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BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2019 announces performances and Lifetime Achievement Award


The 20th annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards have added further guests to this year’s show - O’Hooley & Tidow, The Breath and Wizz Jones - as announced by Mark Radcliffe on the Radio 2 Folk Show (Wednesday, 9-10pm).

Mark Radcliffe says: “I’m really excited to announce Wizz Jones, O’Hooley & Tidow and The Breath will are performing at the Radio 2 Folk Awards 2019. They all make great additions to what is always a spectacular evening. Each of them demonstrate the breadth of talent and versatility in the UK folk scene right now.”

Jeff Smith, Head of Music, Radio 2 and 6 Music, says: “The Radio 2 Folk Awards remains a key live music moment of the year for both for the station and UK folk music calendar, and these additions to our line-up will make even more of a difference to what will be an incredible evening.

Yorkshire-based folk duo O’Hooley & Tidow will perform their much-loved theme tune for BBC One’s hit drama series Gentleman Jack (featuring Suranne Jones and written by Sally Wainwright). The series told the story of 19th century diarist Anne Lister, who lived in West Yorkshire close to where Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow live today. The popular folk pairing wrote the song in 2012, but has now been enjoyed by an audience of millions since the television series.

O’Hooley & Tidow say: ”We’re both delighted to be doing a special, full band performance of Gentleman Jack at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. It feels like a big celebration of what has been an incredible year for us and also for folk music to be enveloped into the hearts of a prime time television audience. Where will Anne Lister take us next?!“

Influential folk and blues guitarist Wizz Jones - admired and emulated by some of folk and rock’s greatest players - will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and will also perform live. Wizz began his career as a musician at 18 years old, performing in clubs in London during the folk revival. On the 1960s club scene, he was an early influence on the likes of Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart. Bruce Springsteen is among the artists to have covered Wizz’s songs. At 80 years old, he still tours the country, regularly performing live with his son, Simeon Jones, and fellow guitarist Pete Berryman.

Wizz Jones says: ”I am so surprised to get this award so thanks a million to whoever suggested it!“

The awards show will also include a performance from Manchester-based group, The Breath, comprising of Northern Irish singer Ríoghnach Connolly and guitarist Stuart McCallum. The group’s recent releases include album Let The Cards Fall and acoustic mini-album Only Stories.

Stuart McCallum says: ”We’re over the moon with our nominations and to then be invited to perform at the Radio 2 Folk Awards and to be amongst such incredible talent is a double-whammy, a real honour. We’re both super-excited, if a little daunted"

These artists are added to the previously-announced bill, which includes legendary Irish group Dervish, Welsh-Senegalese duo Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, and Edward II, Anglo-Caribbean fusioneers from Manchester.

As previously announced, Dervish will also receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony.

A highlight of the folk music calendar, the Radio 2 Folk Awards celebrates the UK’s thriving folk music scene and serves to raise the profile of this much-loved musical genre. The event showcases and celebrates the best folk, roots and acoustic music.

Now in its 20th year, this year’s ceremony, presented by Mark, will take place at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on Wednesday 16 October 2019 as part of the Manchester Folk Festival.

The awards will be presented by a host of famous folk fans, including local song writing legend Graham Gouldman of 10cc.

An historic folk act will be inducted to the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Woody Guthrie, Ewan MacColl and Cecil Sharp.

The show, which will be broadcast live from 7-9pm on BBC Radio 2 and on BBC Sounds, will be produced by 7digital.

Tickets to the Radio 2 Folk Awards are available from

The 2019 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award will take place at the HOME venue in Manchester, the night before the Folk Awards on Tuesday 15 October. The Young Folk Award is Radio 2’s annual search for the most promising players of folk and acoustic music. Open to musicians from the UK aged 16-21, the contest has been running for 21 years and launched the careers of Wildwood Kin, Bella Hardy and more. At the public concert on Tuesday 15th October, eight shortlisted acts will perform. Based on that performance, judges will select a winner, to be announced the following evening at the Radio 2 Folk Awards. Tickets for the Young Folk Award concert are available now from the HOME box office.

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