Take an ancient traditional country inn; add the backdrop of the majestic gorge known as Hardraw Scaur, home to Hardraw Force, England’s highest single drop waterfall (& the site of Kevin Costner’s famous skinny dip in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves!). Place this within the glorious Yorkshire Dales – in the heart of Wallace & Gromit country, famous for sheep, cheese and stone walls, and all you need to add to the mix in order to create a weekend paradise are some talented musicians and singers with a love of folk music and there is the recipe for Hardraw Folk Gathering…
Thankfully, the Innkeeper and Waterfall provider at the Green Dragon Inn not only knows that good food, real ale and log fires will entertain his customers, but over a period of many years, he has demonstrated his commitment to live music by promoting a series of Gatherings and events. Each year, in September, Hardraw hosts a prestigious Brass Band Contest. For many years too, the Inn has hosted a successful Summer Gathering of live contemporary and traditional music. Four years ago however, the Innkeeper decided to hold another event during the Spring, in which he could invite and showcase the very best of talent from the world of folk music.
It is of necessity an intimate Gathering, with space for barely 100 seats in the concert room, but that does not mean the event cannot have big ideas and big stars to tread its boards. Folk Gathering audiences have previously been thrilled by popular bands such as the Doonan Family Band, the Tom McConville Band, Elbow Jane and Sherburn & Bartley – also by superb troubadours such as Bob Fox, Steve Tilston, Jez Lowe, Flossie Malavialle and Ian Bruce. The younger side of the folk genre has been represented by performers such as The Young’uns, Roger Davies, Uiscedwr, O’Hooley & Tidow & Tri and senses of humour have been tickled by The New Rope String band, Belshazaar’s Feast and Les Barker. The list of stars could go on and on….
The Gathering however is more than just a series of concerts. It attracts many folk who are gifted, skilled and talented amateur musicians and singers, so the singarounds and sessions are plentiful, of marvellous quality and go on all hours of the day and night. Do not be surprised to find award winning musicians like Shona Kipling, Ali Russel, Chris Parkinson or Mike Harding strumming along! The whole weekend experience of surroundings, musical quality and friendly camaraderie has to be witnessed to be believed, and the event has proved so popular with audiences, that recently, another Gathering has been included in October with a more rootsy and country feel to its lineup.
Reports of the previous Folk & Roots Gatherings may be read here on the website and videos of some of the performances may also be viewed (kind courtesy of Pete Simmonds) on YouTube: http:www.youtube.com/user/simmo7ts (search for Hardraw)
Plans for the next Folk Gathering from 13th – 15th June 2014 are no less exciting with another stellar lineup including the Young’uns (of course), Bernard Wrigley, Wilful Missing, Dan Donnelly, Greg Russel & Ciaran Algar, Winter Wilson and much much more.