Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 84

Folk Day Special 2008

City of York Folk Weekend Special
Saturday 31st May / Sunday 1st June 2008

Less than two weeks to go now, so this Newsletter is largely devoted to the upcoming Folk Weekend at the Black Swan Inn.

  1. PROGRAMME OF EVENTS. There has only been one late addition to the weekend’s programme since the last E-Newsletter two weeks ago: shanty singers Monkey’s First have taken the free 5.30 spot in the Sunday afternoon acoustic concert in the Oak Room. There have also been a few changes to MC slots, and the very latest version of the draft programme is available on the website.

  2. ARTIST PROFILES. Several people have asked me for more information about some of the singers and bands appearing over the weekend, so here goes, in their order of appearance in the programme:
    David Swann. Gently impressive singer/songwriter; a Folk Club stalwart.
    York Young Fiddlers. Members & tutors from the fiddle club for school age children.
    Diad. The ever popular duo of Damian Fynes and Frank Pallister.
    Medusa. Border Morris dancers from Harrogate with distinctive Goth costumes.
    Union Central. Modern bluegrass from England’s leading Alison Krauss tribute band.
    Stan Graham. Our most accomplished and successful folk singer/songwriter.
    Los Yobos. Our favourite Country and Western Swing band, in “unplugged” mode.
    Wendy Arrowsmith. Award-winning folk songwriter based near Northallerton.
    Soundsphere. Cosmopolitan four part women’s vocal group. Folk Day favourites.
    Paul Pearson. Folk Day regular from Sheffield with ace young singer Charlie Barker.
    Acorn Morris. York’s women’s Morris side, dancing Border and Cotswold.
    Ruby Paul. Hard-working and increasingly successful folk/pop singer & writer.
    Ebor Morris. The long-established local male Morris side, dancing Cotswold style.
    Two Black Sheep... Dynamic acapella vocals from stalwarts Pete, Ron and Martin.
    Duncan McFarlane. Great Leeds-based folk rocker, with Anne Brivonese on fiddle.
    Ripple. Wide-ranging selection of acapella songs from Kevin, Clare and Bella.
    Pete Mitchell. The Los Yobos front man in solo mode with his own songs.
    Geoff Watson. “Hurricane” Watson is a favourite acoustic singer/writer around York.
    Yorkshire Garland. A group of local enthusiasts promoting Yorkshire folk songs.
    John Watterson. From Poppleton, a great Thackray enthusiast and interpreter.
    Tim Pheby. One of several fine York-based singer/songwriters.
    David Kidman. Unaccompanied songs from a wide variety of sources.
    AllenSmith. Irish influenced sounds from Dave Allen and Barry Smith.
    Paula Ryan. Solo original material from the Soundsphere member.
    Michael Richards & Judy Clifford. Country/folk duo from Sheffield.
    Sara Dean. Another Soundsphere member showcasing her own songs, with harp.
    JP Slidewell. Strong traditional folk from a long-term Folk Day supporter.
    Mists of the Ancients. Alias Adrian Spendlow, Jane Stockdale and Elaine Wallace.
    Anne Curran. Popular singer with a wide repertoire who lived in York until recently.
    Susie Fox & Jack Firminger. Trad and own songs with guitar, flute, bodhran etc.
    Graham Hodge. Outstandingly talented singer/guitarist – a star of the local scene.
    Sixpenny Wayke. Oz Hardwick and Paul Coleman play trad-styled folk with poetry.
    Minster Strays. Lively local mixed Morris side, dancing Cotswold and Border styles.
    Basement Band. Dylan covers and more from Chris Euesden and his mates.
    Allan & Liam Wilkinson. Father & son – hot guitar, mandolin, smooth harmonies.
    Beneath The Oak. Nu-folk with a medieval twist from Paul Wale and Jamie Mooney.
    Westport. The latest line-up of Barry Smith’s Irish music band.
    Phil Cerny. British and American traditional folk from a Black Swan stalwart.
    Chris Euesden. Chris emerges from the PA desk to do a set with mate Mike Miller.
    Midnight Special. Versatile young trio who delighted us at a recent Folk Club gig.
    Eddie Affleck. Mostly Scottish songs with classy guitar from another club resident.
    Dan Webster. Well-established local acoustic songwriter with folk leanings.
    Otra. Rahel Guzelian and Tony Levy are regulars at the Topic Folk Club in Bradford.
    Monkey’s First. Four-man shanty and sea songs group, mostly unaccompanied.
    Michael Woods. Blues singer and guitarist from Tyneside.
    Magic P & The Innuendos. “Folk-based multi-genre mish-mash” says Paul Young.

