The Lichfield Festival of Folk 2024

Sunday 15th September to Saturday 5th October

We appreciate the accolades, but we’re not resting on our laurels as the Lichfield Festival of Folk enters its twelfth year. This year, expect something truly special as it blossoms into one of the premier events in the Staffordshire calendar. The festival is more than just a few days of celebration; it’s a year-long series of events culminating in our fantastic Festival Saturday on 5th October 2024.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s in store: the Art and Songwriting Competitions, the charming ‘Lichfield Folk on the Farm’, the delightful Folk Train, and the spectacular Festival Saturday featuring the Art and Heritage Procession, Dancing in the City, acoustic and song sessions, and must-see concerts with top-tier artists.

There really is something for everyone. Whether you’re a dedicated folk enthusiast or just enjoy some fun and good music, come along and experience a little piece of magic!

Lichfield Folk on the Farm – Sun 15th September 2024

Woodhouse Farm and Garden CIC

Get ready to immerse yourself in a day filled with fantastic music, entertainment, and family-friendly fun, all set against the stunning backdrop of Woodhouse Farm and Garden CIC, nestled in the serene Staffordshire countryside. 

You will be treated to a mouthwatering hog roast prepared freshly by the farm, with vegetarian options available, a well-stocked bar, featuring a selection of local ales and other delicious beverages, including hot drinks. 

Under 12s go free! (excluding food; food is available to purchase on the day).

Saturday Guildhall Sessions – Sat 5th October 2024

Lichfield Guildhall

Painted Sky have only recently emerged onto the UK folk scene, but they have already made a lasting impression with their progressive acoustic sound. Granny’s Attic are marking their 15th anniversary with exceptional musicianship and boundless energy! 

Danny Bradley is a fingerstyle-folk guitarist and songwriter who is less a one man band, and more a one man orchestra. All under 30, The Magpies are one of the most exciting acts on the roots scene, combining first class musicianship with sublime harmonies and increasingly impressive song and tune writing.

Ghosts, Werewolves & Countryfolk – Songs and stories of Sabine-Gould

Don’t miss your chance to see the only Midlands performance of a show that has caught the public imagination and is already sold out at several summer Folk Festivals where its being presented – GHOSTS, WEREWOLVES AND COUNTRYFOLK – SONGS AND STORIES OF SABINE-GOULD. Here’s the video:

Six-time BBC Folk Awards nominee Jim Causley and Miranda Sykes of Award-Winning Show of Hands and Daphne’s Flight come together for the first time to celebrate the centenary of a Victorian superstar through his music and stories.

Sabine Baring-Gould inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sherlock Holme’s Hound and Bernard Shaw’s Doolittle. He brought Ghostly Aunt Eliza, wretched heroine Mehalah and Norse hero Grettir to life. He mentored folk song collector Cecil Sharp – and wrote Onward Christian Soldiers.

He was a giant of his time. He was a top ten best-selling novelist; the writer of what is still the go-to book on werewolves; author of a nerve-tingling book of ghost stories; storyteller of the Norse Myths of Iceland; compiler of a classic Dartmoor history book and composer of numerous popular hymns.

But he says the most important thing he did in his life was to collect songs from the countryfolk of Devon and Cornwall. A pioneer collector, starting a decade before Sharp and Vaughan Williams, he amassed more than 2000 songs.

Miranda, Jim and narrator John Palmer, director of the critically-acclaimed Vaughan Williams anniversary “From Pub to Pulpit” Cathedral tour, interweave some of those songs with anecdotes from his own astonishing life and stories from his impressive array of books.

A Lichfield Festival co-production with Lichfield Arts

Art Competiton

This annual free to enter Art Event is open to entrants from 1st June – 14th August, 2024.

Every year we have a theme and this year we have chosen :

Cakes and Ale (the good life)”.

There are Cash Prizes and an opportunity for your artwork (if it is shortlisted) to be displayed in our Art Exhibition at the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum.

And this year we wanted to take the opportunity of celebrating 50 years of LICHFIELD ARTS promoting community engagement with all the Arts, by introducing a “Cakes and Ale Trail”. We are looking to bring a selection of the shortlisted finalists to the public’s attention by (and with the Artist’s permission) displaying their work in one of the Cafes, Tearooms, or Ale Houses of Lichfield, prior to the Exhibition and announcement of the Winner at the Samuel Johnson Museum. Our website will promote a “Trail” that the curious (and your friends) could follow to see all the works placed around the City.

So, get creative! We’re looking forward to seeing how you interpret the theme.

This Event is Kindly Sponsored by Dame Oliver’s

Competiton Rules and how to enter

The Rules:

All entries must be original and two dimensional.

They can be in any medium except Photography.

Artwork entered can be any size up to A1 (23.4 -33.1 inches).

Entries should be in the form of a photograph (jpeg) of the work sent by e mail to [email protected] ;

Or posted to “Lichfield Arts, Donegal House, Lichfield, WS13 6LU”

All entries must include the Artist’s name, address, email address, phone number, details of the medium used and the work’s approximate size. If the entrant is aged under 18 years, then the entry must be submitted by a parent or guardian, and their contact details included (with no details of the entrant other than the entrant’s name and age included).

Entries must be submitted by Midnight on 14th August, 2024.

The Judging Panel decision is final.

What Happens Next?:

A Shortlist of the Finalists will be drawn up and they will be notified by 28th August.

