“It is reported that only 13 per cent of songs registered with the Performing Right Society are by women songwriters. Which makes The F Spot both a statement of intent and a welcome piece of music. There are 10 songs by 10 different ‘femmes fatales’ and they are of a consistently high standard, whether from a trailblazer such as Peggy Seeger (Don’t You Know How Lucky You Are) or a young London student called Kaity Rae (It Is). I liked the anti-war song from Norfolk’s Marina Florance but there is much to enjoy in a variety of styles and approaches from Daria Kulesh, Fay Brotherhood, Minnie Birch and Zoë Wren. All the tracks are produced by Lauren Deakin Davies (except for Seeger’s, which was produced by Calum MacColl) and there is an original album artwork from Amy Pettingill.
Particular mentions for Kelly Oliver’s folk-rock inspired Keilan Are You Coming, Maz O’Connor’s impressive Mississippi Woman and Roxanne de Bastion’s lovely singing on Butterfly. The album is from progressive British label Folkstock”. Martin Chilton, The Telegraph. 04/04/15

“It may be a small operation, but British label Folkstock has become shop window for an impressive roster of youthful singer songwriters who roam far beyond the borders of the traditional repertoire”
“ Maz O’Connor has already made her mark on the national stage, she makes a typically atmospheric contribution on The Mississippi Woman. The stand out number though, has to be Butterfly, an astonishingly assured song from Roxanne de Bastion. The precocious Kaity Rae with It Is, runs a very close second” Clive Davis, The Sunday Times 15/03/15

“Folkstock is a label to hang your hat on. Helmed by Helen Meissner, they approach everything with a DIY ethos that is admirable and, also, successful. More importantly, Helen has a great ear for music and an obvious passion which comes out in everything they do. This is as much a showcase for them as it is for the acts featured. A well conceived, beautifully produced and vitally important record that couldn’t be coming out at a better time”. Spiral Earth reviewing The F Spot Femmes Fatales, which was released on 8th March”. Harry Harris, Spiral Earth. To read the review from Harry Harris in Spiral Earth please click here

“Not a hint of treacle on this atmospheric, no frills compilation from a label that is nurturing some our most promising folk talent. Balancing the religious to the secular, the album goes gently on it’s way. Minnie Birch’s Snowman and Kaity Rae’s Red Paper Wrapping tap into the spirit of midwinter, Kate Rouse’s hammered dulcimer underpins Daria Kulesh’s I Watch the Snow, Dave Swarbrick, a member of folk’s old guard helps out on John Farndon’s elegiac Peace in my Heart. There isn’t a weak link to be found” Clive Davis, The Sunday Times 14/12/14

“For sheer passion in terms of promoting new artists, there cannot be many outfits to beat Folkstock, the small “boutique” record label that’s helped bring a number of acts to wider attention”.
You can read the full review from Darren Johnson here

“as promised, the latest release from Folkstock Records features nine exclusive songs by female songwriters associated with the label plus the tune we are about to hear….it begins with this belter from Peggy Seeger …it’s there to bang the drum a bit, because women are massively under represented in the music industry.. it’s quite hard.. there is a big glass ceiling so Helen Meissner from Folkstock, bless her, is doing something about it and she suggested that we should celebrate International Women’s Day when her record comes out and I think that’s a great idea, so that’s is exactly what we are going to do.
So you, dear listener, get to choose the tracks we play on our all female Now Playing at 6 on 8th march…. label. “ Peggy Seeger’s You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are is the opening track on a new compilation from the boutique label Folkstock Records..label boss Helen Meissner says she wants to champion female songwriters with this release and bang the drum a bit especially as we have a female producer Lauren Deakin Davies who has produced all the other tracks on this fine compilation of grass roots female artists. And many thanks to Helen for pointing out to me in good time that todays show falls in International Women’s Day, which is why the whole show celebrates women; women’s achievement, women’s pride and womens’ struggle.” Tom Robinson, BBC6 Music

“A brand new voice, Kelly Oliver has a new single Jericho out on Folkstock Records. Folkstock is a curious phenomenon, it’s just taken wings, it’s basically a home made label which has flourished dramatically over the last year or so and has received any amount of attention from the media up and down the country. The material is very traditional and very English. Having said that Kelly is of Irish extraction and you’ll hear that clearly in the music…..From the immensely productive Folkstock Records label in England. Fans of Cranberries, Paul Brady and the Corrs will hear things that they like in that, I like it immensely”.
Michael Clark, Breakfast in Bed radio show on 1320Radio You can listen to the show here -scroll to 8 min

instrumental award

Gold Star Music Empire Award 2014 – The Folkstock Arts Foundation.

Helen Meissner is one of those quietly busy people who gets things done. She is the founder of The Folkstock Arts Foundation and is central to a number of musical initiatives whose ambitions seem to stretch way beyond resources and expectations. The main plank of Folkstock is the recording, mentoring and promotion of emergent folk talent from England and there is no shortage of that at the moment. On this site I’ve managed to write about Folkstock artist Zoe Wren whose Pandora’s Box EP is a good example of the quality that is there to match the quantity of reinvigorated English roots music. That energy is there to be shared according to Meissner’s philosophy and the Folkstock promoted Song Sisters tour featuring Fiona Bevan and Kai Lavelle combined performance with singing workshops. There’s a lot of this about at the moment, but it is an integral part of the Folkstock agenda that recognizes that community engagement is necessary in order to keep cultural enterprise relevant.

Meissner’s vision is important I think, because it recognizes the need for creative organisations that do not merely replace arts subsidy models or record label investment, neither of which provide platforms for self-perpetuating musical careers. Folkstock also enjoys the patronage of Mr David Swarbrick, a man whose long experience of the music industry can contribute usefully to the mentoring of young performers. It’s something of a coup for Folkstock not only because his reputation naturally precedes him, but because a fledgling third sector organization needs that level of credibility perhaps even more than it needs funding. So stand up Helen Meissner. I’ll bet it’s not the first time you’ve been awarded a gold star, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

To read the rest of the feature and wonderful musicians who also won Gold Star awards from Instrumental, please click here

I just wanted to say “Thank you” for organising the event on Sunday. I heard about it from Jess Morgan, and am really pleased that I made the three hour drive to get there. All the artistes were brilliant, and the sound mix superb – despite sitting in line with the speaker stack I was not defeaned as seems to be the case at many events these days. Do you collect gift aid on donations to the Folkstock Foundation? Is there a donation page?

