The Pitmen Poets announce their farewell tour

Piitmen Poets

The Pitmen Poets celebrate the songs, humour, and culture of North East England’s Coal Mining tradition, bringing together four of the region’s leading champions of its musical heritage. Ex-Lindisfarne & Jack The Lad singer and writer Billy Mitchell, Song Man from London’s West End musical Warhorse, Bob Fox, leading exponent of Tyneside song Benny Graham, and much-covered BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee songwriter Jez Lowe – individually and collectively, The Pitmen Poets.

This is a journey through the centuries of a once-great industry, from the songs that saw it thrive and dominate, to those that saw its demise and the resulting aftermath.

Now, after two albums and several hugely successful tours, the band prepare to release their farewell album to accompany their twenty-three date farewell tour.

“The audience sang along, laughed and also shared moments of sadness as the combined talents of Billy Mitchell, Jez Lowe, Benny Graham and Bob Fox took them on an epic journey through the life and times of the Northumberland and Durham coalfields.  What a great night!” (Brian Coles – Rock of the North).

With every member coming from coal mining stock, this quartet represents the first generation of their families not to take up the tradition of working down the pit.

As Billy Mitchell explains: With every member coming from coal mining stock, they represent the first generation of their families not to take up the tradition of working down the pit. As Billy Mitchell explains:

“Our parents all said ‘you’re not going down the pit, get a good education and do something worthwhile with your lives’….so now we sing songs and tell stories…. about coal mining. It’s quite ironic really but it’s very important to keep the stories we all heard growing up in the form of songs for the next generation.

“Life working in the pit was tough and to reflect that, our songs aren’t all happy tunes as we look at the terrible tragedies that affected whole villages when disaster struck. But there’s also humour too in great doses in our songs as that’s how families got through the bad times.

“We’re playing a lot of former coal mining areas and the songs will resonate with many people there who made their living from coal.  Our music and the subject matter will entertain audiences from Berwick in the North, Croydon in the South, East to Canterbury and West to Blackwood in South Wales. We’re all looking forward to going out on our 2019 tour and meeting the public and literally taking our coals from the Newcastle area to the rest of the country.

Artists’ website: www.thepitmenpoets.co.uk

‘Black Leg Mining Man’ – live:

The Pitmen Poets Farewell Tour 2019

OCTOBER

16TH CANNOCK PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE 01543 578 762

17TH LEEK FOXLOWE ARTS CENTRE 01538 386 112

18TH CONSETT EMPIRE THEATRE 03000 262 400

20TH MANSFIELD PALACE THEATRE 01623 633 133

21ST NETTLEBED VILLAGE CLUB 01628 636 620

22ND CROYDON STANLEY HALLS 0208 251 0184

23RD MILTON KEYNES THE STABLES 01908 280 800

24TH WORCESTER HUNTINGDON HALL 01905 611 427

25TH BARNSLEY CIVIC 01226 327 000

26TH BUXTON OPERA HOUSE 0129 872 190

27TH KESWICK THEATRE BY THE LAKE 017687 74411

28TH LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC 0151 709 3789

29TH RUNCORN BRINDLEY THEATRE 0151 907 8360

30TH SHREWSBURY THEATRE SEVERN 01743 281 281

31ST SALE WATERSIDE ARTS CENTRE 0161 912 5616

NOVEMBER

1ST LINCOLN NEW THEATRE ROYAL 01522 519 999

2ND MALTON MILTON ROOMS 01653 696 240

3RD BARNARD CASTLE WITHAM 01833 631 107

4TH SELBY TOWN HALL 01757 708 449

6TH SOUTH SHIELDS CUSTOMS HOUSE 0191 454 1234

7TH OTLEY COURTHOUSE 01943 467 466

8TH AMBLE DOVECOTE CENTRE 01665 713 655

9TH DURHAM GALA THEATRE 03000 266 600

12TH CHESTERFIELD WINDING WHEEL 01246 345 222

13TH SOLIHULL CORE THEATRE 0121 704 6962

14TH BLACKWOOD MINERS INSTITUTE 01495 227 206

15TH CHELTENHAM PUMP ROOM 0844 576 2210

16TH CANTERBURY GULBENKIAN THEATRE 01227 769 075

17TH BILLINGHAM FORUM THEATRE 01642 552 663

19TH BURY MET 0161 761 2216

20TH BERWICK MALTINGS 01289 330 999

22ND WHITLEY BAY PLAYHOUSE 0844 248 1588

23RD HEXHAM QUEENS HALL 01434 652 477

24TH GATESHEAD, SAGE 0191 443 4661

 

www.thepitmenpoets.co.uk

 

FolkEast – the countdown has begun

FolkEast

The countdown to one of the country’s most quirky, friendly and popular music festivals has begun! In just a month’s time England’s most easterly folk festival, FolkEast, will return for the seventh year running to the glorious grounds of Suffolk’s 16th century Glemham Hall – with undoubtedly its starriest line-up to date.

Headliners – Richard Thompson, Karine Polwart & Cara Dillon

Between August 16-18 festivalgoers will be treated to performances across seven stages from an outstanding line-up of musicians from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, spearheaded by the legendary singer songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson and including Cara Dillon & friends, the Karine Polwart Trio, John Smith, Calan, Sharon Shannon Band, Ross Ainslie, Jarlath Henderson and Ali Hutton, Daphne’s Flight, Blair Dunlop and Siobhan Miller.

