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General News

General News

Bob Copper’s Songs And Southern Breezes reprinted

Although Bob Copper’s first book, A Song for Every Season, has never been out of print, the same cannot be said for his second, Songs And Southern Breezes. But this account of Bob’s travels and adventures throughout his area of Sussex and Hampshire has recently become available again thanks to current members of The Copper Family.

Big Whistle Festival Farewell… for now at least

After considerable deliberation with their partner organisation, The Met, Bury, the Big Whistle Festival organisers have announced their decision that the festival will no longer be held at that venue and agreed that there will be no Big Whistle Festival in 2020. This may not be the end of the road for the event, however. Any further announcements will be made through the Big Whistle website.

Moonrakers courses

For several years Oxford-based group, Moonrakers, has been running residential and day Folk Orchestra workshops at Benslow Music (Herts) and Halsway Manor (Somerset). These multi-instrumental courses are suitable for intermediate musicians. A maximum of 15 people work on arrangements of tunes and songs with chords and parts provided, and the music is recorded and sent in advance. In 2020 the courses are being held in Halsway Manor in Somerset in February, Benslow Music in Hertfordshire in June, July and September, and at BunkFest in Oxfordshire in September. For details, go to moonrakers.net or call 01865 769206.

Folk London magazine

Folk London magazine will be under new management from the spring as its current editorial team, Peter Crabb-Wyke and Sue West, are retiring after 10 years. From February, the features, reviews and listings magazine will be edited by James Eagle and a team of volunteers from Morris Folk Club. You can continue to contact the magazine at editor@folklondon.co.uk. folklondon.co.uk.

Sharon Shannon celebrates 30 years with two releases

Sharon Shannon is celebrating 30 years on the scene with two new albums featuring 30 previously unreleased tracks. The first is The Winkles Tapes 1989, which was released in November, followed by a further 14 exclusive, tri-weekly tracks showcasing the wide and diverse scope of Sharon’s incredible 30-year musical journey. These 14 tracks will then be compiled on her 30th Anniversary album for release in November 2020.

Hobgoblin acquires Scayles Music in Edinburgh

An Edinburgh institution, Scayles Music, is a traditional music shop that has been trading for over 25 years. Earlier this year, its owner retired and Scayles has now become part of the Hobgoblin Music chain.

Belshazzar’s Feast retire

The well-loved folk duo Belshazzar's Feast has announced the retirement of Paul Hutchinson at the end of May 2021 and as a result the final dates for Belshazzar's Feast. In their words, delivered with their usual dry wit: “The end is nigh… It is said that all good things have to come to an end but there are exceptions to all rules. And so it is with Belshazzar’s Feast. We think we have been touring for 26 years now and Paul H isn’t getting any younger, so it is with regret that we announce that our last tour will take place in May 2021. We would like to thank our many loyal fans for their undying support, we know all six of you. We hope that in the remaining time we can visit most of the country to say goodbye.”

Dick Gaughan and The Harvard Tapes

Dick Gaughan has been at the cutting edge of Scottish folk music for almost five decades. A guitarist, singer, songwriter, actor, musical director, arranger, record producer, engineer and goodness knows what else - he has been there and done it all. In recent years, Dick has had to deal with some health issues. In October 2016, an MRI scan confirmed Dick had suffered a stroke several months previously, from which, thankfully, he is now gradually recovering.

Festivals getting Drastic On Plastic

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention is one of many festivals that have backed a call to say ‘no’ to single-use tents and are urging festival-goers to take tents home for re-use in an attempt to tackle the problem of single-use plastics. Together with over 60 other music festivals across the UK, Cropredy organisers have called on big retailers such as Argos and Tesco to stop marketing ‘festival tents’ as single-use items.

New Arts Centre for Newton Stewart

The closure of Newton Stewart's RBS branch may have a silver lining for Wigtownshire traditional music lovers. Plans are progressing to transform this spacious building into the Vault Arts Centre. The Trad Music Trust charity, organisers of the Newton Stewart and Minnigaff Traditional Music and Dance Festival, plan to use it for music, dance, arts and language tuition, exhibitions and live performances. This substantial space will be a welcome cultural addition to the town, and the local community is firmly behind the moves.