Free Events

See below for a list of the FREE performances and events happening throughout the festival weekend. 

Friday 17th April

 

The "Real Ceilidh" - Headington Quarry Village Hall 8pm

The "Real Ceilidh" is not just dances but songs, music and entertainment too!  It is a vibrant social expression of our local musical traditions. It is a friendly gathering to celebrate all types of traditional music and dance. Oxford Fiddle Group will host the event and there will be called dances, dance performances, songs and instrumental music by a range of local musicians, singers and dancers. So do come along and participate, or just watch the fun!

There will be no admission charge or ticketing, but there will be a collection for the Folk Weekend and for the upkeep of the village hall.

Real ceilidh at Headington Quarry Village Hall

  

Saturday 18th April

 

Jack Walker - Old Fire Station Gallery 10am

Jack Walker is a local harmonica player and singer supported by Chris Webster on guitar. Jack combines the folk music of England and America, putting his original spin on the music he plays.

May Tumi - Westgate Library 10.15am

With her tender, enigmatic voice Oxford-based singer songwriter May Tumi carefully creates those moments when the heart flickers. With influences ranging from Joni Mitchell to Miriam Makeba, May is a unique performer.

Opening Ceremony - Ashmolean Forecourt 10.30am

Come and join us on the forecourt of the Ashmolean Museum for our now traditional opening ceremony! This year for the first time we have a specially formed Festival Choir, under the direction of renowned singer and musical director Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast, Faustus). We are also delighted to welcome Handy Voices, who will be joining in the performance using British Sign Language. The choirs have been rehearsing through March and April ready to bring you a selection of joyous songs and launch the festival in style!

The Festival Choir will be meeting for five rehearsals in advance of their performance. Rehearsals are Tuesday evenings, except for the final rehearsal which will be directly before the performance, and are open to singers of all ages and abilities.

Click here to join the Festival Choir

A photo of singers at the Ashmolean Museum

Brimstone - Old Fire Station Gallery 10.45am

Brimstone is a 4-piece Celtic folk band comprising of fiddle, whistle, guitar and bodhran.  They bring their traditional, contemporary and original airs, fiery jigs and reels to an Oxford audience. Brimstone played at the 2018 Folk Weekend: Oxford and at Bromyard Folk Festival in 2019.

Tatiana Soloviova - Ashmolean Museum 11am

Tatiana Soloviova is an Oxford based Russian singer, scholar and a music teacher. She has been a prize winner at Oxford Music Festival, Llangollen International Eisteddfod and London International Russian Song Contest, and was described in Oxford Times as an inspirational musician. 

Morris Oxford - Westgate Library 11am

Morris Oxford take vocals, violin, mandolin, piano accordion, and guitar, and they make a big pile of musical instruments on the floor. Influences from the 17th to 21st century inform their programme of music and song.

Madeleine Harwood - Old Fire Station Gallery 11.30am

Madeleine Harwood is an accomplished singer songwriter, performing unaccompanied traditional, popular and original songs. She released her first album of entirely original a cappella compositions, ‘Darkest Part’, in 2017.

Dolly Mavies - Blackwells Bookshop 11.30am

Dolly Mavies is a mix of modern folk and indie rock; with atmospheric sounds and poignant lyrics, Dolly has been likened to artists such as Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Daughter, and Florence and The Machine. She released her EP ‘Reflections’ in 2019.  “we love what she’s doing!” - Bob Harris BBC Radio 2

The Boot Band - Ashmolean Museum 11.45am

The Boot Band is a folk trio based in Oxfordshire, their repertoire spans an eclectic mix of their own tunes, Susanna's self-penned songs, traditional folk songs, covers including Leonard Cohen and Tom Waites, traditional English and Eastern European tunes, and anything else that takes their fancy!

Roary Skaista - Westgate Library 11.45am

A local singer-songwriter, performing songs on the themes of love, nature, diversity and equality, Roary's pure singing voice gives an authentic folk sound to their music and makes them a pleasure to listen to. They challenge audiences on current issues such as mental health, LGBT+ rights, gender equality, and the environment.

