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Solo stuff includes festival spots at The Jack in the Green at Hastings, Folk on the Moor in Ryedale, St Neots, English Heritage’s Festival of History at Kelmarsh Hall, Sidmouth, Whitby, Shrewsbury, and Bewdley.

John takes the first tentative steps towards his show based on his appearances in the Victorian Farm TV programme “The Victorian Farmer’s Year in Song”.

“Carolling & Crumpets” has a less than joyful run in December because the horrendous weather causes a few cancellations.

A new career beckons as John gives an illustrated lecture about Shropshire Folk Music to the Friends of the Shropshire Archives, followed by a full concert performance. From now on, a programme of purely Shropshire material becomes a more regular part of John’s weaponry, and gets dusted off for local residents a couple of times every year.

Mr Gubbins’ Bicycle makes a few ceilidh appearances, including a couple as part of the mysterious “Nu Ceilidh” series at Sidmouth Folk Week, where Brass Monkey’s Roger Williams deputises for Martin Britnell.

The duo with Roy Bailey makes just one appearance this year.

Brass Monkey undertakes a full spring tour, but because of Paul Archibald’s hectic life style they do one gig with Shane Brennan and another – at Sidmouth Folk Week – with Paul Mayes. They also appear, with Mr Archibald, at the Saint George’s Day Concert in Derby, and at Towersey Festival. On their October dates, Martin Carthy is too ill to appear on one gig, and too poorly to sing at two others.


Solo stuff includes festival appearances at Upton on Severn, Moulton, Chippenham, the Heritage Day at Letchworth Garden City, Priddy, Sidmouth, Whitby, Shrewsbury, and Otley, and a spot in the Folk 4 Heroes concert in Derby to raise funds for service personnel.

John is also a specially invited guest performer at the EFDSS’ National Gathering in London.

“The Victorian Farmer’s Year in Song” emerges fully fledged as a popular show around the village halls – in period costume!

“Carolling & Crumpets” fills up December’s dates.

Another lecture about Shropshire Folk Music in a local village hall keeps the audience riveted.

John also contributes to the English & Welsh Diaspora Conference at Loughborough University.

JK pops up on ITV’s “Countrywise” programme, talking about the local morris dancing as himself, and then transforming into a Shropshire Bedlam to show what it looks like in real life.

Brass Monkey manages just two concerts, including one at the prestigious King’s Place in London.

The Sultans of Squeeze renew each other’s acquaintance with their first couple of gigs for two years. Apparently they’d now squeezed every last drop from this partnership, as these turn out to be their last gigs together.

Mr Gubbins’ Bicycle wheels out for just one ceilidh this year.

Sidmouth Folk Week sees the only gig in the duo with Roy Bailey.

JK is invited to join comedians Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer live on stage in “Vic & Bob’s Evening Delights”, their first live performance for many years, in Camden Lock, North London. John accompanied a spoof folk song based on The Albion Country Band’s “Hanged I shall Be”, at a private event for prize winners from a competition linked to their website sketch show “Vic & Bob’s Afternoon Delights”, sponsored by Foster’s Lager.


Loads of solo gigs and workshops, with festival appearances at Sidmouth, Whitby, Towersey, and Lymm, where John is also one of the judges for the song competition. JK also does a couple of small house concerts – what a great idea these are!

The Victorian Farmer’s Year In Song continues to be a popular draw in village halls, and John’s performance of the show constitutes the first concert at the world famous Fordhall Farm in Market Drayton.

Brass Monkey do a fair bit of touring with their expanded six-piece two-trumpet line-up, with festival appearances at Cheltenham, Barnsley, The Gate To Southwell, Chippenham, Sidmouth, and Towersey, and record their live CD/DVD.

Mr Gubbins’ Bicycle wheels out for a ceilidh just once, in the Knees Up Cecil Sharp series. Trombonist Martin Britnell has to withdraw from the band for health reasons, so from now on various willing victims become the fifth member for a night. This time Shane Brennan from Brass Monkey joins on trumpet.

JK leads a scratch band of old comrades for a ceilidh for Janet Dashwood and her family in Rotherham.

Carolling and Crumpets fills up December with its aggressive festiveness.


Solo gigs and workshops keep John as busy as ever, with festival appearances at Rottingdean Arts Festival, on a double bill with The Copper family, and at the first concert of folk music at Stubbings Estate near Maidenhead. Other festival spots at Lincoln Folk Day, Wycombe Arts Festival, Stainsby, Sidmouth, Whitby, Swanage, Bromyard, and Lichfield Festival of Folk.

John also plays a couple of private parties – what a great idea these are! – and dazzles the ladies of Clun W.I. with an evening of Shropshire folk music.

