This calendar lists events likely to be of interest to Traditional Song Forum members. If you are aware of any events related to traditional song that should be added, please pass the details to Martin Graebe


On the Banks of the Green Willow: George Butterworth—Dancer, Folk Song Collector and Composer – Derek Schofield @ Cecil Sharp House
Feb 21 @ 19:30 – 21:00

This lecture will examine the life and music of one of the great musical losses of the First World War, George Butterworth. This lecture will include audio clips of Butterworth’s music and of the folk song melodies that inspired him, as well as an assessment of his involvement in the early folk dance revival.

Derek Schofield is a former editor of EDS magazine, and he is now the Reviews Editor of the Folk Music Journal. His publications include histories of the Sidmouth and Towersey festivals, and biographies of William Kimber and Fred Jordan.

Broadside Day 2018 @ Cambridge University Library
Feb 24 all-day

This year’s Broadside Day will be hosted by the Rare Books Department of Cambridge University, which is home to the biggest single collection of 18th and 19th century broadsides in Britain, comprising over 30,000 ballads compiled by Sir Frederic Madden, Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts at the British Museum.


David Stenton—The Forth Valley Songster
Oskar Cox Jensen—Never Look a Ballad-Singer in the Mouth
Georgina Prineppi—From the Garden to the Street: Pleasure Garden Music and Broadsides in Eighteenth-Century London
Jonathan Cooper—Children’s Chapbooks
David Hopkin—Lacemakers, Ballads and Broadsides
E. Wyn James—’The Shepherd’s World’: The Earliest Welsh Broadside Ballad
Colin Bargery—Adventures in a Steamboat: A Broadside history of the impact of a new technology.
David Atkinson—Street Literature in Petticoat Lane, 1740s–1760s
Giles Bergel—The Stationers’ Company and the English Ballad Trade, 1550-1800

The Broadside Day is organised jointly by the English Folk Dance & Song Society (EFDSS) and the Traditional Song Forum (TSF), and supported by Cambridge University Library. For more information, please contact:

‘I have believed in spirits from that day unto this’: The Ghostly Crew [Roud 1922], ghostlore and traditional song – Paul Cowdell @ Cecil Sharp House
Mar 21 @ 19:30 – 21:00

When the Charles Haskell sank the Andrew Jackson in 1866, it produced a local narrative of a ‘ghost ship’ that was adapted into a song still in the oral tradition.

This talk will use the ‘The Ghostly Crew’ to explore the folklore of ghosts, its representation in traditional song and the relationship between oral and literary narratives, illustrated with recorded songs and accounts from recent fieldwork into contemporary ghost belief.

Dr Paul Cowdell has an MA in Folklore and Cultural Tradition from the University of Sheffield, where he focused on traditional song, and a PhD awarded by the University of Hertfordshire for his research into contemporary belief in ghosts.

Finding Folk Music Online @ Cecil Sharp House
Mar 25 @ 10:30 – 15:30

Whether you are researching for performance, teaching or study, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library’s digital archive is the leading online resource of folk materials. This is now live in a bigger and even better version, including over 2000 more songs from Britain and America and new ways of searching them. The morning session provides an opportunity to get practical experience in using the website, led by the VWML director, Laura Smyth.

The workshop will feature the Carpenter Folk Online project led by Julia Bishop which has seen the addition of the impressive collection of folk song and drama made by J. M. Carpenter in 1930s Britain. The afternoon session will demonstrate how to make the most of the online collections in a practical way.

Sabine Baring-Gould and his Search for the Folk Songs of Devon and Cornwall – Martin Graebe @ Cecil Sharp House
Apr 18 @ 19:30 – 21:00

Sabine Baring-Gould was the first of the large-scale folk song collectors of the Victorian revival. This talk will look at the way he went about making his collection and the people involved. His treatment of the songs and his efforts to introduce them to the wider public through publications, concerts and even a folk opera will also be explored.

Martin Graebe is a researcher of English folk song. His book, As I Walked Out : Sabine Baring-Gould and his search for the Folk Songs of Devon and Cornwall, was published in the Autumn of 2017. He and his wife, Shan, are active performers.

Traditional Song Forum – Spring Meeting @ Cecil Sharp House
Apr 28 @ 09:45 – 17:00

Further Details of this event will be posted soon.

Locating Women in ‘the Folk’: Perspectives on women’s contributions to folk song, folklore, and cultural traditions. @ University of Sussex, Brighton
Jun 9 all-day

Locating Women in ‘the Folk’: Perspectives on women’s contributions to folk song, folklore, and cultural traditions.


Women have always been central to the study and practice of folklore, arts and cultural traditions – as tradition bearers, performers, authors, collectors, storytellers and scholars. However, their contribution hasn’t always received the recognition it deserves; this symposium aims to redress the balance. We are inviting 20-minute papers/presentations and A1 poster presentations on relevant topics, which may include:

• Singers, dancers, musicians, storytellers, and other performance roles
• Performance styles, repertoire and source
• Facilitators, revivals and teaching
• Contributions to scholarship
• Legacies and archives
• Gender relations in folk cultures
• Life narratives, autoethnographies, biographies, and oral histories
• Depictions of women as subject matter in song and story
• Portrayals of women, gender roles, and identity
• Perspectives on the future for women in ‘the folk’

We welcome applications from all levels within academia, as well as from independent researchers, writers and enthusiasts.

Please send proposals of 250 words, a short biography, and the mode of presentation (paper, presentation, poster) to by January 26th 2018.

This conference is co-presented by Sussex Traditions, The Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research (University of Sussex), and The English Folk Dance & Song Society, and supported by The Centre for Memories, Narratives and Histories (Brighton University), and Sussex University’s Music Department.

Women in ‘the Folk’ – interdisciplinary conference PDF

Traditional Song Forum – Autumn Meeting @ Newcastle University
Oct 20 all-day
EFDSS Song Conference @ Cecil Sharp House
Nov 10 – Nov 11 all-day

Details to be announced.