Awesome April 2021- Folk Music on the Isle of Wight

John Bentley, singing a happy song.

Zoom, Zoom and more Zoom

Isolation Row, John Hacker’s wonderful brainchild to get us through lockdown, was one year old in March. The Tuesday zoom to celebrate this anniversary featured cake, hats, cuddly toys and, of course, bubbly drinks. All the songs had to be happy and cheerful, much to John Bentley’s disgust. But, Bluebeard soon had his revenge!

On the following week, JB was in charge. Only songs about murder, death and disaster, heartbreak, loss and misery were permitted. By half time, the official death count had reached 209, including a mine disaster (168 men and boys lost), a massacre (30 McDonalds chopped up) plus an unspecified number of lambs and goldfish gone west, five broken hearted lovers, one flat broke feller who had to leave town and one singer claiming to be killed thoftly with a thong. John Bentley was in seventh heaven!

Andy Roberts at Quay Arts

New Releases

Andy Roberts’ album of thirteen of his folk club favourites, ‘The Rowan Tree’, will finally be released on 10 April 2021. The songs Andy writes are always interesting and melodic. This album has been enhanced by collaborations with other local musicians. A bookable online concert to celebrate the launch takes place on Saturday 10th April from 18.00 to 19.30. Album details: The Rowan Tree | Facebook To order tickets for the concert, £3, click here:

Vincent Scriver (far left) on stage with the Festive Folkies

Meanwhile, Vincent Scriver (of Double Hitch and Festive Folkies fame) has a new solo venture, called Eagre. His reflective instrumental release ‘Parting/Sweet Sorrow’ is free to stream and just £1 to download for keeping.

Pubs Open

The Traveller’s Joy Folk Club is scheduled to meet in the pub garden on Thursday 15th April at 2pm.

Good News-Folk Music on the Isle of Wight, March 2021

The Crew at Yarmouth Sea Songs and Shanties, 2019

Exciting News 1

A new cross-Solent folk night dedicated to sea-related songs is currently in the process of being launched. The plan is to meet alternately in Yarmouth and Lymington a short haul away from the ferry terminals. As casting off is impossible at the moment, there will be Zoom meetings, (probably fortnightly) to get everyone on deck.

The first Zoom cruise, earlier this week, was well-crewed with plenty of lusty sea shanties and a good range of forebitters and landlubber ditties. The voyage was a harmonious one. The captain, Steve West of Lymington, was most welcoming to all the sailors, whether singing or listening.

Exciting News 2

Planning is well underway for the Yarmouth Sea Songs and Shanties Festival 2021. The original date in June is impossible, of course, but a new date has been earmarked. Provisionally, the festival will now take place from Friday 3rd September to Sunday 5th September 2021 in Yarmouth, so pencil it in your diary.

Ace sound man, Mike Butler

While we wait

Those wonderful organisers, John Hacker, John Bentley and Mike Butler, are giving us another Quay Folk Club on Sunday 28th February at 7.30, (which is why this post is appearing a little earlier than usual). Guests are regular Zoom visitors, Steve and June Wigley from Derbyshire, plus our very own Keith Newnham. An enormous amount of work is involved in such a production and the team have put together quite a few club evenings since the virus took hold, as well as the Isolation Row Folk Festival. Watch on YouTube   or Facebook   Club funds have been depleted in order to support Quay Arts through lockdowns, so contributions to boost the club’s coffers should be made to

John Bentley

Isle of Wight Folk Music – February 2021

Shanties are having a Moment

Martyn Waitt, of the Shalfleet Shanty Singers, has achieved TV fame, thanks to the power of TikTok. The humble marine work song has been much in the news since a young Scot, a postman called Nathan Evans, shared a video of his version of the ‘Wellerman shanty’ on the site. Martyn’s daughter suggested he should join in and together they came up with a covid-related rewrite. Within two days it had reached over a quarter of a million views, then half a million just four days later. Appearances on both BBC local news and national news followed quickly. Martyn has since shared a number of other shanties on TikTok and now can boast nearly 30 thousand followers! Here is the link if you would like to sing-along-o-Martyn.

