Bath Folk Festival and Traditional Music Summer School


Now in its ninth year, Bath Folk Festival runs from 11th – 19th August 2018 and presents great opportunities for players and listeners alike.

The festival features concerts, lively pub and café sessions, storytelling, dance and the popular Bath Traditional Music Summer School, where students learn traditional music for five days under the tuition of a team of respected players.

This year’s line-up reflects many traditions and cultures. Artists include the pioneering Irish guitarist John Doyle, travelling troubadour Rory McLeod, Swedish vocal quartet Åkervinda, acclaimed Irish singer Alan Burke, the highly anticipated new duo John Dipper and David Malkin, and festival favourites Beth Porter and the Availables.  The festival will also host performances by Georgia Lewis, Wes Robinson, Johnny Coppin, Kevin Brown, Louise Jordan, The Bookshop Band, Matt Tighe, Tad Sargent, Nasrudin, Tom Moore, Archie Churchill Moss, and many more.

The festival is delighted to welcome back the talented young musicians from Ards Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, an award winning dynamic youth music and dance troupe from Bangor in Northern Ireland, who will be performing a free concert at Green Park Brasserie with Bath Folk Youth Band.

The Bath Traditional Summer School will feature new classes in tenor banjo and mandolin, singing and Irish dancing, in addition to the ever-popular fiddle, flute, piano accordion, guitar classes.  Tutors include Karen Tweed, Catriona MacDonald, Rachel Cross, Gabi Maas, Gerry Hegarty, Katherine Mann, Claire Watts, Tom Kimber and Rebecca Hills.  The Summer School welcomes players and dancers of all standards – from novices looking to get a solid grounding to experienced players looking to sharpen their skills.

Bath Folk Festival celebrates all flavours of traditional music, from English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh music to Americana, gypsy jazz, French, bluegrass, Balkan, world folk and more. Whatever your taste, there will be something for you in Bath between Saturday 11th – Sunday 19th August 2018.

Festival website:

More details of Summer School events

Venue: Bath Studio School, Frome Rd, Bath BA2 5RF

Cost: Adults: £170 for 5 days of tuition (10-4pm)

Children (under 16): £120 for 5 days of tuition (10am-4pm)

Classes in flute, Irish whistle, recorder, guitar, accordion, fiddle (aka violin), mandolin, tenor banjo, Irish dancing (soft shoe) and part-singing

Classes run each morning from 10am-1pm with a break for refreshments.

Additional (optional) afternoon mixed instrument ensemble class (only available for those participating in morning classes): 2-4pm (no charge)

This additional afternoon class offers students the opportunity to learn in a larger mixed instrument ensemble led by the world-renowned Shetland fiddler, Catriona MacDonald, who is also a leading tutor on the Newcastle University Folk Music degree course. The ensemble will then lead a mass busk in the centre of the city on Friday afternoon.

The Summer School is aimed at musicians of all ages and standards (age 8-80+) who want to develop their technique and learn new repertoire from outstanding tutors in a non-threatening and relaxed environment. The focus is on enjoying music and learning together in small supportive groups. This is not a course for people who have never played their instrument before, but beginners, intermediate and advanced players are all welcome.  An ability to play by ear is a definite advantage and it is a good idea to bring some kind of recording device e.g. a mobile phone to keep track of new tunes learnt.

Quote from Rachel Barrett (summer school coordinator)

“The summer school offers such an amazing opportunity- over 50 musicians, young and old, all at different stages in their musical journey, supporting and encouraging each other whilst learning from some of the best tutors in the business. All this, right on our very own doorstep. I can’t wait!”

“This year’s summer school promises to be the most exciting yet, with so many new classes on offer.  You can come with your family and learn together or come on your own and make new friends. Either way it is a fantastic chance to enjoy your music-making and develop your skills.”

The 2018 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2018 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated last year. The nominations, in eight categories, come from our ever-expanding team of writers and were wrangled into shape with considered argument and arm-wrestling by the Folkmeister and the Editor.

There are five nominees in each category, all of whom have impressed our writers during 2017.

As with the format last year, all are winners in our eyes, as are quite a few who didn’t make the short list. However, it’s not just down to what we think, so again, there will be a public vote to decide the overall winner of each category.

*The Public Vote for each category will close at 9.00pm on Sunday 1st April (GMT+1).

Soloist Of The Year

 Jon Boden
Ange Hardy
Daria Kulesh
Richard Thompson
Chris Wood

Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!


Best Duo

Kate & Raphael
O’Hooley & Tidow
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp
Winter Wilson

Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!


