If you have been thinking that you would like to start a folk band, it is probably because you are a fan of the variety of great tunes, attracted to the choice of fun instruments, or excited at the prospect of performing to happy crowds.
Whatever your reason, there are just six important steps that you need to take in order to get started, so you can be sharing folk music in no time at all.
Recruit some bandmates
It may be that you already have friends, or know of people, who would like to start a folk band with you, especially if you attend pub nights or festivals centred around this style of music.
However, if you are in need of extra folk musicians to complete the group, there are places that you may be able to find them!
Folk music web forums are a great place to start looking for suitable bandmates, as you can be sure that you are reaching your target audience. Alternatively, Gumtree is another place where you can advertise for the musicians you need, or you could choose to reach out on social media instead!
Choose your instruments
Once you’ve got your band together, it is time to decide which instruments you will be playing, and who your singer is going to be. It is very likely that people will already have their specific talents, so this part shouldn’t be too difficult.
The most common instruments used in folk music are the guitar, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle, although the tin whistle, harmonica, and kazoo are popular additions, and can be learned and played by any of the band members to accompany different songs.
Pick a name
Your folk band name needs to be something that you all love, and that will stand out when you start marketing yourselves.
For inspiration, think of some of your favourite lyrics or book references, choose words that you hope people will use to describe you, incorporate where you are from, or stick to an animal or colour reference.
It may be that you change your band name a number of times before you are happy with it, but this is not too important in the beginning, as there’s still lots to do before you get your name out there!
Write some folk songs
Hopefully you’ll have some talented songwriters among your bandmates so that you can create some original music together, and produce songs that you are all proud of.
However, if you need some time to work together and come up with a plan, start off with covering some of your favourite folk songs. This way you can discover more about each other’s styles and how best to work on new material together.
The main thing is that you have fun, so don’t let artistic differences get in the way!
Become social media stars
Social media offers one of the best channels for new bands to market themselves, and using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to show off what you have been doing is a great way to get your work out into the public.
You can also use social media to chat with other folk bands, link up with venues who host folk nights, and find conversations about folk music which you can get involved with.
Make sure that you get plenty of photos and videos during your practices, as this visual media works really well when trying to gain followers, likes, and shares.
Find some festivals
Once you’ve got your band working well together, chosen a name, and started to spread the word of your music, it is time to start trying to get yourselves some gigs.
Local festivals are a great place to start, as they are always looking for talented acts to fill their stages, plus it will give you the chance to play alongside lots of similar bands and get in front of your target audience.
After your first performance, you can use this experience as a way of getting you into different festivals and venues, and slowly your fanbase will grow as you visit new locations, making you the popular band that you want to be.
These six steps are all that you need in order to start a folk band, and if you need any help with selecting tin whistles, kazoos, or harmonicas, to help you, please do get in touch and we will be happy to help you.