English Folk Expo (EFEx) is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation which supports the English folk, roots and acoustic music industry through showcasing, audience development, artist mentoring, industry training, international collaborations and sector advocacy.

The next EFEx Showcase is 15th-17th Oct 2020 It is the annual industry showcase for English folk, roots and acoustic music.  Registration is now open via the Registration link on the left. Alternatively for more information about the event, please email info@englishfolkexpo.com

English folk music, as a genre distinct from British Celtic traditions, has experienced a dramatic revival in recent years, seeing a new generation of young, daring and skilled artists emerge, with this explosion of young talent creating some of the best music, of any genre, coming out of England. Meanwhile iconic artists, some of whom first took to the stage in the original folk revival of the 1960s, continue to provide inspiration and unforgettable performances.

Our Mission
For the public benefit, English Folk Expo supports the growth and development of the English folk, roots and acoustic music sector.

Our Vision
English Folk Expo makes a positive difference to the worldwide distribution of the live performance, profile and careers of English folk, roots and acoustic artists by upskilling artists and the industry, creating more and new opportunities for musicians to work in the UK and beyond, cultivating new audiences and strengthening the perception of English folk, roots and acoustic music. All of this directly promotes and educates the public about folk music

Our Values
Artist development
We want the public to enjoy the broadest range of great folk music as possible, identifying with their favourite artists and supporting their career for the long term. To this end, artists should be supported in the development of their professional career to enable them to make the best choices to maximise sustainable careers. English folk, roots and acoustic musicians should be supported to understand their role in the context of the UK and international music industry, enabling them to make informed and appropriate choices especially in the early stages of their careers. This will help them to maintain roles as professional musicians, enabling them to perform for the public often and over a long period of time.

Audience development
More public audiences should be introduced to folk, roots and acoustic music to broaden the size of the audience pool. This may involve working cross genre or reaching out to new audiences to inspire and introduce them to this genre of music. We want to make sure the maximum number of people as possible see and engage with folk music.

Industry development
In order for the public to have enough opportunities to enjoy folk music, we need a strong music industry. The music industry should be supported in promoting and working more closely with folk, roots and acoustic musicians. This could be done through two routes: engaging with existing industry to work more with artists from the genre, and supporting individuals into roles in the music industry such as promoters, agents, labels, management and more.

Advocacy and brand recognition
We want as many people as possible to enjoy and learn about folk music. One identified barrier to this is in the perception of the words ‘English folk’. We will actively work to promote a positive perception of these terms. There are two elements to this objective which can be developed both together and independently. Firstly, the genre of folk, roots and acoustic music should be supported to have a higher profile both within the music industry and also through positive public promotion via media and other campaigns. Secondly, the brand and identity of England and English music should be promoted, advocated and developed positively. Combined, advocacy and brand recognition of English folk, roots and acoustic music go hand in hand with discussions around intangible cultural heritage, identity and tradition. This needs positively promoting and advocating for both within the music industry, politically and publicly.

International development
In order for the public to enjoy folk music, English folk, roots and acoustic musicians need access to markets beyond the UK to grow their audience base, raise their profile and sustain their careers. International development is therefore an essential part of a thriving sector. Partnerships, reciprocal showcasing and cross-border networking should be developed to reach new audiences internationally. This will include an active English presence at international showcases, but will also enable international artists to perform for the public in the UK. This notion of reciprocity forms an important part of audience development, artist development, industry development and brand recognition. It will also support the creation of new touring opportunities for English folk, roots and acoustic musicians internationally and introduce UK audiences to new music from across the world.

A potted history…
From 2013-2016 English Folk Expo was purely and annual showcase held in Bury in Greater Manchester.  In 2017 the showcase moved into the First Street quarter of central Manchester, basing itself at the new £25m arts centre HOME where it is presented in tandem with a new public festival, Manchester Folk Festival, programmed by David Agnew of So It Is Ltd. EFEx Showcase is held the weekend before Womex.

Manchester Folk Festival performances take place across the stages of HOME and nearby venues including Bridgewater Hall, Gorilla, The Ritz and more, with capacities of between 80 and 2500, all found within a few minutes’ walk of the central venue.

EFEx Showcase provides an effective and previously unavailable route into the English folk, roots and acoustic market. Delegates are given access to all Manchester Folk Festival performances, as well as additional industry-only showcases and events which will provide opportunities to make links with and form new working relationships with industry gate-keepers to the folk, roots and acoustic music industry in England.

In 2019, English Folk Expo developed a broader programme of activities which would better support the English folk, roots and acoustic music sector for the public benefit. In addition to the annual Showcase, EFEx now delivers a number of festivals and events throughout the year, including Manchester Folk Festival, Rochdale Folk Festival and a regular programme of concerts across Greater Manchester. We also run programmes for Artist Mentoring and Industry Training, as well as commissioning and creative producing, sector advocacy and expanded international partnership working.

English Folk Expo is supported by Arts Council England (National Portfolio Organisation) & English Folk Dance & Song Society.

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