Monthly Archives: August 2013

Septemberfest – Folkstock and two three-day festivals


September is the month of the Hertfordshire Festivals. Three consecutive weekends (including this one) will see the likes of music festivals:
Wilkestock, Balstock and Folkstock bringing focus to the awesome talent that this area has to offer.

The three ‘stocks, which take place only a month on from the awesome Standon Calling, help to highlight the impressive music scene in Hertfordshire, and the community that it brings together.

This weekend: Friday 30th August to 1st September 2013

…tickets still available on the door!





Create a solid intimate music medley of quality bands and dj’s for all ears, whilst raising money and having a party time for Keswick Mountain Rescue & Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research

Company Overview:
In its 8th successful year….. 100+bands/dj’s across 4 stages, an epic weekend to be had with all profits going directly to Keswick Mountain Rescue & Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

Dance tents pumping into the small hours with –

2 Bad Mice
Dj Law and Wheeler
Variations [Dub Police]
Mojo [Terrorhythm]
Bygore [Dub Police]
Ethic [Dub Police]
Swiss B2B Foul Matta [Stink Like Sock]
Venum [N:Era]

Hosts – The Corporal / Shox / Overdoze



Next weekend: Friday 14th to Sunday 16th September 2013



Balstock Music Festival started 8 years ago, in the Engine pub garden, Baldock. From the 11 acts that graced the small petanque shed that day, none of them could’ve known that the very same festival would become Hertfordshire’s largest free music event not even a decade later!
Balstock 2013 is staying true to form by attempting to ‘out-shine’ all the previous years. Not only is every pub in Baldock taking part (bar the George IV just outside town) but also there are 2 Street Stages (including food & merchandise stalls, zorbing and a tug-o-war competition), a café hosting DJs and even bands in one of the tattooists.
Over the 13th, 14th and 15th of September, 150+ acts will be performing in 15 venues, all over Baldock town, including rock, pop, acoustic, soul, ska, blues, hip-hop, punk, folk, motown, reggae, metal, alternative and covers as well as DJ sets of all kinds and stand-up comedy courtesy of Lastminutecomedy.
Every single venue is FREE ENTRY and every single act performs for FREE, all in aid of the chosen charity which changes each year. Funds raised in Balstock 2013 will be split 60 % to the MS Trust and 40% to aid future Balstock events. So please put plenty of money in the collector’s buckets and buy plenty of Balstock Merchandise.

13 September at 18:00 until 15 September at 22:00. This year’s funding goes towards the MS trust and Balstock (split 60/40)

Venues are:
The Orange Tree, Baldock
The Engine
The High Street stage
London Road & Academy Of Music & Sound Stage
The Rose & Crown
The White Lion
The Hen & Chickens
The Boot Baldock
The White Hart, Baldock
The Brocken Drum
The Victoria
The Cock
The Old White Horse
Slack Alice’s tattooists
Taste Cafe

Third Weekend in September: Saturday 21st September 2013

…tickets still available – click here!


Folkstock has a mission to be a joyous fusion of many different strands of folk, with over 70 artists, half of which are from the local area, from award winning faves of this show such as Lucy Ward, Kris Drever, Reg Meuross, Luke Jackson and Josienne Clarke/ Ben Walker and Folk roots band The Willows, who have sessioned on Bob Harris, through to local artists who are being offered their first festival slots, and everything in between.

Four stages and an additional two performance areas are planned at this relaxed rustic event at beautiful Aldenham Country Park near Borehamwood, along side free, ‘sign up on the day songwriting’ workshops with Reg Meuross, open slots at Flaming June’s Troubadours, Morris Dancing with ‘join in’ scratch sides, festival feast food, local ales and ciders, arts and crafts stalls, childrens activities, milk shakes and soda bar, Ukulele workshops for all levels, and I am reliably informed that they have procured 24 ukuleles so if you ever fancied a go, now’s your chance ! The performers range from the local Under 10′s ceilidh group to 72 yr old Chuck Owston from Pennsylvania ! and they are delighted that this age range is reflected in the ticket sales so far!