Folkstock does Balstock Music Festival at The White Lion Pub on Saturday 13th September 2014.
The acts at the pub were hand picked by Helen Meissner of whom did a Good Job in doing so as I was only going to stay in this pub for a few acts then move on, but I stayed there all day until all the acts had finished which was something like 11pm – 11.30pm!….

Been updating / adding to my Music Collection today including buying a Few Releases from those Wonderful Musicians at Folkstock Records!
I can recommend the following of which can be Bought as CD’s and or as Downloads!
Armistice Pals 4 Track CD
Zoe Wren “Pandora’s Box”
Femmes Fatales of Folk – A 10 Track Album by 10 Great Female Artists!
The F SpoT – A 5 Track CD by 5 Friends of http://www.folkstockartsfoundation.com
I previously bought earlier in the year the following from Folkstock Records, which I can Whole Heartly recommend too!
Kaity Rae “Spark” – A 4 Track CD of whom Kaity has the Most Beautiful Voice too!
Kelly Oliver – “Far From Home” – Kelly’s 5 Track Debut EP
Kelly Oliver – “This Land” – Kelly’s 11 Track Debut Album – Great Songs, Great Voice!
The Christmas Present Album – 9 Track Album of Christmassy Songs! – This is Wonderful, this could be played anytime of the year, all excellent songs! but that’s just my Opinion! I absolutely Love Garry Smith’s “Camden Town Christmas”
Happy New Year to all at Folkstock Records, I hope you continue to have Great Success / Great Releases in 2015! Kevin Thompson.

Helen has driven forward the Folkstock Arts Foundation, moreover the Folkstock Festival, the first of its kind in the UK. I know of no other festival with an ethos of bringing forward and nurturing new local musical talent. Helen’s tenacity and ability to motivate others ensured the Festival and organisation have been successful and are now well respected amongst the music and festival practitioner community.
Allan. S. Jepson, PhD    Senior Lecturer & Researcher (Event Studies) University of Hertfordshire

Among other activities, my team at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council organises entertainment events to encourage people to visit our two town centres, to keep local people feeling good about the place, and to support local creative talent.
We have to satisfy a range of partners, while depending on others to deliver the specialist elements of events.
We have worked with Helen Meissner on several varied shows over the past year.  The value of the Folkstock Arts Foundation’s ambition to nurture and promote creativity is clear, as is the passion that Helen brings to it.  So I will focus on the practicalities…

We have found from our first encounter that we are able to hand over the artistes element of production to Helen, which is important to us as non-specialists with limited in-house capacity.  She has access to a large roster of talent covering a wide range of styles, levels of experience and cost structures.  This allows us to tailor events to our purpose and budget, depending whether our priority is for a spectacular and professional music show or a locally rooted community event.

Our first joint venture was especially challenging because it was the high-profile first use of Hatfield’s mobile staging, mainly funded by the government’s Mary Portas pilot programme, but inevitably facing some local scepticism and getting a lot of local media interest.  Folkstock turned around the prevailing coverage, which has helped greatly to set the mood more positively as Hatfield looks to the future.

Helen has been unfailingly dependable, straight-talking and flexible.  All of her artists have left the audience and organisers happy.  For each event (ours and others that we have seen) she has devised an appealing strand of entertainment that works on every level.

Her competence and manner has quickly built constructive relationships with our other important contractors such as radio presenters, sound engineers, staging constructors and exhibitors.

I have no doubt we will look to Helen and the Folkstock Arts Foundation to be an intrinsic part of high profile events organised in future for the town centres of Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City.
Tim Beyer  Partnerships and Community Safety Manager
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council  Council Offices, The Campus.

I produce a radio show that is syndicated to six internet based radio stations. I also promote regular live showcase events in arts centres such as Farnham Maltings and The Exchange Sturminster Newton.
Through my contact with Helen I have featured a number of the artists organised through Folkstock Arts Foundation.
I have always found these to be both talented and reliable. Helen pays particular attention to important aspects such as ensuring the artists turn up in plenty of time and that they present themselves in a way that shows them to best effect.
I have yet to be disappointed  over the talent provided, in fact, audiences are always surprised and delighted at the very high standard of entertainment provided.”
Brian Player


” I attended Folkstock in Hatfield White Lion Square on Saturday afternoon.  I was very impressed with the stage set up and the quality of the acts that were on, I think it was a brilliant thing to bring to hatfield and congratulations to all the talented musicians and everyone involved.

I had a look on the website and think the Folkstock arts Foundation is a great organisation, with a wonderful warm and inclusive vibe.  It would be great, as part of the bigger picture for folkstock art foundation, if it could continue to have a positive influence for Hatfield and its young (and old!) musicians and Herts based young people in general.” A Hatfield resident.

“When Helen Meissner approached me and simply asked a few questions about my radio show, I knew this was someone who was truly interested in this world so many of us live in. Helen proceeded to do nothing but praise the groups she represents. I don’t mean in the way many of us have heard some managers promote their clients, talking away whilst they imagine the $$$$$$$ in the sky. Helen loved the passion these people possessed and wanted to help them however she could and can. Every week since that day she has been an avid listener to my show and i am sure many more of yours. Like the lady says, ‘Give Folk a chance, it may surprise you’
Steve Williams – Thats all Folks

“ The promotion of new musical folk talent is something that is becoming not only more important in our world of disposable pop music, but more relevant as more young people find a real passion in it. I can think of no better champion for this promotion than Helen, who devotes so much time to nurturing and encouraging these talents and allowing original, heartfelt passions to gain the success it deserves and giving the artists the motivation to keep folk music, in its purest form, alive”.
Josh King, Thank Folk for That

“I think what I appreciate about what you do is the intensity that you approach it with. If you believe in something you don’t leave any stone unturned and really work to make a breakthrough with it. You’ve obviously built up some good relationships/contacts and I think that is a real asset.”
“Helen has been an invaluable support to me and my music over the last few months.  She is open and friendly whilst also being direct and getting the job done. In terms of contacts, moral support and digital media Helen’s support has been overwhelming, she has a knack of knowing how to get a band “out there”. Helen works tirelessly to support artists she likes and the music industry needs people like her to ensure acts, whose music is often overlooked by the mainstream industry, a platform to perform and grow.” Tom Donovan,  Mr Speaker   http://www.facebook.com/mrspeakerlive

 “The Folkstock programme is be a great step forward in recognizing musical talent and nurturing folk musicians in the long and short term. With the rise in the popularity of folk among younger and also older generations this programme will really help upcoming musicians.  Good luck with Folkstock, it sounds like a great idea and I hope it goes far. Really is one of those things that could really thrive at the moment and am sure folk musicians will thrive from it. ”  Jacob Windsor  http://newbornsounds.co.uk

“We first met Helen in her role as Manager for The Folk when they supported us at the High Barn venue in Great Bardfield, Essex in 2012. She instantly struck us as someone who was dedicated and driven to promote her artists and ever since that encounter we’ve kept in touch.
When we needed some extra help with a promotional campaign for our single ‘Headlights’ in January 2013 Helen instantly sprung to mind as someone who might share our enthusiasm for creating some activity around the release and we were delighted when she eagerly accepted our invitation to voluntarily get involved.

Within just a few weeks, in fact, within a few days or hours even, Helen had begun to make a massive impact on our productivity and exposure. She is exceptionally engaged online and as such she created an almost instant buzz of activity in posting, commenting and responding to fan interactions on our social networks. She also gave us great advice on how to harness and maximise these areas for ourselves. She also shared her wealth of contacts in the digital, online and regional radio stations which resulted in almost daily plays of the single across the web and helped us to forge new friendships and networks within the industry.

We also appreciated her advice in a number of other areas; from re-working our biography text, to re-evaluating our brand and image and even our photographic and videographic promo materials.  In short, Helen has been a wonderful sounding board for us to share ideas and to re-focus ourselves as we head in to a busy and pivotal point in our musical careers. She has a hunger and thirst for supporting emerging artists like ourselves which seems insatiable and I know that at the heart of all her heart work is a true love of good music, a desire to help get it the exposure it deserves and a joy in being part of the team that does so! We have no agreement or contract in place that incentivises Helen’s involvement with us as a band and yet she has given her all to helping us recently. This proves to me that her motives come from a really genuine and generous place and makes us all the more grateful for her support. If funding could provide Helen with the financial backing needed to continue this level of consultancy then I’m confident it could only be positive and would certainly help the productivity and success of many acts and artists. Myself, (Sarah) and Liz, The Floe, are very thankful for Helen’s help and would wholeheartedly support her application for funding as we know so many emerging artists could benefit from her involvement”   Sarah Springett, The Floe     http://www.thefloe.com/


“Helen has been an invaluable support to me and my music over the last few months. She is open and friendly whilst also being direct and getting the job done. In terms of contacts, moral support and digital media, Helen’s support has been overwhelming. She has a knack of knowing how to get a band “out there”. Helen works tirelessly to support artists she likes and the music industry needs people like her to ensure acts, whose music is often overlooked by the mainstream industry, have a platform on which to perform and grow.” Louise Hamilton  – alt/folk band Flaming June http://www.flamingjune.co.uk

“I met up with Helen to discuss my tour plans for my latest theatrical production. Prior to the meeting I had taken the somewhat scatter gun approach to working – throwing ideas at everything in the hope that somehow things would fall into place. However, meeting Helen helped me focus on my actual aims – not just for the forthcoming tour – but for further down the line, and our chat has been a huge help. She talks with a great deal of experience, asks a lot of questions and is full of invention, she has aided my progress as an artist significantly “ Paul Richards WRITER: www.someplaysbypaulrichards.co.uk   DRUMMER: www.paulrichardsdrummer.co.uk  BLOGhttp://theboyrichards.blogspot.co.uk  DIRECTOR OF THEATRE FOR LODESTAR FESTIVALwww.lodestarfestival.com

Feedback from Folkstock Festival Sept 21st 2013

“A new boutique festival has no right to be this friendly, this welcoming & this well organised has it?

Well Folkstock most certainly was.

Stages were managed with military precision yet with a warm & personal touch that was charming.”

….the people of Folkstock…were some of the happiest, easy going lot its been my pleasure to share a field with. The day left you with a warm glow-relaxed, chilled & charmed -a lovely combination….

Fresh on the Net



Denise Parsons  Very well promoted, you nailed it!! so many people got behind it creating a lovely community atmosphere!! I had people turn up at Trestle Arts Base last gig saying they’d been to Folkstock and really enjoyed it and that it had encouraged them to seek out more music!! So not only did you create a fantastic event but it has helped raise the profile of music in the area generally and the knock on effect of that I think will continue!! Well done and thank you!! xx


Click here for some lovely photos from Lunaesque Creative Photography

“With the music policy being centred around acoustic, folk and roots this always promised to deliver to the heart & soul with a side measure of toe tapping and it really did.I confess to being quite new to the folk scene but its always a great sign when you are surprised at what you find & very pleasantly surprised I was.” Johnno Casson for Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net Blog


