BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards celebrate outstanding achievement during the previous year within the field of folk music, with the aim of raising the profile of folk and acoustic music. The awards have been given annually since 2000 by British radio station BBC Radio 2.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards
Event hosts, Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowlis
Awarded forOutstanding achievements in folk music
CountryUnited Kingdom
Presented byBBC Radio 2
First awarded2000 (2000)
Television/radio coverage
NetworkBBC (2000–2019)

Award recipients have included Joan Baez, Cat Stevens, John Martyn, Steve Earle, The Dubliners, Martin Carthy, Billy Bragg, Shirley Collins, Kate Rusby, Cara Dillon, Eliza Carthy, Bellowhead, June Tabor, Oysterband, Aly Bain, Richard Thompson, Nancy Kerr, Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands, Lau, Tom Paxton, Don McLean, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Nic Jones, Bella Hardy, Rhiannon Giddens, Norma Waterson, The Chieftains, Joan Armatrading and James Taylor.


The event has been staged at The Brewery in London, The Lowry theatre in Salford, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and in 2014, 2016 and 2017, the Royal Albert Hall.[1] In 2015 the event was staged at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.[2] In 2018, the event was held in Northern Ireland, at the Belfast Waterfront.[3] The 20th annual Folk Awards will take place on 16 October 2019 at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester during the Manchester Folk Festival.

The Folk Awards was hosted by Mike Harding between 2000 and 2012, and broadcast on BBC Radio 2. Mark Radcliffe and Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis took over presenting the ceremony in 2013. In 2004 the awards were shown on television for the first time, on BBC Four. The event has been streamed live in audio and video on the BBC Radio 2 website, the BBC iPlayer and/or the BBC Red Button TV service.[4]

The Young Folk Award was added to the event in 2011, having previously been awarded in a separate ceremony.[5][6]

In 2016, Rhiannon Giddens became the first American (and first non-British) winner of the 'Folk Singer of the Year' award.


The nominees in most categories are chosen by a panel of 150 representatives from the British folk world, including broadcasters, journalists, record producers, festival organisers, venue bookers, record company directors, agents and promoters. The panelists can vary slightly from year to year, with new panelists being invited (or self-applying) each year. The final panel is selected by the Folk Awards committee, which includes staff from the BBC, the production company 7digital Creative, and representatives from outside those organisations.[7]

The 'Best Original Track' and 'Best Traditional Track' categories are chosen by smaller specialist panels of judges, and the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award - presented as part of the Folk Awards - is decided by a standalone contest.[7]

The 'Best Album' category is decided by a public vote, hosted on the BBC website.[1]

Compilation album

A Folk Awards double-album,[8] featuring music by most of the nominees, was released annually by the event's producers in collaboration with BBC Radio 2 and the record label and distribution company, Proper Music. The album was distributed physically and digitally.[8]

Hall of Fame

In 2014, a posthumous award was introduced to celebrate the contribution of significant figures in folk music's past.[9]

Award winners


Venue: Belfast Waterfront[10]


Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London[11]


Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London[12]


Venue: Millennium Centre, Cardiff[13]


Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London[14]


Venue: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall[15]


Venue: The Lowry, Salford[16]


Venue: The Brewery, London[17][5]













  1. "2017, BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards - Folk Album of the Year - BBC Radio 2". BBC.
  2. Irwin, Colin (23 April 2015). "Homegrown talent shines as Wales hosts BBC folk awards" via The Guardian.
  3. "Folk awards go to Belfast for first time". BBC News. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  4. "BBC - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 - Media Centre". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  5. "BBC - Press Office - Radio 2 Folk Awards 2011 winners announced". Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  6. BBC. "BBC - Radio 2 - Events - Young Folk Award 2010". Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  7. "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Rules".
  8. "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017". Proper Music Distribution. 9 March 2017. Archived from the original on 31 March 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  9. "BBC - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 - Media Centre". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  10. "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2018 – Winners Revealed". 4 April 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  11. "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 Winners Announced". 6 April 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  12. "The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016 winners are…". 28 April 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  13. "The Winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015 Announced". 23 April 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  14. "BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2014". 3 December 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  15. "BBC - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2013 winners announced - Media Centre". Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  16. "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012 Winners Announced". 10 February 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  17. "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2011 Winners | Folk Radio". Folk Radio UK - Folk Music Magazine. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  18. "Folk honours its heroes". BBC News Online. 11 February 2002. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
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