Essex Folk Music – Information, Gigs and Venues in Essex

Martin Carthy MBE

Essex has quite a vibrant folk scene. There are many small folk clubs tucked away in Essex, most are run in pubs on a weekly or monthly basis. Essex is also host to one of the country’s best free folk festivals, the annual Leigh Folk Festival that takes place each summer.

These details were correct at the time of publication but you should always double check with the venues before leaving home. The have split the venues / events out by day of the week.

Folk on Saturdays

SlackFolk – Free and accessible folk club held at the Piatto Cafe, Victoria Place, Colchester (formerly Co-op bank/head office off Eld Lane). 2.00-4.30pm on the second Saturday of the month. Website and Facebook page. This is one of the only folk clubs that play on a Saturday afternoon – ideal for families.

Acoustic City, at the Headgate Theatre in Colchester – home of views, reviews, links & listings for acoustic based, singer-songwriter & folk music in south east England. Monthly Saturday night event. Call 01206 366000.

Folk on Sundays

The FAB Club (Folk Acoustic Blues) meet at the The White Hart, King’s Walk, Argent Street, Grays, Essex on on Sundays afternoons 3:00 – 5:00pm – not every Sunday though! One of the few afternoon folk sessions, ideal for children. See for gigs. Crouch Vale is served there too.

The Sail Loft Folk Club is an open mic night held on Sunday nights at The Swan, High Road, Horndon-On-The-Hill, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, SS17 8LD. Tel: 0871 951 1000. See their Facebook page for more information:

Blue Boar Inn, Silver Street, Maldon CM9 4QE First Sunday of each month at 8.30pm. Call Roy Nichols 01621 859446 for info.

Cap & Feathers Pub, South Street, Tillingham CM0 8JU. Music on the last Sunday of the month at around 8.30pm. Call Fred Field 01621 862608 for info.

Chequers Pub, Stortford Road, Dunmow CM6 1DA – A Free Music session on the 2nd Sunday of the month at 8.00pm. Call Chris Brimley 01245 360082 for latest info.

Folk on Mondays

Colchester Folk Club at the Colchester Arts Centre, Church Street, CO1 1NF – Mondays 7.45pm. Contact Elaine Barker on 01206 500900 or see for future folk concerts.

Waltham Abbey Folk Club meets every Monday evening at The Royal British Legion, Brooker Road, Waltham Abbey. Caontact Lynne Heraud on 01920 870558 for further details and see

Compasses Inn, Littley Green, Great Waltham CM3 1BU. Held on the third Monday of the month at 8.30pm. Call Myles Barrett on 07831 815134 for details. They also hold beer festivals.

Folk on Tuesdays

The Hoy at Anchor Folk Club meets every Tuesday at The Royal British Legion
7-9 Northview Drive, Westcliff on Sea, SS0 0NG. with well known guests. See gigs here: Call Tony Prior on 01702 715111 for latest info.

Harlow Folk Club meets on Tuesday nights at Eastwick Road, Eastwick, Harlow, CM20 2QY along the A414. Almost in Herts maybe, but close to Essex!

The Blue Bell Inn, Hempstead, Saffron Walden, Essex. There are regular Tuesday evening gigs and sessions and they also do Free Music Session in the bar – anyone can join in! The Blue Bell was CAMRA pub of the year NW Region 2005 and does great Sunday roasts too! They tend to keep the music events updated here:

Dartford Folk Club, Working Mens Club, Essex Road, DA1 2HU – Tuesdays at 8.30pm. Call 01322 222553 or visit for the latest. “BBC Radio 2 Folk Club of the Year – 2008

Romford Folk Club – meet every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. in the Function Room at The Sun Pub, London Road, Romford, Essex. Tel: Mick Brown on 020 8592 2409 / 07757 497 584 or visit

Folk on Wednesdays

Havering Folk Club, Romford, meet on Wednesdays at The Stables Function Suite, The White Horse, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Essex, RM6 6NU. See – “HaverFolk – The Feelgood Folk Club!

Cross Folk and Music Club at the Cross Inn, Ardleigh Road, Great Bromley. Held on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 8.30pm. Contact Brenda Perry on 01206 230282 or visit

Folk on Thursdays

Blackmore Folk Club meet at the Rose & Crown, Writtle Green, CM1 3DT. They used to meet at The Bull in Blackmore, this the name. They meet on the first Thursday of each month only – see for more information.

