The Folk Forecast: 31 May–6 June 2021

The first Rochdale Folk Festival featuring The Hut People, The Rheingans Sisters and Jon Boden & The Remnant Strings, plus Martyn Joseph, Maddie Morris and more.

Hello, and hope you’re all having a lovely weekend! The weather has finally taken a turn for the better here in Gateshead, and I’m seeing my parents for the first time in almost a year, so I’m enjoying some family time in the sunshine.

The week ahead has a few goodies in store, including the very first Rochdale Folk Festival. The festival will be held in person with three gigs also being livestreamed to wherever you are, including The Hut People, The Rheingans Sisters and Jon Boden & The Remnant Strings. This week, we’ve also got some special Pride Month events in store, with what may be the UK’s first grassroots Queer Online Folk Festival and a gig from BBC Young Folk Award winner Maddie Morris, which marks the beginning of Pride Month season over at Live to Your Living Room. Read on, have fun and see you again next time.


Covid Sings Singaround — 8pm BST


If you’re missing your usual folk club or singaround, join Fay Hield and fellow folkies from near and far to swap songs over Zoom. Covid Sings is held on the first Tuesday of every month.

Free to attend.

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The Whispering Bobcast Episode 5: Featuring Elles Bailey, Beth Nielsen Chapman & John Hiatt and Jerry Douglas — 8pm BST

Bob Harris / Roots Live

Bob Harris presents Episode 5 of The Whispering Bobcast, an online TV series and podcast featuring live performances, interviews and deep dives into Bob’s own archive of playlists. This time, his guests include Elles Bailey, Beth Nielsen Chapman, John Hiatt and Jerry Douglas.

Free to view, with donations encouraged.

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Tuesday Folk People: Geoff Wilson and Celtic Conundrum — 9.30pm BST

Home Stage on YouTube and Facebook

Every fortnight, Home Stage are hosting ‘Tuesday Folk People’, where they invite two artists from the folk scene to showcase their music and tell us their story. This week, tune in for music and chat with Geoff Wilson and Celtic Conundrum, as they explore their musical journeys so far and perform live over Facebook and YouTube.

Free to view

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Maddie Morris* — 8pm BST

Live to Your Living Room

Winner of 2019’s BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, Maddie Morris has been described by Jim Moray as “leading the next generation of socially conscious songwriters.” Maddie’s music is heavily influenced by international vocal traditions and they have been described by Nancy Kerr as an  “extremely accomplished young singer – not just the possessor of a haunting and delicately ornamented vocal style, but also a performer with serious insight into how to tell a story in song.” This event is opening up Live to Your Living Room’s Pride Month.

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

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Paul Downes and Ian Coles — 8pm BST

Bowes Park Folk Club

Bowes Park Folk Club welcomes guitarist and singer Paul Downes, who has worked with the likes of Phil Beer (Show of Hands), The Arizona Smoke Revue, Pete Seeger, The Joyce Gang and more. Also on the line-up is singer-songwriter Ian Coles, who plays traditional and original songs on guitar and bouzouki.

Free to view

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Olcay Bayir — 6.15pm BST

The Live Room Saltaire / Roots Live

Olcay Bayir takes the audience on a journey into the heart of Anatolia, exploring the music and cultures of a region that often remains a mystery but has always been a melting pot of cultures and full of music.

Tickets £12

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The Hut People @ Rochdale Folk Festival* — 8pm BST

English Folk Expo

This year sees the launch of the very first Rochdale Folk Festival, taking place from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th June. As well as the festival being available to attend in person, English Folk Expo will also be livestreaming three of the concerts, beginning with The Hut People on the Friday night. Taking the audience on a musical trip across the globe, The Hut People perform their own unique brand of world folk, with gigs full of humour and surprises!

Livestream tickets £12 plus booking fee, or £25 for a June bundle ticket which also includes The Rheingans Sisters and Jon Boden and the Remnant Strings. You can also get a 10% discount on tickets by joining EFEx Digital.

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Twelfth Day — 8pm BST

The Globe Newcastle

Twelfth Day – Catriona Price and Esther Swift — are two young Scottish virtuosos who offer a musically ground-breaking blend of chamber music, Scottish folk music, jazz-funk and electronica.

Tickets £7.50, with the option to pay more to support the artists and venue. Stream is available to view for a week.