Sponsorship & Advertising Offers

So, these last few weeks I have largely been posting about what visitors to Folkstock Festival and family fete can expect when 21st September finally rolls around (I can  hardly wait anymore, I’m so excited!). But I’ve realised that there are plenty of local business and community groups paying attention too – so here’s one for you…
There are a number of advertising and sponsorship deals still available for Folkstock Festival, but with only 3 (and a bit) weeks to go, I can’t stress enough the importance of getting in quick!

As well as offering an ADVERTISING deal for £200 for an advert in the festival site map, given out free on the day to all those attending the festival – Folkstock Festival has put together a range of special offer packages for businesses that want to sponsor the festival and family fete.

BRONZE – £500 for an element of the event – such as the Merch tent/ backstage areas/organised busking area
In return you get 10 family or 25 adult passes ( normal price adult £25, family £55 ) – or a combination of your choice  PLUS YOUR BANNERS ON THE CROWD BARRIERS
SILVER – £1000 for an area -such as the family and crafts tent, the wrist bands sponsor or the songwriting and ukulele workshops tent
In return you get 20 family passes or 50 adult passes – or a combination  PLUS YOUR BANNERS ON THE CROWD BARRIERS
GOLD  – £1500 for a tented staged area
In return you get 30 family passes or 75 adult passes – or a combination  PLUS YOUR BANNERS ON THE CROWD BARRIERS
PLATINUM – £2000 for the Main stage or the Alt Folk stage, or the Village Green area.
In return you get 40 family passes or 100 adult passes- or a combination   PLUS YOUR BANNERS ON THE CROWD BARRIERS

Excitingly, there are also 10 free stalls on offer to community groups – to help give back to the local community. The stands are situated by the Village Green area.

 If you are interested in any of these deals, please get in touch with Helen Meissner at or

Supporting Folkstock artists around St Albans


In the spirit of all things Folkstock, (and having just moved to St Albans earlier this month) – I’ve been throwing myself into the local music scene here in Hertfordshire and specifically the city of St Albans. Last Wednesday, Denise Parsons of the Trestle Arts Base invited to along to an open mic night run by one of the Folkstock Foundation artists – Nick Stephenson, of Nick and The Sun Machine – at The Boot pub, near the clock tower.


Alex Lilly and Jessica Hart performing at The Boot

What a great evening it was too! The Mid-Week Music Open Mic night showcased so many talented artists from the local music scene, with each performance consisting of 3 songs. Paul Littler, Tom Dibb, Alex Lilly, Jessica Hart, Lily Rose Fowler and headliners Sophie and Tim were the line up last week, and if next week follows suit, its bound to be awesome. The open mic night is on every Wednesday at The Boot.

Paul Littler performing at the open mic night

Paul Littler performing at the open mic night

I loved how friendly and welcoming everyone at the event was, and a special thanks to Denise for talking the time to introduce me to everyone. I’d definitely recommend that acoustic music lovers check this out. I shall also be heading over to the (free) ‘Live Music Project’ at Trestle Arts Base next weekend (31st August) to see what Denise’s own community event is like – we’re lucky to have her supporting Folkstock Festival!


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Beautiful banners & shirt selections


A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the fantastic art work that was created for Folkstock – so it makes sense to follow that up by showing you how that artwork has been used.


First off, you may have seen some of the Folkstock banners around, brightening up the place – I think they look great! And better still, the local community have been hugely supportive by offering to put some up in front of their houses, etc.


Another, awesome way that Amy Pettingill’s colourful, swirly art work has been used is on the mock-ups for the Folkstock merchandise and t’shirts. Which one do you prefer? Let me know – tweet me @katefolkstock 


Design 1

Design 2

Design 2

A lovely post from blogger Bugle Boy Publishing!


