Monday, 26 September 2011


Due to unforeseen circumstances, we're having to move home for our Third Birthday  Party Celebrations. 

We will now be based at The Crown, Bellows Road, Rawmarsh, S62 6NF.

30th October starts at 1:00pm.  Be early..............   

I'm told we will get lots of special treats.........................   

Open Arts Festival Updates / All the local music News + Web Sites

Those visiting the Web Site this week will have noticed that it’s a mess, believe it or not it’s organised chaos, and while I’ve made some progress in getting some of the key pages “live” in the new Mac friendly format, you can get to all the other pages via the link on the “Home” page in the top left hand corner.  Please bear with me, be patient and the complete overhaul will soon be made. 

I would point out that while visually it should be a little easier to read, and a little quicker to load, I would remind folks that the site remains reliant upon a third party for certain “widgets” and sometimes the load is slowed down by this.  

However, the Menu Bar is much easier to read and view all the subpage links.
But in the main, it’s even cleaners and even more efficient at making the information available.  

If you’ve not looked for a while, take a look HERE

Talking about Web Sites, Paul Newman, who’s Podcast we drew your attention to last week has launched his own Web Site, you can find it HERE  well worth taking a look at. 

So we march ahead with the planning for the Rotherham Open Arts Festival Gallery Concerts.  You can find the finalised programme HERE What a programme it is to.  My thanks to everyone who came forward to give of their talent and time to help make the events special and we hope a great success. 

We hope to bring more News about events that will be running out of the Imperial Building, on Saturday 19th and Thursday 24th November very soon.

We’re still awaiting the final go ahead concerning the Pre-Festival All Inclusive Arts Busking Day on planned for the 29th October.  Stand by your weapon of choice and await the order “GO”.

The Special Production of “Hearts of Steel” has been fixed for Friday 25th November.

Dates for Workshops to be conducted by Paul Davenport and Ray Hearne will be published within the next week. 

Papa Legbas will be dedicating their performances at The Bridge on 29th October and 26th November to The Festival.  

And of course there’s a major Fringe warm up at The Queens Rawmarsh when Acoustic Rotherham celebrates it’s Third Birthday from 1:00pm, on the 30th October.  This promises to be a very special event, and if you take a look at the acts appearing you can see why it might be a good idea to get in early.  Food will be available from the bar. The full line up can be found HERE

And I think I should say, that all this has been achieved with a budget of zero.  So hats off to all those involved, more back slapping and names at a later date, at the moment we will protect the names of the innocent.

This year the main Festival  Performances will be played out at Magna, featuring Ballet from Phoenix Dance Theatre on 19th November and the Retina Dance Company on the 20th November.  Go HERE for more details and tickets.

All these and more Fringe Events will be published on our Diary Pages HERE

You can rely on the Acoustic Rotherham News Blog to bring you all the latest News and Events as they are published, you can make sure that you’re in touch with The Rotherham Open Arts Festival by joining our Mailing List – yes I know it says The Mashers – I hump all the News together from Acoustic Rotherham, The Myke Barritt Music Trust and The Mashers so that my fingers don’t get sore, and it saves your Inbox from being invaded too many times.   You can find the Widget thing on nearly every Acoustic Rotherham Web Site page………..  so no excuses. 

That applies to “Contact”.  You’ll see that our Contact Page has been completely revamped.  You’ll find all the Forms you’ll ever need – to make sure your information gets to me safely.   So again, no excuses. See the new page HERE

You might have wondered as to what has been happening in the World of the “UK Folk Club Network”.   Some of you will have been made to sit down and complete a survey as you travelled around the various Festivals, asking you questions about your “folk” type habits.

The early results from the survey and you can find them HERE (in PDF).  Apparently responses from a couple of Festivals have temporarily gone astray so these should be read as “Interim”.     I’ve not had a chance yet to study the figures so no comment from me this week

An on line version of the survey will soon be available and we’re urging as many people as possible to take part. 

As you’re all aware I’m a bit of cynic and that includes the growth of Web Sites offering to host your tracks and “promote” them.   As you know only too well The Mashers and Acoustic Rotherham use Reverbnation extensively for promotion of activities, events and music.   However, there is a new game in Town, Companies and Sites offering to “promote” your music on Facebook, for a fee. Personally I’m highly sceptical of these schemes, however as ever I’m prepared to be proved wrong.  So I’d love to hear from anyone who has used these “pay to promote” schemes and whether or not they sold enough tracks to pay for the publicity programme. 

Email me HERE

I have to say I find it rather strange given it’s our work etc. that fills these Web Sites with content in the first place, that they feel the need to charge us for any extra service, but that’s a personal view. 
Yes, Acoustic Rotherham has content from many talented writers and musicians around Yorkshire, but we make no charges for either access to the music or to the artists.  We like to keep it free. 

All a bit dry this week, isn’t it?  Programmes, surveys, Web Publicity.  Sorry about that.  I’m hoping that Mrs Masher will let me off the leash to get to Nellie Folk on Monday and of course on Tuesday we’re off to the Parkview Studio I Birdsedge to have Mr Roy Blackman recorded, I’m looking forward to both outings. 

A little birdie has reported that Pocketful Of Now’t at Thawleys in Wombwell was another master piece in understated performance.   They are back there again, supporting the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonigan on Saturday 8th October.   They’ve also asked me to mention that Thawleys also host an Open Mic Session on the last Friday in each month, compered by the BSSOVD (I’m not typing their full name again!)  It’s good to see that another venue appears to be opening up for artists of all genre, and of course Acoustic Rotherham would say get down there and support the “live music”, these days we need all the venues we can find.   Hats off to the Land Lords at Thawleys.

And so into the week ahead. 

Of course you’ll be spending your time watching the Stock Market and wondering if Greece will be paying something into your Pension Pot.   I heard the other day on the Radio that over the past fourteen months the average Pension Fund has fallen 14%.  That’s a frightening thought.

But those of you like me having to throw themselves on the mercy of the Big Society when I retire, never earning enough to pay for a Pension let’s hide ourselves in the music

Monday (today) it’s the monthly meeting of Nellie Folk (The Bridge, Rotherham), a must for the Folkies of Rotherham Town.  On Tuesday it’s the Sheffield Folk Train, and Hillsborough Folk at Burton Street.  It being the last Wednesday of the month I believe it has to be Open Mic Jazz at The Bridge in Rotherham.  The Tenterden Folk Festival kicks off on Thursday, and on Friday, View From S62 will be rocking The Star at Rawmarsh, while Papa Legbas, seemingly trying to catch people out will be playing The Bridge in Rotherham – better check that the later though as I’m not convinced.  Also Friday the Helmsley Folk Weekend gets under-way.  

Details of all these events can be found by following the Links HERE

And on Saturday, something different and cultural at The Minster in Rotherham when the Heritage Master Chorale will be visiting.  I’ve listened to a few tracks, and it’s a fantastic sound, and of course made even more relevant as Heather Woodhead of Acoustic Rotherham fame is a member of the Choir.    

Ticket information by following the Link HERE

That covers it for this week folks, so whatever you’re doing have fun and KEEP IT LIVE.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Latest Local News + Rocking Review + Links to some great Music

A quieter week.  In fact The Masher has been in recovery mode, having done far too much last weekend.  We all tend to do this from time to time, and of course we never really learn the lesson, a bit like saying “never again” after a heavy session of Real Ale drinking.  

But that’s not to say I’ve been completely idle.
But let’s start with a bit of music stuff while it remains fresh in the mind, having been led by Mrs Masher to Rawmarsh Trades and Labour last night for a pint or two.

“After Shock”, well, the name of the Band said it all, a night of heavy popular rock.  The promo picture I had seen in The Advertiser did little to lift my hopes for the evening, very smooth and serious looking, so I was expecting the bog standard leather clad show. 
Wrong, as I often am.  Here was a performance delivered with humour, without any pretensions and brilliant technical instrumental method.   The lead guitarist was brilliant while the lead vocalist’s ability to actually play a six string bass was a master class in itself, supplemented by excellent keyboards and percussion.   The vocals were superb, actually sung, rather than the shouting one gets from so many rock bands. 

And not a stitch of leather in sight. 

