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June 16, 2016

A friend had visited Lithuania twenty years before and related tales of poverty, starvation (well apart from a chicken fat and beetroot delicacy) and bone-rattling trains. So it was with some relief that we found Vilnius to have a thriving tourist trade, well-presented religious buidings and thoroughly acceptable menus. We saw a superfluity of nuns agog at The Gates of Dawn, a market full of the aforementioned fatty deposits along with neck meat, pig knuckle and a plethora of bra stalls. We met several local characters – clowns in trees, a yellow-suite...

May 14, 2016

Malton's town centre livestock market's days are numbered. The final sales of cattle and sheep could be held within the coming months. A new purpose-built livestock market near Eden Camp just out of town is proposed. This move has been a long time coming but depending on the final agreements, site work could begin in the autumn of 2016. Once underway the new livestock market could be completed within six to nine months.

The sounds and smells of the current market and auction shed is certainly atmospheric. Hundreds of farmers and breeders gather to buy a...

May 4, 2016

A second visit to the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, this time in 2016, was a splendid affair. Diverse musicians performed and were duly celebrated, admired and awarded. Again, deciding not to carry the burden and pressure of my previous official status as Snapper to the Stars, I watched the show from a VIP table in the centre of the enormous and spectacular Hall designed by Captain Francis Fowke RE. A decent smattering of celebs were there: Sandie Shaw, Martin Freeman, Mark Knopfler, Stephen Mangan, Michael Morpurgo as well as the...

May 4, 2016

My fourth stint as official photographer for the nice people at Costa del Folk took us to a water themed park in Mallorca. The mainly British artists were all of a very high calibre, and the craic was the jam on the croissant. A certain 60+ demographic proved that they were still teenagers at heart, especially when the ceilidh dancing took them through the shallow end of the pool. Top turns included Jez Lowe and Steve Tilston, Cara Dillon and Sam Lakeman, Eddi Reader, The Lindisfarne Story and the ubiquitous Doonans. Altogether a satisfying photo outin...

May 4, 2016

I first visited Magalluf in 1972 and stayed in the only hotel in the area. Yes, it really was all fields back then. Now it's become one of the drink and sex capitals of Europe for the 18-30s. We heard tales of punch-ups at dawn, shagging in the streets and more vomit than pavement. Curiosity got the better of us. We strolled the bars and tattoo parlours at a safe early evening hour before the feral antics of the scantily-dressed and over-embibed sent us scuttling for a quiet corner. Even by day the supermarkets only seemed to sell alcohol and sex toys....

September 14, 2015

True to form the rain fell and the crowds jammed themselves into the huge marquees housing the chickens, handicrafts, sheepshearers, farriers, jams, chutneys, cheeses, pigs and goats. The sun popped out on occasion and the day saw thousands circumnavigate the fields above Penistone. The town's Annual Agricultural Show is the largest single day show in Britain and today it celebrated its 143rd year.

 

 

 

September 14, 2015

With the temperatures reaching 36°C to 40°C, it's no wonder that any sort of activity doesn't begin until well after the sun has retired for the day. High up in the mountains of Andalucia the locals celebrate with dancing in the streets. Spending a week in the Alqueria just a few hundred feet below Comares meant that we could visit the Feria de Comares on two consecutive nights.

 

At 10pm on the Saturday Panda de Verdiales, Primera de Comares performed in a tight circle in Plaza de Los Verdiales. More Verdiales from the group Arroyo Concas happened on th...

August 27, 2015

A week of folk music and morris dancing isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it certainly seems to be a hit in the streets of Whitby. This year is the festival's 50th anniversary so that proves the point somewhat.

For the connoiseur, there are dance teams who are exponents of North-west and Cotswold Morris, Molly (blackface), Clog, Rapper/Sword and Garland, but for many visitors to the town they are mainly people dressed up and stomping about with sticks and hankies.

 

For many years I was asked to record the events for use in the programme and other promotio...

July 31, 2015

Our good chums Ric and Martin, usually dressed as grannies and scooting around on shopping trolleys, are this week mostly being undersea tritons. We met up in Barnsley town centre and followed them on their trail of fun.

 

July 31, 2015

Underneath The Stars' second weekend festival in Cannon Hall Farm, Cawthorne, South Yorkshire, proved to be just as succesful as its debut last summer. The weather however, did let itself down and a couple of downpours had the audiences packing in to see the acts under canvas. Not deterred, the crowds went wild. Some amazing bands that I'd not even heard of before and some big names as well – all down to Joe Rusby's excellent booking policy.

 

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bob Fox, Martin Simpson and Kate Rusby headlined, but Molotov Jukebox, Electric Swing Cir...

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