For their 10th festival Folk by the Oak are welcoming back Kate Rusby – in the year that marks 25 years of her glorious music making.
Of all the stars in folk music’s wondrous firmament few shine so bright. Kate was actually the original inspiration for a folk gathering at Hatfield House. Directors Caroline and Adam Slough imagined a sublime summer evening of music with Kate in stunning surroundings– an idea which sparked the birth of Folk by the Oak back in 2008
Having first graced the main stage in 2009, Kate returned in 2013, by which time the festival had grown to accommodate a second stage
“As a one day festival we felt it was important to bring together a collection of exceptional artists to give our audience a taste of the very best folk music around in a reasonably short space of time. In 2012 we added the Acorn Stage, which not only showcases incredible new talent, it also enables us to create a festival of wall to wall outstanding music.”
Adam Slough, Festival Director
Folk by the Oak has become a firm fixture in the local summer calendar thanks to its friendly, relaxed atmosphere, or as Caroline puts it: “a happy mixture of local village fete and the full on festival experience! We even encourage people to bring their own picnics, although we do also provide all the usual culinary delights you would expect at a music festival”
Being a one day festival Folk by the Oak has also created an opportunity to experience all the fun of a festival without the need to camp, particularly convenient for families with young children, especially when you take into consideration the dedicated family area with storytellers, folk dancers, circus performers, slackline gurus, wand makers, knot makers, artists, bush craft folk and archers to name but a few!
Folk by the Oak takes its name from its magical setting – the Elizabeth Oak Field of historic Hatfield House. The beautiful rolling landscape surrounded by ancient trees creates the perfect setting, enhancing that wonderful sense of freedom and escape that festivals strive to create and providing the perfect backdrop for their unique firework finale. Folk by the Oak is the only folk festival in the UK to light up the sky with a spectacular firework accompaniment to the closing act!
As they have grown their festival Folk by the Oak has also opened up exciting pathways to new projects. As well as organising Jim Moray’s 10th Anniversary Sweet England party at the Union Chapel, they were instrumental in creating the highly acclaimed Elizabethan Session and Sweet Liberties tour and recordings in partnership with EFDSS.
Their latest project, Shake the Chains, is an exciting new touring commission from celebrated UK contemporary folk singer songwriters with special guests, exploring the role songs have played in social change, resistance and protest. The resulting songs will be toured throughout the UK in February and then the band will re-group for a special performance at Folk by the Oak next summer.
Charity partnership: At the outset Folk by the Oak chose to support a local charity on a long term basis so they might benefit from the relationship more fully. We are proud to have been working with Willow since our first festival in 2008. 50p from every ticket sold is donated to the charity, which is the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable special days, when they and their families reconnect and refocus on each other while enjoying an activity of their choosing. So far over £53,000 has been raised through ticket contributions and the incredible generosity of the Folk by the Oak audience!