For Folk's Sake takes part in Finding Zion

First Aid Kit at the Deaf Institute

I absolutely love First Aid Kit... and it's strange, as this is possibly the first time I find myself loving a band coveted by the mainstream music press. Perhaps I'm getting trendy in my old age?

Anyway, here's my review of their gig at the Deaf Institute on Tuesday night:

The Safires and Red Shoes...

... are both about to release their debut albums. Both are very different (the former is Massive Attack-inspired folky chillout; the latter very folk-rock) and I'm about to tell the media world about both. Let's hope they get the recognition they deserve!

Jonatha Brooke at Band On The Wall

This was a strange one. A gorgeous voice, an accomplished backing band, but I was bored... bored with cliche after cliche, cheesy riff after cheesy riff. But I feel unfair saying that when she's an enjoyable performer to watch.

Ah well, her adoring crowd really were very adoring, so I very much doubt she cares about what I think.

*%/! is a four letter word

For Folk's Sake is a pretty daft title, I concur, but I chose it because a) I thought it would imply that our nights wouldn't take themselves too seriously, that they were accessible, inviting to younger audience members, b) I also liked the connotation 'for the sake of folk', i.e. the future of folk

And it seems like others are doing the same:

What? The folk! - - another Manchester based collective putting on acoustic nights

Cool As Folk - A night at Odder bar in Manchester, playing 'the snazziest selection of nu-folk, indie-folk and folktronica!'

Folking Cool - - I only stumbled across this today, but it looks like a mix of old and new folk which is always nice.

Then there's the London-based For Folk's Sake ( who have a really beautiful site with lots going on.

Has anyone spotted any others?

Kris Drever's new album

The Fugitive Motel zine run a feature called 'I'd Marry That Voice' and I should get round to writing one about Kris Drever. There's no other like it. In terms of his new album, I'm not quite sure it beats Black Water, but perhaps it's more of a grower:

And anyone who is in the Lancashire area should get down to The Met in Bury on Friday night and witness Lau. Amazing!

For Folk's Sake mentioned in Drowned in Sound's Manchester guide

I'm delighted to see that For Folk's Sake has been mentioned in DiS. I read DiS on a daily basis and Mr. Catling certainly knows his stuff. Hurrah!

Review of O'Hooley & Tidow's Silent June

For Folk's Sake - it's Liverpool!

Fresh after its first show of the year, For Folk’s Sake is delighted to announce the popular folk and roots night will be launching in Liverpool on Friday 12 February.

Mikey Kenney – known as Ottersgear on stage – has performed at the Manchester night on two occasions and has been inspired to launch the night in Liverpool.

He said: “I’ve really enjoyed performing at For Folk’s Sake in Manchester and feel it showcases a real high calibre of traditional and acoustic artists.

“Sometimes city centres miss out on this kind of music in such an intimate environment, so I approached Sophie, the promoter of For Folk’s Sake, and asked if she would mind whether I started a similar night in Liverpool under the same umbrella.”

Sophie Parkes, promoter of For Folk’s Sake, said: “I am honoured that Mikey has decided to take FFS to Liverpool and I will support him in any way I can. I am sure Liverpool audiences will be as receptive as they are here in Manchester.”

For Folk’s Sake has been running for almost a year and a half, and aims to bring traditional folk and language-led music to a city centre platform.

For Folk’s Sake launches in Liverpool on Friday 12 February at the Leaf CafĂ©. It will feature performances from The Existence Of Harvey Lord, Eliza And The Bear, Harp And A Monkey and Lewis Mason.

Finding Zion - For Folk's Sake!

Single Cell is a a fantastic multi-disciplinary collective based in Manchester. They've recently won a residency at the Zion Centre in Hulme, an arts centre which is determined to put itself on the map and become more involved in the Manchester arts scene.

Single Cell have put together a really varied programme of events throughout their residency which will appeal to all sorts of different people, and For Folk's Sake has been invited to host a special event in the main theatre (gulp!). This will take place on Thursday March 18th from 8pm, but you might like to know what else is going on...


Running from 26th February—27th March 2010, Finding Zion is a month long festival of events taking place in and around Zion Arts Centre, curated by Single Cell Collective.

We’ve chosen to stage events that promote the creative talent of Hulme while exploring the politics and culture of this unique area. There’s plenty of opportunities to get involved, whether it’s bringing your bike to the critical mass, siting down for a meal at the People’s Kitchen or taking a walk through Hulme’s psychogeography. The events culminate with Hulme Busking, a day of incredible musical performances throughout Hulme, ending with a special event at Zion Arts Centre.

At some events we ask for a donation rather than charge a ticket price to take into account personal circumstances. All donations go to the running of the events and/or funding future creative activity in Hulme.

Respond’ is Zion Arts Centre’s trilogy of residencies which ask for creative solutions to engaging communities. Finding Zion is Single Cell’s Response during which we aim to open up this resource to the community, bridging the gap between the vibrant creativity of Hulme and this amazing building that lies at its heart.

This programme is about providing opportunities for creative people in Hulme, so if you want to get involved get in touch.

