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Thanks to Linda Ness and Suzie Thorpe for interviewing Helen, originally about this event but it ended up being about her life and other animals!
From 43 mins there’s the chat but the whole show is great –

2018 Baldock Stage – A mini Folkstock festival with all your Folkstock favourites !

free entry again – come along to The White Lion, Baldock, Herts on Sat 8th September 

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Baldock 8th Sept poster

2017 Balstock stage Sunday 10th September – FREE ENTRY

What a day we had – here’s some video clips !


Balstock our stage in Biggy Chronicle

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From didgeridoo to DIDI, and from as far afield as Devon, our acts this year range from accessible acoustic harmonies to lively Indie with killer hooks, with artists who have been played on BBC 6 Music and Radio 2.

1.00– 1.15 Dave Croughan

Bringing the haunting sounds of ‘down under’ to open our stage, we welcome the multi-talented ‘Didgi Dave’ from Ware who will demonstrate his didgeridoo skills. Bet you weren’t expecting that!!?

1.20 – 1.45 Warner Taylor Folk

Harpenden school chaplain and all round good guy Steve Warner returns to our stage with his popular and witty self penned tunes, and has teamed up with Roly Taylor to provide a lively duo to entertain us.

1.50 – 2.20 Emma McGrath

As heard on BBC Radio 2, Harpenden’s Emma has been honing her craft for five years and is very popular local artist who sings her original songs with soul and passion. Don’t miss.

2.25 – 2.55 Theresa’s Tears

Theresa’s Tears are Rob and Louise Chamberlain, a recently-formed, acoustic guitar-based duo from Cottered. They write and perform their original material, drawing on a range of influences including Ryan Adams and R.E.M, featuring great harmonies.

3.00 – 3.40 Saskia Griffiths – Moore

Delighted to welcome 24 year old London based Saskia, who is known for her pure, clear voice and nu-folk style repertoire. Frequently compared to Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell we are in for a treat of originals and a few familiar tracks.

3.45 – 4.25 Greg Hancock

His music is difficult to fit into any of the usual genres, but Devon based Greg sees himself as within the folk tradition of storytelling and social commentary, with musical influences from jazz and flamenco adding to the mix.

4.30 – 5.10 Zoe Wren

As heard on BBC Radio 2 thanks to Bob Harris, Zoe has just finished a music degree and performed on Stage 2 for Cambridge Folk Festival last year. 2nd EP being recorded now. Don’t miss!

5.15 – 6.00 Super Moon

A stunning collaboration between two rising stars of the UK folk/pop/rock scene, SUPERMOON finds Griff Jameson from Fred’s House and Hannah Elizabeth of Said The Maiden “Impressive talents…..will shine bright into the future.” FATEA Magazine

6.05 – 6.40 Flaming June

We welcome a ‘fiery passionate redhead who sings catchy songs of life’s misdemeanour’s’ back to our stage. An accomplished performer with award winning cds to her name, we will certainly be entertained and amused!

6.45– 7.15 The Tritones

Originally a lively three piece indie band who formed at Freman College in Buntingford, these lads have continued to perform together throughout Uni and we are delighted to welcome them to our stage.

7.20 – 8.00 A Different Thread

Distinctive vocals, bluesy harmonica, rhythmic guitar picking and enchanting cello all come together. Cleverly weaving together adventure and bitter romance they are a Brit Folk/Americana act that you won’t want to miss. “Their Country and Americana sound is nothing short of intoxicating”

8.10 – 9.00 DIDI

As premiered on BBC 6 Music, ‘kick ass’ DIDI, is going down a storm with her lively, hooky guitar driven tracks. An enthusiastic energetic flourish with a dose of audience participation which will close our stage on a high.

As premiered on BBC 6 Music, ‘kick ass’ DIDI, is going down a storm with her catchy guitar driven tracks. Expect an enthusiastic energetic flourish with a dose of righteous indignation and audience participation ending our stage on a high.

Here’s some of my photos from the day – click on the words ‘see more’ on the facebook post to see the pics




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Comet coverage

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Click here to listen to Daria Kulesh’s Eternal Child album



We were delighted to release our Christmas Present album in the Soutbank Centre !

