This will be the first time the band has played at the Town Hall, Masham. We follow in some legendary footsteps of course but recognise we need as much promotional help as we can get for a first time gig - so thanks a lot for your offer to help. Despite living in Reading since
1972 I am actually a Yorkshireman - born in Bradford. My family has a long association with the Dales going back many generations involved with lead mining in the 18th/19th century. A couple of 17th century cottages remain in the family. My musical background therefore is choirs and brass bands at Christmas before getting into folk at school and running a folk and blues club in the sixth form. This lead on into ceilidh bands at university and joining the Whiteknights Morris in 1973.
I lead the side on a tour of The Yorkshire Dales in 1975 which included a stand in Masham and through brewery, Leeds Morrismen and Fairport Convention connections the town of Masham has been a place I've been to regularly.
Feast of Fiddles sprang from an empty folk club date on Valentines Day
1994 which I offered to fill with half a dozen fiddle players essentially in front of my ceilidh band but with Dave Mattacks drumming.
The fiddle players included Chris Leslie, Phil Beer, Ric Sanders, Simon Swarbrick, Tom Leary and Ian Cutler. It was truly a meet in the car park and then do the gig after cobbling together a set list of stuff we mostly knew.
This was so successful that we repeated the format the following year and then again the year after that. Then another gig was added in Kent and then another in Worcester and so the mini tour grew into an annual two week tour plus a few festival appearances along the way. The classic line up of Cutler, Knight, Leslie, McNeill, Leary and Beer got established quite early on. Joe Broughton depped for Chris during a period when he was not available staying with the band for 6 years. Beer comes and goes these days according to his solo, band and Show of Hands commitments and Garry Blakeley who often depped in the band previously has been a permanent member for 5 years now. The most recent addition - Alan Whetton is in his 4th year playing keyboards and sax.
2016 sees us embarking on our 23rd annual tour and we can definitely claim to be the UK's longest lived fiddle band albeit only rather part time.
Tickets available from http://www.wegottickets.com/mashamtownhall