Critical Mass comes to Hulme
18:00—00:00, Friday 26th February
What: Mass bike ride through Manchester followed by party at Zion Arts Centre including The Spokes Bicycle Dance Troupe, Pedal Powered Soundsystem, DJ’s including Sir Robin from Longshot playing reggae and 2 step, amazing bands and delicious food.
Where: Meet at the Central Library at 6pm for the ride and 7pm at Zion Arts Centre for the after-ride party.
Get involved: Bring a bike, wear orange, free bike valet parking at Zion!
Cost: Ride - free. Party - suggested donation £3
Organised by Manchester Critical Mass, I Bike Mcr (

Peoples’ History of Hulme
13:00, Sunday 7th March
What: Create a fantasy map and embark on a metaphysical treasure hunt, discovering performers, musicians, and random surprises on this pyschogeographic tour of Hulme exploring politics, regeneration and myth.
Get involved: The Peoples’ History of Hulme is suitable for people of all ages, some gentle walking outdoors is required so dress for the weather.
Where: Meet at 1pm at Kim By the Sea, Old Birley Street M15 5RF
Cost: Free of charge
Organised by the Loiterers Resistance Movement (

For Folk's Sake
20:00, Thursday 18th March
What: The very best in live folk music and spoken word featuring Little Red Rabbit’s Anna Kashfi, fresh from the release of their latest album, Survival ( plus performance poet, Mab Jones ( and Honeyfeet (
Where: Theatre space at Zion Arts Centre
Cost: £3 (available on night or in advance from venue)
Organised by For Folks Sake (

Workshop 14:00—17:00,  Performance 18:00—20:00, Saturday 20th March
What: An incredible opportunity for MCs, DJs and spoken word artists to collaborate with experimental electronica musicians. An afternoon workshop with music facilitators followed by an evening performance before a select crowd. All ages, all abilities welcome.
Where: Various spaces at Zion Arts Centre
Get involved: All noise-makers, word-shapers, beat-breakers and soundscapers!
Avant-garde electro pioneers come forth! Whatever your skills sign up.
Cost: Free but registration for the workshop is essential:
Organised by Single Cell Collective

People’s Kitchen Meal and Hulme Film Night
18:00-23:00, Tuesday 23rd March
What: A delicious communal meal* cooked on site by volunteers from that Hulme institution, People’s Kitchen. Followed by a selection of short films depicting the cultural history of Hulme, exploring issues such as politics, parties, housing and immigration, with guest speakers.
Where: Gallery space at Zion Arts Centre
Get involved: Contact us to book a place at the table:
Or get in touch if you have film footage of Hulme you want to share:
Cost: Suggested donation £3
Organised by People’s Kitchen of Bentley House TARA, Clearer Channel and Single Cell
*All dietary requirements catered for on request, food is vegan and where possible organic

Hulme Busking
12:00—19:00, Saturday 27th March
What: Finding Zion culminates with a day when Hulme reveals its true musical creativity. Featuring musical performances in spaces all around Hulme. Look out for some surprise acts in some unusual locations. The day ends with special performances from 6pm-9pm at the Zion Arts Centre.
Where: Meet at midday in Hulme Park outside the Zion Arts Centre. Midday-6pm, various locations tbc around Hulme, 6pm-9pm Zion Arts Centre
Get involved: Get in touch if you are a musician who would like to play or would you like to suggest a location or request a song:
Cost Daytime event: free; Evening event: suggested donation £3

More information

0161 226 1912

Being a gig promoter

Putting on gigs was always something I wanted to do, as I wanted to bring traditional and folk music to the city centre and to a younger crowd, but my lack of confidence prevented me. When I was asked to put on the first incarnation of For Folk's Sake for MAPS festival, I had the perfect excuse and my nerves were not going to hold me back.

However, even after almost a year and a half of putting on For Folk's Sake, I still get terrified before each one. On the eve of For Folk's Sake, I am usually melancholy: I expect a half-arsed crowd, bands to demand money as I am frog-marched to the cashpoint, and I always say to myself this is the  last one. Ever.

Though, I must admit, the nights have never gone disastrously wrong. In fact, far from it. PAs have turned up late, leads have been forgotten. There's been absent-minded poets and microphones balanced on egg-boxes, local drunkards destroying the furniture and there was one occasion when I tripped over a lead and shouted an expletive. But nevertheless, the artists have enjoyed performing - the vast majority asking to come back - and the support from the loyal following has been overwhelming.

For Folk's Sake has gone from strength to strength, and this year, is travelling to London, expanding to Liverpool, participating in a residency, launching a debut album and hosting a tour.

But even when I feel like my confidence is growing and I'm making headway, this week's For Folk's Sake was decidedly quiet and the nerves once again crept in. I found myself apologising to the bands and punters, exclaiming that it's never normally this quiet, and insisting that I've done the same amount of publicity that I've always done.

And then there was my biggest faux pas to date. After thanking first band, Kamal Arafa, for their outstanding performance, I declared them to be a tight outfit. Once I saw the violinist's face fall, I realised what I had said.

No, no, not clothes, I said, waving my hands frantically in the air.

I'm referring to how together they were, I insisted, stressing each syllable.

The crowd had grown by this stage, and now many were laughing uncomfortably.

Oh god, I sound like Alan Partridge, I said, in a vain attempt to salvage any reputation I had left, shuffling off stage and welcoming the setting of the stage for the next band.

Of course, I dwelled on this episode for a good half an hour before I realised it actually didn't matter and was soon forgotten by the crowd, the performers and everyone else, bar myself.

And the crowd had grown. It still was perhaps one of the smallest audiences I'd had, but it was still enough for the room to feel lively, attentive and snug.

After the gig, and by the time I had got home, I was already saying to myself everything's quiet at the beginning of the year. You've got loads going on this year, don't give up.

So I won't. There's video footage from Thursday being edited, there's tech specs being forwarded for our next gig - Thursday March 18th at the Zion Centre, there's artwork being prepared and I'm already booking September through to December.

Bring it on.

My K.C. McKanzie interview

She's a real character:

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards results...

I had the pleasure of voting at this year's Folk Awards as part of the panel and I'm delighted to see some of my votes come up trumps. But poor old Mawkin:Causley - I was rooting for you, boys!