Duton Hill Folk Club meet on the Third Thursday of every month with an ‘R’ in it at 8pm at The Three Horseshoes, Duton Hill, Essex. Off the B184 between Great Dunmow and Thaxted.

Loughton Folk Club – considered London today, but traditionally Essex. Meet every Thursday from 8pm at Loughton Club, 8 Station Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 4NX. See for info.

Mersea Session at Coast Inn, in West Mersea, 8 miles south of Colchester, every Thursday night.

Witham Singarounds and Playarounds – Monthly on second Thursday of the month, 7.30 to 10 p.m. Little Elms Public House, Dorothy Sayers Drive, Witham CM8 2LX. Free of charge. Practise your songs or tunes among friends. Any sort of music is welcome. Or come and listen. Just turn up.

Wivenhoe Folk Club Meets Monthly at the The Flag Inn, Colchester Road, Wivenhoe, Essex. First Thursday of the month. 01206 823877.

Monthly folk music on a Thursday evening at The Essex Arms in Brentwood (The Seaxe), Warley Hill, Brentwood, Essex, CM14 5HA. Call 01277 201164 for latest info.

Folk on Fridays

The Downham Troubadours meet 8pm – 11pm on the last Friday of every month (except August and December) at Downham Village Hall, School Rd Downham CM11 1QN. Entrance fee £3.00.  Tea/Coffee £1.00 (no bar, but you can bring your own alcoholic drinks) and a Raffle.Contact Carl Vaughan for more information: [email protected] [Please note, the first meeting is 27th September 2019]

Other Folk Venues


The High Barn, Great Bardfield, Braintree. Described as “The UK’s best small music venue” the High Barn has regular folk gigs.  (Note. “temporary closure” announced in September 2013).

The Retreat, 42 Church Street, Bocking, Braintree has regular music events, mostly blues though. Call for info: 01376 554 923.


The Essex Singers’ Club, Chelmsford meet at the United Brethren Pub (01245 265165) on New Writtle Street and sometimes play at the Cramphorn Theatre.

Leigh Folk Festival

Each year there is a free folk festival in Old Leigh with music in the Library Gardens and some local pubs. A great free event for all the family. The next is 21st -24th June 2012. See the official site: – “The Largest Free Folk Festival in the Country

Are we missing a Folk Night? If so, please tell us by leaving a message below.

If you want to listen to some folk music while working at your PC then check out – they also provide news from the folk scene.

Folk Resources from the Greater InterWeb!

Photo of Martin Carthy by Mike Garvey, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Licence.

25 Comments on “Essex Folk Music – Information, Gigs and Venues in Essex”

  1. Jinski are the guests of Loughton Folk Club this Thursday (March 15).

    Great folk songs about love, joy, loneliness and longing. Entry is £3 and doors are at 8pm.

  2. 1st Sunday of every month @ The Crown in Old Harlow
    Live folk/acoustic music 4pm-7pm. It’s an open mic so come and join in!

  3. Please see folk events at this year’s Harwich Festival 25th June to 6th July including Lucy Ward Band, O’Hooley and Tidow and Mishaped Pearls.

  4. Will add now – to confirm, next show is Saturday 13th Feb? I will try to get the family there – my biggest complain about live music is that it is almost always in the evenings when the kids are in bed. Hope to get along soon.

  5. The Witham Singarounds and Playarounds are now at the Railway Public House and Restaurant, 2 Chipping Hill, Witham. CM8 2DE. Almost opposite the Railway station. Other details as before.

  6. Thanks for the update Janet. Have removed the “bring your own drink”, assume pub is open for drinks. Is there still a £3 entry fee?

  7. Folks visiting Chelmsford. We came along to the Brethren on Tuesday 30th Aug… where are you!

  8. Bridget, did you ask the landlord / barperson if they are still coming? If not, we’ll have to update the website.

  9. Is folk still alive in Essex? We are moving back to the UK, to Burnham on Crouch, but particularly like French traditional music and dancing. If anyone knows of anything I would be very grateful to know about it.

  10. It is out there, but as folk music and pubs generally go together, and pubs are still in decline, there is less music to enjoy.

