Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 118

Early May 2010


  1. DRAFT PROGRAMME READY. It has taken longer than anticipated, and there are still a few details to finalise, but the draft programme for our annual Folk Weekend at the Black Swan Inn is now ready and attached to this mailshot. Future updates or alterations will be posted on the folk club website.
    We are following the well established and successful pattern of past years. Outdoors, the Marquee Stage hosts 11 hours of live music on Saturday and 9 hours on Sunday, with the cream of our local bands and soloists, alongside some special guests from other parts of Yorkshire, and including on Saturday a couple of Morris dance interludes and a demonstration of Japanese drumming.
    Indoors, the Bowes Room is occupied by the usual non-stop musicians’ session, while there is usually at least one other participation event taking place in either the Wolfe Room or the Oak Room for floor spot or singaround performances.
    The Wolfe Room hosts Indoor Concerts on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, with acts we could not squeeze into the Marquee timetable, while Special Events include a Poems & Pints Lunchtime Session on Saturday, a Yorkshire Garland workshop and singaround on Sunday, and the ever popular Jake Thackray Hour also on Sunday. York Songwriters’ Circle takes over the Wolfe Room on Sunday evening for a showcase concert.

  2. PRACTICALITIES. First and foremost, remember that the whole weekend is Free. Artists are appearing for the love of playing, while the landlord funds marquee hire and other infrastructure from his takings. Of course, there have been some costs (e.g. advertising) which have been paid by the folk club. This year we may pass round collection tins to help recoup those costs: 50p per person attending should be more than enough!
    Outdoors, a large marquee (12 metres x 9 metres) will span the far end of the car park, with stage, lighting and plenty of seating. The smaller marquee used last year (which belongs to the landlord) will be erected to one side, roughly where it stood in 2009, housing an outdoor bar and more seating. Some of the fencing around the decked drinking area will also be removed, enabling people sitting there to follow the entertainment.
    Learning from last year’s hugely successful event, the landlord will stock lots of real ales and other drinks while catering will have plenty of hot food options, including vegetarian ones.
    Chris Euesden will again be masterminding Marquee PA, aided by music students and staff from York College, while PA will also be available in the Wolfe Room for those who want it.
    Please note that for space and safety reasons the pub car park will be closed to vehicles. Access for bands delivering instruments and other kit will be negotiated individually. There is alternative city centre parking in the vicinity, and bear in mind that the Black Swan Inn sits on several major bus routes, including Monk’s Cross Park & Ride and the Coastliner from Scarborough, Malton and Leeds.

  3. VOLUNTEER HELPERS NEEDED. We still need some helpers to do important if unglamorous tasks such as monitoring the car park entrance, clearing up litter, setting out seating (indoors and outside), passing round those collection tins, selling CDs and other merchandise, and such like. Also, for those with the requisite skills, some people to help with the Wolfe Room PA. We’ve already had some volunteers, but if anyone else is willing to give us a few hours of their weekend, please get in touch.

  4. SOUNDSPHERE’S SINGING WORKSHOP. Alongside Folk Weekend, Sarah, Paula & Judith from Soundsphere are offering a Singing Workshop on Sunday morning at nearby St Crux Church Hall, followed by an Open Sing with workshop participants and others at the Black Swan. While the main Folk Weekend is entirely Free, there will be a small charge for the Singing Workshop, with proceeds going to help fund this summer’s Tanzanian music project. Find out more or make bookings on 01904 345458,

  5. SPREAD THE WORD, TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Please do all you can to promote the Folk Weekend – the more people who pass through in the course of the weekend, the happier we will all be! A full colour A4 poster and a B&W A5 flyer have been kindly designed for us by Richard Nagy. Distribution of these will begin later this week. I had wondered about attaching the artwork to this mailing but they are pretty large files and may have been too much for some of you. They are available to download or print via the Folk Weekend page of the website, Alternatively, if you can distribute some hard copy printed by us, please get in touch and we will post you something.