The eclectic collective ranges from national treasures to some of the most exciting new kids on the block; numerous BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winners and notable overseas acts from Canada (Good Lovelies) and Poland (Brasy). Stages include the ‘Sanctuary’ stage at St Andrew’s Church, the open air Sunset Stage and the hidden woodland solar-powered Soapbox Stage.

Two of the defining emblems of FolkEast are back this year – the infamous mythical Jackalope (half antelope; half jack rabbit) and an arboreal art installation that traditionally marks the start of the countdown to the festival.

The annual dressing of the 65 foot dead oak tree on the Glemham Hall Estate began in 2013. Wrapped in hundreds of metres of vibrant red and yellow cloth it has become a recognised totem visible from the nearby A12 and heralding the imminent start of three days of festival fun.

This year’s Jackalope, again constructed by Juan Romero, will be a high-tech one featuring water, lights and fire.

Rekindling the ancient Eastfolk moots on the Glemham Hall estate where for three days a year the folk from the East would meet kith and kin at harvest time for “a bit of a do”, this gathering has Suffolk running through it like letters in a stick of rock.

Becky Marshall-Potter who co -founded the festival with husband John says:

“The tree is dressed, the programme set, tickets are selling briskly and we are almost at the start line again! Our hugely popular patrons The Young’uns unfortunately won’t be with us this year as they are busy making waves in America but the festival will still bear their stamp, the main stages having been programmed by The Young’uns Michael Hughes.”

And this year there will be a special on-site guest – the amazing Pakefield Man, created by Suffolk sculptor Tobias Ford, and last seen stuffed with straw and set alight at sunset on the beach at Lowestoft’s First Light Festival in June.

The steel sculpture was created after worked flints from 700,000 years ago were found on Pakefield Beach.

The Marshall-Potters are committed to creating a sustainable festival for Suffolk and to that end are aiming to make this a single use plastic-free event.

Says Becky: “From the outset we have strived to be as environmentally sound as we can be.” (They have been awarded gold level status by the Suffolk Carbon Charter.)

“This year we are making a concerted effort to do our bit for the planet which means we are asking every one – crew, artists, public and volunteers – to bring reusable drinking bottles and refill them from the on-site water supply. We have asked the traders not to bring drinks for sale in single use plastic and we are not intending to supply any on site. So please bring your own drinking bottles, tankards and flagons.”

Special Events:

The Pitmen Poets and Peter Bellamy’s Maritime England Suite of Sea Songs

Two special events are in the FolkEast 2019 mix. On the Saturday head for the Moot Hall for a concert with a true Suffolk flavour. Aldeburgh Young Musicians will be joined by folk musicians Greg Russell, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, and Laura-Beth Salter to perform a new interpretation of Peter Bellamy’s ‘Maritime England Suite of Sea Songs’, described as “songs of the sea from the Saxons to the 19th century”.

Former Suffolk resident Bellamy, who lived at Leiston, was a unique singer, musician and composer who tragically took his own life in 1991 at the age of just 47, but left behind a treasure trove of work.

A landmark event on Sunday will see four of the North-East’s giants of folk music championing the musical and industrial heritage of their stamping ground. The Pitmen Poets features County Durham’s prolific and celebrated singer songwriter Jez Lowe, ex Lindisfarne member Billy Mitchell, renowned singer/instrumentalist Bob Fox and Benny Graham, leading exponent of Tyneside song.

A show that digs deep into the heart of Britain’s coalmining tradition, it has been described as “an epic journey through the life and times of people who made a living in Northumberland and Durham’s coalfields.”

Illustrated by atmospheric archive photography, it mixes storytelling and song, humour and pathos, triumph and tragedy.

When it comes to refreshment, two authentic ‘village’ pubs will be serving competitively-priced ales (including Suffolk-based Green Jack Brewery’s festival ale Green Jackalope) or you can squeeze into possibly the smallest pub in the UK, the 6 x 4’ Halfway Inn.

Then there’s the FolkEast Art Arcade, Instrumental, bringing together some of the country’s top instruments makers, a packed dance programme, poetry, archery, donkey rides, children’s activities (including den building, storybook making and a mud kitchen linked together in a special new children’s trail) yoga, poetry, storytelling, the Eastfolk Chronicle Kinedrome (showing folk and local interest films) and tours of Glemham Hall by estate owner Major Philip Cobbold.

On board again this year as a media partner will be BBC Radio Suffolk.

Advance weekend tickets are available price £120 (adult), £108 (full time students, 65+) and £80 for Youth tickets (12-17 year old) which must be purchased with an adult ticket. Family weekend tickets for two adults and two 12-17 year olds are £365. A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping under canvas is £20 and camping on wheels £30.

Tickets at https://folkeast.co.uk/passes More information: info@folkeast.co.uk

For daily line up information: https://folkeast.co.uk/daily-line-up-so-far/

Located close to the A12, the festival will also be running shuttle buses to the site from Wickham Market station – a collaboration with Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.

Festival website: www.folkeast.co.uk