The inaugural Folk On The Dock Festival launched in 2016 and attracted over 80,000 music lovers over three days to the iconic Albert Dock in Liverpool. Headliners included Blair Dunlop, Henry Priestman and Benji Kirkpatrick and over 100 artistes including emerging local musicians, performed on various outdoor stages and in venues around the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. The main Dock Stage was hosted by the legendary radio presenter Janice Long. This year The Liverpool Shanty Festival will also be incorporated into the event with performances from international artistes on boats in the water as well as on the main stage.
Folk On The Dock was launched to celebrate the role that Liverpool as a port, together with its network of canals and waterways, played in importing and exporting folk music around the world.
At the turn of the 20th century, Liverpool based folk singer Seth Davy was a West Indian jig doller, who sat astride an old packing case outside the Begington Inn (known locally as the The Bevvy near Paddy’s Market off Scotland Road) and was immortalised in the folksong “Whiskey on a Sunday”. He banged the plank as he sang, causing the three dolls to dance.
The definition of folk, is music that originates in traditional popular culture. Folk music is typically of unknown authorship and is transmitted orally from generation to generation. Songs would be learnt by communities and spread by travel, in particular sea travel.
Many sea shanties specifically refer to Liverpool, such as Heave Away, Liverpool Judies , The Leaving of Liverpool, Maggie May (which was later performed by the Beatles), Johnny Todd, Whiskey on a Sunday and Whip Jamboree.
Contemporary folk music refers to a wide variety of genres that emerged in the early 20th century. A new, popular folk music evolved from traditional folk music. This process and period is called the (second) folk revival and reached a zenith in the 1960’s.
The Beatles created many folk inspired songs using the same chord progressions as traditional folk music with the beat of rock and roll. The album A Hard Days Night practically invented folk rock. Other notable Liverpool artistes included The Spinners, The Searchers and River City People.
Folk based songs about Liverpool include I Wish I Was Back in Liverpool (The Dubliners), In Liverpool ( Suzanne Vega), Leaving of Liverpool (The Pogues, Dubliners), Liverpool 8 (Ringo Starr) Penny Lane (The Beatles) Roll Alabama (Bellowhead), Rotterdam (The Beautiful South) Strawberry Fields Forever (The Beatles) Mucky Kid/Liverpool Lullaby (Cilla Black)
Folk On The Dock has been shortlisted in the Liverpool City Region Tourism awards for “Large Tourism Event of The Year”