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Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)

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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 09:23 AM

Ceilidh, Barn Dance, Knees Up!

Call it what you will, a good time will be had by all!

In the Ocean Room at Weymouth Pavilion on
Friday 27th January 2006
7.30 pm to 11 pm
Music by super-group The Tree Fellahs
With a special get-your-breath-back-and-eat-your-supper spot from Triskele and a traditional Hoodening Play.
Also, musical bric-a-brac stalls open from 7.15 pm

All this and a Ploughman's Supper for just £5 each in advance (£6 on the door) Children aged 7 to 14 £2.50 each in advance (£3 on the door) Children up to 7 free.

To reserve advance tickets call
Pauline: 01305 860277 Karen: 01305 812876 Dave: 01305 852773
Jo and Roger: 01305 780457

A fundraising event for Wessex Folk Festival Fri 2nd- Sun 4th June 2006
www.wessexfolkfestival.co.uk
ENDS

[The above link does not seem to work - but that is the that is given. Perhaps it is just temporarily off-line?]


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 04:49 AM

and the website for this year is.......?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: vindelis
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 02:50 PM

The festival is, for the most part,self financing this year. The first fund raising event will be a Ceilidh in the Ocean room at the back of Weymouth Pavilion. £5 in advance £6 on the door. The band is the Tree Fellas. From what I hear it should be a right good craic. Again the informaation is on the festival website.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 04:50 AM

Part of the problem is that the council have sorted The Pavlion out. They are making it available for the festival in 2006 but the site is to be re-developed and the future is a little uncertain.

It would have been easier just to put some lifts in - levelling the entire building does seem a little drastic...........


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 04:41 AM

beautiful festival - have visited two years now.

they should sort out the Pavilion and put a lift in for disabled people.

otherwise best of luck!


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Dec 05 - 01:39 AM

2nd, 3rd & 4th June
* ==============
*
* Wessex Folk Festival, Weymouth
*
* Confirmed so far: Richard Digance
*
* A new name and new focus for the former Weymouth Folk Festival. The festival
* will run from Fiday 2nd June to Sunday 4th June. Our aim is to celebrate and
* promote live performance of music, song and dance rooted in the traditions of
* our area. We want to make the best use of the existing wealth of talent
* Wessex has to offer and to encourage new talent. Our website is regularly
* updated so please visit us to find out the latest on who's booked, where and
* when.
*
* Information from Pauline Clenshaw 01305 860277
*info@wessexfolkfestival.co.uk
*


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 06:56 PM

http://www.weymouthfolkfestival.co.uk/

The following from the above site.

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council have decided to significantly reduce funding for future Festivals.

It is not clear what the outcome of this decision will mean.

In the meantime go here and see what is FolkActive in Dorset.

Please take the time to let me know what you think .......MAIL US


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 May 05 - 04:33 PM

Slight problem with that rebel folkie, it isn't you that gets arrested, sued and loses his/her licence for breaking the law.

It's the landlord.

And the law has changed anyway - thogh whether for the better is a moot point.

Best regards,

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: GUEST,rebel folkie
Date: 05 May 05 - 02:53 PM

Suggest all talk and no action leads to the same end. Negative feelings. Music of the folk is just that, an expression of who we are if farmer, publican singer or traveller. So action. Sing in a pub as an individualand as a group of individuals. play in a pub as an individual and as a group of individuals. Who will eject? who will sue? The police can not respond. The french would do such why dont you?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 May 05 - 05:25 AM

Where is Grahame Moore?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 May 05 - 02:53 AM

Great festival - one I would recommend to anybody - very friendly sessions.

two things never add up to me about it.

1) Why can't Weymouth Pavilion install lifts for disabled people. This is a major public facility. Not just for the folk festival but why do Weymouth people put up with that. Three Stannahs and the whole place would be open to a whole new section of the community. Mind blowing.

2) Where are the Yetties? I've seen their show at The pavilion at least half a dozen times. they are surely the jewel in the crown of the Dorset folk scene.    Pete the accordionist/keyboard is a terrific musician, Bonny Sartin is one of the greatest interpreters of folk music going - somebody who can sing a traditional song without sounding like the village idiot, from a folk music family that sourced the Hammond collection - and where the bloody hell are they? Oh yeh and the other bloke on guitar's not bad. Don't tell they've got a gig and can't make it.....

best wishes, I will try to make it this year. i had actually booked a caravan for the weekend , but a close relation has been rushed into hospital - anyway No Fixed Abode will be able to use the caravan - they are neighbours and they are doing the festival AND have a gig at Piddletrentide or something or other that sounds similar.

all the best

Big al whittle


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 May 05 - 11:56 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 03:04 AM

6th - 8th May 2005

WEYMOUTH FOLK FESTIVAL

£30 weekend ticket

A weekend of folk events including concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, meet the artists, indoor and outdoor dance displays, song and tune sessions, a folk club and a craft fair.

This 4th Festival promises to be the best yet confirmed artists include Ashley Hutchings with a Morris On programme, Mundy-Turner, Colvin-Quarmy, Derek Brimstone, Dr Stomp, Paul Downes, No Fixed Abode, Roy Mette, a New to the Festival Concert, The Harvesters, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, Nick Wyke and Beky Driscoll, Red Shed Ceilidh Band, a Late Night Extra, Morris (all kinds), Clog, Appalachian, Stepdance teams.

A weekend ticket for all events costs £30 with family, child and senior and day tickets available. All events are also individually priced. Discount camping is available, as is discount parking. We keep the website updated at www.weymouthfolkfestival.co.uk so check for details or contact the Box Office on 01305 783225.

Please support a local festival organised by enthusiasts with Local Authority support which is trying to get more folk based acts in the area and raise the profile of our own arts. Let us know any suggestions you have or if you would like to help by stewarding.

Box Office (01305 783225)

folk@weymouthfolkfestival.co.uk

www.weymouthfolkfestival.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 May 04 - 11:26 AM

Dorset Echo 10 May 2004

Annual festival weaves it way into national folk calander
By Peter Hawkins.

Weymouth's 'tremendous' folk festival is becoming cemented into the folk calender. Organiser Bob Kirkpatrick said: "We are still only in our third year but this year has really established us well"

A procession of dancers wound their way along the beach from the Jubilee Clock to the Pavilion, weaving in and out of the town centre. Folk music act Show of Hands, dubbed the U2 of folk music, headlined at the Pavilion on Saturday night while a celidh was held in the Ocean Rooms.

Musicians Jez Lowe, Bob Fox and the Bad Pennies performed at the close of the weekend on Sunday afternoon.

Bob Kirkpatrick added: "It went tremendously well. We got lots of positive comments from members of the public, the dance teams were well received and the Ocean Rooms were full - it was fantastic. "The weather helped in way - we moved the Appalachian dancers inside because of the wind and we were overwhelmed with the number of onlookers."

