The Dales Music and Dance Collective is one of the Yorkshire Society’s newest Heritage Guardians groups, but also one of the liveliest.

A small but dedicated group of singers, instrument players and writers living indifferent parts of the Yorkshire Dales – Wharfedale, Nidderdale, Dentdale, Airedale and Calderdale – have joined forces to revise an old and much loved tradition of monthly music sessions in an iconic Dales pub, the Buck at Buckden in Upper Wharfedale, perhaps the most central village in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The idea of a Session is a very simple one. Musicians, singers and the occasional poet turn up to the pub on a Sunday afternoon, once a month, with their instruments and song books and perform. The atmosphere is friendly, welcoming and informal, and there is food and excellent local ale – and soft drinks – available at the pub bar. There is no need to perform or even join in – just come along and listen to songs and tunes, old and new.

The revival of active live folk music sessions – tradition and new work, not just from the Dales but from other parts of the UK and even the Appalachian Mountains in the USA – revives memories of such singers and players of the 1960s and 70s, well known Dales characters such as Jackie Beresford, Harry Cockerill, “Banjo Willie” and many others. Most celebrated of all perhaps, and he is still very much around, though living in north east Scotland – is Bob Pegg, poet, singer and Dales folklorist whose folk-rock band Mr Fox was one of Britain’s top groups in the genre during the 1970s and 80s. Also active in Upper Wharfedale between the 1970s, and almost up to Covid, were the late Rose Boothman and her fiddle player husband Tim from Threshfield, who entertained Dales communities with their regular popular Old Dales Dances.

A huge stimulus for this revival of a great Dales tradition was a major book on Dales music and dance There was None of this Lazy Dancing (ISBN 978 1 5272 5604 0) published in 2020 by Wensleydale-based music historian and folk singer-scholar Bob Ellis. Bob has collected much of the music in the book from original manuscript sources, interviews and written publications. This is now a useful source book for a new generation of performers. Many of them are now regular participants at the Buck Inn Sessions.

Yorkshire Society members and friends are warmly invited to any of the Buck Inn Sessions (free entry) which will be held from 1pm – 4pm (to fit in with Sunday DalesBus 874 services direct from Leeds, Otley and Ilkley to Buckden) on 10th December, 14th January, 11th February, and 10th March. In addition there will be a special Dales Dance afternoon with professional callers to be held in Grassington Town Hall on March 2nd and also a Dancing the Dales event at Ripley Town Hall, near Harrogate on 30th March. Beginners welcome at both events.

Full details of all activities and copies of their regular Newsletters at the Dales Music and Dance Collective website.


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