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News: 2014 - 2015


We are always pleased to receive news items relating to folk arts in the region, but we cannot always guarantee to include them here. Concise, relevant copy with full contact details is particularly welcome, especially if you can also supply a photograph or other illustration.

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FiddleOn magazine merges with The Living Tradition

FiddleOn magazine, a specialist magazine devoted to the fiddle, is joining forces with The Living Tradition, the premier magazine for folk and traditional music with a primary focus on the UK and Ireland. This development, which brings further editorial expertise, additional subscribers and a wider reach is good news all round.

The fiddle is one of the dominant instruments in traditional folk music and is already well represented within the pages of The Living Tradition, a presence that is set to continue as contributors to FiddleOn join forces with existing Living Tradition writers and reviewers.

Jed Mugford, who has created and edited FiddleOn over the last 15 years, is delighted with the move. “The Living Tradition offers scope for enhanced fiddle related articles within its full colour A4 format and all subscriptions to FiddleOn will be honoured by The Living Tradition.”

Both The Living Tradition and FiddleOn have been fully committed to a physical printed magazine for a number of reasons, and that commitment is strengthened by this latest move. Over the last couple of years The Living Tradition magazine has been handed on to another generation, with Fiona Heywood and Jim Byrne taking over the reins from Pete Heywood. Both Pete Heywood and FiddleOn’s Jed Mugford will continue to have an interest in the future of the magazine, but both are now in a position to devote more time to other projects.

Since celebrating reaching its 100th issue back in February 2014, The Living Tradition magazine is going from strength to strength and, with this latest development, it is well placed to continue to deliver the best news, reviews and information from the traditional folk scene. If you are interested in this kind of music – The Living Tradition is the magazine for you!

If you would like to see a copy of this glossy, full colour, 68 page, A4 magazine, send the Living Tradition team your address and they will be happy to send you a sample copy. Email: admin@livingtradition.co.uk.

Subscription information and publication details are available from The Living Tradition website – www.livingtradition.co.uk

The FiddleOn website will remain live and various back issues are available - www.fiddleon.co.uk

Free online folk resources now available as the English Folk Dance and Song Society launches its Resource Bank

A free online resource to encourage more people to learn and teach folk related music, dance, drama and other arts has been launched by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). The charity has created its Resource Bank – which is freely available to anyone to browse at http://www.efdss.org/resourcebank - to encourage more people to learn about traditional music, dance, drama, other arts and customs.
The Resource Bank's vibrant and accessible guides to music, dance and culture will be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about folk. It also includes an extensive range of learning materials, audio and video (for streaming or download) to be used in a range of subjects at different levels for teachers and educators.

The Resource Bank features three main components:

Beginners’ Guides – introductions to folk music, dance, song, drama, costume, customs and collectors

Resources and Teaching Tools – a variety of resource packs, many with audio and video resources,for use in educational, and other informal learning settings.

Jargon Buster – an easy reference guide for folk related terms and phrases.

The Resource Bank is the lasting legacy project of EFDSS' celebrated project, The Full English, which saw the digitisation of thousands of English folk manuscripts to create the world’s largest free online searchable database from some of the country’s most important folk music collections.
It also inspired a nationwide learning programme that has reached more than 13,000 people through workshops and learning events, including projects with 19 primary, secondary and special needs schools who developed their own projects inspired by material found in The Full English digital archive.

Rachel Elliott, EFDSS Education Director, said: “We create and manage diverse, high quality and imaginative projects working with folk material including music, dance, song, stories and crafts in a range of formal and informal learning settings including primary and secondary schools, with youth and community groups and adult learners. “The Resource Bank aims to bring all the knowledge and resources that are developed as part of our education programme and to allow anyone anywhere in the world access to it. “Sharing these resources will help us to safeguard the future of folk arts by stimulating more understanding and participation in traditional folk arts by a new audience and a new generation.”

