Watford Folk Club news – please read!

This just in from Watford Folk Club:

“As you may have seen from recent facebook posts, Watford Folk Club needs your help. After running the club for 9 years now we are desperately sad to have reached this stage. Over the last year or so our funds have been depleted as we’ve made huge losses on almost all of our guest nights due to lack of attendance, sometimes amounting to hundreds of pounds worth of losses in a single month- you can see how damaging this is to our future survival.

Our Singarounds remain popular but we still only pull in enough to cover the weekly rent. We increased the minimum donation for Singarounds and Spotlight Singarounds to £5, our first increase in 9 years, but this hasn’t stemmed the tide very much.
So, where are we now? We have arranged a “Gala Fundraiser Night” ( see our flyer attached) to help increase our funds and enable the club to continue into the future and carry on booking major guests.

We are extremely grateful to the artists taking part as they have all agreed to donate their time and play the concert for no fee.

All folk clubs we know are having similar difficulties but this is the only club in Watford and has an enviable reputation for it’s welcoming atmosphere and the quality of it’s floor singers and regular performers. October will be our 10th anniversary, and we hope to make it to our 20th and beyond!!

So, please do what you can to help by coming along on the 13th of July. It will be a great night & we look forward to seeing you there.

Many Thanks for your support!

Pete & Kim

Download the Fundraiser Flyer here>>




‘Guitars and Strings’ concert at The Old Bull Inn on Sunday 8th July 2018

This just in from Creative Royston and Royston MusicFest:
Creative Royston and Royston MusicFest are staging a unique concert ‘Guitars & Strings’ at The Old Bull Inn on Sunday 8th July featuring Jeremy Harmer & The Ad Hoc Strings, Schrodingers Strings and Thursday’s Band. Tickets are only £10 in advance and bookable online where more details can be found at either www.creativeroyston.org or http://www.roystonmusicfest.uk/
The tickets are only £10 in advance and the price has deliberately been held down because it fulfills our remit of promoting the arts, in this case music.

Martin Simpson gig, 21st April – last few tickets available

This just in…

The organisers of the Martin Simpson concert (Four Rivers Folk Club), Saturday 21st April at St Andrew’s Church, Hertford, have told us that of the 150 total seats available, 114 have already been sold! So if you want to go see this folk legend in an intimate performance, do get in fast. Tickets are available from martin’s website:


Four Rivers have also added a new surprise FREE concert addition to their March programme. In addition to the Hunter Muskett duo on 11th April, you can also see the whole Hunter Muskett band performing at the club as a one-off special performance at the club on Thursday 29th March. Contact Pat Crilly for more information: patcrilly@hotmail.com




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: http://www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk

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. http://www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk


For more information or high-res images, please contact Jo Breeze on press@sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk 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

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

YM 25th Anniversary

This just in from Young Miscellany:
YM 25th Anniversary
On Saturday 20th May, Young Miscellany are celebrating their 25th anniversary and we are marking the occasion with a day of dance in Harpenden when we will be joined by Gig Magog Molly, Hemlock Morris and Chiltern Hundreds who will all be performing in the town centre throughout the day. The event will include a maypole dancing display and the chance for younger members of the public to participate.

Young Miscellany is a children’s folk dancing group based in Harpenden who have been enabling children and young people to perform traditional English folk dancing for 25 years. They are regular performers at the annual “Folk by the Oak Festival” and have performed at Cecil Sharpe House, the spiritual home of English Folk Dance and Song. YM have performed all over England and abroad, and have received many plaudits from people keen to see English dancing traditions continued.

Our aim has always been to provide a safe but fun environment in which young people ( 6 to 18) can learn about England’s many different styles of traditional dance, including Cotswold, Northwest, Molly, Rapper, Border, Broom, Country/Playford, Step Clog and Maypole, all to the accompaniment of live music performed by a band consisting mainly of parents, but also  some children. The benefits to our young members are huge and include: learning to work as a team; increased fitness and physical co-ordination, and helping develop confidence by performing in front of live audiences. Many of our ex members have gone on to enjoy traditional folk dancing into their adulthood.

We are always looking for new members. If any Unicorn readers know of anyone between the ages of 6 and 18 who would like to find out more, they would be welcome to one of our sessions  free of charge to have a look and/or  participate with no obligation. For more details, please contact us via Facebook, e-mail joefrench99@hotmail.com or phone/text 07961 853717. Our sessions usually happen on the morning of the first and third Sundays of the month in Harpenden.

We would be willing to be interviewed about this event, our activities as a group, and Morris dancing in general, which is often wrongly viewed as an activity that only older people perform!

You can contact me (Joe French, YM’s Musical director) on this email address: joefrench99@hotmail.com, or on my mobile: 07961 853717. I also would be able to arrange an interview with one of our young members, parents and/or our leader, Lynda Swaine.

Here is our website:

You can also find Young Miscellany on Facebook

I look forward to hearing whether I can provide any further help or information to help you cover this positive and inspiring story on your doorstep!

Yours faithfully

Joe French
Musical Director
Young Miscellany

Haddenham Ceilidhs, June 3rd at Haddenham Village Hall

This just in from Haddenham Ceilidhs:

The next event organised by Haddenham Ceilidhs  is  Saturday evening, June 3rd at Haddenham Village Hall. This is the last one of the current season and as you are already  aware, there will only be  one further event after this in December. So only 2 more chances to enjoy  yourself at Haddenham Ceilidhs!

For our Ceilidh in the Main Hall, dancing starts at 8 pm –  Music provided by  The Oxford Nags, Nick Walden will call the dances and Hammersmith Morrismen will give a dance display.

The Oxford Nags is a new “all star” four piece ceilidh band based around Oxfordshire and a bit of Hampshire. They play stonking English tunes for stonking English dance. With a line up of Nina Hansell on fiddle, Sandy Shallis on Melodeon, Andy Turner on anglo concertina and Gareth Kiddier on piano.There will be a short dance display from Hammersmith Morrismen. Kitted out in blue and gold and cutting a dash on the streets and off, Hammersmith Morris Men, known for their lively and engaging style, continue to thrill and entertain audiences around the country.

In the Walter Rose room, our compere Kitty Vernon will start the proceedings just after 8.30pm and will introduce Dave Burland and one of last year’s New Roots finalists, Anna Mullens and Beth Gifford.
Dave Burland is one of the most well-respected and long-established performers on the folk scene. His apparently effortless singing and guitar playing gained widespread acclaim 40 years ago when his first album, A Dalesman’s Litany, was voted Melody Maker Folk Album of the Year. Nic Jones summed up Dave Burland perfectly when he said: “He’s a uniquely calm, gentle and clever singer who makes you feel it’s all so amazingly simple.” He’s also been described as the Frank Sinatra of traditional folk music. And he’s also got a deliciously wicked sense of humour.
Anna Mullens  and Beth Gifford perform traditional and original material creating a fresh and original sound with violins,voice and viola.
Doors open 7.15pm, dancing starts at 8pm. An admission charge of £12, lets you dance or enjoy the concert or perhaps a bit of both! We rarely put up “House Full” signs – it is a large venue but if you are concerned about gaining admission on the evening, just e-mail or telephone and we will reserve tickets for you on the door.

Please feel free to forward this e-mail to anyone or any other groups you feel may be interested.

For more information, contact John on Tel. 07717 047039
e-mail: john@actionfolk.co.uk Website: www.haddenhamceilidhs.co.uk

Details of our programme up to June 2017 are available on our website.

John Heydon

Unicorn Magazine Issue 138 is now out…

Our latest issue (Issue 138) of the magazine is now out – download it here: Issue 138 >> … or visit our main website for more details >>

This issue is the first to feature a full colour cover and inner spread – and this is just the start! Our next issue (Issue 139, June, July and August) will be printed completely in full colour, something we have been working towards for a while now. Details of the change will be sent out soon…

You can also download our A4 poster , designed to encourage people to take a copy of the magazine… (or just collect the set for your wall!). Download it here:
Issue 138 poster >>