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The Fylde Folk Festival: a one-day revival

To celebrate his 85th birthday, 65 years of gigging and 55 years of composing, Alan Bell, founder of the Fylde Folk Festival which sadly ceased to be in 2014, has been persuaded to revive the festival for a one-day event on 22nd June this year. To be held in the Marine Hall in Fleetwood, the event will include guest artists who have previously appeared at Fylde, alongside Alan, who will perform in the Saturday lunchtime concert.

Alan Bell has led a very adventurous life full of music and songs. He has performed in hundreds of folk clubs, culminating in an appearance at a Royal Command Performance. He co-founded the Blackpool Folk Club and the Taverners Folk Group in 1960. The group worked clubs, concerts, appeared on radio and television and recorded 4 LPs. For over 20 years they entertained audiences. Alan enthusiastically embraced the revival of interest in folk music and founded the Fylde Folk Festival in 1972. He was the director for 42 years.

Alan is also a renowned songwriter, penning songs such as Windmills and So, Here’s To You. His most famous song, Bread And Fishes, known in Ireland as The Wind In The Willows, topped the Irish hit parade. Many of his songs have been covered by artists such as The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem, The Spinners, Mary Black and Cathy Ryan. Alan wrote the scripts for his radio shows The Ballads Of The North West for the BBC and his programme format was adapted for BBC television, with Alan writing music and songs. His suite for brass band and voices, The Band In The Park, won a Radio Italia prize for original regional broadcasting and his song cycles for choral societies received great praise. His epic, The Century’s People, for the millennium, featuring brass bands, choirs, folk singers and musicians, received an English Heritage Award. Alan was featured in a TV programme, One Man And His Music, and also sang on BBC TV’s Songs Of Praise. In the year 2000, he founded Folkus, the Folk Arts Network of the North West, encouraging music-making through workshops and concerts.

Alan is looking forward to welcoming festival goers to Fylde for this one-day celebration, and thanks everyone for their support, now and over the years. /