Warming up at the Southbank Centre, Kaity Rae on keys

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Minnie Birch giving us a wonderful taster of her inimitable style

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Daria looking stunning just before her performance as part of the Just The Tonic Friday evening sessions

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Super audience at the Southbank, Kaity Rae seen here on the grand piano

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Kelly Oliver opening the Folkstock Presents event in style at the Southbank on 28th November 2014

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Folkstock has been invited to London as part of the MasterCard‘Just the Tonic’ free entry Friday evenings at The Southbank Centre to perform a short concert showcasing some of the female artists we are releasing.

We are delighted to announce that Kelly Oliver, Minnie Birch, Daria Kulesh and Kaity Rae are performing their song on the album plus one other in this short but sweet early evening concert in The Front Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre starting at 5.30 and running til 6.15pm. Free entry.

Folkstock Records‘ limited edition cd, The Christmas Present will also be on sale at the event and the album will be on sale via iTunes on the same day.

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If you were unable to come to Folktoberfest – or perhaps if you enjoyed it so much you’d like to revisit it, here you go :)

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a tonights the night

Click here to buy tickets

5 reasons to come to Harpenden Public Halls on Monday 27th Oct.

7pm sharp start to enjoy Maz O’Connor, Luke Jackson, Jess Morgan, Said the Maiden and Kelly Oliver.

  • All 5 acts have been played on respected national radio shows by Mark Radcliffe (BBC Radio 2 Folk Show), “Whispering” Bob Harris (BBC 2 Sunday Show) Mike Harding (The Mike Harding Folk Show)
  • 4 of the acts performed at Cambridge Folk Festival this year
  • 3 of the acts have their current albums in the Telegraph Music Top Folk albums of 2014
  • 2 of the acts have been nominated for BBC2 Folk Awards
  • 1 chance to hear Kelly Oliver and Luke Jackson perform their duet ‘Diamond Girl’ live – as played on BBC Radio 2, as Kelly officially launches her debut album, This Land, from whence it comes !

Tickets on sale in advance – you can pick your seats ! Get in quick before the best ones have gone. Music starts at 7pm.

A night to savour. Make sure you’ll be able to say ‘I was there’.

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 Folktoberfest new poster

Click here to buy tickets



Bored of being spoon fed covers and manufactured bands ? ready to try something authentic and genuine ?

If so, this is probably the dream ticket.

If you’re even vaguely aware of the rising modern folk scene and enjoy delicious harmonies, golden vocals, accomplished guitarists and engaging delivery be prepared to have your assumptions challenged with this feast of young folk. Not a beard or a sandal in sight if you can catch these five fine rising ‘new folk’ acts at Harpenden Public Halls for Folktoberfest on Monday 27th October before they hit the big time.

Helen Meissner’s Folkstock is bringing an abundance of talent, including Maz O’Connor, Luke Jackson, Jess Morgan, Said the Maiden and Kelly Oliver to an appreciative audience in Harpenden who packed out the last Folkstock event at the same venue in May.

Satisfaction is guaranteed at this event. In a brave move, the organiser claims she is so confident of the quality of her unprecedented line up, that she is offering a money back guarantee. I want to encourage people to step outside their comfort zone, “People who are involved in the acoustic, folk and roots scene will recognise the names on the stellar line up as part of the rapidly rising ‘new guard’ of singer songwriters in the folk firmament who have been attracting BBC2 Folk Award nominations and national radio play. I want to reach some new people who might not realise that this wonderful music is available, to encourage them to take a risk, to witness the engaging and entertaining music on the current folk scene and open their eyes to a whole new musical experience outside the modern pop offering, which they might now find uninspiring. For those like me who are recently converted, or those who have been enjoying authentic acoustic music for years, it is quite simply an unmissable and most likely unrepeatable event. The song writing on offer is so good that you don’t need to know the material or the artists to enjoy the event, people can and do fall in love with the songs on first hearing”

The music starts at 7pm, with doors at 6.30 and tickets are being sold now so that seat allocations can be made in advance. The event, aid of the Folkstock Arts Foundation is also the launch of the debut album, This Land from Kelly Oliver, as heard on BBC Radio 2. Tickets are available from the and are £10 each plus booking fee. Don’t miss out ! Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back !



Where can you find two BBC 2 Folk award nominees plus a host of emerging acts performing on 27th October ? This has the potential to be the Home counties gig of the year and a ‘must see’ concert if you like the new wave of talented singer songwriters rising rapidly from their humble and in some cases almost accidental beginnings.

Harpenden Public Halls is the chosen venue for the Folkstock benefit concert which features Maz O’Connor, Luke Jackson, Jess Morgan, Said the Maiden and Kelly Oliver.

Said the Maiden and Kelly Oliver were very well received when they supported Dave Swarbrick on the last date of his recent tour and this exciting concert is being held by Folkstock Arts Foundation as a benefit concert and we are looking forward to this stunning line up gracing the stage.

Maz O’Connor was nominated for the ‘Emerging Act’ Horizon Award earlier this year, as Luke Jackson was for the same award last year. Luke was also in the running for a Young Folk award at the same ceremony. The fact that neither has won an award at the BBC 2 Folk Awards is immaterial, and there’s always next year, and the year after..  their talent is being recognised and they are sought after performers of their self penned material all over the country. We are truly privileged to be able to offer them on the stage at the Public Halls, Harpenden.

Jess Morgan has a gorgeous warmth to her voice which complements perfectly her almost folk roots songs, which have won her two separate plays on the coveted Folk Show on BBC Radio 2 on the Mark Radcliffe show.

Folkstock has become synonymous with supporting the next generation of folk roots and acoustic musicians, ranging from the more traditional folk inspired acts right through to the singer songwriters who are catching the ear of Bob Harris and Mark Radcliffe on Radio Two.  A registered community interest company, it is run by Helen Meissner who works altruistically to promote the acts she feels have the right approach and skills to grace national and international stages. Many of the events are promoted with costs which are not covered by ticket sales and this event helps replenish the coffers which have to fund insurance, venue hire, recording and manufacturing costs among many others.


 Delighted to have got into the Finals for these awards

Flame nominations Welhat

Click here to buy tickets

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Pleased to have been asked to report on Folk by the Oak for Welwyn Hatfield Times !

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“The Folk in a Box team is excited to announce that we will be working in collaboration with Folkstock Arts Foundation to link in with local musicians in all the cities that the box is travelling to over the late summer/early autumn”.

Imagine being in the cool darkness.

Being immersed in beautiful music.

There’s no interaction with the performer other than a faint silhouette.

You are in your own private world, where for those few minutes, time stands still.

You’ve just imagined Folk in a Box.



Click here to watch the episode featuring Folk in a Box ( 30 mins in )

“….a folk concert in a box almost brought me to tears…if it comes down your way, don’t be scared: be brave and enter” The Daily Telegraph

“The line between the cosy and the creepy is thin: For Folk in a Box you pop into a darkened hut, where a guitarist sings sweetly to his sole listener.” The Observer

‘The woman ahead of me in the queue came out weeping with emotion, and while my heart was a little harder it was still an intense experience.’ The Guardian

Folk in a Box is a unique one -on-one music venue and performance space. It is a bespoke wooden box with a little front door for audience members and a little back door for performers. It can be set up anywhere.One audience member is allowed in at a time. The door is closed behind them. They are given one song, performed by one musician. It’s simple, but works like a charm.

Click here to read the review in The Telegraph ( scroll down to second item in the feature)

Folk in a Box has been to all sorts of places – Tate Britain, SouthBank Centre, Venice Biennale, Battersea Arts Centre, music festivals, back streets, high streets, hill tops and front rooms. We’ve had a host of exciting performers in the box too. Some of our favourites have been Sam Lee, Emily Barker, Simon Armitage, The Unthanks, Raghu Dixit and Newton Faulkner. Now we’re planning an epic month long journey across Britain from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’ Groats in Scotland.

In 2011, Folk in a Box received funding from the Joyce Carrdoughty trust to develop a brand new Box. We commissioned designer-architect company DK-CM to create a bespoke new structure, built by London Carpenters Aldworth, James & Bond. It quickly received critical acclaim, including a fantastic article in the Daily Telegraph. You can read it here.

In 2013, this new incarnation of Folk in a Box was invited to be a main exhibit at the Venice Biennale, where it was showcased for three months.
This is now about to tour the country, and provide a unique audience experience to inspire and stimulate all in it’s path ! Folkstock are proud to be officially collaborating with Folk in a Box and Battersea Arts Centre to provide the highest quality solo performers for this exciting innovative project.

