2017 Commissions

Stand To! – by Richard Parkes

Richard Parkes presents ‘Stand To!’ a live retrospective on the events of WW1 through contemporary poems, songs and letters and modern interpretations of significant events during the war. He combines the stories and narrative of the trenches with folk songs in a moving and heartfelt tribute to the sacrifice made 100 years ago for us all.

Richard Parkes is a Todmorden local who studied Drama at Bretton Hall and has performed in various theatres, on film and in folk clubs. His long held love of history, his interest in WW1 and his well-known renditions of war related songs inspired his original performance of the work for a Service of Remembrance in Todmorden in 2015.   “Stand To!” expands upon this creative content, as full length commissioned performance.

Tod Festival Folklore Explore – by Sophie Cooper and Ruthie Boycott-Garnett

Take an adventure in to the park and find an old local tale lost in the woods. Discover a world where you can change yourself into any animal, track the signs of our local witch magic and connect with your natural surroundings. Folklore map

Join us for a guided sound walk with storytelling, music and hidden noises or pick up a map from local outlets and see if you can find the trail on your own. This piece has been created as part of our festival outreach programme working throughout the year with the people of Todmorden. Suggested for ages 5 and upwards.

Part of the walk will be following the smaller paths into the woods and may be unsuitable for light prams and wheelchairs.

Sophie Cooper is a Todmorden based musician and co-founder of Tor Festival. Sophie’s solo music often explores themes of narative and for Tod Folk Fest she has taken this interest further with the creation of a bespoke sound walk working with local storyteller and
engagement artist Ruthie Boycott-Garnett.

2016 Commissions

Todmorden Folk Festival Clog Rave-

by Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and Oakenhoof Cloggers

Todmorden Folk Festival Director, Esther Ferry-Kennington, was keen to book local band, Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners, for the 2016 festival programme. The only problem was their repertoire: their 90s dance hits were not exactly the traditional choice of seasoned folk audiences.

Unfazed by a creative challenge, Mr. Wilson’s artistic director, Sonya Moorhead, came up with a cunning plan. Sonya’s idea ran parallel to the sentiment of Louis Armstrong who observed, “All music is folk music…” If Todmorden would be full of Morris dancers during the day, perhaps a dance band was exactly what was required for the evening.

Recruiting the collaborative talent of the Oakenhoof Cloggers and the brilliant Hels Davies, a top secret spectacle was rehearsed meticulously for weeks in advance. During the Todmorden Folk Festival Saturday night concert, this is what happened…

If you’ve ever wondered what 80s rave and techno classics would sound like played by a New Orleans marching band, well wonder no more. From the moment Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners marched down the aisles, the whole church was up and dancing. It was complete and glorious chaos.

“And then, suddenly, there were techno clog dancers and it all just kicked off. There was random clog dancing in the aisles, clog dancers on makeshift podiums, and frankly inappropriate ‘throwing of shapes’; quite wonderfully inappropriate for a church in Tod. It all became rather surreal. At one point, I actually began to question whether this was quite real or whether that welcoming mug I had on arrival contained something a bit stronger than Yorkshire tea…

“Readers, it was completely fabulous. If you get chance to see Mr. Wilson’s Second Liners, do go and prepared to be amazed. Can’t promise you techno clog dancers though.” Review by localsoundfocus.com

This is from the Remains of Elmet – by Gareth Scott

Ted Hughes’s work continues to be of great inspiration to performers in a range of art-forms.  Gareth Scott is the latest to explore his poetry through the medium of folk music. The Todmorden Folk Festival 2016 featured the world-premiere of Gareth Scott’s commissioned piece ‘This is from The Remains of Elmet‘. A musician from the Calder valley, Gareth’s songs responded to Hughes’s verse, particularly his 1979 collection Remains of Elmet.

1 month ago
The John Birmingham Cup

Get your money on Tipsy - the jug that didn't pour very well, the winner from our Todmorden heat in May.

The rest of the 2018 competition is all at Whitby Folk Week and it goes like this:
Last heat 3.30pm, Upstairs Spa Theatre Bar, Tues 21st Aug. You can get an entry form from the festival office or ... See more

4 months ago
Todmorden Folk Festival

We'd still love to hear your feedback so we can improve for next year! Click the link in this post. Thanks to everyone who has already filled it out. TFF x

The dust is settling on this year's festival, we've had an absolute blast and we hope that you did too. In fact, we're REALLY interested in your thoughts about this year's festival and how we could ... See more

4 months ago
The Magic City

Todmorden was alive with music, in every corner of the town players were knocking out the tunes!

Accordion having a test drive during Todmorden Folk Festival last weekend. More instruments for sale in store! 🎺

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