Monday 26 May 2014

Gargrave Autoharp Festival 2014- Arts Council success...

We heard last week that my bid to the Arts Council for funding for the Gargrave Autoharp Festival 2014 was successful. So, success there for the second year in a row.
This is a vote of confidence in UK Autoharps, the Gargrave Village Hall, the Gargrave community and the autoharp community. And certainly gives us a bit of wriggle room. 
There were more complications this year - the application process demanded that there be a lot more information and structure in place. So that the application had to go in much later in the planning process.
We are asked to use the Grant for the Arts logo, as last year...
I have put the revised versions of the Festival Poster - revised to include the Arts Council logo - on the web in two places, Dropbox and Google Drive. If anyone has problems using these, do contact me, and we will try to think of something else...
Our thanks to Andrew Milne, of Elemental Ideas, for so promptly revising the Poster...
Patrick O'Sullivan

Friday 16 May 2014

The Fable of the Autoharp

The Fable of the Autoharp

The Fable of the Autoharp in the North (what I wrote) appeared in the recent issue of Autoharp Notes, edited by Judy Splinder.

The Fable has now also appeared in the latest issue, May 2014, of the Gargrave Village magazine, which has a new and pretty web site...

Click on the image on the right, Gargrave and Coniston Cold Parish Magazine, and you get a pdf.

The Fable of the Autoharp is on pages 12 and 13.

The Fable was discussed at the Gargrave artists' group, and is illustrated by two Gargrave artists, Jo Ball and Alan Poxon.

(Amongst Alan Poxon's other jobs - he makes kites...)

If you read the rest of the Gargrave and Coniston Cold Parish Magazine you will see what I mean when I say that we are shoehorned into a busy community centre.  Good or bad, depending on your point of view - but it certainly makes the autoharp visible...

Monday 28 April 2014

Patrick Couton will appear at the Gargrave Autoharp Festival

Patrick Couton will appear at the Gargrave Autoharp Festival, 27, 28, 29 June 2014, Yorkshire, England...

Patrick Couton is the French jazz autoharper - it is a quite different style and approach to the instrument.  Patrick will perform at our Grand Concert on Saturday June 28, will play at our pub music sessions - and will generally be a genial musical presence.

The following weekend, the first weekend in July, the Tour de France starts in Yorkshire - and it seemed sensible to exploit the French connection and give the autoharp some international media attention with this invitation to Patrick Couton.  A local Leeds & Liverpool Canal boat club is sponsoring Patrick Couton's journey to Gargrave...

(Patrick Couton's other job is that he translates Terry Pratchett into French.)

Our other star performers in Gargrave are Mike Fenton, Heather Farrell-Roberts, Nadine White and Ian White, and Guy Padfield.

Patrick O'Sullivan

Friday 25 April 2014

Emigrant Letters, Symposium and Exhibition, Coventry University May 19-21, 2014

You are invited to Leaving, crossing, arriving’ 19-21 May 2014, funded by the AHRC as part of our ‘Digitising experiences of migration’ project to connect migrant letter collections around the world - see

Events include:

A half-day symposium at Coventry University on Monday 19th May 2pm-5pm), to discuss the outcomes of the project, the digitisation and mark up of historical correspondence, and the importance/challenges/opportunities of interdisciplinary research in diaspora studies (see:

A project exhibition at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery, Coventry, including activities and lunchtime concerts with Joe O’Donnell – 1.00-2.00 on May 19th and 21st (see:

‘News from Home: Themes and Functions of Letters to Irish Emigrants in Colonial Australia’ on May 19th, 6.30pm - 7.30pm – a talk at Coventry University by David Fitzpatrick, Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin and author of Oceans of Consolation: Personal Accounts of Irish Migration to Australia.

To find book a place in the symposium and/or at the evening talk, see

Emma Moreton
Dept. English and Languages
Coventry University
Priory Street
Coventry CV1 5FB

s: emma-l-moreton

Monday 7 April 2014

Gargrave Autoharp Festival - Accommodation 2014

Gargrave Autoharp Festival - Accommodation 2014

This year, 2014, the Gargrave Autoharp Festival, June 2014, is part of the Yorkshire Festival, the programme of cultural events building up to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, July 2014...

Gargrave Autoharp Festival
Weekend of Friday June 27, Saturday June 28 , Sunday June 29 , 2014

Gargrave is a pretty  village, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, not far from the market town Skipton.  The main road through the village is the A65.  The Pennine Way, long distance footpath, comes down to the village, before climbing to Malham.  The Leeds & Liverpool Canal, one of the 3 trans-Pennine canals, goes through the village.

Gargrave has its own railway station, on the Leeds-Morecambe line - which also connects with the Settle-Carlisle line.  But do note that Gargrave Station is a little halt, no facilities, no taxis, and a bit of a trudge to the centre of the village.

The local large and busy station is Skipton, with many taxis, ten minutes drive away from Gargrave.

Remember that the Gargrave Village Hall is the main venue...

See the simple map on


A:  Gargrave

River Cottage B&B
Kath and Keith Bradley, very helpful and supportive.

