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New generation of English folk talent to be showcased at SxSW

09 February 2010

Arts Council England has funded British Underground to produce the first ever English folk music showcase at South by Southwest (SxSW) – bringing English talent to a global audience.

SxSW will take place in Austin, Texas from 17-21 March and is the world’s biggest new music convention with over 1,800 acts. The event has been pivotal in the careers of many artists including Amy Winehouse, Jamie Cullum and KT Tunstall.

The performers chosen for the showcase are all highly acclaimed and have established themselves on the UK folk circuit, and are starting to make an impact in the broader UK media and music industry. They include Jim Moray, The Unthanks, Trembling Bells, Jackie Oates, Olivia Chaney and Gaderene.

The showcase will be presented on Friday 19 Match at SxSW, and there will be a preview of the event at The Social Bar, 5 Little Portland Street, London, W1W 7JD on Monday 8 March. This is free, but tickets are limited and are available here.

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director of Arts Council England, London said:

‘This is an exciting time for English folk music. We have many talented artists that are leading a revival of the genre, and offering an innovative take on its traditions. We are delighted to support this showcase and the opportunity to present our unique talent on a global platform.’

This project has evolved out of the Arts Council funded CD Looking for a New England, which was given away with the autumn issue of fRoots magazine. This initiative also led to the formation of a unique partnership of organisations to support the trip including British Underground, fRoots, MOJO, Arts Council England, English Folk Dance and Song Society and Sound and Music.

As part of our broader work to support English folk arts, the English Folk Dance and Song Society became one of Arts Council’s regularly funded organisations receiving a total of £400,000 to support the development of the folk industry in 2009/10 to 2010/11.

Notes to editors

British Underground is an Arts Council and Musicians Union supported music development agency which has been producing SXSW showcases since 2002, introducing American audiences to artists such as Amy Winehouse, Jamie Cullum, KT Tunstall, Elbow, Gallows, Gabriel Prokofiev, Sway, and many more.

For nearly a century the English Folk Dance and Song Society has been preserving and disseminating our folk heritage. The Society is a registered charity that aims to promote the best of folk arts through a range of mediums including dance, music, song, film, exhibitions, publications and our library collections; engage new generations with the folk arts through workshops, classes and study, and to ensure that the folk arts are a fundamental part of the cultural life of the UK.

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people's lives. As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

British Underground was awarded £37,400 from our Grants for the arts scheme for the showcase event. This is our open access scheme for individuals, arts organisations and other people who use the arts in their work. They are for activities that benefit people in England or that help artists and arts organisations from England to carry out their work. Grants for the arts is administered by Arts Council England and funded by the National Lottery.
Sound and Music offers a unique opportunity to make a difference to the cultural map of the UK. Founded in 2008, it is a brand new organisation dedicated to the promotion of new music and sound art. It combines live events activity, learning and participation opportunities, digital platforms and information resources, and aims to raise the profile of new music and sound in the public consciousness, building support and audiences for challenging and high quality work.