News items of interest to TSF members 

TSF in Liverpool 19 November 2016

Derek Schofield and Matthew Edwards have now sent me the proposed plan for the meeting to be held at the Central Library, Liverpool on 19th November. You can see the plan for the weekend at

Derek writes:

In it's 20-year history, the Traditional Song Forum has not previously met in north-west England, so this meeting in Liverpool is most welcome.

Liverpool, of course, has a long and distinguished musical history - from its maritime past through to Billy Fury and Frankie Vaughan, and then The Beatles and the Merseybeat of the 1960s, Echo and the Bunnymen and The La's - not forgetting the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Spinners!

Why not extend your visit to Liverpool? Architecturally, there is St George's Hall, the Albert Dock and the waterfront at the Pier Head, the Bluecoat Chambers and two notable cathedrals. Museums include the Maritime Museum, the International Slavery Museum, The Beatles Story, the World Museum next to the Library and the Museum of Liverpool. There's also the Walker Art Gallery and Tate Liverpool. Plus Liverpool and Everton football clubs, not forgetting Tranmere Rovers. 

"Liverpoole is one of the wonders of Britain ... In a word, there is no town in England, London excepted, that can equal [it] for the fineness of the streets, and the beauty of the buildings." Daniel Defoe, 1721.


New, improved TSF Website

My recent rant about the difficulties I am experiencing with our current webhost and my determination to move the site to a new provider led to a message from Steve Rowley, offering his advice. I have had a couple of meetings with him and, I am happy to say, construction of the new website is now in progress. There is quite a way to go before it is ready, but I will let you know when it has reached a stage where it is good enough to look at.


Future Meetings

I was disappointed that it was not possible to arrange a Spring meeting this year. I have, as a result, tried to get our forward programme into better shape and we can now offer a set of dates and locations which you should get in your diaries. Some details need to be confirmed and these will appear on this website in good time. Here is what we currently have: 

24 September 2016, Lansdowne Hall, Stroud.

The central feature of the meeting will be the first Roy Palmer Lecture, 'English Folk Song: Some More Conclusions' which will be delivered by our Chairman, Steve Roud. There will be other presentations including:

·       An outline of the folk songs collected in Gloucestershire, which will be given by Gwilym Davies.

·       A presentation on folk songs in traditional events by Doc Rowe.

·       An interview with well-known Gloucestershire singer, Ken Langsbury

In the morning we will have the usual forum discussion of current work and the briefest possible amount of TSF business. This will include an annual meeting and an opportunity to re-affirm your confidence in the TSF 'officers.' The day will conclude with a traditional singaround. The event coincides with the Stroud folk weekend, so there will be other sessions and performances to enjoy in this lively town over the weekend. You can download a copy of the leaflet here. Please share it with your friends. The full dayplan is here.


19 November 2016, Central Library, Liverpool

Details of this meeting, which is being organised by Matthew Edwards and Derek Schofield (with a little help from their friends), are still being worked on but a full weekend's programme is promised, with a very interesting meeting in store. I'm looking forward to it.


25 February 2017, Broadside Day, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Having taken the Broadside Day on tour to Manchester in 2016 we are hoping for another interesting and successful meeting in Oxford next year. The Bodleian Library is home to several of the most important broadside collections and the home of one of the most useful internet resources 'Ballads Online'. It is also deeply involved in work to extend the presence of street literature online and we will, no doubt, hear much more about this work.


25 March 2017, Sussex (venue tbc)

This meeting is being hosted by those involved in the Sussex Traditions Project and will, doubtless, have a strong focus on the songs of that county, which has had a magnetic attraction for collectors over the years, and has produced some great singers. This is going to be an outstanding meeting.


16 September 2017, Sheffield (venue tbc)

Our autumn meeting next year will be held in Sheffield and will focus on local singers and collectors, including Reginald Gatty. This will also be the occasion to hear the second Roy Palmer Lecture, which will be delivered by Ian Russell. This meeting will be held close to the twentieth anniversary of the meeting that led to the formation of the Traditional Song Forum and there will, I am sure, be some cake and a bit of reflection on what we have achieved in the last twenty years.


January 2018, Cecil Sharp House, London (date tbc)

The celebrations will continue at the meeting to be held in London in January 2018, which will be close to the twentieth anniversary of TSF's creation. The meeting will, though, be less about reflection than about looking forward, and creating a vision of the place of traditional singing in the future and the Traditional Song Forum's future. We hope that we will be able to introduce some light-hearted elements into the programme, and we have a few thoughts about that - though other suggestions will be welcomed.

(Added 25-7-16)


Harry Cox Festival

Brian Gaudet has sent me details of the Harry Cox Festival which will be taking place 12 - 14 August. Sounds like a nice event, following on form the celebration of Sam Larner last year.

A three-day festival to celebrate the music, songs and life of Harry Cox takes place in his native Norfolk next month. An opening concert with festival headliner John Kirkpatrick will be held at the Atrium arts centre, North Walsham, on Friday 12 August. The festival then shifts for Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 to the village of Catfield where Harry lived for most of his married life and was recorded by collectors including Ewan MacColl, Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy. John Kirkpatrick will revive his popular "Victorian Farmer's Year in Song" show in Catfield and other artistes appearing include Gemma Khawaja, GamorrA, Hushwing, Stone Angel and Hollowlands. Other festival events in the village include talks on Harry by Chris Heppa and Chris Holderness, archive film footage of Harry and other Norfolk singers, concerts, singarounds, a traditional Norfolk pub music and step dance session and a jig doll convention. Tickets and more details from or  
(Added 25-7-16)


Whalsay's Heritage of Songs

A wonderful website that has been put together by Peter Cooke. Whalsay is a small island, lying a few miles East of the Shetland mainland and has a distinct culture. There songs from a number of singers with both texts and recordings and photos and details of the singers. A very enjoyable site to browse - go here. (Added 3-4-16)


Song Resources on the Web - fully revised

We issued the first list of Internet resources back in 2002 and it has now been fully checked and reissued - you can see it here. Some sites have disappeared. Some new ones have emerged. Some have improved. Some (including some from organisations that ought to know better) have actually got worse. Have a browse - you will, I hope find something new to delight you.    (Added 14-1-16)


News from The Song Collectors Collective

The SCC are developing a distance learning package (The Song Collectors Pathway) for people who wish to learn about song collecting. Funding has now been secured and they are looking to recruit for two roles - one as Educational Programme Developer and one as Programme Administrator. Details of the project and the job descriptions here.    (Added 14-1-16)


Annual Subscriptions

Annual Subscriptions are now due and remain at £8 per year (unchanged now for 10 years). If you would like to pay by cheque, then please make it payable to 'Traditional Song Forum' and send it to Doc Rowe at 4, Vesage Court, Leather Lane, London EC1N 7RE.If you would prefer to pay directly into the TSF bank account, please contact the Secretary and you will be sent details of how to do this.  (Added 16-12-15) 



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