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  • Age 13-19
  • Annual Fee: £850
  • Bursaries are available
  • Recommended for intermediate to advanced players
  • Audition required

Folkestra is a vibrant group of young folk musicians, playing original music and new arrangements with director Ian Stephenson, a highly regarded musician and composer, known for his playing in bands such as Kan, Baltic Crossing and 422. They perform around the country, most recently at the Scots Fiddle Festival and the English Folk Dance and Song Society Takeover in London, as well as on our main stages at Sage Gateshead.

Folkestra rehearse fortnightly on Sunday afternoons during term time at Sage Gateshead and the band enjoys performing in various concerts and festivals throughout the year with a residential weekend at the beginning of the year, and a further residential in February half term which helps to bond the group musically and socially.

Younger and less advanced students may be interested in our non auditioned folk ensemble, Folkworks Saturdays.

Application and Auditions

The application process for Folkestra takes place between February and April each year, with auditions taking place on Thursday 30 May. Please note, late applications will be considered.

Candidates will be asked to:

  • prepare two contrasting pieces to perform
  • prepare a short extract on any second instrument / voice if applicable

The audition should last no more than 10 minutes in total.

We’d love to hear from you if you are interested in joining part of our Young Musicians Programme. You can email [email protected] or call 0191 443 5252.

Term Dates:
Autumn, Spring & Summer 19/20 schedule


Our Young Musicians Programme is open to all children and young people, whatever their circumstances. We are keen to encourage applicants from the widest possible range of backgrounds and access a bursary where needed.

Here’s some more information about bursaries. If you’d like to speak to someone, please email us at [email protected]

Ready to Apply?

All of our programmes are easy to apply for. Simply complete our online application form by 29 April 2019. Need more information? No problem, email us on  [email protected]