Monthly Folk Event updates from our Chairman

August / September 2021

As you know, we have finally resolved the issues that have stood the way of our resuming live music at The Barlow. As a result, we started back last Friday with a singaround. What a joy it was to be singing and playing with other people again and I’ve had a number of emails echoing this sentiment.


The Showcase event that we normally in August has had to be cancelled due to other events using the venue.


As we resume live singarounds, we are anxious to keep contact with friends around the country and overseas that have joined us in online singarounds over the last 15 months. To this end we will hold an online event, similar to the ones we have done through the Covid months, on Friday 13th August, again starting at 8pm.

The first guest night at the Barlow will be the brilliant Balshazzar’s Feast on 17th September. Belshazzar’s Feast are a wickedly inventive and beloved duo whose music is an inspired mix of folk, classical, pop and music hall. Paul Sartin (also of Faustus and the late lamented Bellowhead) and Paul Hutchinson can do things with a squeeze box and an oboe that can break your heart.

There will, of course, be some ongoing consequences resulting from Covid 19, and these will be announced at the events themselves. Although no longer compulsory, we do request people to wear masks when moving about the Barlow itself and you may wish to be ready for this if attending any of our events.

A final decision has been taken, subject of course to any new restrictions the Government may impose in the meantime, to go ahead with the Edgworth Folk Festival over the weekend of 1st-3rd October.


At all the above live events at The Barlow, people are asked to wear face coverings when moving from one part of the building to another. For users of the NHSCOVID-19 test and trace app, there will be QR code signs available around the building in order to check into the venue if you wish.


Contact details for all these events are available via the website,


Show of Hands will appear at Burrs Country Park in Bury on 29th August for an outdoor concert that is part of a bigger event. Tickets are available from The Met box office via their website.

The Met in Bury present, on 2nd September, Northern Flyaway. Set against a backdrop of gorgeously haunting visuals, Northern Flyway immerses you in music that moves through ethereal to dark to uplifting as scenes of wild Scottish landscapes give way to underwater footage of gannets diving, evocative seascapes and starling murmurations. Musician and ornithologist Jenny Sturgeon and Inge Thomson have composed a suite of music and songs, exploring the ecology, folklore, symbolism and mythology of birds and birdsong and incorporating extensive field recordings from composer and birdsong expert Magnus Robb.

They are joined in this live performance by singer and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Hayes(Admiral Fallow) and phenomenal vocal sculptor Jason Singh.

On 9th September, The Met’s offering is Bird on the Wire are a ten-piece collective of outstanding musicians who interpret the music of Leonard Cohen, one of the greatest songwriters of our time.

Pauline Scanlon and The Whileaways will celebrate many of Cohen’s best-loved life works. They lead a masterful collective including Will Merrigan on bass, Dave Clancy on keys, and Eamon Murray on drums, together with strings and brass sections.

Pauline Scanlon galvanized the Irish music scene with her stunning debut album, Red Colour Sun, over ten years ago. As a solo artist and as a member of vocal duo LUMIERE, Scanlon has entranced audiences the world over with her distinctly delicate intensity. Pauline has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists including Damien Dempsey, Sinéad O’Connor, John Spillane and is a member of several high-profile groups including Dønal Lunny’s Atlantic Arc Orchestra. Scanlon has presented several music-based television programmes for both the BBC and TG4 in recent years and released her latest album Gossamer in 2016 to critical acclaim.

The Whileaways are three powerful forces in Irish roots music, Noelie McDonnell, Noriana Kennedy and Nicola Joyce combine to create a beguiling tapestry of harmonies, tradition and beautifully crafted original songs. Their sound is simply captivating, enthralling live audiences and securing their firm footing in roots music both in Ireland and internationally.


A full programme of what the Met have on offer is available on their website,



As regular readers, you will know that I have been reviewing CDs and other media by local artists and bands whilst there were no ‘live’ events to talk about. It seemed that most of the artists one could genuinely call ‘local’ had now featured in this column, so I broadened the field to include guests of Folk at the Barlow either in person or online. Joining me in this endeavour were Nick Mallion, Martin Smith, Jamie Blatchley, Brian Frew and David Hamflett. As we emerge from the pandemic restrictions and there is more live music to be heard, I will now stop these reviews. From time to time, it may be appropriate to include the odd one, but I would much rather talk about live music. I would like to thank again all those who have contributed to these reviews.



Jamie Blatchley’s new radio show on Salford City Radio offers something for all tastes which that bodes well for some excellent entertainment for the future.



I have included this before, but Jamie reminds me that our good friend and excellent musician, Mark Dowding has shared what feels like, but probably isn’t, his entire repertoire on YouTube. will take you to one of his songs and there are links to many others from there.


My information is that the sessions at The Chetham Arms in Chapeltown are to resume soon, with the song session on the first Monday of each month starting on 6th September, and the tune session on the 3rd Monday, i.e., 20th September.


Virtual concerts organised by clubs and by artists themselves, as well as being great fun in their own right, help to support professional musicians, many of whom have become our friends over the years, and who are suffering severe hardships due to lack of paid work. We are pleased to help, and we invite you to do the same. The musicians also very much appreciate the small income they can achieve through sales of CDs and other merchandise via their websites.



The venerable Christy Moore offers nearly half an hour from his home at


Finally, our good friend Brian McGuire seems to be getting tracks from his album ‘When the Morning Comes Early’ is getting plenty of airtime on online folk stations around the country.



Show of Hands, Burrs Country Park, Bury  


Northern Flyaway, The Met, Bury  


Song Session, Chetham Arms, Chapeltown


Bird on a Wire, The Met, Bury  


Balshazzar’s Feast, Folk at the Barlow


Tune Session, Chetham Arms, Chapeltown