  It’s always great to hear of new festivals, particularly ones that give good opportunities to rising talent. One of the big complaints I hear at festivals is that it’s always the same name, not an allegation that could be levelled at Folkstock, that drew in a fair number of rising names from up and down the country, not just its Hertfordshire base. In addition to which a number of those acts also got opportunities to play warm up events to help publicise the new festival. Whilst I digress that, in its self, should tell you something about the thought processes that went into the organisation of this festival. Most new festivals start off single venue or single stage, many in a field at the back of a pub. What it did share with a lot of those types of festivals was that Folkstock was only one day, but that was the only place where it didn’t think big. With four scheduled stages, a turn up and play stage, as well as sessions in the bar, with well over seventy named acts on the bill, plus those that just turned up, this was an ambitious start for a new festival. Advanced publicity was good, pricing was well structured especially allowing for the new names that festival goers, crave and want an opportunity to ‘discover’ and the headliners sufficiently sized to catch the eye. The build up to Folkstock was everything I would expect to see from a festival organiser, plenty of publicity and awareness generation with great engagement via social media to boot. With very few minor hiccups Folkstock ran like clockwork on the day. I have been to many longer established festivals that have been more poorly organised and less able to react to issues.” Neil King Fatea. “How much musical talent can you cope with seeing in one day? Folkstock was a bit mind-blowing….a diverse array of artists that started off really well and that just seemed to get better and better as the day went on.  Great festival….top job by organiser Helen Meissner and team”. Rob Bridge, Redwood Band Photography. http://www.redwoodphotography.co.uk/blog-3/   The organiser of an acoustic festival has hailed it as a “huge success” although she said it was “too early to tell” whether it would be an annual event.       Hundreds of people were treated to a mixture of acoustic, folk and roots music from 70 musicians at Saturday’s Folkstock Festival in Aldenham Country Park.       The event, which featured a large number of bands from the local area, was headlined by Lucy Ward, Kris Drever, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, Marina Florance and Reg Meuross. http://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/10694460._The_only_thing_missing_was_the_crowds_/?ref=mr   And here’s some lovely pic from the local paper http://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/folkstock/view/gallery_366843.Picture_gallery__the_first_Folkstock_at_Aldenham_Country_Park/

Kate Snowdon has been running the official blogsite for the festival for a few months now and there’s a fresh approach

and interesting nuggets if you care to partake !

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Folkstock is all about providing a platform of opportunity. Of course the Folkstock Arts Foundation, which the festival was born out of, was established to support new and emerging acoustic, folk and roots musicians and help to bridge the gap between artists and the harsh business and marketing world – which is the ethos of the entire event – and I’ve written before about the fact that the festival was used to launch local business: Espiritu, but there’s an underlying current that runs a bit deeper than that, in my view.

As you may well know, Folkstock Festival is being used as a case study for social and community research by Dr Linda Wilks, and I’d like to put my two-pence worth in (that’s what a blog is for, surely?).

Whether realising the extent of this or not, Folkstock has allowed me as an individual to explore some of the links between professionalism; breaking into a career path, and the way that a combination of student media and local events can help one to realise their potential.


You can read the rest of this interesting analysis here : http://folkstockfestival.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/my-lasting-message-from-folkstock-festival/comment-page-1/#comment-56




Visitor feedback

We did come yesterday and enjoyed Folkstock tremendously. I joined the trad session with Alison and Doug, and then stayed in the bar for the American bluesy boys. We saw a dozen exceptional acts on all the different stages, had lattes, tea in china cups with the most amazing brownies, and beer and pizza. It was a terrifically ambitious thing to put on and a great tribute to you and all your staff that you pulled it off. The weather was a bit unkind and not quite the summery day promised by the forecasts, but dry at least.

With the number of people there I really hope you managed to cover costs, and it doesn’t deter you from doing it again next year. It was a great effort and a really enjoyable day – so many thanks for making it happen.

All good wishes,



Roger Murfitt 

Well done Helen, relax now you did a great job, be proud of what you achieved. Everyone i spoke to enjoyed it superb music great vibes nice people. xxxxxxxxx

The “Folkstock Officials” on the day were wonderful. Always happy and joking (even at 11pm after a long day). Very professional and very approachable too. Thank you to all of you. Julian Mount

Dear Helen and organisers

I just wanted to thank you for organising such an enjoyable festival on saturday.  I was at another function during the day so couldn’t come till the evening but was still able to see five different bands!  They were all excellent and varied and seemed to enjoying playing to us too. We bought beer & cider from the red squirrel beer  tent ..all good! I hope it will come back again next year.Best wishes Ann Shuker ( resident in Elstree)

As we wandered happily exhausted back to our car past throngs of new Boho Dancer fans to the sound of the superbly talented ‘Kris Drever and Eamonn Coyne’ snaking through the trees, we reflected on the unique and vibrant day we had, all thanks to the festival ambitiously put together by Helen who only embarked upon setting up the foundation in the last few months.

The impressive nature of ‘Folkstock’ was its ability in only its first year, to encapsulate the diversity of the burgeoning folk scene for all age groups and non-judgementally provide a remarkable community-based platform of sound for those wanting to demonstrate their talents.

It opened up its arms to all as a ‘stepping stone for unsigned independent musicians’ and if success is measured by the ability to transform a point of view, then the conversion of a full-time raver in to a part-time folker who has already written Folkstock in to their calendar next year (not us we hasten to add – we were Folkstock’s all along), should make evident beyond the masses of delighted festival-goers, that they definitely achieved what they set out to do. Altitude Arithmetic


Hi Helen,

Just wanted to say well done on putting on such a fantastic event yesterday.
We had a wonderful day and everything was just perfect, the venue, the talent even the food was superb!!!
Shame I couldn’t find you to say it in person!

These things always take time to build up but you have planted a great seed and you will be harvesting the fruits of your hard work very soon.
I look forward to seeing you soon and again congratulations!

I am not sure you were around but you got plenty of rounds of applauses on every stage :) we even heard about you going on tour with David Swarbrick!!! So exciting!!!

Looking forward to next year already
Best wishes
Mariana Bitonte


Just a little note from the hundreds you will get …thank you for putting on an event that will stay with me for the rest of my life

John Bath


Photography/ services/ engineering/ stall holders

The main thing  was how quickly I was able to calm my daughter down (it’s hard when mummy is working all day) by listening to the music, or making sand pictures, or watching morris dancers, or playing with another child. It definitely made my life easier and meant that we had a couple of really special moments, despite it being pretty full on. So it did exactly what I think a festival should do – which is give that moment of peace in a busy life. Lisa Pearson. Espiritu Salon and Spa.


