Sunday, 2 January 2011


Having survived Christmas, the diary insisted that we head towards the Year End, and on route there was a very special Nellie Folk on Wednesday evening to be negotiated.

It was, or was very close to joint Nellie Folk Founder Roy Blackman's birthday, his 74th I believe, and on the night he was certainly feeling and actively considerably more sprightly than this, supposedly younger man.

We were treated to the Rotherham Red Choir singing highlights from Roy's work, with Roy taking on the lead vocals once he had recovered from the shock.

There followed many a tribute to Roy. I don't think I've seen him work quite so hard in an evening, with so many of the locals inviting him to join in.

If you've not checked out Roy's contribution to the local music and creative writing scene then you should really check out his work that you can find HERE The recordings are not great, but we're all working very hard to find the funds to to get his work properly recorded – before it's too late, as some have argued.

And so good to see the Club packed out for the event. Brilliant stuff.

Oh, a suffering Masher managed to produce recognisable renditions of Up North and Dance On The Grave of Mrs Thatcher, two songs that I know Roy particularly enjoys.

Fortunately the New Year was very quiet, my current ailments not having cleared. In fact, and I'm sure you're all speak up and say how wrong I am, but there appeared to be very few music parties going on this year. A time for family perhaps.

But the New Year kicks off............ and you can find the January Diary up HERE

I really have not had the energy to sort the Web Site out – sorry – but I hope you're still muddling through. I promise I'll get it all sorted out very soon.

On the broader local scene many of us have been shocked to learn of the financial problems faced by the Thornberry Animal Sanctuary. Apparently they currently have funds to keep running for another month. Find out more about the issue HERE  A fund raising concert has been talked about, stay tuned for news as it firms up.

The Myke Barritt Music Trust has continued to be asked about the plain T–Shirts with the the logo. They are available to order for £10 by emailing and you'll soon be able to order via the Web Site HERE Dickie Masher's, Muriel, (the music stand) will be modelling the shirt during early 2011 Gigs. Sizes Small – Medium – Large – Extra Large

So returning to my theme of reviewing 2010, and the live music scene.

The Flat Cap Folk Club experiment sponsored by Rotherham Transport Club came to an end. It was a worth a try, and we were lucky enough to have some real quality performances, but unfortunately attendances were pathetic, thus not making it economic for the Club to continue their support. Lack of publicity – accurate publicity – and a few other things like the day of the week etc. all contributed to the demise. 

Personally I felt sorry for the Club. It's not often that one gets a chance to promote some of the quality Yorkshire acts in and around the area at no cost to the audience, so the complete lack of an audience was more than disappointing. Perhaps it was a Folk Club too far.

Another Club to have disappeared in 2010 was Friday Folk at The Venue at Stocksbridge. A real quality Club that I always enjoyed performing at. My heart went out to Charlie Barker and her Management Team when the Venue pulled the plug after they had put in all the hard graft, built a fantastic Club with a programme for 2011 that most Clubs would kill for.

Fortunately the new Dearne Valley Folk at The Park Inn, Wath has got off to a reasonable start and I'm sure will go from strength to strength during 2011.

But finding venues, sponsors and Partners is I'm afraid going to get harder during 2011.

During the year I have often written of my disappointment as I drive around South Yorkshire to see so many Pubs that The Mashers had once played either closed or just a heap of rubble. I know! Serves them right for booking The Mashers eh!! But the trend is dreadful.

So hats off to Land Lords like Ben at The Bridge in Rotherham who has stuck with his Live Music Saturday nights, encouraging local bands and giving a stage to several bands that would not normally get a hearing. That's in addition to providing a home for the Thursday Night Open Mic / Acoustic session night on Thursdays, rehearsal space for acts like The Mashers, or the Red Choir and of course being the monthly home of Nellie Folk.

I hope The Bridge gets all the support it deserves throughout 2011.

And of course as the cuts begin to bite things are only get worse. And it will not just be the loss of venues, we'll also be losing millions of pounds from the Arts budgets of local Councils etc. are cut right back to the bare bones.

It's going to be down to us all to find new and innovative ways to get “live music” out there.

It's not so much the established acts that will suffer – it's new folks, the developing musicians, those acts that don't fit the main stream, who are going to find it more difficult to find an audience.

So I hope Folk Club organisers – Festival Committee's and the like will give the new acts a chance by providing every opportunity for Open Sessions and the like and not go the way of so many recently by offering time only to tried and trusted acts – even at so called open sessions.

The Mashers will be continuing to take their brand of slash folk out to the stages of South Yorkshire and beyond. I have a feeling that this will mainly be in solo mode, but will as always be a mix of the political and humour stuff. I think the political message in particular might be considered just a little more relevant as the Cuts begin to bite.

If you're interested you can find out how to book The Mashers HERE

Two days into 2011 we have seen petrol prices going through the roof, and this my friends is only the start. Wait till the inflated energy Bills start to land on the doorstep – the full affect of the 2% hike in VAT - and the Councils start to cut back their services – one thinks the screams will start to be heard. So joining in on a few Mashers choruses might just be good medicine or at least release a bit of pent up frustration.

And so I come to the end of Part 2 of our Year End review.

I'm sure there will be plenty of material in the weeks ahead to keep our Blogs going and hopefully full of interest.

Health allowing, I'll be trying to get to Play On at The Fat Cat on Friday night.

You can keep up to date with the gossip and everything that might be going on by popping along HERE every now and then, you might also get to pick up the odd free track from time to time.

The Acoustic Rotherham CD Shop is still there HERE as is the FREE DOWNLOAD PAGE HERE packed with free demo tracks.

You can keep up to date with all the latest news about Acoustic Rotherham Hiring affairs past and present and check out the great Acts we've seen over the past two years HERE

And of course you'll find loads of other resources and information HERE

Whatever you do – keep it Live, keep it real and enjoy yourselves. Escape the reality by enjoying your music.

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