Click here to visit The Folk in a Box website

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“Only 13% of the songwriters registered on PRS for Music are women”

Shocked to hear this startling statistic at the Women in Music conference at the South Bank earlier this year, successful soulful-folk-pop singer-songwriters Fiona Bevan and Kal Lavelle decided to do something about it. Teaming up with Helen Meissner (Folkstock Arts Foundation), who champions up and coming artists, Kal and Fiona, who have played with Ed Sheeran, Nick Mulvey, Ingrid Michaelson and Nerina Pallot, among others, are setting off on a national double headline tour this summer. The tour will also incorporate an innovative songwriting Masterclass element – both Kal and Fiona have written songs with and for other successful artists, including Fiona’s co-write Little Things which became a huge hit for One Direction. The ‘Song Sisters’ songwriting clinics are being offered as free entry events for women only. The songwriting masterclass will take place during the afternoon followed by the evening showcase with a local musician and a Folkstock Arts Foundation act in the first half. Fiona’s newly released debut album, Talk to Strangers and Kal Lavelle’s single from her forthcoming solo debut album will be promoted in their sets. The combined desired effect of the high profile tour will be to encourage more females to enter the music industry and balance the statistics. We will be supporting the tour with local promotion via press and radio.

Key Features of the Exclusive SONG SISTERS tour

  1. Free to enter, but ticketed songwriting surgery and masterclass, exclusively for women interested in developing their songwriting techniques. This will take place in the afternoon of the gig from 4 – 6pm ( venue permitting ) and will be held by Fiona and Kal.
  2. An Evening Gig, with an all female line up, for anyone to attend, having paid for a ticket.
  3. Fiona Bevan and Kal Lavelle will perform a 40 mins set each with songs from their exciting new releases.
  4. Emerging talent will be showcased in the first half of the evening, with two 30 mins sets, one from the local area and one from the Folkstock Arts Foundation family of singer songwriters.
  5. Free song download code for an exclusive duet recorded by Kal and Fiona for everyone attending the events.

Daily Mirror - Kal Lavelle & Fiona Bevan -

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Dacorum Folk Fest poster

What a wonderful day we had  ” It was such a pleasure to work with Folkstock on Dacorum Folk Fest 2014. I have had great feedback from audience members both on the day and afterwards about the quality of the perfomers and great programme you had pulled together, and the marketing support enabled us to bring a new folk audience to our venue.” Kate Whiting, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead.

More information about Dacorum Folk Fest :   An exciting collaboration between Dacorum Arts Partnership, Folkstock, Dacorum Borough Council, Daria Kulesh’s Acoustic Cafe and The Old Town Hall has generated a one day festival with a quality line up on 19th July in the centre of the old part of Hemel Hempstead. Something of a hidden jewel, the old town is brimming with character and the Old Town Hall is providing a beautiful environment with a theatre for the showcases and a separate area for the sessions and workshops.

It coincides with the reopening ceremony of the redeveloped Old Town High Street and is set to be a popular and exciting day. Starting at 1pm with the opening ceremony, and respected Wickett Brood Morris side, there will be two showcases during the afternoon, in the Theatre – so not weather dependent !  Folkstock are running the first of the two showcases, starting at 1.30 and running til 4.00, with five acts who all won various awards at the Love Folk Live sessions we enjoyed judging back in the dead of winter ! KARA, Laura Victoria,  Marina Florance and Ben Smith are being rounded off by Kelly Oliver.

Another recent find at the sessions was Zoe Wren, who along with Kaity Rae and Minnie Birch are all performing at the outside stage from 4.15 – 5.15 to promote the Folkstock Records compilation album Femmes Fatales of Folk, which is being released on that very day. There are sessions being held by Emma Scarr ( from Black Scarr ) from 1.45 – 2.45, a dirty blues/ slide session with  Garry Smith and Whiskey Mick from 3 – 4pm. Priority for these free to join sessions will be given to people who have bought tickets for any of the showcases/ concerts being held on the day.



Click here to be taken to the Facebook page to apply


Click here to buy tickets

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Delighted to say that ten acts suggested by Folkstock are entertaining audiences along the Warwickshire waterways for the Folk on the Water festival two week extravanga this year starting on June 21st and running til 5th July. Well done to Nick and the Sun Machine who are headlining on the first night, Fiona Bevan’s Music, KAL LAVELLE, little Rach, George Breakfast, Kim Lowings, Kelly Oliver, Marina Florance, Minnie Birch and Black Scarr and thanks to Dutch Van Spall for asking !



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black scarr 01 george best                   kelly hohner roxanne best           May 10th, Welwyn Garden City… 5 artists peforming under the Folkstock banner ! May 10th WGC bike race 19th July at the Dacorum Folk Festival sees a special showcase with Laura Victoria, Kelly Oliver, Marina Florance, Ben Smith and Kara Folk, and Garry Smith and Black Scarr joining showcases later in the day, and Emma Scarr, Garry Smith and Ben Smith running sessions during the afternoon.DFF poster low res Wilkestock on the Sunday 31st August has Folkstock taking over the Acoustic stage and 9 of our artists are performing – we are very excited. Roxanne de Bastion, Minnie Birch, Kaity Rae, The Tritones, Kelly Oliver, Oh Sister, Kal Lavelle, Said the Maiden and August and After.

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We are delighted to announce the awards and the winners from last night’s event.
Thank you to everyone who took part, who came to watch, who came week in week out to judge the acts and to everyone who has supported on social media over the last few weeks. Massive thanks to Sue Marchant who came over to enjoy the evening and to give out the awards.
It is fair to say that the standard of performance has been exceptional and an indicator of this can be found here – Hitchin Folk Club hoped to find one act who they felt would be suitable for their club and in the end they offered five slots. I will post pics and video as soon as I can, but for now, here are the winners :)
Inspiring Innovator – Minnie Birch – Photo shoot with Bellanova Photography and support slot at Ents Shed, Bedford
minnie and sueFor the act who has used creativity to set themselves apart, either within their songwriting,for the presentation on stage or their marketing. In the case of this worthy winner, she has done all three.
Most Exciting Live Act – KARA Folk – Day in studio at Greenbank Music Village
kara and sue01For the act who appears to both enjoy themselves on stage and bring the audience great enjoyment when they are watching the performance.
Going for Gold – George Breakfast – Marketing session with Folkstock Arts Foundation
George B 01For the act who has been performing for years, is a polished and professional performer, and who would be able to make the most of some marketing and consolidation strategies from Folkstock Arts Foundation
Perennial Professional – Marina Florance – £200 cash donated by The Live and Let Live, Pegsdon.
marina and sueTo recognise the act who provides consistent professional delivery of self penned material and is committed to providing a flawless experience for their audience.
Best Audience Reaction – Black Scarr – Slot at Hitchin Folk Club supporting Les Barker on May 25th
black scarr 01For the act who generated the highest scores in the quality of entertainment and also won over the audience and got them involved.
One to Watch – Laura Victoria – Guaranteed review of new album by FATEA Magazine, a track included on Fatea download showcase and a slot at Hitchin Folk Club supporting Sam Sweeney and Hannah James.
laura victoria and sueFor the act who is about to release an EP or album and who is also an accomplished and engaging performer, to make the most of the Hitchin Folk Club opportunity, with sufficiently unique songs to also be awarded a coveted place in the next downloadable FATEA showcase.
Fabulous for Festivals – Hicks and Goulbourn – Festival slot at an event curated by Folkstock
Hicks and G better cropFor an act who impressed the judges with their lively and accomplished performance and with whom Folkstock would be delighted to be associated.
Best Newcomer – Zoe Wren – Slot at Hitchin Folk Club supporting Jim Causley on May 4th
Zoe wren vid still niceFor the act who showed the most promise, who was previously unknown to the judges and who would go down well with the Hitchin Folk club audience.
Best Songwriter (under 20) – Kaitlyn Haggis – £75 cash donated by audience member from first showcase
kaitlyn and sueFor the singer/songwriter (under 20) who most impressed the judges with their original songwriting and stage presence
Best Songwriter (over 20) – Tom Ryder – £75 cash donated by audience member from first showcase
Tom ryder and sueFor the singer/songwriter (over 20) who most impressed the judges with their original songwriting and stage presence
Best Traditional Folk Singer – Mike Excell – support slot at Hitchin Folk Club
mike and sue 01For the act who has been working away for years, but was still under the radar of the judges. This award hopes to bring them out of the shadows and encourage them to gig more extensivelym and develop an audience for their self penned, witty and pithy songs
Fabulous for Festivals – Union Jill – Festival slot at an event curated by Folkstock
Union Jill and nameFor an act who impressed the judges with their lively and accomplished performance and with whom Folkstock would be delighted to be associated.
Time to Tour – Ben Smith – £160 vouchers for Old English Inns anywhere around the country
Ben and sueAn award to encourage an outstanding act to get out and travel around the country, spreading their music far and wide.
Local Pride – Ragged Staff – Interview on local radio Secklow Sounds with Terry Sullivan editor of The Sticks Magazine
ragged staff and sueFor the act who has made a real impression on the local folk scene and are putting every effort into honing their craft and are now getting recognition on a wider scale.
Brilliant Blues and Classic Country – Alan West and Adam Sweet – Stategic marketing session with Michael Pipe from alan and sueEntshed,Bedford
This award is for an outstanding act who wowed the judges with their professionalism and style and who could fully utilise a business and strategy meeting about making the most of their full time musical occupations.
Outstanding Live Performance – The Black Feathers – Photoshoot with Redwood Band Photography and slot at Hitchin The Black Feathers RayFolk Club supporting the Lucy Ward Band on 12th October.
For the act who impressed all the judges across all the criteria with their flawless delivery of their own stunning songs.
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Thank you to Kelly Oliver for entertaining everyone while the judges confered over the awards.

