic accordion players, Mel Biggs, is celebrating the launch of her debut solo album From Darkness Comes Light with an online gig this week. The album itself is an exploration of moods set to music, rooted in English Morris and Northern European folk but with reflections of Philip Glass, Yann Tiersen, Hans Zimmer and The Penguin Café Orchestra in the mix. Check out my interview with Mel for the Live to your Living Room blog to find out more.

Tickets £15, with options to pay a bit more or less depending on your circumstances.

Find out more


SUNDAY 17 OCTOBER


Hudson Records Songwriting Masterclass: ‘Collaboration’ with Lucy Farrell and Jenny Sturgeon — 11am BST

Hudson Records

Hudson Records are running a series of songwriting masterclasses, giving you the chance to learn from some of the finest songwriters around! This time, Lucy Farrell and Jenny Sturgeon explore collaborative writing.

Attendance is on a ‘pay what you can’ basis - email songwriting@hudsonearth.org to sign up.

Find out more


TUESDAY 19 OCTOBER


Tuesday Folk People: Germa Adan — 8pm BST

Home Stage on YouTube and Facebook

Home Stage are hosting ‘Tuesday Folk People’ every week, with different artists invited along each time to showcase their music and tell us their story. This time, they’ll be chatting to Germa Adan. Germa is also playing at Rosslyn Court on 23rd October, so this could be a great opportunity to find out more about her before watching the concert.

Free to view

Find out more


FRIDAY 22 OCTOBER


EFEx Presents Manchester Folk Festival: Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening, plus support from The Last Inklings* — 7pm BST

English Folk Expo / Manchester Folk Festival

I’m really looking forward to heading to Manchester Folk Festival this year, but if you can’t make it along in person, you can livestream two of their headline gigs. First up, it’s Kathryn Tickell and the Darkening, a band that explores Northumbrian songs and tunes as well as influences from around the globe. They’ll be supported by The Last Inklings, a duo whose innovative and genre-crossing sound is centred around cello, mandolin and vocal harmony.

Tickets £12, or £20 for both Manchester Folk Festival gigs.

Find out more


SATURDAY 23 OCTOBER


EFEx Presents Manchester Folk Festival: O’Hooley & Tidow, plus support from Lunatraktors and John Kelly* — 7pm BST

English Folk Expo / Manchester Folk Festival

The second gig being livestreamed from Manchester Folk Festival is with O’Hooley & Tidow, the much-loved duo best known for writing Gentleman Jack. They’ll make you laugh and cry, and their amazing partnership is enough to warm anyone’s heart. They’ll be supported by both Lunatraktors and John Kelly, so you can enjoy the real festival experience with a full evening line-up.

Tickets £12, or £20 for both Manchester Folk Festival gigs.

Find out more


Germa Adan’s Band — 7.30pm BST

Rosslyn Court

Germa Adan and her band have Haitian, American and British folk influences. They’ll be playing live from Rosslyn Court in Margate.

Hybrid gig. The first hour of the performance will be livestreamed free of charge (donations encouraged). The second half will be exclusively for the in-person audience.

Find out more


Steel Songbirds* — 8pm BST

Live to your Living Room

Steel Songbirds are Marilla Homes (ex-Melbourne) and Emily Eastwood (ex-Birmingham), both now happily based in Sheffield. The a capella duo formed in 2017 when they wrote their first song together, T’Internet Dates. Hilarity has been a key part of their performances ever since. They released their debut album Sheffield Made in March 2019, a mixture of songs both poignant and comic; originals, covers and traditional songs including local history and strong female protagonists. They love to share the stories behind the songs as well.

Tickets £15, with options to pay a bit more or less depending on your circumstances.

Find out more


TUESDAY 26 OCTOBER


Salt House* — 8pm BST

Live to your Living Room

Salt House features Jenny Sturgeon, Ewan MacPherson and Lauren MacColl. From new songs to ancient ballads, they sing about everything from places and politics to landscapes and birds. Their album Undersong has been praised by folk bible fRoots for bringing “startling freshness” to the British song tradition.

Tickets £15, with options to pay a bit more or less depending on your circumstances.

Find out more


Tuesday Folk People: The Lost Trades — 8pm BST

Home Stage on YouTube and Facebook

Home Stage are hosting ‘Tuesday Folk People’ every week, with different artists invited along each time to showcase their music and tell us their story. This time, they’ll be chatting to The Lost Trades.

Free to view

Find out more


Highlights in person

  • London Roots Festival is at Kings Place from 3rd to 10th November, including Vulpes from Maz O’Connor, Còig, Declan O’Rourke, Martin & Eliza Carthy, Folk on Foot* on Film 2: The Front Room Festival Story, Kathryn Williams, McGoldrick McCusker & Doyle, and Talisk. Find out more.

  • As mentioned previously, Manchester Folk Festival* is taking place from 21st to 23rd October, with a fantastic line-up including Spiers & Boden, Gigspanner Big Band, Sam Lee, Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening, The Breath, Hannah James & Toby Kuhn, Granny’s Attic* and loads more. Get all the info.

  • Musicport festival in Whitby is running from 22-24 October, with a line-up including Narthen, Lady Nade, Le Vent du Nord, Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, plus lots more. Get all the details.

  • If you fancy a musical break, Moonrakers are hosting a Folk Orchestra residential course from 9-11 December near Minehead in Somerset. The course includes two full days of multi-instrumental group arrangements, playing and tuition for intermediate players, with full board included. Call 01643  821425 to find out more, or see their full gig listings.


Record of the week

Record of the Week is The Brickfields by Granny’s Attic*, which was released on 8th October. Now, full disclosure, I am Granny’s Attic’s agent, so I know I’m a bit biased, but this is a truly beautiful album that wholeheartedly deserves every bit of recognition. The band have been playing together for the last 12 years, and this album really sees them reach new levels both as musicians and as composers. Traditional tunes and original pieces flow together seamlessly to create one whole, which really showcases what the trio are made of.

As well as performing the tunes themselves, Granny’s Attic are also encouraging you to ‘build your own Brickfields’. If you fancy taking part, you can get a copy of their digital tunebook and learn some tunes from the album yourself (or sing, dance, write - however you feel you want to respond to the music). The band would really love to see what everyone comes up with!

Get your copy


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The Folk Forecast is created for artists, for audiences and for the UK folk scene. All information is correct to the best of our knowledge. If you have queries about the events listed, please contact the artists or promoters. If you have any suggestions for inclusion in future newsletters, please email TheFolkForecast@gmail.com. We may not be able to include absolutely everything, but we’re interested in UK folk events with a broad appeal, and would particularly welcome suggestions from Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Folk Forecast is compiled by one person, so please bear with me if I can’t get back to you right away.


* Alongside The Folk Forecast, I work with other organisations including Folk on Foot, Fancourt Music, Live to Your Living Room, English Folk Expo and Polyphony Arts, as well as individual artists including Jo Freya. Events where I have some involvement with the promoter, agency or artist are marked with a star for transparency. Although I have other affiliations, I strive to be fair and inclusive and tell you about anything I think you’ll enjoy!