  1. NEW CLUB BROCHURE AT PRINTERS. I have finished drafting our next club brochure and it has gone to our printers. Distribution will begin as soon as they get it back to us, alongside Folk Weekend stuff. Meanwhile, all our diary dates are now listed on Club Programme page of the website (except for 11th November, which is still to be finalised), with “blurbs” through to early October. In addition all Guest Nights up to Christmas are now open for booking on the WeGotTickets site.
    Talking of the club website, we have recently migrated this to a new hosting service. All seems to have gone smoothly, but if you do spot any glitches, please let our webmaster Michael Jary know, We are very grateful to Michael for his continued good work in keeping the website going.

  2. EDDIE WALKER ENTERTAINS. After a Singers Night this week (13th May) our next guest artist is Eddie Walker on 20th May. By my reckoning this will be Eddie’s 12th booking at the Black Swan in the last 30 years, so that just about sums it up: a veteran performer who is very good at his chosen thing. In Eddie’s case that is hot acoustic guitar picking applied to a repertoire which takes in everything from blues and ragtime, through hillbilly country to contemporary folk covers and self-penned songs. A fine singer besides with a polished stage presence, he never fails to entertain. Tickets at £7 (£6) are now booking at WeGotTickets.

  3. WILL KAUFMAN ON WOODY GUTHRIE. We present something a little different on 27th May, when American-born academic Will Kaufman tells the story of Woody Guthrie’s hobo years in “Hard Times and Hard Travellin”. Will is Professor of American Literature at the University of Central Lancashire, but this is no dry, academic lecture. Firstly, Will is a fine singer in his own right, and plays a mean Martin guitar, plus banjo and fiddle. Secondly, he weaves together narrative, songs and backdrop illustrations with real skill, engaging his listeners in the human story of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl years and the music that Woody was inspired to create. Will has now performed this show at quite a few folk club venues and the response has always been very positive. “Within no time everyone in the room was completely immersed”, writes a fellow club organiser.
    This one is modestly priced at £6 (£5 concessions) and has already sold quite a few tickets through the online agency, so take note!
    We need some help with this one. Will travels by public transport (in the best Martin Carthy tradition) and with three instruments and overnight bag has his hands full. Thus we need to provide him with a Laptop, a PowerPoint Projector and a Screen. Can anyone help us out? I’m sure we can offer a couple of complimentary tickets in return.

  4. DAN, ANNA & ARCHIE. The June line-up for Thursday nights comprises the splendid Canadian singer Dan McKinnon (3rd), Singers Night (10th), Scarborough’s star singer-songwriter Anna Shannon (17th) and a rare English date for the veteran Scottish folk troubadour Archie Fisher (24th). More details in the new brochure and in the next E-News.

  5. STAN IS BACK! It was good to see Stan Graham back in York and acting as a typically efficient MC at the club last Thursday. His tour “down under” with Vin Garbutt was a great success, with Stan doing prestige gigs at major festivals like the Australian National and Fairbridge and selling out the entire stock of CDs he had taken with him. Volcanic dust delayed his return for a while, but now he is back with us and will be joining Chris and Eddie in helping with the day-to-day running of the club while I am partially indisposed.

  6. PERSONAL UPDATE. Thanks to you all for your continued expressions of good will in my illness. I am actually feeling pretty fine right now, since the chemotherapy is not (yet) giving me particularly pronounced or troublesome side effects. I did have to go back into hospital for three days a fortnight ago with an infection, but I soon got over that, I’m happy to say.


  1. SHAKESPEAREAN MUSICIANS NEEDED. The York Shakespeare Project tells me it is looking for local folk musicians to take part in its productions of "Henry IV Parts One and Two" to be staged in York this August. Further information is available from the director, Tom Cooper on

  2. FOLK ON THE AIRWAVES. I reproduce the following verbatim from an EFDSS press release. “The BBC is currently undertaking a Strategy Review Consultation, looking at its broadcasting output. Having received the Director General's recommendations, that include the well publicised closure of BBC 6 Music and BBC Asian Network, the BBC Trust wish to hear the views of the public. This is an ideal opportunity to make our voice heard.
    “Folk music is immensely under-represented in the BBC schedules, but the advent of digital radio is a great opportunity for them to fulfil their public service remit by providing niche market programming. Folk programming on the BBC is also an invaluable platform for folk artists at all stages of their career, but is especially useful for young artists or those just starting out. The folk industry is one in which career progression is particularly difficult for young musicians, and the lack of a substantial national profile is part of that.
    “Folk music should be an essential part of the BBC's programming, and you can help us with our campaign to make that a reality - just add your name to our online petition before 20 May, and circulate the link to your friends and family. You can also complete a more detailed questionnaire on the BBC's website. Please help us show the BBC how passionate and active fans of folk music are.”

