OffBeat is a Folk Film Club established in 2022 to celebrate overlooked film about British culture and music from the 20th Century. Its aims are to share stories of the vernacular and revive the folk club scene of the 1960s and 1970s using documentary stories to shine a light on commonalities between all of us.

The project has gone from strength to strength and has become a major feature in the landscape of the burgeoning folk revival movement. 

We regularly host screenings at the Walthamstow Trades Hall. See our instagram for more details and tickets.
From ROAM Magazine

We had been listening to The Watersons for years when we stumbled upon the film Travelling for a Living. Made for the BBC in 1966, the documentary follows the journey of the folk group The Watersons as they travel around England, collecting, rehearsing, and performing the traditional English folk songs that underpinned their extraordinary career. The film is incredible. Not only
because of its unique style but also because the footage itself is so evocative and endearing. It also showed us a rare glimpse into a side of 1960s Britain that we hadn’t really seen before — it was resilient yet somewhat innocent, both down at heel and hopeful. But, most of all, it was about one of
our favourite folk groups, and we wanted to share it with other people.
A few months before our first screening, we attended an event at The Walthamstow Trades Hall. The venue's mid-century aesthetic, unpretentious ambience and reminiscent folk club atmosphere made it
the perfect backdrop for showcasing a film, a lot of which was set in similar venues during the 1960s.

In July of 2022, we showed Travelling for a Living and, although it was to an audience made up mostly of our friends, it was a definite success. Watching the film together, as part of a collective audience and within such a special setting, added a unique dimension to it. Together, the audience saw something funny and authentic in seeing these people so devoted to their own esoteric interests.

From there, we organised more events featuring curated music and films, each offering a distinct perspective on Britain and British culture throughout the 20th century. Defining "Britishness" is no easy task, but as we unearthed more of these films, it became increasingly evident that these were
stories everyone recognised, in the content or in the telling. Even if you’ve never been to Hull, nor heard of The Watersons, their story is a familiar one. It’s a story about people and place, just like the folk tales and songs that they sang about.

Without really planning it, we had stumbled on a winning formula. The nights we hosted took on a participatory feel and the stories in the documentaries we screened were shared by the people who came to watch them. They were folk tales and, just like in the folk clubs in Travelling for a Living, the fact that people join in drinking, laughing and (in the case of our January Wassailing event), even chanting, only makes the evenings better. It is not our intention to over-intellectualise what is essentially a film night. However, we hope to create a unique atmosphere at OffBeat's film nights—reminiscent of folk clubs—where we tell stories through old films rather than old songs, although there's plenty of that as well.