February Folk Day
Saturday 24th February 2007

Review & Pictures by Tony Ballard
It's that time of the year again. It seems no time since last year's folk day, but once again the stage is set and the barrels are rolled out for another "boozy chant-up", as my mother-in-law once so beautifully described it.

I must say that, the folk survivors certainly came up with the goods this year. We were all treated to a day to remember.

Full House kicked off the day with their Music and Song Session providing an opportunity for those of us not on the programme to have a sing. The standard of performance was as high as ever.

Full House

Carol Alexander

 

The afternoon concert was full to capacity as usual and was compered by Barbara Bell. The concert opened with a set from Carol Alexander from the Frodsham folk club. Her effortless style of singing was a joy to listen to and she treated us to a wide range of material.

Carol was followed by the local band, Yardarm. This was a "blast from the past" for me as the original Yardarm, Goff Jones and John Evans, were the resident duo at the Bull & Stirrup folk club of the 1960's.

This time, Goff was joined by Ian Chesterman, Dave Russell, Ken Prydderch and Steve Whitley.
 

Yardarm
     

Roger Wilson

 

Their material was both varied and lively and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to them.

Roger Wilson followed with a performance which commanded respect from even the most hardened folky. He left us wanting more and we were treated to this when Roger held his "chance to meet" session in the early evening.

No folk day would be complete without a "Drop of the Irish". This was provided by Gava, a firm favourite with Chester audiences. It was unfortunate that Terry Coyne was unable to perform, due to an accident, and we wish him well for a speedy recovery.

 

Garva
   

Pete Coe

 

His place in the band was taken by his brother Eamon Coyne who demonstrated why he was such a driving force in the Clare music scene. Tony Gibbons and Lesley McGough completed the group and they showed why they a so highly thought of.

Pete Coe finished the concert with a predictably polished performance. Pete has given so much to this country's folk scene and appears as fresh and agile as ever. He seems to improve with age, like a good wine, and he never loses his sense of humour.

Those who came for the evening session were offered a varied programme. The Ceilidh was called by Pete Coe and The Black Box Band provided the music. It was clear that those who went to the ceilidh enjoyed themselves. This was indicated by the enthusiasm of a group of glowing young ladies who were cooling down outside the hall.

Those of us who believe in conserving our energy were treated to an evening of song in the Folk Club hosted by the Waite Collective, who are so supportive of our folk day and never lose their touch. We heard sets from Roger Wilson and Garva in addition to a number of spots from floor singers.

The session room was well supported throughout the day. It was encouraging to see how many younger musicians were in evidence and it was clear that they could hold their own with the more seasoned performers who still scrub up quite well.

 

The Waite Collective

In conclusion, I must offer all of our thanks to the unpaid army who work so hard in the background, setting up the rooms, working the bar and producing the food. If it wasn't for their efforts we would not have a folk day.

If you missed this excellent day, "hard luck". Make sure that you don't miss it next year and DON'T FORGET THE FOLK FESTIVAL