News and Views


There is a regular music session every Tuesday at the Hope and Anchor in Daltongate, Ulverston. Starting around 9 pm, musicians and singers are all welcome. 

The Prince of Wales at Foxfield has a session every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.

There is a singers’ session at the Black Dog just outside of Dalton every 3rd Wednesday of the month, starting about 7 30 pm.

Ali Kyle has a music session in the Swan Inn, Swan Street Ulverston on the 3rd Friday of the month.

EFDSS lectures in Manchester

Over the last two years the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library has organised two highly successful series of library lectures given by leading researchers in the field, with topics ranging from Night Visiting Songs to Hammer Dulcimer Players in East Anglia. We are therefore pleased to announce a series of Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Lectures to be given at Chetham’s Library, in Manchester.

Chetham’s Library is a historic library founded in 1653, and holds an impressive collection of broadside ballads and chapbooks. They have just been awarded an Arts Council’s Designation Development Fund to digitise their collection of street literature, and it is part of this programme in which the VWML lectures will be given.

This short series of monthly lectures will explore various topics relating to broadsides and folk songs. We have some fantastic speakers in the form of Steve Roud, Vic Gammon and Angela McShane, all of whom are well respected writers and speakers in the field of folk song research. More information and tickets can be found here:

If you would be willing to pass this on to anyone you think might be interested, I would be very grateful. If you would like some flyers, I would be very happy to put a bundle in the post.

All the best,

Owen Ralph
Marketing Officer
English Folk Dance and Song Society

Vin Garbutt

We are saddened to learn of Vin Garbutt’s passing earlier today at the age of 69, weeks after undergoing major heart surgery.

Vin fell in love with folk music playing in the clubs that sprang up throughout the area in the 1960s, including the Rifle in Cannon Street, Stockton Folk Club at the Stork and Castle pub and Eston Folk Club in the Cleveland Bay.

He completed an apprenticeship as a turner at ICI but became a professional musician in 1969, quickly establishing himself the most sought-after solo performer on the UK folk scene.

He also played in the United States and regularly tours Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East.

He was named Best Live Act in the 2001 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and was presented with an honorary degree from Teesside University.

Vin made an invaluable contribution to Teesside folklore and developed a unique brand of humour that brought tears of laughter to audiences throughout the world.

However, many of his songs were deadly serious and addressed some of this biggest issues facing the world today. He could have you crying with laughter one minute and crying with sadness the next. Thirty years ago Vin was so moved by the story of a local woman who fought for the right of her son, born with spina bifida, to live that he wrote a song about it. He called the woman Linda and her son Kevin. The song proved one of his most popular, with him recalling that after singing it on Danish radio, the station received the most calls they’d ever had in response to a song.

On one of his recent visits to Ulverston most of his patter was about his first round of heart surgery – a subject that most people would treat extremely seriously; but not Vin.  The doctor prescribed him some medicine that would have the side effect of making him pee like a horse. It did indeed. As a result he got banned out of the Arndale centre. When the surgeon told him that he was going to have a new groundbreaking procedure which had only been done 12 times before, his reaction was “What? I’m the 13th?” At the end of the night he announced that he would have to be re-booked as he hadn’t finished telling us about the surgery.

Our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to his wife Pat and their family.



Late addition to the festival line up

We have an extra dance side appearing at the festival.
Stone the Crows are a Border Morris side based in Leyland in Lancashire, and with over 40 members, are a well-established group of ordinary men and women who share a passion for English traditional dance.
The Border tradition originates from the English / Welsh border counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.
In lean times such as winter, agricultural workers would take to the streets to dance for money, disguising their faces and wearing tattered coats to grab your attention.
Their raucous stick dances derive from the towns and villages along the border, brought to life with energetic musicians and an irreverent sense of fun. . Some of the dances are traditional, collected and recorded by those keen to preserve Britain’s rural, cultural heritage as the rise of industry, cities, transportation and even war threatened to wipe them out.
Other dances demonstrate a modern tradition, with collecting and sharing of tunes and dances between fellow Border teams. They have a few dances they’ve created too, like ‘Sod Hall’, ‘S.T.C’ and ‘Ratty’. As part of a living tradition, their repertoire changes as new dances are learned and older ones given a rest.

The Unthanks at the Forum Barrow

The Unthanks are performing How The Wild Wind Blows at the Forum Barrow on Sunday 7 May at 7.30 pm

Molly Drake, mother of Nick Drake, and poet and songwriter in her own right, made recordings at home during the 1950s with the help of her husband, and though never released at the time, share plenty of common ground with her celebrated son’s – charming and bittersweet, yet dark and pensive. In the eyes of the Mercury-nominated Unthanks, Molly’s work is extraordinary enough to rank alongside and independently of Nick’s.

In addition to the live re-imaginings by The Unthanks the audio-visual concert will feature film footage of Molly Drake, and her poetry, recorded and spoken by daughter Gabrielle Drake.
Click now for info and tickets:

The Unthanks – How Wild The Wind Blows

Tickets  £20 available, please visit the website or ring the Box Office on (01229) 820000.