Home Gathering 2017 – all the details

Home Gathering

15-17th September
Hoults Yard, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2HL

Home Gathering, curated and presented by The Unthanks, returns for its third edition this September, with another thrilling line-up across two stages in Newcastle’s Hoults Yard – the post industrial site brimming with atmosphere and regional heritage that was so popular last year.

Having been generously shown the ropes in the first two years by local promoters SSD, The Unthanks are now hosting and running Home Gathering in characteristically independent style. We have no funding. No backing! So please come and join us in making this a brilliant, sustainable annual event!

The eclectic programme is topped by a special one-time-only performance of ‘The Bairns’ by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, marking the 10th anniversary of the Mercury nominated album. Pianist Stef Conner appears to reform the Winterset, for one performance only!

Other festival highlights include a rare solo performance by the peerless Joan As Policewoman, an overdue Newcastle appearance from the beguiling queen of folktronica Beth Orton, and 6 Music favourites, Dutch Uncles. If The Unthanks are known for their political and socially conscious output, it should be no surprise to find on the bill the poetic subversive funk of The Blockheads (celebrating 40 years since the release of their classic New Boots and Panties album), the cutting social commentary of folk singer Chris Wood and original rude boy Neville Staple who along with new material brings to Home Gathering the number one hits of The Specials, still as culturally relevant today as they were to turbulent late ’70’s Britain.

Comic royalty comes in the form of Alan Partridge and Royale Family writer, Henry Normal, and Graham Fellows, the genius behind John Shuttleworth and Jilted John, who surfaces from the shadows of his beloved characters for a rare performance as himself.

Home Gathering is staged in the cobbled yard of what was once one of the most famous potteries in the world, located in Byker, a stones throw from Newcastle’s cultural Ouseburn quarter. Between funky indoor post-industrial venues, you may find yourself flash-mobbed by a swirling traditional dance team, or immersed in the throng of an impromptu chorus sing by members of The Unthanks, joining a masked children’s procession, or just taking some time out for top local food or hanging out at a gin or real ale bar.

Strength in depth comes from the beautiful, exceptional voices of captivating London folk singer Lisa Knapp, singer songwriter Scott Matthews and the highly underrated sometime Fernhill singer, Julie Murphy.

In addition to the special performance by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset of The Bairns, The Unthanks 10 piece line-up will top the bill on Saturday night, augmented at points by 100 singing weekenders in the audience, primed through morning harmony workshops to create what in the past two years have been spine tingling, unique moments. Having sung with just Rachel and Becky Unthank in workshops, the 100 strong choir dotted in the audience haven’t heard what the band are going to do, and the band haven’t heard the singers. The Unthanks band respond intuitively to the singers, who are gradually joined in song by the whole 1000 capacity audience, to create a wall of harmonic sound – an experience belonging uniquely to everyone present.

Start and Finish Schedule and Rough Outline

Nearer the time you’ll be able to check the Home Gathering website, for which artists are on which days. For now we can tell you that the festival will start at 7pm on Friday, run from 2pm on the Saturday, and on Sunday, Home Gathering will close with Rachel Unthank & The Winterset performing The Bairns (midday), followed by Beth Orton, who will finish at 3pm. This is the first year that the festival has extended into Sunday, but we have limited this to a lunchtime programme in consideration for those needing to be home in time to return to work on the Monday.

The festival website is live now with artist and ticket info
Tickets are on sale from 9th June

Rachel Unthank & The Winterset – ‘Felton Lonnin’ from The Bairns:

Peter Knight to celebrate 70th birthday in Tewkesbury

Peter Knight

“Peter Knight can spin the world on his bow” so said no less a philosopher and writer than Sir Terry Pratchett, a man who knows what it is to invent a world…several actually.

Equally at home in diverse worlds/scenarios, Peter is a skilled practitioner who conjures and crafts aural images as well as contrasting soundscapes. His years of experience crossing boundaries and genres mean his music falls beyond categorisation and narrow thinking.

Ask him and he’ll more than likely respond that he plays what makes him happy or satisfies his melodic curiosity, which basically comes down to a philosophy that allows for questing, enquiry and partnership whilst constantly pushing the envelope.

Since leaving Steeleye in late December 2013, Gigspanner has rightly been his focus.

The band has developed in ways unpredictable though inspiring, ultimately securing a roots/fusion of wider scope and a unique identity.

What began as a simple side line became something other, and continues to morph in chameleon like fashion into different form when occasion demands. Across a handful of albums they’ve conjured an absorbing set by turn dark and light, supple yet strong, ancient whilst modern, familiar though innovative.  And they remain compliant enough to allow others to add to their polyglot, BBC Folk Award winners Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin being occasional recruits who bring eastern and Americana stimuli to the table.

