BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2019 returns in October to Manchester

The nominees for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2019 have been announced by Mark Radcliffe on the Radio 2 Folk Show this evening, Wednesday 31 July.

Published: 31 July 2019
I'm really chuffed to be hosting the Radio 2 Folk Awards on home turf in Manchester this year. It's also great to be part of the Manchester Folk Festival which seems to be going from strength to strength.
— Mark Radcliffe

Now in its 20th year, this year’s ceremony, presented by Mark, will take place at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on Wednesday 16 October 2019 as part of the Manchester Folk Festival.

This is the second time the event has been staged in Greater Manchester, after Salford's Lowry Theatre in 2012.

A highlight of the folk music calendar, the Radio 2 Folk Awards celebrates the UK’s thriving folk music scene and serves to raise the profile of this much loved musical genre. The event showcases and celebrates the best folk, roots and acoustic music and features live performances by the very best acts. The evening will welcome an array of special guests as well as performances from new and established artists including legendary Irish group Dervish, Welsh-Senegalese duo Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita and Edward II, Anglo-Caribbean fusioneers from Manchester.

The nominees for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2019 are as follows:

Folk Singer of the Year

• Gwilym Bowen Rhys
• Lisa O'Neill
• Olivia Chaney
• Ríoghnach Connolly

Best Duo or Group

• Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
• Stick in the Wheel
• The Breath
• The Rheingans Sisters

The Horizon Award

• Brìghde Chaimbeul
• Kinnaris Quintet
• Kitty Macfarlane
• The Trials Of Cato

Best Traditional Track

• Factory Girl by Lisa O'Neill ft. Radie Peat
• Ffoles Llantrisant by VRï
• The Foggy Dew by Ye Vagabonds
• The Reedcutter's Daughter by Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith

Best Original Track

• Blackbird by Lisa O'Neill
• I Burn But I Am Not Consumed by Karine Polwart
• Spells Out by Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening
• Scapa Flow 1919 by Kris Drever

Best Album

• Ancora by Flook
• Heard a Long Gone Song by Lisa O’Neill
• Hide and Hair by The Trials of Cato
• Soar by Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita

Musician of the Year

• Jenn Butterworth
• Mohsen Amini
• Sam Sweeney
• Seckou Keita

This year, the award for Best Album will be chosen by Radio 2 listeners. Voting is now open via and closes on Friday 9th August 2019 at midnight. Jo Whiley will play a track from all four nominated albums between Monday 5 August and Thursday 8 August on her Radio 2 show (7pm-9pm).

Traditional Irish band Dervish will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony.

Dervish have been bringing Irish traditional music to the world for 30 years, and have played at festivals across the globe - from Rock In Rio to Glastonbury. The band features some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, and is fronted by one of the country’s best known singers, Cathy Jordan.

Dervish are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year with an album called The Great Irish Songbook (Rounder), which features performances by a remarkable array of guest vocalists. The album will premiere with a special concert involving Imelda May, David Gray, Kate Rusby and actor Brendan Gleeson at the London Palladium on Thursday 19 September.

Shane Mitchell from Dervish says: “We are thrilled and so delighted to be receiving this very special honour at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, particularly as this is the 30th anniversary of the band.”

An act will be inducted to the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall Of Fame, following in the footsteps of Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Woody Guthrie, Ewan MacColl and Cecil Sharp.

The awards are presented by folk fans that in the past have included, Sir David Attenborough, Sean Bean, Pauline Black, Brenda Blethyn, Jarvis Cocker, Phil Collins, Roger Daltrey, Charles Dance, Ray Davies, Peter Gabriel, Ruth Jones, Cerys Matthews and Sharleen Spiteri.

The show, which will be broadcast live from 7-9pm on BBC Radio 2 and on BBC Sounds, will be produced by 7digital.

Mark Radcliffe says: “I'm really chuffed to be hosting the Radio 2 Folk Awards on home turf in Manchester this year. It's also great to be part of the Manchester Folk Festival which seems to be going from strength to strength. I can promise you that there will be excitement aplenty on the night plus the very best live music from artists established and emerging on the healthier than ever British folk scene.”

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2, says: “We’re delighted to be returning to Greater Manchester this year for one of the biggest moments in the folk music calendar - the Radio 2 Folk Awards. We are very proud of our commitment to specialist music at Radio 2 - from folk, to jazz, RnB, rock, musical theatre and more. We’re looking forward to bringing our listeners such a fantastic and varied mix of performances from the very best artists in the folk music scene - live from Bridgewater Hall in October.”

Tickets to the Radio 2 Folk Awards are available here.

The 2019 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award will take place at the HOME venue in Manchester, the night before the Folk Awards on Tuesday 15 October.

The Young Folk Award is Radio 2's annual search for the most promising players of folk and acoustic music. Open to musicians from the UK aged 16-21, the contest has been running for 21 years and launched the careers of Wildwood Kin, Bella Hardy and more. At the public concert on Tuesday 15 October, eight shortlisted acts will perform. Based on that performance, judges will select a winner, to be announced the following evening at the Radio 2 Folk Awards. Information about where to get tickets for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award will be available in due course.

Last year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards, which took place in Belfast, saw performances by Cara Dillon, Paul Brady, Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, Lankum and the Armagh Pipers Club. Music legend Van Morrison presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to musician and producer Dónal Lunny for his massive contribution to folk music.