BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Rules

As in previous years, the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2013 are to be produced and organised by Smooth Operations, an independent producer commissioned by BBC.

The voting, nomination and award process will be managed jointly by the BBC and Smooth Operations in line with the BBC's Editorial Guidelines on Awards.

The Awards year runs from 1st November 2011 to 31st October 2012. The Awards are made in January 2013.

2013 Awards Categories and Eligibility Criteria


Categories 1 to 6 are awarded by the Voting Panel -

1. FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR - The artist making the most impact during the past year either through performance, albums or a special event.

2. BEST DUO - The award for the duo making the most impact during the past year either through performance, albums or special event.

3. BEST GROUP - The award for the group making the most impact during the past year either through performance, albums or special event.

4. BEST ALBUM - The most significant folk/roots album released in the 12 months to 31st October 2012. (Reissues or compilations do not qualify.)

5. HORIZON AWARD - Best emerging artist or artists on the scene during the Award year. Any acts, who have debuted, made a significant increase in their popularity or a special impression during the 12 months to 31st October 2012.

6. MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR - This person can be part of a band, a solo artist or session musician who can be considered to be the significant instrumentalist of the 12 months to 31st October 2012.

Categories 7 & 8; these are awarded by a panel of experts convened by the Folk Awards Committee.

7. BEST ORIGINAL SONG - The best non-traditional song of the 12 months to 31st October 2012. This can be a new song, or if it is more than one year old, to qualify needs to have had a significant performance or interpretation.

8. BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK - The best performance of any traditional song or tune released during the 12 months to 31st October 2012. This is a category designed to recognise the work of people recording traditional material. It must be a new recording of a traditional song, from any tradition.

Categories 9 to 12 are awarded by the Folk Awards Committee -

9. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD This award is given to a person or group whom the panel deem to have made an enormous and lasting contribution to folk music over a sustained number of years.

10. GOOD TRADITION AWARD Awarded to a person, group or organisation that the panel concludes have contributed to the preservation, dissemination and continuance/ progression of traditional music over a number of years

11. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION TO SONGWRITING Bestowed on a person/ persons who the panel consider to have produced a significant volume of work in the field of song-writing which has been adopted by the folk community

12. ROOTS AWARD Given to a person or Group whom the panel consider to have given an outstanding contribution to Folk Music from a Grass Root level upwards.

Awards procedures

The Voting Panel
is made up of approximately 190 people. The Panel is comprised of those persons who have a professional or semi-professional interest in the folk industry, i.e. folk festival and folk club organisers, journalists, presenters, record company personnel, folk music academics, etc.

Membership of the Voting Panel is determined by the BBC & Smooth Operations and is reviewed every year. The Folk Awards Committee is continually looking for new members to the panel. Any person who would like to nominate an individual, or is interested in being on the panel themselves, can notify Smooth Operations by email stating their current position and experience to A full list of potential additions will then be considered by The Folk Awards Committee and a final decision made on the panel for the next year’s voting process. Successful additions will be notified prior to the start of the voting for the next year.

The Awards for categories 1 to 6 are determined by two rounds of voting by the Panel:

Round One
The Voting Panel are asked to nominate up to 3 artists in each category. Nomination forms are sent out on 25th October 2012. The panel need to return their nominations by 13th November 2012 to Smooth Operations. To avoid any possible conflict of interest, panellists are not permitted to nominate artists with whom they have a close professional interest. Managers, agents, publicists or record company members of staff, are not allowed to vote for any artist(s) that they represent. The returned nominations are collated and the top four who receive the most nominations in each category are then listed on the voting form in Round Two.

