Monthly Newsletter - Hitchin Folkus


Hi Folks

Another year gone, but what a cracking year it has been at Hitchin Folk Club.  As the tinkle of Christmas music becomes a distant memory, let’s reflect upon 2018.

We gave you the usual wide range of musical delights, from the sheer exuberance of the Urban Folk Quartet, who actually managed to get pretty well everyone up on their feet, and Craobh Rua, through the digital dexterity of Martin Simpson and Sam Carter, to the soaring vocal beauty of Miranda Sykes and Emily Smith.  We just bring you the best there is! 

We had our dabble with the elements again this year in March when Edgelarks (back in the autumn) were due to be supported by Broom Bezzums.  Resident in Germany, Andrew and Mark were making the most of their UK trip, visiting family in the far North East when the snow struck, blocking them in. Determined to make it, and meet up with old friends, Hannah and Phil, they eventually got out. With regular text progress reports coming in, Edgelarks started the evening, just before the boys arrived.  With no opportunity for a soundcheck, Broom Bezzums preformed a superb, totally acoustic set after the break; well worth waiting for!

There were a few new headliners this year.  New as an act, but certainly not new to the club, were Peter Knight & John Spiers, two master musicians weaving their individual talents into something quite extraordinary, back with us on 24th Feb.  Rosie Hood and The Foxglove Trio shared top billing in May, an evening of lovely “traditional” songs. I guess we shouldn’t label them as traditional as they were mostly self-penned, but written and performed in the traditional style. We are never sure what kind of draw a totally new act is going to have, but we certainly needn’t have worried with the other two Hitchin debutants.  Melrose Quartet played to a full room, superb instrumentals and “proper” four part harmonies.  Basically a melding of two acts, Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Jess & Richard Arrowsmith, they supported themselves, so we had two duo sets as well.  We look forward to having them back, hopefully in 2019. (Either way, you will be able to catch them all at Kimpton Festival 2019).  The last newbie was really very special, a young man and his bouzouki, singing traditional Irish songs as they were sung in days of yore, with a voice so clean and clear it is little wonder that Daoiri Farrell won two Folk Awards in 2017. Another truly memorable night.

As usual, most of the new acts to Hitchin reside in the support category and, again as usual, we had some exceptional new, mainly female, singers.  Saskia Griffiths-Moore (back 10th March), Kirsty Merryn (back 3rd March), Hattie Briggs (headlining 26th May) and Lizzy Hardingham (back 6th Jan) were just superb.  Chris Cleverley wowed us with some intricate accompaniment to his songs and Greg McDonald (back 10th Feb) had his songs performed by his trio, Glymjack.  Elizabeth & Jameson (Hannah & Griff) were so pleased with the live recording of their set that they have released it as a limited edition CD, currently available at the Club.  At the other end of the “experience” scale, Fran McGillivray & Mike Burke, who first played at Hitchin in 1975, once again proved to be the perfect foil for Brooks Williams.  In some ways it is the support spots that give us the most difficulty, so many young acts that we would like to bring to our stage, and so many that we would like to play again.

I guess we could argue that there is no substitute for experience, as our performing pensioners proved yet again this year. With consummate performances from Bully Wee Band, Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham, Mike Silver & Johnny Coppin, Allan Taylor, Willy Barrett, John Tams & Barry Coope and John Kirkpatrick, it never ceases to amaze me, who can’t remember what I am supposed to be saying without my clip board, that these nights aren’t strewn with senior moments!

All in all, another fabulous year at Hitchin Folk Club, here’s to 2019.

 Ticket News.  Amy Wadge & Luke Jackson on 20th Jan – SOLD OUT, but plenty left at this stage for Phil Beer on 10th February, Steve Knightly on 17th February, and Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham on 24th March.   Richard Digance on 31st March & Flook on 5th May are selling well.

Kimpton Folk Events are hosting Churchfitters on Saturday, 2nd February, as a fund/curtain raiser for the 2019 Kimpton Folk Festival on 6th July.

May I draw your attention to some folk events being presented by Benslow Music in January?  20/01/19: Open Mic with Hazel Askew @ Hitchin Starbucks – Free event! Info: https://www.benslowmusic.org/index.asp?PageID=2442 (This is an afternoon event, why not drop in on your way to see Amy Wadge & Luke Jackson at the Club?)

23/01/19: Ceilidh with Laurel Swift, Hazel Askew and Ben Moss: https://www.benslowmusic.org/index.asp?PageID=2315


Your Voice in English Folk Song - Mon 21 - Thu 24 January 2019 - Tutor: Hazel Askew Info: https://www.benslowmusic.org/index.asp?PageID=2175

Folk Dance of the British Isles - Mon 21 - Thu 24 January 2019 - Tutor: Ben Moss Info: https://www.benslowmusic.org/index.asp?PageID=2176

Building a Folk Band - Mon 21 - Thu 24 January 2019 - Tutor: Laurel Swift https://www.benslowmusic.org/index.asp?PageID=2174


We wish you all a Happy New Year and hope we see you again, soon, at Hitchin Folk Club.

 Keiron & Maureen Jones


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