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A collage of artists featured in this article, including Jim Moray, Boss Morris, Fern Maddie, Ben Edge, Hack-Poets Guild and Jacken Elswyth.

Folk culture in 2023 – what we’re looking forward to

A new year dawns and we wipe the folkie slate clean. We asked around to find out what 2023 holds for folk events and album releases. Here's what the Tradfolk team are looking forward to.

What a difference a year makes, eh? This time 12 months ago we were banishing negative thoughts about the ongoing pandemic and hoping against hope that the coming year would treat the folk community kindly. In retrospect, 2022 had its fair share of great music, wonderful gigs, and (perhaps more than its fair share of) tragedy. Whichever way you experienced it, a fresh twelve months is almost upon us, so let’s see what 2023 has in store.

In this article, you’ll find…

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been Whatsapping as many people as we know, weedling info out of them regarding new folk albums, events, tours, workshops and festivals. If you can’t find what you were hoping to hear about here, it’s either not happening or the organisers didn’t respond to our clarion call for information.

Albums, EPs and singles

Archie Churchill-Moss, PH(R)ASE

Archie Churchill-Moss has been a prominent folk musician for his entire adult life (and many of his teen years, too). Known as one of the country’s best young box players, his reputation rests on his years with Moore Moss Rutter, his duo work alongside Tom Moore (who produces here) and countless appearances as an in-demand session musician and live performer. His debut album is, “wholly modern music that, for the most part, could still be called ‘danceable’ by the most fervent Morris or Bal enthusiast”. A great way to kick off the new year, then. Release date: January 13th. Pre-order from Bandcamp.

Ben Walker, Banish Air from Air

Ben’s famed fingerstyle guitar weaves a path through found sounds and subtle electronica. Orchestral strings swoop from the sky to the forest, from the ocean to the edge of space. You won’t know what’s coming next, but it doesn’t matter; just close your eyes and let this record take you away with it. The first single (5 January), ‘Starlings’ starts the journey beautifully and gently with a deceptively simple sound painting of birds in flight. In the second, ‘Banish Air from Air’ (1 February) Sophie Jamieson’s vocals build an electric storm over Ben’s Reich-inspired arrangement of Emily Dickinson’s spare but unsparing poem. The third, ‘The Way Through the Woods’ (24 February) frames Kipling’s poem in cantering banjo underneath Nancy Kerr’s naturally accomplished vocal, and marks the release of a superb new album. Release date: February 24th.

Harbottle & Jonas, Saving The Good Stuff (Vol 1)

Saving The Good Stuff was a weekly Sunday morning series of online video collaborations (with 500,000 views and counting). Astonished at the popularity, Harbottle & Jonas reviewed the whole series and chose their absolute favourites to release in February. The first of what looks like being an album series, this collection will include their versions of the well-known folk songs, ‘Now The Green Blade Riseth’, ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’, ‘Mingulay Boat Song’ and ‘Cornwall My Home’. Release date: February.

Thom Ashworth, Exquisite Corpse

Bassist/singer extraordinaire, Thom Ashworth, describes his latest EP as, “another one recorded in a single day, like my most recent release, Gig Economy. It’s a warts-and-all capture of the noise I make with my instrument and the big hole in my face.” Make of that what you will… or hang around on Thom’s Bandcamp page and give the last EP a spin while you await the pre-order alerts. Release date: March 3rd (Bandcamp Friday).

Hack-Poets Guild, Blackletter Garland

The release of their debut single, ‘Daring Highwayman‘ [Roud 1553], propelled Hack-Poets Guild into wider folk consciousness in the late autumn of 2022, paving the way for a Gerry Diver-produced album that it seems everyone is looking forward to. Big-headed forewarning: we’ve heard it and it IS all that. Lisa Knapp, Marry Waterson and Nathaniel Mann have hacked their way into the Bodleian archives and made off with something properly special. Get your pre-orders in just as soon as you can, and keep your eyes on our Tradfolk Events Calendar for tour announcements. Release date: March 10th.

