Rumours abounded, in the lead up to and during the tenth anniversary of The Singing Farmers’ Concerts held earlier this year, that they were to be the last, but demand has been such that an eleventh year has now been planned and tickets are on sale from today.
“You could say we’re getting closer to the last series of concerts with this tour, than we were in March,” says Country Week’s feature writer and Singing Farmers instigator Chris Berry.
“It was an amazing milestone for us to reach. When we first came up with the concerts there was no thought of any greater longevity than the quartet we played in 2004, but they seem to have become an annual event in the rural world’s calendar.
“The only issue was that we didn’t want to outstay our welcome especially if our audience was getting tired of us after a decade, but that certainly doesn’t appear to be the case.
“We had people pleading with us to carry on at the end of this year’s concerts and we’ve had hundreds of people ask whether we were organising another series for 2014 throughout summer and autumn.
“We’re all delighted to be back on the road once again and we’re particularly pleased to announce that we are playing at three venues new to us in Pickering, Masham and Easingwold.”
Since they started The Singing Farmers have raised over £100,000 for the charity organisation the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and have also won a couple of awards.
Sally Conner is the regional organiser for the RABI: “I can never stress too highly our sincere thanks for what the Singing Farmers have done for the past ten years.
“I honestly thought that was it after this year’s concerts but they never cease to amaze me. Chris, Ken, Tony, Phillip, Charles and Lloyd put on a great show every year and these concerts have a significance that is even greater than the money and awareness of the charity. Each show is a social event that is eagerly looked forward to and I’m sure the tickets will be snapped up very quickly as they always are.”
For those who have never attended a concert each show is made up of individual performances by all five singers. Ken Jackson, renowned cattle showman from near Doncaster, sings classic hit songs largely from the ’50s and ’60s; Tony Richards, North York Moors sheep farmer from Glaisdale, plays country music including Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jim Reeves; Charles Marwood, sheep breeder, showman and judge from near Sheriff Hutton sings songs from the shows; Phillip Holden, farm supplies shop owner in Wensleydale and Swaledale provides great humour and Geordie folk songs; and Chris Berry sings songs from the ’70s. Lloyd Lockwood plays keyboard with Charles, Phillip and Chris.
“One thing I would say though,” says Sally. “Bring a cushion, because you certainly get good old-fashioned Yorkshire value for money when you attend a concert. It lasts three and a half hours!”