Peter Farrier Artist

Words cannot express the level of professionalism from Helen.Meissner. The festival was stunning, the organisation wonderful and the music magnificent. Well done and a round of applause from all those who attended

How much musical talent can you cope with seeing in one day?
Folkstock was a bit mind-blowing….a diverse array of artists that started off really well and that just seemed to get better and better as the day went on. Great festival….top job by organiser Helen  Meissner and team.
Best acts? Well the headliners were all good of course…The Willows, Lucy Ward, Boho Dancer….but other stand-out acts for me were Luke Jackson, Tom Moon, The Good The Bad and The Ginger, Ben Smith (blew me away), Flaming June (great stage energy), Fred’s House (been listening to their stuff for a while now), Alice (check out her single ‘Soldier’ on iTunes – seriously good!) and The Fallows (yeah I know I’m biased ‘cos they’re from Coventry…but they’re still brilliant!)  Rob Bridge, Redwood Photography

Helen don’t know what to say except well done and congratulations on putting on a top class professional festival. Words somehow cannot express how good it really was, all the best Peter

Harry Wild Thanks, likewise, Johnno – really enjoyed your set. Didn’t know what to expect when I received the artists list; hadn’t heard of anyone on it except Louise Jordan and Sandwitch. The standard of performance came as a very pleasant surprise, It’s always nice to be able to enjoy your job! Hope to work with you again in the future, you’re only just down the A12 from Ipswich, so I’m sure we’ll meet again, all the best, Harry

Thanks for the kind comments. I have to say that I enjoyed the festival immensely, probably one of the most friendly events I’ve ever worked at – the enthusiasm of all involved; from Management and artists right through to the audience was very evident. Had great support from my ‘stage crew’ Viv, and of course from Marina and Niki, I thought we made a great team. You did a great job in organising this event, well done! Viv and I would love to be a part of any future ventures, this one was true class,cheers, Harry

We had an amazing day at Folkstock so many people meeting old friends they had not seen before!!! A unique atmosphere, superb music and brilliantly organized thank you Helen Meissner  Brian Player, Acoustic Folk and Roots

Wow you did a great job Helen – what a feast.  I didn’t know where to turn next but caught a bit of most acts.

Katie Whitehouse


Congratulations!  Well organised, slick changeovers, good artists, great venue – hope it will continue!  We had a lovely time.

Rowena Sudbury and family


Hi Helen

Thanks for taking time to email me on Friday evening when you must have been up to your ears with last minute organisation. I just thought I would let you know how much we enjoyed the festival.  The amount of talent there was extraordinary.  Our only complaint would be that there was so much going on at once that we couldn’t get to listen to everyone.  We will certainly be back next year if there’s another one.

Thanks so much for all your hard work.  Cheers,  Sandra

Volunteers :

Brian Player It was an amazing day Helen Meissner so many smiling faces and  friendships being formed. Thoroughly enjoyed being compere for so many talented artists. You must be so proud of the achievement in realizing your dream with this event, well done and thank  you


Nicola Holland, Skinny Kitten events.  We were really honoured to be asked to manage the main stage last weekend for this new and lovely festival. The weather just about held, the atmosphere was amazing and every act booked was fantastic…Spoilt for choice!Folkstock, look at one of the great reviews, it’s certainly a must for 2014 in the festival diary.http://freshonthenet.co.uk/2013/09/small-festival-big-heart/

Nicola Holland Thanks to Helen Meissner for having us. It was great to see the Cambridge crews working other stages too…Clare Hayes and many more, it was a great day


Hello there Helen,
I just wanted to drop you a line to say how much I enjoyed the festival – in the lead up, working on the day and also enjoying the stalls, atmosphere and artists – as I didn’t get to tell you in person before I left the site on Saturday.
Everyone I spoke to was enjoying themselves…certainly the punters I spoke to and all the artists I caught up with as they returned to their cars… and I thought it was a wonderful day. Thank you so much for putting it on.
I hope you had a great time too and enjoyed the day… I’m looking forward to seeing the photos!
It’s been great to be involved and I’d love the opportunity to do so again… either for a Folkstock or indeed any other way.
Thanks again for a great day and for the opportunity to make a contribution to the running of the Festival.
All the best


Artists :

It was a magic day, felt like a team working at it’s best!!

Wouldn’t it be great if it could happen again ? Maria Barham


Congratulations on a very successful festival. Great job Helen, thank you for having us.

Please let us know any more gigs we would be thrilled to play

Gaz Dan Luke

The Distant Skies


Just wanted to send a congratulatory email for the wonderful job you did with Folkstock!

Sarah and I had a brilliant day and I have to say, I’ve personally never played a festival that was so well organised. It was so easy to park, unload, get things set up, play (sound engineers were brilliant) and sell merch.

Well done you! So… same time next year? 😉


G’night world…g’night Folkstockers thanks for a fab weekend (and Helen Meissner what a fantastic achievement you and your team pulled off…may the seed you have planted grow and grow) dbx Two Coats Colder

Hi Helen, thought I’d leave it a day or two to let things calm down before writing to you, your inbox is probably stuffed full to capacity so no immediate reply is expected anytime soon. Just a quickie to say a BIG thank you for believing in us from the onset, and for letting us play at the event, wonderful experience, place, vibe, people, event, day, memories etc…. you should be incredibly proud of what you achieved there, you did one amazing job and I certainly hope that it wasn’t a loss for you… hope there is another one and that we may be considered for a ‘return’, if so

Thanks Helen, BIG love goes out to you from our camp. Steve Baldwin


Hi Helen,

Just to say, I’ve heard some really great things coming from the artists who played Folkstock, and some of my friends who managed to make it down, and it really is a testament to your great effort and dedication to a great cause. So well done! I really hope you’ll do it again, because I was absolutely gutted to have missed it! Hope all is well, and you’re enjoying some time off! x Josh King

