The Beverley Fringe has always run along-side the Beverley Folk Festival - in fact, the Folk Festival was originally based in town centre pubs before moving to Beverley Leisure Centre and then the Racecourse when the Fringe really came into its own as a festival in its own right. Key venues are the Tiger, the Monks Walk and the Sun and this year they will be
joined by East Riding Theatre and the Memorial Hall to ensure that folk fans will not miss out on their June ‘fix’ of folk music. Within minutes of the announcement that Beverley Folk Festival had gone into liquidation and been cancelled, Beverley Fringe was confirmed as happening as usual. After 35 years, Beverley Fringe is stronger than ever as it expands
to fill the gap left by the Folk Festival.
Beverley has a strong folk tradition. Every week there are sing-arounds and sessions in the Tiger Inn (Friday Folk Club with Open Mic on Thursdays), Monks Walk (Open mic nights on Mondays and Wednesdays) and Sun (Folk on Saturday afternoons). Every month there is the Processed Pea Folk Club at Etton - soon coming up to its 50th year at the same venue - and the weekly White Horse Folk Club held at the Conservative Club or the Catholic Church Hall - the White Horse Folk Club being the instigators and original organisers of the Folk Festival back in 1983. All that’s needed for a folk festival is sessions and sing-arounds, concerts and Morris dancing. Beverley Fringe will be no different to any other festival.
Morris dancers who had planned to come to Beverley between June 15th and 17th will still be coming; musicians who planned to come and join in with music-making in the pubs will still be coming and some of the artists who were booked to play at the Folk Festival will still be coming, appearing in at least two concerts. Beverley Fringe has been organised by people
who have got together to ensure Beverley comes alive with the sound of music, as has been the case for the last 35 years, in the third weekend of June. Two of those people are Phil Simpson and Jessica Lawson, well-known local artists who run an
open mic at the Monks Walk and who have appeared at Beverley Folk Festival. Liaising with Allen Slinger, Manager of The Tiger, Richard Price at The Sun, Gill Pickford at Monks Walk and Chris Wade at East Riding Theatre, Beverley Fringe’s programme is rapidly coming together. The Queen’s Head is also getting involved!
Phil Simpson said: “The infrastructure is already there; the community spirit is already there, and the love of live music is already there! Beverley Fringe will reignite the town and will help to make up some of the losses that people who have bought their Folk Festival tickets have incurred. Dan Webster has hired the Memorial Hall out of his own pocket to put on a concert which is free for people who can show their ticket receipts; East Riding Theatre is putting on a concert on the Sunday evening which is offering 40 free tickets to Folk Festival ticket-holders and Butt Farm is stepping in to offer camping for people with Folk Festival camping passes who are still planning to come. There will be a ‘Welcome’ session with Les and Maggie at the Monks Walk the same as there ever was with dancing and busking throughout the town.” There are 5 Morris Dance Teams due in town that weekend with 6 or 7 official busking/ dancing locations. An official ‘Buskathon’ is planned between 10 and 1 pm on both days for anyone who wishes to join in, with 2 separate groups playing different types of music - one traditional folk and the other more contemporary.
The Saturday night concert at the Memorial Hall will see headliners The Dan Webster Band appearing with Bella Gaffney & Polly Bolton; Jack Parker and Katie Spencer, all of whom were booked for the Folk Festival. The Sunday night concert at East Riding Theatre (ERT) will see local legend Michael Chapman with Edwina Hayes and The Hut People in support. ERT will also host a Late Night Club at 10pm each evening with free entry.The Westwood Sessions won’t be missing out, either. Co-ordinated by Nikki Airey, the Westwood Sessions gives a professional platform to younger artists.
Acts already booked to perform at the Westwood Sessions which will feature at The Monks Walk on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th from 1pm include Amy Bell; Ben Cook; Emily Thompson; Arizona Tides; Fiona Lee; Leonora Brooks; Ella Payne; Mina Budworth; Katrina Rae; Frankie; Evie Barrand and Imogen Hart. Nikki said: “We’re delighted to have been asked to be involved in Beverley Fringe, allowing us to provide performance opportunities for young musicians on the traditional folk festival weekend. You can find some of the best young, local talent performing in the Westwood Sessions”.