about the festival
Hartlepool Folk Festival began in 2015 on Hartlepool's Historic Headland. The festival consisted mostly of churches and community venues, with singarounds and sessions in local pubs. In 2016 we began our partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which had recently taken over the management of the Historic Quay and HMS Trincomalee. This gave us a fantastic opportunity to give the festival an even stronger sense of place, with a real maritime feel. We used the 400-seat Town Hall Theatre, a short walk away, as our mainstage concert venue until we outgrew it after 2017. Our main stage then became the 1200-seat Borough Hall on the Headland, where we present our evening concerts to this day. Daytime events still take place at the NMRN, and audiences have the opportunity to visit this fantastic open-air museum when it is filled with music, dance and song. We even have concerts on board HMS Trincomalee, the oldest war ship in Europe.
In 2020, the festival was cancelled due to the global pandemic. In 2021, due to a Covid spike in Teesside, we cancelled the main festival; instead we mounted a free outdoor family festival, aimed at local residents who were less likely to attend ticketed events. It was fantastically successful, and in 2022, thanks to support from Tees Valley Combined Authority, we are bringing the family festival and the main festival together into one exciting event.