They rocked us through all the classics from Genesis (hmm, as Myke would have said), Bon Jovi, Metallica, Kaiser Chiefs, Kings of Leon, and loads more including of course another Myke favourite The Killers (not), making for a great evening of singing, if not dancing (for the energetic few)

I’m afraid they did suffer a little from that scourge of the jobbing band, sound balance.  For my taste the lead guitar got lost behind the percussion and in some numbers the balance between instruments seemed to be all over the place.   Rather than a criticism, it demonstrates the difficulty faced by Bands when they play LIVE, and are not reliant upon clever back track mixing.   

A highly enjoyable evening and if you see this band listed and feel like heading out for a rock, Aftershock are for you.  You can find out more on their Facebook page HERE 

So to our main constituency, the acoustic / folk scene.   
 The Rotherham Open Arts Festival Concert Season for November is very nearly finalised.  A couple of meetings in the coming week and the final programme will be published with due fanfare of course.   

For those interested the Provisional Programme is published HERE

My main attention will now be turning to The Busking Day, 29th October.   I’m sorry to sound a bit airy about this at the moment, but unfortunately we cannot push on until we have all the permissions in place.   

However, given the time, it really would be helpful if Singers, musicians, Brass Bands, Fire eaters, street performers, poets and the like could REGISTER their interest HERE.  I will then be able programme and sort things out easily, without having to go around drumming up support.   

The day will only work as we all would want if the combined armies of the Rotherham Arts scene come together and get involved.  

And watch out for news of the Festival within a Festival on the 19th November very soon.

From the Myke Barritt Music Trust I can now say that the planned recording of Roy Blackman is now all firmed up, and what’s more we’re also on to have the event filmed along with a lot of other Roy matters.   So exciting times, and at last we’ll have a document of one of Rotherham’s true treasures.

There’s fantastic news for one of Acoustic Rotherham’s more recent performers.   Who could forget the Fake Thackeray, ala John Watterson, brilliant reworking of the best of Jake Thackeray.  His masterful performances have been rewarded and he is to support Fairport Convention on their upcoming tour.   Well done John.    He has also launched his own Web Site this week HERE 

John McCullagh, yes, he of “Dance On The Grave of Mrs Thatcher” fame has a super new song out “Going Home”, check it out HERE 

And yes, we’ve reached that time when you people involved in Acoustic Rotherham’s Third Birthday Party need to get your “words”, “songs” and “pictures” to me.  We have only two debutants this time around so it should not be too complicated for me this time around.  Famous last words.    

For this one the boat is really going to be pushed out in terms of publicity so with your help we could have a fantastic audience as well as a great afternoon of music.   Please get the Gig onto your Gig lists etc., and the more events created in Facebook for it the better.   So do your stuff guys.  If you’re not sure that if you are involved head HERE

Planning for the 2012 Wath Festival are well under way, Fairport Convention are currently headlining.   And here’s a novel plan, the Really Early Bird Ticket, not only can you buy a Weekend ticket for £50 but you can also book a double room at the Park Inn Hotel for only £40 per night - £20 pp.   Details HERE 

And for those of us – and I don’t include The Masher here – with the confidence to ticket and charge for their events Yorkshire Gigs are offering a new service whereby if you use their brand new ticketing service they will include a whole flags and whistle publicity package.   To get more details you need to contact them via this Facebook Page  HERE 

Finally in this section can I draw your attention to this little discovery, brought to my attention by Papa Legbas.  It’s a song written and performed by a young Sheffield Band called The Retrospectives.  I really recommend that you have a listen to this track, and it’s a Band I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot more of.   But this track is simply brilliant, it’s entitled “Joining Lines”   HERE  

Ah ha!!!  He says. Note the irony!!   The Acoustic Rotherham Web Site has developed another technical problem, which seems to have worked its way into the back up files as well, this is in addition to the site search engine problem.   You can hear the sigh of resignation can’t you?   This means a major re-work, in the meantime only the important pages will be up dated – but a New look was due if only because I am aware of problems that Mac users have been suffering.   Please be patient. 