Check out this lovely post about Folkstock’s Minnie Birch from blogger Bugle Boy Publishing Co.!

Bugle Boy Publishing Co.

I am looking forward to meeting many folk lyricist at Folkstock Festival this September 21st 2013 (  One lyricist that I came across when perusing through the line up is the brilliant Minnie Birch from Hemel Hempstead.  Not only is she a true lyricist, but also she has the most Heavenly female voice that I have ever heard.  When listening to her music it takes me back to when I was a bit younger and I used to listen to Ani DiFranco.  Ani was a liberal woman whose lyrics you actually heard.  And, what I mean when I say ‘heard’ is that you could hear her story and actually understand it.

I feel the same when I hear Minnie Birch’s songs.  I have listened to a few on SoundCloud.  When listening to her music I transform empathetically into a character that she is telling in her story.  In other words…

View original post 50 more words

You must be Folking joking?!


Folk is often a word that people my age run away from. The word ‘folk’ has traditionally conjured up images of hanky-shaking morris dancers and …is it ok to say… woeful tales from 60s-esque bearded men? (I have a bizzare mental image of a cross between John Lennon and Jesus, with the melancholy of Johnny Cash (who I love by the way!) but wearing bells).

…I’m sorry!

But thankfully the likes of Mumford and Sons, Florence and The Machine and Noah and the Whale, etc. have turned that stereotype on it’s head, and made folk a more accessible genre to young music fans.

It seems Folk is evolving to encompass a fusion of other genres too, often acoustic musicians and more ‘indie rock’ groups place themselves under the label of folk.

One of the missions of the Folkstock Foundation is to show people what superb original talent is out there, which is why the family-orientated festival is keen to promote the ‘acoustic’ element in it’s title (Folkstock Acoustic Festival).

If the word ‘folk’ still makes you unsure, what if we said the artists can be likened to the talents of Ed Sheeran, The Passenger, Ellie Goulding and Lucy Spraggan? And there are plenty of young up & coming artists, as well as brilliantly established artists of all age ranges (and incredible talents).

The change faces of folk

The change faces of folk

Over the last few years I’ve seen an increased popularity of folk-associated instruments, such as the ukelele (my university even had it’s own ukelele society!) and these, as well as some more surprising folk instruments will also be making an appearance at the festival – so you might just discover a new-found talent or interest!

Folkstock Director Helen Meissner says; “I’d like to attract people to the festival who would not have considered coming to one before perhaps, or at least, one which has the word folk in the title. While there is a nod at folkish music on sometimes folky instruments, the music is just going to be excellent (if you like harmonies, melodies and ‘stripped back acoustic’ sound).”


The Folk, celebrating their folk music passion

On the risks and difficulties of trying to bring in new audiences, Helen added: “I think it’s boring just to rely on preaching to the converted – where’s the growth, where’s the audience development, the broadening of minds?”
And who knows, you might even find once you get there, you actually really like the music from the woeful, bell-wearing bearded hippies too! 😉

If you’re persuaded to give it a chance (go on!), you can hear a selection of the artists here:


OR if you prefer to watch artists’ performances, you might like to browse our Folkstock Youtube channel


Seeking student volunteers!


It’s that time of year again, A Levels results are out, uni’s started their mahoosively long summer holiday weeks ago and most of the summer’s big festivals have been and gone (or at least will have been very soon),  much like the best of the British summer weather.

But if you are still looking to hold on to the summer feeling and do something productive before heading off (or back to) uni, or if you are just looking to do something different from your usual routine – perhaps you could consider volunteering for Folkstock Festival?

Not only is it a great way to feel good about yourself (by giving back to the community) – it is also a chance to be a part of an exciting new festival celebrating acoustic music and folk & roots sounds, and to receive free tickets for volunteers, and – unusually – volunteers are also being offered a family pass for up to four people in addition to their own pass!!

