5 Things you need to do at Liverpool’s first Folk Festival Albert Dock's recent 'Vintage on the Dock'

5 Things you need to do at Liverpool’s first Folk Festival

You’ve had a rum festival, you’ve had a river festival, you’re even getting a pirate festival, but this weekend Liverpool’s Albert Dock is bringing you something alternative – a folk festival.

More than 100 acts are now confirmed for the first event of its kind our city has ever seen, it’s a folk revival, with a sea- shanty twist, it’s largely free and it presents a chance for the city to reconnect with its folk music roots and also have a great bank holiday weekend. (26-29 August 2016)

To get you in the spirit, here are five things you need to do at Liverpool’s first ever folk festival.

Blair Dunlop is performing at Liverpool’s Folk Festival

A consistent definition of traditional folk music doesn’t really exist. In the early 18th century it was considered ‘music for the uncultured classes’. (The word ‘folk’ itself stands for ‘the people as a whole’). Others define it as ‘indigenous music’ – where the music and its place of origin are inseparable. Either way, everyone agrees that folk music brings people together, is usually unpretentious and is often widely known by the community, encouraging them to sing along. Over 450 performers will be playing at the festival. That’s a lot of folk, folks and if the music does its job, you’ll be compelled to join in, maybe have a sing or simply tap your toe.


Henry Priestman
Henry Priestman

He’s supported ‘The Sex Pistols’, played in ‘The Christians’ penned a top 5 hit for Take That’s Mark Own and is the oldest artist to ever to be signed to a major label for a debut solo album. The multi-talented Henry Priestman has been around since the 70s, in one guise or another. To much critical acclaim, he’s reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter and his last album ‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ has garnered him the best reviews of his career. Priestman’s wicked sense of humour, easygoing charm and truly-singable songs make him a great choice to help launch Liverpool’s first folk festival. Priestman, will be joined by rising star, Sam Winston, on the Saturday evening (August 27)

For tickets for Henry Priestman and Sam Winston, Tate Liverpool (August 27) – click here  Tickets cost £12


The Christians
The Christians

Henry will be joining his old bandmates for a special one-off performance at Tate Liverpool. So you’re probably thinking; ‘Wait, The Christians aren’t folk, are they?’ Well, no, not really. But in honour of the folk tradition the hart-topping Liverpool band will be playing a special acoustic set, complete with stripped back, soulful versions of all their 80s and 90s hits.

To book tickets for The Christians acoustic concert at Tate Liverpool (August 26) – click here Tickets cost £20


The Albert Dock
The Albert Dock

The broad definition of folk music has enabled Albert Dock to attract some truly diverse artists. Established acts including, Benji Kirkpatrick, The Lost Brothers, Laura J Martin and Blair Dunlop will play the main Dock Stage at Hatley Quay.  Local talents and emerging artists like Sam Westhead, Earth Rustlers and Bryony Elizabeth & Jonathan Darnell will headline The Stan Ambrose stage, a second free stage in Anchor Courtyard, which has been named in honour of the long-running BBC Radio Merseyside host of Folkscene, who recently passed away.


Ye Olde drawing of sailors singing a Sea Shanty, probably.

Shantys are usually sung at sea, to aid the flow and ease the pain of strenuous, repetitive labor. The steam age meant that these songs ceased to serve a practical function and they became a thing of the past, until now.

Liverpool’s incredible maritime history (and penchant for a good sing-song) have inspired Albert Dock to breathe new life into the old sea shanty, by writing a modern take on the traditional work song. Written by Jason Ellis and Kathryn Rudge, Our Liverpool Song will be performed during a unique choral event. ‘Voices in the Water’ will see choirs singing Liverpool’s new, modern shanty across the Colonnades at Albert Dock, paying tribute to the role our city has played in importing and exporting music around the world.

You can learn the words to ‘Our Liverpool Song’ in advance here.

Liverpool’s Albert Dock is once again merging our city’s rich maritime history and diverse music culture with a festival just for you folks. So see out the summer (and sing-along) at Liverpool’s first Folk Festival this bank holiday weekend.

Visit Albert Dock’s Folk Festival page here for full programme details.

Published: 22/08/2016