I’ve managed to keep away from Political comment in recent weeks, but I’m sure we’re all aware and feeling the effects of the things going on in our economy from the apparent slow response of Government Departments who cannot use temporary labour to closure or sever cut back in services at a local level because of draconian budget cuts.   There’s a Public Meeting of the Rotherham Against the Cuts Campaign coming up on the 29th September.   Full details can be got by going HERE 

Some of you will be aware that the Beacons Festival was cancelled at short notice when the fields they were using became flooded and deemed unsafe by those who know best. 

This was going to be a highlight of the Summer for many, with some great music planned.

My heart really goes out to the Promoters who are clearly working exceptionally hard to make FULL REFUNDS to all the ticket holders.  There latest statement on the state of play reads………….

‎"Beacons festival would like to ask for your continued support and patience through the refunding process and this very difficult time. We have currently managed to refund around 50% of ticket purchasers and will continue daily until Mid October when we expect the process to be completed. We realise it will have taken 2 month to have completed the refunds for everyone and apologies for this. As directors we have had to raise the money by selling personal assets and are currently re mortgaging properties to cover the balance of the losses. We are still in discussions with insurance companies about cover and if we are to be paid any its going to take months to receive. We believe in Beacons and also feel that you believe in Beacons that is why we have gone to such lengths to secure the finances to give everyone their money back and move forward into 2012. This situation has been personally devastating for all of us. We want you all to rest assured that everyone will receive a full refund. Once again we thank you for you continued support, good will and belief in what we are doing. Lucy, John, Dan & Ash".

Acoustic Rotherham add their vote of support to these guys, especially when they could have just walked away, and their note about Insurance Companies says it all really………..  you take the right precautions and then………………….  Nothing – well certainly without a load of hassle.

And so to the week ahead.  It’s  the third week of the month so Tuesday see’s The Handsworth Folk and Poem gathering at The Cross Keys; Wednesday Paul & Liz Davenport will be holding court at the Ballads Evening at Burton Street, Hillsborough; all amongst the usual weekly sessions and Club meetings.  All the details can be found on the Diary Pages HERE

And that’s it for the week folks.

Whatever you are doing have fun and KEEP IT LIVE

Monday, 12 September 2011

Rotherham Show / Wirskworth / Poets / Now't / and a New Fan phew.....

We start this week with the most exciting News for The Mashers.   We have a NEW FAN.  Not that I suppose he’ll know much about it.  So it’s a big welcome to the this mad World to Fynn William Sutherland-Chivers, and we look forward to seeing you Mash around Rawmarsh in the years ahead. 

It’s been one of those highly active weeks with just so much happening that becomes so hard to know where to start.

But a start we must make.

I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support we have received from the musicians of the Region in support of the series of Concerts that will be taking place during the full run of The Rotherham Open Arts Festival in November.  Barring late drop outs etc., within one week we have a full season of Concerts that will showcase the full extent of music in the South Yorkshire and Rotherham in particular area.  You can see all those involved HERE

The main drive now is to generate interest and activity for the proposed Busking Day in Rotherham on Saturday October 29th.   We need, Street Performers, Break Dancers, Morris Men, Ballet even, Fire Eaters, Brass Bands, Pipe Bands, Sword Dancers, Singers Poets, Street Drama, Choirs…………   In fact we want everyone involved.   

Ideally it would be great if we could make this day one of those talked about in Rotherham for the months to come, and we can only make this happen if the performing Arts in Rotherham get behind the idea. 

So if you want to get involved, or have links to any of the mentioned groups and would like to get involved then please get in touch.  

Unfortunately we cannot make this a turn up and go event.  We have to have organisation, well as far as we can, and the Buskers will have to be accredited, this means that they will need to Register with us at The Rotherham Open Arts Festival.  All you have to do is complete the form HERE or Email HERE or call me on 07507588964 and leave a message on the voice mail. 

With all this in mind, and of course The Festival Within  A Festival that is to take place on Saturday 19th November, I headed out to the Rotherham Poets Open Mic Night at The Bridge, Rotherham on Friday night.   

What a fantastically refreshing evening this was.   Besides the considerable talent on display the first thing that really hit was the youthfulness of what to many Folk Clubs would have been a huge turnout of people.   

The range of work offered was fantastic, full of humour but also very moving and thought provoking, my congratulations to all those involved. 

