East Anglian Traditional Music Trust



Diary of events  News About EATMT Friends of EATMT
What are the musical traditions of East Anglia? Profiles of traditional musicians  Jig Dolls  Dulcimers Stepdancing
Vaughan Williams in the East Traditional Music Day Melodeons & More  Workshops, classes & schools  Community Projects   
Resources   Shop   Links Press Room Contact Us













Past Traditional Music Days



Back to Traditional Music Day 2017


Traditional Music Day started in 2002, and information and photographs from 2004 onwards is archived here, in reverse date order.



A small but superb line-up of the best traditional musicians and singers is what we endeavour to find for you each year and 2016 was another fine vintage crop, with:  Nancy Kerr, compelling singers Roisin White from Northern Ireland and Peta Webb and Ken Hall. On the musical side, the ever-popular Dartmoor Boys travelled east for a welcome return and the English Dulcimer Duo featuring folk legend Sue Harris made a rare appearance. There was also fine Irish music from Michael Sheehy bringing a flavour of Sliabh Luachra via high Suffolk.

Click here to see more about the 2015 guests and event.



In 2015 our guests were Kevin & Ellen Mitchell from Derry and Glasgow, Peter & Barbara Snape from Lancashire, young Irish musicians Darren Breslin, Orlaith & Brogan McAuliffe, Proper English with a rake of good English tunes for the ceilidh called by Barry Goodman, young melodeon player and singer Matt Quinn from Sussex and last but not least the inimitable Les Barker, poet, comic genius who has his audiences rolling in the aisles with laughter.

Click here to see more about the 2015 guests and event.



In 2014 we welcomed the legendary Irish melodeon player Jackie Daly, alongside singers Joe Aitken and Geordie Murison from north east Scotland. On the English side we had the biggest ceilidh band we could squeeze into the marquee - the ten-piece English String Band, plus Pete Coe & Alice Jones and a string of high quality supporting performers.

Click here to see more about the 2014 guests and event.



In 2013 we featured Irish and American music and song alongside music from across England, and of course, much from our own region. Our special guests included Martin Carthy, Jeff Warner (USA), Con O'Drisceoil & Jerry O' Reilly (Ireland), Debs Newbold and the Liam Robinson Band along with Norfolk's own Ray Hubbard.

Click here for more about the guests at the 2013 TMD.



Guests in 2012 included singer Thomas McCarthy and Reg Hall, John Carty, Liam Farrell and members of the Linane family from London playing real quality traditional Irish music; storyteller Patrick Ryan; songs and music from Shropshire from Bartram, Brookes & Weatherall and Northumbrian music from Andrew & Margaret Watchorn. It was the year that the newly refurbished Abbots' Hall House opened at the museum, and we held four regional presentations of music and song in the Conservatory. Reg Reader and grandson Tom Knight were at the centre of a Dulcimer drop-in in the newly refurbished Counting House.

Click here to see more about the guests at the 2012 event or click here to see photographs from the 2012 event, taken by our resident photographer, John Halliday.




Another wonderful selection of music, dance and singing on a beautiful warm day, and the most advance ticket sales we’ve had over the ten years ... what more could we wish for? And we weren’t the only ones to appreciate it, as the comments below show.


'A really special, lovely festival. Quite simply, it was the best time I've had for ages. So many lovely people to meet, wonderful music and dance, the most beautiful setting, too. What a fantastic job you are doing there.' Shirley Collins, guest artist.

'Thanks so much to you and the team for a wonderfully stupendous Traditional Music Day!!! I had a great time and am totally privileged to be a part of it!' Kerry Fletcher, stepdancer.

'Well done to you and all the volunteers who made it a very enjoyable day.' Peter and Kathleen Everson, Stowmarket.

'Better than ever- we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. I cannot think of anything that could have been done better.' Dave Ponting, Essex.

'Just to say thanks for a brilliant day of music and dance: so many good performers, both featured and in the general mix. I thought there was a really good balance and am only sorry I couldn't catch every single thing on the programme.' Ian Kearey, guest artist (Duck Soup).

“'Congratulations and thank you for a wonderful, very entertaining & informative day.' Nigel Rozier, Stowmarket councillor.


For further details about the 2011 Traditional Music Day, click here.


