Rydale Special Edition

Wardrobes do it, as do Washing Machines; indeed all kitchen white goods seem to. IKEA famously does it, and in pictures too. Airfix were always my favourite sort – ah the sweet smell of polystyrene as they were pored (sic) over…

Naturally, Gentle Reader, I refer to instructions, or at least to guides. For this week I intend to offer you, in unexpurgated form, The Beginner’s Guide to Ryedale Folk Festival!

There would seem to be no more to add, save the usual welcome, and invitation to read on…

Lest you fear that we suffer from inflated ego, I should state from the outset that the beginners referred to are of course Fool’s Gold as we have just returned very tired but very happy after our first visit to Ryedale Folk Weekend held in the lovely village of Hutton le Hole in the North Yorks Moors.

Let me state this quite clearly; I should not wish the Folk/Acoustic/Roots community to be in a state of indeterminate turmoil as to my true feelings, nor yet their emotional sonar to incorrectly plumb the depth of my emotion. You see we simply had a bl&%$y great blast from start to finish. This was one of the best weekends ever. And why, how, and how the heck did we land a European mini-tour?

Well; it all started like this…

Arrival at Ryedale should be conducted, in an orderly fashion if you please, on the Friday afternoon. Festivities commence at this point, and in our case immediately on arrival. Steve Wilson had travelled down in the Nuggetmobile, pedalling frantically up hill and down dale in sweated effort to bring double bass to the heathen hill people, and had, in fact, got there first. Thus it was that we pitched tent (and me a camping virgin) between The Nugget, Chris Milner and Jane and Peter Taylor, a singist from Scarborough way, <edit – it’s Leeds; thanks to Chris Milner for the info> I believe. Penni McClaren Walker rolled up later in a Mitsubishi Tardis complete with partner Bob sans armour[1], and our little suburb of the Ryedale Folk Museum was populated.

The weekend takes place within the wider confines of the Ryedale Folk Museum, a charming snapshot of rural times past and willing host to a horde of folkies and normal people who descend, hawk like, upon the place to consume the atmos, and the music, which is on offer all day for three days, in a variety of settings and venues, including dance, song, story, and all manner of music. It seems that no corner can be turned without the unwary Gentle Reader being ambushed by a Morris Side, giggling in the undergrowth, ready to remedy any constipation issues among the unwary with a swift click-clack of their sticky things, a raucous ‘hey’ and most terrifying of all, an accordion.

There is much to see, much to do, lots to eat, drink and listen to.

And that’s what we did.

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We played six sets to a variety of crowds in different venues. My personal favourite is Fat Betty’s, the refectory on the museum site, which is just a lovely venue. We went down well, in fact, in certain quarters, we went down rather better than we could have hoped…

…one the strength of one gig, we got invited to play a house concert, for around 50 guests (hoos, why man, that’s nye hoos man, that’s one a’them manshuns). While we are guests of our benefactors, we hope to get the chance to play as many times as opportunity knocks in local folk clubs, and even talk of a festival with a FG sized hole.

And the venue?

Dutch Holland.

Yes, it seems that we for the Flatlands, as guests of Anne and Hanno, to whom we spiritually trundle wheelbarrow-loads of gratitude, extend the hand of friendship, and of course commend them both on impeccable taste.

As you can imagine, this was something of a highlight for us. I think we must have told everyone we met at least twice, regardless of the number of legs possessed by the listener, and it is to the credit of all who suffered this torrent of gusto, that all of them said nice things in return.[2]

The festival itself is organised and run by Richard and Jeanette Grainger, to whom deferent nods of appreciation should be directed. Genuflection is optional (if you want to play next year) but Veneration is a Catholic allusion too far[3]. It can’t be easy to organise and run an event like this, and not many are prepared to do it. Well done you two, and thanks.

The weekend weather was, in the main, kind, and we saw barrow loads of friends, and made many new ones. To name them would be to commit the cardinal folk singer introduction sin, which is to name lots of people the audience have no clue about, so look at the photies, although many people will have been omitted due to drink taken. Highlights for me were Penni and nicking another song from her – ‘Burning The Water’ is a fantastic song and open G tuning looks very interstin’ too! Ms McW is also to consider covering ‘The Jarrow sSong’ – talk about chuffed! The Stormies giving restrained renditions of tracks from their new CD, and basically the whole friendly, very musical atmosphere of the whole event.

We saw Martin Carthy on Friday night. I may shock or offend the trad folkie when I state that it’s not my cup of tea, although I readily acknowledge, celebrate and appreciate the talent, skill and sheer versatility. Saturday headliners Nakaira were an interesting multi cultural musical expedition (without pith helmets) into the music of Turkey, Greece. Italy and Cyprus. Fribo from Norway topped the bill on Sunday and were an object lesson in dexterity and presentation.

Most of our time was spent around Fat Betty’s watching folks perform and basically learning.

Monday afternoon and very tired bunnies, we turned our flopsy tails towards home.

This week we have a podcast interview to record. As yet, I’m not sure who it’s for, but I’m sure that, in the spirit of the freedom of information, I’ll ram it down your necks later.

I think that is more than enough from now, so as the Elderly Day Tripper of Fate accidently wanders into the Stormcrow Gig of Eternity, and the pacemaker of Justice beats time at 160bpm, I notice it’s the end of this blog.

Until next time Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’


[1] That’s
armour in the sense of beaten out lumps if tin, the better to protectively clad
your gentleman’s  wrinkly bits in case of
15th century fisticuffs.

[2] While we
were there, anyway.

[3] No, I’m
not; guess again.

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One thought on “Rydale Special Edition

  1. Hello Steve, Carol & Stephen or should I just write FG Folk? First question What is the date of next years Rydale event and do you have the date & contact details for next years event? Can you confirm availability for July 9th ( I think you are already booked?) other Comrades dates this year are Oct 1st and 3rd Dec. I was at Wendy Arrowsmith;s CD launch yesterday and very good it was too!
    See you around! Poor Eileen has shingles – not at all a nice thing to have!
    Fool’s gold fan of the league
    John

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