The festival also included dance displays, music and dance workshops and craft stalls, as well as various free musical performances in pubs around Weymouth including Paul Downes, mike Silver and Three Tons o' grass.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 May 04 - 05:38 AM

No idea who you are either Bob.

Could you possibly be the festival organiser Bob, who has also organised himself a Weymouth folk Festival gig for the third year running?


Dorset Echo May 4 2004-05-05

Weymouth's third Folk Festival is eagerly anticipated.

ALL KINDS OF FOLK HERE.


The final pieces of the jigsaw are slotting into place for Weymouth's third Folk Festival, and the organisers are hoping that the three-day event will be a massive success.

With a powerful line-up of talent, dance teams from across the country coming to the town and much more besides, there are plenty of events on offer to keep the whole family entertained.

Heading the bill is a performance by globally- renowned folk duo Show of Hands, who will be taking to the stage in the Pavilion theatre at 7pm on Saturday accompanied by singers Jenna Wicks and Debs Sandland. And the festival will be closed at 2pm on Sunday by a concert by equally popular performer Jez Lowe, who will be sharing the stage with Bob Fox and the Bad Pennies.

Festival organiser Bob Fitzpatrick says,: "We are lucky to have such great musicians coming to town to take part in the festival. Jez Lowe always puts on a superb concert and Show of Hands are so popular that they are selling as a stand-alone events and not part of the festival."

He adds:" Ticket sales are going well and I think we have done everything we can do, so all we can do now is hope that the weather is kind to us." One of the reasons that the organisers are banking on the weather is the dance parade that will wind its way through the streets on Saturday afternoon. Starting at the Jubilee Clock at 1pm, hundreds of dancers including Appalachian sides will make their way along the seafront to the Pavilion, dancing all the way.

"It is one of the most popular events of the festival, a real carnival procession of dancers," Bob explains. " Not only is it a fantastic site, but hopefully the dancers will also come and take part in the ceilidh in the Pavilion Ocean Room on Saturday night (7.30pm start) and really get it going."

He adds "We have been overwhelmed by the support we have been given and I think people will enjoy this highly entertaining and colourful spectacle."

Weymouth Folk festival runs from Friday to Sunday, May 7 to 9 in and around the Pavilion complex and tickets can be bought for the individual shows and for the whole weekend. For full details and tickets, call the box office on 01305 783 225.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: GUEST,Wee Little Drummer
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 12:00 PM

No idea who you are but the Festival is open to EVERYONE!!!!!! Let me know what you are looking for and I will try to help.
This years Festival will be Fantastic!!!!

Bob


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Apr 04 - 08:49 PM

will be in Weymouth, and attending some of the concerts, any chance of a floorspot anywhere?

all the best

big al whittle - singer/songwriter/ guitarist


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Apr 04 - 07:59 AM

For the latest position re Weymouth and Portland Council's continuing action against regular folk sessions - click this link to a post on 'The New Star session RIP' thread.

http://www.mudcat.org/Detail.CFM?messages__Message_ID=1163227

The the loss of this latest session - is despite ongoing efforts by (some of) the elected members of the Council to change the interpretation used by the Council's officers.

The chairman of the Licensing Committee, in particular is trying to change the policy to stop the officers preventing sessions - as he is also in charge of promoting the Council organised folk festival and the sessions organised as part of this, by the Council as part of this festival.

He at least accepts that this current treatment of local folk sessions is unlikely to result in general support for the Council's annual folk festival - from the outside folk community.
Who may have reasonably expected that over the past 3 years, the Council would have addressed and solved this threat to the success of their 3rd folk festival.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 12:41 PM

7th - 9th May
3rd Weymouth Folk Festival, centred on the Weymouth Pavilion

A weekend of top national and local performers with sessions and workshops in a beautiful seaside location based in Weymouth Pavilion.

Friday night concert headlining Jon Harvison, Bob Kirkpatrick, Hoovering the Heavens, John Bullock.

Saturday afternoon concert with Paul Downes, Mike Silver, 3 Tuns o' Grass and a New to the Festival concert.

Saturday night features Show of Hands plus a ceilidh with No Strings
Attached.

Sunday afternoon sees Bob Fox and Jez Lowe perform. Many of these are hosting Meet the Artist events.

There will be 20 Morris teams including the phenomenal Outside Capering Crew and a Sunday Jig Event, 4 Appalachian teams, song/tune sessions, a Folk Club and Come All Ye's hosted by Pete Sibley, No Fixed Abode and Arish Mell, workshops and craft/music stalls.

Camping is available.

£30 weekend ticket, family/concessions available

Contact Penny James 01305 783225
Pennyjames@weymouth.gov.uk
www.weymouth.gov.uk


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 06:31 PM

Bob Fox claimed to invent the joke when he was travelling with Vin that they should take to the road as a duo wearing crutchless leotards and call themselves 'Show of

Show of...Pubic Entertainment Licenses?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: breezy
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 06:03 AM

?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: breezy
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 04:28 AM

and Vin Garbut is appearing at the Boscomb folk club at the Portland on 2nd May with trific support acts too.

Its all happening down there in Dorset ,its beautiful wherever you go and the rain in the summertime makes the wurzel bush grow.

Bob Fox claimed to invent the joke when he was travelling with Vin that they should take to the road as a duo wearing crutchless leotards and call themselves 'Show of


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 04:15 AM

Dorset Echo March 29 2004.

Show of Hands to head the bill for weekend folk event.

Top line-up for festival

An appearance by one of Europe's top acoustic bands will be the icing on the cake for this year's Weymouth Folk Festival. This is the third year that the weekend-long round of concerts, dances and parades has taken place and organisers are expecting it to be the best yet.

Topping the bill will be the West Dorset-based duo Show of Hands, who Q magazine described as 'like listening to U2 play folk', as well as Jez Lowe and the bad pennies. Other big names from the world of folk include Bob Fox, Mike Silver, No Strings Attached and Footnote and the town will also be full of buskers while the pubs will be hosting music sessions throughout the festival.

But it's not just music, Traditional dance also plays a major part in the weekend's events, with Morris and Appalachian sides performing at the Pavilion and in the town centre. For many visitors the visual highlight of the festival will be the dance parade through Weymouth's streets, staring at 1pm on Saturday, May 6.

Festival organiser and spokesman Bob Kirkpatrick explained: " the line-up is extremely good this year and while that's great news for us and the people who come here, it makes it a hard act to follow next year!"

"The good thing about having big names like Show of Hands at the festival, is that they have the date on their website so when people log on, they get to know about the festival and Weymouth too".

"Tickets are already on sale and are selling well and the financial side of things is looking good, so hopefully we won't make a loss like last year. People come to the festival for different reasons. Some come for the whole weekend to enjoy the food and beer and soak up the atmosphere, while other people just come along for one of the concerts. It's such a mix so we have to provide a lot of entertainment and a varied programme."

