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: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Folkstock-Arts-Foundation
and there’s a website for the Foundation:http://www.folkstockartsfoundation.com/
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 https://twitter.com/Folkstock
I hope to hear from you, and thank you so much for reading this.


Helen Meissner

Managing Director Folkstock Arts Foundation


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