Round Two
Each Panellist can vote for one nomination in each category. Panellists are not permitted to vote for artists with whom they have a close professional interest. Voting forms are sent out on the 22ndNovember 2012 following the announcement of the nominations on the Mike Harding Show and are to be returned by the 5th December 2012. These votes are counted by the BBC & Smooth Operations and the nominee with the most votes in each category is declared the recipient of the award. Winners are announced on the night of the Folk Awards. Spoiled voting papers (e.g. papers where more than one vote has been cast or where the mark is not clear) will be discounted. Only the winner with the most votes is recognised, and no other results are released (i.e. there are no runners up).In the event of a tie, that is more than one artist receiving the same highest number of votes, then the award will be made jointly to all the artists. The top 5 ‘Best Albums’ nominated in round one will be put to a public vote and not voted for by the voting panel. The vote will be run on the BBC Radio 2 website from the 21st November to the 30th November 2012.

The Awards for categories 7 and 8 are awarded by a specialist Panel

The Panel who will award the categories of ‘Best Original Song’ and ‘Best Traditional Track’ will be comprised of persons who have a professional or semi-professional interest in the folk industry. The Folk Awards Committee will nominate and oversee the panel.

The Specialist Panel 2013 are:

  • Ian Anderson - Editor, fRoots Magazine
  • Rob Adams - Folk & Roots Music Journalist
  • Genevieve Tudor - Presenter, Sunday Folk (BBC Shropshire)
  • Bruce MacGregor - Presenter, Travelling Folk (BBC Scotland)
  • June Tabor - Musician

The Awards for categories 9 to 12 are determined by two rounds of voting by the Committee:-

The decision is taken at a meeting scheduled towards the end of the 2012. The Committee members come to the meeting with a list of their own nominations for each of the awards. The Committee have an open discussion of these nominations with a view to arriving at a consensus. In the event of failure to reach a consensus, the award is decided by way of a vote. Smooth Operations will keep records of all committee meetings.

The Young Folk Award is determined by a separate panel of judges. A shortlist of 10 acts is selected from all the entries submitted to the Young Folk Award competition. These 10 acts are invited to a Performance weekend, which culminates in a performance concert from which a specialist panel of judges, comprising musicians and industry personnel, determine a winner. The winner will be announced at the Folk Awards ceremony.

Nominated Representatives

The BBC & Smooth Operations will appoint nominated representatives that shall be responsible for monitoring the voting. They will ensure that votes are properly collected and counted and that the process is conducted in line with the rules as well as the BBC's Editorial Guidelines on Awards. Nominated Representatives are not permitted to vote either as part of the Voting Panel or The Folk Awards Committee. Smooth Operations will keep and store all nomination and voting papers on behalf of the BBC for 3 years following each award ceremony.

Nominated Representatives 2013 are:

  • Viv Atkinson – Project Manager, Smooth Operations
  • Fergus Dudley – Editor, Editorial Standards BBC Radio 2, 6 Music & Asian Network

The Folk Awards Committee consists of 5 people, 2 are members of the Folk Awards production staff, 2 are senior members of BBC Radio 2 staff and the 1 is an independent expert.

The Folk Awards Committee 2013 are:

  • John Leonard – Managing Director, Smooth Operations (Chair)
  • Kellie While – Head of Programmes, Smooth Operations
  • Jeff Smith – Head of Music, BBC Radio 2& 6 Music
  • Mark Simpson – Producer Bob Harris Show, BBC Radio 2
  • Mark Ellen – Music specialist

Voting Panel - Terms and Conditions
A copy of the ‘Panel Declaration Form’ provided must be signed and returned along with the nominated/voting form, failure to do so will render the nomination/vote void. By returning a completed nomination/voting form, panel members acknowledge that they are still eligible to be part of the Panel and that they will abide by these rules.

Nominees and Winners who wish to produce promotional material referring to themselves as such will be sent details prior to the start of Round 2 on how to apply to the BBC to do so. Use of the awards name, the BBC Radio 2 logo or the BBC clocks is not a given, and shall only be granted following the completion and signing of a trademark licence provided to the Nominee / Winner by the BBC. Unauthorised use of the BBC Radio 2 logo or the BBC Blocks will be treated as a breach of copyright.