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At the heart of English folk

Seeking young talent for the National Youth Folk Ensemble

Applications are now open for young musicians to form the first cohort of the National Youth Folk Ensemble. We are looking for excellent instrumentalists who are dedicated to developing as folk musicians and excited about collaborating with others who share their passion!

The first stage of the audition process will be a series of nine Sampler Days taking place at key arts venues and conservatoires in every region of England. Each Sampler Day will be a fun and inspiring introduction to the Ensemble led by Sam Sweeney, Artistic Director 2016-17, and professional folk musicians Rob Harbron and Miranda Rutter. The Sampler Days will include creative workshops, short individual auditions, and information sessions with Ensemble staff.

National Youth Folk Ensemble

To register for a Sampler Day, musicians have to be aged between 14 and 18 on 1 September 2016, live in England, be able to play confidently on any instrument and have an interest in folk music. Places on the Sampler Days are free but limited and booking is essential.

Sign up here, or by following the links below. Select your preferred venue and fill in the relevant booking form on Eventbrite.


Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: “This is a unique opportunity for young musicians and the first time a group of this kind has been established on a national basis. It offers a chance to develop in a nurturing environment with experienced and skilled musicians. We are hoping the Ensemble will discover, encourage and inspire the folk performers, educators and leaders of the future, and we would encourage as many young musicians as possible to sign up to the Sampler Days.”


National Youth Folk Ensemble Sampler Days 2016:

Sunday 8 May – Birmingham Conservatoire, BIRMINGHAM

Saturday 28 May – Sage Gateshead, GATESHEAD

Sunday 29 May – Leeds College of Music, LEEDS

Monday 30 May – Royal Northern College of Music, MANCHESTER

Tuesday 31 May – Derby LIVE, Guildhall Theatre, DERBY

Thursday 2 June – Exeter Phoenix, EXETER

Friday 3 June – Cecil Sharp House, LONDON

Saturday 11 June – West Road Concert Hall, CAMBRIDGE

Sunday 12 June – Cornerstone, DIDCOT


Following the Sampler Days, selected musicians will be invited to a final audition in London on 9 or 10 July. The Ensemble will meet for the first time in October for a residential course at Halsway Manor, Somerset. Members will participate in 4 weeks of intensive residential courses in different parts of England; receive high quality tuition and guidance from leading folk artists; develop performance, arrangement, leadership and facilitation skills; and give public performances.

The National Youth Folk Ensemble is supported by Arts Council England.

Keep up to date with news about the ensemble at and tweet @theEFDSS #youthfolk

Click here to book your free place at a Sampler Day






National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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