Discovering Folk Music in the UK
Discover the best folk music scene in the UK! From the best festivals to the most iconic venues, we’ll help you find the perfect music experience.
The Origins of Folk Music
The United Kingdom has a long and varied history with music. One of the most enduring and popular genres of music to come out of the UK is folk music. Folk music has its roots in the oral tradition, and has been passed down from generation to generation. In the UK, folk music is often associated with the countryside and is seen as a symbol of British identity.
The origins of Celtic music can be traced back to the music of the ancient Celts, a group of people who lived in parts of Europe including Britain, Ireland, and Spain. The Celts were known for their love of nature and their belief in magic, and their music reflected these aspects of their culture. Celtic music is often characterized by its use of traditional instruments such as the fiddle, bagpipes, and drums, as well as its unique melodies and harmonies.
Over time, Celtic music has evolved to include elements from other genres, such as classical and rock music. Today, Celtic music is enjoyed by people all over the world, and it has become one of the most popular genres of folk music. If you’re interested in discovering more about Celtic music, there are many great resources available online and in libraries.
Folk music of England is often contrasted with that of Scotland and Ireland. Music historians have suggested that English folk music changed less than that of Scotland and Ireland during the Medieval era; this may be due to discontinuity caused by the Roman occupation, which resulted in a significant loss of cultural cohesion in lowland Britain. English folk music continued to develop in the 16th century, and was further influenced by the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Romanticism.
The English Folk Dance Society was formed in 1911 to preserve traditional dances; after World War I, there was a revival of interest in English music and dance, culminating in the formation of the EFDSS’s rival, the Morris Ring, in 1934. In the 20th century, several organisations were formed specifically to collect and publish songs, including Vaughan Williams’s Folk Songs of the Upper Thames (1923) and Cecil Sharp’s Folk Songs from Somerset (1932). The 2011 census showed that there were over half a million people playing folk music across England; this increase is thought to be due to an increase in public interest since 2006.
The Revival of Folk Music
In the past decade, there has been a revival of interest in folk music in the UK. This is partly due to the efforts of a few dedicated folk clubs and festivals, but also because of the work of a number of young folk musicians who are keeping the tradition alive.
The folk music scene in the UK
The folk music scene in the UK has undergone a revival in recent years, with a new generation of performers and fans breathing new life into the genre.
Folk music has always been an important part of the musical landscape in Britain, but it fell out of favour in the latter half of the 20th century. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence in interest in folk music, with a new generation of performers and fans championing the genre.
This renewed interest has led to a boom in folk festivals and clubs up and down the country, giving people the opportunity to experience this wonderful music firsthand. If you’re interested in discovering more about folk music, there are plenty of ways to get involved.
The influence of the American folk music revival
Folk music in the United Kingdom has been on the decline since the 1960s, when American folk music was at its peak. However, there has been a recent resurgence in popularity, thanks to the influence of the American folk music revival.
The American folk music revival began in the 1940s, led by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Their music was a reaction to the growing commercialization of popular music, and they sought to return to the simplicity of traditional folk songs.
The revival spread to the United Kingdom in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when artists such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez began performing folk songs from America. This sparked a new interest in folk music among British audiences, and soon there were a number of British folk singers who were achieving success both at home and abroad.
Today, folk music is once again enjoying a resurgence in popularity, thanks in large part to the influence of the American folk music revival. There are now a number of successful British folk singers, including Eddi Reader, Kate Rusby, and Seth Lakeman. Folk clubs and festivals are also becoming increasingly popular, giving people the chance to enjoy this traditional style of music.
The Contemporary Folk Music Scene
The UK has a thriving folk music scene, with new artists emerging all the time. If you’re a fan of folk music, or just curious about the genre, there are plenty of opportunities to discover new music. Here are some of the best ways to find contemporary folk music in the UK.
The British folk music revival
The British folk music revival was a late twentieth century movement which involved the rediscovery and re-evaluation of British folk music. It began during the early 1960s with the skiffle craze, when a number of well-known pop musicians converted to playing folk music. The revival had its roots in a number of factors, including a growing interest in minority or marginalised groups within society, a desire for an alternative to the modern pop scene and a need for musicians to reconnect with their musical roots.
Folk clubs began to appear in cities and towns across the country, providing venues for both traditional and contemporary folk musicians. The national media also played a role in raising the profile of folk music, with programmes such as The BBC Radio Ballads and The Saturday Club featuring folk music alongside other genres. In 1965, Bob Dylan’s electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival caused a media stir and led to a surge in popularity for both Dylan and folk music.
The late 1960s saw the release of several influential folk albums, including Fairport Convention’s Liege & Lief (1969) and Pentangle’s The Pentangle (1968). These albums paved the way for a new generation of British folk artists, such as Richard Thompson, Bert Jansch and Sandy Denny. The 1970s also saw the formation of several important Celtic-influenced bands, including Steeleye Span and Ashley Hutchings’ Albion Band.
The British folk music revival was an important force in the development of contemporary folk music in the UK. It provided an impetus for new bands and artists to emerge and helped to broaden the appeal of folk music beyond its traditional base. The revival continues to be influential today, with many contemporaryfolk musicians drawing on traditional sources for inspiration.
The American folk music scene
The American folk music scene is thriving, with new and exciting artists emerging all the time. There is a huge amount of variety within the genre, with artists exploring everything from traditional folk songs to more contemporary styles.
It can be difficult to know where to start if you’re new to the genre, but there are some great resources available to help you find the right music for you. The BBC’s Folk Finder website is a great place to start, as it includes a wealth of information on folk music festivals and events taking place across the country.
If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, why not check out your local folk club? These are usually informal gatherings of folk music fans, and they provide a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and discover new music. To find your nearest folk club, take a look at the Folk Directory website.