Where can one enjoy free or cheap folk music nights in Newcastle?

Newcastle, a vibrant city in the North East of England, boasts a rich and diverse music scene that is deeply entwined with the city's history and culture. You don't need to spend a fortune to enjoy great music in Newcastle, especially if you're a fan of folk music. From the bustling Tyne Riverside, to the serene city parks, and the dynamic university setting, Newcastle offers free or cheap folk music experiences that will captivate your senses and immerse you in the city's unique rhythm. This article will guide you through some of the best venues and events that offer free or low-cost folk music experiences in Newcastle.

The University Scene

The university scene in Newcastle is alive with music, especially folk music. The Newcastle University's Folk and Traditional Music Degree provides the city with an inexhaustible supply of talented musicians. As a result, several university venues frequently host free or inexpensive folk music concerts, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.

The King's Hall, located on the university campus, is a prime venue for these performances. Not only is it minutes away from the city centre, but it also has a long-standing tradition of hosting a variety of music events. More often than not, you will find free folk music nights organised by the university's music department. The university also regularly collaborates with the city council to host folk music festivals, such as the North East Folk Festival, where students and local musicians showcase their skills.

Furthermore, the Newcastle University Students Union (NUSU), located on King's Walk, hosts regular folk music nights, most of which are free for students and very affordable for the wider community. So, a visit to the university is a must if you want to savour the city's folk music scene without breaking your budget.

The Tyne Riverside

The Tyne Riverside, a delightful stretch along the River Tyne, is another excellent place to enjoy folk music in Newcastle. During the warmer months, the Riverside hosts a series of free open-air concerts. These “Music by the Tyne” events provide a platform for local bands, including many folk bands, to perform and engage with the community.

One of the highlights of the Tyne Riverside music scene is the Live Music Saturdays at the Riverside Market. This weekly event sees a variety of local folk bands performing as part of a vibrant market scene. You can browse the stalls, pick up some locally-produced treats, and enjoy the live music all at once.

In addition, the Tyne Bar, a short walk from the city centre, hosts free live music events several nights a week. Folk music is a staple here, and the bar's cozy atmosphere makes it a perfect place to unwind with friends while enjoying the music.

City Parks and Outdoor Spaces

Newcastle's city parks and outdoor spaces are also hotspots for free or cheap folk music. During the summer months, the city's parks come alive with the sound of music, offering a variety of free concerts and festivals, many of which feature folk music.

Leazes Park, a beautiful city park located just east of the city centre, is known for its bandstand, where free concerts are frequently held during the summer. Folk bands are a common feature at these concerts, providing a relaxing soundtrack to a leisurely afternoon in the park.

Exhibition Park, another popular park in Newcastle, often hosts free music festivals, such as the Newcastle Folk Festival. These festivals are a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a day of folk music performances, with food and drink stalls, craft workshops, and children's activities providing additional entertainment.

Art Galleries and Museums

Art galleries and museums in Newcastle often host free or inexpensive folk music nights as part of their cultural programmes. These venues provide a different, more intimate setting to enjoy folk music, and often create a unique blend of visual and auditory experiences.

The Biscuit Factory, the UK's largest independent contemporary art, craft, and design gallery, located in the east end of Newcastle, often hosts music events, including folk music nights. While not all of these events are free, they are usually very affordable, and often include access to the gallery's exhibitions.

The Great North Museum, situated in the heart of Newcastle, also hosts regular music nights as part of its late-night opening events. Folk music is often featured at these events, which are free of charge, and provide an opportunity to explore the museum's collections while enjoying live music.

Markets and Commercial Spaces

Finally, some of the city's markets and commercial spaces are worth considering if you're looking for free or cheap folk music in Newcastle. These bustling areas are often filled with the sounds of live music, creating a lively atmosphere that enhances the shopping or dining experience.

Grainger Market, one of the city's oldest and most beloved markets, regularly hosts free music events. These events typically feature a variety of local musicians, including many folk artists. The market's unique setting and vibrant energy make these events a memorable experience.

Similarly, Eldon Square, the city's main shopping centre, often hosts free music events on its outdoor stage. Folk bands are a regular feature at these events, providing a fantastic soundtrack to a day of shopping or dining in the city centre.

Newcastle's music scene truly caters to everyone, and its folk music scene is no exception. Whether you prefer the energetic atmosphere of a concert, the serenity of a park, or the hustle and bustle of a market, there is always a venue in Newcastle where you can enjoy free or cheap folk music.

The Local Pub Scene

In Newcastle, it's not uncommon to witness the city's pubs come alive with the sound of folk music. Being so deeply embedded in the local culture, these venues regularly host live music nights, and folk music is no exception.

The Cumberland Arms, located in the Ouseburn Valley, is a great example. Known for its warm, friendly atmosphere and traditional setting, this pub hosts folk music nights on a regular basis. Specifically, their Sunday Folk Club events are a must-visit for folk music lovers. You can enjoy a wide range of performances from local talent, all while sipping on a pint of locally brewed ale.

The Bridge Hotel, situated near the iconic Tyne Bridge, is another venue worth considering. With live music every Friday and Saturday night, you're likely to stumble upon a folk band or two. What's more, the pub offers a stunning view of the Tyne Bridge, making it a perfect spot for a relaxing evening of music.

Hitting the pub scene truly is a fun and affordable way to experience the local folk music. It's not just about the music, but also about the experience of immersing oneself in the local culture, making new friends, and enjoying the friendly atmosphere that Newcastle's pubs are famous for.


Newcastle's folk music scene is vibrant, diverse and accessible, offering numerous opportunities for music lovers to enjoy live performances without spending a fortune. From the dynamic university setting to the serene parks, from the bustling markets to the intimate art galleries, and even the local pubs, there's something for everyone in this north-eastern city.

The Newcastle University continues to contribute to the city's music scene with its talented students and faculty, while the Tyne Riverside, with its open-air concerts and live Music Saturdays, provides an irresistible charm during the warmer months. The city's parks such as Leazes Park and Exhibition Park, host free summer concerts and festivals, making them the perfect spot for a leisurely day out.

For a different experience, venues like the Biscuit Factory and the Great North Museum offer an artistic setting to enjoy folk music. Lastly, commercial spaces like Grainger Market and Eldon Square add a unique dimension to the city's music scene with their lively atmosphere.

In conclusion, Newcastle is a city that truly values its music and culture. It is a city that recognises the power of music in bringing people together, and it offers this experience in a variety of ways that are accessible to all. So, whether you're a local or a visitor, a folk music enthusiast or a curious listener, don't miss the chance to explore the rich and diverse folk music scene of Newcastle; it promises to immerse you in the city's unique rhythm.