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Folk on the Tyne Festival: full line-up announced

Posted on 23 April 2019


The full line-up for this summer’s Folk on the Tyne Festival at Sage Gateshead has been announced.

The Festival takes place on Saturday July 27 and will be a packed day of folk gigs and workshops as well as free performances and family activity on the concourse. Tickets go on general sale on Friday April 26.

Billy Bragg has already been announced as headliner for the festival. He will perform in the main concert hall – Sage One – at 7.30pm with support from Holly Clarke and The Reivers. Karine Polwart has been confirmed as headliner for the afternoon. Other acclaimed artists include The Furrow Collective, Maya Youssef and Brìghde Chaimbeul.

Known as the UK’s foremost political singer-songwriter, Billy Bragg has topped the singles chart, had a street named after him and was mentioned in Bob Dylan’s memoir. Last year he was honoured with the PRS Outstanding Contribution to British Music award at the Ivor Novello Awards.

Holly Clarke studied folk and traditional music at Newcastle University and has been active on the local folk scene ever since. She wowed audiences when performing before The Unthanks last year and was part of Sage Gateshead’s artist residency programme Summer Studio.

At 1pm and 8pm Sage Two will be turned into an intimate acoustic space where artists will perform ‘in the round’, surrounded by the audience. Both gigs will be presented by Hudson Records who work with the likes of Bellowhead, Jon Boden, Martin Simpson and Seth Lakeman. Director Andy Bell produced The Full English, an album that went onto win album of the year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2013. Andy’s Hudson Records will introduce some of his favourite artists to new audiences and work with established artists on exciting new projects:

The afternoon concert will feature six times winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Karine Polwart, Hannah Read, Jack Rutter and the critically acclaimed M G Boulter. The evening will see The Furrow Collective (Best Group at BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017), Brìghde Chaimbeul (Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner) with Aidan O’Rourke (Lau), Jock Tyldesley and Vera van Heeringen (both of New Rope String Band) perform.

Ganun virtuoso Maya Youssef is joined by multi-award-winning folk singer Rachel Newton in Northern Rock Foundation Hall at 6pm. Syrian musician Maya is hailed as “queen of the ganun” a 78-stringed Middle Eastern plucked zither traditionally only played by men. She moved to London under the Arts Council’s “exceptional talent” scheme and has played at the Proms alongside Damon Albarn. Her music is mainly an emotional response to the war in her homeland.

Kick-starting Folk on the Tyne in the morning will be a taster session by the Folkworks Summer School – an opportunity for participants old and new to be part of a big celebration and form a Big Band to play at the opening of the festival. Folkworks has been running popular workshops and summer schools for over 30 years and its full week of summer schools for children, young people and adults takes place in Durham the weekend after Folk on the Tyne.

The taster session will run all morning and include music and dance workshops to suit everyone from beginners to experts of all ages. Led by popular workshop leader Dave Gray (Varldens Band and Katie Doherty and the Navigators) participants will also learn from a fantastic Folk on the Tyne line up including Jack Rutter, Lucy Farrell, Alasdair Roberts, Emily Portman and Hannah Read.

Throughout the day there will also be free performances on the concourse, showcasing the best up-and-coming talent on the folk scene, as well as free family activities, to be announced soon.

Amy Leach, Folkworks Producer, said: “We are so excited to be bringing back Folk on the Tyne. We’re building on the success of last year’s festival, which was trialled as part of Great Exhibition of the North, adding more opportunities to join in and participate and some great family content.

“Whether you come for one gig, to enjoy the free concourse music or to throw yourself into the whole day, we can guarantee you will have a fantastic time here on the Tyne!”

Tamsin Austin, Director of Performance Programme at Sage Gateshead, said: “We have a rich seam of traditional folk music in the North East and Folk on the Tyne is a brilliant opportunity to profile a whole new generation of folk artists from the North of England alongside artists from further afield.

“We are delighted to have Billy Bragg headline amongst a plethora of rising stars, who with their new arrangements, interpretations and compositions are bringing this compelling music and tradition to new audiences.”

For more information and to book tickets visit



For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

E. T. 0191 443 4617 M. 07793 762 879

Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

E. T. 0191 443 4690


Notes to editors:

Saturday July 27, line-up:

10am                MEC                           Folkworks Summer School Taster Session

11.30am          Barbour Room            An Introduction to Folk (Relaxed Performance)

1pm                 Sage Two                    Hudson Records feat. Karine Polwart,  Hannah Read, Jack Rutter and M G Boulter

6pm                 NRFH                          Folkworks Connections: Maya Youssef and Rachel Newton

7.30pm            Sage One                    Billy Bragg and Holly Clarke & The Reivers

8pm     Sage Two                                Hudson Records feat. The Furrow Collective, Brìghde Chaimbeul with Aidan O’Rourke, Jock Tyldesley and Vera Van van Heeringen

For detailed information visit

Folkworks was one of the founding organisations of Sage Gateshead and develops interest and practical involvement in traditional music, song and dance. Folkworks provides great opportunities to watch and listen to unique performances; and take part in one-day workouts, weekly classes, weekend courses and three week-long summer schools, for all ages.

Sage Gateshead is an international music centre and renowned conference and event venue located in the North East of England. It is for artists, for audiences and for the North.

Every year it welcomes more than two million visitors. More than 400 concerts featuring all kinds of local, regional and international music, take place all year round. Music-making and learning activity takes place not only in the building but across the region, with 190,000 people of all ages taking part in over 10,000 music classes and workshops.

The iconic building, designed by renowned architects Foster + Partners, is home to Royal Northern Sinfonia and is a place where emerging artists are nurtured through dedicated programmes and festivals.

As a charity, the support it receives helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music.