More Great Music Online

Hope you are all well and keeping safe. Did you catch the wonderful online gigs over the weekend? The Show of Hands concert from the Minack Theatre (2018) was a high spot for me – helping me to forget my disappointment over the cancellation of the Costa del Folk Festival in Ibiza.

More wonderful music is coming up this week:

  • Tomorrow Tuesday 28 April at 7.30pm UK time (and 8.30pm French time) Flosssie Malavialle is doing a ‘The show must go home’ (geddit??) concert from her home in France via Facebook. Join her to help her celebrate her birthday. Free admission!! However you will have the option to put a (non compulsory) contribution in a paypal tip jar on the day.
  • On Saturday we have a choice (although you can of course catch up with the one you have to miss afterwards) with two concerts:
    • Miranda Sykes is doing her next Saturday concert on 2 May at 7.30pm live via Facebook from her living room. Miranda is a great inspiration during these troubled times as not only is she coping with the lockdown like the rest of us, but she is doing these concerts between chemotherapy treatments – having been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. There will be a tip jar at and Miranda has announced that she will be splitting the donations 50:50 with her 15 year old nephew Ted and his friends who were due to take part in the Ten Tors challenge which is (normally) run annually on Dartmoor and involves around 4000 youngsters navigating routes of 35, 45 or 55 miles (depending on age) across inhospitable terrain over 2 days, carrying almost 30lbs of kit and without adult support. This year’s event has been cancelled, but the lads have decided to turn it into a fundraiser for the NHS Charities Together. They are aiming to walk the 45 miles with full backpacks on in their gardens and local vicinity over 2 days.  

A great effort for a great cause. Miranda will be giving us an update on their progress during the gig.

    • Also on Saturday 2 May but at 7.00pm Ninebarrow are doing their 2nd livestream gig from their dining room via Facebook.
  • And then on Sunday 3 May at 7.30pm Chris While and Julie Matthews are doing their next ‘Live in the Lounge’ request show on Facebook.
  • The joy of this online world is that distance is no barrier and organisations and venues all over the country (and indeed the world). You might like to look at the music workshops being run by The Tolbooth in Stirling (who are also promising art and ceramics courses later). I’m sure there are many others.
  • If you are a ukulele fan, The World of Ukes have a wealth of interesting things on their website – including two festivals (one past and one future) for only £12 each and online workshops with Andy Webster (well known to those of us who attend Costa del Folk).

More and more is happening online – many artists are posting events and news on their Facebook pages and YouTube.  Please support them in every way you can – and buy CDs direct from the artists and their websites rather than streaming or downloading the music (which generates very little income for the artists). And please let me know about events you come across so I can spread the word (

Stay safe and enjoy the music.

And yet more music……..!

No sooner have I written one blog than my inbox is full of more information about the creativity and ingenuity of the wonderful folk community. All these gigs are in addition to those I have posted about in earlier blogs.

  • Tonight (Sunday 19 April) at 7.00pm Daoiri Farrell presents another gig from his home on Facebook
  • On Friday 24 April at 7.30pm Christine Collister is presenting ‘CC Live in Lockdown’ from her Facebook page
  • On Tuesday 28 April at 7.30pm (UK time) Flossie Malavialle (beloved of many especially fans of Costa del Folk) is doing an online gig on her Facebook page
  • Chris While and Julie Matthews are doing a third ‘Live from the Lounge’ request show on Sunday 3 May at 7.30pm on their Facebbok page. Due to a technical hitch, show no 2 was not recorded but if all goes well for no 3, the show will also be available after the live session
  • Ciaran Algar is continuing his wonderful daily series of first class collaborations on his Facebook page and he has started his Kickstarter campaign today, to raise funds to have an album made within 2 months. Every musician appearing on the album will be paid Musician’s Union rates for their time, and every penny raised over the goal will go towards providing funds for as many musicians and people involved with the Folk scene as possible.Every penny counts, and all donations are hugely appreciated, however small.Please help if you can.…/ciarans-corona-collaborations…
  • Every Saturday at 10.00pm Tim Edey does a two hour (plus) Facebook concert of soothing Celtic Music on acoustic guitar and other instruments called ‘The Sleeping Tunes’

And some more (sad) festival news:

  • St Albans Folk Festival has been postponed from June to 25 – 27 September.
  • Whitby Folk Week has been postponed until 21 to 27 August 2021
  • Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival has been postponed to 12-14 August 2021

Thank goodness I bought a 2021 diary just before the lockdown!!

That’s all for now folks.  Stay safe and enjoy the music.

More wonderful online entertainment

Just a quick blog today with news of more wonderful online entertainment:

  • Chris While and Julie Matthews are ‘Live from the Lounge’ at 7.30pm on Facebook this evening (Friday 17 April)
  • Join Richard Thompson this Sunday, April 19 for a Facebook Livestream event with a portion of the proceeds going to the NJ Food Bank. The show will begin at 9.00pm BST. You can donate to Richard at:
  • Show of Hands are streaming a show live from the openair Minack Theatre in Cornwall on Friday 24 April at 7.30pm. I’m sure this will help us get over our disappointment at the postponement of their wonderful day at Abbotsbury for 2020 (now rescheduled to 3 July 2021),
  • Megson are streaming a live concert direct from their house on Wednesday 22 April at 7.30pm on Facebook live. You can make donations at

And although it ‘s certainly not folk music, you might like to know that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of Phantom of the Opera is being livestreamed tonight (Friday 17 April) and tomorrow (Saturday 18 April) direct from the Royal Albert Hall.See details on the Royal Albert Hall website.

Music and the arts are so vital to us all at the strange and worrying time.  Enjoy the shows and please do what you can to support the artists and the venues.

Stay safe and take care.

More online concerts and festival updates

I hope you all had a good Easter despite the lockdown. The online festivals (such as Folk on Foot which raised over £90,000 to help artists and Folks at Home) and concerts by superb artists including the wonderful and very brave Miranda Sykes certainly helped me cope over the weekend.

The thing that made me smile more than anything else was a highly creative video of dancing mice by Chris Short of The Churchfitters – using his time effectively while in lockdown in France. See this on Facebook

Here’s some more news about the folk world:

  • Today is the last day of the Gate to Southwell Festival fundraising campaign.You can donate here.  They are trying to cover the losses made because of the cancellation of the 2020 festival and if you donate, you’d be part of an amazing group of people helping the festival push forward to 2021. Their losses are actually higher than their fundraising target but they’re exploring other routes for funding (like the Arts Council) as they’re not eligible for any of the Government schemes because they are a not-for-profit organisation, and don’t have staff who could be furloughed (they’re all volunteers) or business premises
  • Towersey Festival (which is family run and the oldest festival in the country) also has a crowdfunder running (you can donate here).  They have already spent considerable amounts of money which they will not be able to recoup and for which there is no insurance cover in this global catastrophe
  • Chris While and Julie Matthews are doing a second online ‘Live in the Lounge’ concert on Facebook on Friday 17 April at 7.30pm (and have hinted that they will do a third one soon too)
  • Steve Knightley has numerous posts of performances, music lessons and even a glimpse of his lovely wife in a shortie nightie!! on his Facebook page, YouTube and the Official Show of Hands Page
  • Phil Beer has announced that he will be recording a performance for streaming soon (technology and internet issues prevent him doing a live gig just now)
  • Cormac Byrne is doing free online bodhran lessons via his Facebook page
  • Emily Slade, Simon Care, Tim Edey, Daria Kulesh and Daoiri Farrell are (separately!) doing concerts from their homes
  • Ciaran Algar launched his Patreon in late March – various tiers include access to exclusive videos of songs and tunes, fiddle tutorial videos, personalised shoutouts and even some hand-drawn artwork.  See his Facebook page for details and also news of his #ciaranscoronacollabs with many other talented musicians
  • Ninebarrow are doing a second concert from their dining room on Saturday 2 May on Facebook at 7.30pm BST.

Plus numerous other artists doing amazing things all over the internet – sadly too many to mention. Just look for your favourite artists on YouTube, Facebook etc and you will find more than enough music to lift your spirits.

I’m sorry to tell you that yet more festivals have been cancelled:

  • Warwick Folk Festival – postponed until 22-25 July 2021.
  • Wychwood Folk Festival – postponed until 4-6 June 2021
  • Cambridge Folk Festival – postponed until 2021

and sadly I fear they will not be the last to take this drastic but necessary step to safeguard everyone involved.

That’s all for now folks – if you have any news you want Unicorn Magazine to help publicise, please email me at

Stay safe and keep yourselves and the music alive.

Music for the Easter Weekend and Beyond

The sun is shining and it’s a Bank Holiday weekend – but not as we know it!

Luckily as we are staying at home to protect ourselves and the NHS, there is plenty of wonderful music to keep us cheerful and entertained:

  • Steve Knightley has uploaded his show ‘A Musical Journey’ to the official Show of Hands Facebook page
  • Miranda Sykes is doing another of her wonderful living room concerts on Easter Saturday 11 April at 7.30pm.  See her Facebook page for details
  • Phil Beer has posted a session on the Vintage Viator 12 string guitar on his Facebook page
  • Ninebarrow have announced another concert from their dining room on Saturday 2 May. See Facebook for details

And there is so much more going on – see the previous blogs for information about Kirsty Merryn’s festival stating on Easter Saturday, Folks as Home Festival, Folk on Foot Festival and so many other events, too numerous to mention. And all to enjoy in the safety and comfort of your home.