As well as instrumental workshop weekends – at Kilve for concertina, at Halsway Manor for melodeon, and at Gleanings in Shropshire for button accordion - JK tutors singing at the Soundpost weekend near Sheffield, and at Maddy Prior’s Stone Barn in Cumbria. And he leads the band at Folk South West’s West Country Carols Weekend in Sidmouth.

The Victorian Farmer’s Year In Song keeps on pulling in the crowds at village halls, with one outing surrounded by the appropriate artefacts at The Rural Life Centre near Farnham in Surrey.

The six-piece Brass Monkey play a handful of gigs, including a launch event at King’s Place in London for their new live CD/DVD, and a spot at Steppings Festival in Cumbria.

At The Edinburgh Festival, JK joins the cast of two for a concert as a preview to the opening of the play by Neil Gore about the Tolpuddle Martyrs – We Will Be Free. Neil sings and plays guitar, and Liz Eves sings and plays fiddle. This is the first incidence of an ongoing relationship with John working as Musical Director (normally behind the scenes) for Townsend Productions.

Mr Gubbins’ Bicycle play just once, at a late night ceilidh at Sidmouth Folk Week, with fiddler Paul Burgess at silly mid off.

Carolling and Crumpets keeps everybody’s spirits high throughout December.


JK as busy as ever with solo work, including festival appearances at Chester Folk Day, Festival on the Moor in North Yorkshire, Music on the Marr in Cumbria, Sidmouth, Folk East in Suffolk, Whitby, Towersey, and Woodford Arts Festival in East London. John also does a spot in the Memorial Concert for Sarah Morgan in Winchester.

Workshops include Concertinas at Witney, a button accordion weekend in Shropshire, discussing modes and singing styles at Lewes, running two weekends of song-writing for Folk South West, and playing for dancing at both Cuffern Manor in Pembrokeshire and The Lancashire Wallopers Weekend, in each case leading a scratch band for an evening ceilidh afterwards.

JK also leads a scratch band for a ceilidh for Janet Dashwood and her family in Rotherham, uniting with caller Hugh Rippon for the first time for some decades!

The EFDSS Full English project (see Special Project section for more details) culminates in a public performance with John, Amy Douglas, Beth Giffard, and a star cast of pupils at Queensbridge School in Birmingham, in a show based around the ballad of The Cruel Ship’s Carpenter.

A segment of this is repeated at a huge event in Birmingham Town Hall in June, where all the schools involved nationally made a contribution. John also arranged four tunes for all the tutors to play together throughout the show.

At the Radio 2 Folk Awards at The Royal Albert Hall, John is one of a group specially assembled to honour the work of Cecil Sharp with a short selection of dance tunes and a few verses of the first song he ever collected – The Seeds Of Love. JK played concertina and sang, with Simon Care on melodeon, Paul Sartin on fiddle, Benji Kirkpatrick on bouzouki and banjo, and featuring Ashley Hutchings as Cecil Sharp. The tribute finished with a burst of bells and hankies from Morris Offspring.

John adjudicates the folk music section of the Chipping Norton Music Festival, giving a short performance himself at the end of the evening.

At The Swan Theatre, Worcester, JK and Paul Burgess provide live music for Chris Jaeger’s production, for Worcester Repertory Company, of The Canterbury Tales, adapted for the stage by Phil Woods and Michael Bogdanov.

The Victorian Farmer’s Year in Song continues to delight and amaze round the village halls.

Tunes From The Trenches, a new solo show of songs from the First and Second World Wars, also in period costume, sees its first outing.

John renews his partnership with Roy Bailey for the first time in a long while, with festival spots at Folk on the Marr and at Roy’s traditional Monday afternoon concert at Towersey.

Brass Monkey stagger out twice, to the Festival on the Pier at Cromer, and Trowbridge Folk Festival.

Mr Gubbins’ Bicycle play just once, for a ceilidh at Knees Up Cecil Sharp in London, with Shane Brennan on trumpet once again. This is the band’s last ever appearance.

In November, the health of John’s wife Sally suddenly deteriorated, and she died at the end of the month. John cancelled all his gigs for the rest of the year and eventually resumed work in February 2015.


John revels in the healing power of music and soldiers on, from February onwards, with lots of solo work. Festival appearances include Bishop’s Castle Arts Festival, and the folk festivals at Chester, Eynsham, Teignmouth, Priddy, Sidmouth, and Whitby. As a guest at the Lau-Land weekend in Bristol, John contributes to a panel discussion on folk music, as well as giving a concert spot and a workshop about dance music.

