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 www.fabclubgrays.com 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: www.facebook.com/groups/9645829462/
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 www.colchesterartscentre.com/diary/ 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 www.walthamabbeyfolkclub.com
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. www.compasseslittleygreen.co.uk
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: www.ridgeweb.co.uk/hoy_diary.htm. 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: www.thebluebellinn.co.uk/Music.htm
Dartford Folk Club, Working Mens Club, Essex Road, DA1 2HU – Tuesdays at 8.30pm. Call 01322 222553 or visit www.dartfordfolk.org.uk 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 http://www.romfordfolkclub.com/
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 http://www.haverfolk.com/ – “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 www.bromleycrossfolkclub.org.uk
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 www.folkmusic.org.uk 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. www.dutonhillfolkclub.org.uk
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 www.loughtonfolkclub.btck.co.uk for info.
Mersea Session at Coast Inn, in West Mersea, 8 miles south of Colchester, every Thursday night. http://merseasession.blogspot.com/
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: http://www.leighfolkfestival.com/ – “The Largest Free Folk Festival in the Country”
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If you want to listen to some folk music while working at your PC then check out www.folkradio.co.uk/ – they also provide news from the folk scene.
Folk Resources from the Greater InterWeb!
- Folk Radio UK.
- East Anglian Traditional Music Trust – Suffolk music charity.
- Essex Folk Association
- Suffolk Folk – just over the border
- The English Folk Dance and Song Society
- BBC Radio 2 Acoustic Links
- FOLK LONDON Club Guide – includes some venues on the Essex-London border
Photo of Martin Carthy by Mike Garvey, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Licence.