You have to admit that sitting or standing in a venue listening to some frantic fiddling, vivacious vocalizing and wistful whistle-peeping while guzzling pints of Thrashers Golden-Buttwobbler is a great pre-cursor to good weather. To this end, there is a considerably stunning Spring 2010 line-up of folky legends coming your way so pour yourself another and read on.
Firstly at the Blackheath Halls we have Scottish group The Battlefield Band playing on 10th April (£14) - expect oodles of bagpipes within trad and new arrangements, plus the odd song about gold. Their last album was dedicated to the stuff and very good it was too.
The Boys of the Lough
Another band of merry-men with a Celtic persuasion is The Boys of the Lough, who draw their roots influence from both sides of the Irish Sea. They play the Morecambe Platform on 21st May for £15. Of course, folk music is very incestuous with everybody playing on each other's arrangements from time to time, as well as spawning amazing musicians.
Two ex-Loughers are Aly Bain, a legendary fiddler who is set to play a couple of March gigs (27th - London Union Chapel and 31st - Sale Waterside) and Dick Gaughan who will strum and offer socially-aware anthems in Kilmarnock's Palace on 3rd April.
Dave Swarbrick will fiddle and strum a few evenings away in Winchester (24th March), Tunbridge Wells (27th March) and, would you believe, the Dulwich Hamlet FC Rooms on 23rd April (all around £11 or less).
Martin Carthy has worked with Swarbrick before but he does his duo thing with Norma Waterson in Farnham on 26th March, Birmingham on 10th Apr and London's Deptford Arms on 1st May.
Farnham's Maltings is also the focus of two landmark ladies during April - Northumbrian pipes maestro Kathryn Tickell plays there on the 8th while the perennial vocalist June Tabor entertains on the 11th and this year marks 35 years in the biz! £15 for Cara or June (why not see both?).
Not on the scene for quite as long but still major players in every sense are the angelic tonsils of Cara Dillon (she worked with a certain pair of Lakemans a while back and married one of them) who will play Glasgow's Classic Grand on 27th May, and the velvety resonating harmonies of Kate Rusby who is all set to sing in Whitley Bay (14th Apr), Peterborough (30th Apr) and Portsmouth (May 9th). Be sure to catch these fabulous performers if you can.
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2010
Finally, as well as headline shows, there are the requisite festivals to attend, normally backed up by decent booze and grub to boot. The Whitworth Easter Folk Festival 2010 in Matlock hosts a shindig over the Easter weekend with The Shee, Mawkin: Causley and Silverdogs, The Oxford Folk Festival 2010 runs from 16th to 18th Apr and stars Cara Dillon, Bellowhead and more while the Acoustic Festival of Britain swings its pants in Uttoxeter from 21st to 23rd May, featuring Kate Rusby, Donovan and many more.
Prices vary, as do ticket types so click on the links to find out more. You're bound to meet even more friendly folk!