Cooper & Toller

English tradfolk duo, Vicky Cooper and Richard Toller, release their debut album this year. The Bristol-based duo boast a repertoire ranging from murder ballads to bawdy drinking songs, specialising in fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and close-harmony arrangements. Keep an eye on their website for more info. Release date: March.

Reg Meuross, Stolen from God

Stolen from God is a song cycle written around the extensive evidence of the slave trade across the South-West of England, telling, “the challenging and often harrowing tales of the region’s shameful past.” Meuross explains, “I’ve produced a song cycle of original songs telling the stories I’ve found, presenting a history of The South West’s involvement in The Slave Trade in a way that will be easily accessible and will have impact – as a recorded album performed by a diverse group of musicians including the Master Kora player and Grio Jali Fily Cissokho. The singer & concertina player Cohen Braithwaite Kilcoyne and the singer Jaz Gayle.” Release date: April 7th.

Jon Wilks, Before I Knew What Had Begun I Had Already Lost

Wilks’s last album came out at the beginning of lockdown. Since then he has concentrated mainly on building and running folk music websites. However, in 2022 he took to the road with a selection of traditional and original songs he hadn’t played in-front of an audience before. Encouraged by the response, he recorded the new album this winter with musical compadres Jackie Oates, Jon Nice, Lukas Drinkwater and Akito Goto. Tradfolk songs include ‘Will Watch’ [Roud 1617], ‘Johnny Sands’ [Roud 184] and ‘The Boatswain’ [Roud 570]. Release date: April.


2023 marks 10 years since Leveret first got together and played as a trio. The band (comprised of Andy Cutting, Rob Harbron and Sam Sweeney) are releasing a new album in the Spring to play on their two 10th-anniversary tours in March and October. For this record, they’re returning to recording a mix of trad and composed tunes. Sam explains, “There’s some pretty obscure stuff on there, as well as a few tunes people might be familiar with. Look out for a pre-order link in the next few months!” Release date: Spring.

Martin Simpson & Thomm Jutz, Nothing But Green Willow: The Songs Of Mary Sands And Jane Gentry

Featuring a fantastic, transatlantic cast of guests (Emily Portman, Sierra Hill, Justin Moses, Odessa Settles, Seth Lakeman, Tim O’Brien, Dale Ann Bradley, Tim Stafford, Cara Dillon, Tammy Rogers, Angeline Morrison and Fay Hield), this exploration of Appalachian songs was recorded on both sides of the pond, with the two central musicians (Simpson and Jutz) arranging and capturing the music in as few takes a possible. We’re expecting wonderful, spontaneous interplay and some stellar vocal performances. Release date: first half of the year.

Jim Ghedi & Toby Hay, Jim Ghedi & Toby Hay

Topic Records turn their attention to a pair of fine acoustic guitarists for this self-titled release due out before the Summer Solstice. Few details have emerged yet, but we’re expecting psych-folk duelling, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the early 70s. Bring it on! Release date: first half of the year.

Melrose Quartet

Melrose Quartet go into the studio in March to record their fourth album, due for release in Summer 2023. The Sheffield-based folk quartet, comprising Nancy Kerr, James Fagan, Jess and Richard Arrowsmith, are really excited about making a new collection of traditional material, alongside new songs written very much in a traditional style. Release date: Summer.

Tamsin Elliott & Tarek Elazhary

Supported by EFDSS’s Alan James Creative Bursary, traditional musicians Tamsin Elliott (England) and Tarek Elazhary (Egypt) begin their year with a residency at Cecil Sharp House, where they’ll be exploring and celebrating the parallels and idiosyncrasies of both Egyptian and English folk traditions. This will be followed by a month’s residency at The Roost in Bristol, writing and recording a debut duo album, which is expected to see the light of day via Penny Fiddle Records towards the end of the summer, alongside an accompanying tour. If the album shares the quality of Elliott’s most recent album, FREY, this will be one to look out for. Release date: August/September.

