About Access Folk

We’ve seen a major decline in folk clubs and fewer people taking part in other folk singing events in England. There is little indication that many new people are finding their way into folk singing communities. The Access Folk research project explores ways to increase and diversify participation in folk singing in England.


Live singing events that are open to the public and involve communal engagement but which are not primarily part of an act of worship. Repertoire incorporates a) material reflective of the historical and contemporary experience of communities within England including the local and/or familial heritage of the singers and b) considered part of a tradition of singing. There may be an emphasis on activities that incorporate self awareness on behalf of the organisers or participants as being (or desiring to be) part of the folk scene in England.

Terms Explained

  • Communal engagement: active listening, joining in choruses, taking part in other ways.

  • Communities within England: may include all people resident in England regardless of their cultural background.

  • Act of worship: where the singing is part of a religious activity which is more important than the act of singing itself.

  • Local Heritage: materials with historical connection to the current place of the singer.

  • Familial Heritage: materials with connection to the singer's family background regardless of their current place.

  • Folk scene in England: the structures of scenes, places and organisations which are widely considered to be part of the english folk scene, for example folk clubs, sing arounds, specialist concert organisers and charities.