  3. PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO PLAY & SING YOURSELF. While performances by named local singers and bands are a key element in Folk Weekend, “doing it yourself” is just as important, and at least half the programme is “open house”. For session players, the focus is on the Bowes Room, with virtually non-stop playing both days, while for floor singers there will be a Rolling Folk Club upstairs until early evening on both days. This runs along the same lines as a conventional club “singers night”, with an MC introducing acts in turn to do two or three numbers each.
    More informally structured will be the “free & easy” evening sessions, upstairs on Saturday and in the Oak Room on Sunday, while for those who like acapella singing with plenty of choruses there are also Singaround events on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the Oak Room.

  4. STEWARDS, STAGE MANAGERS, SOUND CREW & HELPERS. There are still some things to work out regarding stewarding, PA management and so on, which I hope to get sorted by the end of this week. Quite a few people have already volunteered their services (thanks very much), and I shall be in touch with them very soon to firm things up. Meanwhile, if anyone else is prepared to offer their services for a few hours, please get in touch ASAP, preferably with an indication of when you would be available and what you would like to do.

  5. PUBLICITY & PROMOTION. Extending the former Folk Day into a two day event has been a bit of a gamble and we do need to have good numbers of people attending and participating to make it a success – over both days and at different times each day. PLEASE DO ALL YOU CAN TO SPREAD THE WORD! Why not encourage your families, friends and workplace colleagues to give it a try. After all the whole weekend is entirely FREE and people can come and go as they please – spending anything from ten minutes to ten hours there one day or the other or even both days! There is a poster for the weekend on the website – please feel free to print off and use as many copies as you possibly can (it works equally well in black & white if you want to spare your printer ink, and of course you could also do it in A5 or A6 format as a flyer). Likewise, feel free to print off multiple copies of the programme and spread them around.

  6. PRACTICALITIES. Here are a few other points to note:
    • PARKING at the Black Swan Inn will be very limited. Fitting in a marquee reduces the number of spaces anyway, and we have to give priority to people delivering equipment (such as PA) or large/bulky instruments. Please be prepared to make alternative parking arrangements, or use public transport. Bear in mind, for example, that the Monks Cross Park & Ride bus service passes through Peasholme Green, as do Coastliner buses between Leeds / Tadcaster and Malton / Scarborough / Whitby.
    • FOOD & DRINK. The Black Swan will be providing barbecue style food and also sandwiches for much of each day. They fully intend to have food available for longer than in previous years, but exactly how long they carry on serving will depend on demand, which is difficult to predict. Meanwhile the bar staff will be kept very busy dispensing to a (hopefully) large number of customers from what is very a small bar area – please be patient as you wait to be served, and help them to do their job by taking empties back to the bar when you go. The bar does not open before noon, but is then available right through until midnight on Saturday.
    • HEALTH & SAFETY. Please keep all fire exits and gangways clear at all times. This applies particularly in the Bowes Room (the session room), where pub staff need clear access to the kitchen at all times, and in the Wolfe Room (upstairs).
    • SMOKING is not permitted in the Marquee by law, and for the duration of the weekend we also ask that you do not smoke in the thoroughfare area between the back door and the marquee. Picnic tables will be moved to the north side of the car park and smokers can use those, or other parts of the car park, if they wish.
    Everything looks set fair for a really enjoyable weekend and a true celebration of the rich and varied local folk/acoustic scene, which is what the whole thing has been about ever since our first tentative effort back in 2003. Do come along if you possibly can!

  7. FOLK CLUB NEWS. A quick reminder that we have the delightful Dana & Susan Robinson this week (22nd) with their rural American music, then we prelude the Folk Weekend with a Singers & Musicians Night on 29th May. Jez Lowe follows on 5th June, with tickets available in advance from myself or through the NCEM box office service (01904 658338 / and note that there are plenty of tickets left at this stage.
    I had intended to attach the text of our new club brochure to this newsletter, but with two Folk Weekend attachments already, I think I’d better leave it until next time. For now, I’ll simply remind you that American traditionalist Jeff Warner visits on 12th June and we have a Double Bill on 19th June comprising Wendy Arrowsmith and Mary Vipond & Andy Whittaker. The new brochure is now printed, by the way, and going into circulation – look out for a copy at the Folk Weekend if not before.

That’s all I have time for now, so apologies to any other promoters whose events I have not mentioned. I intend to have another “standard” Newsletter out in early to mid June, that is if I survive the Folk Weekend!