Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Great British Folk Festival

Fancy seeing Kate Rusby, Acoustic Strawbs (pictured below), Sandi Thom, John Renbourne & Jacqui McShee, Oyster Band, Gordon Giltrap, Rod Clements, Phil Cool, Stackridge, Nine Below Zero, The Dylan Project and many more? Fancy paying just over £70 for the entire weekend ... including accommodation? If so, read on....

Butlins is famous for offering traditional family seaside holidays and, increasingly, specialist music festival weekends.

Now its beachside resort in Skegness is getting in on the act with The Great British Folk Festival. And it certainly does sound a great line-up - and the chance to carry the festival season into December (3rd-5th)!

The Great British Folk Festival aims to reflect the light and shade of folk music, with the familiar, the maybe-not-so-familiar, the new and the ‘hang on, didn’t he used to play with….?’. In the latter capacity, the festival boasts performers who are former or current members of such bands as Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention, Dire Straits, The Blues Band, Strawbs, Boomtown Rats, Cat Stevens band, Jethro Tull, Rory Gallagher band, Smokie and Steeleye Span.

Prices for the three-night festival start at just £72pp for the entire weekend break including accommodation, access to most of the Butlins resort facilities and all live entertainment. 

To book call 0845 070 4730 or visit


(inc current of former members of – Lindisfarne. Steeleye Span, Jethro Tull, Fairport, Magna Carta)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Sarah McQuaid gig dates

We've featured Cornwall-based Irish singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid a couple of times on FolkCast, and everything we've heard from her we have enjoyed. 

Renowned for her warm, engaging stage presence, Sarah is a versatile and beguiling performer. Her voice delivers a powerful emotional punch that's matched by her distinctive, eloquent guitar style. In addition to her own elegantly crafted original songs, she interprets traditional Irish and Appalachian folk songs, Elizabethan ballads, 1930s jazz numbers, surprise covers and lively guitar instrumentals with panache and poignance.

She's performing throughout the year:

July 2010

Sat 31, Fairbrook House, Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford, Ireland
Tel 00 353 (0) 51 384657 Tel €20 – Two Shows 1pm (Doors 12:30), 5pm (Doors 4:30)

September 2010

Thurs 16 The Blue Anchor Inn -- 50 Coinagehall Street, Helston, Cornwall TR13 8EL
Tel 01736 786463 Tickets FREE – From 8.00 pm

Thur 23. The Bradford Irish Club, Rebecca Street, Bradford, Yorkshire, BD1 2RX
Tel 01274 732000 Tickets £6.00 – From 8.30 pm

Fri 24. St Peters Church Hall, 66 Chancellor Street, Partick, Glasgow, Scotland, G11 5PS
Tel 07709 652237 £6.00 – From 7.30 pm

Sun 26. Argyll's, 1 Princes Street, Falkirk, Scotland, FK1 1LS
Tel 07535 097296 Tickets £6.00 – From 8.00 pm

Mon 27. Terrace Bar, The Glenfarg Hotel, Main Street, Glenfarg, Perthshire, PH2 9NU
Tel 01577 830241 £5.00 – From 8.00 pm

Tues 28. The Village Bar and Restaurant, South Fort Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH6 4DN
Tel 07502 024852 Tickets £6.00 – From 7.30 pm

Thurs 30. The Auld Cross Keys Hotel, Main Street, Denholm, Roxburghshire, TD9 8NU
Tel 1450 870305 £0.00 – From 8.00 pm

October 2010

Fri 1. The Old Cottage Tavern, Byrkley Street, Burton upon Trent, Staffs, DE14 2EG
Tel 01283 760575 Tickets £6.00 – From 8.00 pm

Sun 3. Appleby Beer and Blues Festival The Public Hall, Boroughgate, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria CA16 6XE
Tel 07833 449500  Tickets £12.50 – From 1:45 pm

Mon 4. Sun Inn, Knowles Street, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, TS18 1SU
Tel 01740 630079 Tickets £0.00 – From 8.00 pm

Wed 6. The Old Ship Inn, Main Street, Lowdham, Notts, NG14 7BE
Tel 0115 966 3596 Tickets £7.00 – From 7.30 pm

Thurs 7. Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PR
Tel 01904 632922 Tickets £0.00 – From 8.00 pm

Fri 8. Harlequin Theatre Bar, Queen Street, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5JN
Tel 01606 79356 £0.00 – From 8.00 pm

Sat 9. South Pool Village Hall -- Herring Street, South Pool, Kingsbridge, Devon TQ7 2RP
Tel 01548 531304 -- Tickets Price TBC – From 8.00 pm

Sun 10. Rattery Village Hall, Rattery, South Brent, Devon TQ10 9LD
Tel 01364 643741 -- Tickets Price TBC -- 7.30pm

Mon 11. White Hill Community Centre, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 1AG. 
Tel. 07771 727943 Tickets £ 10.00 – From 8.00 pm

Thurs 14. Darlington Arts Centre, Vane Terrace, Darlington DL3 7AX
Tel 01325 261179 Tickets £5.00 – From 8.00 pm

Fri 15. Craigdarroch Arms Hotel, High Street, Moniaive, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire DG3 4HN
Tel 01848 200474 Tickets £7.00 – From 9.00 pm

Sun 17. Sheepstor Village Hall,  Sheepstor, Yelverton, Devon PL20 6PF
Tel 01822 853186 -- Tickets Price TBC -- 7:30pm

Thurs 21. The Bridge Inn -- Topsham, Exeter, Devon EX3 0QQ
Tel 01392 873862 -- Tickets £8.00 From 8.00 pm

Fri 22. Dunkeswell Village Hall, Dunkeswell, Honiton, Devon EX14 4QZ
Tel 01404 891677 -- Tickets Price TBC -- 7:30pm

Sat 23. Devoran Village Hall, Quay Road, Devoran, Cornwall, TR3 6PW
Tel 07765 423751 Tickets £8.50 – From 7.30 pm

December 2010

Fri 3. Constitutional Club, Crouch Lane, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 1PU
Tel 01323 899405 Tickets £0.00 – From 8.00 pm

Sat 4. Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7QR
Tel 01252 745444 -- Tickets £5.00 -- 9pm (Doors 8pm)

Mon 6. Green Note, 106 Parkway, Camden Town, London, UK NW1 7AN
Tel 07956 044060 -- Tickets £7.00  -- From 8.15 pm

Friday, 9 July 2010

Cambridge still not sold out

There was a time, not very long ago, when getting tickets for the Cambridge Folk Festival was like getting tickets for Glastonbury ... if you wanted some you had to move early, and move fast. But this year that's not the case. In fact, with just over three weeks to go until the start of "the grandaddy of all folk festivals" there are plenty of tickets still for sale.

Could it be that the financial meltdown has dribbled all over proceedings at Cherry Hinton? Let's hope not. 

Mind you, the line-up is increasingly ... eclectic and mainstream. Kris Kristofferson? Natalie Merchant? The Wonderstuff? Of course, there are lots of, erm, folk artists too - The Imagined Village, Seth Lakeman, Show Of Hands, The Unthanks, etc etc - but maybe not quite as many major folkie names as you might expect. Perhaps a return to the roots rather than the increasing ramble into territory covered by other music festivals might be worth investigating.

However, if you want tickets, click here and see what's up for grabs. Extra day tickets for the Friday/Saturday/Sunday have just been released, and weekend tickets are still available. With camping. By switching from full weekend tickets to day tickets, organisers say they expect to reach at least 95% of sell-out, which is good.

And if you can't make it, you can of course hear about it on BBC Radio 2. Or, this year, watch it on Sky Arts.

Tee time with Martyn Joseph

A petition has been launched in a bid to make a new song by Martyn Joseph the official song of the 2010 Ryder Cup, which Wales hosts for the first time this autumn. 

The man dubbed “the Welsh Springsteen” launched 'On This Celtic Morning' at a recent star-studded event in Cardiff honouring golfing hero Ian Woosnam, Wales’s only Major golf winner, as he was enrolled into the revered Welsh Sports Hall of Fame. 

Now website – an online community for golfers - has got behind the song and launched a petition aimed at making it the official song for the iconic tournament at Newport’s Celtic Manor this October, played out between Europe and the USA. The petition can be signed here.

The heartfelt and empathic new song perfectly captures the pride rippling through Wales as it counts down to being the host nation for the iconic biennial transatlantic tournament and is likely to be a bonus track on his forthcoming new studio album Lonely Like America due out in October on his own Pipe Records label.
Says Martyn: “I have often effused about my love affair with the ancient game of golf. It’s a sport I have played as best as I could since I was ten years old and if you “get it” then you know how all consuming it is. With the Ryder Cup coming to Wales for the first time, I found myself toying with a few lyrical ideas that eventually became this song.”

On This Celtic Morning tries to embrace the unique spirit of the game and is hopefully an acknowledgement of the past as well as the amazing skills of today’s fairway magicians. It felt right to put it out there amidst the excitement that is building by the M4 intersection with Newport.”

A free download of the song is also available from his website at

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Abbotsbury pix and videos

Had a great day yesterday at Abbotsbury, Show Of Hands' own one-day festival deep in the Devon Dorset countryside. It's a wonderful  setting - in a sub-tropical garden - and featured a cleverly produced line-up with enough variety to keep everyone interested, although I must say I just don't "get" Ade Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds. They are obviously a talented bunch of guys (now reduced to a three-piece following Maart Allcock's departure) but the covers of punk songs don't cut it for me. In fact, they don't cut it for the band, either, because they soon run out of punk songs and start doing rather better stuff by the likes of Talking Heads....

Anyway, there's a gallery of photos here and I've embedded a couple of videos below. Apologies in advance for the shaky camera work!

Rodney Branigan was a remarkable find. OK, so his trick with two guitars is a gimmick, but it's a good gimmick ... and the lad can really play. Given just one guitar he produces excellent music, including his self-penned songs.

Meanwhile, Spiro's blend of folk, jazz and classical themes was just right for a warm summer's afternoon with a glass in the hand. Maybe a little more variety in their output would help propel them up a notch or two, but the talent is definitely there.

Show Of Hands were excellent, of course. My only quibble was that a couple of their songs were decidedly unseasonal - Tall Ships and Innocent's Song - which are both winter songs. Why sing them in 25C heat in July?