Festive fun and fond farewells as Banbury Folk Club celebrates Christmas

John Kirkpatrick
John Kirkpatrick

Banbury Folk Club has plenty of festive treats coming up as it starts its Christmas season.

And it promises to be a bittersweet time for club organisers Mary and Derek Droscher, who are retiring from the role, having founded the club in 1999.

Festival organisers Mary and Derek Droscher enjoy this year's entertainment. Picture by Kevin Smith. NNL-141013-111550001

Festival organisers Mary and Derek Droscher enjoy this year's entertainment. Picture by Kevin Smith. NNL-141013-111550001

John Kirkpatrick’s festive show Carolling and Crumpets makes a welcome return to the club on Wednesday, December 13. It’s ideal for anyone looking for a traditional, musical and fun show for the Christmas season.

John Kirkpatrick, from BBC’s Victorian Farm, has been one of the most prominent figures on the English folk scene for many years. This solo show sees him delve into the customs and traditions of Christmas past, as well as the folklore and folk tales of Merrie England.

The audience hear of some bizarre rituals and murky goings-on in songs of wassailing, wren-hunting and stirring the fire, as well as traditional English folk carols such as The Holly and The Ivy, The Boar’s Head Carol and That Great Christmas Pud, while Carolling and Crumpets is the Bethlehem story seen from the humorous point of view of the animals in the stables.

John will be supported by Hey Diddle Diddle, a new duo comprising Alison Eve and Aly Rainey, who promise to delight with some Christmas and other seasonal selections from across the years.

The pair have performed together in many configurations over the years, the earliest being a singing group in the early 1980s called Messenger, and the longest being the folk rock band Eve & the Garden which formed in 1993. Since then Alison has released a number of solo albums, and Aly sings and fiddles with folk trio The Bailey Sisters, who are launching a third album Down in Yon Forest on Saturday, December 9, at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

The ticket price for Carolling and Crumpets is £10 or £9 for concessions.

To be sure of getting in, tickets can be reserved, to be paid for on the door, by phoning 01295 709881 and leaving a message and contact phone number or by messaging Banbury Folk Club on Facebook.

Then on Wednesday, December 20, the Folk Club Christmas Party features local madcap band The Austin Allegros with a wry look at Christmas.

This band is a regular feature for this slot, so are back by popular demand – in fact this event has become so popular that the band produced a Christmas hits album of their highly original material.

Club organisers, Derek and Mary Droscher are retiring after the event, so as this will be their farewell finale they have invited a few surprise guests as well – plus the usual Christmas nibbles.

Admission for this event will be £8 or £7 for concession to be paid for on the door. The admission price includes party food.

The organisers again advise customers to reserve tickets in advance by phoning 01295 709881 and leaving a message and contact phone number or by messaging Banbury Folk Club on Facebook.

Derek said: “Although we are stepping down from organising the club, we are delighted to say that this will still be happening, as a folk club committee has formed to carry it on.”

Mary added: “They already have a great programme planned for 2018, including some top folk artists such as Miranda Sykes and Phil Beer.”

Details of these events will be on the folk club website. The club re-opens on Wednesday, January 10.

The club usually meets every Wednesday at the Banbury Cross Inn in Butchers Row at 8pm. Visit www.banburyfolkclub.co.uk for details.