The Ciderhouse Rebellion & Molly Donnery

Stellar Irish singer, Molly Donnery (The Haar), joins The Ciderhouse Rebellion to cast their evocative magic over songs from the tradition, from the misty beauties of ‘Mo Bhuachaillín’ Donn to the joyous race of ‘Murphy’s Running Dog’. This is intimate stuff, drawing listeners into the very heart of the music. Release date: Autumn.

Jim Moray

In 2023, Jim Moray celebrates 21 years as a professional musician and 20 since his game-changing album, Sweet England. He’ll be marking these milestones with his first tour in three years (see below), culminating at a special all-day event in London featuring performances, talks, and some surprises too. He’s also working on his first studio album since 2019’s The Outlander, due in autumn. After the stripped-down approach of its predecessor, this marks a return to the maximalist approach to trad. arr. with which he has become synonymous – early tracks feature a rare broadside arranged for brass band, an Appalachian ballad reimagined as experimental-rock, and a male voice choir (TBC). Release date: Autumn.

Johnny Campbell, True North (working title)

On True North, Johnny Campbell has created an album of traditional Northern English songs, field-recorded on their respective county high points. Explains the singer, “So far, I’ve taken a guitar up England’s highest mountain, over 3000ft up to record as well as a handful of other peaks and moors. It is very much picking the songs out of the air, a moment in time, never done before, possibly never repeated.” Release date: November.

Also look out for: The release of Angeline Morrison‘s The Sorrow Songs on vinyl (January 20th, pre-order via this link). Of interest, too, are the future releases from Penny Fiddle Records, including the aforementioned Tamsin Elliott & Tarek Elazhary, a new album from Cornish accordionist Tommie Black-Roff and Swedish-Finnish fiddle-player Ville Syri, and the long-awaited follow-up to Mikey Kenney‘s The Reverie Road. We understand there may be a new Eliza Carthy record in the offing, too, although further details are not yet forthcoming.


Leveret Tune Book

The celebration of their 10th anniversary as a trio sees the wonderful Leveret bowing to public demand and releasing a tune book. Sam Sweeney explains, “It will contain all the tunes we have recorded, plus a few more tunes that didn’t make it onto albums. It will be a beautiful thing full of tunes, photos and some thoughts and musings on how we make music together.” No dates confirmed yet, but keep your eyes peeled this Spring. Release date: Spring.

Prince Heathen – The Age of Carthy and England’s Folksong Revival

In the 2022 preview, we hoped for the heavily-anticipated biography of Martin Carthy, written by Ken Hunt. Having reached out for an update earlier this month, we were saddened to hear that Ken has been unwell. “Intensive treatment for cancer prevented Ken Hunt working on Prince Heathen – The Age of Carthy and England’s Folksong Revival for most of 2022. The upside was spending the year thinking, living and breathing Martin Carthy’s biography. He resumes work on it in 2023.” We wish Ken a speedy recovery. Release date: TBA.

Folk events

Edgelarks, live stream

Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin sing in the new year with a very special concert. Designed to thank their subscriber community for their support throughout the last 12 months (with all their Bandcamp subscribers receiving free tickets for the event), Edgelarks will revive their ever-popular online concert format, featuring old favourites, brand new songs, “blues & brews”, and more instruments than they can comfortably fit in their living room. Edgelarks online concerts were a great favourite during lockdowns, when they brought together the folky community and lightened the long evenings. Phil’s expertise on the sound desk meant they were able to provide top quality sound along with the intimacy of sitting by their own fireside. Date: January 12th, 8pm. Tickets available online.

Weven, Gloaming

Gloaming is a group exhibition, the first to be hosted by Weven in their new multi-purpose venue in the centre of Stroud. Their shop and workshop space will be transformed into a gallery displaying a combination of painting, drawing and sculpture, with a programme of events and workshops running in support of the central exhibition. Look out for talks with Boss Morris, Ben Edge and Stone Club, as well as a variety of folk craft workshops. “In the midst of some of the gloomiest days of the year let us revel in the dusk and early black. We will bask in the sun’s decline and wallow in its weakness. Embrace the Gloaming.” February 4th-12th. Click here for more information.

