Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 161

Folk Weekend Special 2013



1.        WEEKEND OVERVIEW.  It is now less than a fortnight to York’s festival celebration of folk and acoustic music. This is our eleventh annual event and if you’ve attended previous ones you’ll know pretty much what to expect, and what great fun it can be, but for newcomers here is a brief overview.  Throughout the weekend of 7th to 9th June, the Black Swan Inn will be filled with music and song, in three rooms indoors and under canvas in the car park, with concerts, tunes sessions, singarounds, workshops, themed events, a children’s show and much more.  There will be over 50 named performers, and dozens more informal participants, plus (we very much hope) lots and lots of listeners.


The programme is summarised below, while you can find the full document online at or in print on the back of our new folk club leaflet and on special folk weekend fliers, both of which have recently been distributed to usual outlets in York and beyond.


Although organised by myself and other members of the Folk Club team, this is very much designed as a weekend which brings together all sections of York’s vibrant folk, roots and acoustic music scene. What is more, it is entirely free, so you can dip in as frequently and for as long as you want over the weekend.  Some people will look in for an hour or two one afternoon; others will be there for almost the entire weekend!




2.        ON THE MARQUEE STAGE.  The main concerts take place under canvas in the pub car park.  On Friday evening (8.00-10.30) the lovely Edwina Hayes hosts her own show with some of her favourite songwriters from York and East Yorkshire, including David Ward Maclean, Steve Kendra and Carol Henderson.  On Saturday music kicks off with The Foresters at 1.00 and runs until 10.30, with 12 acts on the stage and a couple of dance interludes in the open area adjacent, courtesy of Acorn Morris and Ebor Morris, then Sunday brings a further 13 acts to the stage between 1.00 and 10.00, plus a Japanese drumming display by the wonderful Kaminari Taiko.


All the artists appearing are from York or nearby parts of Yorkshire, and cover the full range of “folk” music.  There will be folk rock from The Duncan McFarlane Band, The Basement Band and Root 64, instrumental prowess from Sarah Horn & James Cudworth and the York Young Fiddlers, and more excellent folk music from Stuart Giddens & Pip Jopling, The Fine Companions, The Gerry McNeice Band and new groups Rakish Collier and The A-Rhythmics (the latter bringing together Two Black Sheep & A Stallion with Damian Fynes & Frank Pallister).


Singer-songwriters appearing include Sarah Dean, Tim Pheby, Dan Webster, Holly Taymar and David Swann (joined by vocal duo Hissyfit), along with the classy contemporary song covers of Graham Hodge.  There will be a good taste of world music and song, courtesy of Caramba, Chechelele and Soundsphere, while American folk, bluegrass and roots music is also well represented, with Moonshine Creek and King Courgette on Saturday and Phil Cerny, Union Central (making their first public performance for nearly a year) and Burt Sawdon’s new group The Jaybirds on Sunday.


3.        INDOOR CONCERTS.  The upstairs function room, the Wolfe Room, also hosts concert style events on Saturday evening (7.30-11.30) and Sunday late afternoon (3.45-7.45), with 7 acts each day.  These include bands such as Ostler’s Dog (Ste Kenwright and friends), Finding Frederick (from York St John University) and Foss (Jack Firminger and friends from the Hemingbrough Folk Club), along with long-term supporters of the folk weekend Broadband from Teesside.  Club “residents” appearing include John Storey, Paula Ryan, Simon Alexander, Eddie Affleck, Chris Euesden and David Kidman, as well as a fairly frequent visitor of ours, Anne Curran.  There are also two new local duos, John Pritchard & Maggie Allred and To The Blue (alias Jane Stockdale & Chris Bartram).


4.        SPECIALS.  The Wolfe Room is also the venue for a number of special events.  On Friday night (8.00-11.00) four of the club’s key residents, Stan, Chris, Eddie and Phil, share the stage for a Transatlantic Song Swap, then on Saturday early evening (6.15-7.15), John Teesdale and friends present an hour of Jake Thackray songs.  On Sunday afternoon (2.45-3.30) we are pleased to have The Stowaways with their pirate-themed children’s event The Yo Ho Ho Show, described as “music and fun for kids and parents”, and then Sunday evening (8.00-10.30) sees the customary Songwriter Showcase, hosted by Stan Graham.


The smaller of the two downstairs dining rooms, the Oak Room, also sees a few special events, including a storytelling hour with Adrian Spendlow, again for kids and parents (Saturday 2.30-3.30), following on from a workshop session on American Folk Songs with Phil Cerny (1.00-2.15), while later in the day, Stan Graham reprises last year’s very successful one-man acoustic show (6.45-7.45).



Participation is just as important as concert performance so far as we are concerned and for most of Saturday and Sunday there will be two events taking place simultaneously, where you can sing or play yourselves.


5.        ALL DAY MUSICIANS’ SESSIONS.  The larger dining room, the Bowes Room, is given over to a musicians’ session all day Saturday and Sunday and this is usually the first event under way each day, from noon onwards.  It is a warm and welcoming set up, and with a stone flagged floor having replaced the carpets the acoustics should be better than before.


6.        THE ROLLING FOLK CLUB.  Operating on the same “open house” basis as a folk club Singers Night (short performance spots, usually two songs, taken in turn), the Rolling Folk Club is held on Saturday in the Wolfe Room (1.00-6.00) and again on Sunday lunchtime (1.00-2.30), then moves into the Oak Room later on Sunday (4.15-7.45).


7.        SINGAROUNDS & MORE.  The Oak Room is the setting for afternoon singarounds, hosted by Two Black Sheep on Saturday (3.45-5.15) and by Stuart Giddens and Hissyfit on Sunday (2.30-4.00), while on both evenings (from 8.00) there are informal song sessions there.


8.        POEMS & UKES.  Sunday lunchtime sees a Poems & Pints event in the Oak Room (1.00-2.15), hosted by Adrian Spendlow, with all poets welcome, while on Saturday teatime we are hoping to have a Ukulele Session (5.30-6.30), though we are still looking for a volunteer to lead this one.  Do I hear any offers?  It should act as a good taster for the following Saturday’s York Ukulele Festival:


9.        FRIDAY NIGHT FRINGE.  If you want to sing or play on Friday night, head over to the regular gathering at The Victoria Vaults on Nunnery Lane, which is an official “fringe” event.


10.     SINGING WORKSHOP SUNDAY.  Our other official and off-site fringe event is the Singing Workshop hosted by Soundsphere, which takes place at York Central Library on Sunday morning (11.15-1.15).  Like everything else this is free but numbers are limited, so to find out more and book a place, go to or ring 01904 623599.




11.     MARQUEES, GAZEBOS & OUTDOOR STUFF.  This year our landlord Andy has hired in a properly linked pair of marquees which are a bit larger than those used previously, giving us a good size fully covered area in case of inclement weather.  He will also have several small gazebos in place and has hired a larger number of outdoor seats than before.  There will also be a couple of Portaloos on site to augment the pub’s fixed facilities.


12.     FOOD & DRINK.  Finishing touches are now being given to the pub’s new kitchen extension, ready for Folk Weekend.  With a larger and better equipped kitchen, the landlord plans to offer a wider range of food, including pie and peas, salads and more vegetarian options.  Meanwhile the cellar will be stocked to the maximum with the full range of beers and other drinks.  Please do not bring your own food or drink on site with you, other than bottled water or special dietary needs.  The landlord invests a great deal of time and money in running our folk weekend (marquees, seating, staging, toilets, special licences, extra staffing, etc.) and at the same time he foregoes his normal meals trade over the weekend, so he needs to recoup his very considerable costs through festival bar and food sales.


13.     TIMINGS.  Under the terms of our temporary licence, the outdoor music has to end no later than 10.30 (10.00 on Sunday) so even if we are running late and your favourite artists lose out, please bear with us.  We will of course do our level best to keep on schedule.  We also have to keep overall volumes at what is considered a reasonable level.  However, the bars are open until midnight (10.30 on Sunday) and music can go on indoors until then.


14.     NO MUSIC IN THE MAIN BAR.  The landlord and his staff ask that no informal singing or jamming takes place in the main back bar, which will be very busy all weekend serving drinks.  Please comply with this request.


15.     NO PARKING ON SITE.  For both basic space reasons and to safeguard health and safety, there will be no parking available on site over the weekend.  If bands and other performers need access to drop off or pick up bulky instruments or other equipment, please let me know ASAP and I will look at options for temporary access.  Happily the adjacent Haymarket car park is now open again and is a particularly good choice for evening visitors, being only £2 after 6pm (or free to York residents badge holders).  Other options include using the cheap daytime Park & Ride services, or coming entirely by public transport, since the Black Swan sits on several busy bus routes.  For information about council run parking facilities, see


16.     COLLECTION TINS.  While no performer is taking a fee for appearing, and the landlord pays for much of the extra infrastructure, the Folk Weekend still costs us (the Folk Club) quite a bit of money to put on.  In particular this year we are facing higher costs around the provision of a good quality PA system in the marquee.  So our trusty volunteers will be rattling collection tins under your noses from time to time each day!  If you are enjoying the weekend, please drop in whatever you can afford.  It will be a great help.




We would very much like lots and lots of people to come along and enjoy what is on offer over the weekend.  Please do what you can to help us with publicity.


17.     SPREAD THE WORD.  Please share news of the folk weekend with families, friends, work colleagues or whoever else you think might be interested.  Word of mouth recommendation is always the best form of publicity!


18.     SOCIAL MEDIA.  If you are a Facebook or Twitter user, please spread the word there as well.  We have a Folk Weekend Facebook page at and there is the Folk Club’s Twitter feed at


19.     POSTERS AND LEAFLETS.  Our Folk Weekend artwork (kindly donated by Richard Nagy) is available in either PDF or Jpg format at and can be posted on social media sites or downloaded and printed off as a poster or flier.




Now a slightly truncated version of “normal” newsletter content.


20.     TWENTY LEFT FOR BRUCE MOLSKY.  Our club guest this coming Thursday (May 30th) is simply one of the best musicians in the entire folk world.  Playing fiddle, guitar and banjo and singing too, Bruce Molsky is closely identified with Appalachian music but also takes on board influences from Delta blues to the haunting modal strains of Irish music to the rhythmically nimble sounds of Eastern Europe.  His many credits include TV’s Transatlantic Sessions and Andy Irvine’s band Mozaik.  As I write there are about 20 tickets left, at priced at £12 full or £10 concessions.


21.     NEW BROCHURE PUBLISHED.  Our new club brochure is now available and covers the entire summer period and beyond.  All the events it lists are now open for booking at WeGotTickets (club guests) or at in the case of concert specials.  Full details have also been uploaded to the club website.


After a pre-festival Singers Night (June 6th) we have noted American traditionalist Jeff Warner (June 13th), followed by velvet voiced Old Warhorse Bob Fox (June 20th), then a return to rural American music with Dana & Susan Robinson (June 27th), with future overseas visitors including Australian women’s vocal group Salvation Jane (July 18th) and American country/roots songwriter Katy Moffatt (September 12th).  The rest of the summer concentrates on home grown talent from Yorkshire and northern England, including Ray Hearne (July 11th), Eddie Walker (July 25th), Rebekah Findlay (August 8th), The Young ‘Uns (August 15th) and former York residents Emily Weygang & Ben Harker (September 5th), plus former York University student band Nish As Rish (August 22nd).


22.     STAN, FORESTERS AND FAUSTUS IN CONCERT.  A quick reminder that our next NCEM concert promotion is a double bill of much-loved local acts.  A sextet with mandolin, banjo, flute, fiddle, guitar, bass and percussion, The Foresters have been performing their melodic blend of folk, country and pop songs, laced with good humour, in and around York for some forty years, while our own Stan Graham surely needs little introduction here: a writer of top class songs, many now recorded by other artists, and a relaxed and accomplished entertainer with a great voice and bags of personality.  The date is Wednesday 3rd July and tickets are £10 each, on sale now.


We then take a summer break from concerts before resuming with English power trio Faustus, recently returned to the fray with a vengeance following a two year break.  Saul Rose on melodeon (Waterson:Carthy, Warhorse), Benji Kirkpatrick on guitar (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin on fiddle and oboe (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast) have vast musical ability and experience and share a deep love of English folk song.  With Rakish Collier doing the support, this should be a great show.  The date is Friday 27th September and tickets are now on sale at £14 full or £12 concessions.





23.     CELTIC FIDDLES.  Appearing at NCEM (and promoted by NCEM, not ourselves) on Monday 3rd June are the group Celtic Fiddle Festival, celebrating the violin in all its globe-trotting variations.  Comprising fiddlers Kevin Burke (Ireland), Christian Lemaître (Brittany) and André Brunet (Quebec), along with acclaimed Breton guitarist Nicolas Quémener, they showcase a “fascinating juxtaposition of international and individual styles”.  Tickets are £17 full, £15 concessions and £5 students from the NCEM Box Office.


24.     DON WALLS SPECIAL EVENT.  Much loved local poet Don Walls (no relation) is putting together an event on Saturday 22nd June at the Unitarian Chapel on St Saviourgate.  Intended to commemorate his son Peter, who died a year ago, it will include music and song from a variety of local performers and Don will be reading some specially written poems.  That is all the information I have at this stage, except that it will be a 7.30 start.


25.     JENI & BILLY AT THE SWAN.  Coming from Nashville, Jeni & Billy are singing sweethearts who bring their Appalachian folk sounds, close harmonies and storytelling to York for a one-off gig at the Black Swan Inn on Tuesday 25th June, showcasing their new CD and playing some old favourites too.  The evening is organised by York's own King Courgette and they will be doing support.  Doors open at 8pm.  Tickets cost just £5 and can be bought at The Little Apple Bookshop on Petergate or reserved on 01904 676103.


26.     LES FOR POPPLETON.  The next Poppleton Live event is on Saturday 6th July with “the funniest poet in the country”, Les Barker. “I have seen Les on a number of occasions and I can guarantee wall to wall laughter from the start of his set to at least a week afterwards” says organiser John Watterson.  Special Guest will be Charlie Barker (no relation) from Sheffield.  Tickets are £12.50 from John on




Just space to list three of these:


27.     JUNE 1st IN ELLOUGHTON, EAST YORKSHIRE.  The next event for Hunsley Acoustic Music brings the famous Irish singer songwriter Kieran Goss to Elloughton Village Hall on Saturday 1st June at 8pm.  Tickets are £12 each which includes a hot supper and support comes from Alastair Artingstall.  Country music act The Haley Sisters follow on 29th June at the same venue.  For booking information etc. see


28.     JUNE 4th IN SALTAIRE.  Celebrating their respective careers to date, Eliza Carthy and Jim Moray appear together with a special 13 piece line-up at the Victoria Hall on 4th June, both playing “Best Of” sets.  Tickets are £16.50 – see for details.


29.     JUNE 14th IN THIRSK.  Folk Awards “Horizon” winner Blair Dunlop is the next guest of Loosely, Folk at the Courthouse on 14th June.  See for details.





30.     WELL DONE UNION JILL!  Sharon & Helen drew a full house to the NCEM two weeks ago for the Union Jill CD Launch Concert, and now just as I am writing this newsletter, the postman brings the new edition of Tykes’ News, in which I find the first review (to my eyes) of said CD, Respectable Rebellion.  And what a glowing review it is!  Here are a few choice quotes from erudite reviewer Nigel Schofield “one of the best produced folk albums I have heard in years … the quality of the songs is exceptional … vocally (they) are utterly on target … every track rewards repeated listening … this year’s Folk Award for Best Duo should be a cinch!”  It is just a shame (for us) that Union Jill have paid festival bookings elsewhere and cannot be with us for our Folk Weekend.




That’s your lot for now.  Say hello if you see me at Folk Weekend.