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Rod Thompson

Visiting The Isles

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We are planning a visit this year, mainly to Scotland, Ireland and England sometime around August.

When we travel, we usually arrive in a place a day after some interesting event, or have to leave the day before.

Can anyone help with concertina or folk music related events that might be on about then so we can be a bit better prepared this time?

 

Thanks

 

Maria & Rod

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:D Thanks Samper for putting the link to Whitby, it prompted me to add it to the calendar ...

 

This UK Folk Music site http://www.ukfolkfestivals.co.uk/index.php has a good database of events in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland for the coming year, searchable by month as well as country. :D

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This website has a reasonable listing of music festivals in Scotland (http://www.scotland.org.uk/events-in-scotland/music-festivals-in-scotland/3) - it's a big country though so you may find that you're not travelling close to where the event is!

 

There's the Marymass Festival in Irvine (Ayrshire, close to me) from the 20th - 24th August (http://www.irvinefolkclub.trad.org.uk/marymass-folk-festival/). Usually some good acts and good sessions.

 

Sessions in Scotland aren't always well advertised. Depending on how your plans settle down, ask again and I'll try to find out if there's anything local to where you're going and what night it's on.

 

Concertinas are a lot more spread apart than in England but there are a few of us and we are occasionally at the same events!

 

Alex West

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...Scotland... it's a big country though...

That made me smile, since Australia, where Rod's profile says he lives, is nearly 100 times as big. In fact, the state of Queensland has more than 20 times the area of Scotland. :)

 

There's a saying: "In England, 100 miles is a looong way. In America, 100 years is a looong time." One could just as well substitute (but only in that saying! B)) Scotland for England and Australia for America. ;)

Edited by JimLucas

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I take it you know the story of the Texan telling his British chum that Texas was so big you could be on a train 24 hours and still be in the same district - to which the Brit replied "yeah, we've got trains like that as well"?

 

Perhaps what I mean is that things are spread out - the population is a bit sparse (yes, I know, not as sparse as Western Australia!) and the folk/trad events can be even more sparsely distributed. What I've found is (from bitter expereience) that it's no good being in the general area of something that's happening - it can be impossible to get to where the action is either by public or personal transport.

 

And of course as Rod has found out, it's an all too common experience to turn up somewhere the day after the session

 

Alex West

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Thank you all for this info. We should be able to plan a little better this time.

(Visiting Rome, we even missed seeing the Sistine Chapel - I think they said they were painting the ceiling).

 

As to distances - we've also learned that distances are not as they seem from here. Sure, 400k is an easy morning's drive here, but probably not in the Scottish Highlands. (We got into a long and very tiring drive in Hawaii from Hilo to Kona - and that was only 200km or so, and don't talk about the "Forgotten Highway" in New Zealand - we are trying to forget that drive).

 

Slightly off-topic - we are going to the National Folk Festival in Canberra - anyone else planning this?

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I take it you know the story of the Texan telling his British chum that Texas was so big you could be on a train 24 hours and still be in the same district - to which the Brit replied "yeah, we've got trains like that as well"?

That's definitely a good one, Alex! Hadn't heard it yet, but I know it's fitting from my vacancies on the Isles... :)

Edited by blue eyed sailor

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I take it you know the story of the Texan telling his British chum that Texas was so big you could be on a train 24 hours and still be in the same district - to which the Brit replied "yeah, we've got trains like that as well"?

That's definitely a good one, Alex! Hadn't heard it yet, but I know it's fitting from my vacancies on the Isles... :)

 

I'm used to hearing that with an Irish farmer and a Texas cattle rancher and the Texan saying that his ranch was so big that if he got in his car and started driving around the perimeter, it would take more than a day to complete the trip. To which the Irishman replied, "Ah, yes, I have a car like that, meself."

 

Compared to England, trains in Texas are pretty sparse, though crossing Texas in 24 hours would be averaging about 25 miles (40 km) per hour.

