Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Hi all, I'm typing this via Mrs Widdows' laptop as my computer has gone "phuttttt" and died. It is being repaired, but sadly this may take some time, and until it's up and running again the May edition of FolkCast will remain just a twinkle in my eye. Or ear. Or something. As things stand, I can't access the FolkCast website. This wouldn't normally be a problem, as Ken would be able to take on webmaster duties. However, as Ken is away touring with Steeleye, we can't actually put the show on the web. Sorry about this annoying technical hitch, but please bear with us. I'll post again when I know more. Keep watching the blog! Phil

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Following their recent success at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards this year The Demon Barbers' international profile has grown significantly with enquiries coming in from all four corners of the world. Most surprising of all was a recent invitation to the Yangtse River Spring Arts Festival on the 19th April 2009. Based in Wuhan, in the province of Hubei, the festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year who take part in the celebrations of local and international culture, art and traditional music, song & dance. The trip has been organised by Li Liu, director of the Anglo Independence School in Bournemouth. Li, or Lily, sent a local newspaper article on Morris dancing to the Chinese Government saying that she wanted to show them something of the culture of England. She received a reply from the director general of Wuhan city inviting The Demon Barber Roadshow on an all-expenses-paid trip to join them for ten days. Along with the festival performance, The Roadshow will perform 5 other concerts in the area and will be invited on tours of the local tourist attractions culminating with a trip to the Great Wall and Beijing. The Demon Barbers return just in time to head to London where they will perform as part of the (two days after) St George's Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square (see this posting for details) . By the way, we'll have new music from the Demon Barbers in May's FolkCast!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

We've Found Him!

Babba's alive - and well. And we've managed to get his wise words on a scrathy bit of old tape, too - just before he slunk back into his cave, muttering about Chestnut Gin and something about a long shot on the Grand National... Anyway, the April show is now available for download from our website and there's some particularly fine music this month - plus the first folk poem from new Cast member Dave Alton, who tells the hauntingly strange tale of The White Moth. Dig in - and if you have any comments to make about the show, either send us an email (address at the website) or leave a note on the blog. Cheers! Phil

Monday, 6 April 2009

Babba is missing!

Sorry for the delay in the delivery of the April show. The reason's simple ... Babba's gone AWOL! We're trying to track him down, but fear he could have gone on a three day bender with that home-made acorn brandy of his. He'll be upsidedown in a hedge, no doubt. As soon as we've found him, and got him to spill the beans on another Story Behind The Song, the show will be heading for your podcatcher - or, if you haven't subscribed, you can download it from the FolkCast website. Also, we've a new member of the Cast this month - our very own official Folk Laureate! More soon... Widds

Friday, 3 April 2009

Ken & Phil to play Acoustic Festival of Great Britain

That's Ken Nicol and Phil Cool (pictured) - so one half of your regular FolkCast presenters... They join an eclectic line-up of performers including Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Deacon Blue, The Christians and the Rockabilly singing sensation, Imelda May. On the folkie front there's also Martyn Joseph, Colvin Quarmby, Jackie Levin and Mawkin:Causley. Oh, and there's also Swans In Flight, another project with which Ken has been involved. Full details of the festival - which is staged on May 22, 23, 24 & 25, at Catton Hall Park on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire Border - can be found here

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Beautiful Days Festival

An interesting mix of bands and styles at this year's Beautiful Days festival in Devon from August 21 to 23... Headliners The Pogues, Levellers and Hawkwind have been already been announced for 2009 along with The Saw Doctors , Gong, Lamb, Dreadzone, Imagined Village, Dub Pistols, Pendulum DJ’s, Cara Dillon, The King Blues, Eliza Carthy, Imelda May, Lau, Edward II, Kris Drever, John McCusker & Roddy Woomble Trio, John Smith, Sonic Boom Six, Les Truttes, Chris T-T, Jay Jay Pistolet & Ruarri Joseph. More acts to be announced soon. Tickets are on sale now. Adult weekend camping tickets are £100. Click the above link for more details. Meanwhile, there's a chance for an unsigned band to get a gig at the festival. The Levellers (who organise Beautiful Days) say: We've teamed up with Acoustic Magazine and Unsigned Band Review to offer two acts the chance to play at Beautiful Days this year. ACOUSTIC MAGAZINE are running a competition to win a slot on The Big Top stage PLUS a limited edition Breedlove guitar, a portable recording studio and a guitar microphone! More details on the prize and how to enter from UNSIGNED BAND REVIEW are also running a competition offering one act a chance to win a slot to play at the festival this year. More details on how to enter from here. The winners of both competitions will ultimately be chosen by the festival.

