Monday, 10 May 2010

Folk Against Fascism Barnsley and All the Other news

It’s been a busy week all round, so lots to get through.
The dust settles on Acoustic Rotherham 7.  Thanks to all for your kind words, much appreciated, and it’s great to see so many of the acts using the thumb nail reviews in last week’s Blog. 
Well, Myke and I started the week polishing up a new song that we particularly wanted to work into our Barnsley set, so it was a rushed practice prior to Nellie Folk. 
It was great to see so many people creeping out into the Spring air to make their way to Nellie Folk to make for an interesting evening of music and the odd poem. 
Always room for more though, so if you’ve not visited Nellie Folk yet (fourth Monday of each month) then add it to the diary as a place to visit.
Thursday found The Mashers out exploring.  We went along to the Rock at Wentworth.  The “What’s On” Board said there was folk in the Bar on a Thursday, but the two lads who apparently normally do their stuff were nowhere to be seen. 
Not to be thwarted we headed to the Yellow Lion Buskers Night, where we found Jono doing a grand job working an evening out of limited musician resources.   We’ve not been to the Yellow Lion for months and it was great to see that the session is populated by so many young people doing their “stuff”. 
And proving the absence makes the heart grow fonder, The Masher set proved to go down quite well.
But where was everyone?  Surely folks were not gripped by either the heroics of Fulham in the Europa League or the third Leaders Debate?  Perhaps they were. 
But The Mashers marched on to Saturday and the Love Music Hate Racism Carnival Festival in Barnsley.   We played the Folk Against Fascism Stage which was based in Peel Square. 
I have to admit we were not holding out much hope for this set, for whenever The Mashers play in the open the rain always seems to make an appearance, and the forecast for the day was not brilliant according to the BBC.
Parking is a problem in Barnsley, even when it’s free.  We ended up on the top tier of the multi-story car Park, so by the time we parked and hiked to Peel Square, we missed what I was told was a typically brilliant set from the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonigan, aided and abetted by the Mass Ranks of the Barnsley Trades Council. 
We did catch the last few songs of Jonathon Taylor’s set of his interesting songs.
Our set went almost according to plan – we forgot the cloths pegs – so the only gust of wind in our thirty minutes did cause a little confusion during Ordinary Man – which nonetheless was well received by the gathered folks. 
Gerry McNeice followed us with a typically superb set of songs.  Gerry was in fact also sound man of the day.  We have to say – creeps that we are – that it was simply the best outside sound that we have experienced in our travels, so congratulations to Gerry.
With blood sugar levels running low we had to run off and find some food and liquid refreshment – so unfortunately we missed Richard Kitson, returning just in time to catch our old friends Tian McKevit and Matt Hegarty who produced one of the best sets we’ve seen them do. 
It was the role of Chris Milner to wrap the afternoon up.  But we had to skittle away as we wanted to pop in and see how the Wath Festival Singaround was going.
Sorry Chris and we look forward to seeing you at Acoustic Rotherham 9 in October.
Also in attendance in Peel Square, and providing fine percussion accompaniment throughout The Mashers set were the couple who make up Song and Story.  Dorothy Fryman and John Bartley.  Now, if you’ve not seen these two folks at work or heard their material then you are missing a real treat head off HERE
Anyway, Dorothy picked up on one of the songs we sing written by the great Matt McGinn, May Day.  Apparently this song was written in the back of a van on the way to a Labour Party event in Glasgow,  way back in the sixties and Dorothy was there!  Now how cool is that………………  
And thanks guys for the percussion – it was great.
And so the Wath Festival.
OK it was four o’clock when we arrived in a damp Wath.  We parked in the main car park – no I’m not getting hung up on our parking – the point is we arrived in the main car park and there was nothing to tell us that there was a Folk Festival going on, let alone where anything was happening.
Regular readers will know that last year I mentioned the very same thing – it’s sad to have to repeat it.
Typically we arrived just as George was leaving his session.  But!  Were quite pleased to discover that the session was still running lead by South Yorkshire Pete.  So Phoebe, who had been driving us around at last had a chance to do a song. 
But before The Mashers could launch themselves onto the session even Pete had to make his escape, leaving us in charge – oh dear. 
We did a couple of songs and there was just enough time for another full round of songs before we had to make way for a Private Party.
Good to see folks from down South in attendance – lovely banjo playing (did I say that) and fiddle playing. 
Apparently all the main events were well attended, even sold out, but the fringe events at this Festival need some attention.  There were mutterings once again of not enough use of local acts to promote various sessions throughout the day and I’ve heard that pubs were not as busy as they expected to be.
My own feeling was that there was a lack of a Festival atmosphere.
Which brings me to the sad news of the demise of The Spratton Festival.
We had the privilege of playing Spratton last year.  Well organised and all inclusive, the whole Village seemed to be included in one way or another.
 Spratton’s demise was clearly the result of several factors, some of which were political to the Village.
The fact is though that they made a rolling loss.
Last year they had a bit of bad luck with the weather especially on the Saturday.  However, I think that the bottom line was trying to run before they could walk.   With so many Festivals springing up around the Country the Diary is getting very crowded and with the same names appearing at the top of Bills it’s not surprising that some will fall by the wayside.
On which it’s worth noting that the Holmfith Festival goes ahead next weekend.  This is a Festival built from the bottom up, a festival of people’s music.  In other words a recognition that the people who attend and pay for these Festivals invariably are performers themselves who like nothing better than to share their music with old and new friends.  Something that is overlooked by some organisers.    Full details HERE
 Plans for the 31st May Charity Festival at The Bridge Inn, Rotherham are well under way now.   There was a moment of panic when it seems a misunderstanding lead to a double take………. But now we’ve integrated into a full on event in aid of The Rotherham Hospice.    There’s to be two stages – a main stage in the bar downstairs which will be mainly electric based, and featuring some of Rotherham’s top Bands and upstairs an acoustic based stage.
Plus of course the Protest Song contest.  We’re already getting entries.  All a bit fun, but we hope it might set people’s creative juices flowing.   Full details of the contest can found HERE
Stay tuned as details come in.
By the way we’ve still got some spaces on the acoustic stage, so if you fancy a sing please contact me at   
In the Free Down Load Section of the Acoustic Rotherham Web Site you’ll find some NEW additions.   Demo packages from Owd Chyver and Marzipan Moon plus The Mashers Live at The Riverside which features many of the new songs.  HERE

The list for Acoustic Rotherham 8 is building.  We’ve a few limited spots left so please contact me if you fancy taking part on 25th July.
Places for October 31st are also being taken quickly so it might be an idea to get your name down for our second birthday Party early.
Tickets for our joint venture with – Pete of South Yorkshire Folk – featuring The Artisan Re-Union Tour, are available.  Tickets are £10 in advance, and are strictly limited so it’s best to get yours early.   You can order on line HERE or call Pete on 07703298164or Richard on 07507588964 to reserve tickets. 
Pictures from Saturday’s Masher outings will be on the site soon.
And that finishes this week’s News. 
In the coming week The Mashers will be catching their breath – but watch out we might raid your Club during the week.

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