Item Added June 2015

EFDSS invites applications for creative artist residencies

Dancers, poets, storytellers, musicians, visual, digital or multi media artists are being invited to apply for the 2015/16 round of creative artist bursaries offered by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).

EFDSS, makes up to four awards annually to fund the research and development of new work linked to the folk arts.The creative artist residencies are part of EFDSS’ Artists’ Development Programme that provides professional development support, both creative and business, to artists.

The Creative Bursary Award includes the daytime use of rehearsal rooms at Cecil Sharp House (but not 24 hour storage space), access to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, and a grant of up to £2,000 to cover costs and expenses.

Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive said: “Since the creative artist bursaries programme was launched in 2012, we have supported contemporary and folk dance choreographers, storytellers, and classical and folk musicians and composers. “We have been delighted to see many artists go on to create full shows and new music for CDs from the research and development EFDSS has supported.

“We are always keen to hear from people who are interested in exploring the potential of the English folk arts from a cross-genre, cross-arts, or cross-culture creative view point.”

Application information

For guidelines and applications forms go to http://www.efdss.org/efdss-artists-development/artists-bursaries. The deadline for submitted applications is 9pm on 29 May 2015 for residencies to be taken between September 2015 and March 2016.

Completed applications should be sent via email to neil@efdss.org or posted to Neil Pearson, Artists’ Development Manager, Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London, NW1 7AY by the deadline. The successful candidates will be announced in late June.

For more information about EFDSS’ Artist Development programme, go to http://www.efdss.org/efdss-artists-development/aspire-programme.

Item Added 20 /4 /15

Music festival seeks new songwriters

Could you be the next Ed Sherran or Paul Simon? Then acoustic music festival organisers in North Yorkshire are looking for you.
A songwriting competition is held at BAMfest – Bedale Acoustic Music Festival - in North Yorkshire every year. Now organisers have announced changes to their 2015 competition.
The competition, which was launched in 2013 as part of the first-ever BAMfest, has been a huge success, with entries from songwriters young and old.
Festival Organiser John Knighton said: “We were amazed at the standard of entries at last year’s competition. For more than two hours the judges heard superb original songs and had almost an impossible job in deciding a single winner. So for 2015 we are launching a new Songwriting Competition for under-18’s. We think the youngsters richly deserve to have their own competition. So we will have two competitions – one for under-18’s and one for over-18’s.”
Last year the competition was won by Sound Tradition, a group of traditional singers from Suffolk, whose song about the Morecambe Bay Cockling Tragedy proved such a Festival hit. In 2013, the winner was singer songwriter David Swann from Pickering, North Yorkshire, with his song “Woven Through Herringbone”.
Winners are presented with The Harvey Blogg Cup, in memory of Harvey, who was a source of inspiration and encouragement to many local musicians in the Bedale area. There is also a cash prize.
Entries are invited from songwriters, who must supply three copies of their song lyrics. All songs must be singer’s original work and unrecorded.
Songwriters have to register details of their song on the BAMfest website - www.bamfest.co.uk - by noon on May 30 and all songs must be performed at the Festival.

A draw will be made to decide on the running order and this will be posted in Festival Office and the Festival website.
The competition will take place on Sunday May 31 between 10am and 1pm.
Mr Knighton said: “The Songwriting Competition has become an integral part of BAMfest and I would encourage anyone, young or old, if they have a song in them to share it.”
BAMfest is a three-day acoustic music festival that will see Bedale come alive with music over the weekend featuring artists such as Martin Stephenson & The Daintees, Henry Priestman, Blackbeard’s Tea Party Band, Babajack, Duncan McFarlane and The Young’uns.

Item added 20/04/15

Volunteers wanted to boost BAMfest 2015

Organisers of Bedale’s acoustic music festival – BAMfest – are calling on local people to get involved and help make this year’s festival even better than before.

