More Great Music for You to Enjoy

Positive news!! Some live music is coming back and there are some wonderful online events planned for the next few weeks.

  • On Friday 7 August, Show of Hands are performing at a Drive-In Picnic Gig organised by Wickham Festival. Tickets have sold out but I’m told that a second day may be possible. Keep watching the Show of Hands Facebook page
  • The Beardy Folk Festival will now take place on 17 – 20 September at Hopton Court, near Cleo Mortimer, Shropshire. See the website for details
Keith Donnelly
  • This Thursday 23 July, Keith Donnelly will do two back-to-back shows – the first at 6.00pm BST, aimed primarily at children (but of course suitable for all ages) and the second longer set at 7.30pm BST for the more mature members of the audience. He did his first online ‘Who Needs Money When You’re Funny?’ show a couple of weeks or so ago and I loved every minute – hilarious at times, poignant at others – professional throughout. Don’t miss this one and please remember the tip jar. See Keith’s Facebook page for details
Sidmouth Festival Online
  • We are all sad that the iconic Sidmouth Folk Festival has had to be cancelled for 2020 but I’m delighted to tell you (in case you didn’t already know) that plans are coming together for a memorable Online Sidmouth Folk Festival on Saturday 1st August and Sunday 2nd August  5-9pm. Central to it will be four hour ‘live’ shows from a secret location in Sidmouth, hosted by Matthew Crampton and Kitty Macfarlane, the shows will feature live appearances by Steve Knightley and Jim Causley and specially recorded performances by Martin Simpson, Brighde Chaimbeul, Jez Lowe, Talisk, Yves Lambert, Ewan McLennan, Jackie Oates & John Spiers, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage, Cohen Braithwaite- Kilcoyne and many more
  • I’m also delighted to tell you that the 2nd Annual Folk on the Hill festival is to go ahead (normally based in Harrow but online for 2020). On Thursday 13 August at 3.00pm BST, the 2nd Annual Folk on the Hill festival – “We’re back, and this time it’s not personal” will be streaming six videos, each of around one hour featuring more than 15 artists. These will be FREE to view but you can donate either directly to the artists, or to “Help for Musicians”. They guarantee that no money will be going to Folk in the Hill – only to artists. Please donate if you are in a position to do so. The artists include :   Beans on Toast, Bernard Hoskin, CHaS, Craig Joiner, Man The Lifeboats, Marilyn Middleton, Odette Michell, Pauline Vallance, Steve and Julie, Tom Reid, Findlay Napier, Harbottle and Jonas, John McCutcheon, Reg Meuross, Jamie McCoan, Phillip Green, Tim Brooks and others tbc. The website is and the website for “Help for Musicians” benevolent fund is can also find some ‘invitations’ from some of the artists on the YouTube Channel

As always, stay safe, support the music in any way you can and please let me know about events and gigs that you think would interest Unicorn Magazine readers so that I can spread the word.

More News of Online Festivals and Concerts

The creativity and energy of musicians is astounding and lots of things are happening on the folk scene while we come to terms with the pandemic and keep ourselves safe ready for a return to something approaching ‘normal’!

  • If you were busy on Saturday 11 August and missed their Live from the Headshed gig, you can still catch Chris While and Julie Matthews on their Facebook page
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  • On Sunday 19 July, at 5pm, we have the exciting Folk by the Oak’s ‘Family Nest’ Fest (full line-up listed above). Find full details and donate here
  • News is just coming in about a FREE virtual Folk on the Hill Festival on Thursday 13 August, featuring artists including Findlay Napier, John McCutcheon, Reg Meuross, Odette Michell, Harbottle & Jonas and many other, with support from Herga Folk Club. Donations are invited to support the artists and the ‘Help For Musicians’ fund. Full details on the Folk on the Hill Facebook page
  • On Saturday 25 July at 10.00am Christine Collister will perform her fourth concert in lockdown (weather permitting from her garden!). Details on her Facebook page
  • And later that same day, Saturday 25 July at 7.30pm, Miranda Sykes will perform a Jazzy/Bluesy set. Details on her Facebook page
  • On Wednesday 5 August at 8.00pm Greg Russell will present a show hosted by Folkweekend:Oxford. Tickets must be purchased in advance and cost just £14 per household (not per person) – excellent value! Details and tickets here
  • Folkweekend:Oxford are also hosting some other great shows, too numerous to mention in full here – such as Belshazzar’s Feat on 26 July and Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman on 1 August.Check out the list on their website
  • Although we have had the sad but not unexpected news that both Tenterden and Hartlepool Festivals have now been cancelled for 2020, we do have the Shrewsbury Virtual Folk Festival to look forward to on 29 and 30 August. T-shirts are on sale now (for a limited time) and full details can be found on their Facebook page.