Click here for a short compilation video of the 2011 Traditional Music Day made by Uggy Brown.


Click here for Pat Pickles' article about her experiences (with misbehaving jig dolls!) at the 2011 Traditional Music Day.




The sun shone once again on Traditional Music Day as hundreds of singers, musicians, dancers and listeners gathered at the Museum of East Anglian Life for another feast of traditional entertainment. All the invited guests were on great form, and the concerts, talks and other indoor events were all well-attended. The weather meant that lots of informal, spontaneous sessions took place outside. It’s always very satisfying when performers that we have booked as special guests come back in ensuing years because they enjoyed it so much, and there were dozens of them this year, adding to the high quality of all the sessions and informal events. As ever we couldn’t put on this event without the support of many local performers, and for many people it is our local traditions that make this an event worth travelling many miles for.


'There was so much to do it was a hard to make choices, but everything we did was excellent.'

'Thank you for arranging such a treat. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute and it was certainly worth the journey from Derbyshire.'

'A beautiful experience and warming to see traditional music live and well.'

'Another brilliant day - looking forward to next year already!'


To read more about the 2010 artists, click here.


To see photographs from the 2010 event, you can click on the link below which will take you to a Facebook page run by John Halliday, who takes photographs for us at many of our events.


Photographs of Traditional Music Day 2010




The theme for 2009 was 'mouth music' - music you can make with your mouth - with or without instruments - and included mouth-organs, jew’s harps, penny whistles (invented in Suffolk) and diddling (singing for dancing). Michael Wright gave a talk on the history of the Jew's Harp and brought several members of his family, all virtuosos on this tiny instrument. There was a workshop on using found materials to make instruments you can play with your mouth, which proved hugely popular with all ages, and we also welcomed a number of mouthorgan players including Martin Brinsford (Old Swan Band & Brass Monkey), Baz Parkes (All Blacked Up), Des Miller (Rig-a-Jig-Jig) and Simon Booth (Ran Tan Band). Jigjaw provided some intriguing sung accompaniments for stepdancers while the Wall Star Village band played north-country instrumental music for the ceilidh.


Late additions to the 2009 Traditional Music Day programme included several superb young fiddle-players: duo Matt Quinn and Tom Moore (Norfolk), Liz Giddings (Essex) and Dogan Mehmet from the Deerhunters.


The fabulous, innovative and quirky Museum of British Folklore touring exhibition made its first visit to Suffolk, to add to the attractions. The exhibition was housed in a caravan, and is the brainchild of Simon Costin, who is using it as a way of raising awareness of the need for a permanent national museum of folklore. For an idea of the exhibition, and a fascinating look at the customs and traditions of the UK, visit the website at www.museumofbritishfolklore.com/collect.html  We also exhibited the the Romany Roots archival and contemporary photographs of Gypsy life and culture in Suffolk.

Photographs of Traditional Music Day 2009




The seventh annual Traditional Music Day took place on Saturday 30th August 2008 at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, Suffolk.The guest line-up included The Orchard Family, Mike Waterson & Lou Killen, Taffy Thomas, Simon Ritchie and ceilidh band The Watch. Special events under the 'Tall Tales' banner feature storytelling and song events, and we were also lucky to have Neil Wayne, an authority on the concertina, giving an illustrated talk on The History of the Concertina.


Somehow the 2008 event managed to take place on one of the best days in the summer ...again! Despite the gorgeous weather, the inside events proved a huge attraction and were nearly all full. It was great to see the singing events so well attended, but with singers like Louis Killen and Mike Waterson (pictured in Edgar’s Farmhouse) it’s hardly surprising. Taffy Thomas and Mark Bartholomew brought the Museum’s Story Hut alive with their tales, as part of the ‘Tall Tales’ theme this year, and Taffy said the space was a joy to work in. The ceilidh was voted a resounding success, and lots of people took part in the various activities and took advantage of the chance to try stepdancing, playing an instrument or using a jig doll.

The event happened, as usual, in the wonderful setting of the Museum of East Anglian Life, which is a 70-acre haven of peace and wildlife right in the town centre of Stowmarket. The daytime events were followed, as usual, by a knock-out evening concert, featuring short spots from all the main guests a well as some surprise ones, plenty of local songs, music and stepdancing, all in the atmospheric medieval Tithe Barn.