What’s more the audience was attentive and tolerant of the various poet genre on offer.
Yes, you can see this coming can’t you?   So why can’t Folk Clubs have the same youthfulness, vibrancy, and energy?    And we can’t argue that Poets are Poets and Folk is Folk, for their joining in with Roy Blackman (for it was he) with his ditty “The Twelve Days Of Murdoch” was louder and brilliantly harmonised than I’ve heard in many Folk venues.  

There are lessons for us in the Folk area to learn.   That’s if the powers that be can be bothered to actually DO something about it.  The talent and interest is out there amongst our young people yet we in the main do nothing to encourage it.  Which is why I’m so pleased that local youngsters like Phil Sinclaire and Catherine Bindon have agreed to take to the stage for the Rotherham Open Arts Festival, and not forgetting Folk On Fire who will be doing their thing at the Acoustic Rotherham Third Birthday Party. 

Pictures from the Poets Open Mic HERE and HERE

Which brings me to The Rotherham Show, and the Folk bit of it.   Again my congratulations to Judy Dalton, or should I say the bright colourful Judy Dalton for bringing together an excellent Main Stage programme in The Folk Tent, which this year featured local top man and all round good guy Ray Hearne.   

Ray is always good value for money and his songs and presentation are just so hypnotic.  All us budding Folkies can learn something from Ray.  Just love him, he’s a local treasure.  But there were other good things on show. 

Contrasting from the gritty themes of Ray songs came a duo I’d heard about but heard live before Vicky Swann and Jonny Dyer.  Superb musicianship of the highest quality producing wonderful folk harmonies and sound as they played through a programme of traditional music supplemented by their own compositions.   I’m sure we’re likely to be seeing a lot more of this duo in the years ahead. 

And Monkeys Orphan were, Monkeys  Orphan.  Entertaining as ever.  

I’m sorry but I personally missed the performance of Kasai Masai, but the Acoustic Rotherham spies were out in force amongst the packed Folk Tent, and the reports I received were all raving about the rhythms beats that this band sounded out.  

 And that brings me to the Showcase of Local Folk Talent and Singaround which if you were lucky enough to come across was hidden away in the fine setting of the Library within the Museum.  

I’m ashamed to say that this was my first visit to the Museum since it’s recent transformation and what a fantastic job has been done with the modernisation not in any way comprising the beauty of the character of the building.    

Acoustic Rotherham has argued for many years for the inclusion of local talent within the Rotherham Show, but what a pity it was hidden away within the confines of The Museum without any signing or mention of the featured artists.   So the audience comprised of, I’m afraid to say, all the usual suspects.  If you had asked me two weeks ago who would be definite shoe ins to make up the singers and audience, I would not have been wrong.  And of course the intimacy of the room did little to encourage people to venture within to sample the delights on offer. 

Once again one fears that local talent is taken for granted with the likes of Andy Hault, Paul Pearson, Lou Marriot and Dave and Rob + John all giving freely of their time.  The Singaround was just as patchy as the limited folks split their time between Feature Tent and their loyalty to the locals.  

We should not forget to mention some excellent contributions from out of Town David Kidman and Jimmy Saville both adding value to the event. 

Yes, The Masher did his bit, aided and abetted by some excellent harmony from the massed voices of The Show Singaround for a bit of Three Nights and May Day. 
Pictures HERE and HERE

And The Masher was out again on Sunday.  With huge thanks to his Roadies / good friends / and fetchers and carriers Sue and Barrie along with their Grandsons Mitchell and Danny, without whom it would not have been possible. 

Yes, we were all out for The Wirksworth Festival 2011.  Email problems had meant that The Rawmarsh Masher and Roy Blackman failed to reach the match day programme.   However, we slotted in at late notice to perform four, yes four, forty five minute sets. 
This was The Mashers fourth year at the Wirksworth Festival (it’s not often we’re invited back twice, let alone four years running) and it’s a highlight of our Diary, even if for an old bugger it makes for a long and tiring day. 

For a change we were in luck this year, with all our venues being situated around the Village Centre, and starting within the walls of The United Reform Church.  Here, showing due reverence, The Masher played his set out without a cap, and even Roy took his coat off to perform his numbers.  

What a super new venue for The Festival, the acoustics in the Church were spectacular, and we’d love to get a chance to play their again. 

Next stop was the Stable Block, a fine outdoor location again offering great acoustics for the material that Roy and I perform.   

A short break for a well-earned pint, where Roy and I discovered that we had Ruskin College I common, he on a yearlong creative writing course and I on a two year Trade Union Course in Labour Studies.   Good times re-lived. 

Onwards to Hadfield Farm, which has a lovely garden, in addition to a wonderful view of the Railway yards.   Another outdoor venue where the weather was kind to us, with the rain holding off nicely.   New friends made we then headed off to our final pitch in the middle of the Village, I think this stage was created to substitute for The Town Hall Square location. 

Both Roy and I came away very happy with new friends made, if very tired and exhausted.   Well we’re both getting on you know, or so some say.  

Pictures are HERE or HERE

And News of Acoustic Rotherham artists………………. 

On Saturday night Pocketfulof Now’t made their debut at The Bridge, Rotherham supported by their friends from Hull The Three Ages of Cheese

I’d not seen or heard The Three Ages of Cheese before and so a new experience and a super one it was to.    A delightful set of home grown material demonstrating great humour both in the lyrics and arrangements of the songs.  I hope that we get to see this band our way again, perhaps at an Acoustic Rotherham soon. 

As to Pocketful of Now’t – another great performance in my view, captivating a super  attentive audience if only to answer all the questions on their quiz sheet to win …………………….  A Pocketful CD, lucky folks.  I have to admit to being mildly surprised at the competiveness of the audience.   

The first set was played through acoustically, with a few numbers I had not heard before, all demonstrating their wicked sense of humour and observations of the music scene and friends. 

The second set was more electric, in all senses, as they played through what was to me their more familiar songs.  Not quite sure about the drum box, but hey, looking at the venues they normally play it well be an essential just to get attention.  

Well done lads and a super Bridge debut, and I’m sure Ben will looking to book you again in the New Year.   

And it was great to see a super turn out, dipping their toes into something new.  Many debuts’ I’ve seen at the Bridge have been a little quiet. 

Pictures from the Gig can be found HERE

This week also marked the launch of Phil Sinclaire’s first venture into video.   His classic self-penned song “Road To Nowhere”.   For a first video this is as good as it gets and is well worth a few minutes of your time to visit HERE 

Podcasts are becoming ever more popular publicity tools by artists, and Acoustic Rotherham artists have not been slow on the uptake.  My old mates Cracktown have been doing for some time, with madcap (not sure they’d appreciate the word madcap) ranting’s from their living room sofa which can be found HERE

But for an excellent package of poems, stories and song you will not find much better than our chum Paul Newman.  Well worth a listen with a super presentation HERE

And if all this clever technology stuff is not enough, our chums on the circuit The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonigan are taking it all a step further for us at the gritty end of the music scene by live streaming of some concerts and concert packages from their bedroom you can keep up with when to look out for them HERE  

And so the week ahead.

A mention for a couple of new local Open Mic Sessions hosted by that man of the mixer, Left Handed Andy.  Each Thursday night you’ll find him at Vascos in Wickersley, very posh, so best behaviour please along with your smartest bib and tucker, and on a Sunday you’ll find him at Wombwell at The Ash Inn.  

And that gives me a good kick to remind you budding guitarists and singers that Ken the Hat is still providing a fantastic facility each Monday night at The Rig Dyke, Manor Farm, Rawmarsh, providing you with the opportunity to bash out a few numbers along with others.  I promise you it’s a great way to build confidence and learn to play and sing in public, and many of the acts on the local scene have all gone through the Rig Dyke experience at their outset, The Masher amongst them.   It’s one of those unsung events overseen by Ken The Hat who does not get enough credit for all the work he does encouraging budding performers.   I promise you, that without him there would be no Rawmarsh Mashers, although I’m not sure what sort of recommendation that is.

Other stuff coming your way.   

The Otley Folk Festival gets underway on Thursday;  Saturday it’s Pirate Day at Whitby; Thursday and Friday South Yorkshire Folk evenings at Crookes details HERE and it’s good to see that bi monthly gatherings of Hillsborough Folk will be kicking off at the now fully refurbished Burton Street Foundation Bar starting TUESDAY at 8:00pm; and again on Saturday we have the Model Railway Live Exhibition at Chesterfield where some of Myke’s trains will be on sale.  You can check it all out with links to the detailed Web Sites HERE
Is all that enough for you?   

