Hatfield House, Herts, Sunday 16 July 2017

All About Folk by the Oak

A Perfect picture of Folk by the Oak.jpg

Folk by the Oak is just outside London, but feels a million miles away. This one day festival is surrounded by the leafy green parkland of Hatfield House, where you will be immersed in music, history, ancient oaks, bunting, fun and laughter. 

From the intimacy of our Acorn Stage to the open air festival buzz of our Main Stage, we will bring you award winning musicians and inspiring new talent in one memorable day.

Our carefully curated stages are complemented by our lovingly hand-picked caterers and craftspeople. For our younger 'Folk by the Oakers' we have a world of creative workshops to discover onsite as well as our dedicated family friendly area.

Festival Patron Jim Moray

We are very proud to have Jim Moray as our festival patron and each year he hosts the day's proceedings. His fresh and pioneering approach to folk music is very much in keeping with our own ethos and he's a huge asset to the festival.

Find out more about Jim at www.jimmoray.co.uk 

 

False Lights performing live on stage at Folk by the Oak

History

It was a happy day when we threw open the gates to our first Folk by the Oak festival back in 2008, fulfilling our dream to bring together the wonderful musicians who we have listened to for so long. It is heart-warming to think that this year we are putting together the makings of our 10th festival! The high calibre of our artists never fails to inspire us and it is all credit to them and their talent that the festival scene is thriving.

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.

We wanted Folk by the Oak to have a friendly, relaxed atmosphere - a happy mixture of local village fete and the full on festival experience! We are as much indebted to our creative craftspeople, inspiring workshop leaders and culinary wizards for enriching our festival experience. They are the dedicated stallholders who bring the festival site alive with colour, creativity and imagination, showing the difference it makes when care and passion drive the making of delicious dishes or the crafting of handmade items.

A one day festival can make for a more convenient festival experience for families in particular, and so, on top of the many other activities onsite we decided to create a dedicated family area. As a consequence we have made lots of friends and discovered many imaginative people along the way - storytellers, circus performers, wand makers, knot makers, artists, bush craft folk and archers to name but a few!

Folk by the Oak has opened up exciting pathways to new projects which were all an absolute joy to be a part of. As well as organising Jim Moray’s 10th Anniversary Sweet England party at the Union Chapel, we were instrumental in creating the highly acclaimed Elizabethan Session and Sweet Liberties tour and recordings. Both were glorious gatherings of some wonderful folk musicians creating new music together and we are grateful to the invaluable support of EFDSS (The English Folk Dance and Song Society) in both instances. From the outset we wanted to bring something unique to each festival and these projects allow us the opportunity to add something very special to our Main Stage line up.

Our latest project, Shake the Chains, is an exciting new touring commission from celebrated UK contemporary folk singer songwriters with special guests,that will explore 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 our festival this year! We look forward to many more Folk by the Oak spin-offs in the future!

We chose at the outset to support a local charity on a long term basis so they might benefit from our relationship more fully. The Willow Foundation are a wonderful organisation who are based in Hatfield and you can read more about their work here. To date Willow have raised a phenomenal £53,000 through ticket contributions, the generosity of the crowd on the day, and further donations.

We are lucky to be able to stage Folk by the Oak in Hatfield House’s parkland – a beautiful rolling landscape surrounded by ancient trees. The Elizabeth Oak Field where the festival takes place is the inspiration for our name. It is the perfect backdrop for Folk by the Oak, and enhances that wonderful sense of freedom and escape that festivals strive to create.

Caroline & Adam Slough, Festival Directors