And what a day it was!!
Folkstock was held in a perfect setting, with: a great stage crew, a brilliant sound crew, a fantastic and appreciative audience, and some wonderful last minute backup violin from Caroline Riches of Ragged Staff, and a perfect day was kicked off by Connor Bannister on our stage….. who graciously finished his set early and allowed us enough time to over-run and complete 6 very long songs on our allocated spot…
Its been a long time building up to this day, and now, its been and gone, leaving behind some amazing and lasting, and very happy memories (and a lot of new friends) as a testament to its importance as to how a festival should operate….
We cannot thank Helen Meissner enough for all her hard work and diligence to make this work so well, it was an honour to be chosen and be given the opportunity to play there and we hope that we shone as brightly as we felt we did and it was so refreshing to be amongst so much amazing talent – yet no ego’s were to be found anywhere in the place…. !!
Shock of the day for us was being sought out for a field side radio interview….
We are totally taken aback by the amount of support from some of the movers and shakers in the scene….
Thanks Folkstock, Thanks everyone who came to see us, and Thanks for the opportunity to play at such an amazing event…

De Malebysse


What a great day! and so lovely to meet all those once-virtual friends … Daria Kulesh, Maria Barham, Carol Palmer, Bryony Holden, Erin Holden, Shelley Rainey, Alyson Rainey, Pauline Alexander, John BathMal Robins … I’m sure I’m forgetting several but it’s after midnight … and to catch up with others we haven’t seen for a while! Well done Helen on an amazing festival! — with Marina Florance and 19 others.

Our band The Wassanames had a fabulous time playing at your beautifully organised festival…..great vibes, music and people all over the site…..Thank you!

Every artist needs a Helen Meissner
THANK YOU so much for Folkstock festival. I had a great time and met some amazing human beings too X Lanre

I was lucky enough to attend (& play) the inaugural Folkstock Festival this past weekend & what a lovely festival it was too. Folkstock is an acoustic festival whose proceeds go to the charites Cancer Research UK and the Folkstock Arts Foundation (helping support and develop acoustic artists). Johnno Casson

Well done to all those that worked so hard to make Folkstock the day it was and thanks to Helen Meissner for booking us. Lovely to see so many friends there . The Willows

Set in the beautiful grounds of Aldenham Country Park they had 4 stages of music & an assortment of homespun stalls & activities for everyone.

With the music policy being centred around acoustic, folk and roots this always promised to deliver to the heart & soul with a side measure of toe tapping and it really did.I confess to being quite new to the folk scene but its always a great sign when you are surprised at what you find & very pleasantly surprised I was. Artists storming the stages included Lucy Ward, Boho Dancer, Kris Drever & Eamon Coyne, The Willows, Roxanne De Bastion, Marina Florance & Luke Jackson to name a few.

The on/off British weather is what we have come to expect around Festival time (although our recently deceased summer did blooming great this year) and the people of Folkstock took it all in their stride & were some of the happiest, easy going lot its been my pleasure to share a field with. The day left you with a warm glow-relaxed, chilled & charmed-a lovely combination.

I just wanted to write a short blog about a festival that is small in size but big on heart & in doing the work they do in helping new music artists they need to be saluted. Well done to everyone involved with Folkstock and hope to see you again next year.Rob Bridge, Redwood Band Photography.

I had a wonderful time at Folkstock Festival yesterday. I met so many lovely people and it was great to finally meet up with artists I have come to know in the cyber world. Congratulations to Helen Meissner and everyone involved in making Folkstocks first year a successful one. Big thanks to Flaming June for putting on the Troubadour stage!


Colin Bailey

Great day at Folkstock with Bearwood yesterday. Thanks so much to Helen Meissner for organising. It was great to get to meet so many people. Sorry not to see absolutely every act!
Daria Kulesh – Folk DJ and Singer/Songwriter
Coming up next on Folk DJ – a post Folkstock special. I just wanted to say: what a fantastic day, and also that the selection of performers I interviewed is completely random and in no way did I want to single anyone out. All the performances I saw on the day were top class, and I missed so many! Just look at this list, and these are just the officially booked acts, not counting the sessions and the open mic stage… Big hugs to all my huge musical family!!  xx

Great to see the continuing plays coming from BBC Introducing. BBC 3CR opened up with Run Like A Dog yesterday on the eve of the band’s appearance at Folkstock. For anyone who has not yet have a listen the link is here. At Folkstock, it was also great to meet presenters like Brian Player, Dave Chamberlain, Neil King and many more who play non chart music on their Internet and local radio shows. Cheers. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01frs3h


Julian Mount Helen Meissner – you’re a STAR! Thanks to you and all the volunteers and helpers. It was a great day! Xxxxxx  (Maybe I’ll get a set NEXT year?)

Had suchhh a great time Folkstock today, thanks so much to everyone who helped out and came along to make it such a great day, but most of all to Helen Meissner for organising the whole thing! Ray Taylor

Had a really lovely day at Folkstock today. Helen you did a fantastic job, big respect to you and a very big thank you to everyone that had a hand in making it happen  x

Maria Barham

There’s loads of tagging going on about Folkstock…finding it hard to keep up..so I’ll get my own post in before i get even more confused…..It was a bloody fantastic day, so well organised. great to put so many faces to names..a Big Big thank you to Helen Meissner and all of the crew for all their hard work and for treating us with so much care and respect!!  Xx

Super day at Folkstock yesterday! Sorry we missed Two Coats Colder but lovely to see you guys later & happy to catch the end of Sandwitch‘s set – look forward to seeing you properly sometime ; ) !!!
Other highlights include some fabulous voices on the main stage & enjoying the atmosphere in the Turn Up the Sun stage with Marina Florance
And a huge thank you & congrats to Helen Meissner


Massive thanks to Helen MeissnerMarina Florance, her lovely sis, Harry on the desk at the TUTS for the smooth transitions, to all the artists and stall holders, security et al at the debut Folkstock festival yesterday! May it grow (a little more) each year. May we all … grow with it. Huge thanks to my wee clutch Caro LyneEmma DagleishJohn DagleishNatasha LoringEmily HynesKen EyermanHelen Brown & Ed Rowsell. Big hello to new mates both behind mic and in front of stage! Come and say hello!   Steve Dagleish


Gus MacGregor

Thanks for having me on, and well done for giving lots of people some great memories. Gus


Thank you, Helen Meissner. And thank for giving me one of the most exciting experiences of my life!

