The brand-new Wales Folk Awards 2019 has been launched, celebrating and honouring the many talented performers from the Welsh folk and traditional music scene which has been mushrooming at home in Wales, as well as making a splash recently at festivals across the UK and abroad. 2018 was the year of Wales as International Partner at the English Folk Expo showcase festival, held in Manchester. Wales was also Featured Nation at the huge Lorient Interceltic Festival in Brittany, which welcomes 70,000 visitors each year. Top Welsh folk band Alaw played the Royal Albert Hall in August 2018 as part of the BBC Folk Prom.
The Wales Folk Awards have been created by a partnership of trac, BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, the Arts Council of Wales and other significant figures from the world of Welsh folk, such as Huw Williams and Stephen Rees. They will be presented on April 11 at an evening celebration at the BBC Hoddinott Hall at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. The Awards Evening will be broadcast later on Frank Hennessy’s Celtic Heartbeat show on BBC Radio Wales and on Lisa Gwilym’s show Awr Werin Lisa Gwilym on BBC Radio Cymru.
The winners of the Folk Awards will be chosen from a long-list created by a Nominating Panel representing folk club and festival organisers, young musicians, tradition bearers, music journalists and broadcasters, promoters, folk activists and enthusiasts. There will be nominations for best traditional Welsh song, best original English-language song, best original Welsh-language song, best instrumental track, best emerging artist or band, best solo artist, best album, best live act and best group. The Judging Panel will also award a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Folk Prize, which is open to all and with non-professional musicians in mind. This year, the Folk Prize will be awarded for the best collection of three original tunes in the Welsh folk tradition, in the opinion of the judges. The Folk Prize is open to composers of any age, and is particularly aimed at grass roots players from sessions or folk clubs, or who maybe play with a folk dance group.