Sunday, 28 August 2011

Whitby Folk Week 2011

My housemates, Alan and Rose, enjoying
a drink at Scalby Mill, Scarborough
I got home yesterday from my annual visit to Whitby Folk Week; we had a great time as usual. Our annual Lunchtime Legends gig in the Elsinore on Flowergate, our 20th in this venue, went down well; it was so hot in this small pub that after our 34-song set, I looked as though someone had poured a bucket of water over me. It was good to have Jez Lowe joining us again on bass, and the great Pete Coe opened for us with a very dirty-sounding distorted guitar, singing songs like I Hear You Knocking, I Fought The Law (And the Law Won) and the Kinks’ song Superman. Although we had no new recordings, we sold 4 CDs - and even 3 cassettes, believe it or not. Candy Rell’s rendition of the Dusty Springfield classic, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, got the whole pub singing. Hi Ho Silver Lining and Your Sixteen finished our set as always; the one time we did Hi Ho half way through, they wouldn't let us go until we played it again at the end!

Boggart's Breakfast dancing in Whitby
The following day, with my voice already slightly hoarse, I ended up doing another couple of hours in The Station pub, which was also good fun. The Station has some good varied song and music sessions during folk week, while the Elsinore is a magnet each evening for accordion-driven tune playing. The standard of performance of many of the music session performers, who play just for pleasure, can be very high, attracting appreciative crowds of drinkers who are happy to stand and watch. In particular, I saw a group of young female fiddle players in the Station performing with obvious energy and enthusiasm.

Whitby wouldn’t be the same without the dancers who performed regularly every day in the streets of Whitby, bringing the festival, like the pub session players, to ordinary holiday makers and residents of the town.

Music session in The Station
(Steve on the left looks shocked!)
Looking back at last year’s pub crawl, not much has changed, except that the steak and ale pie in the Duke of York disappointingly wasn’t as good. Also, £3-20 seemed to be the standard Whitby price for real ale (50 to 70p more than I’m used to paying, and about 14% up on last year, unlike my income!), except in the Elsinore where the Cameron’s Strongarm was £2-90, and the Jolly Sailors, which sold Sam Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter for an amazing £1-61. Perhaps not wonderful, but I find it a perfectly acceptable standard bitter. My favourite beer of the week was Ossett Silver King in the Station; once when it went off temporarily, I had a Directors, which was surprisingly rather good. 
Persephone dancing at Whitby

Overall, Whitby is good place for pubs and brilliant during folk week for very varied live music too.

Only 51 weeks until the next one.

Whitby from Church Street. The 102 year old swing bridge is in the distance


  1. Hi Nev,
    Agree with all you say about the quality of performances all round at Whitby. I had a great week too but sadly missed bumping into you! See you at the Lion.

  2. One of these years I have got to get to Whitby. Didn't realise you were a folkie, Nev. (Hi Matthew!)

  3. Perverse sort of folkie, doing a rock & roll gig during a folk festival!


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