folk music The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists  

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List Rules Vote up and add all of your favorite indie and folk bands out there.

For years, folk music was not popular. However, during the 2000s, the subgenre indie folk began gradually build a captive audience among music listeners. Armed with an acoustic guitar and poignant lyrics, indie folk bands seemed to rise in tandem with American hipsters' love of beards and artisan goods. Indie folk music started to show up on college radio before ultimately exploding around the 2010s with groups like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver going on to become national phenomenons. Since then, these groups have managed to sell out theaters, arenas and even amphitheatres on the strength of music that would have been dismissed as too niche as recently as 10 years prior. 

So, that begs the question, who are the best indie folk bands? Well, there's no easy answer to that. For starters, if you want to measure indie folk artists based solely on popularity, then London's Mumford & Sons has to be near the top of your list. Their second record, Babel, won multiple Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year back in 2013. The same goes for famous folk singer Bon Iver, who took home a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2012. However, Iceland's Of Monsters and Men,  Los Angeles' Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and female folk singer Feist would argue that the strength of their extremely catchy songs and the constant radio play would land them as some of the best indie folk artists.

This list should include every famous indie folk band. If you notice a particular artist is missing, then feel free to add them. The point of this list should be to answer the questions "who are the best indie folk bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest indie folk musician ever?" There's no right or wrong answer, but ultimately, these good indie folk artists' fate is in your hands so choose wisely! 
list ordered by

1
801 176
Of Monsters and Men is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added Of Monsters and Men Indie pop, Ska, Folk rock

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2
770 198
Fleet Foxes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Fleet Foxes Indie pop, Folk music, Folk rock

3
600 98
The Lumineers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added The Lumineers Americana, Folk rock, Alternative rock

4
1,006 217
Bon Iver is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Bon Iver Indie, Neo soul, Folk music

5
430 105
The Head and the Heart is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added The Head and the Heart Indie pop, Folk rock, Indie folk

6
597 156
Iron & Wine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Iron & Wine Folk music, Folk rock, Indie folk

7
443 149
The Civil Wars is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
The Civil Wars Americana, Folk music, Folk rock

8
369 95
Ben Howard is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
amicalirobinson added Ben Howard Indie, Rock music, Folk music

9
352 111
Sufjan Stevens is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sufjan Stevens Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop

10
521 156
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Country pop, Folk rock, Neo-psychedelia

11
229 56
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Gregory Alan Isakov

12
250 69
The Tallest Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacksonMay added The Tallest Man on Earth Folk music

13
342 145
The Decemberists is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
The Decemberists Indie pop, Rock music, Folk rock

14
295 57
Daughter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Daughter

15
325 95
Noah and the Whale is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Noah and the Whale Folk rock, Pop rock, Bluegrass

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16
255 108
Alt-J is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Alt-J Psychedelic folk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

17
467 164
/Passenger is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
/Passenger Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

18
293 130
Hozier is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Hozier Indie pop, Soul music, Blues

19
311 92
Bright Eyes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Bright Eyes Indie pop, Folk music, Emo

20
358 87
Vance Joy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Vance Joy Alternative rock, indie folk

21
235 82
Damien Rice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
selin added Damien Rice Folk music, Folk rock, Indie rock

22
209 117
Ingrid Michaelson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Ingrid Michaelson Indie pop, Indie folk

23
248 148
Arctic Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Arctic Monkeys Trip hop, Dance-punk, Garage rock

24
328 80
José González is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
José González Folk music, Indie folk, Indie rock

25
292 83
Angus and Julia Stone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
IgnatiusRadityoW added Angus and Julia Stone Indie, Folk music, Acoustic music

26
134 34
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Lord Huron

27
310 106
Beirut is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Beirut Pop music, Folk music, World music

28
182 100
Feist is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Feist Indie pop, Anti-folk, Folk music

29
180 65
City and Colour is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added City and Colour

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30
66 10
Band of Horses is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
-1449913396271 added Band of Horses Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock

31
121 74
Conor Oberst is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Conor Oberst Indie pop, Emo, Folk rock

32
54 13
Sigur Rós is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sigur Rós Shoegazing, Experimental rock, Minimalist Post Rock

33
114 33
First Aid Kit is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
First Aid Kit Indie pop, Americana, Folk music

34
107 35
Boy & Bear is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JoelGarrison added Boy & Bear Folk music, Indie rock - Indie folk  

35
149 84
Kings of Convenience is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Kings of Convenience Indie pop, Folk rock, Electronic dance music

36
87 38
The Oh Hellos is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
CamEisen added The Oh Hellos Folk rock

37
95 47
Tom Odell is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Tom Odell Indie pop, Folk music, Acoustic music

38
64 26
Ranker Video
CamEisen added Blind Pilot Indie pop, Indie folk, Indie rock

39
116 72
Sea Wolf is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Sea Wolf Alternative rock, Indie folk, Indie rock

40
47 15
Adam Torres is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
dreamingtree added Adam Torres Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Chamber Folk

41
97 71
Devendra Banhart is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Devendra Banhart Psychedelic folk, Folk music, New Weird America

42
56 20
Radical Face is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Radical Face

43
86 62
Monsters of Folk is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Monsters of Folk Folk music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

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44
53 18
The Avett Brothers is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
JacobHuneycutt added The Avett Brothers Folk music, Folk rock, Bluegrass

45
45 12
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
DaNerd added Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

46
102 66
Father John Misty is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists

47
49 31
Family of the Year is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
lolaschaefer12 added Family of the Year Americana, Folk music, Indie rock

48
61 60
Alexi Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Alexi Murdoch Acoustic music, Alternative rock, Indie folk

49
116 84
She & Him is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
She & Him Indie pop, Pop music, Rock music

50
108 78
Two Door Cinema Club is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Indie Folk Bands & Artists
Two Door Cinema Club Indie pop, Synthpop, New Wave