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My friend is traveling to London in a week, and she'd be happy to get a glimpse of what London music life is like. She's never been to UK before but is a huge fan of “West London folk scene”, i.e. bands like Mumford & Sons, Noah and the Whale and Laura Marling.

Are there any bars or clubs in London one can easily attend (no booking required) with local bands playing nu-folk music? Traditional folk is fine too, although she would rather be excited to hear something similar in spirit to what I cited above.

In New York, I used to hang out in National Underground which had amazing local bands playing every evening for free. Any suggestions from Londoners?

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I'm not sure this will qualify as a travel question, most people clubbing in London won't be travelers so you'll do better to ask in a London/clubbing forum than a travel Q&A site. –  hippietrail Jul 31 '11 at 8:52

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There are plenty of small venues and clubs in London offering live local folk music. Here's a selection of them. I'd add to that list Jamboree in Limehouse, which has a great ambience and often includes younger folk acts in its international menu. You may catch bigger names such as the bands you list at higher capacity venues such as the Jazz Cafe, Union Chapel and Bush Hall.

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Thanks for your reply! –  Dan Jul 31 '11 at 10:22

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