Folk Singing Symposium

This symposium draws on emerging research by the Access Folk project team and will include sharing across a range of cultures and formats, including papers, panel discussions, posters, films, workshops and demonstrations. There’s even a singaround! The symposium will be held in Sheffield over the two days, with some hybrid/online sessions available. Events will run from 9.30am on Friday until 6pm on Sunday, with some optional evening activities. Guest speakers and performers include The Unthanks, George Sansome and Cohen Braithwaite Kilcoyne. The event is run by Fay Hield and the Access Folk team. February 24th-25th. accessfolk.sites.sheffield.ac.uk

Ben Edge, various

There’s plenty of news emerging from Edge Towers, including the folk artist‘s first major exhibition since Ritual Britain taking centre stage at Maidstone Museum (February 8th – June 17th). Animal Guising and the Kentish Hooden Horse will include some of the artist’s paintings and film work, including a film commissioned especially for the exhibition. Look out for a talk by the artist himself (date TBC). Edge will also be releasing his Frontline Folklore film, with one last London screening before doing so (date TBC). Look out for the launch of a Vimeo Channel, too, where he will be uploading his folklore documentary work on an ongoing basis. All films will be free to view, making it a free resource for anyone interested.

Kings Place Folk Weekend

A continuing thread from a 2016 series, originally co-curated with Ian Anderson of fRoots Magazine, this special weekend sees the development of this revolution in folk music, in which song is not the centre of the story being told. This series sees exciting and varied approaches from some of the finest players in the field. Look out for Boss Morris, Brìghde Chaimbeul, Sam Sweeney, Louis Campbell & Owen Spafford, Leveret and Tamsin Elliott, as well as many more. April 21st-23rd. kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/folk-weekend/


Celtic Connections

The festival year gets underway, as it always does, with Celtic Connections. Artists are many and varied, including Dervish, Brìghde Chaimbeul, Ross Ainslie, Amadou & Mariam, Talisk, and so many more. From a Tradfolk readers’ perspective, a particular highlight will be Eliza Carthy & the Restitution supported by Angeline Morrison. Order your tickets here now. January 19th – Feb 5th. celticconnections.com

Bristol Folk Festival

Bristol Folk Festival returns with an exciting line-up including Lady Maisery, Eliza Carthy, Fay Hield, Angeline Morrison, Nick Hart, Janice Burns and Jon Doran plus a host of other great artists. Early bird weekend tickets are now on sale. Further lineup details and single event tickets will be announced soon. April 28th-30th. bristolfolkfestival.org

Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green 2023: 40 year anniversary

Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green is celebrating its 40-year anniversary with a weekend of dancing and traditional merry-making. This annual folk custom showcases some of the best folk dance, music, and performances, all taking place within the beautiful seaside town of Hastings. It is also boasts the largest annual gathering of processional giants in the UK. The festival attracts over 20,000 people on the Monday alone and is the largest Jack in the Green tradition of its type in the UK – and probably the world! April 28th – May 1st. hastingstraditionaljackinthegreen.co.uk.

Gate to Southwell

This lovely boutique, lakeside festival (“the biggest little festival in the land”) returns to Kirklington, Nottinghamshire, as the summer reaches its zenith. So far, the lineup includes the Raghu Dixit Project, Dog Show Sessions, Nine Below Zero, John Smith, Track Dogs, Bonfire Radicals, Tarren, Jon Doran, The Brothers Gillespie and many more. June 29th – July 2nd. gtsf.uk

Moorforge Folk Festival

Moorforge is a reconstructed Viking settlement complete with forge and longhouse, in the shadow of England’s highest mountains, nestled between the Solway coast and the Lake District. Their two-day folk festival is being currated by folk singer, Johnny Campbell. Expect fires, folk tales, intimate folk music performances, folklore, starry skies, folk sessions and camping on the site of Moorforge, in the wilds of North-West Cumbria with views across the Solway Firth to Scotland. Some of the artists booked so far: Three Acres and a Cow, The Brothers Gillespie, Johnny Campbell, Mikey Kenney, Jennifer Reid. July 7th-8th. Tickets available here.