That’s all for now – check on the websites and Facebook pages of your favourite artists and bands for details of all their activities – and keep supporting them in any way you can.#LetTheMusicPlay.

Online Music for the Weekend….and Beyond

Here are details of some great music coming up soon…..

The music industry has had some good news from the government this week but for most musicians the situation is still dire and online gigs are their only way of earning a crust! Please support them through donations and where possible by buying their CDs too. Sadly, downloading and streaming only generates a pittance for the artists!. If you want details of this, have a look at the table Simon Care posted on his Facebook page recently. Shocking!!

  • On Saturday 11 July at 7.00pm BST Ninebarrow are presenting ‘The 4th Ninebarrow Live-Stream: The Hit Parade!’. The boys have really got the technology side of these gigs sorted (no pressure there!) and if the previous gigs are anything to go by, we are in for a real treat. Unusually for them, they have compiled the set list entirely from requests – 15 great tracks to look forward to. Details on their Facebook page (and the show will also be on their website and YouTube.)
  • On Saturday 11 July at 7.30pm BST Chris While and Julie Matthews are doing another ‘Live from the Headshed’ gig. Full details on their Facebook page.
  • Also on Saturday 11 July but at 9.00pm BST, Tim Edey will present the latest show in his wonderful ‘The Sleeping Tunes’ series. Details on his Facebook page.
  • On Monday 13 July at 8.00pm Hannah Martin and Phillip Henry (aka Edgelarks) are doing a special show for Nettlebed Folk Club. Now is the time to get your requests in! Details on their Facebook page and tickets available by clicking here.
  • On Wednesday 15 July at 8.00pm BST the ‘Godfather of Grunge Folk’ himself Wild Willy Barrett is doing an Open Air Live show. See his website for more information.

Well, hopefully that’s enough for a ‘fix of folk’ for the next few days.

I’ll be back soon with news of Folk by the Oak’s Family Nest Fest on 19 July, Miranda Sykes’ Jazz/Bluesy show on 25 July, and Christine Collister in Lockdown also on 25 July – and probably others too!

Stay safe and keep supporting the music sector in any way you can.

Collaborative Finale of the New Roots Final 2020

I don’t know how many of you were able to watch the wonderful New Roots footage online from St Albans, Hertfordshire last weekend (8 ½ hours of great music – it was amazing!). You might like to know that the collaborative John Ball that was the finale is now online as a separate video.

Enjoy this performance by these talented young people here.

Well done to everyone who organised and participated in this year’s event. Fingers crossed that we can all be together to celebrate the New Roots Final in 2021.

Lots More Lovely Online Music

The effects of Covid-19 continue to ravage the live music sector but the creativity and energy of artists and event organisers shine through and there are many excellent online gigs to look forward to:

  • Tonight (Thursday 2 July) at 7.30pm Miranda Sykes is doing an online Q&A session via her Facebook page
  • On Friday 3 July at 7.30pm BST Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham will play an hour’s set with the Royal National Orchestra of Scotland to celebrate Friday Night Club Finale: St Andrew’s Celebration. Free of charge. See details on Facebook
  • Also on Friday 3 July at 7.30pm BST Hannah Martin and Phil Henry (Edgelarks) will be doing their first full length online concert. They will play 2 x 45 minute sets. You can get tickets here: Further details and links for joining will be sent to ticket holders just before the gig. They are keeping it user friendly, and you won’t have to download any software to watch. However, so that they can get the links out to everyone, ticket sales do close at midday on the day of the concert – you can’t buy ‘on the door’ for this one
  • Spoiling us for choice, also on Friday 3 July but at 8.00pm BST, Downend Folk Club are hosting ‘An Hour Or So with Ciaran Algar‘ – a mixture of chat and some tracks performed by this very talented artist. You can ask questions in the comments, so it is very interactive… the more people watch and engage, the better it will be for everyone. The events are free, although there is a PayPal donations box, with 100 per cent of the donations going direct to Ciaran Algar. You can find that here:
  • On Saturday 4 July at 7.00pm BST Jackie Oates & John Spiers are doing their LIVE album launch concert hosted by Folk Weekend: Oxford Details on Facebook and tickets available at £14 per household (not per person) at
  • On Sunday 5 July at 8.00pm BST Jess and Richard Arrowsmith are doing a Zoom concert hosted by Folk Weekend:Oxford. You can get full details and find out where to get your tickets here.
  • Sidmouth Folk Festival (which has been cancelled for 2020 due to the pandemic) has launched its Crowdfunder. Now’s your chance to be a Sidmouth Champion: Act now to secure the future of this unique folk arts event.
  • On Saturday 11 July at 7.00pm BST Ninebarrow are doing their 4th Ninebarrow Live-Stream: The Hit Parade! on YouTube, Facebook and See their Facebook page. They don’t often do requests – not because they are miserable – but because of the complexities of the different instruments and tunings they use. BUT in this concert, for one-time-only, they’ve let US choose the set list. Not just one song…but ALL OF THEM. They created a poll of all the songs played in their previous 3 concerts, and on the 11th July, they’ll be performing THE NINEBARROW HIT PARADE: the top 15 tracks, as chosen by you! 😎 And if you’ve never seen them before…what better time to start, than with the top 15 favourite songs from the last 8 years of Ninebarrow music! 😉
  • Hot off the press – On Sunday 19 July at 5.00pm BST the wonderful festival Folk by the Oak will be beaming a digital offering of distilled Folk by the Oakness straight to you, for a great cause! Nancy Kerr and Jess Arrowsmith join other great artists including Richard Thompson, Kris Drever, Talisk, Seckou Keita and many more. More information here.

As always please let me know of any gigs or other events of interest to folk music and dance enthusiasts. There are many more things happening than I know about and I’m keen to do what I can to publicise events and support music in the folk world.

Meanwhile, stay safe and enjoy the music.#LetTheMusicPlay



Please get involved and help with #LetTheMusicPlay.

Today, the live music industry has launched a huge campaign to create awareness of the plight of the sector due to Covid-19. Currently all live performances including festivals are prohibited for an indefinite period.

While we understand that it is vital to keep everyone as safe as possible, if musicians cannot work and venues cannot generate any revenue, the sector needs substantial government support to avoid a catastrophe. Venues of all sizes are in danger of closing and up to 50% of the live music industry’s workforce is facing unemployment, leading to a devastating loss of skills.

New research shows the live music sector added £4.5 billion to Britain’s economy in 2019, and supports 210,000 jobs. Music festivals alone support 84,000 jobs but with all events cancelled this summer, many are facing collapse. While the UK is the fourth-largest music market in the world by value of ticket sales – and the second-biggest per capita – state support for live music lags behind other countries, with other European governments such as France and Germany who are using public money to kickstart their concert industries post-Covid-19.

The sector needs an injection of some £50 million to survive – just over 1% of the revenue it contributed to the economy last year. Surely that’s not too much to ask to protect something that brings generates so much for the economy and so much pleasure to so many people as well as contributing massively to good mental health??

Life without live music is merely existence. Imagine a future with no folk clubs, no orchestral concerts, no music festivals, no live performances in theatres or concert halls. It does not bear thinking about!

Please support this campaign using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay. Posting images of the latest gig you performed at or attended, and giving your reasons for supporting live music, please share on social media, contact your MP, lobby the government etc. Do whatever you can to help musicians and secure support for live music to keep it alive for the future.

Thank you.