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If you click on the pictures, you will be able to enlarge them to view

 finals announcement names

final running orderTuesday 18th February

7.00 Tom Ryder

7.20 Kaitlyn Haggis

7.40  Mike Excell

8.00  Marina Florance

8.20 Laura Victoria

8.40 Ben Smith

9.00 Minnie Birch

9.20 Black Scarr

9.40 Alan West

10.00 The Black Feathers

10.20 Performance by Kelly Oliver

(While the judges deliberate)

10.35 Awards announced by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter Sue Marchant

We are pleased to also welcome these non performing musicians as finalists:

Zoe Wren, Ragged Staff, Hicks and Goulbourn,
Union Jill, KARA Folk and George Breakfast




Please copy this information into a document/ email, add your comments and then email to .  Thanks very much for getting involved.

Your input is great appreciated and valuable to help us give the right prizes to the right musicians.

If you would prefer to say which acts you enjoyed the most, with perhaps a
sentence about why, that is also fine and will be very valuable to us.

Performer :                                                                                                                                         

Date :                                                                                                                                                         

Musicianship 0 – 10                      ______

Poor Performer….. Competent ……. Good……… Exceptional

Anything extra to note ?

Stage Presence 0 -10                    ______

Uninteresting/ Nothing new…… Has Potential on some songs……..Appealing/ engaging…….Captivating

Any other comments ?

Confidence 0 – 10                         ______

Nervous/ uncomfortable…… Inexperienced but potential…… Looked comfortable /drew you in…..Created an exciting energy

Anything to add ?

Audience reaction 0 – 10           ______

Bored…..Easily distracted……. Quite attentive….. Could hear a pin drop

Anything which stands out ?

TOTAL SCORE :                             _______

Overall impression

Would you recommend to someone else who was looking for a musician ?

Why ?




* BEST SONGWRITER 20YRS AND UNDER ( donated by an audience member at the first showcase)

* BEST SONGWRITER OVER 20 YRS OLD ( donated by an audience member at the first showcase)

* BEST Blues/ Country / Americana act ( donated by Michael Pipe Music promoter/ Business Consultant )
3 hrs of free music Business advice.
Can be delivered on the phone, via Skype or face to face.
Marketing, capitalising on opportunities and making a living out of music.   Prize value £250.00



Love Folk LIVE is a new competition organised by champions of emerging singer songwriters, Folkstock Arts Foundation and a restaurant near Hitchin, involving 30 musicians performing three songs each, over 3 weeks, starting tomorrow evening at the newly refurbished The Live and Let Live pub restaurant in the hamlet of Pegsdon, 5 mins from Hitchin.

The standard is very high, one of the entrants is recording a session for Radio Two today in London for the Bob Harris show !

Another has supported Joan Armatrading on one of her gigs, many have had songs played and also performed live on BBC Three Counties.

