SOME of the biggest names and brightest emerging talents from the world of Celtic folk music will take centre stage as the The Big Whistle Festival returns to The Met next month.

The gathering of traditional and contemporary musicians returns to the town for another weekend featuring intimate gigs, sessions and workshops aimed at inspiring music lovers of all ages and abilities to get involved and start playing as part of the weekend.

Headlining the festival ­— now in its 12th year ­— are internationally acclaimed Flook and the six-piece Peatbog Faeries.

The Met’s Artistic Director David Agnew said: "Big Whistle is always such a fun festival, with music fans from across the country getting involved in such a packed weekend here in Bury.

"This year’s festival may be the best line-up yet, with a brilliant blend of traditional and contemporary approaches to Celtic music and lots of chances for players of all abilities to join in, learn and enjoy."

Headline gigs come from Peatbog Faeries on the Saturday night; the formidable 6-piece band from the Isle of Skye’s ‘Celtic dance’ style combines pipes, whistles and fiddles with stomping drums and bass that owe more to techno than traditional music.

Sunday night sees Flook headline The Met’s Derby Hall. One of the most revered bands of the English and Irish folk tradition, the quartet round off the Big Whistle Festival at the end of their tour in support of their first studio album in 14 years, ‘Ancora’.

Across the weekend there are gigs from award-winning young trio Talisk, Lancastrian favourites Drop The Floor, the electrifying Ranagri, newcomers Nidd, Orkney quartet Fara, and the brilliant pairing of Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter.

English folk musician Luke Daniels will be joined by South African cellist Abel Selaocoe for the first gig in a series of collaborations bringing together musicians from across the world.

Broadcaster and musician Emma Sweeney will be among those leading workshops for beginners on the simple tin whistle through to intermediate players. On the Sunday there’ll even be the chance to learn whistle, guitar or bodhran direct from the members of festival headliners Flook.

The festival has just announced that things will get underway with a launch gig at Bury pub The Clarence on Friday, May 10 with a special session from Angela Usher and Dominic Kane, with free entry for ticket-holders for any other Big Whistle Festival gig.

The music will continue on May 11 and 12.

Big Whistle is unusual amongst festivals in that it offers the opportunity to take part; as well as watching concerts featuring the featured bands, festival goers can also meet and learn from the band members and other whistling experts in musical classes, talks, demonstrations and free sessions throughout the day.

There will be sessions across the weekend including an introductory whistle class led by BBC Radio Lancashire’s Emma Sweeney, an interview session where festival co-founder Phil Brown of Big Whistle Music will quiz Michael Walsh about his musical history, and a class for children led by the students of One Education Music.

Gigs and workshops are individually priced so festival-goers can select their own highlights to attend. Anyone who buy tickets for 3 or more gigs across the weekend will save 20% on the price of all their tickets.


Friday: 8.30pm - Friday Night Session at The Clarence with Angela Usher and Dominic Kane Multi-instrumentalist Angela and renowned session guitarist Dominic join for an evening of lively Celtic folk. Tickets £5

Saturday :Noon – Nidd, young traditional English folk trio who met as members of The National Youth Folk Ensemble. Tickets £13

2pm – Ranagri ­— electrifying alt-folk quartet from England and Ireland. Ticketa £11

4pm – Drop The Floor, Big Whistle Festival favourites playing lively tunes steeped in the Irish tradition. Tickets £13

7pm - Talisk. Award-winning trio Talisk are a band of rare and inspired musicality, featuring concertina, fiddle and guitar. Tickets from £13

9pm – Peatbog Faeries ­— expect hefty dance grooves, fused with rousing pipes, articulate whistling and breath-taking fiddle. Tickets from £17

Sunday:1pm – Fara, with Steven Johnstone and Catherine Ashcroft and Orkney quartet who celebrate the spirit of their home islands, supported by North West duo who are a must-see for fans of traditional Irish Music. Tickets from £17

4pm – Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter who are two talented folk musicians who met as part of Glasgow’s eclectic folk scene, combining guitar and mandolin to brilliant effect. Tickets £15

6pm – Luke Daniels and Abel Selaocoe. The English multi-instrumentalist Luke Daniels launches his ‘Kaleidoscope’ project featuring collaborations with folk musicians from three different continents, starting with South African cellist Abel Selaocoe. Tickets £13

7.30pm ­— Flook. One of the most influential outfits in modern traditional folk, Flook have become synonymous with an enviable trademark sound. It features precise acoustic grooves, soaring improvisation, all topped off with a stage act that never disappoints. Tickets from £21

Tickets for Big Whistle Festival 2019 are available now from The Met at or by calling 0161 761 2216. More information about workshops and post-gig sessions can be found on The Met website.