The Bishoprick Garland


Sir Cuthbert Sharp was an antiquarian and historian born in Hartlepool. In 1834 he published The Bishoprick Garland, a miscellany of songs, stories, historic ballads and legends drawn from all over County Durham (which at the time included Hartlepool). From beasties like the Lambton Worm to ghosts and hobs, through to local characters like Elsie Marley and songs including the Keel Row, the Collier’s Rant and Sair Fail’d Hinney, Sharp painted a picture of the county’s unique character – he even collected a sword dance, with its calling-on song and play, 80 years before that other, more famous Mr Sharp began his research!

In this unique show commissioned for Hartlepool Folk Festival, we’ll explore the rich treasure trove of The Bishoprick Garland through stories, songs, music and dance, with a superb cast of performers including Kathryn Tickell, Jim Moray, the Wilsons, Julie Murphy, Alistair Anderson, Benny Graham, Johnny Handle, Harri Endersby, the Redcar Sword Dancers, and storyteller Ursula Holden Gill.


The Melsons


The mighty vocal tsunami of the North East meets the full force of Sheffield acoustic harmony - head on! The Melsons is one of those occasional, almost mythical musical happenings which was requested by both bands - how could we refuse? And in true Wilsons/Melrose spirit, it will happen in a pub, so space will be limited. Though we expect you'll be able to hear them all the way to Stockton...


Never Mind the Bandoggs


Our irreverent and hugely popular panel quiz, where folk celebrities are given silly things to do by host Jim Moray, returns for its third year. If you've ever wanted to hear Call Me Maybe sung to the tune of Byker Hill, or one of the Wilsons dropping bombshells about his relationship with Thin Lizzie, or even see a star-studded orchestra playing popular folk songs on tiny plastic instruments, this is the event for you.


Sharp’s Appalachian Harvest


Devised and performed by Brian Peters

When emigrants left 18th century Britain and settled in the New World, they took with them their songs, which survived tenaciously in remote mountain communities.  One hundred years ago English songhunters Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles ventured into the heart of the Southern Appalachians, and there noted down sixteen hundred old ballads, ditties and fiddle tunes - one of the greatest folk collections ever made.

Brian Peters tells the story of the hardships and the triumphs of their heroic quest in music, song, words and images – the photographs of singers Sharp himself took. Brian accompanies himself on guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin.


Appalachia and Albion


*Complimenting the performance of Sharp's Appalachian Harvest.*

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

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Wine and tunes with Nick Hart


Rising star Nick Hart has a fast-growing reputation for his skilled interpretation of traditional tunes and songs. Less known, perhaps, are his Facebook wine reviews, where he delves into the heady labyrinth of viniculture in a (semi) serious exploration of Aldi's finest plonk. Nick is your sommelier for this event. You'll share some wine (which might be terrible) and listen to some tunes (which probably will be great). He might even bring a few musical mates along.


“Eyes Down” Cabaret


Eyes down for a full house! This year's No-folk Cabaret transports you to the heady world of the northern Working Men's Club. While you're waiting for the bingo, a range of folk star turns will give you their best non-folk performances, and try not to incur the wrath of The Committee. The ale will be flowing, the games will be plentiful, and of course there's a pie and pea supper. Our own Club Chairman will keep the evening ticking along, and make sure that the many rules are observed. Quiet while the turns are on! Non-members cannot win the bingo! No trousers above the knee! (That's the Wilsons barred, then.) Have you paid in?

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