Other workshops feature playing for dancing at Lincoln, Melodeons and More in Suffolk, button accordion in Shropshire, and a day in Shipton-under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire marshaling a load of musicians together to play for an evening ceilidh with local caller Jeremy Spencer. John leads the tenors in Folk South West’s West Country Carols Weekend in Sidmouth.

The Victorian Farmer’s Year In Song has just a couple of outings this year.

Tunes From The Trenches really takes off as a solo show, with numerous gigs at clubs, concerts, and village halls.

Carolling & Crumpets returns at full flood throughout December.

John pops up at the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of Bob Copper at Cecil Sharp House in London, and backs Shirley Collins on a blues song, along with Ian Kearey and Ben Mandelson, with Linda Thompson on backing vocals. Quite a moment!

At the Radio 2 Folk Awards, held this year in Cardiff, John presents the award for Musician of the Year to fiddler Sam Sweeney.

In a small village church in Dorset, John plays all the music and arranges one of the songs for the wedding of Eddie Upton and Philippa Toulson.

At The Swan Theatre, Worcester, John acts as pit orchestra for a whole host of songs and sketches drawn from numerous productions in recent years by the Worcester Repertory Company. Chris Jaeger directs this one-off Gala Night as a birthday celebration for the theatre.

At London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, John leads a group of, ahem, younger musicians in recreating Shirley Collins’ seminal album from the early 1970s, No Roses. This is part of All In The Downs - a day-long celebration of Shirley’s 80th birthday. Stuart Lee is the MC, and the singers are Olivia Chaney, Lisa Knapp, Sam Lee, Alasdair Roberts, and John, with the five-piece Trembling Bells joining JK as house band for all the songs.

In Shropshire, Mr Kirkpatrick helps the ladies of his village W.I. in Mainstone celebrate the centenary of their organisation with an evening of local folk music. The fee turned out to be a bottle of single malt Scotch Whisky. More W.I bookings please!

Brass Monkey play a handful of gigs, including the festival at Stainsby, and give their last ever performance at The Goose Is Out in South London in September.


The wolf never gets too close to the door as JK keeps at it. Solo work incudes a couple of gigs at East London’s Café Oto, where the group Stick In The Wheel curate a couple of special festival nights. Other festival spots at Woolpit in Suffolk, Sidmouth, the Harry Cox Weekend in Norfolk, Whitby, Lyme Regis, Derby, and Lewes.

Workshops include a melodeon weekend at Halsway Manor, accordion left hand at Sidmouth and Whitby, button accordion at Gleanings in Shropshire, playing for dancing at Lewes, singing at Tom and Barbara Brown’s singing weekend at Halsway Manor, and a session on Border Morris Dancing at the EFDSS Folk Educators Day in Birmingham. John leads the tenors at Folk South West’s West Country Carols Weekend in Sidmouth.

The Victorian Farmer’s Year In Song still works its magic, and amongst its outings this year there is one amidst the grimly appropriate surroundings of the Workhouse Museum in Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Tunes From The Trenches keeps trundling on in village halls and theatres, including a performance in Barnard Castle in County Durham where John also gives a workshop on wartime songs to the local school folk band, who then join in on a couple of numbers in the evening show.

The duo with Martin Carthy reappears, following the demise of Brass Monkey, with tour dates throughout February, and a festival spot at Sidmouth.

John forms a new ceilidh band with all his four sons, called KIRKOPHANY. Veterans of Mr Gubbins’ Bicycle – Jobie on bass guitar and Benji on guitar, bouzouki, and banjo - are joined by George on melodeon and selected percussion and Fergus on drums. The first couple of outings are slightly scuppered by Fergus deciding to have a son of his own, and at Sidmouth Folk Week Martin Brinsford plays drums in his place. But by the autumn all five Kirkpatricks are fully present and correct.

At The Palace of Westminster, as part of a one day conference organized by the academic Angela McShane for the Parliamentary Beer Group and the Parliamentary Music Group, John sings a few songs with Andy Watts and Steno Vitale of the Carnival Band to illustrate how drinking and politics link up! Angela is one of the researchers for the 100 Ballads project to which John and the Carnival Band have been regularly contributing – see Special Projects section for more details.

In Llandinam in mid-Wales, the tenth anniversary of The Severn Suite is marked with a reunion gathering to run through some of the dances and tunes concocted for the project by Karen Tweed and JK.

In Bishop’s Castle, John gives the annual Ritherden Lecture to the South West Shropshire Historical and Archeological Society. This is a talk, illustrated with photos and sound recordings, on the subject of The Folk Songs of Shropshire.

Following the departure of John Tams from the band, JK becomes singer and front man for HOME SERVICE. A new repertoire is rehearsed, an album recorded for summer release, and live gigs begin in the autumn.

For the millionth time, Carolling & Crumpets keeps the spirits cheery throughout December.

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