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Here is a complete listing from the Somerset and Dorset Folk Diary. To receive regular updates to this listing, along with other news items, please subscribe.
Regular events, such as music sessions and dance clubs are listed separately here.
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Jim Moray is amongst England’s finest interpreters of traditional song.
His relentlessly innovative recordings can truly be said to have changed the sound of folk music since the early 2000s, and he has won fans and admirers far outside of the folk scene without ever betraying his traditional roots.
A five-time BBC Folk Award winner, his songs have been featured in a season finale of Grey’s Anatomy, he has appeared on-screen singing a specially composed song for Dr Who spin-off Class as aliens attack the earth, and he has presented documentaries on traditional music for BBC Radio 3.
8:00 pm - 10:30 pm (Doors: 7:30pm)
Door Price: £15.00
West Gallery Carols, Harmony Songs and Dance Music from Thomas Hardy’s Wessex
The Mellstock Band invite you to join them for a weekend of music and song from the West Country, as immortalised in the poems and novels of Thomas Hardy. For over thirty years Dave Townsend and the band have been resurrecting his musical world, finding forgotten gems of vocal and instrumental music from village musicians’ manuscript books and the early folksong collectors. Hardy and his family were active local musicians with their own collection of song and dance manuscripts, and Hardy noted down songs from his family and friends.
West Gallery Music:
In Dorset, as in most parts of England, for some hundred years from about 1740 onwards, groups of singers and instrumentalists played and sang in the gallery of their village church and went round the parish at Christmas to sing carols. Hardy describes a mix of powerful voices, strings and wind instruments, and the music is alive with vigorous rhythms, soaring counterpoint and strange harmonies. Don’t worry if you can’t read music or have never sung in a choir – we’ll go through all the parts and think about the best style for singing this vibrant tradition.
Village Band Music:
As well as the tunes for dances, marches and songs, there are harmony parts which show how the old bands arranged and played their music, and so we can reconstruct the sound of a nineteenth-century village band.
An opportunity to sing some of the traditional songs associated with Hardy and his family. Alongside the church music, there are a range of convivial songs which were sung in harmony, some found in Hardy’s father’s song-book.
Note: two shows!
Afternoon Show 3:00 pm
Evening Show 8:00 pm
Richard Digance ends his final year of touring with two very special live Christmas shows for grown-ups who still believe…..
Enjoy an afternoon - or evening - of festive merriment and audience participation to celebrate the end of Richard’s over 50 years of touring up and down the country without Santa’s magical sleigh!
Each show will have up to 48 tickets allocated.
Tickets: £15.50 / £14.50 Concessions.
Available from www.thedavidhall.org.uk
As part of the weekend we’ve arranged a Saturday evening Yuletide show from folk duo GreenMatthews: ‘Midwinter Revels’ spans the centuries to celebrate Christmas past, and is guaranteed to warm the cockles of even the most Scrooge-like heart. Featuring carols, winter folk songs, toe-tapping tunes and a plethora of weird and wonderful instruments, the show is brought to life with Chris Green and Sophie Matthews’ typical wit and humour.
The rest of the time is your own. Bring your instruments and make the most of Halsway’s folk library, spend some quality time with your crafting materials, or pack your walking boots to blow the cobwebs away – the choice is yours. West Somerset is packed with charming villages and beautiful landscapes to explore, or you can simply put your feet up at the Manor – perhaps with a glass of something from our well-stocked bar! – and unwind.
Petherton Arts Trust is encouraging more local performers of all genres to come to The David Hall and perform on a professional stage.
This is an evening full of extraordinary skill, talent and variety – and it doesn’t cost the earth: just £2 for audience members and £1 for performers to cover the cost of heating and lighting.
All types of performance welcome – The David Hall has had music, comedy, poetry, dance…. Everyone has the opportunity to deliver for 10 – 15 minutes with full PA and lighting.
If you would like to attend Acoustic Night as a performer or audience member please e-mail Chris Watts at folk AT chriswatts.org or call 07715501157. Payment is on the door.
Arrive a day earlier for the Dinner and Folk Dance: £ 60 per person with B&B and lunch on Thursday.* Please check with the office as the usual early folk dance has been cancelled.
Come and enjoy the Christmas celebrations at Halsway Manor in the company of your MC Gareth Kiddier, who will be cooking-up a fine programme of festive delights. This country house party won’t have the usual social dancing element due to COVID-19, but there will plenty to keep you entertained!
Expect enjoyable and varied folk activities – music, singing, quizzes, a film-night or two, informal concert, murder-mystery dinner and general merry-making. Plus great food, roaring log fires and convivial company. Bring your instruments – and walking boots too if you fancy a stroll – and prepare for a very Merry folk Christmas!
Celebrate the New Year in style – folk style that is! Join us for an enjoyable Hogmanay break with a great team at the helm.
There won’t be social dancing this year, but there will be plenty of other activities to keep you entertained. With optional walks and playing sessions; pack your walking boots and instruments.
Enjoy the Manor is its festive finery and see-in the New Year with great music and good company!
A 2 night (3 days) folk dance workshop break on a full board basis,including Sunday lunch, with a programme of activities including a trip out to Exmoor’s secret Snowdrop Valley.
Peter and Moira Gutteridge hail from Worcestershire and have been regular resident musicians at our Folk Dance weekends for many years, bringing a variety of instruments, mainly fiddle, guitar and bass, but also flute, keyboard and harp.
Ray Goodswen is from Somerset and is also our regular caller and has a love of and is a teacher of traditional dance.
from £280.00 per person
Contact Antony Brunt: 01643 821425
hotel AT yarnmarkethotel.co.uk
For the first, time Ireland’s Heidi Talbot and Scotland’s Adam Holmes are joining forces to tour, write and record an album of original material, together.
Between them they have been nominated for multiple BBC Folk Awards, SAY awards, Irish music awards and played for First Ministers and US Presidents.
This new collaboration will see the pair work under the name “Arcade”, with plans to record and release a new album of songs in 2019, produced by Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow).
Postponed from March 2020 due to the corona virus.
More details later, but put the date in your diary.
Saturday 8th May 2021 AT 8:00 pm £19
In 1995, Christine Collister, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While – acclaimed and appreciated for their individual talents as Folk, Blues, Rock and Soul singers – found themselves at the Cambridge Festival. They decided to sing some songs together….. Magic happened and Daphne’s Flight took off. A widely-acclaimed eponymous studio album and UK tour followed, with a prestigious date at London’s Union Chapel – all of which marked a turning point in the role of women within the English Folk movement.
Five of the finest singer-songwriters of their generation, Daphne’s Flight is a unique and magical blend of individual styles that captivates audiences with complex harmony arrangements, unbridled energy and the infectious joy of performing together.
Tickets: £19 Full. £18 Concessions.
The 2020 Folk Fest was cancelled, but we'll be back next year.
Put the date in your diaries.
As previous winners of Best Live Act at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, there’s no denying The Demon Barbers’ ability to put on a first-class performance.
Over the years they’ve thrilled countless audiences with their live music and dance shows, be it stirring up a frenzy at Glastonbury Festival and Edinburgh Fringe or selling out theatres around the UK!
Tickets: £19 Full. £18 Concessions.