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At the heart of English folk
Maddy Prior

Maddy Prior receives Gold Badge

Legendary singer and songwriter Maddy Prior MBE has become the latest recipient of the EFDSS Gold Badge.

Ros Rigby, Performance Programme Director at Sage Gateshead and Co-founder of Folkworks, presented Maddy with the prestigious award at a fundraising event for the launch of the North Cumbria Creative Arts Trust at Naworth Castle on February 7.

The EFDSS Gold Badge Award celebrates the very best in folk art. It is awarded to those who have made unique or outstanding contributions to the art or science of folk dance, music or song, and/or those who have given exceptional support in furthering the aims of the Society. 

The citation recognised Maddy’s extensive career that that began in the 1960s. A founder member of Steeleye Span, Maddy’s career has included performing in the Silly Sisters with June Tabor, with groups Maddy Prior and The Girls, and Maddy Prior and Friends and as a solo artist.

“Maddy’s great contribution is in part her totally distinctive voice, with its purity of tone - completely true to the tradition but also appealing to the wider audience.”

“A person for whom the phrase ‘down to earth’ could have been coined, Maddy Prior is, despite her modesty, a hugely significant figure in British cultural life of the past five decades. In a recent conversation, Alistair Anderson summed up the role he felt she has played as follows: Maddy is a very special voice who has led tens of thousands of people worldwide to an enjoyment of folk music.”

Read the full citation

Maddy joins an illustrious list of Gold Badge holders including Cecil Sharp, Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams, A.L. Lloyd, The Watersons, EFDSS President Shirley Collins MBE and EFDSS Vice President Eliza Carthy, MBE.

Singer, songwriter, musician, educator, lecturer & choir leader Sandra Kerr and David Leverton, director of the National Youth Folk Troupe of England, will also be inducted into the Gold Badge hall of fame this year.

Find out more about the EFDSS Gold Badge awards

More than 150 awards have been made since the Gold Badge was first created in 1922. While many award holders count as household names in the world of folk – known as performers, writers or teachers – others are less well known but work tirelessly behind the scenes or in their local communities. 

Gold Badge Award recipients: 1922 – today

Know someone who merits an EFDSS Gold Badge? If so, please let us know. Find out how the nomination process works, with answers to the most frequently asked questions.


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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