It’s certainly enough for my fingers……………………   so whatever you are doing this week, have great fun and KEEP IT LIVE.

Monday, 5 September 2011

You can't miss this........ Bramfest + loads and loads of stuff to come

Just over a week ago there was a rather unfortunate accident.   A chap who lives on our Street set off from his home to do a bit of Black Berrying.   At some point on his outing he went over a brick wall and fell some considerable distance down a slope and was not found for a couple hours.  He did not survive. 

I start with this sorry tale by way of explanation as to why my cheery face has been missing around certain venues during the week, as the poor chap was on the same medication as I and as a result dear Mrs Masher has put me on a very short leash for the time being, and outings require a keeper.   

So – some of the information in this Blog comes via Acoustic Rotherham spies.   Yes they’re out there.  A bit like the “Folk Police” but different.

The Annual Summer Bank Holiday Festival at The Commercial, Chapeltown got the week underway locally.   Welllllll,  it’s one of those Festivals I hate to be critical about, but!    Go on OK let’s start with the positives, I’m told that the Upstairs Singaround was well attended and ran much as in other years.   

The down stairs bit, was, I’m told, down on numbers against last year’s attendance and once again took the form of an Open Mic.   For many of us the joy of the down stairs bit was that it was until last year an open ad hoc session.   Singers and players simply joined in together joining in on other people’s songs etc.   It was just a great atmosphere with time shared with a few pints of Real Ale.   Unfortunately last year’s Open Mic format did not work too well, which may account in part as to why numbers this year were down. 

Got to be fair though.   Numbers down stairs did vary considerably from year to year.   So just to lay at the feet of the new format might just be a bit unfair.   But the organisers of the Festival might like to give it a bit of thought.   If they feel some sort of structure to the downstairs activities is required then a re-think as to what that structure is, and how best to accommodate the Session atmosphere that made the Festival so popular with people.

Other Acoustic Rotherham spies went off to the Library Theatre in Sheffield for the FOF Production of Billy Liar.  I’m told that it’s congratulations to Thabo and the FOF Players.   I’m also told that there was good turnout for the performances as well.   

The Masher has not been completely idle.   With keeper in tow, my thanks to Brother-in-law Dave, headed out to Bramfest on Sunday.  What a pity that the morning weather was so poor, enough to put anyone off, yet once that horrid drizzle passed on we were blessed with a very pleasant afternoon, yet I fear that the damage on numbers had been done.  

For the Masher it was one of those lovely Gigs where he was the acoustic meat in the Rock Sandwich.  One never knows how it’s going to go, although in the main the Masher Material has gone down well, in fact only once have we fallen flat on our face in a Rock environment.
And so it was at Bramfest.   

First though to say well done for the Rock boys.  The Band from Barnsley who were on before me “Stellavision”  performed an outstanding set in most difficult of circumstances.   It’s not easy playing to an empty field, with a few folks in the beer area not particularly paying attention.   But not only was their original music good to listen to but they played out their set with smiles on their faces and clearly enjoying themselves.   That’s what the Masher likes to see.  No Prima Donna moody as some Bands or artists I know might have demonstrated.  

The Band that followed me also put on a super show of covers and original material.   It’s always difficult to get the sound right for outside performances, but they played through these technical difficulties gallantly. 

As to The Mashers performance, it was one of them stormers……………    much to my surprise.   The by now quite busy beer area, and the sun, which brought a few more folks out and worked to my advantage.   

It’s great when you look out on an empty space when seemingly from nowhere applause breaks out at the end of songs.   Not only that, but they joined in on the act as well, although cheering when I said I had been ill during the introduction to My Health Dear may have been a statement of what they really thought.  

But new friends were made, asked for our sold out CD “Deliberate Mistake”, and chalked up another first by discovering that I was listed on the back of a T. Shirt.  WOW (see pic)

It’s a pity that these events don’t get the publicity that they deserve.  As I said last week, I had forgotten all about it until Mrs Masher spotted it in the Advertiser last week.   These events run off minimal budgets, and it’s a pity that we artists sometimes do not help out the Promoters a bit by Promoting events that we’re appearing at more by using our Social Networking Sites etc a lot more.   

