Manchester Folk Festival Announces Programme for October 2021

Line-up includes The Futureheads, The Breath, Kathryn Tickell
and Spiers & Boden’s comeback

Manchester Folk Festival

Manchester Folk Festival has announced its full programme across multiple venues from 21st to 23rd October.

Although not able to run in 2020, the festival hosted the live streamed launch of the Official Folk Albums Chart from its festival hub, HOME reaching a digital audience of over 2,5000.

This year’s festival includes what has now become Manchester Folk Festival’s trademark mix of contemporary and traditional folk and acoustic artists from England. The festival also serves as an industry showcase for English Folk and acoustic music, capturing the ears of the world’s festival and venue industry.

Brand new this year is the Festival Club. Taking place at HOME from 11pm – 1am each night (Thurs, Fri, Sat), the Festival Club presents 3 of the best emerging folk artists nightly. Tickets for the Festival Club are very limited and can only be booked in conjunction with the purchase of another Manchester Folk Festival ticket for that day. Artists featuring in our very first Festival Club are Good Habits, The Brothers Gillespie, Chris Elliott and Caitlin Jones, Tom Moore & Archie Moss, Granny’s Attic, Bryony Griffith & Alice Jones, Honey We Three and Ranagri.

Opening on Thursday 21st October, ‘the finest instrumental duo on the traditional scene’ (The Guardian) and Bellowhead frontmen, Spiers & Boden perform in HOME’s Theatre 1 as part of their much anticipated Comeback Tour after eight years away. Elsewhere the festival features former I am Kloot frontman John Bramwell showcasing his new band The Full Harmonic Convergence in 02 Ritz while an evening in the intimate Theatre 2 in Home sees rising Bristol-based Lady Nade, Manchester world collective Kabantu and the first of the festival’s new late night Festival Clubs.

Friday night at the festival sees a widening of the city site to include RNCM for the first time, with Manchester-based Jesca Hoop in full band show. Kathryn Tickell &The Darkening bring contemporary and innovative Northumbrian instrumental magic to HOME, while Manchester’s The Breath make their folk festival debut, followed by Sheelanagig in Theatre 2.

Saturday sees an all-day mix of inspiring and engaging music featuring acclaimed folk song interpreter and conservationist Sam Lee, The Gigspanner Big Band, a hotly anticipated acoustic / a cappella show from The Futureheads, jazz and big band tipped Banter as well as The English Fiddle Ensemble, a brand new band featuring four of England’s finest traditional fiddle players; Bryony Griffith, Jim Boyle, Ross Grant and Rosie Butler-Hall. “Gentlemen Jack” duo O’Hooley and Tidow feature in HOME Theatre 1 for the final night.

With a further 15 artists to be announced the festival looks set to build on its last outing which included the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, the premiere of Rising Up and a programme of free outdoor festival animation across its First Street festival site.

Manchester Folk Festival is produced by English Folk Expo in partnership with So It Is and HOME, and is funded by Arts Council England and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Tom Besford, Chief Exec of English Folk Expo:

“We are delighted and hopeful to present Manchester Folk Festival once again this October. After a devastating period for many of us, the live music sector has been one of those hardest hit. Along with the rest of the festival team, I am looking forward to welcoming you safely back into Manchester venues to rekindle our love for live folk music. We’ll see you in Manchester this October.”

Early Bird Folk Festival passes have now sold out. Audience can make a day or weekend of it by taking advantage of 15% off tickets when buying for 4 or more concerts.

English Folk Expo and Manchester Folk Festival are proud to be in our 3rd year with Keychange: a global network and movement working towards gender equality in the music industry.

Full festival detail and tickets available from midday, 31 March 2021 from