Our fifth annual Love Folk Festival returns to Southport for a weekend long celebration featuring new, upcoming and traditional folk music.

Join us at The Atkinson for the little festival with the big heart and spend the most romantic weekend of the year 15-16 February dancing, singing, drinking, eating and generally loving folk!


This year we are pushing the boat out with a double headliner for the Friday night including the stalwarts of folk  Martin & Eliza Carthy perform together followed and three of the leading lights of their generation Faustus. While Saturday night ends with a bang with Blackbeard’s Tea Party!

Faustus are Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead), Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweazel) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast) have a plethora of experience between them, brought together here in a virtuosic display of musicianship and testosterone.  Rooted deeply in the English tradition, in 2007 they received a 75th Anniversary Award from the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

Saturday kicks off with The  Shackleton Trio – Georgia Shackleton (fiddle, vocals), Aaren Bennett (guitar) and Nic Zuppardi (mandolin). Together they play an exciting blend of folk and self-penned material that showcase Georgia’s unique songwriting skills, alongside a vibrant and eclectic display of instrumental brilliance influenced by British, American and Scandinavian folk traditions, with a regional twist from the group’s native East Anglia.

Mawkin as a quintet are not short of kudos. Brothers James and David Delarre are well-known for their involvement with Eliza Carthy, Norma Waterson, Jim Moray and Topette! They have also provided stand-in support for Bellowhead. Nick Cooke plays melodeon with Kate Rusby and False Lights, and is also a leading mastering engineer. Lee Richardson is an award-winning producer of TV, advertising and trailer music.

2018 sees the five-piece capitalise on this success with the release of the crowdfunded studio album ‘Down Among the Dead Men’ and corresponding tour of national arts centres and theatres. The album heralds a bold move forward with a more visceral, amplified sound that’s grounded not just in confidence but also in exquisite musicality.

Roving Crows have cultivated an arresting, singular sound that pushes the boundaries of the Celtic Folk genre. The band play with genuine passion, energy and soul. Vital and vibrant, a must see live act who showcase a mix of fiery, Celtic-inspired fiddle, conscious, intelligent lyrics, backed by pounding tribal rhythms and electronica infused dance grooves.

Roving Crows comprises; Lead vocals from Paul O’Neill and Caitlin Barrett, Paul’s electric and acoustic guitars, Caitlin’s fiddle, Loz Shaw on electric 5 and 6 string bass, keyboards, guitars and clarinet, and pumping percussion from Tim Downes-Hall.

Sound of the Sirens are the Exeter-based duo Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood who dovetail beautifully on their debut album, For All Our Sins, a beguiling acoustic pop collection replete with lyrical sensibility.

Already championed by Chris Evans – who declared himself “blown away” when he heard Sound of the Sirens for the first time, and subsequently invited them to perform alongside U2 and Take That on TFI Friday last year – they’re certain to broaden a burgeoning fan base on the back of For All Our Sins.

The past few years have seen Blackbeard’s Tea Party play at festivals around the UK, from Glastonbury to Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport’s Cropredy Convention.

Now we are delighted to welcome Blackbeard’s Tea Party back to The Atkinson to headline the Love Folk Festival with their brand of gutsy folk rock. A mix of traditional and self-penned songs and tunes are given a heavy rock edge with playful arrangements and driving dance rhythms. This is all mixed up in an engaging, high-octane stage show!

Neil King and Fatea Magazine are once again event sponsors and are bringing the free Busk Love Folk stage to the festival on Saturday 16 February in the foyer. Busk LOve Folk entries will be accepted from November – keep an eye on the website for more information.

Tickets for Love Folk are on sale now £38 Early bird / £20 Friday night gig / £35 Saturday ticket  and available online at via the Box Office on 01704 533333 and over the counter during opening hours.

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Friday 15 February 2019

Martin & Eliza Carthy and Faustus  /  7:15pm – 10:30pm

Friday events take place in the Theatre.


Saturday 16 February 2019

Shackleton Trio  /  12:30pm – 1:30pm

Mawkin  /  2:15pm – 3:15pm

Roving Crows  /  4pm – 5pm

Sound of Sirens  /  6:15pm – 7:15pm

Blackbeard’s Tea Party  /   8pm – 10:30pm

Saturday events take place in the Studio.


Love Folk Festival Tickets, Early Bird: £38* (available until 16 Dec, £48 full price)

Double Headliner: Martin & Eliza Carthy + Faustus (Friday): £20*

Love Folk Festival Day Ticket (Saturday): £35*


*Booking fee is £1 per ticket online/phone.

About The Atkinson

The Atkinson is Southport’s beautiful home for music, theatre, art, poetry, literature and history, right in the middle of Lord Street in Southport. The  stunning 19th century buildings create a really welcoming multi artform venue with a strong contemporary feel.

The Atkinson offers an exciting and varied destination for families, cultural tourists and arts enthusiasts alike, with a full day and night time offer. See some of the UK’s foremost musicians, actors, performers and companies and engage with lots of drop in  family participatory activities.

Wile away in our Museum, Discover Ancient Egypt Gallery, Library and Galleries, not forgetting to visit our gift shop selling  gifts and contemporary crafts from regional makers and then why not relax in a Great Little Place, our new cafe now open.

Posted on 18 September 2018 under Just announced

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