Sadly but not unexpectedly, I also have to report that several of our favourite summer festivals have been postponed to 2021. The new dates have been published so you can put them in your diaries now:

  • Folk by the Oak – now 18 July 2021
  • Ely Folk Festival – now 9 to 11 July 2021
  • Shrewsbury Folk Festival – now 27 to 30 August 2021
  • Towersey Festival – now 27 to 30 August 2021

No news yet about Kimpton Festival or Warwick Folk Festival – their websites indicate that they are still planning to go ahead but are considering all options before making a decision.

As before, my best advice is to check with the organiser of any event or festival before taking any action or making plans.

In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine and the online music and do all you can to keep music live and support the artists in this unprecedented time.

Best wishes and stay safe

Sandra Lawes (Editor)

More news of cancellations -sorry!

We are living in unprecedented times and I’m sorry to bring you bad news. But I guess you won’t be surprised to learn that Unicorn Magazine has been told about a number of cancellations over the next few months:

  • The Gate to Southwell Festival has been cancelled but the organisers have spent significant amounts on the 2020 event, and if you can help them cover some of these costs, they would be very grateful.  Whether you choose to or not is up to you of course.  You can access their fundraising page here Planning has already started for the event in 2021
  • Sidmouth Folk Festival has been cancelled, breaking an uninterrupted run of 65 festivals. The organisers know this may feel devastating, but the well-being of all involved in attending and running the Festival is paramount. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic clearly makes it impossible to proceed with the 2020 event. Plans are already underway for the 2021 Festival
  • Due to the impact of Covid-19, the 2020 Ely Folk Festival has been postponed until 9-11 July 2021. The organisers will publish more details on this shortly
  • St Neots Folk Festival has been cancelled and St Neots Folk Club is not meeting currently until 16 June, as the Priory Centre is closed
  • Chesham Folk Club has cancelled all gigs in April and will review the situation after Easter
  • Hitchin Folk Club has cancelled its gigs in April and May.  See their website for information about the scheduled June gig with Johnny Coppin and Mike Silver in due course
  • In common with so many artists, Na-Mara have cancelled their concerts including the one in Welwyn Garden City on 10 May. Dates will be rescheduled but we don’t yet know when
  • Benslow Music in Hitchin is closed but online courses are still running – see their website for details.

I’m sure there are many other changes and cancellations that I don’t know about – please let me know if you hear of others.  And don’t forget the many excellent online music events that are being run – bringing us great music and helping the artists too.  Please check websites, Facebook pages etc to keep up to date with everything and let me know if there is anything you would like mentioned in a Unicorn blog. I’ll do what I can to help.

Please stay home (if you can), stay safe and keep supporting live music and dance. We will get through this!

Great folk music online during the lockdown

Hi everyone! Hope you are safe and coping.

We all love our music and it’s really hard not to be able to go to gigs and festivals while the virus rages.  So here are some links to online music to help during the crisis – and if you can afford to send the artists a donation, you will be helping them at a very difficult time too!

  • At 7.30pm this evening Friday 3 April, Chris While and Julie Matthews are performing a ‘Live in the Lounge’ gig.


Maddy Prior MBE and Ashley Hutchings MBE are the patrons of Folks At Home, the world’s first online folk festival featuring exclusive video footage of 25 of Britain’s top folk acts plus workshops, tutorials, interviews, merchandise and market stalls. The headliners are Steeleye Span, Fotheringay, Ashley Hutchings Morris On and Feast of Fiddles. For more information please visit

  • On Easter Bank Holiday Monday 13 April at 2pm, you can attend the amazing Folk On Foot Front Room Festival (over six hours of unique music) on the Folk on Foot YouTube Channel and Facebook page – direct to your front room.  And support musicians who’ve lost their livelihoods during the coronavirus lockdown.

    The Lineup: Bella Hardy, Beth Porter plus the Bookshop Band, Jon Boden, Julie Fowlis and Éamon Doorley, Karine Polwart, Kris Drever, Lisa Knapp, Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Peggy Seeger, Rachel Newton, Sam Lee, Seth Lakeman and Steve Knightley – all playing sets of up to 30 minutes each in their front rooms.

    See the website for details and costs. You can see a video by Matthew Bannister the host of the Folk on Foot programme on the Folk on Foot Facebook page.

  • Emily Slade is playing some wonderful music on her Facebook page

  • Podcasts of Mike Harding’s folk show are available online via his website The archive contains shows going right back to 2012.
  • Keiron Jones of HITCHIN FOLK CLUB is offering audio concert downloads for £5 per concert to help our beleaguered musician friends. Visit the club’s webpage for details.

I don’t claim that this is a comprehensive list of what’s going on out there – but it’s a start and if you know of other events/happenings, please email me at and I will do what I can to get the word out.

In the meantime, stay safe and help to keep music alive by supporting these events. Enjoy!