yarmouth 1

The Wonder of Zoom

Meanwhile, the three zoom ‘folk club come all ye’ sessions a week are as as popular as ever. It is wonderful to see and hear local friends as well as meeting fresh faces from all over the country also and America, Hawaii, Canada etc, etc, etc. A recent highlight was the Oddfellows Burns themed afternoon with Ian Watterson’s dramatic rendition of the Address to the Haggis. These get-togethers are so valuable, keeping us all ‘tuned up’ until we can finally return to the old haunts such as the Dairyman’s Daughter, pictured below with Ian on ‘stage’.


Zooming Away-Isle of Wight Folk Music January 2021

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Festive f lamplight

Well, Tier 1 was great fun while it lasted! A (distanced) crowd of carol singers were even able to let rip in Cowes one evening. Sweets were fired around the room at the the Porter Folk Night’s Christmas meeting. On Christmas Eve a hardy crowd gathered in the garden of the Travellers Joy in Northwood. The Festive Folkies played to a curry- stuffed audience at the Quay Arts ‘Lamplight’ session with all their usual verve. Ably supporting the Festives were debut supergroup ‘The Watch’ and the ever-popular 2nd Time Around, all ably photographed by Bob White.

J Hacker xmas

John Hacker (pictured above) and John Bentley (pictured below) gave us their Review of the Year on Boxing Day. If you missed it, it is still available on this link

J Bentley xmas

So now, it’s back to Zoom, Vectis Radio and streaming for the time being. Grateful thanks to Maretta Heap, Richard Hughes, Steve Love, John Hacker and Andy Roberts (pictured below) for providing our regular folk fixes all through most of 2020 and going forward – see Events section. Wishing all you folkies a happy and music-filled New Year!

Andy Roberts fireside

December 2020- Isle of Wight Folk Music in Tier 1


It’s cool, it’s free, it’s the most fun you can have with (lots of) your clothes on

The first Traveller’s Joy Folk Club ‘Frostbite’ winter outdoor folk session will take place on Thursday 3rd December at 1.30 in windswept Northwood. Thermal vests, long johns, puffa jackets, snow boots, fur-lined hoods and fingerless gloves at the ready! A thermos to hold the pub’s excellent soup and an insulated mug for their tea/coffee/hot chocolate could be very useful. Or, alternatively, there is always whisky! Check the Events page after 12.30 if rain threatens.

Brian Reeves

Wold Hark – The Newchurch Carol

Brian Reeves plans to perform this carol at the Porter Folk Night in Lake on 10th December. This is an Isle of Wight variant of the carol known elsewhere as Hark. The carol is in the traditional style called ‘west gallery’ after the religious songs sung between 1700 and the 1850s. At that time, a church choir usually sang from a gallery at the west end of a church or chapel. Wold Hark was known to be sung in the chapel at Newchurch.

Becky haydock

Quite a Challenge!

Becky Haydock has set herself the challenge of writing a new folk tune every day for a month. Her husband picks a key and time signature from a hat each day and Becky does the rest. She not only has to write the tune, she must learn it and perform for YouTube. That is very demanding- certainly a worthwhile challenge! Becky is raising money for MS sufferers, the link for donations is


Festive Folkies at Quay Arts

The Festive Folkies return for Christmas again with a concert at Quay Arts on Sunday 20th. Essential to book, tables of 2, 4 or 6. Probably full but tel. 01983 822490 if you are feeling optimistic.

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Isle of Wight Folk Music-Here we go again-November 2020

A New Date


Folk Night at the Porter Club started up as a singalong afternoon at the Hideaway, Shanklin (pictured above) way back in 2013. By March 2014, it had settled on the third Wednesday evening each month. The Hideaway was tropical in summer, sometimes chilly in winter but always atmospheric. The wildlife could be interesting.

The event grew. By mid 2019 it needed to move on to a new home, the Porter Club, just down the road in Lake. Now, another change. Folk Night is moving from third Wednesday to second Thursday from January 2021, with an additional night on the fourth Thursday of the month until the Gallybagger at Chillerton is able to reopen.


Treasure Trove

Well done to Quay Arts and to Ventnor Exchange. Their joint bid to the Culture Recovery Fund netted nearly 232,000 to be shared between them. With the likes of Martin Carthy, Cara Dillon and The Outside Track visiting next year (with luck), folk music is well supported by the Quay.

The Traveller’s Joy needs some good luck


Outdoor winter ‘Frostbite’ sessions were planned at The Traveller’s Joy, but lockdown got in the way. A marquee was to be erected, but high winds intervened. Frank Heap was to have been in charge of a brazier. A fire! A marquee! What could possibly go wrong with that.?

Isle of Wight Folk Music- October Inside

Heading indoors

As the weather chills, outdoor folk music events become tricky. Even mid September bit too hard for two of the Waverley guests. Their guest spots had to be cut short due to frozen fingers.

maureen at waverley

Luckily, the council’s licensing department have been flying around at speed. They approved plans for two folk nights to move indoors. Folk Night at the Porter Club in Lake and the Waverley Folk and Music Night in Carisbrooke had their risk assessments approved almost simultaneously.

Meanwhile, fortnightly afternoon sessions at The Traveller’s Joy in Northwood have been growing in popularity. The last scheduled session is October 15th, but one extra may possibly be added on October 29th. The ‘Cameraderie’ who organise the session are considering if there is space to move indoors later on.


An exciting find

An early photograph of morris dancers at Niton turned up on Facebook recently. The photograph was almost certainly taken in June 1926 at a Women’s Institute rally. More information about this photograph can be found in the Island Folk History section.

Morris iow, 3rd on left Polly richards (nee fry) lived Niton. guess after WWi

Isle of Wight Folk Music September 2020 – Whatever the Weather


Barry Penn at the Waverley Folk and Music Night

The Great Outdoors

Outdoor folk song sessions are continuing into September at The Waverley Inn, Carisbrooke on Wednesday evenings from 19.00 and at the Traveller’s Joy, Northwood fortnightly on Thursday afternoons from 14.30. It has proved surprisingly easy to hear both instruments and vocals outdoors. Occasional flurries of rain have turned out to be no deterrent. The Waverley has even installed a splendidly vast umbrella over the stage. Just bring a warm coat or blanket to snuggle under if necessary as the days shorten.

A sunny afternoon, Jax and Anita in harmony

The Great Indoors

According to an announcement on 14 August, indoor performances are now permitted with suitably distanced audiences. The possibility of resuming the Porter Folk Night inside the Porter Club, Lake on October 21st is being explored so keep an eye on Events for updates.

The Porter Folk Night in happier times

In and out

Andy Roberts claimed the best of both worlds by arranging two launches of his album, Philosophical, one streamed online and one outdoors at a restaurant. Smart thinking, Andy!

Caulkheads Wanted

Did you grow up here? If so, can you remember any of the singing games you played in childhood? Do Oranges and lemons, In and out the dusty bluebells, Bluebells, cockleshells, The Wind, the wind, the wind blows high jog any memories? If you can remember any words and tunes, please record them on a phone and email to folkonwight together with the town/village on the Isle of Wight you played in and approximate dates. This is for the Island Folk History section.

A New Tradition?

Yarnbombing is a newish tradition on the Isle of Wight, and a very useful one. This year’s eyesores have not exactly been covered up, but perhaps they are not be so noticeable.

Isle of Wight Folk Music – Outdoors and In, August 2020

The Great Outdoors

Jax and friends, post lockdown Waverley Folk & Music Night

Thank goodness it’s Summer! At last, us amateurs are able to meet up outdoors in a socially distanced way to enjoy each other’s music and company. Thanks to The Waverley Inn and Anita Morris, there is live music fortnightly on Wednesday nights.  The Traveller’s Joy Folk Club will meet fortnightly on Thursday afternoons, starting on August 6th.  A venue is also being sought for an afternoon event in Shanklin. Bands like Cajundaze are finally able to rehearse , and eat cake of course. The online Zoom sessions are continuing, of course, as not everyone is able to venture out.

Cajundaze, with cake

Eliza carthy
Eliza Carthy

Wow, Just Wow!

John Bentley is celebrating a major coup! He succeeded in persuading the amazing Eliza Carthy to record a guest spot for the online Quay Folk Club on August 23rd. Search Quay Folk Club- August 2020 on Youtube or watch on the Isolation Row Virtual Folk Festival page on Facebook. The other guest spot will be filled by our very own John Hacker. As well as being a member of the trio Second Time Around, John is a polished performer in his own right. John’s knowledge of folk music in all it’s guises is comprehensive, as demonstrated on the Vectis Radio Folk Show, broadcast every Wednesday.

Screen star John Hacker

CD’s for sale

Two of the Isle of Wight’s folk singers have cd’s for sale. Singer- songwriter David A Ballard’s offering is ‘A Man of Words’ , with 14 tracks mostly gentle, introspective tracks written by Dave. His philosophy is ‘ A song is really a story. The lyrics always come first.’  Steve Love has gained a reputation for self-penned amusing songs based on the Isle of Wight. He has crammed 20 songs onto his disc, ‘Isle of Wight Girl’.  Anyone who has travelled on the train can relate to ‘Riding on the Rattler’ and who else would write a song about the Scooter Weekend?!

Island Folk History

Folkonwight has a new section dedicated to Isle of Wight Folk History. Contributions welcomed.

Hedge Bells, Isle of Wight dialect name for bindweed.

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Lockdown Folk on the Isle of Wight – Updated – July 2020

Den Hillier at the Porter Folk Night

A Sad Goodbye

In June, we lost Denis Hillier, an accomplished musician and one of the most active supporters of folk music on the Island.  Den was one of those priceless people who always encourage less experienced musicians. No folk music playalong or singaround seemed to be complete without Den, Trish, and Den’s melodeon. He ably led the ever-popular folk night at the Dairyman’s Daughter, making it friendly and welcoming to all. In former days he played in the Withyskinners and Well Oiled bands and recently with Andy’s Allstars.  Den had also played for the Oyster Girls and was lead musician for the Wight Bells for many years. Since lockdown, every NHS Thursday evening clap was enlivened for Den’s neighbours by his jolly tunes on the melodeon. He will be much missed.

Den’s widow, Trish, has asked us to pass on her thanks for the many cards and messages she has received from friends in the folk community. Your kind thoughts have been so much appreciated. 


Whit-garden warbler
Whit-Garden Warbler

Amazing Talent 

Isle of Wight morris dancer Charlotte Reynolds has been busy painting during lockdown. Inspired by our local morris sides and birdlife, she has painted one species in each of the Island’s kit. Charlotte’s designs are now available on tee shirts via the link below. What  beautiful souvenirs they will make when the tourists return.

Wren of Wight
Wren of Wight

Quay Folk Club

The winning Bentley/Hacker/Butler team have launched another project, taking the Quay Folk Club online via YouTube and Facebook. The first evening, at the end of June, featured Miranda Sykes, of Show of Hands, plus Second Time Around in support. John plans to book a nationally-known guest each month, alongside a popular local act and extended floor spots. Vicki Swan (remember the amazing nyckelharpa?) and Jonny Dyer, supported by Coppersmith are the guests for the next one on Sunday July 26th. If you missed it, the first evening is still available on both sites.