Roland Walls, folk club organiser

Roland Walls
Roland Walls
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Roland Walls, who has died in his 65th year, was the long time organiser of York’s famous Black Swan Folk Club, and the focus for folk music and musicians in the city.

Neither artist nor performer, his stewardship led the Black Swan to be named the BBC Folk Club of the Year in 2009. The club is one of the oldest in the country and numbers Kate Rusby. Eliza Carthy and Jim Moray among the established musicians who passed thorough it.

Born in Teesside and a Cambridge graduate, Mr Walls was a librarian at the York City Library and until retirement, a senior regional manager.

He became involved with the folk club in the early 1980s and remained its sole organiser, arranging weekly concerts with touring musicians from home and abroad. He also promoted larger scale concerts at the National Centre for Early Music in York, which hosts higher profile artists the Black Swan is too small to accommodate.

Mr Walls also organised such local and community events as the York Residents’ Festival, which lays on an afternoon and evening of folk music every January, and the annual City of York Folk Weekend, now in its 15th year.

Diagnosed with cancer in 2010, he continued to run the events he had planned, but the onset of motor neurone disease restricted his mobility. He is survived by his partner, Sue Rigby, his mother, brother and sisters.