Sunday 4 February 2024



Mr Graham Sivills is interviewed, in typically shambolic style, by Mr Roberts and points the way to the future of folk music in Middlewich and the World. Or something. Much has been said about 'putting the folk back into the Folk & Boat', but on Sunday afternoon at the Kinderton Hotel we managed to put the Folk & Boat Festival right back where it belongs. If you have a long memory you'll remember those magical Festival Sunday afternoons in the marquee, where we were all demob happy and up for it after all the stress and hard work of organising the Festival. We managed to recreate that wonderful Sunday afternoon feeling this year as we paid tribute to the Festival we were all a part of creating back in 1990. Right from the very beginning, the F&B has been supported by Middlewich Town Council and we invited along some of the Civic Dignitaries of yesteryear to enjoy the fun. Gracing us with their presence were: Dorothy Kelly-Hughes (aka Dot Roberts), who was Mayor of Middlewich in 1990, with husband Colin; Peter Cox (original F&B Committee member and Mayor in 1992) with son Ian, ex-Cllr Jim Basford and, representing the new breed of councillor, Mr Garnet Marshall. Other pioneers of the F&B present included Rita O'Hare (Secretary) with husband Mike, Mike Hough (Artistic Director), not forgetting Festival founder Richard Devaney and the man who guided the Folk & Boat from the very beginning, Dave Thompson. There were so many stories about how the Festival started and how it has managed, with the help of the MTC to survive and prosper for thirty years. And the music was the Real McCoy - the authentic and original sound of the Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival. Craig and Freddie Moores joined with Dave T to kick of the proceedings as The Salty Dog Blues band; Musical and Comedy genius Stanley Accrington came back to Middlewich to show us just how things were back in the day when we built up a great reputation for presenting comedy folk to the people of Middlewich. The Hayes Sisters from Stockport contributed a fabulous set, representing the younger folk sound which the F&B has always been careful to nurture. Local hero Snagger The Balloon Man was on hand to delight the kids with his amazing creations and Sarah Pearce was there to add some sparkly face-painting magic. And, of course, there were the Middlewich Paddies: Richard Devaney, Dave Thompson and Graham Sivills, the band that started the Festival all those years ago. It was my honour to introduce the whole show, just as I did in June 1990, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. There were so many well-wishers from the old days there, expressing their appreciation of the way we'd managed to recreate the magic of the Festival's early years. Many thanks to everyone who came along and helped us make it an occasion we'll always remember. If I've missed you out, don't hesitate to give my addled memory a nudge and let me know and I'll include you in this account..

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