Nor is that the only example of Peter Knight’s influence on the next generation of folk musicians, as his concerts with Bellowhead founder and squeezebox maestro Jon Spiers prove. Headlining Folk East in 2016 with minimal rehearsal time, the duo produced a set described by one rain sodden punter as ‘ethereal and beautiful, earning them a standing ovation and prolonged calls for them not to leave the stage.

From beginnings in the rarefied halls of the Royal Academy, to international stages the world over with Steeleye Span, who strove to give ancient roots contemporary guise, via the endless morphing of free music with respected specialist Trevor Watts, there is nothing predictable about a musician whose music is as mercurial as quicksilver, thoroughly absorbing, distinctive, enduring and above all fascinating”

Simon Jones (Journalist/fRoots.)

To celebrate his 70th Birthday year, Peter will be joined by the Gigspanner Big Band, featuring Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, plus John Spiers.

The concert will be held at The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, on Sunday the 13th of August at 8.00pm

The concert is the culmination of a very special week of concerts, which includes a performance at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, 50th Anniversary Festival, and the release of the debut ‘Gigspanner Big Band’ album, which was recorded live at the legendary Nettlebed Folk Club.

Artists’ website: http://www.gigspanner.com/

‘Silbury Hill’ live at the very venue:

Summer Dates

August 5th
Gigspanner Trio
Church of St Mary and St Julian
Maker Heights
Nr Torpoint

August 9th
Gigspanner Big Band
St Andrew’s Church
Ashburton, Devon
Contact dafedwards53@gmail.com
Call 07957 280129

August 10th
Peter performs at Cropredy with Feast of Fiddles, and then dashes to…
Gigspanner Big Band
United Reformed Church

August 11th
Gigspanner Big Band
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention

August 13th
Peter Knight’s 70th Birthday Concert
The Roses Theatre


The Unthanks, Gabrielle Drake and Maxine Peake in Conversation and Performance

Molly Drake

Saturday 27th May

The Barbican (Fountain Room)

6pm-8pm (free, registration required)


Sandwiched between the album release the day before, and two sold out performances at The Barbican the day after, The Unthanks launch Diversions Vol. 4 – The Songs And Poems Of Molly Drake, featuring an exclusive Q&A with The Unthanks and actress Gabrielle Drake (Molly daughter and Nick Drake’s brother) who contributes to the album. Host and interviewer is actress, writer and director Maxine Peake. The event will also include a stripped back performance by The Unthanks. Booking details here.

The Unthanks perform How Wild The Wind Blows – The Songs And Poems Of Molly Drake

The Unthanks close their five week tour of the album with two sold out performances of their audio visual show, featuring their interpretations of Molly Drake’s songs, poetry set to music and read by Gabrielle Drake, still and moving projections of Molly Drake, and an atmospheric set depicting the living room she wrote in.

Sunday 28th May

The Barbican (Milton Court Theatre)
3pm and 7.30pm


Note – although it is not publicly announced, Gabrielle Drake whose voice on the tour has been played as a pre-record, will exclusively perform in person for parts of the Barbican shows!

If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the The Unthanks – DIVERSIONS VOL4 THE SONGS AND POEMS OF MOLLY DRAKE link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.


June highlights at Cecil Sharp House


Moya Brennan – The Voice of Clannad
Thurs 1 June, 7.30pm
£18 | £10 under 26s

When Bono stated recently, “I think she has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced”, he was heralding what many people know already about The Voice of Clannad, Moya Brennan. She sings like nothing you’ve ever heard before! So it makes sense that her live solo shows – with all the musicality and power of Clannad but with added, heart-warming intimacy – should be such a rich and moving experience. Her effortless vocals and timeless music pay homage not only to her vibrant traditional Irish heritage but also her grasp of contemporary forms.

With Clannad she rose to prominence with a pioneering approach to traditional music, which has garnered them 15 million record sales worldwide and a string of awards, including a Grammy in 1998. Her career to date includes 25 albums, numerous film scores and she has sung with many great artists, including The Chieftains, Robert Plant, Paul Brady, Shane MacGowan and Bono.

The East Pointers
Wednesday 7 June, 7:30pm – 10:00pm (Doors: 7pm)
Cecil Sharp House, London

​£14 | £10 youth​

The East Pointers are three young men whose talent and penchant for traditional Celtic tunes of decades past greatly belie their respective ages.

And while each member of the freshly formed trio – banjoist/vocalist/step-dancer Koady Chaisson, fiddle player/vocalist Tim Chaisson, and guitarist/vocalist Jake Charron – is an accomplished musician in his own right, their recent union is a testament to their shared output being, to borrow a common adage, greater than the sum of its parts.The cousins Chaisson hail from Prince Edward Island, Canada, part of the sixth generation of a heralded legacy of fiddlers and folk musicians. Tim tours the world as a performer/songwriter with a pop and country-tinged take on contemporary folk, with Koady often at his side or supporting other touring trad acts with his banjo, bass, and six-string. Jake, on the other hand, is based in Ontario and has strummed, plucked, and played piano alongside a laundry list of award-winning performers from around the globe.When Jake would visit PEI with any of his collaborators or the Chaissons were passing through Ontario on tour, a late-night kitchen party was sure to follow – fiddles and friends, guitars and Guinness, banjos and bad jokes. As their trunk of traditional and original tunes – some with an Irish influence, some Scottish, others rooted in the Maritimes – started to fill up, the trio realized it was time to put some to tape and take them on the road.The East Pointers’ slew of tunes carries a diverse mix of influence, but regardless of their age or origin, what they all share in common is the undeniable ability to get hands clapping, feet stomping, and bodies of all ages bouncing in harmony.

Made in the Great War
Thurs 8 June, 7.30pm

£18 | £10 under 26s

Sam SweeneyEight years ago Sam Sweeney, fiddle player with folk big band Bellowhead, bought a violin with a label inside showing the date 1915, the name Richard S. Howard and the words “Violin No. 6, Made in the Great War”.  Research revealed that the violin had been started, but never finished, by a music hall performer from Leeds named Richard Spencer Howard who was conscripted in 1915 at the age of 35, and killed two years later at the battle of Messines near Ypres.

The pieces of the fiddle had lay in a manila envelope for nine decades and it was over ninety years after Richard S Howard began working on the fiddle that it was finally finished and placed in the shop of Roger Claridge. This is where Sam found it.

To mark the ongoing 100th anniversary of World War I and to retell the story of Richard S. Howard, Sam Sweeney (fiddle/viola), winner of the “Musician of the Year” Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015, has collaborated with award-winning storyteller Hugh Lupton, fellow Bellowhead band mate Paul Sartin (oboe/fiddle), and Rob Harbron (concertina/harmonium), to create a music and spoken word performance, featuring on stage the actual fiddle made by Richard S. Howard.

Rosie Hood – ‘The Beautiful And The Actual’ album launch
Wed 14 June, 7.30pm

£12 | £10 under 26s

Rosie HoodRosie Hood is a young folk singer from Wiltshire, known for her strong, pure voice and engaging solo performance. In 2015 Rosie was a BBC Performing Arts Fellow with the English Folk Dance & Song Society and in 2016 she was nominated for the Horizon award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. 2017 will see Rosie release her first full-length solo album The Beautiful & The Actual, a collection of old and new folk songs.

Cecil Sharp House Choir and Alton Community Choir
Sat 17 June, 7.30pm

£10 | £6 under 26s

Alton Community ChoirEFDSS is excited to be hosting special guests Alton Community Choir, under the expert direction of Carolyn Robson, for this collaborative concert. Since forming in 2008, Alton Community Choir’s numbers have grown steadily from an initial 12 members to almost 70.  The Choir delights in finding unique ways to celebrate the folk traditions, which so inspire their repertoire.  Cecil Sharp House Choir was formed by EFDSS in the same year. Led by the inspirational Sally Davies, the Choir has become known for its spirited and moving renditions of folk songs from England and the wider British Isles.  Both choirs will sing selections of glorious a capella harmony arrangements.

Elliott Morris
Wed 21 June, 7.30pm

£12 | £10 under 26s

Elliott MorrisWith hundreds of gigs behind him Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after young artists on the acoustic scene.  The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, taps the strings and beats the guitar’s body to create an intricate spectacle, together with an original and unique sound integral to his songs.

Elliott’s original compositions marry intricate guitar lines with heartfelt, honest vocals and clever wordplay, combining elements of folk, roots, jazz and country. Embracing the traditional and the contemporary – this is folk music for the 21st century.  Elliott’s versatile blend of folk, pop and rock has complemented a range of major artists he has supported including Frank Turner, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, and The Three Degrees, and revered folk veterans Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. He has also supported Paul Carrack (Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on many of his UK tour dates.

“One of the most impressive guitarists to grace our studio for a very long time…a compelling listen – and mesmerising to watch!”  Dean Jackson – The Beat / BBC Introducing

Matt Gresham – first London headline show

Matt Gresham

Fresh from supporting UK’s James Arthur on his 16-date March tour, Perth born singer songwriter Matt Gresham has announced his first London headline show at The Islington on Friday 26 May. Tickets are on sale now.

Now residing in Berlin after signing to Warner Germany, Matt is delving into a new chapter of creativity. His recent single ‘Survive On Love’ which was co-written with up and coming LA based producer Jaymes Young (London Grammar), marks a new beginning for the Australian musician.

The last two years have been non-stop for the singer, with a sold-out Australian tour already under his belt plus several well-received performances at SXSW, winning ‘Song of the Year’ at the Western Australian Music Awards and not least playing to two sold-out crowds at Shepherds Bush Empire on the James Arthur tour, Matt has already built a strong and loyal fan base and this is only the beginning.

This show will undoubtedly mark Matt as one of 2017’s ones to watch and showcase his talent to a whole new audience.

Artist’s website: http://mattgreshammusic.net/home

‘Survive On Love’ – official video: