Bristol Folk Festival returns to the city in 2019 after three-year hiatus

Some of the UK’s best folk musicians will perform at the newly-resurrected Bristol Folk Festival this May Day Bank Holiday weekend. 

The multi-venue festival will feature performances from award-winning folk musicians Cara Dillon and Kris Drever (Lau) as well as a host rising stars of the UK folk scene, including Lady Maisery, Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys, and Grace Petrie. 

Taking place from 3-5 May 2019, the event will see more than a dozen acts perform in venues across the city over the course of the weekend. The main musical showcases will take place around Park Street, with performances on Friday and Saturday at Bristol Folk House and Saint Stephen’s Church and on Sunday at St George’s Bristol. 

Bristol Folk Festival was a staple on the city’s festival calendar for many year until 2016 and, thanks to a collaboration between Bristol Festivals Chair Dr Anna Rutherford and national folk promoter and founder of Downend Folk Club Ant Miles, the festival has returned in its full glory – marking Bristol’s return to the international folk calendar. 

Dr Rutherford explains: “The West Country has always been a hotbed for folk talent and there was a big hole in the Bristol musical calendar without Bristol Folk Festival so we decided to take it on and relaunch the annual event. 

“As programmers, we’re excited by the folk artists speaking for a new generation – Grace Petrie, Lady Maisery, Sam Kelly – but in these divisive times, we’re also passionate about the unifying power of music. Whatever your background, folk is about finding common ground, and it is such a brilliant antidote to our high-stress, plugged-in lives.” 

The line-up has been curated to reflect the changing face of the UK folk scene and includes BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award nominees Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and The Drystones, as well as local favourites Spiro, Rachel Dadd, The Longest Johns and Bristol Folk Singers. They are joined by Amadou Diagne, Kim Lowings, Nick Hart, Hannah James and Mike Dennis to complete the initial line-up announcement. 

“Bristol is a beautiful, vibrant city and deserves an equally beautiful and vibrant Folk Festival. I can’t wait to perform there.” 

Cara Dillon

Ben Spencer, Head of Programme at St George’s Bristol, which is recently unveiled its multi-million pound extension, added: “We are thrilled the new Bristol Folk Festival will be coming to St George’s Bristol in 2019. This year’s line-up captures a glorious mix of artists, big names and fresh faces, and we can’t wait to welcome festival-goers and fill our beautifully renovated performance spaces and new café bar with the best folk music from around the UK.” 

Bristol Folk Festival is now on the lookout for sponsors, stallholders and volunteer stewards. Please email info@bristolfolkfestival.org to find out more. 

Weekend tickets priced £69 and day tickets from £20 available now from www.bristolfolkfestival.org 

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