 

But now here's a true story:

 

Jim (different Jim), a colleague in my company's London office was "elected" to entertain a business client, including dinner in Jim's home. The client, it turned out, was not only a Texan, but true to stereotype. No matter what he saw, he claimed that America -- and especially Texas -- had bigger and better. The one exception was when they arrived at Jim's home -- fairly ordinary by London suburban standards, -- where there was a large tree in the yard. The Texan actually commented that the tree was impressive and asked if Jim knew how old it was. As it happened, Jim had also been impressed by the tree when he bought the house, and he had managed to trace its history. "Oh, yes," he said. "It's only slightly older than... your country." :D

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Plenty happening in August, which starts with Sidmouth Folk Week (1-8 August), immediately followed by Broadstairs Folk Week (8-15 August) which in turn is then followed by Whitby, which has already been mentioned. All fairly widely apart (by English standards) - Google gives 4 1/2 hours from Sidmouth to Broadstairs but I suspect it could take a lot longer if you get caught in traffic on the A303.

These are all great events and each has its own distinctive atmosphere. Usually plenty of concertinas at all of them. My personal favourite is Sidmouth, but I'll be at Broadstairs this year, playing with my band Albireo and also giving an Anglo workshop.

 

 

http://www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk/

http://www.broadstairsfolkweek.org.uk/

 

If you'll be over here a little earlier, the Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend is 17-20 July. The organiser, Mark Davies, is a concertina enthusiast and this is a particularly concertina-rich environment. However it isn't a 'proper' festival like the others, just a small-scale musical gathering in local pubs and Mark's barn.

 

https://www.facebook.com/Bradtradmusfest

 

 

PS

My father told a story about a colleague whose daughter was travelling to Toronto. As it was her first time travelling alone, the girl's anxious father asked a friend who lived in Vancouver if he could meet her at the airport. He received the reply, "Why don't you meet her, you live closer"

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Thanks for the advice - now we are into detailed planning. We are aiming for Whitby, but will be looking out for any other possibilities.

 

By the way - speaking of long drives - Google shows driving time to get from Whitby to the Mull of Kintyre fest as over 7 hours!

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By the way - speaking of long drives - Google shows driving time to get from Whitby to the Mull of Kintyre fest as over 7 hours!

I suspect that is much too short. In my experience Google Maps often greatly underestimates journey times in rural areas (e.g. the Highlands of Scotland). Personally I'd be allowing at least 10-12 hours.

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Ireland is awash with festivals all summer long, http://fleadhcheoil.ie/ The All Ireland Fleadh is a week long festival of Irish traditional Music (and lots more besides) running from 10th - 17thin Sligo. Lots of concerts, sessions, and classes/workshops to suit all abilities. It gets very busy on the weekend when the competitions get under way.

 

The Ballyshannon folk festival will usually happen about the beginning of August, and is very close by. Website not up and running yet for this years event, but they usually have big named acts. Check this later or see what was there last year. http://ballyshannonfolkfestival.com/

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We are planning a visit this year, mainly to Scotland, Ireland and England sometime around August.

When we travel, we usually arrive in a place a day after some interesting event, or have to leave the day before.

Can anyone help with concertina or folk music related events that might be on about then so we can be a bit better prepared this time?

 

Thanks

 

Maria & Rod

Another source of info is the TMSA web site.

The search facility doesn't seem to be up-to-date, but there is a down-loadable event calendar, and the forthcoming events list on the home page will show August events by July.

The event calendar includes Innerleithen 15-17 August,

and Kirriemuir 5-7 September, if you're still around.

Also, included in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a full programme of folk events - full details will be available when the programme is published in June.

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Two suggestions to add, both rather smaller scale than Whitby and Sidmouth:

 

Saltburn Folk Festival http://www.cuttywrenfolkclub.talktalk.net/SaltburnFF/ 8-10 August on the North East Coast (a small and perfectly formed festival IMHO)

 

Liverpool Sea Shanty Sessions (in fact the full range of maritime song) http://www.shanty.org.uk/baltic/ , Blatic Fleet Pub, first Saturday of the month. Usually Anglos, ECs and a Duet to be heard. Liverpool is also a great city and base for exploring the NW and N Wales.

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Rod

 

If you're interested, here's a publication which I've just got a copy of: "The Guide to Scottish Festivals" which includes Music, Books, Art, Theatre etc. It covers the whole of 2014 - send me a PM and I'll post you a copy (it should arrive before you set off!)

 

Alex West

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Thanks for the advice - we are putting together what should be quite a trip.

 

Alex - my apologies for the test PM if you get it - my system here locks up on sending a PM. Still trying.

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