Prizes are exciting and range from £200 cash donated by the venue, to a coveted support slot at Hitchin Folk Club, a photoshoot with Hitchin based Bellanova Photography, a day in the recording studio at Luton’s Greenbank Music Village, two nights for two at an Old English Inn, and a radio interview, among others !

If anyone would like to come and join the judges, that would be great !

Just come over to the pub on the road between Hitchin and Barton Le Clay, just 5 mins from Hitchin, from 7pm tomorrow, or any of the next four Tuesdays, and let us have your opinions on the singer songwriters and acoustic acts performing.

The Final for this competition, Love Folk Live, takes place on 18th Feb.


We are delighted to announce a special Performance by Kelly Oliver at the Finals on the 18th February. Kelly will be singing while the judges deliberate at the Live and Let Live, Pegsdon. Yet another reason to come along to our four Tuneful Tuesdays in North Herts !
Kelly Oliver Promo Pic

Kelly Oliver is fresh onto the folk scene, having only started performing her original material in May 2013. She was encouraged by Keiron and Maureen Jones at Hitchin Folk Club, who after inviting her to support Chris and Kellie While and then Miranda Sykes, gave her the opportunity to open for Luke Jackson at Cambridge Folk Festival this year in the club tent under the auspices of their club.

From her base in Hertfordshire, Kelly taught herself the Harmonica to add depth to her guitar led songs and has attracted sponsorship from Hohner who will be the sole supplier of her harmonicas from March 2014.

Kelly won a competition to perform at Folkstock, which meant that she opened the Folkstock Presents stage at the festival which was organised by Helen Meissner’s Folkstock Arts Foundation.

Kelly was invited to chat and perform live on BBC Three Counties Radio in a lunch time show in December.

Upcoming Gigs : Kelly Oliver has been booked to support Luke Jackson at Uxbridge Folk Club on 13th February and Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts at Hitchin on March 23rd.


Love Folk Live – Acoustic Awards without the Hype.
Minimum fuss, maximum exposure.

Providing a platform for emerging acoustic, folk and roots musicians.

How about brightening your January ( and ours) by applying for one of the three showcase Tuesdays at the Live and Let Live in Pegsdon, just outside Hitchin, Herts, and not only get extra exposure for your acoustic/ folk/ roots act, but be in the running to be awarded either £200 in cash (kindly donated by the venue, the Live and Let Live, Pegsdon) towards your band costs, a day in a recording studio to make your latest songs come to life, a session for both a solo act and a band with a professional photographer to get those all important Welhat full articlepromotional shots , an interview on a local radio station, selection for inclusion for the next FATEA download, a guaranteed review from FATEA magazine,  or a support slot at prestigious Folk club Hitchinregarded as one of the best concert Folk clubs in the country.

Where did this idea come from ?    The Love Folk LIVE Acoustic Awards are what happens when an award winning restaurant combines forces with an entrepreneurial champion of folk roots and acoustic music. The Live and Let Live, Pegsdon and Helen Meissner’s Folkstock Arts Foundation are proud to announce the launch of this exciting opportunity for fresh folk to get recognition for their talent !

We’d like to help you give your musical career a boost by applying to enter the Love Folk LIVE Acoustic Awards, the finals of which are going to be held on Tuesday 18th February.

When and where is this being held ? The previous three Tuesdays ( 28th Jan, 4th and 11th Feb) in the run up to the 18th February, which is the final showcase, in the intimate surroundings of the beautiful recently refitted restaurant at the Live and Let Live in Pegsdon. Each showcase will feature ‘living room’ performances of three songs per act, culminating in an evening which will see each of the acts performing five songs and at least four artists/ acts being recognised in line with the areas below, with the likelihood of more categories being determined when all the entries are in.  All acts in the final session, on the Tuesday 18th Feb, will be performing in front of judges including those who book the acts for Hitchin Folk Club and Folkstock. This is not a glitzy flash event, it is about providing a credible platform to help musicians gain extra exposure and hopefully win some useful prizes in the process.

Who can apply ? There is no age, band size or geographical limit for entrants. However, full drum kits are not practical and cajon or stripped back percussion is the limit of what we will be able to cater for at these showcases. The music preferred will be acoustic and original, or original arrangements of traditional songs.  Deadline for entries 10th January 2014.