Bob is not the only person expecting the festival to be huge success. Weymouth's entertainments manager,
Simon King, also has great hopes for the weekend. "The attendance of Show of Hands at the festival is tremendous news and is a strong indication of the growing reputation of the event", he said. "with such a strong headliner, one of the country's finest festival locations and with such a great programme we are sure to be on to a winner." He added.

Weymouth Folk Festival runs from Friday to Sunday, May 7 to 9. For full details and ticket prices call Weymouth Pavilion box office on 01305 783 225.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 May 03 - 05:43 AM

Letter to Dorset Evening Echo 23 May 2003.

We should ease up on pub music.


It could be inferred from Nigel Canter's letter about Weymouth folk festival (May 10) that it was Roger Gall who brought the Star folk session on Portland to the attention of the borough council.

It wasn't – it was me!

Please be assured it was not done through malice. I merely asked the question why the sessions at the Cove now had to be licensed whereas other similar events did not.

The subsequent letter to the Star requiring them to get a licence has had a completely negative effect: i.e. the musical sessions enjoyed by so many for so long have ceased.

Is this what we really want?

Surely it is an absolute right for people to make music, provided, of course, that it does not contravene nuisance regulations.

Why should it require a public entertainment licence in a pub?

If the event attracts extra customers and the landlord increases his profit – so what? Heaven knows it is difficult enough to make a living in a pub as it is. You might as well say a public entertainment licence is required for a darts final or a crucial pool match. To use 'safety' as an excuse for requiring licenses is, in my opinion, bogus.

A pub with 100 people in it is no safer with a licence than it is without.

I believe that the council's interpretation of the current legislation is unfair, as it discourages musical events by unpaid performers when we should be promoting them.

I will endeavour to have the interpretation changed.

Jim Holt
Portland Borough councillor
Tophill East


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 May 03 - 07:48 AM

I received the following email yesterday.

Thanks for your letter & email. I have forwarded them to the Folk Festival Committee Secretary. I am sure it will be discussed at the wash up meeting.

I understand that your events at the Cove went well. This maybe bodes well for next year.

yours in music


............


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 May 03 - 04:41 AM

It is interesting that many of the letters supporting the festival (or knocking me) feel that they have to try and excuse the council's policy.

This is probably the one thing that does really upset me. But I do well understand the anger of people who have their harmless interests threatened. Even if this anger is not directed in the direction where the responisility for the threat clearly belongs.

They overlook the fact that had the name of the pub I forwarded for inclusion in the official programme been the New Star(if the council had not already been responsible for this session), or indeed any pub on Portland or Weymouth, without a PEL - not only would it not appeared have in the programme, the officers would have had to insist on a PEL. If the pub had not complied, even for a temporary PEL, the festival event and the weekly folk event would have been prevented as a result.

Or if a session in say The Ship had spilled into nearby pubs without PELs, on more than a one-off basis over the 3 days, these would have had to be prevented by the council. This is a real danger as many folk prefer to choose their own pubs for informal pub sessions at festivals.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 May 03 - 08:30 AM

Oh! There is a also photo on the May 15 letters page, with the caption.

SOUNDING GOOD: Performer Martin Simpson at the folk festival. Ian Sedwell pours scorn on the 'boycotters'


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 May 03 - 07:51 AM

The Echo has not published my letter.

The feely offfered and promised letter from my ward councillor stating that it was he who informed the officers about the new Star session, has also not appeared.

If you would care to write to them, they may well publish yours.

letters@dorsetecho.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 May 03 - 02:56 PM

Letter to the Echo 15 May, 2003
Alternative festival is an empty gesture


Congratulations are due to the organisers of the Weymouth Folk Festival. A couple of hiccups, yes; but overall it was a tremendously successful event that was enjoyed by all who participated – performers and audience alike.

I and many, many others look forward to next year's event.

If one must pick a particular fly in the folk ointment, then it must be the unfortunate intervention of Mr Roger Gall (as reported on the front page of the Echo on May 8 ('Musicians in Folk Boycott').

I am struck by the apparent contradiction in the position of Mr Gall's position, who proposed a boycott of the Folk Festival in Weymouth. He declared that there were no venues on Portland, yet on each day of the festival an event was scheduled for the Cove on Portland, and each of those events was to be hosted ny none other than Mr Roger Gall.

Mr Gall claims that he was protesting about the borough council's policy in respect of licensing live music in the town. To hold an 'alternative' festival in the very borough he hoped to embarrass seems to me something of an empty gesture.

After all, Portland is part of the borough council's purview and subject to the same rules concerning live music. It might have made more sense for Mr gall to have descended on Dorchester.

This is even before one considers the 'alternative' line-up. More than one Portlander has described it to me as embarrassing. I was pleased to see the number of people from Portland (musicians and audience) who were at the festival proper.

This is not the first outburst from Mr Gall – who some see as a man whose pronouncements have been actually been harming the cause of live music in Weymouth and Portland.

The borough council's policy in respect of live music is not the best, but it is pretty good. One would be hard pressed to find another town in the South West with such a lively, diverse and prospering music scene.

Indeed one of the things that holidaymakers frequently cite as one of the reasons they enjoy their visits to Weymouth – and Portland.

That would hardly be the case if the strictures really were as draconian as Mr Gall insists.   

Ian Sedwell
Greenhill
Weymouth


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 03 - 09:53 AM

Echo letters 14 May 2003

I didn't urge boycott of festival

I seem to have been misrepresented in my opinions regarding whether or not the general public should have boycotted the Weymouth Folk Festival.


Whilst I condemn the local council for rigorously and heavy-handedly enforcing the current 'two-in-a-bar' licensing law and closing harmless culturally important and enjoyable folk sessions in local pubs, I would never urge the boycott of a valuable community event.

Folk music is a genre and culture under-represented in the media and in terms of funding and I applaud the council for continuing to support this event, if not others.

I have no wish to alienate the council or the festival's participants and organisers; nor do I have any wish to deprive fellow performers of work.

To set the record straight, what I said (in a Daily Telegraph article) was that there was "likely to be a boycott".

I continue to support campaigners in their efforts to guide the Government in its proposed new Bill (which is entirely another kettle of fish and would need a much longer letter!).

Eliza Carthy
North Dalton,
East Yorks


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 03 - 03:01 AM

Echo letter 13 May 2003

Inn's folk sessions were integral part of festival


As part of the group that organised the second Weymouth festival, I was disturbed to read (Musicians in folk boycott, Thursday) that the sessions at the Cove House Inn on Portland were apparently not part of the festival.

This was news to me and to my fellow organisers. Mr Gall was asked by the member of the group organising the pub sessions on behalf of us all, to run sessions at the Cove House as part of the festival and he agreed to this back in March. Far from being an alternative event, the sessions were regarded as an integral part of the festival.

Incidentally, Eliza Carthy was never invited, nor, as far as I am aware declared her intention to be a part of the festival, so I find it difficult to see how she could be boycotting it. As a Portland resident I, like Mr Gall, am keen to see Portland included in future festival proceedings.

Pauline Clenshaw
(One of the Folk Festival organisers)
Greenways
Portland.


It is rather sad that none of the current batch of local writers of letters to the Echo, could not have been doing this for the last two years, over the council's policy. Which deprived Portland of one session and would have deprived us of another, if the licnsee had not been prepared to pay for the PEL to enable it.

If they had there would be no need now for any of this bad feeling, bitterness and personally motivated gossip being placed publicly in the newspaper, rather than presenting me with it personally first. In fairness, a lot of the Echo's festival coverage is incorrect, including the pro festival 'spin'. This is the nature of the press, however I do stand by what appears as my quotes. These are nearly what I actually said.


Dear ...

I attach the following letter that I intend to send to the Echo.

As you are well aware my facts are correct and can all easily be confirmed, as detailed. Before I take any further action, I would like to first give you the opportunity to ask Pauline if she will write to the Echo and confirm that the information she supplied (I suspect in all good faith), was incorrect.

Perhaps you could advise as soon as possible so this can be cleared up without any more unnecessary bad-feeling being created?

Roger

[Proposed letter.]
Re-writing festival history?

Pauline Clenshaw, Echo letter 13 May, claims that I was asked to organise sessions on Portland for the Weymouth Folk Festival. If she checks the permanent email record about my possible involvement over the festival weekend, she will find that her claim is incorrect.

The record will show that I was offered or expected to be leading a session in Weymouth and a list of Weymouth only venues were supplied. On receipt of this list, the record will show that I expressed that my loyalties should lie with the licensee of the Cove House Inn on Portland, who supported folk music all year round, and where our regular Thursday session was held.

The emails will show that I declined the offer to lead a session in Weymouth and after checking with the licensee, declared that I would be running a session on Portland instead. I then made the request for this additional event to be placed in the official programme.

Had I accepted the original offer, it is a fact that there would have been no festival events - either integral or alternative, taking place on Portland, for the second year of this Weymouth and Portland Borough Council organised event.

I do not welcome her attempts to re-write history but I do welcome Pauline Clenshaw being so keen now to see Portland included in any future festival proceedings. The mystery is why she did not ensure that the Council organised some for this 2nd event?

For the emails will also show that I did also request that perhaps a Morris side or two from the Weymouth festival could visit The Cove, as the licensee indicated that this also would be most welcome.

Perhaps all this can be confirmed and corrected in these pages when the facts are checked?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 May 03 - 11:24 AM

Because of the difficulty in parking etc. we were unable to go over to Portland to the Cove Inn to enjoy some of the music there - sorry!!

I'm sorry too - for the parking on Portland was free. Maybe next time?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: MairSea
Date: 13 May 03 - 10:33 AM

As an 'out of towner' who came to the festival at the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it I think that the council's policy on parking will kill off the festival more than anything else!

We stayed in a B&B on the front where we could park overnight but had to move to the Pavilion car park before 1000 each morning. This meant that my husband could not 'have a drink' for the weekend as he is the only driver. We had hoped that there would have been parking for the B&B's so that we could have enjoyed a good night's rest and walked along to the Pavilion Fri/Sat and then left from the Pavilion car park on the Sunday. Had we not been to last year's festival and been aware of the reduction in charges for those visiting the Theatre we too, would have been paying £6 per day in parking charges! Parking charges plus accomodation charges together with the 75% increase in the Weekend Season ticket really made it an expensive weekend. Thankfully the line up, the workshops and the friendliness made up for the high costs. Because of the difficulty in parking etc. we were unable to go over to Portland to the Cove Inn to enjoy some of the music there - sorry!!


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 03 - 05:14 PM

Dorset Echo May 12
Thousands of visitors enjoy a variety of entertainment despite fears over a licences boycott.
FUN-FILLED FESTIVAL OF FOLK

http://www.thisisdorset.net/dorset/weymouth/news/WEYMOUTH_NEWS_NEWS6.html

More than 1,000 performers showed off their talents when Weymouth's second Folk Festivalswung into action at the weekend. Solo artists, groups, bands, Appalachian dancers and Morris sides performed at a variety of venues – and folk lovers from across the county and country poured into town.

The festival went ahead despite a rival Portland event held to protest at entertainment licences.

Local campaigners claimed that joint festival sponsors Weymouth and Portland Borough Council had stifled folk musicians by clamping down on informal sessions held at various unlicensed pubs in the borough.

But fears that a massive boycott might hit the festival proved unfounded as folk lovers flocked to enjoy the entertainment.

Weymouth Folk Group, who also sponsored the festival, said it was delighted with the response to this year's event, while the council's leisure and entertainments manager Simon King said there had been a huge amount of support from local pubs. he added that the event was now one of Britain's fastest growing festivals.

Mr King said: "The Council and Weymouth Folk Club are working to make this a festival to rival Sidmouth and this year's line-up proved that we are on the way to this goal."

Among highlights were a grand parade of dance from the Jubilee Clock to the Pavilion Theatre. There were also great performances from Last Night's Fun, and folk fans also enjoyed The Oysterband, Martin Simpson, The Yetties, Munday Turner workshops, concerts, late night sessions, morris dancing, ceilidhs, a folk village, dancing, busking and pub sessions.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 03 - 06:05 AM

I have sent the following letter to the Echo. I don't suppose this will be printed either.

The Echo's comment 8 May 2003, expresses concern over divisions among folk enthusiasts over a folk festival 'boycott'. However I would like to point out that this word was first introduced in the Echo on 27 December 2002. If 'groups' were urging people not to attend, there may some justification in the use of this word. This was not what was being urged by any 'group' and these are not the divisions that should be of most concern.

People were informed the facts and urged to express their views to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council over their policy and copy these to the Echo. This policy is the root cause of all these supposed divisions, it also presents the risk to the success or otherwise of the council organised Weymouth Folk Festival. The point was to highlight the threat the policy presented, in order that this totally unnecessary threat could be removed. As it can so very easily be removed, where there is a will locally to do so.

That the row over entertainment licenses should be distanced from the festival is the wish of many, whose business is not politics. However, councillors, whose business it is, have known for a long time that it was their local policy that presented the threat to its success - as Peter Chegwyn, both an elected councillor and festival organiser in Gosport, pointed out clearly in his letter to the Echo 1st January 2003. "I am afraid Tom Grainger chief executive of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, is sadly mistaken if he thinks his council's over-zealous enforcement of outdated laws relating to live music venues will not affect the council's own folk music festival in 2003."   

So why was this policy not reviewed by a policy making committee prior to this event, as energetically requested for over two years, and advice not sought from people like Peter Chegwyn, to see if the threat could be removed, especially in the 4 months since the Echo's first story? The answer is that the Council's non- elected officers had just as energetically resisted this request.

There will no doubt be loud claims from the Council of how successful this 2nd event was. This should not disguise the fact that with a little joined-up thinking from our officers and a bit more courage shown by our councillors in challenging them, the event could have been even more successful, as the honest efforts of all those working on the ground, both paid and unpaid, so richly deserve.

The threat is not a boycott, but the Council is in competition. There are many folk festivals and there are others on this same weekend. If outside folk are to be attracted to this one, the Council need good public relations and not to be seen as leading official kill-joys (as they are currently). A change of policy, even at this late stage will guarantee that good publicity…………… Does your councillor support this view? For I have not found one who does. So why then does this borough hold this damaging policy when it is clear that they do NOT have to?

Will our elected members finally review this unpopular policy and remove this threat?

Currently this local policy means for example that The National Anthem sung by three unpaid pub customers every Friday night, will be considered in this borough as 'performers' in a 'performance' of public entertainment. This will be illegal and deemed to have made the safe, inspected and already licensed premises - unsafe without additional payment and application to the Council for a Public Entertainment Licence. The licensee will be liable to a £20,000 fine or six months in prison if this singing takes place without a PEL.

The Echo's editorial comment ignores the second threat, which is the important point that for the second time no official festival events were planned for Portland.

Councillor Ellis also in the Echo 8 May 2003, may feel that "the event is putting Weymouth on the folk music map" (Portland apparently not even appearing as in a little box in the corner).

But this is the point is where the serious divisions are being engendered by this lack of joined-up thinking. Surely when the Borough of Weymouth and Portland funds events it should be the whole Borough that benefits and Weymouth AND Portland, being put on the map?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 03 - 03:10 AM

It has to be said that Eliza did have reservations about the Daily Telegraph article and did convey these to the writer. Sadly I was not aware of this until after the Echo's article appeared.

She was not urging anyone to boycott the Weymouth Folk Festival.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 03 - 02:59 AM

Letter to the Echo 10 May 2003.
Boycott will not stop legislation.


Does anyone seriously believe that boycotting the local folk festival will make any difference to the enforcing of music performance legislation? I don't think so.

I don't like the existing or the proposed new legislation but, to be fair to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, it has a duty to enforce the existing legislation when informed of an infringement.

You might like to ask Roger Gall just who it was who brought the 'Star' folk session on Portland to the attention of the council, thus ensuring that enforcement had to be carried out.

I believe that you are also confusing singer Eliza Carthy's opposition to the new PELS legislation with Roger Gall's opposition to the existing 'Two in a bar' rule.

Your lead article was misleading and unhelpful to a local event.

Nigel Canter



Replies to letters@dorsetecho.co.uk

You could ask Roger Gall who brought the attention of the New Star session to the council. As it is he appears to wish to know, you could also ask Mr Canter why he does not ask Roger Gall himself or why this would aspect would appear to matter to him, far more than what the officers then do with this information.

If it really matters how or more importantly when this information came to the officer's attention, it is difficult to understand why Mr Canter, such a firm supporter of duty and of upholding legislation would expect me to do anything other than my duty. Surely he would not expect me to withhold this information, to break the law and make the public unsafe? *Smiles*

The above is a good example of how foolish enforcement of this foolish legislation and a desperation for a council festival gig, will makes fools of many.

For enforcement is only necessary when it has been established that a licensable activity is taking place. As the licensing officers did not visit the New Star session, this was never established, unlike the many visits to the Cove.

Whatever this council's duty may be, it surely should be a fair and consistent duty. So perhaps Mr Canter would like to ask the council to explain the contrast in their officer's efforts to try and avoid visiting or seeing the New Star session with the many visits and determination to prevent identical activities at the Cove.

The New Star session took place for over five years in total, and over two years since the Cove's enforcement, when its nature and location, as I was informed by the then councillor for this ward - was 'common knowledge'.

The question that needs to be asked is why would anyone wish to report this session, over two years later? It is a matter of clear record that I have spent the two years since the Cove action   (unsuccessfully but without revealing the name of the premises) in trying to change the council's policy to ensure that the New Star session could in fact continue without a PEL.

You could also ask what exactly Mr Canter or the other participants were doing to assist in this aim or in the aim of addressing the new legislation, both of which he claims to dislike?

I am not going to write to the Echo to correct Mr Canter as he will choose to believe and blame what is convenient, as i feel this action from me will continue to personalise an important issue. I would be grateful if others could write with their comments however.

But it has been explained how my new ward councillor took the common knowledge complete with the name of the continuing New Star session to the officers. He did not want to be compromised by holding this information about illegal activities, decided to do his duty and inform the Licensing Manager about the New Star session. They immediately issued the letter that sadly resulted in the end of the long-running event.

I continue in my attempt to change the policy that would allow the New Star session it to re-start, without a PEL. Perhaps Mr Canter would care to help?

I am first a musician who along with many others, has directly suffered from this policy, I have tried my best to ensure that no one else will. The idea that is conveniently whispered locally that I am a politically motivated zealot, who is prepared to sacrifice anything to achieve some selfish end, is just not borne out by the facts. But some folk are not interested in facts, they just interfere with a good, if improbable story.

As for the 'boycott' - people were informed the facts and urged to express their views to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council over their policy under current legislation. This policy is the root cause of these problems and divisions, it also is a solid fact to be faced, that it presents the risk to the success or otherwise of the council organised Weymouth Folk Festival. The point was to highlight the threat the policy presented, in order that this totally unnecessary threat could be removed. This would enable this festival to be supported by the whole folk community. Sadly the council decided just to keep on wading neck-deep into the Big Muddy.

As for The Echo being confused –

Daily Telegraph
Battle over 'last orders' for music
(Filed: 18/01/2003)
Musicians and publicans fear that the new Licensing Bill will impose a tax on music-making that many will be unable to pay. By Colin Randall

(snip)
"They were like part of the family," says Christine Radford, who says she has been driven by red tape and diminishing income to consider quitting the licensed trade. "I was in tears on their last night."
Tom Grainger, the council's chief executive, points out that 30 per cent of licensed premises in the area have PELs and would protest if a blind eye were turned to others. He denies that the council approach has changed and says it is "most unfortunate" that Eliza Carthy and other musicians are urging a boycott of the council-sponsored folk festival in May.


There is a difference between an individual choosing not to attend or support an event, being sympathetic to others taking this course, and organising and actively urging others to do the same. The media know this difference but a nice emotive word like 'boycott' is preferred.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 03 - 02:45 AM

Echo Comment 8 May 2003-05-08

Sad note for folk fans


A Government proposal to tighten the law on live music performances is one factor angering Dorset campaigners who are urging a boycott of this weekend's Weymouth Folk Festival.

But they are also not happy with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, which they feel has been too zealous in its interpretation of the existing law in the context of informal traditional music performances in pubs.

The wrangle is brought into focus this weekend by the calls for a boycott of this weekend's folk festival sponsored by the council.

Musicians of all kinds, not just those whose first love is traditional music, are fighting for a change in the Government's stance, but, meanwhile, local authorities like the borough council have insisted music licenses are required for public performances, however informal they may be.

It is clear that a great many musicians and the owners of some venues, especially small pubs are concerned about the provisions of the new law. It now seems to have attracted widespread opposition, and many venues, we are told, been prompted to close their doors to live music.

Will a boycott by some people of Weymouth's festival produce anything other than divisions within the ranks of committed folk enthusiasts? Surely there must be a better way forward.

Replies to letters@dorsetecho.co.uk

This last question is a bit rich as it was this newspaper that first introduced the nice emotive word boycott, when they were fully aware that what was being urged was for people to express their views to the council on their policy - for these messages were also copied to them.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 03 - 02:39 AM

Weymouth Evening Echo 8 May 2003.

Musicians in folk boycott.


Enthusiasts from around the country claim they will stay away from the Weymouth Folk Festival in a row over entertainment licences.

Licensing laws state that premises hosting more than two people deemed to be singing, dancing or performing should have an entertainment licence.

Local campaigners claim Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, which is sponsoring this weekend's festival with Weymouth Folk Group, have stifled folk musicians by clamping down on informal sessions held at various unlicensed pubs in the borough.

The groups have now organised an alternative event on Portland for people unhappy with the council.
The programme of events at the Cove House Inn on Portland, which has a long association with folk music, has been organised by enthusiast Roger Gall who claims dozens of musicians have pledged support.

The boycott has been backed by top folk musician Eliza Carthy and comes after a small group of singers quit the New Star Inn on Portland after five years because the council warned the owners they needed a licence.

Mr Gall, from Portland, said: "I would like the main festival to be a success because it encourages folk music but the bottom line is that the council's attitude is ridiculous because they enforce this policy. A lot of people have opted to stay away because they feel strongly about this."

He added that the take-up figure of public entertainment licences in Weymouth and Portland was 30 per cent, compared with five per cent nationally. "The council obviously wants to maximise its revenue, particularly at the moment, but people from all over the country say they cannot support this festival because the council only supports folk music when the festival is on." Mr Gall said that he organised the alternative folk sessions because no events were planned for Portland.

"The council is called Weymouth and Portland but yet there's no official events on the island. It feels like Portland has been ignored," he said.

More than 1000 performers are set to attend this weekend's Weymouth Folk Festival from Friday to Sunday.
Highlights include a parade of dance, which sets off from the Jubilee Clock at 12.30pm on Saturday and heads for Weymouth Pavilion, with bands performing including The Oysterband and The Yetties.

Coun Brian Ellis, borough tourism spokesman, said: "There will be no boycott because the line up we have planned is an excellent one. The information I'm getting is that it will be well supported and the event is putting Weymouth on the folk music map."

Coun Ellis added that the row over entertainment licenses should be distanced from the festival.
"I'm a strong supporter of live performance and I do have concerns how the licensing legislation is interpreted by the borough. The borough needs to ensure the licensing isn't too harsh," he added.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 May 03 - 06:28 AM

See also Portland (UK) Folk weekend 8 - 11 May


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 10:19 AM

For folk not following this thread - perhaps a word of explanation is called for, as I received the following and the writer may not be alone in this thinking.

This is an enticing invite, but haven't you been urging us for weeks to boycott Weymouth Folk Festival because of lack of sessions and attitudes of councillors?

Now I find it difficult to see how folk can expect this event in this form, to be widely supported by the folk community, but actually no I have not been urging folk to boycott Weymouth Folk Festival, as a careful read of this thread will show.

In truth I have urged people to convey their views to the council, over their policy, and many have done so and some of these have also said that they will boycott this festival. That must be a matter for them, but I have challenged folk who do their best to ignore the policy and advise others to do the same, in their desparation to hold this festival on terms dictated by the council.

This is not an easy situation.

However, this is an invite to informal participatory events organised on Portland - to take place during the weekend of the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council oganised Weymouth Folk Festival. I am just providing what I hope is an attractive alternative for folk who may feel reluctant to totally support the Council organised event.

Partly to show that I am not a kill-joy luddite.
Partly to show that folk events can take place on Portland (or indeed in Weymouth), without council money or oganisation.
And partly as a protest - but mainly to make some fine music!

For there are no official Weymouth Festival events planned to take place on Portland, even though Weymouth AND Portland Borough Council's money is funding this, the 2nd event. There may have been some excuse for last year's event, not covering Portland, but there is no such excuse this time.

I have not urged anyone to boycott anything - I have just been presenting the true facts to enable folk to make up their own mind - I am trying always to be positive, in rather negative times.....

You will be made very welcome.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 11:29 AM

Please feel free to circulate the following invitation which may (or may not)appear in the official Weymouth Folk Festival programme. You will be made most welcome, if you do accept.

Brian Flynn and staff will be extending a warm welcome to all Weymouth Folk Festival attendees.

At The Cove House Inn, Chiswell, on the Isle of Portland.

An open invitation - starting with the regular tune session at 8.30 Thursday 8th May - is extended to all those who wish to make and enjoy folk music.

Come and join us from Saturday 10th May lunchtime – right through until the last festival survivors on Sunday night.

Friday 9th May - The Piano Dentists - will be performing.

Pop in to the good food and folk-friendly pub, right on Chesil Beach.
{Free parking}
Tel 01305 821 407.


Will we be seeing anyone?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 09:26 AM

The following from the Dorset Evening Echo 10 April 2003

May dates announced for second Weymouth festival.

STAGE SET FOR FEAST OF FOLK


Organisers are preparing for one of the largest festivals of folk to take place on the South Coast. The second Weymouth Folk Festival will take place in and around the town for three days in early May and the signs are that it will be even more successful than last year's event.

Local musicians such as Ken Watkins and The Yetties will be rubbing shoulders with international names including headliners The Oyster Band, guitar maestro Martin Simpson from Kentucky and Alexander Korbalov from Russia.

The Pavilion will be completely turned over to the festival, which runs from Friday, may 9, until Saturday, May 11, and various venues in the town will also be used.

Performers will be entertaining in five pubs – The White Hart, The Dorothy, Cove Inn on Portland, The Black Dog – as well as outside the Pavilion complex and at Brewers Quay.

There will also be a procession involving more than 25 sides of Morris dancers, Appalachian clog dancers and musicians.

Organiser Bob Kirkpatrick said: "We put last year' festival together in pretty short order and have had a year to plan this one, so I think it will be a tremendous success. "We are expecting dance teams from all over the South West including the Channel Islands and Bristol and we are expecting it to be the biggest festival outside Sidmouth and Wimborne."

He continued: "There will also be a fair mix of music, which is good. "We are not confining ourselves to just one type, but are covering the whole spectrum including some bluegrass." Co-organiser Karen Brown said: "We think that Weymouth is the ideal location for a folk festival because there is so much for families to do here. " There is the beach and the town centre and places to camp in the area – everything you need, really. "There is the potential for this to grow into something really big."

One of the highlights will be a craft fair in the Pavilion's Ocean Room on Sunday, May 11, featuring items handcrafted by traditional methods.

For full details of festival events and ticket details, call 01305 783 225.

Note that there is no mention here at all of Weymouth and PORTLAND Borough Council's organisation, funding or involvement…….. I wonder why? As there was a photo with the Council owned and run Pavilion Theatre in the background.

But there is mention of our Portland event at the Cove. I will be there all week-end at the best festival venue, the one that supports folk music all year round - and I hope to see you there too.


matt.pitman@dorsetecho.co.uk
has contacted me and has asked for my comments. Perhaps you could supply him with some of yours?


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Apr 03 - 08:19 AM

The following from the SCoFF newsletter.

Weymouth Folk Festival and Portland Sessions

A number of Chinese (and other) whispers have surfaced in local folk publications Solent Waves and Folk On Tap:

1) An obsolete telephone number for Weymouth Festival Enquiries was supplied to Solent Waves. Please disregard the printed number. Contacts are Nicky Jenkins (Publicity Officer) 01305 838566 (Office Hours only), Karen Brown (principal voluntary Organiser) 01305 812876 or Pavilion Box Office 01305 783225.

The Cove Inn on adjoining Portland, one of the venues where informal activities are being held, is on 01305 821407. As far as can be ascertained all contacts on websites (WPBC, Festival Team, Solent Waves and SCoFF Festivals) are correct. SCoFF has more detail on the Cove and also Artiste links.

2) Folk On Tap April-June 2003 has its usual article 'Dorset Scene and Heard' by Sophie Wright and Bob Axford (this is the 'Chinese Whispers' bit):

i) Referring to the paragraph headed '2-in-a-bar at Weymouth', p37, Roger Gall would like to point out that he is not a publican on Portland or anywhere else!
He is the Organiser for the Thursday Sessions at the Cove Inn on Portland, where the publican with whom he co-operates is Mr Brian Flynn, tel as above. The Cove is participating in Festival activities and Roger also wishes to point out that Portland would have been left out but for his intervention.

ii) The article fails to distinguish between Council Officers (who have been the actual agents of supression in the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council or 'WPBC' area) and the Councillors themselves, the elected representatives who have in fact been denied any voice in these decisions.

This is a complicated situation, since a Councillor wishing to go against the stated opinion of eg a Council Solicitor is effectively accusing that Officer of incompetence. Since the Solicitor in question refuses to reconsider that opinion in the face of considerable legal weight behind a contrary one, an impasse has developed. It hardly needs to be pointed out that it would take considerable moral courage to make the change.

iii) In their own estimation, Neither Roger Gall nor Brian Flynn wrote to booked performers for the Festival 'advising them not to come' as was stated in the article. The facts were laid before the public by Roger and others, not before performers particularly, via the internet, where they were invited to make up their own minds and encouraged in any case to write to the Council telling them what they thought of them.

iv) It is incorrect to write that 'The Council didn't make the law', since that is in fact exactly what they did. Here is recent (Lords, 11 December 2000) Government comment on the matter:

Whether members of the public who sing on licensed premises count as performers is a matter for the licensing authority to decide, depending on the circumstances. Ultimately, the compatibility of this provision with the European Convention on Human Rights would be a matter for the courts to determine.

It appears that this very ambiguity is to remain under the new provisions (although, of course, the 2-in-a-bar exemption is to go). It will certainly be up to Local Authorities to decide what live music is or is not 'incidental' to another activity (like drinking), as in the latest amendment, and all the signs are that any advertising, even by word of mouth, will disqualify it.

The Government should certainly continue to 'feel the weight of our angst', along with the Council.

I'm not about to transmit comments concerning the apropriateness or otherwise of political action, whether as SCoFF webmaster or as Fo'c'sle co-organiser. Jane & I, in our guise as Fo'c'sle Organisers, should report that we have written to the Council making clear our support for the Festival itself and its volunteer Organisers, and our appreciation of Council funding, but complaining bitterly about their performer policy.

We regard the replies received as highly misleading, not to say dishonest, and have told them as much. There has been no further response.

Southern Counties Folk Federation, SCoFF.
web.onetel.net.uk/~trevorgilson/SCoFF

Trevor Gilson, SCoFF Webmaster.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 05:24 AM

On the following site there are some nice photos of Chiswell and of the Cove. Right at the bottom of the site is a bit more on the Easton Massacre and an inscription on the grave of one of those who died.

http://www.geoffkirby.co.uk/Portland/680735/


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Apr 03 - 05:12 AM

It is 200 years ago to the day when a press gang arrived in Weymouth and directed by the Mayor of Weymouth - to Portland where the folk there were obviously considered by him to be more expendable than the young men of Weymouth.

There then followed what was known as the Easton Massacre and a number of Portland folk were killed that day. Subsequently the troops were acquitted.

Weymouth's legal officer's are using case-law from 1793 as support for their position. This really puts their advice to members in perspective as there was no Human Rights legislation then or indeed in 1803, when if you were playing music in pub, you ran the serious risk of being 'pressed' into the Royal Navy.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Mar 03 - 02:20 AM

This from the latest quarterly edition of Folk-on-tap.
[Snip]
This year, WE that is local performers Tin Leeming, Pauline Crenshaw, Bob Kirkpatrick, Karen Brown, Jo Quigley and some expert members of Frome Valley dance team, have already spent 8 months in the organisation of the 2003 event with something for everyone.

[The line up details follow, less any reference to any Portland events]

We hope that this message will allay any fears that Weymouth Folk Festival is not well and thriving. It has been brought to our notice that a few people are trying to link us the PEL debate. the local Weymouth and Portland musicians who are organising the festival have nothing to do with Central Government Law, and we do support the rest of the music world in its bid to have the law changed. Therefore we intend getting on with running an excellent festival and don't wish to waste time entering into political debate.

Just because the festival has some council funding, as many events do, that is no reason to deny and destroy the one thing we are all trying to promote - FOLK MUSIC.
Ends

Any letters for publication to editor@folkontap.co.uk. Remeber that the events will be long-gone by the time the next edition is published.

Therefore we intend getting on with running an excellent festival and don't wish to waste time entering into political debate.

As this message is clearly entering into that political debate and supporting the council's position/lie that the local policy is a question for Central Government, what the above actually means is that these individuals, like most of the local councillors, are not prepared to challenge their council officer's interpretation of the current law.

The crazy thing is that the current law does support the distinction between paid performers and unpaid pub customers making their own music.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 07:57 PM

Despite being told by the Chairman that the issue of the council acting unlawfully, would go to the next meeting of the Licensing Committee, this was overruled by the officers and I still wait.

The latest I was told was that another Committee may be looking at it but the next meeting of this Committee is not due until JUNE!

That is after the festival and the council elections in May.

Any outside help, would be very welcome.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 07:00 AM

The QC's opinion has been examined by the legal dept, who comment as follows:

"The Council's Solicitors have advised the Chair that they would not wish to change their previous advice as far as the existing law is concerned." This is that advice, contained in the report to the Social and Community Committee meeting 05/06/01.

Human Rights Considerations
5.1 Mr Gall has argued that by requiring the premises at which sessions take place to obtain a PEL Council officers are interfering unlawfully with his right to freedom of expression contained in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. As has been explained to Mr Gall, the right to freedom of expression is not an absolute right under the Convention.

By applying the relevant licensing the Council has imposed conditions and restrictions on Mr Gall's rights which are legal, necessary and proportionate in the in the interests of public safety, control of nuisance and the prevention of crime and disorder.

5.2 In any event the requirement for a PEL does not represent an absolute ban on informal music sessions. Where two or fewer performers provide musical entertainment the exemption referred to in paragraph 4.4 of this report would apply. Alternatively if musicians chose to make music together on premises operated as a private club a PEL would not be required although other legislation may apply.


No real surprise there as they would have to accept that their advice to the members had been wrong for over two years. But the question is, should the elected members take the advice of a 'first aider' or the advice of a Harley Street specialist.

It would appear, that they are prepared to accept the 'first aider's' diagnosis, that the patient is in perfect health, as they have persuaded the Chairman of this committee that my concerns should not be placed there to finally enable a democratic decision to be made.

Please feel free to circulate the following invitation which may appear in the official Weymouth Folk Festival programme. You will be made most welcome, if you do accept.

Brian Flynn and staff will be extending a warm welcome to all Weymouth Folk Festival attendees.

At The Cove House Inn, Chiswell, on the Isle of Portland.

An open invitation - starting with the regular tune session at 8.30 Thursday 8th May - is extended to all those who wish to make and enjoy folk music.

Come and join us from Saturday 10th May lunchtime – right through until the last festival survivors on Sunday night.

Friday 9th May - The Piano Dentists - will be performing.

Pop in to the good food and folk-friendly pub, right on Chesil Beach.
{Free parking}
Tel 01305 821 407.


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Subject: RE: Weymouth Folk Festival (UK)
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 06:59 AM

The Licensing Manager's reply.

WPBC replied as follows via Sue Moore: [was Sue Allen]
Many thanks for your views on PELs which have been passed to me for comment. You appear, sadly like many others over the last year or so, to have been misinformed by the propaganda machine here (which it would seem is largely fuelled by one individual).

Perhaps an example of the 'misinformation' referred to, can be supplied, as most of this so – called misinformation, is in the form of the officer's own words. Also who this 'propaganda machine might be and why this was mentioned, as no reference to any individual was made in the original communication to the Licensing Manager?

The [then] Director of Tourism and Corporate Services, in a letter to Ian Bruce [then] MP, 19/03/01. "Where the provisions apply it is a requirement to have a licence and not something on which we have any discretion. And: "In terms of the reasoning behind the original legislation I am not sure I can see any difference between say two performers paid for or organised by the public house licensee and say three of four people playing and singing at the invitation or with the consent of the public house licensee."   

And again to Mr Bruce, 17/04/01. "Mr Gall simply does not accept the position that legally if there are more than two people taking part that a folk session at a pub does require an entertainment licence."

One of the Council's Solicitors, in a letter to Councillor Moss 21/01/02. "I had not read the case of Brearley –v- Moreley at the time of writing my letters to Councillor Booth (8th February 2001) or to Mr Birchall (22nd February 2201)."

It would be nice if the Council's officers be asked to now stop their continuing and increasingly ridiculous attempts to personalise this issue and respond correctly to outside suggestions? I feel this current tactic is largely made in order to ignore the important concerns at stake here, the weakness of the officer's position and their advice to members. For it has sadly been evidenced many times over the part two years, where the misinformation and propaganda, are in fact coming from, as sadly can again be seen from this reply.

This Council and its Officers do not spend their time actively seeking out folk gatherings in order to 'punish' them in some way. In fact, we only have 2 staff dealing with the issue and enforcement of 15 types of licence so we have to prioritise enforcement accordingly.

Sadly there are none (without PELs) left to seek out.

The Licensing Manager, in a letter to Roger Gall 02/03/01. "No complaint was received regarding your session [at the Cove House Inn]." The Public Enforcement Officer visited the premises as a result of the advertisement you placed in the Dorset Evening Echo."

And again 22/03/01. "It is our practice to regularly check publications such as the Dorset Evening Echo for any advertisement pertaining to licensing issues."

It would be more useful if a reply could be made to the concerns or to what actions the council officers may be responsible for, rather than an attempted defence of what they are not. However, a flower accidentally trampled, remains just as dead as one that is deliberately cut. The intentions of the officers are less important than the actions they are responsible for.

Despite the excuses given, these two staff, in only a two-month period, still managed four visits [only three as far as the members are aware], to the Cove House Inn. One of these was an under-cover visit by the writer of this reply, the Licensing Manager, who later wrote [above] to confirm that no complaint was received about the folk gathering there.

This did not prevent this staff of two from threatening the licensee with a £20,000 fine or a six month prison sentence, if this folk gathering continued without the licensee obtaining a Public Entertainment Licence.

The truth of the matter is that if an informal gathering of musicians happened as an irregular event without advertisement (and no complaints were received about it) then this Council would not pro- actively enforce.

Why address an irregular event when the issue is one of regular activities? The truth is that if a regular informal gathering of musicians (advertised or not), came to the officer's attention, a letter would be issued, and this action alone is enough to risk the event.
Perhaps the licensing manager could be asked to confirm the following?

1. Is it true for example, that in the case of the New Star Inn, that no advert was ever placed?
2. That no complaint was ever received?
3. And that no visit was ever made to establish if the activity was licensable or indeed if it was specifically exempt, in the whole five years of its duration?

However, if complaints are received then we are duty bound to investigate and, if necessary, encourage the licensee to apply for a PEL.

Perhaps the Council could be asked to confirm and inform the public that neither of the two Portland sessions, placed at risk by their actions did in fact, receive any complaints?

And that one was only enabled after the licensee, 'encouraged' by the above threats, was prepared to obtain a PEL, and the other, on receipt of the Council's letter, was prevented because the licensee was not? The Chief Executive in a note to my MP, not even being prepared to take any responsibility for the loss of the New Star session by claiming the officers actions to be a 'minimal light touch'.

It would be a pleasant and welcome surprise indeed, if the officers were ever to admit that they could have made more effort to care, and to better understand the nature of these sessions, and the risks presented to them.


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