My Normal @ Folk Weekend - Pitt Rivers Museum 12-2pm

Ark T’s My Normal music project is dedicated to improving access to music-making for LGBTI+ and for disabled young people in Oxford, and we are delighted to welcome them to Folk Weekend for the first time. This workshop session will be an introduction to instrumental production and beat making, with Kingsley Pratt-Boyden, a music producer from In-Spire Sounds, and Ark T practitioner. Expect a crash course in instrumental track making where the rules are thrown out of the window – pick a genre, pick an instrument and on the spot Kingsley will show you how to produce an instrumental track from scratch using digital production techniques, virtual instruments and sampling. This drop-in session will be interactive and open to all, with a view to giving you a taste of the kind of music projects on offer at the Ark-T Centre. There will also be a chance to discuss the upcoming music opportunities with Kingsley, and how you can join in with the projects on a regular basis.

Click here for more information on the My Normal project

Click here to find out more about Ark T’s My Normal project

Pick up and Play - hands on drop in session with Oxfordshire County Music Service - Pitt Rivers Museum 12-1.30pm

If you’ve ever wanted to try out an instrument but weren’t sure where to start, today’s the day! Oxfordshire County Music Service will be bringing along a truck full of instruments including piano accordions, shruti boxes, bodhrans, whistle, and guitars, and are inviting you to come and try them out. This is suitable for adults and children, so all the family can come and jam together! There will be experienced staff from OCMS there to help, lead by Katie Harris, OCMS Folk Development Lead.

Click here for more information on Oxfordshire County Music Service

Click here for the OCMS website

Little Red - Old Fire Station Gallery 12.15pm

Little Red have garnered praise far and wide for their two albums, ‘Sticks and Stones’ and ‘Draw Blood’.   Inspired by traditional folk music and contemporary song, this acoustic trio blend storytelling and three-part harmony into a spellbinding combination.

Three Pressed Men - Blackwells Bookshop 12.15pm

Firmly rooted in the English tradition, Three Pressed Men perform with voices, hammer dulcimer, guitar, accordions, harmonica … and lots of concertinas! Our music embraces many moods and styles – striking a cappella harmonies, sensitive ballads, lively dance music and rousing choruses.  “A rare joy” – John Kirkpatrick

Blánid - Ashmolean Museum 12.30pm

Exploding into the London folk scene in late 2018, Blánid has been described as “phenomenal” by BBC Radio Kent, “unique” by BBC Music Introducing, and “spellbinding” by Unicorn Folk Magazine. With an emotive blend of indie folk and blues, Blánid’s ability to cast a spell over her audience makes her one to watch. 

Shivelight - Westgate Library 12.30pm

Shivelight features Harriet Power on melodeon and Sam Doolin on fiddle. They play a mixture of English, French and self-penned tunes for dancing.

Hunter’s Moon - Old Fire Station Gallery 1pm

Hunter's Moon is a folk-jazz cafe quartet comprised of Kath Lucas, Susanna Starling, Maria Jurd and Alan Snelling. They play UK, French and eastern European tunes with accordion, piano, double bass, guitar and a whole lot of ‘joie de vivre’. Come tap your toes!

Mark Ashworth - Blackwells Bookshop 1pm

Mark Ashworth is a songwriter, singer and musician rooted in the broad folk tradition. Accompanying himself on guitar and octave mandolin/bouzouki, his songs draw on wide influences, from traditional song and ballad forms to contemporary folk writers. 

Sam Twigg and the Sometimes Band - Ashmolean Museum 1.15pm

Samantha Twigg Johnson sings songs of love, fury, apocalypse and wine-soaked compromise. She also plays flamenco guitar, Puerto Rican cuatro and kazoo. Occasionally she is joined by the aptly named Sometimes Band, featuring Hannah Gray, Joshua Robson-Hemmings and Tracey Rimmel.  

Neil Warren - Westgate Library 1.15pm

Old songs and new favourites, from the worlds of country, folk, blues and contemporary Americana, with Greg Mayston on National steel guitar and banjo, Neil Warren on harmonica and mandolin, Les Calvert on bass and Andy Wilkin on percussion. All performed with zest and sensitivity, full of love for the traditions the songs represent.

Folk Song workshop with Oxfordshire County Music Service - Pitt Rivers Museum 1.30-2pm

Katie Harris and Jon Fletcher from OCMS will teach a few folk songs for everyone to learn. Budding young instrumentalists also welcome, and if you fancy it you can join the band for the Afternoon Shindig at 2pm!