  3. MILES’ BOOK LAUNCH. Versatile local musician, poet, writer and journalist Miles Cain has had his debut novel shortlisted for The Times / Chicken House Children’s Fiction Prize. Called A Song for Nicky Moon, the book is officially launched at City Screen on Friday 28th May at 8pm. Tickets at £7 (which includes a copy of the book) are available from the City Screen box office, 0871 704 2054. Miles switches to singer-songwriter mode a week later to headline the Saturday evening line-up on the Folk Weekend Marquee Stage.

  4. PRICE & SUFFET BACK IN BRITAIN. Some of you may remember Steve Suffet and Anne Price, two stalwarts of the New York folk scene, who paid a “fraternal visit” to us in old York in 2008. Steve asks me to tell you they are returning to Britain in May, though this time their performances are all “down south” at clubs such as Walthamstow, Orpington and Waltham Abbey. See for their full schedule.

  5. FOLK IN BD22. Occasional Black Swan visitor Jim Pickles draws our attention to a new local folk music e-newsletter – perhaps they are taking a leaf out of our book! The BD22 Folk Network E-Newsletter covers the area west and south of Keighley: communities such as Haworth, Oakworth, Oxenhope and Cowling where, Jim says, “there is so much going on in the world of Folk, Roots and Acoustic music”. If you’d like to subscribe, contact Jim on

  6. PALE BUT INTERESTING INDEED. It was a real pleasure to see Ste Kenwright at the last Black Swan Singers Night. Back in the 1990s he and a bunch of mates had one of York’s best acoustic roots band, Beyond The Pale. There’s been much water under the bridge since then and a deal of personal adversity, but now Ste and two of the others are playing music together again and will be appearing at the Saturday indoor concert during Folk Weekend under the impromptu name Pale But Interesting.

  7. THE LIVING TRADITION IS BACK. After a lengthy hiatus in publication, national folk music magazine The Living Tradition is back. Issue 84 came through letter boxes a couple of weeks ago and the team are now working on No 85 for summer release. The new issue is on sale from us on Thursday nights. It includes profiles of two of our upcoming club guests, Archie Fisher and Bram Taylor, while the interesting cover feature is about Bob Wood, a fellow long-serving club organiser, in this case the Ram Club in Surrey, Radio 2’s Folk Club of the Year two years before us in 2007. Find out more at

  8. SHANTIES ON THE TELLY! There was a fairly well constructed and interesting documentary about Sea Songs & Shanties on BBC4 last Friday (7th), with contributions from Kimber’s Men, Filey Fishermen’s Choir, Jim Mageean and the Keelers, amongst others, plus the Cornish group Fisherman’s Friends who recently hit the headlines by being signed to a major mainstream record label. If you missed the broadcast, it is available on the BBC iPlayer until Thursday,

  9. YORKSHIRE GARLAND FOLK SONG SEMINAR. The Yorkshire Garland Group ( is repeating last year’s very successful one-day seminar, this time on Monday 26th July at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming at Murton Park, just outside York. Their press release (abridged) reads as follows:
    “Our first one-day seminar last year brought in some very positive feedback, including many requests for more practical workshops at the next one. To address this clearly expressed need we have engaged the services of Pete and Sue Coe. This time the whole event will consist of practical sessions, with Pete and Sue presenting simultaneous song and dance workshops throughout the day. At 9.30am there will be a chance to “meet ‘n’ greet ‘n’ drink coffee, with workshops starting at 10.00am. The official event will finish at 4.30 but if sufficient numbers are interested an evening event we will sing on into the night.
    “Last year we funded the entire event but this year we need to ask a small contribution towards the cost of the event. Admission will be £5.00, which for a full day event is not going to drain anyone’s bank account but will help us enormously. To book your place, please contact our chairman, Steve Gardham, either by email: or by telephone on 01482 850819.”


  1. UPCOMING GIGS AT THE BLACK SWAN INN. None folk club concerts coming up in the Wolfe Room include Los Yobos on Saturday 15th May, a double-header with Beneath The Oak and Pamela Wyn Shannon on Friday 28 May and Union Central on Saturday 12th June. Of course Los Yobos and Union Central can also be enjoyed during Folk Weekend.

  2. CD LAUNCHES GALORE THIS WEEK. This coming Wednesday (12th) David Ward Maclean launches his new CD The Wreckers at the City Screen Basement Bar in York. It will also be David’s last performance for a while. He is about to have surgery on his vocal chords and will need to rest his voice afterwards, which sadly means he cannot sing at Folk Weekend this year. Tickets are £5 from the Box Office or on 0871 704 2054.
    On Friday night, 14th May, at the Black Swan Inn it is John Storey’s turn. To launch his new CD, Storey Lines, he will be joined for a free concert by many of the musicians who accompanied him on the record, including Iain Glover, Sarah Dean and Graeme Urwin. You can find John online at Incidentally, John made his debut as a Black Swan Folk Club compere recently and I must say I thought he made a very creditable job of it. He will certainly be singing and MC-ing during our Folk Weekend.
    Also on Friday 14th, but over in Loftus at the Station Hotel, Tony Morris has a second CD launch in as many months. This time the disc is a solo collection of his Amerynd flute improvisations. Rail Bridge MWB 2/81 was recorded on location under the said bridge at Glaisdale in North Yorkshire, which Tony says has a particularly “haunting and resonant acoustic”. For detailed information see www.myspace/floatingandfluting.

  3. YORK SONGWRITERS REMINDER. The aforementioned John Storey is an active member of the York Songwriters Circle, which prompts me to remind you of their monthly Showcase evenings in the Loft at Meltons Too on Walmgate in York. These are on the third Wednesday of the month, so the next dates are 19th May and 16th June.

  4. BOB’S MILLION DOLLAR BIRTHDAY BASH. Bob Dylan’s 69th birthday is coming up, which means it is time for Dylan covers band Blonde on Bob to organise another gig. Along with special guest Rory Motion they are at City Screen Basement Bar in York on Monday 24th May, doors open 8pm. Tickets are £8 in advance from the cinema Box Office, 0871 704 2054, or £9 on the door. Find out more at In their alternate guise of The Basement Band, Chris Euesden and the lads will headline Sunday evening’s line-up in the Folk Weekend Marquee.

  5. WETWANG ACOUSTIC. Steve Marshall writes: “Thought you might like to know the second Wetwang Acoustic evening on 13th April at the Victoria Inn Wetwang went well with a variety of instrumentalists and singers attending and contributing to a great night. This is to become a regular event on the 2nd Tuesday in the month starting at 8.00pm, so all would be welcome on the next occasion on 11th May.”

  6. POCKLINGTON ARTS CENTRE has a flurry of folk, country and roots gigs coming up. Some are already Sold Out (The Fureys, The Bad Shepherds, Hayseed Dixie) but there are still tickets available for Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings (Saturday 22nd May), Chumbawamba (Saturday 29th May) and Suzy Boguss (Monday 31st May). The Box Office is on 01759 301547 or go to

  7. HENSHAWS ARTS & CRAFTS CENTRE in Knaresborough continues its folk programming with gigs by two consecutive Radio 2 Folk Awards “Musician of the Year” winners. Tom McConville is there on Saturday 29th May and John Kirkpatrick follows on Friday 11th June. See for full details. Incidentally, we have recently booked both of these fine musicians ourselves, for club appearances early in 2011!

Yet another monster news package, and still there were other out-of-town events I could have mentioned. I intend to be back again before the end of May with a Folk Weekend update. Meanwhile, keep on making and supporting live music.