Helen Chinn


Bounty Hounds  Hoping Helen’s recovered now, she did a fantastic job, I’m so impressed as how smoothly everything went, and there was a lovely atmosphere for the whole event

Ragged Staff

Folkstock: It wasn’t just about the opportunity to perform it was more about meeting wonderful people and soaking in the surround sounds. Just loved our little Irish Session with the lads from Gawkey in the beer tent. The crepes were pretty damned good and all. Ned.

Reg Meuross

Next it was up to Aldenham Park, putting the heart into Herts for the first ever Folkstock festival, the brainchild of the indefatigable Helen Meissner.  Really well done Helen!

Helen pulled off a magnificent feat I think. The site is beautiful, and there were 4 excellent stages, each with its own atmosphere. I loved wandering around, got some good coffee and excellent food and met with some new and old friends and other musicians.

I got the feeling the festival could have done with a few more ticket sales, but the atmosphere and the good will was there in abundance and hopefully it’s just a matter of time before this becomes a really successful little new green belt festival.

Karl Barham shared Steve Emerton‘s photo.

Us boys at Karl & The Prodigal Son just sound checking before we started our performance at Folkstock Festival on Saturday 21st September 2013. What an amazing experience that was and a special thanks must go to Helen Meissner for all the hard work she put it to make this event work…. This lady is definitely a SUPERWOMAN!!!!


Helen Chinn It was truly brilliant. Helen Meissner you are an inspiration to so many. Thankyou x


Hi Helen,

Just an email to say thank you for the opportunity to sing at the first ever Folkstock!  We all thoroughly enjoyed the day, it was a great event and judging from the people we spoke to on the day, it was a great success! It was good to meet you in person and I hope Folkstock will continue to be a success in the future.  I would welcome the opportunity to sing at other such events that you may organise, and I look forward to hearing from you :)

Kind Regards

Kelly Oliver


Hi Helen,

I just want to add my appreciation to the many thank you’s, you have so deservedly received.

Thank you so much for letting us play, I think it’s the first time I’ve actually enjoyed performing! I normally prefer songwriting, recording and production, but you provided such a nurturing and superbly organised venue, that I could even relax!

The whole process, was so artist friendly, I feel you really understand the needs of the performers and did everything you could to make us comfortable. It did not go unnoticed! Thanks again.  Gary, Echowood


David Baird

Helen Meissner is an exceptional creature…I salute her incredible feat of making Folkstock happen…it was a wonderful festival and should be encouraged and nurtured to grow and grow…but for now my badge of honour goes to her. Thank you for this gift to the community dbx

Cathy Jewson

Hi Helen! Just wanted to say what a fantastic time I had on Saturday, the day went really well. Congratulations on pulling off such a brilliant event and thank you so much for letting me be a part of it xx


Erin Holden Folkstock was a wonderful friendly festival .. bridges were built, new friendships were made .. the atmosphere was really great. Helen Meissner and her team can be very proud of this event: I do hope it continues !

Bryony Holden
I had a WONDERFUL time at what is rapidly becoming affectionately known as FACEBOOKSTOCK. Thank you first and foremost to Helen Meissner who created this fantastic event, and invited us to perform. We were very well looked after and found it a gentle and peaceful place to be. So good to finally get to meet Andrea Freebury and Buddy Freebury, (friends for real now Andrea x x), Pauline Alexander and her chap Stephen Thomson (you are such a sweet couple ..) Anna Bass and Ray from Two Coats Colder, Rachel Tucker (the other bunny girl) .. and also a chance to see our friends The Bailey Sisters again .. Alyson Rainey, you top fiddler you, Phil Rainey lovely to see your big grin from the stage ..Shelley Rainey .. you have jacket envy .. I have COAT envy and you are a trooper madam .. Maria Barham and your fantastic mate “Ebony Stream” (big hugs to you top girl .. you contributed a whole heapa good to the atmosphere) John Bath .. at last we meet ! .. you do so much to promote music .. Julie Morris Smith I saw you ! .. (takes breath and thinks .. why has this stopped tagging names ??) Tim Carroll . . (folkwords) .. Neil King FATEA I knew you were there and wanted to find you to say ello .. not realising you were right in front of me taking pictures .. whew . . . Janice Howdle and Gullbeig Vanaheim .. so glad you could make it.. was quite a weekend we had in all eh ? ! Well forgive me if in my enthusiasm I have missed anyone but basically THANK YOU ALL for making it such a fantastic day. Shall we do it again ? HELL YEA !


The dust has settled. The stages have come down, the stalls packed away. The sun has gone down and the moon gone out on Folkstock2013. After months of anticipation it didn’t disappoint. In fact it exceeded expectations. How cool it was to meet up with the new friends I’ve made through being involved with the Folkstock Arts Foundation, to see loads of them play at the festival and to be accompanied by my brother Ewan Cowley Music on stage. So many more friends and performers I didn’t even get to see as there was so much going on. Helen MeissnerMartin LumsdenSteven Sutherland and many, many more busted their asses to make this the success it was. Thanks to everyone. What a blast! Noel Cowley

So the magic of Folkstock continues, fanning the embers of that memorable September into a glorious blaze that will light the way for other talented
Musicians, eager to experience the wonderful warmth of the Friendly Festival!

John Clarke, Heart Wave Music


Someone has just pointed out to me that one of the ways Folkstock was different was because of the marketing and promotion of the individual bands and artists by the festival management team in the months preceeding, the emergence of the dedicated radio shows/ blogs/ press and the feeling of community and support that being a ‘folkstock’ artist engendered. Am interested to know your thoughts on this ? you can PM if you prefer ( Helen )

Fay Brotherhood I may not have gone to the festival itself, but I would definitely agree that the above was engendered in the months leading up to it through the promotion. Absolutely!

