Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018, the best free folk music in SE London

BFF2018 | The best free folk music festival in South London

Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018 poster

Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018

Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018 puts folk music in the heart of South East London for the fifth year running. The free festival showcases some of the finest folk artists performing in Britain today with a series of events on Saturday 8th of September in Bermondsey.

Bermondsey Folk Festival is staged in Market Place SE16 in the heart of South East London. The festival was conceived after a chat between a local musician and the fishmonger at his stall in local market. Since that chance conversation over a convivial carton of Jellied Eels, the idea has blossomed into a unique London calendar event, which attracts top folk performers and fans from far and wide.

The days merriments begin with a guided walk from celebrated comedian and local lad Arthur Smith followed by the hearty tones of Arfur Doo and The Toerags at the Blue Anchor Pub. Then in the Blue Market square you will discover award winning chanteuse Lisa Knapp, the indescribable Circulus and modern folk’s greatest innovator Martin Carthy, purveying their finest wares. Dance performances, Bermondsey voices, market stalls, food and craft beers complement the day’s joyous tone.

More performances unfurl at the rather sociable setting of Shortwave Café, a mere gentle saunter from the Blue Market, for an intimate folk experience featuring:  David Jaycock, The Russman, Ady Johnson and all nicely topped off by the enigmatic Cunning Folk.

What a day what a line up and it’s all FREE and just a hefty welly wang from Bermondsey Tube Station

The festival is organised by The Blue Bermondsey BID and Cunning Folk Music to recognise the cultural growth of the Blue.


  Click here to register with Eventbrite

Bermondsey Folk Festival 2018 Arthur Smith Walk Low Res

BFF2018 – A Walk With Arthur Smith (12pm-1pm)

  The Queen Victoria 148 Southwark Park Road, London, SE16 3RP

Join in for a walk with famous comedian Arthur Smith who will delight everyone taking part in this exploration of Bermondsey, ‘proper’ ?

The walk will last about an hour on our way to the main stage at Market Place. Remember, this walk could be funny so you’ve been warned!

Meet us at The Queen Victoria Pub in 148 Southwark Park Rd, London SE16 3RP. (Yes, you may go inside and relax in this lovely pub; the tour starts at midday)


BFF2018 -Arfur Doo and The Toerags (1pm-2pm)

  The Blue Anchor, 251 Southwark Park Road, London, SE16 3TS

The folk music starts at the Blue Anchor Pub with the excellent Arfur Doo & The Toerags, a traditional Irish folk band with a few twists. Guitar, bass, cajon, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, flute, penny whistle and recorder combine for fast-paced, energetic tunes and delicate ballads

BFF2018 – Main stage with Lisa Knapp, Circulus and Martin Carthy (2pm-6pm)

  The Blue Market, Market Place, London,  SE16 3UQ

From small beginnings we are starting to flourish as a calendar event in the London Folk Scene and we have the headline acts in the main stage to prove it: Martin Carthy, Lisa Knapp, Circulus. 

Bermondsey-Folk-Festival-2018-Shortwave--banner-low-res-800-x-640BFF2018- Ady Johnson, David Jaycock, Cunning Folk, Russman (6pm-11pm)

  Shortwave Cafe Clements Road, London SE16 4DG

After the day’s events in the Blue Anchor Market, the Bermondsey Folk Festival continues at Shortwave Cafe with an evening of fantastic folk acts. Shortwave Cafe is fully licensed & has a great selection of beers

Ady Johnson is a Suffolk born, London based troubadour who is a Radio 6 regular; Tom Robinson says “He’s damn good live!”. 

David Jaycock is a virtuoso guitarist, comparable to John Fahey, who has performed with many folk luminaries including Marry Waterson. He will be performing songs from his new album “The Decline of the Mobile Library”.

Cunning Folk performs traditional British folk songs & songs inspired by British folklore. The Guardian describes him as “charming & mesmeric”

Russman is a local fishmonger & community organiser. His songs about life in Bermondsey are a celebration of the everyday urban folk of Bermondsey.

The organisers

The Bermondsey Folk Festival is a joint venture between The Blue Bermondsey BID and Cunning Folk Music.

The Blue Bermondsey  @bluebermondsey  thebluebermondsey

The origins of the Blue Bermondsey BID began with the work of voluntary representatives from local business who got together in the early 1990s as the Blue Market Traders Forum an informal group who continually lobbied local Councillors and Southwark Council on behalf of local businesses to improve the area, which had become run down and lacking investment. These pioneering efforts got the ball rolling, with the Market place getting a facelift and many small community events being established.

The BBBA BID Steering Group was constituted in autumn 2012 to develope the BID proposal and in June 2014 the ballot campaign followed asking eligible businesses to vote yes or no to the proposals. The result was announced on 4th July 2014 with 89% of voting in favour of the BID term for five years until October 2019


Cunning Folk

Cunning Folk is a folk performer and music promoter and also runs the South East London Folklore society.

Cunning Folk puts on regular folk and roots music and spoken word events & talks in interesting places in a mission to bring wonderful interesting music, storytelling, history & poetry to like minded souls. Since 2014, Cunning Folk Music has put on events in Tudor houses, old barges & magical bookshops, woodlands, edgelands and forgotten corners

In 2015, Cunning Folk organised the Bermondsey Folk Festival 1st Edition followed by this year’s Festival and also run the Bermondsey Folk Club since 2017



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