All About Folk Festivals

Folk music may be an acquired taste, but one way to appreciate it is to go to one of the folk music festivals that are held regularly in the UK.

What Is a Folk Festival?

Folk music is one of the oldest types of music there is, and has long been associated with storytelling. One of the UK's oldest folk music and storytelling festivals is the Festival At the Edge, which takes place in Shropshire. Like other such festivals, it's a chance to listen to some great music, as well as meet other aficionados of this type of music. Most festivals also feature poetry, a selection of locally made foods and drinks, stalls selling arts and crafts and perhaps some other entertainment. Folk music festivals can last anywhere from a day to a week, and although anyone can go they attract music fans and sometimes those interested in what might be called an alternative lifestyle. Most take place in the spring or summer, to increase the chances of good weather and are typically held over the weekend or a bank holiday. Folk is often associated with gypsies, or travelers who also sometimes attend in large numbers.

Promoting the Festival

Just like any other type of event, folk music festivals need to be promoted and advertised in order to attract not only as many customers as possible, but vendors and sponsors too. Some of the larger festivals come with promotional mugs, calendars, tee shirts and a range of other items advertising the festival.

More information on promotional mugs

Promotional mugs and other items are often on sale at the festival site or can be ordered online, with the proceeds going towards the festival's expenses. Promoting a festival also means creating a website, sending out emails to previous attendees, posting leaflets in nearby towns, and perhaps advertising on television or radio. The well established festivals attract thousands of music lovers anyway, although the smaller ones that aren't so well known find it important to do everything possible to promote their event.

The Music Played

The term folk music was coined during the 19th century, and was first used to describe any music that was passed down from one generation to another. Sea shanties, traditional English songs and songs describing country tasks such as ploughing, weaving and fishing come to mind. Most folk music has no copyright on it, and in many cases the composer of the song is unknown. Folk music can be found in some form all over the world; most of us are familiar with the style of tunes that originate in the Appalachian Mountains in the United States. During the 20th century, folk music became more popular and mainstream, with artists such as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Steeleye Span taking the muscle genre to the top of the pop music charts. Particularly popular is Celtic music, and folk festivals may also include other types of music, such as classical, jazz and contemporary. If you haven't discovered folk yet, the UK has dozens of festivals all over the country.