Fishguard Folk Singers, Looking Forward

The lockdown has been a tough time for Fishguard Folk Singers. Accustomed to meeting a couple of times a month to play together and enjoy a bit of banter, and – for many of them – to join an eclectic bunch on Tuesday night at Fishguard’s Royal Oak folk club, Covid has kept them far apart.  

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the 2020 Folk Festival, with what Bryan Talbot assures me was to be a fabulous line-up, had to be cancelled.

Bryan is the social media person… the go-to person with queries and questions. If he can’t answer your enquiry, he knows who can.

Known as FFS, or Fishguard Folk Singers (Cantorian Gwerin Abergwaun in the Welsh), they were started in 2015 by a group of friends when a request from the RNLI popped up. The RNLI was looking for entertainment for its annual supper.

Since then Fishguard Folk Singers’ repertoire has grown to include a wide range of shanties, folk songs and tunes, and even carols, both traditional and self-penned, in English and Welsh.

They have performed for many charities and community causes and have been regulars to welcome cruise ships such as the Corinthian to Fishguard. Bryan told us that it’s not unusual to get the tourists dancing on the quayside: “The Americans have clearly really enjoyed hearing us. They love the area.”

Not confined to Pembrokeshire though, the folksters, ranging in age from fifties to eighties, visited Falmouth in 2017 for the International Shanty festival. They were so popular that they were asked to return in 2018 and 2019 as featured performers.

A popular choice to entertain at fundraisers, they have asked only for a donation to the festival funds as their fee. Busking and carol singing are other popular events that also raise awareness of the festival that traditionally takes place over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend (Friday to Monday). The festival is organised throughout the year by a willing team with Jude Whitehouse at its head.

I asked Bryan what the future holds for the festival now that Covid is among us.

“We are hoping to go ahead next year with as good a line-up as we had planned for 2020, but we will have to see. We would also like to get back to regular practice together and to be able to play and sing together. We have missed it very much and we know as tourists return to the area that it will be something that they will miss too.”

I am sure everyone will join me in hoping that this will be possible and that the harmonies, the  accordions, guitars , fiddles, whistles and  mandolins, not to forget the shaky egg, will be heard in North Pembrokeshire before 2020 is over. 

Find the Fishguard Folk Singers on Facebook

For more information contact Bryan Talbot: 07934 418186, email: storesman@gmail.com.


For an authentic taste of Fishguard Folk Singers music, go to YouTube.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty Parsons

Kitty is an incomer, with five summers under her belt and the knowledge that even the wettest and greyest of winters have not diminished her love of Pembrokeshire. She knows she will never live long enough to be considered a local but hopes to leave some small mark through writing about this beautiful county and its people.

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