Sidmouth Folk Festival

The granddaddy of them all roles back into Sidmouth town for the 68th year running, bringing with it literally hundreds of folk events, a jillion Morris dancers, and some amazing gigs. They’ve already announced some of the headliners, including Fisherman’s Friends, Show of Hands, The Unthanks, Lady Maisery, Saltlines, The Young’uns, Seth Lakeman, Angeline Morrison, Sam Sweeney, Ellie Gowers, a tribute to Paul Sartin, and so much more. Best just get yourself a ticket and lap it all up. August 4th-11th. sidmouthfolkfestival.co.uk

Broadstairs Folk Week

Enjoy a fantastic week of music, song and dance by the sea, with gigs, workshops and as much Morris dancing as a Morris dancer could shake a stick at. Artists confirmed so far include Lady Maisery, Patakas, Katie Spencer, Angeline Morrison, Jon Wilks, Seth Lakeman, Honey & the Bear, The Often Herd and Granny’s Attic. August 11th-18th. broadstairsfolkweek.org.uk


No names announced yet, but you can be sure that it’ll be a good one for all you Tradfolk readers. Keep it under your hats for now, but we’ve been asked to programme a very special Tradfolk Stage over the course of the weekend, featuring some of the artists you’ve read so much about here on this website. We’ll also be back with our Tradfolk X FolkEast video sessions, live from the Squash Court. We can’t wait! August 19th-21st. folkeast.co.uk

Moseley Folk & Arts Festival

Birmingham’s big one has already announced a series of headliners, including Wilco, The Proclaimers, Squeeze, Angeline Morrison, Chloe Foy and more. A mixture of big names and Tradfolk faves, the Kitchen Garden Stage is the place to head for the more intimate, folkie sounds. September 1st-3rd. moseleyfolk.co.uk

Hartlepool Folk Festival

Arists confirmed so far for this year include Altan, Martin Simpson, Angeline Morrison, Lady Maisery and Singalong a Wickerman. October may seem a long way off, but keep an eye on the website for updates and grab your tickets early for this extremely popular portside festival. October 6th-8th. hartlepoolfolkfest.co.uk


Fern Maddie

Fern Maddie will be touring the UK for the first time in January and February, following the success of her debut album, Ghost Story. She’ll be playing 16 shows around England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, including Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow and Imbolc in Derry. She will also be co-headlining several shows with Flo Perlin and Daisy Chute for an all-female line-up of folk singer-songwriters. Her tour will take in London, Maidenhead, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, Corsham and Winchester. January 18th – February 10th. Tickets: fernmaddiemusic.com

Gigspanner Big Band

The Gigspanner Big Band return to the road for a very special tour featuring the six-piece line up. Catch them in Lichfield, Southport, Leamington Spa, Penzance, Falmouth, Teignmouth, Street, Hertford, Colchester, Cambridge, London, Didcot, Kinver, Shrewsbury, Swindon, Bristol and Bridport. February 10th – March 4th. Tickets: gigspanner.com

Shovel Dance Collective

Shovel Dance Collective are touring in February to celebrate the release of their album The Water is the Shovel of the Shore back in December. They’ll be visiting Manchester, Sheffield, Hebden Bridge, Glasgow, Bristol, and Oxford, with a London date to be announced soon. For the first half of those dates, they’ll be joined by the wonderful Glasgow-based Scots traditional singer and experimentalist Quinie. February 11th-17th. Click here for more information and tickets.


