Spotlight England was a three year partnership between the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) and Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections in Glasgow.
“Traditionally, English folk revivals have flourished and fizzled like the economy. Recent years have seen that story change with a booming festival and club scene and, in another indication of a healthy presence in the culture, popular music drawing upon traditional songs and styles once again. A true test of the health of a folk culture has to be that it is recognised and valued beyond the attentions of enthusiasts as being integral to our collective cultural make-up. If the sheer number of young people taking up traditional instruments and breathing new life into old songs is anything to go by, English folk music is in rude health. All that remains is for us to let the rest of the world know that English folk music is as vibrant, varied and dynamic as any traditional music anywhere.” Katy Spicer, Chief Executive of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)
Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections – the largest gathering of the international music community in Scotland – provided artists with the valuable opportunity of performing in front of promoters, record labels and agents from over 20 different countries.
Through a process of open applications, and working with a steering group of music managers, programmers, agents, media and artists, a long list of 24 artists was selected. The basis for selection was quality of music and ability of the artists to make the most of being showcased to international buyers. The final selection of six artists was made by Celtic Connection’s Artistic Director, Donald Shaw.
The focal point of the partnership was in January 2013; England was the official international partner of Celtic Connections. Some of the country’s finest artists were selected to perform at the festival: Bella Hardy, Bellowhead, Lucy Ward, Sam Carter, Spiro and the Tom McConville Band.
The artists performed, over the Showcase Scotland weekend, in front of festival fans, members of the media and music industry delegates from around the world, enhancing their international profile and building an audience in the UK.
EFDSS’ presence in the final year of the partnership, in January 2014, enabled us to build on the success of the showcase and continue to promote English folk music to an international market.
Spotlight England is supported by Arts Council England, PPL, Songlines Magazine and SpeakMedia.
Unlocking hidden treasure of England’s cultural heritage. The Full English is the world’s largest free digital archive English folk songs, tunes, dances and customs. Containing more than 58,400 items from 12 of the country’s most important early 20th century folk music collections, you can delve into wherever you are in the world.