False Lights


Based in the traditional music of Great Britain, False Lights have transcended their original aim to make ‘folk-rock for the 21st century’ to become one of England’s most exhilerating acts. Their first album, Salvor, gained five star reviews, a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nomination for best album, and copious airplay on BBC Radio2, 6Music and beyond. Now they return with Harmonograph, an even more ambitious and charged set of traditional songs.

Sam Carter and Jim Moray, the band's originators, are joined by virtuoso melodeon and fiddle duo Tom Moore and Archie Churchill-Moss (of Moore Moss Rutter), dub-tinged bassist Barnaby Stradling (Eliza Carthy, Blowzabella) and drummer Stuart Provan (Luke Sital-Singh); together, they make old words and tunes resonate in a modern world. False Lights are anything but retro, folk-rock but never nostalgic.




One of the absolute revelations of the current folk scene, Lankum (formerly Lynched) are a four-piece traditional folk group from Dublin, Ireland, who combine distinctive four-part vocal harmonies with arrangements of uilleann pipes, concertina, Russian accordion, fiddle and guitar. Their repertoire spans Dublin music-hall and street-songs, classic ballads from the Traveller tradition, traditional Irish and American dance tunes, and their own original material. With a raw, uncompromising style, Lankum breathe new life and integrity into the tradition.

"There is folk that wants to whisper in your ear, and then there is the music of Lankum: urgent, desperate and detonating, full of lyrics and sounds smacking together like waves shattering stones in a storm." - The Guardian


Blazin’ Fiddles


Take a group of the hottest contemporary fiddle players from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, mix with some wonderfully sympathetic piano and guitar arrangements and you’ve got the award winning Blazin’ Fiddles on your hands. Like rare single malts, each member of Blazin’ Fiddles draws the distinct flavour of music from their part of the Highlands and Islands. Blending solo and ensemble sets, aged with the occasional insightful tale, they all come together in a fiery blend to excite your senses.

Featuring Bruce MacGregor, Jenna Reid, Rua Macmillan, Kristan Harvey, Anna Massie and Angus Lyon


Elephant Sessions



2017 has been a remarkable year for Elephant Sessions. The band who hail from the Highlands of Scotland and who met at the Newcastle University Folk degree have exploded onto the indie folk scene with unparalleled effect.

The release of their award winning album ‘All We Have is Now’ in June of this year, was followed by live appearances at some of Europe’s most notable festivals. Audiences crowd surfed their way through the summer and marquee floors broke under the weight of bouncing fans.

‘The versatility of Elephant Sessions is its strength. Passionate about their culture and their origins, these Scots are using their instruments like weapons to destroy clichés. ...We love them’ – Rolling Stone Magazine


The Wilsons

Friday, Sunday

From Billingham, Teesside, the vocal powerhouse that is The Wilson Family has been singing the songs of the region in inimitable a capella style for more than 40 years. Showcasing family harmonies and razor-sharp North East humour, they have sung everywhere from the BBC Proms at the Albert Hall to the New York Public Theater, where they were hand-picked by Sting to appear in his production The Last Ship.

We are honoured that the Wilsons are our Festival Patrons; wherever they go, they fly the flag for Hartlepool Folk Festival.


Melrose Quartet


From deep roots in their hometown’s vibrant music, song and dance scene, to smashing concert appearances in the UK and abroad, Sheffield-based Melrose Quartet (Nancy Kerr, James Fagan, and Richard & Jess Arrowsmith) have attracted a reputation for making music that truly connects with people. All four are internationally renowned singers, instrumentalists, writer/composers and teachers. In concert, Melrose Quartet perform a diverse repertoire – carousing chorus songs, lively dance tunes, ancient stories and modern pieces. This is music for everybody.




Edgelarks are BBC Folk Award-winning duo (and 2018 nominees) Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin. British traditional music, ethereal vocals, Indian classical slide guitar and a stomping-roots-beatbox-harmonica party combine for an utterly magical live experience.


Tim Edey

Saturday, Sunday

Nominated for Musician of the Year at the BBC Folk Awards 2018, and a previous winner in the Musician of the Year and Best Duo categories, Tim is a multi-instrumentalist and singer. He has toured the world and recorded with most of the major names in Celtic/contemporary roots music including the Chieftains, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Natalie MacMaster, Altan, Stockton’s Wing, Capercaillie, Brendan Power, Michael McGoldrick, Seamus Begley, Dougie Maclean, Julie Fowlis and Frankie Gavin to name but a few. His live performances are extraordinary.

We're delighted that, in addition to performing, he'll be giving an instrumental masterclass at this year's festival.

roy cap

Roy Bailey


For more than 50 years, Roy Bailey has been one of the UK Folk & Acoustic scene’s most loved and admired performers. Approaching 80 years of age, Roy remains committed to his life-long principles of Equality, Liberty, Justice and Internationalism. He is a member of the current Anti-Capitalist Roadshow along with many of this country's leading and respected socialist folk singers and song writers.

doug on stage

Jim Moray

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Jim has been a staple on the folk scene since releasing his first album, Sweet England, in 2001. He's become a familiar face at HFF, not least because of his hugely popular panel game 'Never Mind the Bandoggs'. This year, for the first time, he's joining us as a performer in our centrepiece production, 'A Bishopric Garland'. He'll also be playing with his band, False Lights.

sam carter

Sam Carter


Described as ‘the finest English-style finger-picking guitarist of his generation’ by Jon Boden,​ Sam has toured the world, equally happy to perform intimate solo shows on acoustic guitar, on electric with a full band, or to collaborate with other artists. Recent collaborations have included Sweet Liberties, an EFDSS and Folk By the Oak joint-funded project, a trip to Pakistan to work with revered South Asian classical musicians Sajid Hussain and Haroon Samuel; an appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show playing songs co­written with Zimbabwean musician and former refugee Lucky Moyo; and, closer to home, as part of the all­-star tribute tour The Lady: A Homage To Sandy Denny.

