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.”