Derby Folk Festival is back for October 2020

Singer songwriter Lucy Ward in exotic make up and blue hair

Thu 12 Mar 2020

The much-loved Derby Folk Festival is back in full this year, with weekend tickets on sale from today giving access to ALL the events ALL weekend.

This year’s festival, produced by Derby LIVE, runs from Friday 2 October to Sunday 4 October with Derby Cathedral, The Old Bell Hotel and QUAD playing host to artists including Lucy Ward, John Tams and Barry Coope, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, and Kitty Macfarlane.

Music sessions in The Old Bell’s Tudor Bar will be happening throughout the weekend, together with fringe events on the Market Place with music, dancing, and the popular Craft Fair.

Festival Patron Lucy Ward, who kick starts the weekend at Derby Cathedral on Friday evening with India Electric Co, said: “I'm so excited to be performing in my hometown, and to be playing in our incredibly beautiful and atmospheric cathedral. I'm really proud to be part of bringing the full festival experience back to the city this October, sharing the very best that folk, roots and acoustic music has to offer.”

Last year the festival took a break from its normal format to become the Derby Folk Weekender, due to logistical challenges presented by the closure of the Guildhall Theatre. Having secured QUAD as a new venue, the Festival is back in full this year.

Highlights at Derby Cathedral include:


Lucy Ward: Award-winning Lucy, a festival patron, goes from strength to strength as a writer and performer.

India Electric Co: Sometimes folk, sometimes not. India Electric Co. use traditional instruments in contemporary styles.


The English Fiddle Ensemble: four of England’s finest traditional fiddle players perform together for the first time.

Ninebarrow: Original material and traditional folk songs with outstanding harmonies.

Kitty Macfarlane: Nominated in the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

O’Hooley & Tidow: Described by The Independent as ‘defiant, robust, northern, poetical, political folk music for the times we live in.’

Artists for The Old Bell Hotel are still to be announced for late night Friday and Saturday, but confirmed are:


The Last Inklings: crafting modern myths into original songs.

Chivalrous Crickets: An upcoming, genre-crossing folk band from America.

Harri Endersby: A songwriter and musician who blurs the lines of the folk genre.


Road Not Taken: A Bristol based four-piece starting to make waves on the UK folk scene.

Old Sea Legs: More than a ‘nom de guerre’ for Dublin songwriter and performer Ian Bermingham, it is a window into a world entirely of his own creation.

Ranagri: A contemporary folk/world music band consisting of flutes, Irish whistles, electric harp, bodhran, guitars, piano, bouzouki and voices.

On Sunday, QUAD will play host to:

John Tams and Barry Coope: Festival Patron John Tams is joined by Barry Coope. Songs and stories to have you holding your sides from laughing one minute, and wiping away tears the next.

Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman: Bringing the festival to a finale and celebrating their 25th anniversary of making music together.

The Folk Fringe Festival will be back on Saturday and Sunday, with Furthest from the Sea, Folk 3D and Village Folk organising intimate concerts, some great singing, and other fringe events including music, dancing and a craft fair, in and around the Market Place. Some fringe events will be free.

On Sunday, Folk 3D will be running the John Birmingham Cup song competition, which has seen some fantastic entries, and songs, over the years. 

Councillor Robin Wood, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Derby Folk Festival is an annual highlight, bringing hundreds of people into the city centre and creating a vibrant atmosphere. Thanks to the collaboration between all the different venues and groups involved, I am delighted that it is returning to its full programme this year.”

Weekend tickets, giving access to ALL the events happening ALL weekend go on sale from Derby LIVE todaypriced at £85 each, and £75 for under 16s. With more artists and events to be confirmed, this is your passport to a great weekend and fantastic value for money.

Tickets for individual concerts go on sale from Saturday 18 April. More information about all the acts, and information about new shows as they are announced, can be found at

To book tickets, call Derby LIVE on 01332 255800, book online at, or call into the Sales and Information Centre, Riverside Chambers, Full Street, Derby DE1 3AF.