Click here for more information on Oxfordshire County Music Service

Click here for the OCMS website

The Barleycorn Band - Old Fire Station Gallery 1.45pm

The Barleycorn Band are a contemporary folk band from the UK, putting a modern spin on traditional music. With Andrew Roughton on vocals and guitar, Andy Salt on bouzouki, and Teresa Hambrey-Hatton on bodhran, the Barleycorn Band play infectious, upbeat music from Britain and Ireland to make you dance and sing!

 

Jon Wilks - Blackwells Bookshop 1.45pm

Jon Wilks has a great eye/ear for a story, and this shows in his live shows – an amusing mix of folk song performance and conversation. He throws in weird and wonderful titbits about the original singers and collectors that he has unearthed. “The sort of performer folk circles refer to when they talk of the living tradition” – Mike Davies, Folking.com.

Afternoon shindig with Oxfordshire County Music Service - Pitt Rivers Museum 2pm

Wrapping up the day at PRM with an interactive mini-concert for all the family, with Jon Fletcher and Katie Grace Harris. Come and enjoy some folk songs and join in using the instruments provided.

Click here for more information on Oxfordshire County Music Service

Click here for the OCMS website

Mandolirium - Ashmolean Museum 2pm

Showcasing the mandolin with the guitar in all its glory and versatility, Rod Craig and John Somerscales have a shared passion for the mandolin.  They will take you on a musical journey from Turloch O’Carolan to Django Reinhardt; expect blues, bluegrass, Celtic, classical, gypsy swing and more.

John Carrington - Westgate Library 2pm

John has a wide repertoire of songs sung unaccompanied or with chorus. Classical technique and the inherently strong melodies of traditional song are combined to create a beautiful presentation.

BlueJay - Old Fire Station Gallery 2.30pm

BlueJay are Bluegrass duo, Wendy Bartlett and Roger Jackson. With beautiful harmony vocals and well-crafted guitar accompaniment, they sing songs from American folk tradition with wit and fun. They are joined by Dick Embery on bass.

Henderson:Hooper - Blackwells Bookshop 2.30pm

Henderson:Hooper are an Oxfordshire fiddle and guitar duo, featuring Judith Henderson and Nick Hooper, who have been playing together since 2001.  Their set will include traditional tunes, more contemporary ones by writers such as Pete Cooper and John Dipper and ones they have penned themselves. 

Spellwood - Westgate Library 2.45pm

Piano and guitar duo with a love of harmony singing, drawn to songs of heartache, loss and longing.

Xogara - Ashmolean Museum 3pm

Xogara are a multi-instrumental four-piece hailing from Oxford, via Galicia, Wales, and the West Country. They draw on their differing musical traditions and slightly outlandish instrument choices to create thoughtful, exciting arrangements which they play with verve, gusto and charm.

Strannik - Old Fire Station Gallery 3.15pm

The Oxford based trio Strannik, a musical collaboration between Russian singer Tatiana Soloviova and British folk musicians Jon Bennett (guitar, bouzouki, whistles, backing vocals) and violinist Dominic Wilkinson. Their first album 'Songs From Russia' was described as "a beautiful set of Russian songs.” 

Discovery - Blackwells Bookshop 3.15pm

Discovery are Jeff and Elaine Gillett whose voices combine to create beautiful harmonies and sensitive interpretations of traditional and modern folk songs, which they present with warmth and humour. The songs are enhanced by Jeff’s supremely tasteful, restrained yet inventive accompaniments on guitar, concertina, Appalachian dulcimer and mandola. 

 

Jody Wyatt - Westgate Library 3.30pm

Traditional folk, less traditional folk, psychedelic folk and experimentation, Jody delivers a unique style, which is earthly and alluring. Expect fine vocals and a talent on acoustic guitar. "...the full deal of a singer and excellent guitarist… His style reminds at times of the likes of Neil Young" - Blues In Britain Magazine

Hoverhawk and The Emperors of the Moon - Old Fire Station Gallery 4pm

Hoverhawk is made up of Kat Steiner and Rory Morrison, who apply skilful close harmony singing and innovative interpretations to both traditional and modern folk songs. They began singing in pubs around Oxford and have now graduated to the occasional stage and even recorded an EP.  The Emperors of the Moon is a local four-piece band playing lively and thoughtful (mostly) English (mostly) folk. With fiddle, melodeon, banjo, mandola and concertina, their exciting arrangements breathe new life into familiar songs and tunes.