This show was one of the most acclaimed of 2022, and it returns for a further run – this time across the North of the UK – in March. Gig destinations include Buxton, Bury, Settle, Keswick, Hexham and York. March 10th-16th. Tickets: gigspanner.com

Burd Ellen

Burd Ellen are touring their new album A Tarot of the Green Wood across the UK in March, 2023. They will be joined by a variety of incredible support acts. You can catch them in Nottingham (with Ben McElory & R.Loomes), Tragaron, Glasgow (with Rylan Gleave), Sheffield (with Emily Portman), Leeds (with Tristwch Y Fenywod), London (with Milkweed), Brighton (with Sairie and Finding Land Folk Show DJs) and Cambridge (with Rachel Watkins). March 3rd-11th. burdellen.com

Jacken Elswyth

Almost as soon as she’s put Shovel Dance Collective back to bed, Jacken Elswyth hits the road again on a solo tour. You can catch her in Shipley, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, Stroud, Bishop’s Castle, Cambridge, Brighton, London and Glastonbury. The Shipley, Sheffield, Stroud and Bishop’s Castle gigs will see support from Elspeth Anne. March 31st – May 2nd. Tickets: jackenelswythmusic.com

Elspeth Anne

Elspeth Anne is a queer singer-songwriter weaving traditional folk, alt-country and punk influences into a dark folk sound. She plays a mix of original and traditional songs accompanied by guitar and drones. She will be touring in the Spring to promote her third album, Mercy Me. Elspeth will be presenting songs from the album and some new work with a small backing band. You’ll find her in Shipley, Stroud, Sheffield and Bishop’s Castle. Elspeth explains that she is currently booking more shows and aims to include dates in London, Leicester, Bristol, Cardiff and Berlin. She will be posting dates on her Bandcamp page and socials, plus via her newsletter. March 31st – April 25th. elspethanne.bandcamp.com

Mishra / Deepa Nair Rasiya

Global folk collective Mishra are launching an exciting new collaboration with renowned sufi and Indian classical vocalist Deepa Nair Rasiya. The Sheffield-based band have been developing their eclectic sound since their debut album The Loft Tapes in 2019, with a shared language of Indian Classical and UK folk at the core of their creativity. The music they have created for this tour explores common threads in lyrical content, melodies, and rhythmic structures of UK and Indian folk, bridging the perceived gaps between disciplines and hoping to make a statement about the creative potential of diversity for traditional music in the UK. Their joyous performances are a journey of contrasts, from hand-clapping trance-like sufi songs to spacious stillness and reflection. The tour starts in Bath on the 31st of March and finishes in Manchester on the 16th of April, including a special show in Sheffield partnering with Concerteenies, aimed at young children and parents. March 31st – April 16th. Tickets: mishramusic.co.uk

Jon Wilks

Folk fingerpicking guitarist, singer and storyteller, Jon Wilks, takes his new album (see album releases, above) out on the road this Spring, hitting Burton-on-Trent, Birmingham, Leamington Spa, London, Whitchurch (Hampshire), Bristol, Stroud, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle. Also at festivals throughout the summer, with a smattering of gigs in October. May 12th-28th. Tickets: jonwilks.online

Jim Moray

Jim Moray will be touring in May in celebration of his 21st year as a professional musician (see the album releases info, above). He’ll also be headlining a special day of his own curation at Cecil Sharp House. Dates have yet to be announced, but keep an eye on his website for further details. May, TBA. jimmoray.co.uk


The Anglo-French acoustic dance band Topette!! will be kicking off their 2023 UK tour with a residential workshop and bal weekend at Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, in Somerset in June, followed by seven dates across England and Wales. The band had to cut short their UK tour in 2022 due to COVID and they are delighted to be able to reschedule the missed gigs. Catch them in Somerset, Bristol, Conwy, Sheffield, Norwich, Guildford, London and Brighton. June 23rd – July 2nd. Tickets: topette.co.uk

Tamsin Elliott & Tarek Elazhary

Supporting the release of their debut duo album (see album releases section, above), Tamsin Elliott & Tarek Elazhary will be taking to the road some time before summer’s end. Dates to be announced.