Folking Around … news from around the wonderful world of folk


Following the success of their book Ninebarrow’s Dorset: musical walks in a musical landscape, the enterprising duo of James LaBouchardiere and Jon Whitley have organised some four-day ‘Musical Walking Holidays’. The first two are taking place in June and July 2020 and they have chosen the boutique B&B, Kingston Country Courtyard, near Corfe for the accommodation. Limited to fourteen people, you walk by day, and fine dine in the evenings, which is followed by an intimate concert with Jon and Jay before retiring to do it all over again the next day! Not surprisingly, places are being booked fast, so do check it out soon at website

One of the Shire Folk editors saw Blackbeard’s Tea Party busking in York city centre just before Christmas in 2009. He grabbed an album, reviewed it and now they are one of the most sought-after festival and ceilidh bands around. You have probably worked out that they are now celebrating their tenth birthday and have a tour planned later this year. They are coming to the Isis Farmhouse in Oxford on 15 November – for all other gigs go to website

It is with much sadness that we have to report the death of Roland Walls, the organiser of the Black Swan Folk Club in York. The club has been going for over 40 years and was a previous winner of the ‘Folk Club of the Year’ at the BBC Folk Awards. Roland had booked the good and the great in folk music to play in the upstairs bar of the Black Swan in the centre of York or at the NCEM centre on Walmgate. One of the Shire Folk editors visited the club not long ago to see Ewan McLennan and had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Roland. He will be sadly missed by his family and his many friends at the club.

Our good friends at Wychwood Folk Club would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the cancellation of their summer showcase. Unfortunately, it was due to matters beyond their control. Worry not, though, they are aiming to bring all three artistes involved back to the club in the near future. On a much brighter note, they have secured the booking of Fairport Convention in October 2020. Date, venue and ticket information will appear on their website soon. website

Despite the fact that they’ve chosen not to advertise with us any more (their loss, we would say) we won’t hold that against the Bunkfest festival team as they’ve got some of our favourite artists playing at this year’s free festival (yes, free!). Hosted on the Kinecroft and various venues around Wallingford you can see the likes of Sarah McQuaid on the Friday, Jackie Oates, Jack Rutter, and Merry Hell on the Saturday, and The Grahams and Roving Crows closing the festival on Sunday evening. It all takes place from 30 August to 1 September and you can find out more here – website – free plug, for a free festival done and done!

For fans of The Band (and who isn’t?), Robbie Robertson has announced a new album to be released on 20 September. His first new solo album for eight years, Sinematic features Van Morrison on lead track ‘I Hear You Paint Houses’, and it ties in with a new documentary, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, based on Robertson’s 2016 memoir, Testimony. website

Richard Thompson’s 70th Birthday bash at the Royal Albert Hall on 30 September is a wonderfully eclectic melange of artists. Some, such as various Fairport alumni, Linda Thompson, Kami Thompson, Kate Rusby, Maddy Prior, Olivia Chaney and Judith Owen, are predictable, but others, such as Bob Mould, Hugh Cornwell, Derek Smalls (of Spinal Tap fame!) and Zara Phillips (we wonder what she plays?) rather less so. www.richardthompson-music.com

Following a sold-out show at the Jazz Café in July last year, The John Martyn Project, featuring the vocal talents of Blythe Pepino, Kit Hawes, Pete Josef and Sam Brookes, are touring the works of the phenomenon formerly known as Iain David McGeachy around the UK in September. They’ll be stopping at such venues as the Phoenix Arts in Exeter, Henry Tudor House in Shrewsbury, the Musician in Leicester, and St George’s in Bristol. website

We’d like to send our congratulations to Tom Kitching, Kate Huggett, Oliver Cross, Hannah Dunster, Akhila Krishnan, and Fernando Machado, who are the first recipients of the Alan James Creative Bursaries presented by the English Folk Dance and Song Society in memory of Alan James, former Chair of EFDSS, who died suddenly in April 2019. Each bursary is worth up to £2,000 and supports established artists’ creative research and development of four projects that will create new music rooted in and inspired by English folk, and comes with use of rehearsal space at Cecil Sharp House and access to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. website


Keston Cobblers


Maz O'Connor


Kim Edgar


Shire Folk Album of 2018

Moore, Moss Rutter