Derby Folk Festival is this weekend

sweeneyA seminal 70s album celebrating the folk music of Derbyshire will be performed live at this year’s Derby Folk Festival by a band formed by folk legend and festival patron John Tams.

Tams, the renowned singer-songwriter, musician and composer from Heage will lead the16-strong Derbyshire Volunteers through a recreation of the album A Map of Derbyshire, released in 1973 by the band Muckram Wakes of which he was an original member, together with Roger and Helen Watson.

The performance will be in Derby Assembly Rooms’ Great Hall, from noon to 1.30pm on Saturday, October 5.

Tams, who featured in artsbeat in March, played anglo concertina, bouzouki, five-string and tenor banjo, second fiddle and whistle on A Map of Derbyshire joined by Roger Watson (English concertina, melodeon, percussion and vocals) and Helen Watson (harmonium, piano, whistle, bouzouki and vocals) with accompaniment from Philip Langham and Graham Cooper.

The album, on Trailer Records label, included traditional tracks like Spencer the Rover, The Cruise of the Sun Glory, Poor Old Horse, The Squire of Tamworth, The Bone Lace Weaver with some original tracks by Roger Watson and Tams.

When Tams left in late 1973 the band continued with the arrival of John and Suzie Adams and later Keith Kendrick and keyboard player Barry Coope who was playing in a duo with Tams.

Forty years on, Tams and Coope will be among the ‘Volunteers’ revisiting the album, along with young Derbyshire singer songwriter Lucy Ward who was also featured in artsbeat back in March.

Other current members include Keith Kendrick from the original Muckram Wakes band and Sylvia Needham, Sarah Matthews and former BBC Radio Derby presenter Mick Peat.

Originally formed by Tams for a Tsunami appeal concert, The Derbyshire Volunteers comprise the who’s who of the Derbyshire folk scene with Lucy being the newest recruit.

They perform concerts and ceilidhs, often as fundraisers for local and national charities.

The 16 musicians play a huge range of instruments between them including strings, melodeon, concertina, brass, woodwind and percussion.

The seventh Derby Folk Festival is set to bring a raft of BBC award winners and transatlantic musicians to the city for a three-day music extravaganza.

Hundreds of festival-goers and artists will descend on Derby’s Cathedral Quarter for the much anticipated autumn weekend.

Gold standard headliners will be the eight-piece big band The Mighty Doonans (Friday), Irish super group Dervish (Saturday) and on Sunday, the ever innovative trio Lau, four times winners of Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Guests from the other side of the Atlantic will include Canadian fiddler April Verch and her band and two members of the hugely popular American roots band Carolina Chocolate Drops, banjo playing Rhiannon Giddens and cellist Leyla McCalla.

Also in the line-up are: BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year 2012 – Tim Edey the genius Kent-born guitar and box player, fast-rising Lucy Ward and talented trio Cupola join forces as the harmony-rich Cupola: Ward, double 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee

Luke Jackson, Derbyshire duo Sam Sweeney and Hannah James, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, The Young Uns, Tyde, Union Jill, Legendary Irish musician Andy Irvine, Perennial favourite Vin Garbutt, The ever-popular comedic poet and singer Les Barker and making a welcome return, the duo Winter Wilson.

Produced by Derby LIVE in conjunction with Belper-based PR Promotions, the festival is staged in the Great Hall, Darwin Suite and foyers of Derby Assembly Rooms and spills out into the Market Place.

Tickets are available from Derby LIVE Box Office on (01332) 255800 or online at

A full festival programme is available at