Manchester Folk Festival launches its 2025 line-up

Manchester Folk Festival

Manchester Folk Festival makes its eagerly awaited return to the city’s Northern Quarter and Ancoats’ best-loved venues on Thursday 20th – Saturday 22nd March 2025. Moving from its regular October slot, the event is now “a springtime staple for music lovers” (Tradfolk), promising even more music, Morris dancing and merriment this March.

The three-day celebration will once again bring together the finest contemporary and traditional folk, roots and acoustic music England has to offer, across some of Manchester’s most iconic venues, including Band on the Wall, Hallé St Peters, Night & Day, The Castle, Hallé at St Michael’s, The Stoller Hall and New Century Hall.

Today, Manchester Folk Festival is delighted to reveal its second wave of acts: Bernard Butler, Stornoway, Cara Dillon, Lisa Knapp & Gerry Diver, Ferocious Dog, The Magpies, Josienne Clarke, Memorial, Miranda Sykes & Jim Causley, Nick Cope, Honey & The Bear, Jaywalkers, Captain of the Lost Waves, Oli Matthews Band, John Kelly and Hector Gannet.

The festival acts as the host for English Folk Expo, an international music industry showcase for the most exciting artists from or based in England. Running parallel to the festival, it brings together 200 delegates with Manchester audiences.

Festival wristband holders will have access to all performances, allowing them to tailor their experience to their tastes, switching effortlessly between intimate spaces and main stages. Wristband perks for 2025 also include access to exclusive concerts, an opening reception and a singing workshop with Jon Boden.

The lowest price festival wristbands are available until Friday 20th September, after which the price will rise.

As always, Manchester Folk Festival offers more fun than you can shake a stick at, with performances from local Morris dancing sides, various singing and craft workshops and their ever-popular free traditional singarounds and sessions, where musicians gather to play traditional tunes for themselves and listeners.

Band on the Wall will once again be the bustling festival hub for three days of activity, with emerging folk-influenced artists performing on their bar stage and their lively late-night Festival Club making its much anticipated return.

Further acts will be announced soon, alongside details of international showcasing artists, individual concert tickets and specific venue information. Individual concert tickets for the Nick Cope and Katherine Priddy shows are available now.


Manchester Folk Festival’s second wave of unmissable and eclectic artists features exciting emerging talent, renowned icons and returning favourites:

Since stepping away from the limelight in 2015 after a glorious decade of much loved releases, Oxford’s Stornoway have finally reunited. The nature-inspired band will headline New Century Hall performing choice cuts from 2023’s Dig The Mountain alongside breathtaking fan favourites.

Bernard Butler is hailed as one of Britain’s most influential musicians. Since Butler’s era-defining work with Suede, the multi-award-winning artist, producer and songwriter has collaborated with legends such as Bert Jansch, Robert Plant, Pet Shop Boys, Bryan Ferry, Duffy and The Libertines. Recently, he has released two critically acclaimed albums with Sam Lee and unveiled ‘Good Grief,’ his first solo record in 25 years.

Cara Dillon will be bringing her celebrated Coming Home show to life with an extraordinary band led by Sam Lakeman. Born from a collection of personal poems and the remarkable album and book that followed, Cara will skillfully interweave this emotive new material with much treasured classics.

Josienne Clarke presents ‘Across The Evening Sky: Josienne Clarke Sings The Songs of Sandy Denny’ following her highly praised new album, Parenthesis, I. She describes Denny’s songs as her north star, stating, “each one has gold in it.” If any contemporary performer is set to extract that gold and fashion it anew, it’s Josienne Clarke.

Ferocious Dog will deliver their riotous signature blend of folk punk, rock, reggae and Celtic influences. Meanwhile, transatlantic folk trio The Magpies will showcase their luminous songs of sisterhood and solidarity, blending first-class musicianship with sublime harmonies.

Two of the UK’s most iconic voices, Miranda Sykes & Jim Causley will appear in support of their upcoming album The Last Of The Singers, which features traditional and contemporary as well as self-penned songs. Another dynamic duo, Lisa Knapp & Gerry Diver will present an innovative new project that fuses their deep love for their respective English and Irish folk traditions.

Described by The Guardian as, “the Poptimistic Pied Piper of discerningly musical toddlers,” Nick Cope has been igniting children’s imaginations with his totally unique, educational and fun songs for over ten years.

Festivalgoers can also enjoy high-energy sets from folk-funk outfit Oli Matthews Band, roots multi-instrumentalists Honey & The Bear and virtuosic Americana trio Jaywalkers. Life-affirming singalongs won’t be in short supply either, with idiosyncratic troubadour Captain of the Lost Waves, tender alt-folk duo Memorial and politically charged songwriters Hector Gannet and John Kelly all appearing.

These artists join Manchester Folk Festival’s previously announced lineup: The Longest Johns, Katherine Priddy, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, Nick Hart and Tom Moore, The Deep Blue, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and Holly Clarke.

The lowest price festival wristbands are available until midnight on Friday 20th September, after which the price will rise. The wristband allows access to all Manchester Folk Festival gigs happening between Thursday 20th – Saturday 22nd March 2025 (T&Cs apply).

Tom Besford, Chief Exec of English Folk Expo:

“The response from audiences and artists to last year’s festival was incredible. We cannot wait to see our fantastic venues buzzing with the very best in live folk and acoustic music enjoyed by packed audiences discovering new favourites and joining us for three very special days.”

English Folk Expo and Manchester Folk Festival are proud to be in their seventh year with Keychange: a global network and movement working towards gender equality in the music industry.


Established in 2017, Manchester Folk Festival moved to the Northern Quarter and Ancoats in 2023, after previously being held at HOME. Its seventh edition attracted 3500 attendees across over thirty concerts in a variety of legendary live venues surrounding the festival hub, Band on the Wall. Previous artists have included Billy Bragg, Afro Celt Sound System, Tom Robinson Band, Will Varley, Eliza Carthy, The Breath, John Bramwell, Tunng, John Smith, The Unthanks, Kate Rusby, Martin Carthy and This Is The Kit.

Festival website: