Late February 2007
There’s lots of Black Swan news this time but I’ll fit in a few other local events as well.
- WEBSITE WORKING AGAIN – HOORAY! After what seems like an age, I am happy to report that our club website at www.bsfc.org.uk is now functioning properly again. For several weeks it was unavailable completely, then once we got it back online we found it would not accept any updates. Thanks very much to Michael Jary and Stan Graham, who between them have made numerous calls to our server’s help desk in order to get it sorted. Michael has now updated the site with the current programme details and has filed recent newsletters there as well. Next we will be looking to update the Folk Day page and some other sections. Incidentally, be aware that the home page for our previous website is still live (www.freeweb.telco4u.net/blackswanfolk) and apparently cannot be killed off! This causes a deal of confusion, but it seems we’ll have to live with that.
- CONCERTS UPDATE. Be advised that tickets are going fast for the Spiers & Boden concert at the Early Music Centre on 13th March, and there are now fewer than 70 left. Also selling well already are Last Night’s Fun (23rd April) and Van Eyken (2nd May). Tickets for all three events can be obtained via the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338 or online at www.ncem.co.uk, or (better for club funds) you can buy them from me by post, or in person on any Thursday evening.
Half hour support acts for all three concerts have now been arranged. Phil Cerny opens for Spiers & Boden, while Diad, alias local favourites Damian Fynes & Frank Pallister, will do the honours at the Last Night’s Fun event. For Van Eyken the opener will be provided by Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts, who did a grand floor spot at a recent club night. They were to have played at next month’s Young Performer showcase, but pulled out when Katriona’s “other” band, Tiny Tin Lady, got the support slot on Fairport Convention’s winter tour. Not a bad excuse!
- MARCH CLUB EVENTS. Talking of next month’s diary, we kick off with the wonderful Faustus on 1st March, followed by a Singers Night (8th March), then a Scottish night with Jim Malcolm (15th March), then that Young Performer event (22nd March) and lastly American traditional with Judy Cook (29th March).
Faustus are of course the successors to Dr Faustus, with Paul Sartin and Benji Kirkpatrick from that previous band (which also included Tim Van Eyken and Robert Harbron), now being joined by Saul Rose. Paul and Benji are also key members of Bellowhead (Voted Best Group and Best Live Act in the BBC Folk Awards earlier this month). Paul’s other bands include Belshazzar’s Feast, Benji still plays occasionally with his famous father John, and Saul was a member of Waterson:Carthy for several years. They combine excellent singing with virtuoso musicianship on fiddle, oboe, melodeon, guitar and bouzouki. I must say I was very impressed when I saw them on stage at Otley Folk Festival last year.
Jim Malcolm has one of those instantly recognisable singing voices – rich, warm and beguiling. Formerly lead singer with Old Blind Dogs (as seen in York last year), he is now concentrating on his solo career, mixing traditional Scottish songs with his own award-winning compositions. This should be another treat!
- TICKETING ARRANGEMENTS FOR CLUB SPECIALS. When we published the current club leaflet we said that booking would be available in advance for four special Thursday nights this season: Allan Taylor (3rd May), Katy Moffatt (24th May), Harvey Andrews (7th June) and Bob Fox (21st June). More quickly than anticipated, we have sorted out a new way for you to get your tickets, thanks to our friends at the Early Music Centre. Tickets for these events can be purchased now onwards from the NCEM Box Office, either by ‘phone (01904 658338, office hours Monday to Friday), or online through the website at www.ncem.co.uk.
The specific web links are as follows:
- Allan Taylor: http://www.ncem.co.uk/cgi/events/events.cgi?t=template.htm&a=805
- Katy Moffatt: http://www.ncem.co.uk/cgi/events/events.cgi?t=template.htm&a=806
- Harvey Andrews: http://www.ncem.co.uk/cgi/events/events.cgi?t=template.htm&a=807
- Bob Fox: http://www.ncem.co.uk/cgi/events/events.cgi?t=template.htm&a=808
We hope you will find this method easy and convenient. Of course, we will be paying NCEM for this service, so if you can still buy direct from the club, it does mean there is more money available to give to the artist. I’ll have tickets with me every Thursday evening from now on, or ring me to arrange a postal order. Early booking is particularly advised for Harvey Andrews, who always packs out the club!
If this system works smoothly, we’ll adopt it more widely this autumn. Meanwhile, please remember that all other Thursday nights are Pay-At-The-Door events, though I am happy to take reservations from people who contact me beforehand.
- ANNUAL REPORT TIME. The Folk Club’s business year runs from 1st February to 31st January, so I have been busy finalising the figures for the year just ended. Funds wise, we made a small overall surplus on the year of £114 (as I said last time, equivalent to around 0.5% of the total income of £22,897). At year end we had £3194 in the bank and £245 cash in hand. Concerts made a worrying loss on the year of £278, compared to a surplus of almost £1500 the year before. On the other hand, Singers Night income last year was nearly double the previous year’s, and club Guest Nights also made a much bigger surplus. Overall, this was enough to meet all our publicity and administrative costs and cover the concerts deficit. I have prepared a summary of income and expenditure and have handouts with me on Thursday evenings, so ask if you would like to see one.
Looking at overall audience figures, 2006/7 was our best year since 2003/4, with an average Thursday night paying audience (i.e. excluding floor acts, etc.) of 30 per event. Breaking this down, Guest Nights averaged 33.7 paying customers, and Singers Nights managed 20.6 non-performing listeners per session, their best figure since 1998/9. Our nine NCEM concerts of 2006/7 averaged 127 ticket sales.
We’ve had many great performances over the last year and so I am happy to report that, aside from the slight worry over concert income, the club is in excellent shape financially as well as musically and socially. Long may it continue!
- HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY PETER. Club regulars will be familiar with Peter Beal, the quiet elderly man who has been attending the club most weeks for roughly twenty years. Peter used to live in the Juniper Community, a sheltered home for adults with learning difficulties, several of whose staff attended the folk club and brought residents along with them. With Peter the habit stuck, although Juniper closed several years back and he is now cared for by a family in Acomb.
Peter told me recently that it was his birthday but it was only when I saw a piece in the local newspaper that I realised it had been his 80th!! He still cycles three days a week to work at the Brunswick Organic Nursery in Bishopthorpe, a sheltered workplace for adults with learning difficulties, and the paper had a lovely picture of him on his bike. I am sure we all wish him many happy returns of the day.
- AND BEST WISHES TO 422. Sadly, three members of the band 422 did not make it to last week’s NCEM concert, having been involved in a traffic accident on their way to York. Thankfully, Ian Stephenson and Emily and Sophy Ball were pretty much unhurt, but their car was written off, as was a valuable and treasured fiddle. We give them all our sympathy and best wishes, alongside hearty thanks to the other band members Sam Pirt and Joey Oliver. Teaming up with their friend Bella Hardy (ex Ola and The Pack), they determined that the show should go on and put together a scratch trio set which was very well received. Well done all!
- NO FOLK AT THE REINDEER. No sooner had the Monday folk session at The Reindeer pub got underway (E-News 62), than the licensees suddenly decided to quit the pub. Hence I’m afraid it is a case of “no more folk” at The Reindeer.
- GRAND MUSIC AT THE GRAND OPERA. We have recently established links with the Marketing Manager of York’s Grand Opera House. She has promised to put some of our publicity material in the venue at appropriate events, and in return I am more than happy to remind you of relevant upcoming GOH concerts. You may just have time to catch Eddie Reader this Friday (23rd) as part of her “Peacetime Tour”. Looking ahead, the quirky genius of Loudon Wainwright III can be enjoyed on Saturday 28th April, and Celtic legends The Waterboys are there on Sunday 13th May. Many other rock, pop, country and easy listening artists are lined up as well. Find out more at www.LiveNation.co.uk/York. You can book online, or in person at the theatre, or by phone on 0870 4000 709.
Incidentally, here’s a date for your diaries (though I don’t think tickets are on sale yet): Kate Rusby will be at the Grand Opera House on Sunday 16th September.
- AUDENARY FOLK. Prompt readers of this email should consider making their way to the Black Swan Inn this Saturday (24th) for Audenary Folk. This is an evening of poems and music to celebrate the centenary of the birth (in York) of W. H. Auden. Reading their own work and from Auden will be Hugh Bernays, Don Walls, Oz Hardwick and other poets, while there will be music from David Ward Maclean, Pugwash Convention, the lovely Laura Hockenhull and Sixpenny Wayke.
- TONY MORRIS ON. Revived by his winter sojourn in the sun, our resident poet Tony Morris returns to England for some bookings. The first two are performances of Iron Rush, in which Tony’s alter ego the 150-year old miner Tom Lennard uses stories, poems and songs to depict the 19th century ironstone mining industry of north east Yorkshire. Venues are the Marriott Room at York Library (Monday 5th March at 6.30, as part of the York Literature Festival) and the Melbourne Centre on Escrick Street (Friday 16th March at 8.00, as part of the Festival of Science and Technology). Find out more at www.tonymorrispoet.com.
I should be back around the middle of March with lots more news.