Ben Avison - Blackwell's Bookshop 4pm

Ben Avison is a captivating performer who has been praised for his “beautifully rich voice”, “tasty guitar work” and hailed as a “master of many styles” by the BBC. He has toured and recorded internationally with several artists including members of the Bhundu Boys, Stornoway, and on The Moonbeams’ Daily Telegraph top folk album of 2015. Ben has a new album, ‘Lovers’ Leap’; think Paul Simon, Kris Drever, Neil Young – yet floating above it is a clear English voice with its own stories to tell.

 

Trev Williams - Westgate Library 4.15pm

Trev’s most recent Album ‘Greedy Pigs’ released last year May 2019, termed "heartfelt folk pop”, "emotional honesty and an ability to sound both plaintive and cynical simultaneously”, tackling political and mental health related topics. Trev recently was the Musical Director in the famous Florence Park Pantomime, so expect a mix of all these and some new tracks from his next release!

Reunion Lane - Old Fire Station Gallery 5pm

Reunion Lane are Alison and David Fenner with Simon Diegan. They are an acoustic group who play melodeon, duet concertina, guitar, bass and ukulele, and also perform songs in three-part unaccompanied harmony.  “With their combination of mesmerising vocal harmonies and traditional instruments they really stand out at any event.” (Simon Markland, Thame Music Academy)

Sunday 19th April

 

John Fletcher - Blackwells Bookshop 12pm

Dazzling fingerstyle guitar, gently soulful vocals and songs aimed straight at the heart, Oxford-based Jon Fletcher (Magpie Lane/Oxford Waits/Kismet) weaves strands of English folk, jazz and classic song-writing into a compelling and original take on the troubadour tradition. A recent solo album ‘When the Music Ends’ confirms a reputation both as a songwriter and interpreter of traditional songs. “One of Britain's best acoustic guitarists and a great songwriter to boot" - Nancy Kerr & James Fagan

Tim Brooks - Blackwells Bookshop 12.45pm

Tim Brooks’ solo repertoire is a mix of traditional/traditional-style songs and fiddle tunes, mostly from the British Isles.  Tim accompanies himself on fiddle, guitar and occasional other instruments. His playing style is firmly rooted in dance; playing recently for the Haddenham Hoofers, Tappalachian, step dancer Kerry Fletcher, and his latest ceilidh band 'Threadneedle'.

Sue Brown & Lorraine Irwing - Blackwells Bookshop 1.30pm

With spine-tingling harmonies, inventive arrangements and an engaging presentation style, Sue and Lorraine have captivated folk club and festival audiences across the country. Their great repertoire of largely English traditional songs is performed mostly a capella, with occasional sensitive accompaniment on guitar, shruti box, and Appalachian dulcimer. “delightful... talented singers with a fresh slant on traditional favourites.”

Three Idle Women - Blackwells Bookshop 2.15pm

The Three Idle Women were forged by a shared love of the Oxford Canal and a fondness for close harmony singing, folk music and stories that are carried through song. Working together since 2013, the Oxford trio bring their diverse musical skills, instrumentation and an intimate knowledge of life on, and along, the Oxford canal. 

 

Sunday Sing with Rising Voices - Pitt Rivers Museum 2.30pm

Come and join Oxford’s much-loved folk choir Rising Voices for a Sunday afternoon sing on the balcony of the Pitt Rivers Museum. The choir will perform a few of their favourite songs for you; from sweet love songs to lusty ballads and joyful sing-alongs there is sure to be something you’ll want to join in with!

Rising Voices are a community choir who meet in Cowley every Wednesday evening. They sing mainly British folk songs, though have been known to branch out a little as well! There are no auditions, and you don’t need to read sheet music – pop along and give us a try! Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Man Choir - Blackwells Bookshop 3pm

Man Choir offers something substantially different for those who love singing that is harmonic, heartfelt and of real quality. Created from a diverse group of Oxfordshire men in 2013, Man Choir sings a wide range of classic pop, folk and even polyphonic Georgian material, unaccompanied but with a vulnerability and openness that shares their enjoyment of singing with the audience. The material and the men who sing it will entertain you, make you smile, challenge you musically and move you in surprising ways.

 

17TH-19TH APRIL 2020

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