Save the date for Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival


The thought of an August Bank Holiday without our annual dose of SFF magic was unthinkable so we’ve created Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival to take place on Saturday and Sunday August 29 and 30. It will be two days of music, dance, workshops and other festival related fun to keep you going until the ‘real’ thing in August 2021.

We have been lucky enough to receive funding from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund (thanks to all you National Lottery players) and Shropshire Council’s Emergency Arts Fund to put on Virtually Shrewsbury Folk Festival for which we are hugely grateful.

So SAVE THE DATE and get ready to enjoy your own virtual Shrewsbury Folk Festival at home! We’ll be announcing details about the line up, workshops and more over the next few months.

Festival Director Sandra: “We have incredibly loyal supporters and the festival is often their most anticipated weekend of the year.

“Although we can’t be together, we hope that people will enjoy recreating their own festival at home by joining in our virtual activities including workshops, dances or listening to their favourite artists.

“Of course it won’t be the same as being there but we hope that Virtually Shrewsbury Folk will go some way to filling the big void that we will all feel over the festival weekend. We are very grateful to the Arts Council and Shropshire Council for supporting us to deliver this programme that everyone can get involved with.”

Festival postponement

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we have decided to postpone this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival. It will now take place from August 27th – 30th, 2021.

We know that many people will be disappointed – we are too. Our small team is hugely passionate about the festival and our summer just won’t be the same without it.

But, as our festival preparations move into full swing, we feel we have no alternative given that the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic will be felt for some time to come. We wanted to make this announcement now to give you as much notice as possible.

Our priority must be the health and welfare of our festival family – the festivalgoers, volunteers, performers, caterers, traders, contractors and many, many more people who come together to make it the magical event it is.

Although the festival is more than four months away and government restrictions may be lifted by August, we appreciate that people may understandably be nervous about taking part in large gatherings.

In addition, our site – the West Mid Showground – was very badly affected by severe flooding earlier this year and the team there has been unable to continue restoration work due to the restrictions in place.

Therefore it is a sensible move to postpone this year’s festival so we can deliver an event of the quality you expect from us in 2021.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly when many musicians are already feeling the pressure with gigs and tours on hold. Please continue to support them where you are able. We will be transferring our 2020 line up to 2021, providing performers are available, and we hope people will retain their tickets and join us for the mother of all parties next year!

We know that our loyal contractors, traders and our charity partner will be adversely affected by this postponement but these are unprecedented circumstances for which none of us could have been prepared. We look forward to working with them again in 2021.

In the meantime, we want to thank everyone for your ongoing support and we will see you next year. Please keep well, stay safe and look after yourselves and those around you.

With love from Sandra and the festival team.



I would like to transfer my ticket/s to 2021. What do I have to do?

Nothing. We truly appreciate your support and we look forward to seeing you in 2021! You’ll need to hang on to your 2020 tickets and bring them to the 2021 festival.


What is the date of Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2021?

August 27 – 30. Tickets for 2021 are on sale here.


Can I have a refund?

If you would like a refund, you’ll need to send photographic evidence of your destroyed tickets and your name and postal address to within 21 days (before May 5 2020). If you have a query, please email


I was due to volunteer this year. Do I need to reapply next year?

We understand people’s situations may change from year to year so we’ll be opening applications for volunteer steward places later this year. Please apply – we’d love to have you. You’ll be able to apply here.


What about my catering pitch?

Please check your inbox for an email from the festival. We will be contacting the caterers who were selected for this year’s festival and holding their place for 2021. If we need more caterers next year we will open applications in the autumn.


What about my craft / music stall application?

We will reopen applications for craft stalls, music stalls and traders later this year and hope that you will reapply again to join us in August 2021.


I have booked glamping for 2020. What do I do?

Please contact Black Dog Tipis here to discuss your booking.


What is the best way to stay in touch?

Please sign up to our email newsletter here and follow us on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Covid-19 response

We are keeping a very close eye on how the landscape is changing in relation to the coronavirus. Advice is currently that it is likely to peak before the summer. At the moment, preparation is continuing as normal and we expect the festival to take place in August.

We know it’s testing times for everyone but please spare a thought for all those musicians and performers who are being affected by events and gigs that are being cancelled. Consider how you can help them – buy their albums, support their Crowdfunders etc – a little help will go a long way.

Stay safe and look after yourself!

Best Midlands & Shropshire Music Festival


With all that is going on in the world at the moment, we were over the moon to get this good news – we picked up not one but two awards in the Shropshire What’s On Readers Awards for Best Midlands Music Festival and Best Shropshire Music Festival!

More than 68,000 votes were cast and we were up against some very tough competition so it means a huge amount to have won both awards. Thank you to everyone who showed us their support and all the people who work so hard to make us the best!

We have a great line up already announced with even more acts to be revealed so if you need something to look forward to, please book your day or weekend tickets NOW and prepare for an August Bank Holiday Weekend full of fabulous music, dance, and much more!


