First Artists Announced for Rochdale Folk Festival!

We’re absolutely thrilled to announce we have 3 fantastic gigs lined up as part of the first ever Rochdale Folk Festival, 4th – 6th June.

Taking place in the stunningly beautiful St Mary’s in the Baum, all 3 gigs will have an intimate, socially distanced audience, but there is also the option to watch the gigs from your home via live stream.

Playing on Friday 4th June we have The Hut People, who will take the audience on a musical trip across the globe, with their hugely entertaining blend of ‘world-folk’.

On Saturday 5th June we bring you an uplifting afternoon of music from The Rheingans Sisters, the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners create cinematic, muscular and richly connecting music that is wholly contemporary while anchored in European folk traditions.

Saturday night brings Jon Boden & The Remnant Strings. Best known as lead singer of the progressive folk juggernaut Bellowhead, with the Remnant Strings Jon performs self-penned songs from albums; Songs From The Floodplain, Painted Lady, Afterglow, Rose In June and up coming release Last Mile Home as well as material from Bellowhead, Spiers & Boden, and his A Folk Song A Day project, in which he recorded 365 folk songs in one year.

For more info on each artist and for tickets click here.

Rochdale Councillor Wins Best Arts Champion Award

Councillor Janet Emsley. Photo Credit: Rochdale Borough Council, Alan Hamer Photography

We were thrilled to hear that Councillor Janet Emsley won the For The Arts, Hearts for the Arts award for Best Arts Champion.

Rochdale Borough has some of the most economically deprived communities, is within the 1% lowest culturally engaged regions in the UK, and external investment into the arts has been stubbornly low. However, Councillor Janet Emsley is a committed and energetic supporter of the arts, and a constant presence on the local cultural scene. Her support is often active: at any given event you might find Janet warmly welcoming audiences, stewarding, handing out leaflets or rallying the ‘troops’ at rainy outdoor festivals.

Here’s what the judges had to say about Councillor Emsley:

Janet sounds like an incredibly passionate and dedicated champion of the arts in Rochdale. Her vital role in ensuring the Dippy Tour came to Rochdale shows the huge impact her work has on her community. I was really impressed by the myriad of ways Janet made valuable contributions and her willingness to adapt to whatever task needed doing. It’s great to see that such an economically-deprived area has someone like Janet who fights for the arts so doggedly. I’m sure she is instrumental in opening up creativity, increasing positive mental health, and sparking inspiration in communities who have not had much access to the arts before. – Francesca Martinez: comedian, writer, actress

What a fabulous contribution to both the arts and the local community! It’s both reassuring and inspiring that there are people like Janet out there, and that she’s making sure that her voice and influence as a Councillor is used to the max to make the world a better place. Really good leadership is always that bit better with a strong dose of raw enthusiasm, and Janet clearly has that in spades. Helen Czerski: physicist, oceanographer, television presenter

Firstly, it was so wonderful to read of Janet’s efforts AFTER being blown away by the Dippy tour project. It’s no surprise that someone of this calibre was part of the team that delivered Dippy to Rochdale. She seems to be at the heart of EVERYTHING cultural or artistic and that level of commitment is inspiring. When art and culture are personified by a passionate and ebullient person things happen even in the most deprived places. They become beacons of light that illuminate everything which is even more impressive with limited resources. Le Gateau Chocolat: drag artiste and cabaret performer

So impressed by Janet’s efforts and obvious talents at motivating her staff , creating collaborations and developing connections that ensure projects get off the ground. She sounds like an incredible asset to have in any community and an ambassado0r for creativity who’s prepared to battle against the odds. – Mariella Frostrup: journalist and broadcaster

Janet is part of the scene, participating in all aspects. She seems to have an un wavering conviction in what she believes is the right way to go and just goes ahead and makes it work. – Paul Hartnoll: musician, composer, founder member of Orbital

It is great to see such passionate advocacy and support from a Councillor on the arts and culture in Rochdale, and someone who puts in such genuine time, support and passion for their local arts and cultural institutions. – Petra Roberts: Cultural Development Manager, Hackney Council (2020 Hearts for the Arts Winners for the Windrush Generations Festival)

The scale of the job Janet Emsley has committed to could hardly be overestimated, but she’s clearly smashing it with energy, devotion and commitment. One person can really make a difference, and Janet’s nomination is a sign of the regard she’s held in by her colleagues and peers. – Samuel West: actor, director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts

Read more about Councillor Emsley’s work and nomination here.

Learn to play from a professional folk musician

Did you know that some of the most amazing folk musicians in the world also offer private virtual one-to-one tuition?

Sam Sweeney

English Folk Expo have collated a list of the very best teachers and performers who offer private online lessons including; Rowan Rheingans, Dan Walsh and Sam Sweeney.

From Banjo to Bouzouki, Fiddle to Flute, Mandolin to Melodeon, there’s something for everyone!

For more details and to see the full list available, head over to the English Folk Expo page by clicking here.

Watch the best ‘at home’ folk performances!

Over the past few months some of our favourite musicians have been keeping their spirits (and ours) up with live concerts from their locked down lives.

English Folk Expo have collated the very best of these performances over on their Lockdown Live page – click here to access.

Daoirí Farrell

If you enjoy these performances we urge you to like, follow and subscribe to the musician’s social media channels, mailing lists and streaming platforms and, if you are able to, we would encourage you to find ways to support your favourite musicians during lock-down by buying CDs and merchandise via their websites or contributing to any crowdfunder schemes or tip jars they may have.

New Dates Announced for Rochdale Folk Fest

It will come as no surprise, but it is with sadness that we announce that our first Rochdale Folk Festival is no longer able to take place in June 2020. The good news is that we have we have rescheduled the festival to 4th – 6th June 2021.

We’ll bring you the very best of local and regional folk music and dance as well as family activities. We’ll showcase and celebrate our vibrant local heritage. It’ll be a great big party, and we’ll all be ready for one by then!

We’re extremely grateful to our partners and host venues for enabling this to happen and for working with us to reschedule the dates so quickly.

Thanks to: Rochdale Borough Council, Rochdale BID, Arts Council England, GMCA, The Medicine Tap, The Flying Horse, Touchstones Rochdale and St Marys of The Baum.

This year is exceptionally difficult for everyone including artists, venue staff and countless freelance professionals who make shows happen. We are working to support the industry at this time and have information on what you can also do to help, including some great live ‘at home’ performances from folk artists here:

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