Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 130

Late May 2011


There are just four days left to wait! Our Folk Weekend kicks off at 7.30pm on Friday and runs right through until late Sunday. Do come along if you possibly can. It is all FREE so you can dip in and out as you wish, and stay for 10 minutes or 10 hours or even all 3 days. Check out the programme at and plan your weekend around it.
1.        SIXTY NAMED PERFORMERS. All told, I reckon there are around 60 named performers on the programme: in the Marquee, in indoor concerts or acting as club and session hosts. What is more, all but a dozen of those are based here in York and its vicinity, which is fantastic testimony to the vibrant health of the local folk, roots and acoustic music scene. Our profound thanks go to all the performers (and the stage/PA crews), who are giving us their time and talents for free.
2.        PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO PLAY YOURSELF. Folk Weekend is very much a participatory event and alongside the various concerts there are always two or three “open” events taking place. These include non-stop tunes sessions all day Saturday and Sunday in the dining room and a mix of Rolling Folk Clubs, Singarounds and Free & Easy Sessions in the club room upstairs and in the smaller front bar.
Specially themed joining-in events include a Yorkshire Folk Songs session on Saturday lunchtime, a Poems & Pints spoken word gathering on Sunday lunchtime and a Sea Songs & Shanties singaround on Sunday afternoon. Participants are also sought for the Nothin’ but Dylan open mic on Friday evening. Any and all Bob Dylan covers are welcome at that one.
3.        CHILDREN WELCOME. Folk Weekend aims to be a child-friendly event, so do bring the family along. Kids can come and go freely (except for the main bar, please). Two Saturday afternoon events are aimed specifically at youngsters – Adrian Spendlow’s storytelling hour, followed by a children’s club in the company of Wee Folk.
4.        EVENTS OUTSIDE THE BLACK SWAN. Paula and Sarah of Soundsphere have again organised a free Singing Workshop to tie in with Folk Weekend. This year it takes place in the Marriott Room at York Explore (aka the Central Library) at 11.00 on Sunday. Ring Sarah on 01653 618882 to book a place. And this year we even have a Festival Fringe, in the shape of the regular Friday night songs & tunes session at the Tap & Spile on Monkgate.
5.        FOOD, DRINK & FACILITIES. Our landlord Andy will be filling the cellar to bursting point with ales and other drinks for the weekend, while Stef aims to extend the range of home-prepared food on sale, both hot and cold. There will be lots of bar staff on duty, but please be patient if service is a little slow at peak times. Please help the staff out by returning empty glasses to the bar and putting food waste in the bins provided.
The landlord has put a lot of his time and cash into making this a successful event. He covers his investment and makes his profit through bar and food sales, so please do not abuse his efforts by bringing in your own food and drink. Bottled water and special dietary needs aside, please buy all your refreshments at the pub.
Other improvements funded by the pub this year will include some extra gazebos, providing additional cover in case of poor weather, and a Portaloo facility for women.
6.        MERCHANDISING & FUNDRAISING. We’ll be providing a central stall in one of the marquees where you can see CDs by participating artists. If you like what you hear, please support the musicians by buying their albums. We’ll also have some folk magazines on sale. We can’t take card payments, but are happy to accept cheques (payable to Black Swan Folk Club) or cash.
Also, we anticipate that on Saturday local music retailer Red Cow Music will have a stall displaying some of their range of acoustic instruments and accessories. See the article in E-News 127 for more information, or see their new website at
Although the artists and the PA system come to us free of charge, we still incur costs in running an ambitious event like this one. In particular we have had to fork out sizeable sums on publicity and advertising. Thus volunteers will be taking collecting tins around each performance area from time to time each day. Please give generously of your small change.
7.        PARKING AND ACCESS. For safety reasons, the pub car park will be closed all weekend. In any event, marquees and audience areas will be taking over most of the car park. Please park elsewhere and make your way to the Black Swan on foot. Remember that the Black Swan sits on several main bus routes, including Coastliner services and the Monks Cross Park & Ride.
8.        FOLK WEEKEND SUPPORTS SOLAMATIK. We are happy to see the Folk Weekend linked up to SolaMatik, a Yorkshire-wide umbrella promotion for cultural events in the month leading up to 21st June. See for more information, where they say: “SolaMatik is Yorkshire's exciting new multi-venue, multicultural arts and music festival celebrating the arrival of summer. There are fun happenings for all ages, tastes and cultures including wildlife walks, sports and fitness, club nites, rock gigs, jazz, soul, brass bands, world music, folk concerts, gallery exhibitions, fashion events, stage drama, dance tuition workshops, and craft workshops. There truly is something going on for everybody.” You’ll find a SolaMatik logo/link on the home page of the club website.
9.        NEXT YEAR’S EVENT. Next year will see our 10th Anniversary event. Because of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations we can’t use the first weekend in June, so we are looking at either the weekend before (25th – 27th May) or the weekend after (8th – 10th June). If you have a preference, please let us know.
10.     A DOUBLE DOSE OF SINGERS NIGHTS.  June is a five Thursday month, which this year means not one but two Singers & Musicians Nights. There’s one on Thursday 2nd, a kind of Folk Weekend warm-up, and another on 23rd June. All performers take note – and listeners too if you like an informal and varied evening’s entertainment.
11.     KATY MOFFATT IS BACK IN TOWN. Making her third visit to the club on 9th June is top American singer Katy Moffatt. She comes from the alt country/Americana tradition of US singer-songwriters but is very much at home in a cosy British folk club setting, as we discovered on her debut visit, which still lives in my mind as one of the club’s greatest gigs of the last decade. At the time she was promoting a solo live album “Up Close and Personal” and I thought then how very appropriate for a packed house in our intimate little venue.
Raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Katy has been a professional musician since the mid 1970s, recording a lengthy catalogue of albums for labels such as Columbia, Rounder, Philo and Hightone, and collaborating with many other leading names on the “alternative” country and American folk scenes. Her partnership with Tom Russell resulted in some particularly memorable songs and long-time Russell collaborator Andrew Hardin has produced three of her finest albums, most recently Fewer Things in 2008.
If you are unfamiliar with Katy’s work, have a look at her website and read some of the stuff there. In particular, there is a lengthy piece from (of all things) the Wall Street Journal. This says, amongst other things, that Katy “was one of the originators of country rock; is skilled at classic country songs of fractured love; has mastered the art of country blues; and can bring alive the twilit spirit of traditional ballads, making them sound autobiographical.”
And here are a couple of other quotes. “If ever there was the perfect singer/songwriter, it is Katy Moffatt.  Her voice is perhaps the most searingly beautiful thing you'll ever hear” – The Daily Express (!!) and “she is a must-hear for anyone who values the art of the singer-songwriter” - The Scotsman.
Chris Euesden MCs this one, Graham Hodge (who misses out on Folk Weekend because of holidays) is amongst the floor performers, and tickets are a bargain at £8 (£6.50 concessions) from and on the door.
12.     AND A WELCOME RETURN BY STEVE TILSTON   Ask anyone on the English folk scene who is their favourite guitarist, singer and songwriter and there’s a strong chance that our 16th June guest Steve Tilston will crop up in the top ten under each heading. He is one of our most celebrated song-smiths, his work widely recognised within the world of folk and contemporary music. The words, the arrangements and the subtle but quite superb guitar playing could be no one else’s.
Born in Liverpool and raised in the Midlands, Steve made his recording debut exactly 40 years ago and has been turning out quality albums ever since. Quintessentially English in style, his hits include The Slip Jigs and Reels, The Naked Highwayman and Here’s To Tom Paine, covered by artists such as Fairport, Dolores Keane, Bob Fox and the late John Wright.
Though known as an outstanding songwriter, Steve has a keen ear for the folk tradition and includes new interpretations of old favourites in his performances. He is also highly regarded as an acoustic guitar stylist, innovator and teacher.
Based in West Yorkshire for the last 25 years or so, Steve Tilston performed regularly at the Black Swan when he was in a duo with Maggie Boyle, and now pays us his 7th solo visit.  Our own master songwriter Stan Graham acts as MC for this one, and tickets are £9 (£7 concessions) via WeGotTickets or on the door.
13.     THE APPALACHIAN TRADITION OF JOE PENLAND. Our third guest for the month ahead, on Thursday 30th June, reflects another aspect of the Anglo-American folk tradition. Joe Penland is a singer from North Carolina, the twelfth generation descendant of English and Scottish settlers. He has a rich store of inherited traditional ballads which he sets alongside his own original songs about modern day Appalachia. Accompanying himself on guitar and with occasional digressions into storytelling, Joe “offers an honesty and power that is a testament to both his unique character and our shared humanity”. Naturally, Phil Cerny acts as host for this one, and tickets are available at just £7 (£6 concessions).
14.     SUMMER TEAPARTY FOR BLACKBEARD’S. A reminder that tickets are now on sale for our summer special with Blackbeard’s Tea Party on Tuesday 19th July. They are modestly priced at £10 (£8 concessions), from the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338 or online at It’s a 7.30pm start, and the band have asked along the talented young East Yorkshire autoharpist and songwriter Jessica Lawson as their support act.
15.     PATRICK STREET AND CHURCHFITTERS NOW BOOKING.  Tickets have also gone on sale for our two early autumn NCEM concerts. That’s Patrick Street on Friday 23rd September, one of the most famous and respected bands in Irish music, comprising Kevin Burke, Andy Irvine, Arty McGlynn and John Carty, and The Churchfitters on Monday 3rd October, the brilliant Anglo-Irish-French quartet who have twice enthralled a full house audience in our club room. Patrick Street tickets are priced at £18 (£16 concessions) while for The Churchfitters the price is £12 (£10 concessions).
16.     BUY YOUR NCEM TICKETS AT FOLK WEEKEND. It does help us out financially if you buy your NCEM concert tickets direct from us, rather than through the NCEM’s very efficient Box Office. We’ll have tickets for all three of the above events at the Merchandise stall over Folk Weekend, and at Thursday club meetings thereafter. We can’t take card payments, but are always happy to accept cheques (payable to Black Swan Folk Club) or cash.
17.     YORKSHIRE SONG PERFORMERS WANTED. On behalf of Ryedale Folk Museum and Yorkshire Garland, Tony Morris is putting out a call for Yorkshire singers and musicians to perform at the Museum in Hutton le Hole on Yorkshire Day, which is of course Monday 1st August. “We have enjoyed ourselves in the past” says Tony “but would like a few more performers - we have about 10 people lined up so far”.   He emphasises that this is a Yorkshire occasion so limited to Yorkshire songs and music or songs about things Yorkshire. “It is an excellent opportunity to look round this amazing site”, he adds. Contact Tony on 01947 603757or
18.     POPPLETON LIVE PRESENTS JEZ LOWE. Following a very successful launch event with Anthony John Clarke earlier in the year, John Watterson has organised another “Poppleton Live” event for All Saints Hall on Saturday 18th June. It’s a splendid bill with Jez Lowe as the main guest and support from Stan Graham. It’s a 7pm start and tickets at £10 each should be reserved by ringing John on York 785366. There will be a real ale bar and a few light nibbles. John aims to promote 3 or 4 such events in the course of the coming year.
19.     STANLEY, GERRY AND VICTORIA. Also on Saturday 18th June, local music enthusiast and Black Swan attendee Jonny Lovell has organised an event for the Victoria Vaults on Nunnery Lane. There’ll be a session from around 7.30pm, then main guests Gerry Hallom (making a rare appearance) and humorist singer Stanley Accrington will be on from around 9pm. The whole evening is Free, though there will probably be a raffle and collection for the Norma Waterson appeal. Find out more from Jonny on 07969 664 757.
20.     FORESTERS CHARITY GARDEN CONCERT.   Ian and Sue Pybus are hosting another charity folk concert in their spacious garden on North Lane in Huntington. It is on Saturday 9th July and is a fundraiser for the Rachel Orphanage in Burma, with special guests The Foresters. The event runs from 7pm until 10.30pm and tickets cost £7.50. Bookings and enquiries to York 400117 or   Please bring your own drinks, glasses and food, they say, and if possible chairs. If the weather is bad the event will move to Huntington Memorial Hall. Well done, Ian and Sue.
21.     NEW DATES FOR WEE FOLK. The once-a-month Sunday afternoon folk club for families with young children, Wee Folk, normally meets on the third Sunday at the Black Swan Inn. However, because of festival clashes, they have had to change the June and July meetings to 26th and 24th respectively. They will be back to the third Sunday in the month from August says organiser Ali Morgan. Meeting time remains at 3pm to 5pm. Wee Folk are also hosting a children’s session at Folk Weekend as mentioned above.
22.     DANU FOR SALTAIRE. Danu are one of Ireland’s top folk bands, but seldom seen in Britain these days. You can however catch them at Victoria Hall in Saltaire on Sunday 12th June, at Saltaire Live’s last show of the season. Tickets are £13.50 and it is an 8.15pm start. Phone 01274 588614 or go to for further information.
23.     NIGHT & DAY AT KIRKSTALL ABBEY. There’s a big open air concert on the evening of Saturday 11th June at Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds which may be of interest, since it features Celtic folk-rock legends The Waterboys and Hothouse Flowers together with the great Scottish singer Karine Polwart. Tickets are £35 and the event runs from 5pm to 10.30pm. It is followed on Sunday by a family friendly day of live music and entertainment at the same venue. The whole weekend has been organised by Ben Pugh of York-based Tribeca Events and you can find out more at Booking is through
I look forward to meeting with lots of you soon, either at Folk Weekend or at regular club functions. Keep on making and supporting live music.