Contact Information
Tel: 01756 749541

Rooms available for our weekend...

The Old Swan Inn - pub and B&B

Old coaching inn, in the centre of Gargrave, now run by Kevan Lawson and Amy Dalgleish.  Refurbished and open for business.
Phone 01756 749232
There isn't a web site, but they do now have a Facebook page.

Rooms available for our weekend...

Masons Arms - pub and B&B

John Baker, the landlord, is very helpful and supportive.

Tel: 01756 749 304

However rooms at the Masons seems to be fully booked on Friday June 27.  Saturday and Sunday some availability.

Premier Inn

The Premier Inn is on the western edge of Gargrave, where the A65 crosses the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.  It shares a site with the Anchor Inn, a Brewers Fayre pub restaurant.  There is a safe walk to the centre of the village, along the towpath.

Do remember that with hotel chains like Premier it really pays to book ahead through the web site...

B:  Camp and Caravan

Generally caravan and camper van people have their own contacts and lists.  But, briefly, Eshton Road Caravan Park is quite small, on the eastern edge of Gargrave, next to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.  There is an easy walk into the village, along the canal towpath.

Eshton Road Caravan Park
Eshton Road
North Yorkshire
BD23 3PN
Contact Details
Tel: 01756 749229
Fax: 01756 748060

A possible alternative, but ONLY for members of the Camping & Caravanning club, is the club's gathering for our weekend on the Gargrave football pitch.  Details are in the club members part of the web site and in the club's magazine.

Own sanitation essential - there are no toilet or shower facilities.  Arrive on the Thursday, any time after 4, and check in with the steward.

There are many other Camp and Caravan sites nearby, in Skipton and in the Yorkshire Dales generally.

C:  Further Afield

Skipton is nearby, and has very many hotels and B&Bs, of every standard...  See

...and many other web sites.

Gargrave is about 10 minutes drive from the centre of Skipton.  There is a Travelodge on the Gargrave edge of Skipton, on the Skipton by-pass - so 5 minutes drive.  Again, with hotel chains like Travelodge, it pays to book ahead through the web site.

If you do book accommodation in Skipton make sure that the parking problem is solved.  The more established hotels, like Herriots Hotel and the Rendezvous, have their own car parks.  Otherwise, parking in Skipton is annoying and/or expensive.

Near to Gargrave, but NOT walking distance, are other possibilities - depending on budgets.  For example

The Coniston Hotel

Newton Grange

All of the villages and towns around Gargrave, especially within the Yorkshire Dales, have hotels, B&Bs, camp and caravan sites.  There are also many holiday cottages, but they are usually let through agencies/web sites, and usually by the week.  Weekends are sometimes available.

For those in an extravagant or adventurous mood it is possible to hire a canal boat in Skipton, or nearby, bring the boat up the locks and moor in Gargrave.  But canal boat hire is not cheap.

For those who want to experience the most beautiful stretch of canal in England...  I will be bringing my boat down from Barnoldswick (pronounced Barlick) to Gargrave a few days before the Gargrave Autoharp Festival, and we can take about 8 passengers.  The journey takes a whole day by boat, 20 minutes by car.

Patrick O'Sullivan
April 2014

Sunday 9 March 2014

Ceiliúradh (Celebration), Royal Albert Hall, Thursday 10 April 2014

Just received an invitation from Uachtarán na hÉireann, the President of the Republic of Ireland, to attend this event.

Very nice to be remembered, and I am sure it will be a wonderful evening of music.  It looks like the event came together at short notice - but if it is just the Philip King house band that will be enough to fill the Albert Hall...

Friday 31 January 2014

Gargrave Autoharp Festival, the weekend of Friday, Saturday, Sunday, June 27, 28, 29, 2014

Gargrave Autoharp Festival, the weekend of Friday, Saturday, Sunday, June 27, 28, 29, 2014

The core of the Gargrave Autoharp Festival, Yorkshire, England, is now in place - the weekend of Friday, Saturday, Sunday, June 27, 28, 29, 2014.

As ever, we are in alliance with the Gargrave Village Hall, in the pretty village of Gargrave in Yorkshire.  The village lets us use the hall, for free - for autoharp lessons and demonstrations.  And we give them music.

This year our autoharp tutors are...
Mike Fenton, and his wife Rachel - demonstrations and various classes
Guy Padfield, teaching the beginners
Nadine and Ian White - 2 workshops
Heather Farrell-Roberts - 2 advanced workshops
Basically, the A Team...

And this year, 2014, we are part of the Yorkshire Festival, the Cultural Festival of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.  The weekend after our Festival, July 5, the Tour de France starts out from Leeds, in Yorkshire.  Which is fun...

Gargrave Autoharp Festival posters can be seen and downloaded from
The two little ballerinas are pupils in a little dance school in Gargrave village.

The Gargrave Autoharp Festival on The Yorkshire Festival, Cultural Festival web site, see...

See also

For more on Mike Fenton see

Note especially his contribution to the new BBC version of Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

Patrick O'Sullivan