Finalists will be invited to submit the original work (framed as they choose), and indicate if they are interested in being included in the “Cakes and Ale Trail”, that takes place prior to the Exhibition and announcement of the winner.

The works will be exhibited at the Samuel Johnson Museum from 27/09/2024 to 05/10/2024.

The Winner will be announced on 5th October. 2024, at the Samuel Johnson Museum. All Finalists are invited to attend.

We are grateful to our sponsor DAME OLIVER’S for their unstinting support, and to the Samuel Johnson Museum, and participating venues in the “Cakes and Ale Trail” for hosting the shortlisted works.

The small print – Whilst every effort is made to ensure the safety of any Art entered in the competition, all pieces entered are at the owners’ risk.

Songwriting Competiton

Singers, songwriters, and musicians, are invited to enter the Lichfield Folk Festival 2024 Songwriting competition which is now open for entries until August 16th 2024.

Once again, kindly sponsored by Lichfield’s Duke of York Pub, the competition offers cash prizes and performance opportunities to the winning songwriters.

The competition will be judged by Bella Gaffney (Magpies) and solo singer songwriter Danny Bradley.

The Lichfield Arts Song Writing Competition aims to support, encourage and develop new folk songwriting talent. Prizes include cash prizes of £100 for Best Overall Song and £50 for the runner-up.

Competition winners will have the opportunity to perform at Folk on the Farm on September 15th, and also at the Lichfield Festival of Folk at Lichfield Guildhall on Saturday, October 5th. Folk on the Farm is now in it’s fourth year, with three previous sold-out festivals, and the Lichfield Festival of Folk has become a staple in the South Staffordshire Music calendar, having run for many years.

For the purposes of this competition, Lichfield Arts defines ‘folk’ in the widest sense of the genre, encompassing both traditional and contemporary styles. We request that any songs that are entered are not available commercially and that we require that no AI technology has been involved in the creation of the piece.

Songs can be written by either an individual, or a group, but we request that all writers are listed. All songs should be less than five minutes long, with a limit of two songs per entrant.

The songwriting competition gives talented songwriters the chance to perform, and for our audiences to discover new songs and people. If you have a song itching to get out or know someone that does, we would love to hear your creative talents.

Please email your completed entry form, along with your song in MP3 form if applicable, or a link to your song, via the link below: 

Lichfield Festival of Folk FOLK TRAIN – Wednesday 25th September 2024

Calling all music aficionados, vocal virtuosos, and instrumental wizards! Get ready for an electrifying evening of melody and merriment with Lichfield Arts on Wednesday, October 25th, 2024. Embark on a musical journey aboard the Lichfild Festival of Folk 2024 Folk Train as it serenades passengers along the Cross City Line from Lichfield City to Sutton Coldfield.

Whether you’re a seasoned performer or simply a music enthusiast, there’s a place for you in this symphonic spectacle. Join us at the Bittersuite (55 Upper St John St, WS14 9DT) from 6:00pm to partake in the harmonious festivities, or hop aboard the train itself and let the melodies transport you. Sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in the soul-stirring tunes, or seize the moment and become part of the musical tapestry with your own talents.

As we arrive at Sutton Coldfield, the celebration continues at the nearby Three Tuns pub (19 High Street, Sutton Coldfield, B72 1XS), where the music echoes into the night. Join fellow enthusiasts for a jubilant session of tunes and camaraderie before we journey back to Lichfield.

Best of all, the only cost being your train ticket. The adventure begins with the departure from Lichfield City at 7.13pm, where our friendly Lichfield Arts stewards will be on hand to guide you. Can’t make it from the start? No worries! Join us at any of the intermediate stations along the route, and follow the music to the rearmost carriage where the magic happens. Alternatively, meet us at the Bittersuite from 6.00pm or the Three Tuns from approximately 7.40pm to catch up with the musical revelry.

Mark your calendars and join us for an unforgettable evening on the Folk Train, weaving melodies and memories as we journey through the heart of the Midlands. We’ll be heading back to Lichfield on the 10.58pm train from Sutton, so be sure to save the date for this musical escapade.

The timings for the intermediate stations are:

Shenstone         7.18pm

Blake Street      7.21pm

Butlers Lane      7.23pm

Four Oaks           7.26pm

(Please check all train times nearer the event date in case of timetable changes, etc)

Arts & Heritage Procession

Enjoy the spectacle of many Arts and Heritage organisations as they make their way in procession from the Cathedral, through Market Square and down Market Street in celebrations of all that Lichfield offers in conserving, preserving and promoting local culture.

Colour, music, and dance are all part of this tremendous display as it weaves through the Saturday crowds. Stay on and enjoy the many free events on offer on Saturday 5th October 2024.

A day to give you warm memories for the upcoming season!

Dancing in the City

Come along to Lichfield city centre on Saturday 5th October 2024 (12.00-15.00) for ‘Dancing in the City’, a colourful celebration of traditional dance in all it’s forms from near and far. Over two hundred dancers from the region and further afield will take to the streets for a pulsating spectacle of dance! Come and witness the colour, athleticism, and sheer fun of the dancers at sites around the city centre. Put the ‘zing’ into your Saturday afternoon…. it’s amaZing!

You will be able to see them dancing in the city outside The Guildhall, in front of B&M, at Speakers Corner and in Dam Street near Lloyds Bank from 11.40am until 3pm.

The Lichfield Festival of Folk is supported by: