This Thursday sees the launch of the inaugural English Folk Expo, in partnership with the Homegrown festival at The Met in Bury
The aim of both the expo and festival is to put the spotlight on the traditional folk and roots music of England, rather than its Irish, Scottish and Welsh neighbours. English folk music finally seems to be coming out of the shadow cast by the enduring popularity of Celtic music, both at home and abroad. As a result the organisers hope to ride the wave of this current revival and redress the balance by putting the emphasis on traditional music from England.
For its first edition, the expo has attracted around 100 signed-up music industry delegates – promoters, agents and festival organisers – primarily from the UK but there’s a small quota of international delegates too, mainly from Canada (which boasts its own healthy traditional folk scene), Scandinavia, Malaysia and Germany.
The opening evening will feature a session with BBC DJ and writer Mark Radcliffe [whose Playlist we included in #94]. He’ll be chairing a panel discussing all things to do with English folk with singers Olivia Chaney and Chris Wood, plus fRoots editor, Ian Anderson.
Highlights of the three-day festival include Seth Lakeman (pictured) who will be performing solo and also as part of The Full English group which includes Martin Simpson, Fay Hield, Ben Nicholl, Sam Sweeney, Rob Harbron and Nancy Kerr. They’ll be playing songs from the largest digital archive of English folk music, a new and ambitious project sponsored by EFDSS (the English Folk Dance and Song Society). Other names on the programme include Kate Rusby, Jim Moray, Jackie Oates, O’Hooley & Tidow, Lady Maisery, Sam Carter, the Urban Folk Quartet and Megson.
The expo and festival take place in the town of Bury, located half an hour north of Manchester, conveniently on the city’s Metrolink tram line.