Harberton Folk

A Brief History of "Harberton Folk"

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"Harberton Folk" (run by John and Jan Culf, plus an army of helpers on concert days) came into being in January 1998 with a concert at Harberton Parish Hall by folk music legend John Kirkpatrick following his performance at a "non-birthday" surprise the previous year at the village pub. That concert was attended by a sell-out audience of 200 people, as were the majority of the major events featuring some of the top names in the folk world which took place there up to March 2003 (Maddy Prior, Kathryn Tickell Band, Albion Band, Brass Monkey, Show of Hands, Martin Carthy, Vin Garbutt, Sid Kipper, Old Rope String Band, New Scorpion Band, Roger Watson, Tom & Barbara Brown, Eliza Carthy & Saul Rose, Ben & Joe Broughton, Dr Faustus, Phil Beer & Gareth Turner).

The concerts, run on a totally non-commercial basis, raised a significant sum by the end of 2002 for Harberton Parish Hall and Harberton Playing Field, a not insignificant portion of which came from bar takings from real ale bars set up at all events by the Church House Inn. A team of dedicated helpers from the village built and struck the stage, marshalled car parking for nearly 100 cars (some feat if you know Harberton) and worked behind the bar each time.

2003 saw the realisation of a new joint venture between Harberton Folk and KEVICC (King Edward VI Community College) in Totnes, bringing some of the biggest folk acts in the country to the Ariel Centre. The Head of Music, Director of Arts College Status and the College Principal all gave total support to this venture. One reason for the new venue was due to our son becoming a KEVICC student. The additional seating capacity (320 compared with 200) also made certain events economically viable, whilst still retaining an intimate atmosphere. Dave Swarbrick & Martin Carthy attracted a sell-out first audience at the Ariel, followed by many more successful concerts (see Past events), continuing the fundraising work, with monies raised being donated to KEVICC Parents' Association, KEVICC Arts Status and Harberton village causes.

In September 2007, a busy schedule of 12 events through to July 2008 lay ahead and John and Jan decided to 'retire' from concert promotion after 10 fantastic years at the end of this frantic period. However, after a year's rest, and some offers that were too good to refuse, including invaluable assistance from Harberton Cricket Club, a more modest programme of events resumed in June 2009 and ran until October 2010, when 'retirement' status was resumed. Thereafter until March 2017, Harberton Folk helped Harberton Cricket Club promote a few more fundraising concerts of their own. Since then a further 3 'Harberton Folk' concerts have taken place to date [as at February 2019], with just one more scheduled.