«The International Folk Music Council (now known as the International Council for Traditional Music) could well be regarded as the ancestor of the BFE. Founded in 1947 and based at first in the UK though with a world-wide membership it made provision for individual national committees or chapters to be set up by its members. Such a committee was formed in the UK in 1973, after the parent body had moved its secretariat overseas. Maud Karpeles, honorary president of the IFMC, contributed a foreword to the UK National Committee's first newsletter in December 1974 in which she remarked: "the need has been felt for a national body which could coordinate the interests of the various folk music organisations and interested individuals within the country and bring them closer into touch with the international organization".
A look at the first working committee of the UK National Committee gives an idea of the scope of interests of its members then. Peter Cooke - chairman - had returned from Africa a few years earlier to take up a position in the University of Edinburgh's School of Scottish Studies where he was busy researching Scotland's traditional music; Secretary S.A. 'Nibs' Matthews was then artistic director of the English Folk Dance and Song Society; Marie Slocombe, who was to edit the Newsletter for several years, had recently retired from her work in the BBC sound archives; John Blacking had not long returned from South Africa to head the Department of Social Anthropology at The Queen's University of Belfast; Roy Saer and Phyllis Kinney were based at the Welsh Folk Museum while Mrs E.V. de Bray attended as assessor for the Department of Education and Science; last, but not least, Gwen Montagu, Bert Lloyd and of course the indomitable Maud Karpeles (who celebrated her 90th birthday in 1975) represented the interests of members at large (...)».