Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018

The Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018 was a great success and we look forward to SUNDAY 8th September 2019

This is an archive post with all the relevant information for the past festival.

The best free folk music festival in South London

Bermondsey-Folk-Festival-2018-A4-FINAL copy

Market Place, The Queen Victoria, The Blue Anchor Pub, Shortwave Cafe
8th September  2018 from 12pm till 11pm
Free entry

The countdown is on for the Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018 on 8th September 2018. This will be our fifth festival and we are looking forward to it.


The BFF is staged in Market Place SE16 in the heart of South East London. The festival was conceived after a chat between a local musician and the fishmonger at his stall in local market. Since that chance conversation over a convivial carton of Jellied Eels, the idea has blossomed into a unique London calendar event, which attracts top folk performers and fans from far and wide.

The days merriments begin with a guided walk from celebrated comedian and local lad Arthur Smith followed by the hearty tones of Arfur Doo and The Toerags at the Blue Anchor Pub. Then in the Blue Market square you will discover award winning chanteuse Lisa Knapp, the indescribable Circulus and modern folk’s greatest innovator Martin Carthy, purveying their finest wares. Dance performances, Bermondsey voices, market stalls, food and craft beers complement the day’s joyous tone.


More performances unfurl at the rather sociable setting of Shortwave Café, a mere gentle saunter from the Blue Market, for an intimate folk experience featuring:  David Jaycock, The Russman, Ady Johnson and all nicely topped off by the enigmatic Cunning Folk.

What a day what a line up and it’s all FREE and just a hefty welly wang from Bermondsey Tube Station

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Be part of it, everyone is welcome

Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018 Headline acts at Market Place, SE16

From small beginnings we are starting to flourish as a calendar event in the London Folk Scene and we have the headline acts to prove it: Martin Carthy, Lisa Knapp, Circulus.

Martin Carthy

Martin Carthy performing with The Imagined Village at Camp Bestival.

Martin Carthy performing with The Imagined Village at Camp Bestival. Image by MikeGarvey at English Wikipedia

Martin Carthy MBE (born 21 May 1941) is an English folk singer and guitarist who has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music, inspiring contemporaries such as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon[3] and later artists such as Richard Thompson since he emerged as a young musician in the early days of the folk revival.

He is a solo performer of traditional songs in a very distinctive style, accompanying himself on his Martin 000-18 acoustic guitar; his style is marked by the use of alternative tunings (notably CGCDGA), and a strongly percussive picking style that emphasises the melody.

In 1964 Carthy joined Marian Mackenzie, Ralph Trainer and Leon Rosselson in the group The Three City Four. The group concentrated on contemporary songs, including some of Rosselson’s own, and made two albums – the first for Decca and a second, “Smoke and Dust (Where the Heart Should Have Been)”, for CBS. The 1965 eponymous debut The Three City Four featured Carthy singing lead vocals on two tracks – Sydney Carter’s “Telephone Song” and Rosselson’s own “History Lesson”.[6] Roy Bailey would replace Carthy when he later left the group.

Carthy’s debut solo album, Martin Carthy, was released in 1965, and also featured Dave Swarbrick playing fiddle on some tracks, although he was not mentioned in the album’s sleeve notes. Carthy’s arrangement of the traditional ballad “Scarborough Fair” was adapted, without acknowledgement, by Paul Simon on the Simon and Garfunkel album recording Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme in 1966. This caused a rift between the pair which was not resolved until Simon invited Carthy to sing the song with him on-stage at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2000.

– source: Wikipedia

Martin Carthy Fansite and Blog  

Lisa Knapp

Lisa Knapp was raised in Tooting, south London. She is an English folk singer, songwriter, fiddle player and multi-instrumentalist. Her singing voice has been described as “crystal clear” and reminiscent of Anne Briggs or Jeannie Robertson. Two of her three albums have received five-starred reviews in the British national press.

Her debut album, Wild and Undaunted, released in 2007, was Mojo ‘s Folk Album of the Year. It includes a cover version of Lal Waterson’s song “Black Horse”.

Colin Irwin gave her 2013 album Hidden Seam, which included contributions by Martin Carthy and Kathryn Williams, five stars in a review for The Observer. The lyrics of the album’s opening track, “Shipping Song”, derive from BBC Radio 4’s Shipping Forecast.[5] Another song from the album, “Two Ravens”, took the award for Best Original Song at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2014.