Volunteering is great to add to your CV!

I personally love volunteering at festivals – earlier in the year I volunteered as a blogger for the St Albans Film Festival, and since June I have been blogging for Folkstock on a voluntary basis.


I love being involved in volunteering with Folkstock!

Perhaps you’re wondering why I would be tapping away at a keyboard like this for no wage? Well, aside from my love of writing – and my love of acoustic music (Folkstock has nicely fused both of those together), I think Folkstock Festival genuinely has a feel-good factor and a community spirit about it. The proceeds of the festival are being divided between Cancer Research UK (Festival Director, Helen, having herself overcome breast cancer two years ago) and Folkstock Arts Foundation – a non-profit community interest organisation to help unsigned and under-recognised folk and roots artists reach their full potential by helping with marketing and PR and giving them a platform and new opportunities to perform.

Both of the organisations benefiting from the festival are causes I believe in: having lost my two grandads and grandma to cancer, and as my older brother is a musician that knows the struggles of getting recognition (although not part of Folkstock due to location) – I get to combine two things that I love doing, with two causes that I support – and that just feels right!

Plus, I get to meet loads of awesome people, talented artists and get to go to what promises to be a brilliant festival!!

If you are interested in volunteering at the one-day event (at which you are able to camp out at), there are opportunities to steward for a six hour period – which means there are 6 hours free to enjoy the twelve hour event as you please. The festival runs from 11am to 11pm.

Anyone interested in helping out as a volunteer for the festival should contact Helen Meissner via

I’d love it too if anyone attending the festival wanted to get involved in any guest blogging, submitting any photos or sharing videos!

Facebook offer for discounted musicians’ tickets!


As many of you know, Folkstock Festival will be offering ‘sign up on the day’ slots of 2 or 3 songs a time at the Flaming June’s Troubadours gazebo. Many of my Twitter followers have been asking if there is a possibility of playing at Folkstock, and at this stage in the planning, via the Flaming June’s Troubadours is certainly the best way to get involved.


To add to this, Folkstock has decided to launch an opportunity for musicians to receive discounted tickets with the view to perform an on the day slot. To find out how to be in with a chance of taking advantage of this offer, head to our Facebook Page. Good luck!

Standon Calling – in pictures


It’s a week on from Standon Calling, and I promised in an earlier blog post that I’d post up some photos from the Lordship Stage, which Folkstock took over on Sunday. Have a look through at some of the great artists that performed there, who are also set to be showcasing their talents at Folkstock’s own festival in 6 weeks time! Comment you’re thoughts, memories and favourite moments from Standon Calling, or Tweet them to me @katefolkstock 

A Message from Managing Director Helen Meissner


You’ll be pleased to know that here at Folkstock we have got the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed in terms of the licensing and it’s full steam ahead.

For those who haven’t yet heard of Folkstock Festival,  I have decided to bite the bullet and do something really big for the many bands whom I and the Folkstock Arts Foundation are supporting on a voluntary basis. I’ve  been providing the mentoring and support I offered ‘The Folk’, to anyone who will have me ! and have now formalised it into a community interest company called Folkstock Arts Foundation. And I am putting on a festival next month – Folkstock on 21st September at Aldenham Country Park, north London near Borehamwood.

This is my first festival and I am fortunate to be working with Steve Smither as festival consultant and a quality team including Ross Sharples from Rossco, Martin Lumsden from Cream Room Sound Productions, Marina Florance respected award winning singer songwriter, Clare Hayes from The Junction and associated music projects, Daria Kulesh from Radio Dacorum’s Folk Show, Jess Distill from Said the Maiden, Aisling Austin / Chylde Owlett from Bedfordshire’s Folk scene and Lauren Deakin Davies from The Folk. I have also approached iconic folk fiddle player Dave Swarbrick from Fairport Convention and asked him if he would do us the honour of being Patron, which I am delighted to say he accepted.