Judy Collins leads second wave of artists announced

We have revealed the second wave of artists on our 2020 line up – topped by non other than American folk legend, Judy Collins! 

Five time Grammy Award winning blues and Americana star Keb’ Mo’, Zimbabwean group Black Umfolosi, a rare show from the Seckou Keita Quintet, a unique interpretation of the work of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns from Band of Burns, sitar maestro Sheema Mukherjee (Imagined Village, Transglobal Underground), The John Martyn Project – a musical tribute to the legendary singer songwriter and guitarist – Sheelanagig, Yorkston Thorn Khan, The Jellyman’s Daughter and a cappella band The Longest Johns have also been added to the bill.

Artists already announced included globally acclaimed Galician piper Carlos Núñez, Show of Hands, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, The Young’uns and the Ballads of Child Migration with Boo Hewerdine, Katriona Gilmore, Chris While, Julie Matthews, Jez Lowe, Andy Cutting, and narrated by John Leonard.

We are hosting the only UK festival performances of The Lost Words: Spell Songs with Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Seckou Keita, Kris Drever, Rachel Newton, Beth Porter, Jim Molyneux and illustrator Jackie Morris, and the Welsh super group Pendevig.

Also on the line up are American duo Truckstop Honeymoon, Stephen Fearing and The Sentimentals, Colin Linden (solo), Calan, FOS Brothers, Kabantu, Will Pound’s A Day Will Come, The Boxwood Chessmen, SherburnžBartleyžSanders, Mazula, Benji Kirkpatrick & The Excess, and Tom Wilson (solo).

Dance bands are Hekety, Threepenny Bit, Woodpecker Band, Naragonia Quartet, The Four Idiots, The Gloworms and Token Women.

Festival Director Sandra Surtees said: “We are over the moon to have secured performances from Judy Collins and Keb’ Mo’ in particular – they are both absolute stars in their own genres and a huge coup for us.

“Although we are a ‘folk’ festival, our line up is incredibly diverse, showcasing everything from traditional and contemporary folk from all corners of the UK to Americana and blues as well as world music.

“The festival has earned an international reputation as a world class event so that enables us to entice such an amazing array to musicians to this corner of Shropshire. We still have more headliners to announce so our advice is, as always, to book as soon as possible before ticket prices go up into the next tier.”

The festival has four main music stages, a dance tent featuring ceilidhs and dance shows, children and youth festivals, workshops, a craft fair, food village, real ale, cocktail and gin bars and on-site camping and glamping.

Fringe activities take place in Shrewsbury town centre throughout the weekend including dance displays in the town centre, a parade through the streets on the Saturday afternoon and bands performing in local pubs.

Weekend and day tickets can be booked here. Onsite camping and glamping is available for weekend ticket holders.

For more about the artists on this year’s line up, click here.

2019 top of the pops

Our pals at Roots Records have been crunching the numbers of CD sales at this year’s festival and the results are in!

Please bear in mind that this is not an exact science – established bands will already be in people’s record collections, availability of stock etc etc.

1. AKA Trio
2. Edgelarks – Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin
3. Grace Petrie
4. Mankala
5. Birds of Chicago
6. Merry Hell
7. Martyn Joseph
8. Daphne’s Flightt
9. Skerryvore
10. Chris While & Julie Matthews
11. Reg Meuross
12. Track Dogs
13. The Urban Folk Quartet
14. Eddi Reader
15. Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
16. Oysterband
17. Kate Rusby
= Winter Wilson
19. Joel Savoy, Jesse Lége and the Cajun Country Revival
= Charlie Dore

Fundraising total is music to the ears of Hope House

Visitors to this year’s festival have helped to smash the £70,000 fundraising barrier for Hope House Children’s Hospices as we celebrate our 11th year of working together.

Hope House, which supports children with life limiting illnesses and their families, has received more than £7,800 after this year’s festival, including more than £2,000 from a donation for every adult weekend ticket that was sold.

The money will be used to fund music therapy sessions at the hospice. Since the partnership between our two organisations began in 2008, we have raised a total of £70,791.

This year the Hope House stall at the festival raised more than £3,300 and the annual bucket collection at the Bellstone and Pengwern stages resulted in around £1,835. Money was also raised through the charging of mobile phone and other electrical devices as well as collecting tins dotted around the festival site.

Festival Director Sandra Surtees said she was over the moon that such a significant sum had been raised.

“When we first began our partnership with Hope House we didn’t know where it would lead. But our festivalgoers’ generosity knows no bounds and each year they give an amazing show of support to Hope House,” she said.

“Music therapy is something that can make such a difference to the children using Hope House and we feel that fundraising for this service is the perfect fit for us. We cannot thank our supporters enough and look forward to doing it all over again next year!”

