The Trades Union Council is 150 years young this year and, to mark the occasion, Band on the Wall has organised a week-long celebration of the pivotal labour movement at the Grade II*-listed venue where it all began, the Mechanics Institute on Manchester’s Princess Street. As a nod to the TUC’s ingrained connections with the folk music genre as a means to document and tell tales of hardship or hope through the ages, the programme has assembled a genre-spanning list of songwriters, from trad to contemporary and diverse national influences. We take a look at who you can expect to see during the festival dates of Sun 3 – 9 June. We’re also lucky enough to have three pairs of tickets to give away. There will be three winners who can each choose which show they’d like to attend. To be in with a chance of winning, simply enter your details into the form below. The form automatically adds your email to our twice-weekly mailing list. Hopefully, if you’ve not signed up already, you’ll enjoy receiving our round ups, but you can unsubscribe at any time.

Mike Harding (solo)
A multi-talented Mancunian wordsmith and perennial crowd-pleaser, Mike Harding’s working class origins shine through with his songs’ wit and charm. Be ready for plenty of audience participation and a hearty dose of folky bonhomie.
Sun 3 Jun, 7.30pm, £15,

Oysters 3
The founding members of Canterbury folk-rockers the Oysterband present their acoustic show that promises to cherry-pick the cream of their 42-year career’s musical bounty, which includes cleaning up the awards at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for 2011’s Ragged Kingdom.
Tue 5 Jun, 7.30pm, £15,

Dezi Donnelly & Mike McGoldrick
The music of this dexterous double-act has its roots firmly planted in Irish trad folk. Each the owner of a mantelpiece filled with awards from an early age, the flautist McGoldrick complement’s the fiddler Donnelly’s celtic rhythms with foot-stompingly excellent results.
Wed 6 Jun, 7.30pm, £15,

Kathryn Williams + Claire Mooney
Mercury-nominated Williams headlines a showcase dedicated to women in folk music today. The Scouse songwriter has a lengthy back catalogue to the tune of 14 albums of critically acclaimed material to pick her set list from, including side projects. Politically motivated lyricist Claire Mooney is in support.
Thu 7 Jun, 7.30pm, £15,

Folk on a Friday ft. Bunting & Frolics
Martin Gittins and Bob Ashworth are the duo headlining a special open folk session with free online sign-up in advance. Under the moniker of Bunting & Frolics, their repertoire covers topics key to the city’s history, including the Peterloo Massacre and Manchester United’s Munich air disaster.
Fri 8 Jun, 7pm, FREE (sign up online),

Edward II
The festival finale event sees hometown favourites Edward II adding their Caribbean influences to traditional British folk song. Expect a rousing curtain-closing show with horns, melodeon and guitars in full flourish. Jennifer Reid and Poppycock are on hand to support.
Sat 9 Jun, 7.30pm, £15,

Sun 3-Sat 9 Jun, Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD, Tel: 0161 834 1786,


Sun 3 Jun - Sat 9 Jun
Ian Pennington
Published on:
Sat 2 Jun 2018