An Open Evening for Volunteers is being organised for Tuesday February 24 at Big Sheep Little Cow Farm in Bedale between 7 and 8pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Festival volunteer co-ordinator Josh Waterton-Bailey said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the festival, without them we wouldn’t be able to make the festival happen. In exchange for a few hours of volunteering across the weekend, we will reward you with free festival tickets”

“We have organised this open evening to explain what is involved and give people an opportunity to meet the Festival team and other volunteers. We’d love to see even more people get the BAMfest buzz!”

Volunteers are required to assist in various areas - to help set up site/venues and clear site/venues, to steward on the festival campsite, the BAMfest ticket desk/info point, help to sell BAMfest merchandise/CD’s as well as venue stewarding.

Full details are on the BAMfest website - www.bamfest.co.uk. If you want more information call the BAMfest hotline on 07925 817116 or email volunteers@bamfest.co.uk.

BAMfest is now in its third year after being launched in 2013. The three-day event attracts hundreds of visitors to the market town, with local pubs and cafes all getting involved.

The2015 Festival will see appearances by Martin Stephenson and the Daintees, Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Henry Priestman, Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra, Babajack, Les Barker, Cathryn Craig and Brian Willoughby, The Young’Uns, The Jon Palmer Band, The Duncan McFarlane Band and many other acts from across the UK.

An extra Farm stage is being launched this year on the Festival site allowing organisers to bring dozens of new bands to Bedale.

Item added 17/2/2015

EFDSS Soundpost Weekend - Dungworth and Bradfield

In association with English Folk Dance and Song Society, the next Soundpost weekend will be focussed around The Full English archive.

The Full English is a ground-breaking project delivered by EFDSS drawing together important early 20th century collections into the most comprehensive free searchable database of British folk songs, tunes, dances and customs in the world.
Curated by Fay Hield, The Soundpost Full English Weekend will explore the archive through a mix of tunes and songs, creating music and thinking about the many ways this archive can be used with some of the top performers and educators.

Members of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning Full English Band, archivists, educationalists, academics and other performers will host a weekend of practical workshops and talks on how the archive can be used by performers and educators alike, providing participants with the tools to approach this tradition inquisitively through the use of archives.

The weekend runs 23-25 October 2015 and takes place in community buildings around Dungworth and Bradfield, north Sheffield. Booking opens March 2015.
For more information contact Kate Thompson: kate@soundpost.org.uk

Item Added 25/01/15


Live music in Brigg gets a real boost next month with a great new concert at The Angel.

Lincolnshire legend John Conolly, the internationally renowned singer/songwriter will be topping the bill, supported by virtuoso musician and singer, Robin Garside.
Grimsby based John has toured all over the world and appeared at all the major festivals where his mellow voice and lilting guitar and melodeon accompaniment have brought him wide acclaim. He has also written songs for radio, TV and the stage, perhaps most memorably for ‘The Northern Trawl’. His best known song is undoubtedly ‘Fiddler’s Green’, which has become so much part of the folk fabric that it is assumed by many to be traditional.

Robin Garside hails from South Yorkshire and has often performed alongside his old friend John. A master musician, he plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo to accompany his singing, and describes his style as blues, jazz and bluegrass as well as traditional folk. He too has appeared at a host of major festivals and is a regular at the North’s biggest folk festival, Whitby.

The pair are playing at The Angel Suite on Saturday 29th November at 7.30pm. This promises to be a terrific night, so don’t miss it. Tickets are £9 in advance (£10 on the door) from Brigg Tourist Information and Scunthorpe Central Library.

It is hoped that this will be the start of a regular programme of live music events in Brigg so look out for advance publicity which should be out and about very soon.

Item Added Oct 2014

Whitby Folk come together to commemorate Rohilla rescue.