Vanessa Thomas, the Major Gifts Manager for Hope House, said: “Wow! Every year the support we receive from the organisers of Shrewsbury Folk Festival and the festivalgoers gets bigger and better and literally blows our socks off!

“Our Hope House stall had a record year as did our bucket collections during the Sunday afternoon concerts and all our volunteers had a brilliant weekend.

“The money raised will enable all the terminally ill children who come to Hope House for vital respite care to enjoy fulfilling and fun music therapy sessions that really do enhance their wellbeing and quality of life. We can’t thank the folk festival team enough for its continued support over the past 11 years.”


Jethro Tull celebration among new acts for 2019

A celebration to mark 50 years of one of the UK’s most iconic bands tops the latest tranche of artists to be added to the line-up.

Jethro Tull’s legendary guitarist Martin Barre will bring his new show with former band members Dee Palmer and Clive Bunker to the festival. Other new announcements include an exclusive UK festival performance from American activist and musician Rev. Seckou; Irish band Jiggy whose video Silent Place took the internet by storm clocking up more than 30m views; Cajun Country Revival which hails from Louisiana, USA, with special guest Vera van Heeringen; American alt-country blues musician Amythyst Kiah; blues and world music trio Michael Messer’s Mitra; and the return of Jim Moray’s Kingstone Press Folk Slam as the traditional finale on the festival’s Pengwern stage.

Already revealed are a host of top folk, roots and singer songwriters including Andy Fairweather Low and the Low Riders with the Hi Riders Soul RevueOysterbandKate RusbyCapercaillieMartyn JosephSkerryvoreDaphne’s Flight, American trio Birds of ChicagoGary Stewart’s GracelandPhil Beer BandSteve KnightleyMerry HellEdgelarksGrace PetrieUrban Folk Quartet and many more.

There will also be a special day of programming on the Pengwern Stage by duo Chris While and Julie Matthews to celebrate 25 years of their musical partnership. They have chosen Blair DunlopBurden of Paradise, singer songwriter Charlie Dore and former Fairground Attraction lead singer Eddi Reader and another act to be announced to perform on Sunday August 25, which will be topped off with a show by the While & Matthews Big Band.

Weekend tickets are already selling at our third tier price and only a handful of Saturday and Sunday day tickets remain. Friday and Monday tickets are also available.

Director Sandra Surtees said: “We are over the moon to be hosting Martin Barre’s special celebration of 50 years of Jethro Tull as it’s a band that spans generations and genres and will be the most incredible show.

“We always look to bring a diverse mix of music to the festival and we’ve developed a reputation in recent years for programming some of the most exciting Americana and world music alongside traditional folk. This year is no different with the new headliners we’ve just announced.

“With four main music stages, there’s always lots to choose from and our visitors love to discover music that’s new to them – that’s part of the joy of the festival.”

For more about the line-up click here.

First peek at the 2019 line up so far

Tickets have gone on sale for the 2019 Shrewsbury Folk Festival as we’ve shared the first names to be added to the bill.

Two of the UK’s top solo stars Kate Rusby and Martyn Joseph will be topping the bill along with the legendary Oysterband and female supergroup Daphne’s Flight, who are returning after a triumphant performance in 2017. Scottish folk rockers Skerryvore have also been invited back after wowing crowds earlier this year.

Gary Stewart’s Graceland – a reworking of the Paul Simon classic – has also been signed up along with solo shows from Show of Hands frontman Steve Knightley, singer songwriter and activist Grace Petrie and appearances from The Phil Beer Band and Merry Hell.

Exclusive to the festival will be a special day of programming on its Pengwern stage by duo Chris While and Julie Matthews to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their musical partnership. The While and Matthews Takeover will see the pair curate performances on August 25th that will culminate in a big band show to close the night.

Other acts will include Chris Elliott and Caitlin Jones, Edgelarks, Geoff Lakeman, Granny’s Attic, Mankala, Paul Downes, Rapsquillion, Reg Meuross, Track Dogs, the Urban Folk Quartet, and Winter Wilson. Festivalgoers will also be able to watch folk opera Here at the Fair by Mick Ryan.

Festival Director Sandra Surtees: “As ever the Shrewsbury line-up will feature some of the biggest names in folk, some popular performers that have been requested by our audience and a number of world and Americana acts.

“But the festival is about so much more than just the music – there’s so much to do during the weekend for all ages. The festival has its own magical atmosphere and we have many visitors who wouldn’t class themselves as ‘folkies’ but they just come to enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere with friends and family and listen to great music. 

“The festival continues to go from strength to strength with a devoted audience who return year after year, demonstrated by the fact that we regularly sell out in advance.”

The festival has four main music stages, a dance tent featuring ceilidhs, workshops and dance shows, children and youth festivals, workshops, crafts, food village, real ale, cocktail and gin bars and on-site camping and glamping.

There are also fringe events at local pubs with dance displays held in the town centre and a parade through the streets on the Saturday afternoon. Weekend and day tickets can be booked at