Tradition Today

Tradition Today

British Forum for Ethnomusicology: Annual Conference 2017, 20-23 April

Department of Music, University of Sheffield, UK


Please also make sure your BFE Membership is current to take advantage of the lower conference rates for members.

The final programme and abstract book is now available to view and download. Please note that to save printing costs (and trees), abstracts are being made available online only: the printed conference booklet will include only the programme and other essential information. If you require a hard copy of the abstracts, you are advised to download and print it for yourself before coming to the conference.

The last day to book for the Conference Dinner on the Saturday evening in Friday 07 April. The venue is Inox Dine on the top floor of the University of Sheffield’s prize-winning Students’ Union, with fine views over the city and a menu that has won rave reviews on TripAdvisor and elsewhere. The traditional BFE party and jam session will follow immediately in the same venue. The event offers delegates an opportunity to meet together in a dedicated venue with lots of room for circulating and socialising, in preference to Sheffield’s city centre restaurants which can be very full on a Saturday night. The dinner is available for the extremely reasonable cost of £30 for waged attendees and £20 for student and unwaged attendees, bookable at registration through the Online Store, and you are welcome to reserve additional places for spouses or other companions.

Another highlight of the conference is the Friday evening concert by tabla master Yogesh Samshi, whose playing the Washington Post has called “as intricate as a Bach fugue and as ecstatic as a rave-club crescendo.” Tickets are being offered to conference delegates at the reduced price of £10, or £6 for students.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Keynote Speaker will be Professor Michael Bakan of Florida State University. As the author of a much-acclaimed monograph on a very modern form of traditional music (Music of Death and New Creation: Experiences in the World of Balinese Gamelan Beleganjur, Chicago, 2000), a composer of new music using traditional instruments and resources, and author of the widely-used textbook World Music: Traditions and Transformations, Professor Bakan is ideally qualified to offer insights on our conference’s special “talking point”, Tradition Today. The title of his Ketnote Speech is “The Moral of the Story: Making Ethnomusicology Matter in the 21st Century”.

The conference will be held in the University of Sheffield’s new Diamond building, a state-of-the-art teaching and conference facility immediately adjacent to the Music Department. While there is no mandatory conference theme, the BFE conference is immediately preceded by a one-day conference at Sheffield (19 April 2017) that culminates a large-scale research project on Digital Folk. We envisage that some delegates will wish to attend both events and that one strand of discussion at the BFE conference will expand the focus of the one-day conference by connecting it with broader explorations of “Tradition Today”. At the same time, we welcome presentations of new research in any area of ethnomusicology.

If you have any queries please contact

BFE Student Prize and Bursaries

Student presenters are encouraged to submit their papers for the BFE Student Prize (, awarded for the best student paper presented at the BFE annual conference. Students may also apply for a BFE Bursary to assist with the cost of attending the conference.


A word about Sheffield:

Located near the geographical centre of England, Sheffield has become known as a hub of the British folk and traditional music scene. The ethnomusicology programme at the University of Sheffield takes advantage of the opportunities that this presents while balancing “ethnomusicology at home” with studies on a diverse range of musical traditions and theoretical approaches. Sheffield can be reached within a few hours by road or rail from most parts of England, or in about an hour from Manchester International Airport. A wide choice of accommodation and restaurants is available near the conference venue. For those wishing to combine the conference trip with leisure activities, the Peak District National Park is nearby.

Any queries:

BFE Annual Conference 2017 CfP


Call for papers deadline: 
1 Nov 2016
Conference dates: 
20 Apr 2017 to 23 Apr 2017
University of Sheffield.
Early bird registration deadline: 
10 Mar 2017