'A well-kept secret' - Baldock Fleadh held on a 'need-to-know' basis

Musicians ensured the Baldock Fleadh took place again this year.

Musicians ensured the Baldock Fleadh took place again this year. - Credit: Baldock Folk Club

COVID-19 lockdown wasn't going to stop organisers of an Irish event from taking place in Baldock.

Despite the cancellation of the Baldock festival this year, Baldock Irish Day organiser Brian Burke was determined that the same fate should not happen to the annual Fleadh, which is held on the first May Bank Holiday every year.

The festival of Irish music and dancing usually attracts traditional musicians from all over the country and even beyond.

Organisers ensured the Baldock Fleadh took place again this year.

Organisers ensured the Baldock Fleadh took place again this year. - Credit: Baldock Folk Club

However due to COVID-19 precautions, this year’s pop-up Fleadh was a well-kept secret.

Brian explained: “Last year we had a five minute Fleadh outside the gates of The Cock with just myself playing and my niece Sophie dancing.

"This year we have lost The Boot and Templars in the High Street and The Cock is yet to reopen so it was back to The White Lion, where it all started 12 years ago."

Brian added: "Obviously with COVID laws we could not have a large crowd, and certainly not the numbers of musicians which are usually around 60, so it was done on a need-to-know basis, but even so the garden was at near COVID capacity."

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Among the musicians performing were the nationally acclaimed John Devine on uilleann pipes, Georgina Murphy Clifford on fiddle and Richard Herity on bodhrán.

Musicians ensured the Baldock Fleadh took place again this year.

Musicians ensured the Baldock Fleadh took place again this year. - Credit: Baldock Folk Club

Despite the weather, the music and song certainly heated the place for three hours.

Lola and Georgia from Maria Grant's school of dancing in Stevenage gave a fine display of traditional dancing in true Riverdance fashion, and Dorrie Randall’s beautiful voice awoke the echoes of the little North Herts market town, as did renowned Scottish balladeer Brian Kelly.

A collection on the day also raised over £100 for the Indian pandemic appeal.

The 2021 Baldock Fleadh.

The 2021 Baldock Fleadh. - Credit: Baldock Folk Club

“It was a great afternoon for Irish culture, “ said Brian, “especially given the wind and rain which could have meant playing with gloves on!

"Everyone enjoyed it and I’m sorry we couldn't advertise and ask the usual crowd of musicians, but let’s hope next year's will be back to normal.

"It will be number 13 so what could possibly go wrong!“

The 29th Virtual Baldock Folk Club concert was streamed live on Facebook on Wednesday, May 5.

The show is available to watch via www.baldockfolkclub.org.

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