I don’t agree with ‘competitions’ in music ! We would like to stress that this is inevitably a subjective decision, although it will be made by group consensus with additional feedback from social media and the audience at the various showcases to enable as fair and equal an opportunity as possible. We feel that all musicians are worthy of recognition and support and so we are not awarding numerical places, as one act is not necessarily ‘ better ‘ than another and different acts suit different performance environments. However there are going to be at least four categories, outlined below, which we will be actively using as guidance for deciding who will be given the awards.

What are the benefits in applying ? All the acts who perform on one of the Tuesdays, 28th Jan, 4th and 11th February, will be adding to their marketing and promotional opportunities and we hope it will be a positive and inspiring experience for everyone. Where it is invited by the artist, feedback will be given and advice on marketing and presentation happily discussed with anyone who gets into the showcase stage of the awards. We want to draw the spot light onto what the Beds/ Herts and Bucks region has to offer the acoustic and folk fan, those who regularly go to the many clubs as well as attracting new audiences to authentic original music.

We would like to use this as a platform to promote the skills dexterity and creative talents which are in evidence amongst the performers of the region. The awards are open to anyone who is prepared to travel to the venue, which is on the North Herts/ Beds border, 5 mins from Hitchin, on the basis that if you are prepared to come to the awards, you are also prepared to add to the live musical mix on offer at our live venues. In this way we hope to increase the audiences and appetite for acoustic, folk and roots music and continually encourage and enable the live music scene to flourish.

What are the categories for the Awards ?

Most Promising New Act  – for the talented act or artist who is perhaps lacking in experience but are helping themselves to get a greater audience and reach with their proactive marketing approach.

Outstanding Live Performance – for the act or artist who delivers a performance which is distinctive, professional and passionate and which shows maturity and a confident stage presence which makes it an exciting and memorable experience for the audience.

Perennial Professional – an artist or act who has been recording and gigging away for years, are consumate professionals and would like to attract gigs further afield and perhaps some more radio exposure and reviews.

Inspiring Innovator – both musically and professionally, we are looking at originality in marketing, performance or song style. An act which stands out but who perhaps does not fit readily into any particular genre.

Time to Tour – for the best solo act who is most likely to break out and go national

What are the prizes ? a weekend away for two at one of Greene King’s Old English Inns, a day in a recording studio at Greenbank Music Village to make your latest songs come to life, two sessions with professional photographers to get those all important promotional shots, one for solo with Bellanova Photography in Hitchin and another for a band or group with Midlands based Redwood Band Photography, a guaranteed review by respected acoustic champions FATEA magazine and inclusion in the next FATEA downloadable showcase, an interview on The Sticks Magazine’s radio show with Terry  Sullivan at Secklow Sounds or a support slot at prestigious Folk club Hitchin,  regarded as one of the best concert Folk clubs in the country.  The prizes will be awarded at the sole discretion of the judges. There will be no cash equivalents for non cash prizes.

You are welcome to indicate which prizes would be most attractive to you.

Who are the judges ? The final will be performed in front of judges including Hitchin Folk Club organisers and Folkstock Arts Foundation and all the sessions will be encouraging audience participation with a proportion of the judging being based on feedback from the audience on the day of initial performance. The first three weeks will have snapshot videos taken to enable all acts to take advantage of the promotional opportunity presented by performing.


In the spirit of sharing your music, you are welcome to post your music on the new facebook page for Love Folk LIVE.

Love Folk LIVE facebook link

This is where the videos of highlights of your performances in the three showcases will be showcased.
Thank you for reading this and I look forward to hearing from you if you would like to take part.
If you would like to join the panel of judges, donate a prize for another category or help us publicise this, please get in touch.
Yours, Helen Meissner

Luke Jackson is returning to the Folkstock fold and performing for us at this exciting intimate event just before 3pm. The twice nominated BBC 2 Folk awards nominated singer kindly ran an inspiring songwriting workshop for the Folkstock arts foundation in the summer and inevitably impressed everyone at his main stage appearance in September at the festival. How very exciting :) This is what has been written about him : “ A sumptuous voice loaded with maturity and a melodically blessed guitar style – with wisdom and musical clout beyond his teenage years we’ll be hearing much more of Luke” %9

Please keep in touch using the method which suits you best :)