Best Band

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Merry Hell
Peter Knight’s Gigspanner
Police Dog Hogan
The Unthanks

Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!


Best Live Act

CC Smugglers
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
Fairport Convention
Merry Hell

Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!


Best Album

Bring Back Home – Ange Hardy
Pretty Peggy – Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Long Lost Home – Daria Kulesh
A Pocket Of Wind Resistance – Karine Polwart/Pippa Murphy
Strangers – The Young ‘Uns

Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!


Best Musician

Kevin Crawford
Seth Lakeman
Richard Thompson
Karen Tweed
Ryan Young

Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!


Rising Star

Sam Brothers
Siobhan Miller
Jack Rutter
Sound Of The Sirens
The Trials Of Cato

Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!!


Best International Artist

Rodney Crowell
Anna Coogan
Michael McDermott
Le Vent Du Nord
The Wailin’ Jennys

Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!


If you would like to consider ordering a copy of an album for any of our award winners (in CD or Vinyl), download an album or track or just listen to snippets of selected songs (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Use the left and right arrows to scroll.

Buying through Amazon on helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Folkies 2018

JOHNNY COPPIN – All On A Winter’s Night (Red Sky Records RSKCD121)

all on a winter's nightChristmas is nearly upon us, and acclaimed Gloucestershire singer/ songwriter and Radio Gloucester presenter, Johnny Coppin is currently on his annual tour taking the All On A Winter’s Night Christmas concert to various place in the country. Johnny has been doing a run of Christmas concerts in December for a number of years, with various musicians in his band such as Paul Burgess, Dik Cadbury, Karen Tweed, and Geoff March. Sadly missing is the guitar playing of Mick Dolan, who died in 2014, and who had played in bands with Johnny for a number of years, going back to his Decameron days.

Johnny decided to put some of the lovely songs which are played at these concerts on an album, and it has now just been released.  All of the above artists play on the new album with the addition of Steve Trigg on flugelhorn and trumpet and percussionist David Pickering-Pick.

This album is a real treat to listen to, a selection of songs that warm you for the Festive season and midwinter.  Johnny has a lovely melodic voice that brings out the best in all these tunes, whilst playing his haunting keyboard in his own inimitable way.  I’m not a big fan of Christmas, but love this album, as it takes us back to the true value and meaning of Christmas.  Not about rushing out to feed retail outlets and less meaningful things.  It’s about the true tradition and anticipation of Christmas, of family and reunions, of loved ones not present, The Nativity and all things of midwinter including warm fires!

The tracks included on the album are ‘All On A Winter’s Night’ – a lovely intro, that conveys the joy of anticipation of Christmas, ‘Counting The Hours To Christmas’ – a song of reunion, ‘The Christmas Star’ ( by Kimmie Rhodes) which is one of my favourite tracks, ‘Halsway Carol’ (by Nigel Eaton) named so after Halsway Manor – the National Centre for Folk Arts based in Somerset, ‘Welcome In Another Year’ (by Zoe Mulford), ‘A Connemara Christmas’ written by the late Mick Dolan, especially for the Christmas shows, ‘Snow In The Street’ (from a poem by William Morris), and classics like ‘God Rest You Merry Gentlemen’, the traditional carol ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ (to Gustav Holst’s tune ‘Cranham’) which we all know and which is a fabulous version on this album, ‘Gabriel’s Message’ (A Basque carol with English words by the Reverend Sabine Baring Gould from Devon), and ‘O Holy Night’ – which you may not know – is a 19th century carol.

All the photos on the album are by Martin Fry, who does the amazing pictures for the Christmas shows and the album is on sale at the Christmas concerts in December 2016. Alternatively purchase through Johnny’s website where you can also find out where Johnny is out on tour.

Jean Camp

Artist’s website:


PAUL ARMFIELD Found (PSA Records)Born in Birmingham and now based in the Isle of Wight, singer-songwriter Armfield’s sixth album is a collection of 15 songs inspired by photographs found over the years by his friend, Elinor, in the flea-markets of Berlin.

Held in high regard by Guy Garvey and Chris Difford, Armfield’s a workmanlike craftsman and storyteller in the manner of McTell, Scott Walker and Harvey Andrews, his voice smoky and warm, his delivery relaxed, his guitar playing deft but unshowy and his heart on his sleeve.

Opening with ‘Elinor’s Eyes’, a finger-picked acoustic nod to the album’s inspiration, it first shifts into up-tempo jazzy mode with the double-bass driven ‘Of Sky And Sea And Sand’ and then to the swirling strings, harp, brass and woodwind arrangement of ‘The Dubious Trinity’ which, inspired by a snap of three women on the parapet of a church, makes reference to Cohen’s ‘Sisters of Mercy’.