Beverley Festival supports the Teenage Cancer Trust

The Beverley Festival will once again be supporting the charity the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT), when it takes place in June from 19 – 21st. The festival brings to the Yorkshire town of Beverley some of this country’s best known musicians and performers as well as a wealth of rising stars and top international performers. The festival will this year be developing its green field site (adjacent to its campsite and main venue at the Leisure Complex) in the Festival Village, in the shadow of the stunning Beverley Minster, to offer even more events for families and all age groups, with a broad mix of interests. The TCT Sessions will once again be being held in the Wold Top Tent, in the Festival Village, between noon and 7pm both Saturday 20th and Sunday 21 June. The sessions were introduced to the festival program three years ago and are hosted by the organiser of Hunsley Acoustic Music sessions, Will Richardson. Will, a long time supporter of both the Trust and the Festival, was invited to host the sessions in aid of the charity and since 2007 and there has never been a shortage of musicians to take to the stage and entertain the happy crowds! A collection is made during the event and the proceeds are donated to the charity. Musicians from around the country are invited to play the TCT Sessions, donating their time and talent for the charity and to entertain the audience in the Wold Top tent This venue also has an unlimited supply of the fine WOLD TOP ale, a local brew. This year bands taking part in the Sessions over the weekend come from all over the country. West Yorkshire will be represented by groups The Durbervilles and the Hall Brothers with fiddle player John Carey. Scarborough based duo Stony, York group Union Central (who play tribute to Alison Krauss and Union Station) and, from Lancashire, Wigan-based singer songwriter Jon Brindley will also be playing during the weekend. East Yorkshire is represented by Nick and Helen Stubbs and Tom Gorringe and Hull band Circus Envy will be making their debut appearance. The three sisters Charlotte, Emily and Eleanor Harding are back, better known as The Neumes, and they will finish the Saturday afternoon concert. Hurricane Geoff Watson, The Acoustic Project and the band Mean Eyed Cat which feature our sound engineers, Lynn and Anita Blakeston will be finishing off the weekend’s TCT entertainment. Other headline acts booked at the festival include one of this countries finest song writers, Billy Bragg along with Seth Lakeman. Highlighting our Saturday Solstice Party Night will be festival favourites, Celtic Dance music idols, The Peatbog Faeries. Joining the party will be the legendary Lonnie Donegan Band featuring Peter Donegan , performing the songs and music of Peter’s legendary father Lonnie Donegan, and the UK’s only acoustic Ska Band, Skavolution. For further details or to book online go to – - or contact our Festival Hotline on 01377 217569

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Fine English Ceilidh band* STEAMCHICKEN have got in touch with news (we played the band in FolkCast 030). First of all, says Andrew from the band, they look set to be part of the bill at this year's Cambridge Folk Festival, which is a pleasant surprise seeing as some of the artists so far announced for Cambridge have been a little off the traditional folk beam - The Zutons, anyone? Only joking! The full list of Cambridge artists is, as always, a great mix of the usual suspects and some that are really left field and unexpected. But The Zutons, anyone? A good rock band, but folk? Anyone? Second of all, the band is about to hatch a new album - Calling All Chickens - and we'll be playing something from that soon, probably in our May show. And third of all, they are playing at the Phoenix Ceilidhs, Horwich, near Bolton on April 7th, with Martyn Harvey calling. * Can you have an English Ceilidh band? Shouldn't they be a "barn dance" band, or something? Discuss!