Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 94

Mid Dec 2008


The Black Swan Inn is still closed, so we are going ahead with our plan to hold this year’s club Christmas Party at The Winning Post on Bishopthorpe Road, on Thursday evening. Please come along if you can – it will be good fun.
Format is essentially that of a Singers & Musicians Night, though some performers choose to do seasonal or non-standard repertoire, with a healthy quota of jokes and general silliness.
The big difference is the Bring & Share Supper. Most people bring along something to eat, whether shop-bought or home-made, savoury or sweet, and we have an extended break to eat and socialise around 9.30pm. The Winning Post landlady will also be providing us with some roast potatoes as a hot dish.
Stan Graham is our customary Master of Ceremonies and there is no one better than him for getting us in the party mood. We’ll kick off no later than 8.30 and have an hour of music, then supper, then another hour plus of entertainment.
There is one change this year, venue aside: I will not be organising a grand raffle. I’ve not had time to root out some decent prizes and anyway club finances are pretty robust right now (even after two sizeable losses on the last two club guests, due to poor turnouts in bad weather at temporary venues). There’s no admission charge either, so all you’ll need is bar money!
For those of you who do not know it, The Winning Post is at 127-129 Bishopthorpe Road, postcode YO23 1NZ. As you drive south along Bishopthorpe Road away from the city centre it is set back on the right a couple of hundred yards after you have crested the hill. There is some parking at the venue itself and unrestricted street parking adjacent on Bishopthorpe Road.

PLEASE COME ALONG IF YOU CAN. After a disappointing turnout for Mike Silver, it really would be good for our own morale (and a big thank you to the Winning Post landlady) to have a pretty full house.


It remains likely that the Black Swan Inn will reopen fairly soon, but almost certainly under a new landlord. The owners, Enterprise Inns, are said to be looking for someone to take over the lease and it is obviously in their interest to have such a high profile property open for business as soon as possible.
The key questions we cannot yet answer are exactly when will it reopen and will we be welcomed back by the new management? As soon as we have firm news I’ll pass it on and meanwhile we are looking at several other potential venues, either short term or permanent. Meanwhile, thanks for all the messages of support and encouragement received over the last week. Here are just two of them:

  • “Ouch. I sincerely hope the Black Swan is open for business again soon. The venue is definitely one of the stars of the show. I know the room is small, but it makes up for it in many other ways.” (Agent Jacey Bedford).
  • “Sorry to see this happen to you. It would be a great shame if you have to permanently move from the Black Swan as it is has such a lot of character. However, I have no doubt the club will continue to be successful wherever you end up.” (Fellow club organiser Paul Arrowsmith).


Our landlord of the last nine years, Mike Dobson, is resigned to leaving the Black Swan and is in the process of moving out. He was only the fourth landlord in my 26 year association with the pub and certainly the best of the bunch: friendly, approachable and accommodating. He appreciated the potential of the upstairs room as a small scale music and entertainment venue, hosting not just ourselves but also regular blues and jazz nights, a comedy club, the Songwriters Circle, a classical guitar group and much more. Nor would the Folk Day / Folk Weekend have been possible without Mike’s active support. We wish him and partner Nush well in whatever they do next.


I have put our next club brochure on hold until the venue situation is resolved, but assuming that the club goes ahead somewhere after the Christmas & New Year break, January’s programme looks like this:

Hard to believe, but Maggie Boyle, Lynda Hardcastle and Helen Hockenhull are now in their 16th year together. Their highly praised harmonies and thoughtful repertoire have made them one of the folk scene's best loved female groups. Their skilled arrangements of traditional and contemporary songs, both acapella and accompanied, will give us lovely start to 2009. Tickets £ 7 / £ 6
Let’s give a warm York debut welcome to this passionate and extrovert French singer, now based in Britain and an extremely popular performer at clubs and festivals all over the country. Flossie sings beautifully across an eclectic mix of songs – from Brel and Piaf through jazz standards to the work of modern folk and rock writers like Allan Taylor or Bonnie Raitt. Tickets £ 6 / £ 5
Outstanding performers of English traditional music, this Sheffield-based quartet combine formidable vocal talents with all-round instrumental skills on fiddles, melodeon, guitar, cittern and border pipes. Their music blends the deepest roots of their native tradition with a fresh and contemporary edge to produce emotive performances sparking with raw energy. Tickets £ 7 / £ 6

Full diary dates through to July are now on the club website, and WeGotTickets booking is open for dates through to 26th March. If a change of venue should be forced on us, WeGotTickets have already proved effective at sending out notification emails to ticket purchasers.

To one and all, best wishes for a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.