Sam continues to break new ground in his work with Jim Moray in False Lights, a band with the stated aim of updating the template of folk rock and making a joyful racket.


Julie Murphy

Saturday, Sunday

Julie Murphy is a singer songwriter and member of Welsh folk innovators Fernhill. Her remarkable voice, spectrally beautiful one moment and darkly rich the next, has led to collaborations with John Cale and Robert Plant and to TIME OUT declaring her a ’must see, must hear singer’. In 2016 she released her fourth solo album, EVERY BIRD THAT FLIES, receiving airplay from across the BBC. The album was included in the MOJO Top Ten folk albums of 2016 and was a fROOTS magazine critics choice album.

"Like Julie Fowlis in Scotland and Eliza Carthy in England, Murphy should be recognised not just as one of the foremost interpreters of Welsh traditional music but as one of the most important voices in British folk." - The Guardian

"Every now and then I’ve been fortunate enough to come across an album which, in that too-brief moment of listening, time seems to stand still. Julie Murphy’s Every bird that flies is one such album; a record of such quiet beauty it takes your breath away." - Folk Radio UK


Thomas McCarthy

Saturday, Sunday

Thomas McCarthy is a particularly fine singer and storyteller. From an Irish Traveller background, his repertoire is genuinely unique, drawn mostly from his own family's treasure trove of songs. His singing style is like nothing you've ever heard, rich with ornamentation. His performances are engaging and utterly compelling.


The Orchard Family

Saturday, Sunday

Jean, Tom and Ashley Orchard are English Gypsy musicians from North Devon. Tom and Ashley play the accordion, Jean is a singer (her mother was Amy Birch) and Tom step-dances in the traditional style. Their music is wide-ranging and very accessible.

brian peters

Brian Peters

Saturday, Sunday

Brian Peters is one of the English folk scene’s great all-rounders: a compelling singer of traditional songs and a highly skilled multi-instrumentalist proficient on anglo concertina, melodeon, guitar and banjo. He tours internationally, and his special presentations on the Child Ballads and Cecil Sharp’s Appalachian collection have won great acclaim, from Celtic Connections to the US Library of Congress.

In addition to performing, Brian will present a talk on the English roots of many Appalachian songs. Appalachian folk music is often assumed to have ‘Scots-Irish' roots. In this talk Brian Peters highlights the huge English influence on the mountain singing tradition, using modern historical analysis of the 18th century migration from the British Isles, and analysing the songs themselves, with the aid of fascinating archive recordings.


The Doyle Family

Saturday, Sunday

The Doyle Family are a force of nature: the 9 children play a range of instruments including banjo, uillean pipes, low whistle, button accordion, fiddle and tin whistle. Taught in the Traveller music style by their father, Simon, a piper, who in his youth played alongside Michael McGoldrick, it's a delight to watch them playing together.

archie and tom

Tom Moore and Archie Churchill-Moss


Tom Moore (Viola) and Archie Churchill-Moss (Accordion) create new compositions and devised improvisations with roots in local folk tune traditions. Two of the most assured instrumentalists of their generation, and members of acclaimed trio Moore, Moss and Rutter, their aim is to challenge the usual writing and arranging process in an attempt to find an English trad sound for the modern listener.


Kitty MacFarlane

Kitty Macfarlane is a Somerset-based singer and songwriter. Her lyrics combine honest snapshots of everyday humanity with the bigger questions that have connected minds and voices for centuries, driven by her own fingerpicked guitar. Her debut EP Tide & Time features Sam Kelly (co-producer), Jamie Francis, Lukas Drinkwater, Maya McCourt and Ciaran Algar.

pete morton

Pete Morton

Saturday, Sunday

With a passionate strong voice and strident guitar style, Pete Morton's songs are an unruly mix of humour, politics, love and social comment, wrapping their way around the folk tradition. Many have become folk club standards, and his live performances are a joy.


Harri Endersby


From acoustic to electronic, Harri Endersby blurs the lines of the folk genre, drawing inspiration from both contemporary and traditional music, as well as the rugged landscape of County Durham, the place that she calls home. Her debut album Homes/Lives, released in February 2017, has impressed critics around the country and she has had tracks played on BBC Radio 6, Radio Scotland, and Radio Wales. At live gigs, Harri is joined by husband Rich, who also plays guitar and percussion.

bob stewart

Bob Knight

Saturday, Sunday

Bob Knight is a folk/traditional singer based in Aberdeen, Scotland. As well as traditional songs, he also writes new songs in traditional Scottish style, using Scots and Doric. For his own songs he accompanies himself on guitar, but traditional material, for the most part, is sung unaccompanied. He is also an excellent story teller.

Through his mother, Margaret Stewart, Bob is related to all the great Scottish traditional singers of traveller origin.

! Please select a day above