Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 146

15th May 2012

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This newsletter is mostly intended to publicise the upcoming York Folk Weekend.  I had hoped to write a much fuller bulletin for you – there is no shortage of other interesting stuff to tell you about – but I have simply run out of time.  This will have to do for now!




It is now just over three weeks to our Folk Weekend, on 8th, 9th and 10th June.


1.        PROGRAMME CHANGES (HOPEFULLY THE LAST!).  We have had to make a few last minute programme changes because the licensing authority recently decided to put an 11pm curfew on outdoor live music this year.  We don’t really know why, but we have to live with their decision.  Previously we have been allowed to go on until midnight and we are not aware of any public complaints last year.  I should stress that this only affects the Marquee.  Indoors, the singing and playing can happily go on until midnight.


On Friday night we’ve had to shorten some artist sets to achieve an 11pm close.  On Saturday, Stan Graham has kindly stepped aside from the Marquee stage and instead he’ll do a solo concert at 6.45 in the Oak Room.  With a bit of shuffling around and shortening of sets, we’ve managed to keep everybody else in the Marquee listings and still finish at 11pm.


Unfortunately, these changes were forced on us just AFTER we had printed 2,500 club brochures including the full programme, so bear that in mind if you have one of those leaflets.  The revised programme is posted on the club website at


2.        A FEAST OF GOOD THINGS.   So what is there to look forward too?  I calculate there should be over 80 hours of programmed music and getting on for 60 named acts in the running order.  As well as all the concerts, and as befits a grass-roots folk festival, there are lots of opportunities to sing and play yourselves: sessions, singarounds, rolling folk clubs and informal jams.  And do remember that everything is entirely FREE!


Friday Evening in the Marquee has been programmed by Phil Simpson and includes a couple of younger local acoustic acts, According To Eve and Andy Stones, recent NCEM stars The Hut People, young Bradford area band Sail Pattern and one of our favourite songwriters, Roger Davies.  Meanwhile in the Wolfe Room Kevin Loughran and Stan Graham celebrate the work of Tom Paxton.  And if an informal session is more your thing, there is the regular weekly get-together over at the Victoria Vaults on Nunnery Lane.


Saturday in the Marquee includes local favourites Blackbeard’s Tea Party and a range of other bands from Broken Ground to Two Black Sheep to King Courgette.  Singer-songwriter performers include David Swann, Holly Taymar and Miles Cain.  There are visitors from West Yorkshire, in the shape of Gloria Jeffries and the Gerry McNeice Band, and dance interludes from the Acorn and Ebor Morris sides.


Saturday events Indoors include a non-stop session in the Bowes Room and a Rolling Folk Club upstairs, followed in the evening by a mini-concert.  Members of Yorkshire Garland will be celebrating our local folk songs, Adrian Spendlow will be telling tales, and Wee Folk will be hosting a teatime children’s club.


Sunday in the Marquee ranges from the electric folk rock of The Basement Band, through various strands of Americana (Union Central, Moonshine Creek, Phil Cerny) and acapella shanties (Monkey’s Fist) to world music (Caramba!) and contemporary song (Union Jill, Graham Hodge, Dan Webster).  Minster Strays Morris will be dancing and there is a return visit by one of last year’s most successful acts, the marvellous Kaminari Taiko drummers.


Sunday events Indoors include plenty more session, rolling folk club and singaround opportunities, together with another mini concert.  At lunchtime there will be a “Poems & Pints” event and in the evening members of the York Songwriters Circle are in concert.  Also on Sunday, Paula and Judith from Soundsphere will be running another of their popular Singing Workshops, this held at York Library.


3.        PLEASE HELP US TO SPREAD THE WORD.  Please do as much as you can to encourage a bumper turnout for this year’s Folk Weekend.  If you use Facebook, Twitter and other social media (or even old-fashioned word of mouth!), please tell your friends and families all about it.  Because it is an entirely free event, it is ideal to dip into at will and easily sampled by people who are not hard-core folk music fans.  As I always say, come along for three hours or three days, whatever you will!


If you know somewhere that would take a poster, there is an A4 one available for download on the club website at  You could also print it off at A5 size (colour or B&W) as a flyer.  Alternatively, I can post out hard copy flyers and posters on request.



·        PARKING:  For obvious space reasons as well as health and safety, the pub car park will be closed except to a very few authorised vehicles.  Please park elsewhere and make your way to the Black Swan on foot, or use one of the buses running through Peasholme Green.  We don’t yet know if the adjacent Haymarket car park will have reopened in time for Folk Weekend.  The archaeologists are still hard at work and the York Council website still says “closed for about four months from 30th January”.

·        FACILITIES:  The landlord will be providing additional gazebos this year, as well as the two linked marquees, so if the weather is fickle there should be plenty of shelter.  There should also be a Portaloo facility again, to ease pressure on the ladies room indoors.

·        FOOD & DRINK: There will be the usual selection of hot foods available, including veggie options, and the bar will be well-stocked.  Andy, our Landlord, invests a fair bit of his own money in making the Folk Weekend a success, and food and drink sales are his return on that investment.  PLEASE DO NOT CONSUME BROUGHT-IN FOOD AND DRINK ON SITE, other than bottled water or special dietary requirements.

·        COLLECTIONS:  Likewise the Folk Club has to spend a fair bit of money making Folk Weekend happen, on things like advertising and security.  Our eager volunteers will therefore be rattling collection tins from time to time each day.  If you are enjoying yourselves, we hope you will give generously of your small (or not so small!) change.




In the run up to Folk Weekend, it is very much business as usual at our Thursday night folk club


5.        JUST A FEW SPACES LEFT FOR CHRIS & DENNY.  As I write, there are around a dozen tickets left at for our special guests this Thursday (17th), Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley.  These two great musicians are long-term friends of ours and always give a spellbinding performance.  And I’ve just heard that the noted Irish traditional singer Jerry O’Reilly ( will be in the audience on Thursday and will share a couple of songs with us.


6.        WELCOME BILL ADAIR FROM SCOTLAND.  Next week, May 24th, we have a gifted singer from Scotland, Bill Adair.  He is a fine guitarist, drawing on folk and blues influences, and mixes traditional songs with his own compositions.  Bill has already visited many other clubs in Yorkshire and north east England but this will be his York debut.  Let’s have a good crowd in to make him welcome.  You can find out more at


7.        WELCOME ALSO AL PARRISH FROM CANDADA.  Very welcome indeed is the former Tanglefoot bass player and vocalist Al Parrish on 31st May.  His huge charisma, boundless energy and great voice (“half way between melted chocolate and sex”) was a key element in the much-missed Tanglefoot phenomenon, so we are delighted that he is now returning to Britain in solo guise.  Expect some choice covers, Tanglefoot favourites and Parrish originals performed with humour and style.  His website is and tickets are now booking at


I’ll try to be back once more before Folk Weekend, with both Black Swan club news and interesting snippets from further afield.