Ph0tographs of Traditional Music Day 2008




Every year, we say ‘the best yet’ and it’s always true! The 2007 event was the busiest we have ever had, with nearly 1,000 people through the gate! The fine weather tempted many people to stay outside near the Barn and enjoy the continuous spectacle of musicians, singers and steppers. Meanwhile, the launch of our concertina hire scheme (part of the ‘Squeezing Together’ programme this year) attracted over 50 people to drop in and try out this instrument for the first time, and concerts and other drop in events around the site were busy and enjoyable occasions.


The guest line-up included John Kirkpatrick, Mary MacNamara, The Devil's Interval, Jim and Lynette Eldon and band Housewives' Choice plus the usual array of musicians, stepdancers and singers. Special events featured concertina players and participatory activities for adults and children. The evening concert was really phenomenal, rounded off by ‘The Devil’s Interval’ - three young singers who really wowed the audience!

See 2007 photographs.




Guests in 2006 included Alistair Anderson, The Copper Family, Dan Quinn and Will Duke, Ray Hubbard, The Thaxted Country Dance Band and special events centred around 'A Sweet Country Life' - a tribute to EATMT patron and traditional singer, Tony Harvey.

See 2006 photographs.


Below are some comments from a few of those attending the 2006 event: some newcomers, guests and ‘old hands’.

'What a wonderful day! From the big sessions and main concerts in the immense tithe barn to the intimate acoustic of the tiny chapel, the day was full of traditional music played from the heart. This was a rare opportunity to hear the singing of locals who rarely travel outside the region and to catch the excitement of the step dance tradition, alive and well in the 21st century. The mix of formal performance to informal music and singing drew the audience in and allowed the outside performers like myself to dig deeper into their own repertoire to play items from beyond their standard concert set. Thanks for inviting me down.'                                         Alistair Anderson, guest artist

'It was the first time I had been to the big music day and despite the wind and a little drizzle, it was a really good enjoyable day. My favourite part was the step dance special, and I really enjoyed taking part in this, as well as watching and learning from the other more experienced dancers. I'm already looking forward to going next year.'                                                                     Charlotte Lally, aged 10

'I can't remember enjoying such a day of sheer happiness for a long, long while: relaxed, informal, friendly, with great music and singing, and not just from the headlined guests. Part of the atmosphere's down to the ambience: the Museum is such a great place, with its collection of intimate venues. Part undoubtedly results from the impeccable organisation: a lot of hard work behind the scenes has to go into making events like this seem relaxed and informal. I guess the most heart-warming part of it all was the exuberance and talent of our own young people: the East Anglian traditions of stepping and music look to be in safe hands.'                    John Halliday, photographer

'I spent a lot of my time playing at the session, exchanging tunes with the sizeable throng that had gathered; always a good-natured, all-inclusive and enjoyable affair with the communal spirit that accompanies traditional music. For me, the highlight was the archive films of the actual old time musicians themselves.'                                                                                                               Shem Jarrold, fiddle-player

'We thought having the 'Try a Melodeon' activities down by the watermill would mean a few less people but it was so popular we had to keep asking people to finish having their go to make way for others! A very happy, eager and friendly session as always.'           

                                                                                                                                                                            Maggie Moore, melodeon-player

'The annual Traditional Music Day is an occasion to which I look forward with real delight. The music sits comfortably in the setting and there are plenty of opportunities to relax and chat with friends old and new who, like me, seem to make a point of attending regularly. Free reed instruments predominate in the music sessions and a new event this year was 'Concertina Corner', ninety minutes of excellent music in a relaxed atmosphere with intelligent and well-informed discussion; three features which typify the whole day. Oh yes! CAMRA run the bar, which may also have something to do with the pleasure.'                                                                      Roger Digby, concertina-player



In 2005 guests included a host of stepdancers from near and far, Yorkshire singers and raconteurs Will Noble and John Cocking, the Musical Roots singers and band, the Dartmoor Pixies, Tony Hall, Bayou Seco duo from Arizona and resident band and singers Old Hat Concert Party. Events included music sessions, concert spots, the biggest yet Stepdance Special, a singing session, trading stalls, instrument taster sessions, exhibitions, jig dolls, children's craft, dance and song activities and a separate evening concert. Special event was a Song Trail around the site, for joining in or just listening on a guided walk around the fields, woods and farm buildings.