Like Walker, Armfield has been a Jacques Brel interpreter, and you can hear the influence on the likes of the gossamer ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Wind-Up Gramophone’, while, elsewhere, the two-minute, woodwind-streaked ‘The Secateur Sisters’ conjures the serious side of Jake Thakray and ‘Reflected In My Heart’ is a yearning, Gaelic-tinted piano and military drum beat slow march.

As they say, every picture tells a story, and, one of three tracks featuring Karen Tweed on accordion, ‘Round The Tree’, a rousing, brass-burnished Christmas family and friends gathering song, offers a striking contrast to the poignant, sadness-soaked melancholy of ‘Beneath The War Memorial’, while, with flamenco-coloured guitar melody and mournful violin, ‘The Boy In The Picture’ muses on the fate of a child taken in 1942. Snapshots of time, there is no record of who the people in the photographs were, but, through Armfield’s songs and imagination, they have been given life anew.

The Found photos are being exhibited at Dimbola Lodge, the former Isle of Wight home of pioneering Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, until the end of the year and at the Spring Arts Centre in Havant until the end of November, while the album is being released in a limited signed and numbered edition of 1000, in a matt black box containing the CD and 16 postcards featuring the photographs and the lyrics.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website:

Found – the preview:

Johnny Coppin – Borderland (Red Sky Records RSKCD120)

BorderlandJohnny Coppin’s latest album, Borderland, is a collection of songs from England, Ireland Wales and the US. Johnny also has an impressive list of guests singing and playing on the album – Karen Tweed, Paul Burgess, Mike Silver, Geoff March, John Neilson, Kevin Harcourt and David Pickering Pick who all have their own successful careers in their own right.

Borderland is a stripped-down acoustic album with a ‘live’ feel.  Shut your eyes and you have him in your living room or as a passenger in your car. The songs are about ‘real’ people and experiences, about war, romance and feelings. Twelve songs for your delectation and all of them are superb.  The three songs in the “war” section are gut-wrenching and bring home the horrors of WW1 and dreaming of home, lying about their age to get to the front and death. I love Johnny’s voice as it is melodic, haunting and just plain fabulous, and he has done a great justice to this album, also playing guitars and piano in his own inimitable graceful style.

The other nine tracks include arrangements of traditional songs.  Self penned numbers include ‘When The Morning’s Here’, ‘Cariad Cyntaf (First Love)’ and the title track tune ‘Borderland’ in collaboration with John Neilson.

This album has not been off my player and is already a favourite in my extensive music collection.  Do buy the album, and better still, go see him live! Borderland was produced by having sponsors who are all mentioned on the album cover, and the cover and booklet illustrations were exquisitely produced by Johnny’s partner Katharine Neilson, with design by John Neilson. Very pleasantly packaged and presented.

Johnny will be taking his album out on a tour in the spring of 2014, and the official release date of the album is April 7th. A regular Festival favourite, Johnny also has his own long running successful Acoustic Music show on Radio Gloucestershire every Saturday at 17.30.

Jean Camp

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Check out his website for live gigs:

KAREN TWEED – Essentially Invisible To The Eye – MAY MORNING ADVENTURES MMA6327002

“A novel, an autobiography, a casserole and as close to a self portrait as I am able to create”: Karen Tweed’s own words on the cover of this remarkable solo album. Traditional tunes, original compositions and music from all over the world come together in five long sets.

For the autobiography we must start with ‘Edelweiss’ and ‘Que Sera Sera’, part of ‘Karine’ – all the tracks are named after people, a homage to The Enigma Variations, perhaps – which we can imagine as part of Karen’s childhood. In fact, Karine might really be Karen and Aidan O’Rouke’s ‘Mattie And Karine’s’ from which the set takes its name might just be a happy coincidence. For the novel we must turn, perhaps, to Honoria with three French tunes, one of Karen’s own and one by Jon Swayne. As far as I know Karen hasn’t worked extensively in France so here is an element of fiction. ‘Ffion’, which comprises five original pieces, probably constitutes the self portrait and as for the casserole I’ve pushed the metaphor as far as I wish.

This album is by one player and one instrument and flies by – actually drifts by would be a better description for even on the up-tempo pieces there is no sense of urgency – and is over before you realise it. If you’re not already a fan this is a record to make you rethink the piano-accordion.

Dai Jeffries

Artist Web Link: