Sidmouth FolkWeek 2018 (3-10 August) releasing the first wave of great value Super Early Bird tickets – numbers strictly limited.

This just in from Sidmouth Folk Festival:

Sidmouth FolkWeek 3-10 August 2018, Ear on the past, eye on the future

Tickets now on sale for “the friendliest music-based holiday of the summer” (One Magazine)

Sidmouth FolkWeek 2018 (3-10 August) has announced its first round of headline acts along with releasing the first wave of great value Super Early Bird tickets – numbers strictly limited.

The long-running seaside festival of music and dance brings together a stunning selection of folk and traditional music – from big-name headliners to exciting new performers – all set against the beautiful Devon coastline.

Guests will find there’s something for everyone, with concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, youth and family events, talks, processions and displays, storytelling, and surprises around every corner. The amazing value All-In-One and Season Tickets now available can give you unlimited access to festival events from first thing in the morning until the last thing at night.

See the website for full line-up details and ticket offers:

What’s on?

The popular Pre-Festival concerts this year feature the legendary Fairport Convention, and the hilariously virtuosic Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

The festival’s concert headliners in the Ham Marquee include the phenomenally popular Show of Hands with Miranda Sykes, the pure and distinctive vocal style of Cara Dillon, a truly global perspective on ancient Northumbrian traditions from Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening, gloriously powerful and melodic dance music from Blowzabella, multi-award-winning Scottish singer and songwriter Karine Polwart, a Before The Ruin 10th anniversary concert from Drever, McCusker, Woomble, innovative and exciting explorations of traditional music from the Gigspanner Big Band, striking arrangements and songwriting from African-Canadian roots star Kaia Kater, beloved and hilarious poet and songwriter Les Barker, stars of the next generation of folk musicians Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, and, bringing together histories from Steeleye Span and Bellowhead, incomparable duo Peter Knight & John Spiers.

Still want more?

Spend your days listening to some of the best performers on the scene in concert, with music from Alistair Anderson & Northlands, Stick in the Wheel, Gordie MacKeeman & his Rhythm Boys, Steve Tilston & Jez Lowe, Faustus, The Rheingans Sisters, Edgelarks, Pete Coe, Narthen, The Emily Askew Band, and a celebration of young musical excellence with the National Youth Folk Ensemble.

The Bulverton plays evening host to high-energy roots shows and dance parties, with performances and a few surprises in store from Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, False Lights, Blowzabella, Police Dog Hogan, Elephant Sessions, Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Monster Ceilidh Band, and Vintage Cock And Bull Band. And for the real night owls, Betsy’s Lounge will be open late for music and song.

For those who prefer a more close-up and intimate atmosphere, Sidmouth FolkWeek offers many opportunities to see festival guests on stages throughout the town. Notably, the fRoots-curated Cellar Full of Folkadelia afternoon sessions include Ye Vagabonds, Tim Jones & The Dark Lanterns, Rock Of Eye, and Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne. Festival-goers can also see performances from John Kirkpatrick, Roisin White, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, Josie Duncan & Pablo Lafuente, Jez Lowe, The Rowsome Family, Steve Tilston, Pete Coe, Georgia Lewis, Ryan Young with Jenn Butterworth, Nick Dow, Jack Rutter and more.

Dancers will be spoilt for choice with ceilidhs and dances across multiple venues, with something for everyone, whether you’ve only ever tried ceilidh dancing at a wedding, or are a seasoned dancer looking for something to really get your teeth into. Look out for exhilarating dances with bands including the Old Swan Band, Playford Liberation Front, Banter, Polkaworks, Threepenny Bit, Whapweasel, and Diatonics.

This year’s busy Folk Dance programme means you can keep dancing from breakfast til bedtime, with the tried and tested formula of big mornings, gentle afternoons and fun evenings of folk dance. Look out for American dance workshops with Rachel Shapiro Wallace with Vertical Expression and Contrasaurus; English dance workshops with Madeleine Smith and Emma Wooders with Limehouse Cut and Stradivarious; Irish Set from Val Knight with Polka Pests; Scandinavian Dance from Megan Hatto with Bowjolie, Jane Austen Dance with Hannah Moore with the English dance musicians, and much more.

The belle of the evening ball is Stowford Rise where specials include a Playford Ball, a Scandi night, a Playford Electronica event with Sea-Green Incorrigible Music and Daisy Black calling, an Irish Set Night, and American with the callers and dancers from the week all contributing.

The festival also offers an enormous range of workshops, so whether you want to try out something completely new or improve your existing skills, you’ll find something to suit from the 200+programme, with tutors and guests who are leaders in their field. And remember, a Season Ticket gets you into any or all of these workshops.

As ever, FolkWeek showcases a range of British traditional dance styles in Processions, Meet The Teams and spectacular displays around the town and along the seafront, including the unmissable Torchlight Procession. Dance sides already confirmed include Hammersmith Morris Men, Sussex Junction Morris, The Outside Capering Crew, Wreckers Border Morris, Chiltern Hundreds Clog Morris, Belle d’Vain Northwest Morris and many more.

For a brilliant family holiday full of music, dance, and crafts, look no further than the Blackmore Gardens, with three workshop venues offering opportunities for all ages, family evening shows and big-name festival guests. And teenagers get their own dedicated programme of workshops and events with the much-loved Shooting Roots, including a collaboration with the superb Stream Of Sound youth chorus, this year exploring the underwater world of mythological selkies.

Keep checking the website for updates and latest line-up additions for the 2018 festival.


For more information or high-res images, please contact Jo Breeze on or 07816 165289

Notes for editors:

Sidmouth FolkWeek is an unmissable week-long seaside celebration of music, dance and song taking place in the beautiful East Devon regency coastal resort.

There has been a folk festival in Sidmouth in the first week of August every year since 1955 attracting tens of thousands of visitors to over 700 diverse events with broad ‘something for everyone’ appeal. With an ear to the past and an eye on the future, the festival features established stars and emerging talent; major concerts, lively roots parties; small intimate sessions; ceilidhs and folk dancing; storytelling; fun family entertainment and youth-centred sessions; hands-on workshops and spectacular dance displays; the best in South West crafts and the tastiest of local food and drink.

The town’s streets and venues burst with festive atmosphere and colour as holidaymakers and festival goers join together in the friendliest music-based holiday of the summer.


Unicorn Magazine Issue 141 is now out…

Issue 141 is now out!

Just to say that Issue 141 of Unicorn Magazine (January, February & March 2018) is now out! It is instantly available online as a downloadable PDF from the usual places (our website, ISSUU, the link below etc), and the hard copies should be being distributed now.

Please also remember to sign up to our mailing list and read this blog for amends in between issues…

Finally, we would like to wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas & A Happy New Year – many thanks for all your support over the past year…

Clive & Sandra

New Roots 2018

This just in from New Roots:

New Roots 2018

The call is out to young musicians under the age of 25 who sing or play traditionally based music to enter for New Roots 2016. Whether your style is traditional or contemporary folk, roots or world music, whether you perform traditional material or write your own, the organisers would like to hear from you.   There are two categories, under 18 and 18-24. New Roots has been running since 2000 and the standard rises every year.

The list of judges for 2018 has now been finalised. Between them, Emily Askew, Jamie Roberts. Andy Stafford and Valmai Goodyst represent a wide spectrum of insights into the folk scene. Their task will be firstly to listen to the entries sent in and select the performers who will take part in the final on Sunday April 8 2018 at Trestle Arts Base in St Albans. On the day they will give constructive feedback to performers. There is no overall winner and everyone who makes it to the final will win one or more performance opportunities. The aim is to match the performers to the opportunities at folk festivals, clubs and other events which are offered to New Roots finalists. At folk clubs, opportunities include support slots, featured spots on singers’ nights and full bookings.

Performers who want to enter are invited to complete the entry form on the New Roots web site and email it to In reply, they will get an email telling them how to upload up to 15 minutes of their music. The closing date is 31 January 2018. For further and more up to date information on the web site This also has a form for event organisers who wish to offer performance opportunities for young musicians.


Further details: email: or ring 01727 852111.

50 minutes with Bill Redway + friends – Friday 8 th December

This just in from Kimpton..

50 minutes with Bill Redway + friends – Friday 8

And now… the second of our ’50 minutes with…’ popup concerts at Kimpton’s Dacre Rooms, featuring the home nurtured talent of Bill Redway, along with a selection of his musical friends.

These short concerts give you an opportunity to enjoy the music of some of our finest musical artists. Seats are limited to 50 and admission is just £5.

Bill is a favourite on the local folk circuit; a very fine guitarist and singer who performs a wide range of blues, folk, pop and Americana music. The Dacre Rooms will be the perfect setting to enjoy his music.

Please arrive by 8.45 at the latest.  £5 admission includes a free ticket for the raffle. See you there!

Waltham Abbey Folk Club change venue…

This just in from Waltham Abbey Folk Club…
Important update information.
Please note that 30th Oct will be our last meeting at the Royal British Legion Hall.  From November 6th we will be welcome at The Angel public house , Sun Street , Waltham Abbey , Essex EN9 3DP.
Folk will start to gather at 7pm, singaround starts at 7-30 until 10-30.
We will continue to have one guest evening a month with singaround money going towards the fee.
The £1 per head donation that went to the legion every week will now be donated to the charity jar at the pub.

Change of name and venue for The White Horse Folk Club, Hertford

This just in from the White Horse Folk Club…
With immediate effect we are having to change venue to
The Hertford Club
Lombard House
Bull Plain
SG14 1DT
…and as we will no longer meet in The White Horse I’m changing name to Four Rivers Folk Club (Hertford sits on the convergence of of The Beane, Lea, Rib and Mimram)
Until end of year we will be meeting there on 2nd and 4th Tuesday in the bar but in 2018 we will be changing evening to the  2nd and 4th Wednesday and have a private room upstairs.
More explanation here:
Hi Guys,
Due to the uncertainty of the viability of the White Horse as  a venue for the folk Club due to it remaining closed caused by no beer deliveries. There are many issues outstanding between Stefan (the licensee) and Fullers who appear to charge their resident landlords £160 for a barrel of London Pride but only charge non-tied landlords £115 or thereabouts. Stefan has taken no money out of the enterprise for the last 11 months. Seemingly Fullers are looking for another landlord.
With all this going on and to ensure that we continue to have a folk club in Hertford I have approached The Hertford Club and the following has been agreed to.
1. We can continue in the Hertford Club bar on a tuesday evening until end of this year.
2. From January 2018 we will run the folk club on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday monthly. This is because they a a decades long commitment  to the Chess Club on Tuesdays and this is ongoing.
3. I will transfer the amplified open mic from the 2nd Wednesday  to the 3rd Wednesday of the month 
4. We will have the room upstairs in the  Club at our disposal so we will be free of bar noise and be able to accommodate larger audiences.
5. They will charge me their standard fee for the room £25 per night but I can have my open mic night there if I want to without incurring an extra charge
6. If we have bigger acts that require a pa we can do this in this room.
Some notes:-
1. As we’re not using the White Horse I propose changing the name of the club to the “Four River’s Folk Club”, I didn’t think “The Hertford Club Folk Club”sounded good and “The Lombard House Folk Club” sounded too posh!
2. As I have to pay for the room now I am suggesting a £2 fee for audience and keeping it free for players as I don’t believe in the “pay to play” policy of some clubs.
3. Roger and Emma have helped out tremendously in taking over on nights but Roger isn’t always available and he and Emma are regulars at the Wednesdays in the Herald in Harlow so I’d like to ask Mike and John to consider assisting on a regular or ad hoc basis so I can have holidays etc.
Let me know how you see all this and please make suggestions.
To refresh from next Tuesday onwards we will be at the Hertford Club can you let as many people know as possible.

A charity fundraiser concert, Kimpton, 14 October 2017

This just in…

What: A charity fundraiser concert
Who: The Simon Thompson Band, GBH, Kimpton Unplugged
When: 14 October. Doors at 8pm. And afterwards in The Boot
Where: Kimpton Memorial Hall
Why: This is a fundraising concert for a refugee facility on the Greek island of Samos. There 1600 refugees in the centre, half of whom are children. The majority are living in tents and with winter on the way, their hard living conditions will become unbearable. Life there is really tough.
One aim of this event is to buy a minibus as well as buying stuff that will help the refugees pass the time – games, books and toys for the children.
There’s a lot more information here or on their Facebook page
What next: Buy tickets. £12 for a single, £20 for a pair. On sale in the Corner Store, The Boot and from Ian Mitchell [01438 832747 after 6pm] or from Michael Magenis on 01438 833976 [after7pm].

If you can’t make it but would like to make a donation, please let Ian know

Unicorn Magazine Issue 140 is now out…

Issue 140 is now out!

Just to say that Issue 140 of Unicorn Magazine (October, November & December 2017) is now out! It is instantly available online as a downloadable PDF from the usual places (our website, ISSUU etc), and the hard copies should be being distributed now.

Please also remember to sign up to our mailing list and read this blog for amends in between issues… For example, there is an amend to the printed version for the session in St Albans on a Wednesday night – now reading: ST ALBANS • White Swan, Dagnall Street, (8.30pm, weekly, Traditional Irish Instrumental): Rick, 01727 852976