Whitby songwriter and musician, Richard Grainger, is putting the final touches to the first part of his most recent project, ''STORMBOUND'' - the True Story of The Rohilla Disaster. It is to be performed at St Hilda's Parish Church, West Cliff, Whitby on Nov 1st at 7.00pm by Richard and a cast of musicians, actors and young people from the Whitby area.
Drawing from the authoritative publications of local writer Colin Brittain, statements of survivors and rescuers involved in the tragedy that occurred in November 1914, and with the invaluable the aid of Whitby Lifeboat Museum's Curator, Peter Thomson, the performance traces the story of the modern cargo/passenger ship ROHILLA, from its launch at Harland & Woolf, Belfast through its requisition as a 'state of the art' Hospital Ship, to its eventual demise off Whitby.
The show will also tell the story of the dramatic rescue undertaken by local folk and with the combined efforts of lifeboats from Whitby, Scarborough, Teesmouth and Tynemouth, 142 lives were saved though 85 were lost.
''It's a truly amazing story that will captivate the audience. The bravery, heroism and determination of the local lifeboat crews who battled mountainous seas time and again and the people of Whitby, who came out in their hundreds to drag people alive and dead from the sea, carry survivors to their homes and care for them or take them to hospital is like a work of fiction - but it's all true!"
Richard Grainger added: "I have written brand new material for this and been able to use some other more familiar songs."
Among the many artists joining Richard Grainger that evening will be master accordion player Chris Parkinson, East Cleveland Singer Sara Dennis, Whitby's Polly Buxton along with a host of singers and musicians from Caedmon College and Shanty Group Monkeys Fist. The team are also delighted to bring into the line up several local traditional choirs; 'Men Of Staithes' and 'Ramshackle Shantymen' from Filey. The Overture has been compiled by Hannah Beattie, a Music Tutor at Caedmon College.
Actors Ivan Hall and Alethea Estill are joined by Iain McNicol, Karen Mason, Kevin Young, Paul Ivison, Hadden Grainger, Max Crossling and John Morgan.
Richard has been working in local secondary schools through the Festival On The Moor's Young Roots Project and has discovered several more excellent musicians and actors from Caedmon College and Eskdale School.
The show is part of the official centenary weekend being organised by The Rohilla Centenary Team. Supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund through it's Young Roots programme, it allows all proceeds from ticket sales to be donated to RNLI local funds.
All tickets are £5 and can be purchased from The Lifeboat Museum, the Lifeboat Station or online at http://www.whitbyseafest.co.uk

Item Added Oct 27 2014

Armistice Pals

Commemoration with a difference – all folk/dance clubs and singers sessions across the land are invited to take part in a grass roots community celebration of the folk scene organised by Armistice Pals during October and November which is hoped will draw much needed attention to the club scene and the unsung heroes who run them in order to help keep the circuit alive and kicking.

Armistice Pals is the name given to a ‘super group’ of over 35 musicians from across the folk firmament who in the year that sadly presented us with the passing of Pete Seeger and the much reported 100 anniversary of the ‘war to end all wars’, have come together to create a special charity single. Think ‘Perfect Day’ using the song Pete Seeger made popular ‘Where have all the flowers gone’ and you won’t be far off !

The single will be released as a limited edition 7” single, a physical cd and on iTunes on November 9th, with all proceeds going to peace keeping and anti war charities (The Red Cross, Malala’s Fund, The Peace Foundation and Peace through Folk) and was conceived by Merry Hell’s manager Damian Liptrot who organised the ambitious project with Folkstock Arts Foundation’s Helen Meissner.

The single will be released on Folkstock Records.

We are delighted that Peggy Seeger has asked to be on the single and she is joined by, among others, Dave Swarbrick, Lucy Ward, Johnny Coppin, Peter Knight, Chris and Kellie While, Julie Matthews, Judy Dyble, Luke Jackson, Kelly Oliver, Ninebarrow, Reg Meuross, Said the Maiden, Gavin Davenport, Flossie Malavialle and more, as well as Pete Seeger.

If those interested in taking part register their intention to hold a special Armistice Pals themed session in October or November, which could also involve videoing their rendition of the song, the organisers have said they will add the club name and the video to their social media, promote the club and hopefully boost attendance by focussing on the life enriching experience of coming together in song.

Something which Peggy Seeger told us was Pete’s legacy.

A video in which Peggy talks about the single and why she was keen to be part of Armistice Pals will be released on social media shortly.

Press and radio promotion is also lined up, with all clubs taking part potentially gaining free publicity

on their local radio shows as well as via national media as a direct result of their involvement.

There is no fee, just a commitment to mark the release of the single with a special themed evening.

If you want to take part in the biggest country wide club and singers grassroots project we’ve seen in recent years, please contact

Damian Liptrot or Helen Meissner via email armisticepals@hotmail.com

Or our website http://www.armisticepals.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/armisticepals

Twitter https://twitter.com/ArmisticePals

Item added Sept 25 2014

Festival on the Moor's new youth project, Ghosts of Heroes, wins Heritage Lottery Fund support.

Today Festival On The Moor has received £40,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project called ''Ghosts Of Heroes'' in Whitby and the North York Moors.

Led by Festival on the Moor volunteers, and supported by the Rohilla Centenary Team and local schools, the project focuses on World War 1 and in particular The Rohilla Disaster, Whitby Bombardment and the stories of soldiers and civilians from the surrounding moorland and coastal communities between 1914 and 18.

The project will enable around 100 young people to research these topics and present the stories in various creative ways including Drama, Music, Creative Writing and by building a website as a permanent reference to future researchers.

Festival On The Moor is a community arts and heritage organisation that organises festivals and educational activities based on folk music, local heritage and culture. It works with young people through its Shoots & Roots programme and students from Whitby's Caedmon College and Eskdale School will take part and benefit by helping them develop their research, media and communication skills and enjoy the creative aspects while learning more about their local heritage.
They'll work alongside professional musicians and actors and gain insight from local heritage professionals.

Commenting on the award, Festival Director, Jeanette Grainger said: ' We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will enable us to increase our work with young people from Whitby, the coastal communities and the Esk Valley to help them discover more about their heritage and have fun with their discoveries.

Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Every area has its own stories of their involvement and experiences of the First World War at home and abroad. By focusing on the Rohilla Disaster and the bombardment of Whitby by German Warships young people will learn about the impact of the war on their local area, and further afield.”

Item added Sept. 16 2014

Item Added 29/08/14

More Morris, Better Morris conference

A one-day conference to share effective practice in how to inspire the next generation of morris dancers will be held at Cecil Sharp House in London on Sunday 2 November 2014.

‘More Morris, Better Morris, in schools and beyond’ is being organised by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) with the Joint Morris Organisations. Sessions will be across a range of morris and sword dance traditions including Cotswold, Molly, North West and Border morris, as well as rapper and longsword.

Workshop leaders, presenters and speakers will include practitioners from across England who are experienced in teaching morris to young people, including: Damien Barber from the Demon Barber Roadshow and the Lock In Dance Show; Will Hampson and Bryony Griffiths; John Bacon, Ann Bacon and David Johns; Dave Leverton from the National Youth Folklore Troupe of England; Laurel Swift and Benjamin Moss; Sue Bousfield; Gordon Phillips and Nicky Stockman; Liam Robinson; and Kim Woodward. More names will be confirmed early September and will be updated online.

The day will include topics such as:

· Delivery in primary and secondary education and links to the curriculum

· Setting up and running groups in out-of-school settings

· What an inspiring morris dance workshop looks like for children and young people and current best practice in dance education

· Safe practice – looking after the bodies of young dancers at different stages of their development

· Kitbag – ideas, information and resources on planning, structuring sessions, writing a CV, insurance and safeguarding issues

Rachel Elliott, EFDSS’ Education Director, said: “This conference offers a fantastic opportunity to learn more about teaching morris dancing to young people, whether you are an experienced morris dancer, a teacher or in a morris side, or just starting out and keen to pass on the morris traditions. EFDSS is delighted to presenting this landmark event in partnership with the Joint Morris Organisations. “The aim of the day is to inspire people, connect them and feed them ideas for the delivery of great morris dancing sessions with young people!”

Conference fee: £20 including refreshments and light lunch

For more details and to book http://www.efdss.org/efdss-education/professional-development/more-morris-better-morris

Promoted by: EFDSS and the Joint Morris Organisations (The Morris Federation, Open Morris and The Morris Ring).

Item added 5/8/2014

Dave & Julie Evardson CD in aid of St Andrew's Hospice

Many of you may know that St Andrew's Hospice provides amazing care facilities in the North East Lincolnshire area. They are currently creating a new adult hospice as well as making improvements to the existing children's facility. They need a great deal of financial support to complete this work.
Many local people are coming up with fundraising ideas. To do our bit Julie & I have issued an album of ten of our songs with a Lincolnshire flavour entitled 'Missing Lincs'. We hope people will buy it digitally & it's now available to download using your credit card from www.cdbaby.com for $8.49 (that's about £5). Here's the destination URL:


We hope you'll support this important work to enhance Grimsby's major Hospice facility - and, of course, that you'll enjoy the songs!

Kind regards,

Dave & Julie


Malcolm Douglas 1955 - 2009

We are deeply saddened at the loss of one of our number, Malcolm Douglas, an invaluable member of the Yorkshire Folk Arts' management team from its inception. In addition to designing, setting up and maintaining the YFA website Malcolm could always be relied upon to contribute thoughtful, knowledgeable and very sensible observations to all of our discussions and planning sessions. His fondness for good beer and debate were among the many other attributes that made for an enjoyable colleague and all-round excellent bloke. He will be sorely missed.

Three of Malcolm's good friends have written the following words which we are glad to reproduce below.

Martin Bull, Chairman, for all of YFA

Malcolm Douglas

Our friend Malcolm Douglas, who has died from cancer aged 54, had many talents, but two in particular brought him to national prominence. He had a compendious knowledge and understanding of traditional folk song (mainly, but not exclusively, English folk song), and he was a renowned illustrator and comic artist. He fell into these contrasting fields by accident, but he treated them with meticulous attention to detail and a professionalism that belied his lack of formal training.

He became an illustrator after volunteering to illustrate a student union newspaper at Sheffield University, and found that people were prepared to pay him to do what had hitherto been a hobby. His illustrations featured in a wide range of comics, of which the best known was Oink; he was also the illustrator of the footballing devilkin Fred the Red, for five years delighting both young and old readers of Manchester United match programmes.

For the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) he revised the evergreen song collection, The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, originally edited by Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L. Lloyd in 1959. In his new edition, published as Classic English Folk Songs, he corrected previous errors and brought to the book a wealth of additional detail.

He did the same well-researched and comprehensive review of another of the EFDSS's most successful publications, Marrow Bones, a collection of folk songs from Dorset and Hampshire, originally edited by Frank Purslow. He was working on a third, The Wanton Seed, when he succumbed to illness. He was also well-known amongst folk music enthusiasts for his contributions to the on-line forum The Mudcat Café, where he hadposted almost 9000 detailed answers to questions about the most obscure aspects of folk song and music. He was happy to point people to the sources of his knowledge and help them to find answers for themselves.

Malcolm was born and brought up in South London, and after attending Trinity School of John Whitgift in Croydon, he came to Sheffield University to study French and English and stayed in the city, which he regarded as his home town.

Malcolm was committed to the principle of the people's ownership of their cultural heritage and was involved in many grassroots initiatives, even expressing concern about what he saw as the over-professionalisation of the folk arts. He was co-host at Sheffield's Red Deer folk club for a decade and was active in regional organisations such as the South Riding Folk Network (SRFN) and Yorkshire Folk Arts, bringing his literary and technological skills to bear in maintaining websites for both organisations, editing the SRFN magazine and designing the south Yorkshire folk magazine Stirrings.

Malcolm was also a performer, playing fiddle, mandolin and cittern with various concert and dance bands and was a familiar figure at music sessions in and around Sheffield. He never married, but is survived byhis mother and brother Ian.

Ron Day, Dave Eyre and Raymond Greenoaken.



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