In 2004, the gorgeous weather encouraged people to sit outside and make their own music, and the indoor events were all full of people and atmosphere!  Special events included the Jig Doll exhibition and a chance to have a go yourself, using EATMT's unique collection of jig dolls. The country's largest collection of jig dolls (in private hands) were displayed as part of the Big Jig celebration. The Big Jig family events attracted a larger number of youngsters along, and we were very pleased that so many people brought a jig doll along on the day, so that the exhibition of about sixty jig dolls that we had put on was swelled by another thirty or so during the day.


See 2004 photographs

Some views of the day from guests, volunteers and audience ...

'This had to be one of the best days of 2004 in every respect. A clear blue sky, sweltering heat, and authentic English traditional music mostly performed by genuine traditional performers. If you are used to hearing this music minced and mangled by the "folk" scene, I suggest you come next time and hear it as it should sound, performed with energy and passion by people who grew up with it as the backdrop to daily life.'

                                                                                                                             Paul Roberts (Guest musician - Black Spot Champions)

'I dance Appalachian clogging to the fabulous Old Timey fiddle playing of Tim Brooks and we were delighted to be asked to come and be part of the Traditional Music Day - what a fantastic time we all had! There was something for everyone - a wonderful collection of jig dolls from around the world with Pat Pickles on hand and Goff Evans demonstrating and getting everyone to have a go. Amongst many children's activities was a competition to design a jig doll - some marvellously imaginative drawings, one in a night cap and teddy bear - they should look good wobbling about in time with the music. The Step Dance Special not only had the famed Orchard family but also many of the local step dancers, plus a whole handful of Gypsy dancers, who turned up unexpectedly and all gave us a turn - on my own step board, I'll never wash it again! All day around the site were music & step dance sessions hosted by the various guests, a family ceilidh with Grand Union to get everyone up and dancing and even in between the programmed events, impromptu music, singing and dancing entertained us all. The evening concert was packed full and the highlight for me was the Orchard family - Tom's step dancing is second to none, lively and inventive, Jean's stepping was graceful and elegant, and her singing just magnificent, and top notch accordion from their son Ashley. The site itself is beautiful with lovely old barns, a smithy and a great collection of gypsy caravans.'                                                                                                                                                   Kerry Fletcher (Guest dancer)

'What fun we had in the cool but welcoming interior of Edgar's Farmhouse on the warmest and best yet Traditional Music Day. Now with a delightful garden outside too, the intimate setting allows the performers to relax and build a rapport with an attentive audience. For me, the wonderful singing of Chris Bartram and Jean Orchard stood out amongst the familiar treats of a variety of squeezeboxes, strings and stepping.'

Shirley Harry (volunteer)


'Stowmarket Traditional Music Day had its usual array of fascinating guests but for me a particular highlight was the step dancing. This year Tom and Jean Orchard and their son Ashley entertained us with music, songs and step dancing. The word had obviously gone round that the Orchards were coming as various friends and relatives from other parts of East Anglia turned up and danced - Pamela Buckley from King's Lynn and Richard Davies of Cromer. John Howson quickly roped them in for the Step Dance Spectacular at which he even did a step himself!'

                                                                                                                                                                                 Sarah Crofts (dancer)

'This year was our first visit to the EATMT Traditional Music Day, and what an excellent day it was. We started the day by going to see Mat Green & Andy Turner, who provided us with some fine musicianship & song. The Big Music Session was very well attended - it was good to see so many fellow concertina players under one roof. I also found it heartening to see some young musicians playing to a very high standard, which bodes well for the future of traditional music. All in all a perfect day in a perfect setting. A well organised cross section of folk art and music helped along by plenty of sunshine and beer.'   

                                                                                                                              Martyn White (musician)




2007 photographs







2006 photographs  






2005 photographs









2004 photographs













Back to Traditional Music Day 2017

Home      News      Diary of events    About EATMT     Friends of EATMT     

What are the musical traditions of East Anglia?

Traditional Music Day     Melodeons & More      Workshops, classes & schools      Community Projects       

          Traditional musicians        Jig Dolls        Dulcimers     Stepdancing     Vaughan Williams in the East

Resources      Shop        Links      Press Room     Contact Us