Folk punk, in its most general sense, is a genre (or set of genres) of music that combines elements of folk and punk rock music. The term can also describe the people, culture, etc. that surround such a genre.
In North American usage it describes fusion with American folk music; other blends of punk and folk/traditional genres may be described differently (e.g. Celtic punk), although the usage and delineation of such terms varies. Like its punk and folk roots, folk punk usually focuses on political issues from the radical left and anarchist side of the spectrum, but often incorporates a personal perspective to these views. Folk punk embraces a legacy of traditional folk music, typified by themes of working class solidarity and resistance in the face of the perceived problems of industrialization and modern capitalism. Some bands and artists play a style that is less folk-influenced, but use instruments not normally used in punk rock, like the violin, banjo, mandolin, or ukulele. Additionally, many bands have emerged that combine elements of punk with folk styles such as jug band music and Eastern European gypsy music.
There are a number of folk punk collectives, labels, and groups throughout the world. Record labels like Plan It X Records of Bloomington, Indiana (now based in Gainesville, Florida) have helped popularize the sound. Many prominent folk punk bands are either currently on the label or have previously had some connection to it.
Folk punk in Britain has existed almost as long as punk rock itself. The most famous British folk-punk band is the Pogues, who formed during the new wave of punk rock in the early 1980s and played a mix of traditional Irish folk songs, modern social commentary and songs of boozy hedonism. A revival of interest in folk punk and Celtic punk was triggered by The Levellers, who developed a huge live following amongst alternative music fans in the late 1980s and 1990s; having played to the largest ever crowd at the Glastonbury Festival. .