I have a pet hate ( you might have the same one if you’ve ever put on an event) – that comment you hear once it’s too late to do anything about it ” oh if only I’d known, I would have come ! “. I am doing all I can to avoid hearing this about Folkstock.

Folkstock might be a one off, it might be the first of many, who knows ? but what I do know is that if it reaches capacity ( 5,000) in its first year or near offer, then the two charities / community interest companies to which all proceeds are going to be donated will be very happy. The proceeds are going to be divided equally between Cancer Research UK (no surprise there given my encounter with Breast Cancer exactly three years ago now) and Folkstock Arts Foundation, a not for profit, community interest company.

This is of course, in addition to providing these social benefits :

– a showcase for over 77 mostly independent unsigned acoustic folk and roots artists, – an opportunity for smaller local organisations/ special interest groups to promote themselves for free
– valuable media / journalistic experience for many students ( we are linking up with the new Elstree University Technical College and Da Vinci Studio in Letchworth as well as University of Hertfordshire Events Management);
– a focus for academic research into two key tenents underpinning the ethos of the foundation: Best practice for event management and safety planning ( Dr Allan Jepson)  plus Community reach, audience engagement and social gain from music festivals ( Dr Linda Wilks, Verlamium Consultancy ).

So we hope it will be something worthwhile from a fundraising point of view as well as a social perspective. Would you like to get involved or help me in some way ? I would REALLY appreciate it.

We have seven weeks to make a difference. All the ground work has been done over the last 5 months: artwork in place, license granted, websites built, social media in hand. Just need to sell tickets now. Click the image below for ticket prices and info…


Perhaps you could help me spread the word ? perhaps put a poster up at work ? add one to your social media ?  if you have any ideas about this which would not inconvenience you or take too much of your time, or would like me to send an promotional email which you could forward to a mailing list perhaps I could do that ? Or maybe you would like to offer a business / organisation / group to which you are affiliated, a special discount if there are a group of you who would like to come ? Maybe you know some people who like volunteering at festivals or you might like to join in yourself?

This is something I am financing myself at the moment, so any help from sponsorship/ services or goods in kind, in return for tickets perhaps, would help me break even quicker so the proceeds can be distributed.

The festival promises to be an ‘old fashioned’ and relaxed family day out, with the additional bonus of being a joyous fusion of many different strands of acoustic, folk and roots music, with over 70 artists, over four stages, half of which are from the local area. Ranging from BBC award winning artists and those who have performed live sessions on Bob Harris’s BBC Radio 2 shows, through to local artists who are being offered their first festival slots and everything in between. You may not have heard of many of them, although you will be left wondering why as they are so good! This festival will be a stepping stone for the many unsigned independent musicians and I am sure that most will go on to gain the recognition and boost they need to break into the national consciousness.

Respected champion of live music, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Sue Marchant has volunteered to MC the Main stage and FATEA Magazine’s Neil King is coming with a team to review the acts and provide a vital Media Liaison role on the day. We are really grateful for their support and that of many others without whom the event would not be possible.

There will be songwriting and ukulele workshops, real ale, busking slots, entertainments on the ‘ village green’, tea and cakes, sessions in the beer tent, local artisans, crafts, activities for children with a fete in the afternoon, festival feast food and fab music.

Ultimately, if we let enough people know, the tickets should sell as it’s a great, reasonably priced day out for the family, regardless of the superb music, in a lovely country park, and a heart warming way to end the festival season on the autumn equinox.


The Folkstock Arts Foundation is a new community interest company which provides a framework of marketing, mentoring and masterclass support that
acoustic bands can access.
Here are the links if you’d like to know more about the Foundation:
and there’s a website for the Foundation:
To find out more about Folkstock
Festival, please visit the website :
and here is the facebook link:
and you could also contact us on twitter
I hope to hear from you, and thank you so much for reading this.


Helen Meissner

Managing Director Folkstock Arts Foundation