  11. Hi everyone! Essex libraries are hosting a series of folk music events – Ray Cooper will be performing acoustic sets at Coggeshall Library on 2nd May 2017, Wivenhoe Library on 3rd May and Writtle Library on 4th May. Tickets are available from

    Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin will be playing at Maldon Library on 14th June, Rayleigh Library 15th June, Billericay 16th June, Harwich Library 17th June and Loughton Library on the 18th June. Tickets are available from

    This is a new venture for Essex Libraries and we’d really value your support!

  12. We have been holding monthly events in Epping for over a year now at Epping Music Club which is now situated in the Barn behind the Black Lion Pub in the High Street. We have great acts and next up in May is Reg Meuross supported by Namara. Do check us out and come along. All profits from ticket sales go towards setting up (now broadcasting folk and soul show loops) dedicated to listeners and presenters with disabilities

  13. This year’s Harwich Festival runs from 21st July until 1st July. The fantastic Edgelarks aka Philip Henry and Hannah Martin will be here on Sunday 24th June at 7:30 in the Kingsway Hall Dovercourt Tickets £10 via our website http://www.harwich or in person at the Box office in Harwich library or by phone 07425 145022.
    We also have Harbottle and Jonas appearing at the Hanover Inn at 8:30 on Monday 25th June. Tickets £8, and Lizzie Gutteridge will be looping a wide range of early instruments playing music from Medieval to Playford at the Citadel in Harwich at 3pm on Tuesday 26th June – tickets £7

  14. I am starting up a new Folk Club at Downham Village Hall on the last Friday of the month, 8.00 – 11.00 pm. The Inaugural meeting is scheduled for 27th September. Can I be added to your directory, please?

    Thank You
    Carl Vaughan

  15. Hi, For the past year we have been running a monthly folk club (Mersea Island Folk Club). The club is held on the third Monday of each month in the studio of Mersea Island Community (MICA) Centre West Mersea. Times are 8.00 pm – 11.00 pm. Entry is free for performers and audience and there is a bar. There is no amplification. There is a small performance area and audience seating. We have relied on local musicians to come along and play and so far this has worked well. We have a broad interpretation of the word ‘folk’ and all styles are appreciated. We would love to see new faces – performers and audience. Our next gathering Monday 21st October. MICA Centre details – – Telephone 01206 384656

  16. The Toot Hill Folk Club meets once a month in the Toot Hill Village Hall. Not your traditional Folk set up, as players deliver a single song in a strict rotation with other players/singers joining in, as and when they know the song, lots of choruses to be found here! Traditional English, Irish, Scottish folk music supplemented by various genres. No charge for attending although we do take a voluntary collection to cover hire of hall and snacks during our comfort break (roast potatoes and a variety of other nibbles). See our website for a clearer picture of who we are:- Our next meet is Friday 15th November 7.30 start. For further information please contact Matt Tallon 07855170256

  17. Please add 2nd Monday of month in New Bell Harwich. Mixed Folk Session. Friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

  18. ‘Folk Sundays’ at the Hotbox venue in Chelmsford (next to The Alehouse, under the railway arches) hosts a new and dynamic folk slot once every two months. Starts at 2.00pm, includes vinyl folk/roots DJ sets, an open mic floor spot for performers and a featured folk group/artist, playing from 5.00pm. Entry is five pounds. Usually the second to last Sunday, every other month.

  19. Please could you remove reference to the Running Well Acoustic Music Club under Folk on Fridays. Sadly the club closed for the COVID pandemic and with rising overheads and depleted audiences was unable to continue afterwards. It was a great club though with an enviable reputation amongst both audience and performers for the 10 years it ran…! But you can still relive some of the fantastic performances we had there through the videos on our website –

  20. Perhaps you could mention please a big one-off folk music concert being organised at Danbury Mission CM3 4QL on Saturday 11th November 2023, 7:30pm. The band will be the UK’s no.1 Paul Simon tribute band “Shades of Simon” with their acclaimed theatre style show telling the story and playing authentic renditions of the best of his songs from his time in Simon & Garfunkel through to Graceland. Shades of Simon are a 5-piece band formed from musicians well known around the Essex Folk and Acoustic music clubs. For more details and tickets see

    We are expecting this concert to be a Full House so please do book early to avoid disappointment.
    The concert is being held as a fundraiser for the new City Church Chelmsford.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *