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At the heart of English folk


The Full English community performance events aimed to provide a platform for existing music, song and dance groups to introduce folk material into their repertoire and work towards a public performance. Many of these groups were linked to The Full English Cultural Partners up and down the country.

The events were unique to the region in which they were based, with some focusing on singing and others based around music. Depending on the nature of the event, some of the community performances involved professional musicians, singers or storytellers alongside the community acts.

Find out about some of the events that took place below.



Museums of Cambridge at Night | 15 May 2014
TFE and the Museum of Cambridge supported an evening of music, dancing and tours of their folklore exhibits as part of the national Museums at Night. Mary Humphreys and Anahata provided local songs and tunes alongside the local CAMRA branch and Cambridge Morris Men.

Big Weekend 2014: Cambridgeshire Music Service | 5 July 2014
Call Me Ceilidhis the new youth folk band run by Cambridgeshire Music Service, TFE’s cultural partner in the East of England. They performed on Parker’s Piece, Cambridge, to over 300 people.

TFE Family Marquee at Big Weekend, Cambridge | 6 July 2013
A day of family-friendly activities, performances and workshops held in partnership with Cambridge City Council, with outdoor maypole workshops, craft activities producing masks and a giant Jack in the Green. Mary Humphreys led children’s games collected by Cecil Sharp in Littleport, and the Museum of Cambridge brought Victorian games once played in Cambridge.

East Midlands

B15 with soundLINCS | 3 May 2014
A giant orchestra of over 250 community musicians covering all music genres (rock, gamelan, song, folk, jazz, brass, classical and more) from across Lincolnshire converged on the EPIC conference centre, Lincoln, to perform 15 new compositions based on ‘Lost Lady Found’ from the Grainger collection. This celebrated the 15th birthday of soundLINCS – TFE’s cultural partner in the East Midlands. Following rehearsals, the whole suite was streamed live on the internet in an ‘epic’ performance.

TFE Family Folk Day and Barn Dance, Lincoln Drill Hall | 10 April 2014
Willow weaving, clog dance displays, family ceilidhs, singing workshops, longsword and morris filled the venue all day. Liam Robinson and his band provided music, joined by Rattlejag Morris and Bishop’s Morris Longsword and RattleJiggers, a youth folk dance group led by Moira Ruff. Part of Lincoln Children’s Arts Festival.


Folk Discovery Day at The British Library | 13 July 2013
TFE permeated throughout the British Library with performances by the Cecil Sharp House Choir, the London Fiddle School and an EFDSS youth ensemble; dance displays from Hammersmith Morris Men, Camden Clog and Thrales Rapper; and presentations from Shirley Collins, Malcolm Taylor, Steve Roud and the Royal College of Music Junior Department. BL music staff, Janet Topp Fargion and Nicholas Bell shared knowledge of their traditional music collections, and VWML exhibited some manuscripts. Sheena Masson from Camden Music Service and Rosamund Savournin ran family music and singing workshops. The day culminated in an outdoor procession and family ceilidh with Jane Pfaff.

North East

TFE Community Choir Concert, Sage Gateshead | 12 April 2014
Community choirs converged on Sage Gateshead for an evening concert. Each choir performed their own repertoire, plus their own piece from TFE digital archive, with new arrangements of folk songs created especially for this event. Choir leaders included Sandra Kerr, Kathryn Davidson and Dave Stewart. During the day, singers enjoyed workshops from different traditions and approaches.

TFE in Teesdale, The Witham, Barnard Castle | 5 July 2014
Family-friendly celebration brought together young musicians and dancers with local folk bands including Old Age Travellers, Gegenforde, Black Sheep Morris and Teesdale Folk. The new local youth folk ensemble, Cream Tees, performed with musicians Sophy Ball and Ian Stephenson, and accompanied clog champion Shona Harper-Wilkes. The Teesdale Longsword youth group also danced. Organised in partnership with Blaize.

North West

The Met, Bury | The Full English Choir Day | 8 March 2014
The Met’s resident community choir, Inspire, explored local folk songs with TFEcommissioned Caroline Price who created arrangements of local material from TFE. Workshops with Caroline and Stream of Sound had over 50 participants. The arrangements are now on the Resource Bank.

The Full English Family Folk Day | 27 May 2014
Stories, clogs, pace egging and comics provided a fun day linked to TFE digital archive. Broadsides and ballads inspired illustrator Katy Coope with lots of bold pirates and ships! The Bury Pace Eggers performed their play, storyteller and singer Sean Cooney wove stories with local connections. Alex Fisher got toes and heels tapping with a clog workshop before Barefoot Fiddler played for a Family Ceilidh.

South East

The Stables, Wavendon, Milton Keynes | Wintersongs | 8 December 2013
Over 70 members of singing and choral groups from the Milton Keynes area enjoyed a day of seasonal folk material drawn largely from TFE digital archive by Carolyn Robson, including two local carols.

TFE Family Folk Sessions | 27 April, 18 May and 15 June 2014
Over 80 people were led by Jenny Newman and Andy Glass assisted by guest tutors, including Sheena Masson, Barry Goodman and Simon Care. Everyone enjoyed workshops for massed folk band, ceilidh dancing and morris dancing using material from TFE digital archive and beyond!

South West

Colston Hall, Bristol | May Fayre! | 5 May 2014
A colourful May celebration with maypole dancing, Bristol Morris and Rag Morris, storytelling with Amy Douglas, community singing, family ceilidhs with The Brewery Band and live music workshops with Solarference. Community performances were led by musicians from the Halsway Hothouse project and Bristol’s Gurt Lush Choir led by Sam Burns.

West Midlands

Mac Birmingham | Songs and Stories from TFE | 2 July 2014
An inspirational evening of performances marked the culmination of TFE project, featuring Dan Whitehouse and the Songwriting Circle, Sid Peacock’s youth ensemble and participants from mac’s Let Us Sing course.

Brummagen Fair | 18 August 2013
Families, singers and dancers came to mac birmingham, to celebrate folk-related activities themed around ‘Brummagen Fair’. Johnny O’Hanlon led digital animation workshops using verses of Birmingham broadside ballads from the Lucy Broadwood collection. Children made head-dresses and morris sticks and Stream of Sound led family singing workshops. Dan Langley and The Burdock Band led an outdoor family ceilidh and hundreds of visitors witnessed the activities and many joined in!


Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds | Sing On Folk | 12 July 2014
The songs and life of Leeds collector Frank Kidson were used with the Opera North Community Chorus. ‘Queen of May’ and ‘Three Ravens’ were arranged by Bryony Griffith and Ian Stephenson, and performed in concert, also featuring Gavin Davenport and Bryony. Popular folk chorus songs including ‘Young Banker’ and ‘Holmfirth Anthem’ were also introduced. There was a desire from the Chorus to learn more folk songs.

Family Folk Day with Opera North, Leeds | 3 May 2014
Over 150 people took part in activities themed around ‘An Acre of Land’ – a popular song in TFE digital archive. Bryony Griffith and Will Hampson performed and led song-writing and morris workshops for the whole family. Storyteller Ursula Holden Gill enchanted the children with stories and tales, and Opera North staff were on hand with craft activities.

Folk Song in England study days

As part of The Full English community programme we organised a series of Folk Song in England study days.  These were held across the country, with each cultural partner hosting a separate event, in autumn 2013. The Folk Song in England study days explored the roots, development and social impact of English folk song and singers, with a focus on The Full English collections. They were led by folklore expert, lecturer and editor, Steve Roud, and supported by a guest speaker relevant to the area, including Julia Bishop, Roy Palmer, John Howson, and many others.

Over 400 people attended a Folk Song in England study day. Some of their feedback is below:

"A fascinating and illuminating study of English folk song. A welcome opportunity to learn more about English culture and heritage to be able to put folk songs into context."
Lincoln Drill Hall, Lincoln

"Very informative and enjoyable day. Fantastic opportunity to learn."
mac birmingham

"Very interesting and great for people like me who love folk music but have no technical musical experience and want to know more about the history and the songs."
Colston Hall, Bristol


Want to find out more?
Each Folk Song in England study day has been documented by a volunteer blogger. You can read their accounts here


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