Due to be held between 15th and 18th October 2020, the public festival Manchester Folk Festival and its associated industry showcase event English Folk Expo Showcase, will now be postponed until 21st-24th October 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19.
Manchester Folk Festival, established in 2017, is based in venues around the First Street Quarter of Manchester including hub venue HOME, as well as The Ritz, Gorilla, Bridgewater Hall and more. It hosts a gathering of the best in English folk, roots and acoustic music as well as folk music from annual international partner countries and territories. Past artists have included Billy Bragg, Tom Robinson, Wildwood Kin, Kate Rusby, Will Varley, Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, Lindisfarne, Grace Petrie, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, The Unthanks and Kathryn Williams.
Manchester Folk Festival Artistic Director David Agnew said of the postponement, ‘As a fledging festival reliant on ticket income we have had to take this disappointing decision to postpone what would have been our 4th year of the festival. We’re working closely with our fantastic venues and artists to ensure we will return in 2021 with the innovative and inspiring programme Manchester Folk Festival has become known for internationally’
English Folk Expo (EFEx) Showcase, which annually hosts an invited audience of around 175 industry representatives from across the world for a three day event presenting around 45 export-ready artists each year, is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and is in its eighth year, having previously been located in Bury, Greater Manchester. EFEx Showcase generates over £2m in spend on artist bookings each event (source: the hub) and is the annual industry showcase event for folk music in England.
EFEx is also a Sector Support Organisation for England offering a range of services to the music audience, artists and industry including presenting Manchester Folk Festival, which provided the majority of the showcase performances for its industry audience. EFEx also offers an artist mentoring programme, promoter training, the EFEx Digital platform, consultancy and more, and with Manchester Folk Festival presents a programme of live music throughout the year across Greater Manchester. EFEx receives funding support from Arts Council England, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, PRS Foundation and EFDSS.
EFEx CEO Tom Besford said, ‘The pandemic has devastated every part of the live music industry. Artists, technicians, agents, promoters, festivals and more are all reeling from the impact of shutting down their livelihoods for most of the year. Whilst we are in the fortunate position to be able to return in 2021, this won’t be the case for all parts of our sector. I urge anyone who loves music to find ways to actively support your favourite musicians and their teams, and to get back to venues and festivals as soon as it is safe to do so.’
English Folk Expo continues to support the folk sector in response to Covid-19 and has created a library of resources for artists and industry, all available through the EFEx website at englishfolkexpo.com: