Trad2Mad is back at Islington Folk Club


Get your competition entries in!

With its origins in the folk, trad and blues scenes of the early 1960’s, Islington Folk Club is one of the oldest folk clubs in London. It is no longer quite so eclectic as were the nights at  The Fox on Islington Green between 1964 and 1967, when Bob Davenport and Reg Hall presented traditional singers and musicians from the British Isles, alongside jazz players from New Orleans and on one occasion, Ravi Shankar and Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys on the same bill! But the club’s policy has always been to push through musical boundaries and its motto, ‘From the fiercely traditional to the frankly eccentric’, aptly sums this up.

For nine years, up to 2017, the club ran an online competition for unaccompanied singers, the title of which -Trad2Mad – is intended to reflect that traditional to eccentric range. It was, if you like, a folk version of the X Factor.

As the club is now physically closed until further notice, the initiative is being revived, with separate competitions taking place this month and in May and June as well. There are cash prizes for the winners and the chance to perform at the club when it reopens. Previous competitors have gone on to guest at Islington and other clubs.

Entrants should post their performance on YouTube and send the URL to the competition email address. This can be found on the club’s website (see below).

The competition is led by the frankly eccentric Bernard Puckett, poet, songwriter and ukulele player, who for many years, was the club’s regular MC. Despite an overall feeling of virus-related gloom and despondency over the club being closed, Bernard is becoming very excited. It is, he says, ‘always a pleasure to be let in and listen to four minutes of real singing.’ and previous entries have ranged  ‘from the gothic to the urban, to the rural, along the country tracks, cycle paths and riverbanks, via the bedrooms, kitchens and stairwells of the global village. ‘

In the words of Brian Gardner, the club’s current Bookings Co-ordinator, himself a performer, a competition judge and one of the club’s rotating MC’s: ‘What we want is fresh and original material, and plenty of innovation, even if it’s odd or off-beat. There are likely to be more marks given for this as opposed to mere copycat performances. But we also welcome good interpretations of traditional song. ’

The full details to the free entry conditions are at:

Further information:

Contact Bernard Puckett on

Tel: 07743 898943 or 020 8360 8610

Any CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD that are reviewed or featured above (where available) can be ordered below through our UK or US Storefront 

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.

Click above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD

Physical link for the UK Store is:

Alternatively, search the Amazon main UK Store below.

Click above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD

Physical link to the US Store

Alternatively, search the Amazon main US Store below (change selection from Jethro Tull and click 'Go').

We all give our spare time to run Our aim has always been to keep folking a free service for our visitors, artists, PR agencies and tour promoters. If you wish help out and donate something (running costs currently funded by Darren Beech), please click the PayPal link below to send us a small one off payment or a monthly contribution.