Fringe benefits with Derby Folk Festival at Home

Published: 25 September 2020

Council House at night

The countdown has started to The Derby Folk Festival 2020 At Home

The countdown has started to The Derby Folk Festival 2020 At Home, which takes place online from 2nd – 4th October. Complementing the fantastic line-up of four three-hour online concerts over the weekend is a varied Fringe programme, which this year will take the form of videos and posts shared through the festival’s Facebook page.

Previous years have seen the city centre come alive during the weekend of Derby Folk Festival with free music and dance events, and workshop sessions. While restrictions around live events during the pandemic mean these can’t go ahead in the usual way, there is plenty to discover from the comfort of your own home.

Highlights include music videos from a variety of artists including Stepling, Some Antics, Road Not Taken, Ninebarrow, The Quay of Sea (Lester Simpson & Nigel Corbett), and Threaded.  We’re also delighted to feature some “Sign Song” interpreted videos, performed by Threaded, which were part of the theatre show Soonchild, by Red Earth Theatre.

Look back over all of the years of the festival with a series of slideshows, featuring images taken by photographer Graham Whitmore, and help recreate the festival community spirit, by getting involved with a range of questions as part of the Festival Chat.

Dance teams, who usually bring the sight and sounds of traditional dance to the city centre streets, have contributed videos to be shown over the weekend, some filmed at past festivals. And while the John Birmingham Cup Song Competition can’t go ahead in its usual way, the folk festival has joined up with the FOLK3D team to run a special edition – not the usual competitive heat, but a chance for writers of unaccompanied songs to submit their entries. These will be shared on the Derby Folk Festival Facebook page over the weekend.

Derby Folk Festival at Home is also pleased to be working alongside two other Derby festivals, who have also come up with innovative ways to go ahead in these unusual times.

We have been working with Derby Poetry Festival, which has moved online, to curate and promote some of our region’s wonderful poets. There was an open call for Derby poets to get involved through the Derby Poetry Festival Facebook Page, and Derby Folk Festival at Home will be sharing the poems on our Facebook page on Friday 2nd October.

The evening before the start of the Folk Festival at Home and fringe programme, Thursday 1st October, sees a Derby Poetry Festival Zoom event featuring acclaimed poet Daljit Nagra, in association with Derby Libraries.

On Saturday 3rd October, we will be sharing Derby Poetry Festival’s Women of The Valley poetry, which features female artists, and then on Sunday 4th October our Facebook page will share poems from work with the team at Derby Libraries.

Derby Folk Festival at Home has also been part of the Derby Well project, created by the team behind Derby Festé, working with FOLK3D on a commissioned piece to go on display in the city centre during what would have been Festé weekend (25th to 27th September) and the folk festival weekend. The work is a well-dressing, using paper flowers, of the folk festival Ram’s Head logo.

Tickets are available for the online weekend concerts for Derby Folk Festival at Home, which feature acclaimed folk artists and can be viewed online at the time they go live and at any time during the following week. Tickets are priced at £12 per session, or just £36 to access all four three-hour sessions.

Supporting the festival by buying a ticket will not only give you some fantastic music, filmed especially for you, to enjoy for a whole week, it will directly support the artists performing, and ensures that the festival is able to return to the city centre once again in 2021.

The full concert programme is:


Friday 2nd October at 7pm:
The Last Inklings – A delightful duo who create music that inspires wonder and intrigue by crafting modern myths into original songs. Their innovative sound focuses on cello, mandolin, and violin layered with vocal harmonies. With vibrant backstories and creative musicianship, their songs have a modern flavour that is rich with imagery and narrative.

Rare Occasion – a ‘new’ band featuring some well-known names! Please welcome Judy Dunlop, Jon Scaife and Nigel Corbett. We know you will love them!

Lucy Ward – closing our first online session is one of our festival patrons. Not just a great supporter of what we do, but an amazing songwriter and performer.


Saturday 3rd October at 2pm:
Old Sea Legs – ‘Old Sea Legs’ is more than just a nom de guerre for Dublin songwriter and performer Ian Bermingham; it is a window into a world entirely of his own creation. A powerful set that we were really looking forward to seeing live.

The Jellyman’s Daughter –  This Scottish outfit lands squarely in the middle of an intriguing crossroads between bluegrass, post-rock, folk and soul. Mixing their unique vocal harmonies with wild and visceral cello, driving guitar and sweet mandolin, Emily and Graham write their songs together with a focus on doing something new.

Kitty Macfarlane – Nominated for the Horizon Award in the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; her debut album Namer Of Clouds was one of The Guardian’s Best Folk Albums of 2018; airplay across BBC Radio 2, 3, 4 and 6 Music; FATEA’s Female Artist of the Year; nominated for Album Of The Year in the fRoots Critics Poll. We’re very excited to have Kitty Macfarlane ‘back’ with us after her performance in the Old Bell last year.


Saturday 3rd October at 7pm:
Bryony Griffith & Will Hampson – This is a gig we didn’t think we’d see!  With the lockdown situation making it impossible for the newly formed The English Fiddle Ensemble to get together, we asked Bryony and Will if they could dust off their brilliant duo for us!

Harri Endersby – a songwriter and musician whose music blurs the lines of the folk genre, drawing inspiration from both contemporary and traditional music, as well as the rugged landscape of County Durham, the place that she calls home.

Barry Coope, Fi Fraser & Andy Cutting – Barry Coope was originally billed to play with festival patron John Tams, who unfortunately had to bow out this year due to an impending operation. So we are pleased that Barry has been able to team up with internationally recognised musicians Fi Fraser and Andy Cutting for a new musical performance in a specially filmed set.


Sunday 4th October at 2pm:
Chivalrous Crickets – All the way from America. They are an upcoming, genre-crossing folk band exploring the intersection between Appalachian, Old Time, traditional English and Celtic, and early European art music. The band’s members, who all sing, play instruments, and arrange and compose for the group, come from backgrounds of folk and early classical music.

Winter Wilson – The festival wouldn’t be the same without Kip and Dave. Their lockdown concerts have kept us going for weeks. They’ll be performing a specially recorded concert slot for us, which will be a real treat.

Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman – 2020 is their 25th year of making music together – we’ve loved every day of it! They’ve visited the festival a few times in the past, always giving us amazing concerts, and we’re delighted that they can join us again (virtually), to close the festival.

The virtual performances have been produced by Derby Folk Festival and Derby LIVE, Derby City Council’s arts and events arm. Tickets can be bought online at or by phone from the Sales and Information Team on 01332 255800. For more information about Derby Folk Festival at home, visit

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