BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012 move to Salford

Folk is an important component of the network’s specialist music offering, and Radio 2 is looking forward to welcoming hundreds of our listeners to the 13th Radio 2 Folk Awards."Jeff Smith, Head of Music for BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music
Date: 17.11.2011     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.54
Category: Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 DJ Mike Harding last night (Weds 16 November) announced details of BBC Radio 2's Folk Awards 2012 – the annual awards ceremony that celebrates and rewards the best in folk music from the previous 12 months.

The event will move out of London for the first time and will take place at The Lowry, Salford on Wednesday 8th February 2012. The awards will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and online at, and will feature live performances from a number of folk artists.

Mike Harding, whose Radio 2 Folk show has just achieved a record weekly audience of 920,000 (RAJAR Q3 2011) is set to host the awards alongside a special guest.

The Radio 2 Folk Awards, which is produced by independent production company Smooth Operations, is one of the jewels in the network’s musical calendar. Previous ceremonies have featured live performances from artists including James Taylor, Nanci Griffith, Bellowhead, Laura Marling and Donovan, who was honoured at last year’s event with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

For the first time, Radio 2 listeners will be able to attend the Folk Awards 2012 and tickets have now gone on sale.

Head of Music for BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, Jeff Smith, says: "Folk is an important component of the network’s specialist music offering, and Radio 2 is looking forward to welcoming hundreds of our listeners to the 13th Radio 2 Folk Awards.”

Last night Mike also announced the nominations - which follow a first round of voting by the 170-strong panel of folk professionals, covering a broad cross-section of the world of folk, roots and acoustic music. The panel will vote again for a winner in each category.

June Tabor & Oysterband are jointly leading the way with four nominations, following the release earlier this year of their album Ragged Kingdom, the long-awaited follow up to their hugely successful 1990 debut. They are nominated in the categories Best Group, Best Album, Best Traditional Track for Bonny Bunch of Roses and June Tabor is also nominated in the Folk Singer of the Year category.

Also winning four nominations are critics’ favourites The Unthanks in a year which has seen the release of their fourth album Last and an acclaimed tour with the Brighouse & Rastrick Band.

They are nominated for Best Group, Best Live Act and Best Album for Last. The fourth nomination comes in the form of the album’s title song Last, written by the group’s pianist Adrian McNally, which is nominated for Best Original Song.

Also shortlisted in this category is Steve Tilston’s topical song The Reckoning, the traditional-sounding The Herring Girl written by Bella Hardy and there’s a nomination for writer Kevin Littlewood, whose poignant On Morecambe Bay was covered by legendary Irish singer Christy Moore.

Following the release of another acclaimed album, Purpose & Grace, the influential guitarist Martin Simpson is shortlisted for Best Album and Best Traditional Track for his very different treatment of Lakes of Ponchartrain. He also wins a nomination in the Musician of the Year category alongside guitarist and melodeon player Tim Edey, diatonic accordionist Andy Cutting and harmonica maestro Will Pound.

Making her mark once again on the Radio 2 Folk Awards after winning two awards in 2009 is Jackie Oates, who picks up a nomination for Folk Singer of the Year and whose fourth solo album Saturnine makes the final four in the Best Album category. Following the release of her latest album Traiveller’s Joy, Scottish singer Emily Smith is nominated for Folk Singer of the Year and Best Traditional Track for Sweet Lover of Mine.

Two of the 2011 folk festival season’s biggest hits receive nominations for both Best Group and Best Live Act: the ever-popular Bellowhead and John Tams’ reformed folk rock outfit, The Home Service.

Promising traditional singer Lucy Ward, from Derby, receives a nomination in the Best Traditional Track category. She also makes the final four in the Horizon award category for the best emerging artist, alongside singer-songwriter Megan Henwood and two traditional trios: Lady Maisery and Pilgrims’ Way.

The Folk Awards will also include the presentation of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, which is the network's annual search for the most promising young folk artists in the UK. The initiative is open to anyone aged 15 to 20 who performs folk, roots or acoustic music with roots in any culture as a band, duo or soloist.

The four nominees were selected by a panel of judges last month following an audition concert at The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal. The concert was a culmination of a residential weekend of workshops, where the ten semi-finalists had the opportunity to play music together and take part in performance workshops with leading folk musicians Andy Cutting and Bella Hardy, as well as learn about the music business.

The prizes for the eventual winner include a live session for Mike Harding's Radio 2 show and slots on the bill at three of the UK’s most prestigious festivals: the Cambridge Folk Festival, Fairport’s Cropredy Convention and the Towersey Festival in Oxfordshire. The nominees are:

Sunjay Brayne

Guitarist and singer, aged 18, from the West Midlands

Sunjay first picked up the guitar at the age of four when he started playing popular tunes by artists like Buddy Holly. He later settled on a folk-blues style influenced by the likes of Derek Brimstone, Chris Smither & Ralph McTell. He’s now a regular at the Woodman Folk Club, and he’s recently been booked to play next year’s Wessex Folk Festival.

Blair Dunlop

Singer, songwriter and guitarist, aged 19, from Derbyshire

Blair started playing when he was just six and writes his own songs and arranges traditional material for guitar and mandocello. Growing up in a musical home, he always had a strong interest in both listening to and making music. His musical passions cross genres and styles, but in recent years his energy has been mainly channelled towards English folk music. His influences include Laura Marling, Spiro, Jim Moray and Nic Jones.


Six piece group, aged 18 to 20, from Northern Ireland

Ioscaid (pronunciation: Iss-kidge) are a six-piece band from across Northern Ireland comprising Dermot and Fintan Mulholland from Derry, Declan Magee and Niall McCrickard from Down, Niall Murphy from Armagh and Ciaran Hanna from Tyrone. In 2010, Ioscaid were the first Ulster band to win the Siansa Gael Linn competition in Dublin and since then they’ve gone on to play many gigs and make several TV and radio appearances.

Graham Mackenzie

Fiddle player, aged 19, from Inverness

Graham is a third-year student at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and used to be a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He won the inaugural Highland Young Musician of the Year competition and is also the youngest ever winner of the Danny Kyle Award at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow.

Tickets are priced at £10 and are available from:

Box office: 0843 208 6000

Website address:

The tickets will be on sale from 7pm on Weds 16th Nov 2012.

Further details are available from

Notes to Editors

The 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations are:


Jon Boden

Jackie Oates

Emily Smith

June Tabor


Tim Edey & Brendan Power

Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell

Spiers & Boden

Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight



The Home Service

June Tabor & Oysterband

The Unthanks


Last – The Unthanks

Purpose & Grace – Martin Simpson

Ragged Kingdom – June Tabor & Oysterband

Saturnine – Jackie Oates


The Herring Girl – Bella Hardy

Last – Adrian McNally (performed by The Unthanks)

On Morecambe Bay – Kevin Littlewood (performed by Christy Moore)

The Reckoning – Steve Tilston


Bonny Bunch of Roses – June Tabor & Oysterband

Lakes of Ponchartrain – Martin Simpson

Maids When You’re Young – Lucy Ward

Sweet Lover of Mine – Emily Smith


Megan Henwood

Lady Maisery

Pilgrims’ Way

Lucy Ward


Andy Cutting

Tim Edey

Will Pound

Martin Simpson



The Home Service

Peatbog Faeries

The Unthanks


Sunjay Brayne

Blair Dunlop


Graham Mackenzie