And it was nice to meet up with some old friends from Staniforth, regulars at the Doncaster Folk Club, and who visited Nellie Folk a few times a couple of years ago.   I was shocked to be told that they had travelled over just to see me, well, and to have a few pints in the fresh air as well.   It was great to catch up with them and bring them up to date with Masher goings on.
You can find a slideshow of pictures from Bramley HERE

And it’s another busy week ahead.   You can find all the details on the Diary pages HERE Here’s few of the highlights as far as I’m concerned.


On Wednesday it’s the Monthly Music Hall get together at the Cross Keys, Handsworth and John Rielly is playing a venue in Barnsley, featuring many of the songs on his upcoming CD as well as old favourites. 

On Thursday Acoustic Angels are coming out of hibernation and will be performing at The Black Bull, Aughton, and Florin, fresh from their summer break are playing The Devonshire Arms, Middle Handley (near Dronfield).  

On Friday Swansong are out again, and from the number of Emails I’ve had about this Gig it’s an important one at The BROADFIELD on Abbeydale Road, SHEFFIELD.   The Poetry Group will be getting together for an Open Mic at the Bridge in Rotherham.  Further afield the Bromyard Folk Festival gets underway and Acoustic Circus start their programme of Open Mics in Heckmondwick. 

SATURDAY AND IT’S THE ROTHERHAM SHOW.   The Folk Tent will I suspect once again be a popular meeting place and this year there’s even more for Folkies for away from the Pro Tent, and hidden in the Museum Library local talent will be doing their stuff within a short Concert followed by a Singaround in which The Masher hopes to be playing his part. 

If that’s not enough in the evening Pocketful of Now’t make their Bridge debut at The Bridge in Rotherham.  This is a MUST – and even I will be battling with Mrs Masher to be allowed out to see this one.   Anyone who saw their stand out performance at Acoustic Rotherham will know that this hilarious band are simply brilliant.  And it’s free. 

And on Sunday, the Rotherham Show continues with the Tent switching to Jazz, while The Masher and his regular carers will be heading for Wirksworth which will be hosting their Street Music Festival throughout the weekend.  

Phew, there’s a lot there to get our teeth into.   All the details can be found by following the links on the Diary page which is HERE should you have forgotten after all of that.
And so to The Rotherham Open Arts Festival which runs 1st November to 30th November.  
This year we have at last been given the opportunity to feature some of the Region’s top Grass Roots talent.  In just a few days the interest in taking part in the Festival has been fantastic.   Many of you will know that I published a Special Blog Extra last week giving the draft details to what is planned and how YOU can get involved and demonstrate the talent we have in Rotherham and it’s boarders. 

Go HERE if you’ve not checked it out. 

The Concert events are very nearly sorted, but don’t let that stop you from putting yourself forward.   Use the form HERE to register your interest.

Besides the ambitious Concert Programme, we hope that there will also be a couple of standalone Music events. 
HOWEVER, the most ambitious event, always assuming permissions are granted by the Council, will be the Busking Day to publicise the Festival launch date (1stNovember) on Saturday 29th October.  This is something that everyone can get involved in.  We did want to make it a sort of real grass roots turn up and go type event, but for all sorts of reasons and for peoples safety we can’t do that, so please, please, please, Register your interest using the form HERE.   We want everyone…………   no matter what art form you might be from, musicians, poets, street performers (jugglers / men on stilts/ clowns), sketches – even live painters etc., Dancers  face painters etc, etc, etc.   Yes even, if there are any out there MORRIS MEN!!

For this to work and have an impact we NEED YOU, yes that’s you.   We need your performance and we need your help to get the message to the groups that we don’t know of  and get to become contact us so that they too can be involved in this day.  We don’t want anyone feeling left out.   So please use your Social Networks on the Internet, or when out and about to get the word to everyone.  We’ll be working away trying to do our best but – this is where you the arts groups in Rotherham and the Region can really help us.
And that’s it for this week.

Whatever you are doing, please have fun and KEEP IT LIVE