Tamsin Rosewell Yes, as someone who put together and broadcast one of the dedicated radio shows on the festival, I think I chose to do that because I saw that it already had a really strong sense of being a supportive community – and a big community with extensions. Facebook shows the extent of that network very clearly. This is where social media really comes in to its own. I have put together shows on other festivals, where there has been almost no involvement from the festival organisers, and I’ve barely had any contact with the artists either. Which made me wonder what the point was; who was actually getting something out of me doing that show?! In contrast, I think it speaks volumes that I’m still in contact with all the Folkstock artists and they, in turn, have linked their own friends to me, so I get to hear from a widening network of musicians too. Works for me, works for them.

Ni Ke I agree, I was very impressed with all the pre-folkstock stuff. I thought that was a great plan. I also liked what Marina did. I know she is my sister so I am a bit biased, but I liked the individual pages for the stages and the fun that went with that.

Marina Florance I agree, people want to feel a part of something and also they want to be supported, cannot tell you how many times I have played somewhere, looked for publicity that the promoter should have be doing and found none! this was definitely not the case with Folkstock who worked hard to make sure performers felt included and supported.

Angie Allen Totally agree. An artist(s) want to feel a part of something, to belong, to share in the creation of something good.

Steven Sutherland Also to avoid the sense of “disconnect” engendered by commercial festivals/promoters. Everyone prefers something run by people who are simply doing it for the love of music

Steve Baldwin agree Helen, you pushed us all, and in turn we pushed the festival….and in turn we got radio play…. xx

Denise Parsons Yep agree!! Very well promoted, you nailed it!! so many people got behind it creating a lovely community atmosphere!! I had people turn up at Trestle Arts Base last gig saying they’d been to Folkstock and really enjoyed it and that it had encouraged them to seek out more music!! So not only did you create a fantastic event but it has helped raise the profile of music in the area generally and the knock on effect of that I think will continue!! Well done and thankyou!! xx

Anonymous quotes from on line survey :

Having met Helen for the first time back in March at one of my daughter Jade’s band The Willows gigs, I heard then about Folkstock. So afterwards went on the web site and was amazed at how dedicated she is about helping musicans fulfil their potential. Also hearing Helen on various radio stations explain the ethos of Folkstock Arts Foundation and hearing what inspired her, I was most impressed by quite an amazing lady. I hope there will be another Folkstock next year until then i am sure we will meet up again in the near future. Xx

The festival was excellent. Perhaps, for a first time, we could have had one stage less, simply to give each stage a few more people, but that’s hard to judge for a first time. A few more concessions would have livened it up. Overall the music quality was excellent, organisation was great and it was a thoroughly enjoyable event. Just needed some sunshine (can you organise that?) and some more people. I will recommend if it happens again.

This event created a unique atmosphere where people who knew each other from social networking could meet up in person. Performers, fans, supporters and presenters all mixed and chatted like old friends. It was also very clear that this was the realization of One person’s vision. Well done all!!

Brilliant organisation and Marketing. Great Artists. Friendly Atmosphere bringing people together. Great Technicians on the Stages. Well managed stages. Well presented.

Folkstock was fantastic there should be one every week for artist to go and express themself and for me meeting new artists to admire and dance too xxxxxxx

Folkstock festival was brilliant, notably the chance it gave for new performers to perform and raise their profile. Wonderful vibe especially in the evening.

The organisation could not have been any better. The engineers all created a wonderful sound. The way the stages were split, the parking, the timing, the whole thing ran so smoothly. Each stage was individual and exciting. The advertising was great, designs etc and the high profile of the festival.

Very good music standard! I found lots of new music, may be a few bigger names to draw in more of a crowd. More workshops etc would be good as the ones that were there were great. Good choice of food vendors. Folkstock was well organised and there was a friendly atmosphere. Good price for the day

Folkstock was a very friendly event. There was a very relaxed atmosphere. Those working for the festival did everything they could to make performers feel happy and at ease from a place to sit down, to fruit, water even wine provided. The simple things that make a difference were just right. There were enough lavatories. Every thing was easy to find. The food and drink stalls were of good quality and not overpriced. Parking was not too far away from the main event area.

It was a lovely and well organised event. Thank you so much for putting it on. Hope it goes on and on.

This was the first festival I have ever been to and I was impressed by the quality of the music and the organisation. I am sure that this is all down to the passion and vision of Helen Meissner (and her team). Well done to all involved. If I have any criticism it would be that I couldn’t choose between the artists they were all so good and I wanted to see them all. May be a 2 day event would allow for this and also make it easier for people to attend workshops without missing so many top acts.

I think it was well worth the entrance price and would happily come again and again and again!

As a performer who has experienced several Festivals, Folkstock (and in particular the “Turn Up The Sun Stage” that we were performing on) was very well (and tightly !) organised. Our allocated time slot was dead on time and the timings for the rest of the artist also seem to run smoothly !

Overall, very impressed from a performers point of view, and strongly hope that Folkstock will be a regular event on our calendar.

Hi Helen

I heartily commend you on your amazingly thorough organisational skills. Having played all over Europe, where the hospitality is excellent, Folkstock was just as good at making the artists feel welcome and comfortable. It ran super smoothly and all we could see was the swan gliding smoothly along, not the frantic legs paddling underneath! The UK is well behind in organisation and artist hospitality, and many of the UK’s festivals could learn a thing or two from you.

Make sure you print out all the positive comments and put them up on your wall somewhere. YOU BLOODY DID IT.

Best regards


A very well organized festival. Advertising, promotion, ambiance, music acts, stalls, food – all was well chosen and added to the lovely atmosphere of the festival. What a gorgeous setting for a place so close to London. The crew worked very hard, and they all did a fantastic job. There was something f or everybody in it, the atmosphere created a “love and Peace” feeling.