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The Rheingans Sisters @ Rochdale Folk Festival* — 2pm BST

English Folk Expo

Join The Rheingans Sisters live from the very first Rochdale Folk Festival! Nominated for ‘Best Group’ at the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, The Rheingans Sisters are one of the most visionary acts on the British folk scene. They create cinematic, muscular and richly connecting music that is wholly contemporary while anchored in European folk traditions. Winners of the much coveted BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for ‘Best Original Track’ in 2016, the duo’s 4th album Receiver, out now on bendigedig label (Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita), was one of Songlines Magazine’s Top 10 Essential Folk Albums of 2020.

Livestream tickets £12 plus booking fee, or £25 for a June bundle ticket which also includes The Hut People and Jon Boden and the Remnant Strings. You can also get a 10% discount on tickets by joining EFEx Digital.

Find out more

The Queer Online Folk Festival — 2pm BST

The Queer Online Folk Festival / Lisa Heywood

On Saturday 5th June, it’s time for the UK’s first grassroots queer folk festival (as far as anyone can tell!). LGBTQ+ folks and allies are welcomed for an afternoon of folky fun and community, including talks on queering folk song and dance, a singing workshop, a social dance, an open mic session and breakout rooms.

Free to view, with donations encouraged. You’ll need to sign up to attend the events being held on Zoom.

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Pig’s Ear Folk Ale — 3pm BST

Pig’s Ear Folk Ale

Enjoy a day jam-packed with good music in the best Folk Ale tradition – you will just have to bring your own beer and sit in your own garden to enjoy the sunshine! Featuring John Kirkpatrick, Eliza Carthy, Mazaika, The Lowly Strung, The Hilltop Ceilidh Band and more.

Tickets £25, or £15 to subscribers

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Virtual Accordion Camp — from 4.45pm BST

Virtual Accordion Camp

Whether you’re an experienced accordion player or just starting out, you are invited to join the fun, camaraderie and inspiration of a camp setting from the comfort of your own home. The day will feature an afternoon of workshops with options for all abilities, followed by a concert which will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube and is open for everyone. Tutors include Alex Cumming, Rachel Bell and Jeremiah McLane. The concert starts at 11pm UK time.

Workshop tickets $65 (approx £46), with options to pay a bit more or less depending on your circumstances.

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Jon Boden & The Remnant Strings @ Rochdale Folk Festival* — 8pm BST

English Folk Expo

The final livestream from Rochdale Folk Festival this week comes from Jon Boden & The Remnant Strings. Best known as the lead singer of Bellowhead, Jon Boden continues to be one of the foremost names on the English folk scene. Joined by The Remnant Strings, he’ll be performing songs from his solo albums, material from Bellowhead and Spiers and Boden, and songs from his A Folk Song a Day project.

Livestream tickets £12 plus booking fee, or £25 for a June bundle ticket which also includes The Hut People and The Rheingans Sisters. You can also get a 10% discount on tickets by joining EFEx Digital.

Find out more


Martyn Joseph — 6.15pm BST

The Live Room Saltaire / Roots Live

A unique talent driven by passion, social awareness and love for his trade, Martyn Joseph is a jaw-dropping guitar player who has developed a unique percussive style, teamed with a powerful show stopping voice. Dubbed ‘the Welsh Springsteen’, Martyn has a far-reaching sound that is energetic, compelling and passionate.

Tickets £12

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Steve Turner at Readifolk @ Home — 8pm BST


Readifolk presents Steve Turner, a superb performer with an engaging singing style and amazing concertina accompaniment.

Free to view - email mail to be added to the mailing list.

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Regular events

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

Record of the week

Record of the Week is Something on your Mind/Remembering Mountains by The Breath. This new release marks the 50 year anniversary of the release of In My Own Time by Karen Dalton, a singer whose work influenced the likes of Bob Dylan and Nick Cave but largely went unrecognised in her own lifetime.

Ríoghnach Connolly’s voice is a perfect match for Something on your Mind, a powerful song filled with raw heartbreak. Connolly describes it as a song about survival, and says “for me, being able to channel that in the song was a gift in catharsis.”

The second track, Remembering Mountains, features words written by Karen Dalton which have been set to music by The Breath. Dalton shied away from singing her own songs, preferring to sing those of others, making this particularly poignant.

The Guardian once noted that “Dalton's great gift was to sing lines other people had written as if she'd hacked them from her own soul with a chisel”. What’s clear from this record is that Connolly shares that same gift. Heartfelt and filled with bittersweet beauty, this is a record connecting two kindred spirits singing 50 years apart.

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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 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’m associated with other organisations on the folk scene, including Folk on Foot, Fancourt Music, Live to Your Living Room, Ondervinden theatre and English Folk Expo. Events where I have some involvement with the promoter or agency are marked with a star. Although I have other affiliations, I strive to be fair and inclusive and tell you about anything I think you’ll enjoy!