Bryony Griffth looks forward to Whitby Folk Week

Well, dunt it come round quick?! The fabulous Whitby Folk Week is almost upon us again and this will be the tenth year that Will and I have run the Yoof club. It is aimed at youngsters aged 12-18 and runs daily from Sunday to Thursday from 1pm – 2.50pm in the Whitby Mission Hall. It is a great way for young folkies to get away from the adults for a while (and vice versa!) to have fun learning new skills and make lasting friendships. We are, as always, lucky to have some corking artists and dancers from the festival line-up who have agreed to join us to pass on their expert folk knowledge and skills to the next generation.

On Sunday, we are joined first by the festival’s very own superstar patrons Melrose Quartet, then the wonderful, colourful border side Boggart’s Breakfast. On Monday we have the supremely gifted Yorkshire singer, musician and dancer Alice Jones, then ace female Cotswold team Pecsaetan Morris. Tuesday brings us the outrageously talented Belshazzar’s Feast and the award-winning Sheffield Steel Rapper. Phew! Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions are spent planning and putting together a short performance choosing from the songs, music and dance we’ve learnt, with the emphasis on inclusivity and input from everyone in the group. This will then be performed at the end of the week. Don’t be put off if you can’t get to the sessions every day or won’t be there for the performance though, we can accommodate those who just want to try it out or pop in for day. Make sure you bring your instruments to Whitby too…. don’t leave them at home!

Aside from the workshops, Will and I will be involved in some concerts and I will be launching my brand new album of traditional English fiddle tunes ‘Hover’.

We’ll be playing in Taffy Thomas’ Tunes and Tales on Monday evening in the Brunswick rooms, which our 5-year-old is very excited about as he’s been part of some of Taffy’s shows before and we’ve been reading him stories from Taffy’s fab new book ‘The Riddle in the Tale’.

On Tuesday tea-time in The Coliseum, we’re taking part in a special concert with some of the other performers who have contributed to the brilliant Tunesday, Toesday and Troubaday posts on the Whitby Folk Week Facebook Group over the last year. It will be a grand mix of tunes, songs and clog dances.

The album launch is on Wednesday at 5.30pm in the Rifle Club. It would be lovely to see you there to celebrate the official Northern Launch of Hover. (The Southern one is at Sidmouth Folk Week). I’ll be performing some of the solo tracks and might even manage to rope in the marvellous Ian Stephenson who recorded the album and plays guitar and double bass on some of the tracks. It’s all traditional English tunes (bar one that’s Welsh…it’s in my genes!) with a slant on Yorkshire tunes from some of the excellent manuscripts that are available now. And if you fancied buying a copy or 10, we could reclaim the space in front of our fireplace…good job it’s so hot at the mo…

The small one also keeps asking ‘how long is it ‘til I go to that school with all the children and do the parade?’ It’s so lovely to know he enjoys taking part in the Children’s Festival and is making life-long friendships as we have since we were the youngsters ourselves.

And should we get a minute, we’ll no doubt be found hanging about with White Rose Morris or The Newcastle Kingsmen (mustn’t forget to pack the mini-kits!).

As we’ve adapted to being in charge of a small person at Whitby, I’ve appreciated all the more just how much Whitby Folk Week offers. Something for everyone. Love it. Can’t wait.