Manchester Folk Festival line up announced

Mar 16th, 2018

Here’s an exciting announcement from our festival partner, Manchester Folk Festival:

From intimate traditional concerts to festival fuelled big gigs, Manchester Folk Festival presents a broad interpretation of folk and acoustic including Billy Bragg, Eliza Carthy, This is the Kit, The Wilsons and eagerly anticipated return of tunng.

Manchester Folk Festival
18 – 21 October 2018. HOME, Gorilla, Great Northern Warehouse & The Ritz.
Tickets £6 – £25

After a successful debut in Autumn 2017, the only festival dedicated to promoting and supporting new English folk and acoustic music returns to Manchester for a weekend of large scale and intimate gigs, workshops and singarounds across the city.

With 15 gigs across some of Manchester’s most loved institutions, each venue is less than 10 minutes walk from each other, creating an intimate festival hub centred around creative institution HOME between Thursday 18 – Sunday 21 October 2018. The festival also hosts English Folk Expo, a showcase for the national and international music industry which promotes the English folk, roots and acoustic music sector.

Injected with a new approach to folk, the festival’s programme is carefully curated to invite both innovative and traditional international artists to Manchester for new audiences and returning folk enthusiasts. Each concert sees emerging artists sharing the stage with folk giants and legends across a variety of venues. From punchy punk influences, to the soft traditional song, the festival offers a wealth of diversity within folk, culminating in a richly rewarding weekend of music.

Echoed in Manchester’s political and radical history of protest, folk’s urgency in reflecting the stories of the everyday is more important than ever, creating a relevant voice for a new generation. With an influential political cry that is often embedded in folk tradition, the festival is proud to announce politically charged artist Billy Bragg as part of the festival line up. Touring his new album ‘Bridges Not Walls’, Bragg continues to lead in a conversation inspired by the current political turmoil in Britain today.

The line up also includes alternative folk rock band This Is The Kit, who received widespread critical acclaim for their latest album Moonshine Freeze (2017) and the award winning artist Eliza Carthy and The Wayward Band. Fronting an incredible 12 piece band, Carthy’s brooding and intensely powerful stage presence ensures a visual and musical festival highlight in the unique pop up venue in the Great Northern Warehouse

Reflecting the current growth and interest in traditional song, Manchester Folk Festival hosts legendary vocal harmony group The Wilsons for a Saturday afternoon concert in Home. Listed as an inspiration for much of the current contemporary wave of young traditional artists including The Unthanks and The Young Uns, The Wilsons remain relevant and inspiring in the English tradition of unaccompanied song.

In a night celebrating independent music champions Xtra Mile Recordings, cult performer and protest songwriter for the people Beans on Toast joins punk-folk powerhouse Skinny Lister and Will Varley touring his 5th studio album to further test 02 Ritz’s legendary bouncing floor.

Alongside the focus on English artists, the festival has an annual spotlight on the folk music of another country. Following last year’s partnership with Prince Edward Island in Canada. , in 2018 Manchester Folk Festival’s international partner is Wales, supported by Arts Council in Wales. Amongst the line up is award-winning 9Bach giving a new voice to Welsh language song. Also joining the line up is the multi award-winning collaboration between two adventurous virtuoso musicians Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita. BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2018 nominee Alaw combines an infectious mix of traditional and original folk song, whilst Gwyneth Glyn’s intensely visual songwriting brings the sweeping landscape of Eifionydd, North Wales to Manchester.

Festival producer David Agnew says “Inviting the most exciting artists in Folk today to play in the city’s vibrant and culturally significant music scene, Manchester Folk Festival invites audiences to leave their preconceptions of folk behind and experience this powerful and diverse genre in new and inspiring way.”

“Some star venues and some star acts … the list is endless. It’s good to have Manchester back on the map with a whopping great big festival and this is a whopping great big festival” – BBC Radio 6 Music

Manchester Festival Folk concerts are:

– This is the Kit (with Alice Jones)
– Melrose Quartet (with The Askew Sisters)
– Will Varley (with Skinny Lister and Beans on Toast)
– tunng (with Bird in the Belly)
– Lindisfarne (with Hannah Saunders and Ben Savage)
– 9 Bach
– Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band (with Blair Dunlop)
– Lady Maisery
– Family Ceilidh
– The Wilsons (with Dan Walsh Trio)
– Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita (with Rachael McShane and the Cartographers)
– Billy Bragg (with support)
– Coven (with Alaw)
– Craft and Singing Workshops

Further announcements on the programme will be revealed in Summer 2018.

Manchester Folk Festival is a legacy of the successful Homegrown folk music festival which has previously taken place in Bury each autumn.

Tickets will go on sale Friday 23 October 2018 at Midday. Book tickets via, or HOME’s website at

For full information and tickets see and follow @McrFolkFest and facebook.

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