Till April is Dead – A Garland for May, Knapp’s 2017 concept album about the month of May, “twists tradition… mixing in interviews about May Day rituals and samples of birdsong, buzzing flies and cuckoo clocks”. It received a five-starred review in The Guardian from Jude Rogers who described it as “overflowing with warmth, light and waywardness”. “Knapp’s voice throughout”, she said, “is a relevation, both pure and wild, springing free”.[8] Writing in The Observer, Neil Spencer gave four stars to Till April is Dead – A Garland for May, which he described as completing “a trio of extraordinary albums”. Thomas Blake, for Folk Radio UK, said that the album “seeks to understand old songs and traditions in modern and often highly original ways. It is a real step forward from a genuinely groundbreaking artist”

– source: Wikipedia

Lisa Knapp Website    @LisaKnappMusic  Lisa Knapp in Facebook


Circulus are a psychedelic folk/progressive rock band from South London, England, founded by vocalist Michael Tyack.

The band uses a mix of modern and medieval instruments, such as the lute, cittern, crumhorn and rauschpfeife, along with the Moog synthesizer, bass and electric guitars. Tyack claims to believe in fairies and pixies, and they have been known to play their live shows with the audience sitting on the floor.

Circulus were featured in a two-page spread of an NME issue in 2005, and a two-page interview in Terrorizer in 2006[citation needed]. Their album Clocks are Like People was reviewed in Metal Hammer magazine in September 2006, receiving 8/10.

The band featured in an SVT (Swedish) music television documentary called This Is Our Music in 2005, and were interviewed on BBC2’s The Culture Show on 3 February 2007 as part of an item on the ‘new folk’.

Mojo magazine chose Circulus to cover “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” for their 40th anniversary Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band tribute album, Sgt. Pepper…With a Little Help from His Friends, given away with their March 2007 issue.

– source: Wikipedia

Arfur Doo & The Toerags (the Blue Anchor pub from 1pm)

Arfur Doo & the Toerags are a traditional Irish folk band with a few twists. Guitar, bass, cajon, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, flute, penny whistle and recorder combine for fast-paced, energetic tunes and delicate ballads.
Arfu Doo And The Toerags in Bandcamp    @arfur_doo  Arfur Doo And The Toerags in Facebook






Ady Johhnson, David jaycock, cunning folk, Russman (Shortwave Cafe from 6pm)

Shortwave Cafe CollageAfter the day’s events in the Blue Anchor Market, the Bermondsey Folk Festival continues at Shortwave Cafe with an evening of fantastic folk acts. Shortwave Cafe is fully licensed & has a great selection of beers

Ady Johnson is a Suffolk born, London based troubadour who is a Radio 6 regular; Tom Robinson says “He’s damn good live!”.

David Jaycock is a virtuoso guitarist, comparable to John Fahey, who has performed with many folk luminaries including Marry Waterson. He will be performing songs from his new album “The Decline of the Mobile Library”.

Cunning Folk performs traditional British folk songs & songs inspired by British folklore. The Guardian describes him as “charming & mesmeric”

Russman is a local fishmonger & community organiser. His songs about life in Bermondsey are a celebration of the everyday urban folk of Bermondsey.

A walk with Arthur smith (THe Queen Victory pub, 12pm)

Join us for a walk wit

Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith

h famous comedian Arthur Smith who will delight everyone taking part in this exploration of Bermondsey, ‘proper’ 🙂

The walk will last about an hour on our way to the main stage at Market Place. Remember, this walk could be funny so you’ve been warned!

Meet us at The Queen Victoria Pub in 148 Southwark Park Rd, London SE16 3RP. (Yes, you may go inside and relax in this lovely pub; the tour starts at midday)

We are programming acts who would like to play on the day, if you would like to be part of the Bermondsey Folk Festival come to Bermondsey Folk Club and say hello.

We are having monthly singarounds at Shortwave Cafe, a lovely licensed venue in Bermondsey, on the last Sunday of the month from then on. Regular attendees who want to perform in September will be scheduled a spot. We will be starting  a featured artist nights from March with floor spots & support slots available. So even more opportunities to play. For more details, visit Cunning Folk Music

Cunning Folk Music


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