Four individuals and a family group are the latest recipients of Gold Badge awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). Gold Badges are given for unique or outstanding contributions to folk music, dance or song, distinguished service to EFDSS and/or exceptional contributions to EFDSS’ work.
Gold Badges for 2017 will be awarded to Johnny Adams, Nicolas Broadbridge, Dave and Maggie Hunt and The Wilson Family.
They join an illustrious list of Gold Badge holders including EFDSS founder and pioneering folk-song collector Cecil Sharp, composer and collector Ralph Vaughan Williams, performer/writer AL Lloyd, and musicians The Spinners, together with EFDSS President Shirley Collins and Vice President Eliza Carthy.
“All of this year’s recipients have played important roles in their individual fields. They have helped to inspire, to support and to inform generations of folk artists and fans, making significant contributions to the continuing strength and vitality of traditional English folk arts. We are delighted to recognize them with these prestigious awards.”
Alistair Anderson, Chair of the EFDSS Board
Johnny Adams is a folk musician, recording artist and producer of fifty years standing. From 1998 to 2008 he was on the National Council of EFDSS, during which time he worked to formalise the Society's web presence, including instituting the first online shop. More recently he has been involved in sub-committee work. He co-founded The Village Music Project, which researches 18th and 19th century dance music, he coordinates the support group for the archive of the folklorist and collector Doc Rowe, and was director of the Paul Graney Archive of recordings made in the North-West of England between the 1950s and the 1980s which is now housed at Manchester Central Library.
Nicolas Broadbridge is an accordionist and a specialist in Playford and similar dance. He learned Country Dancing, Cotswold Morris and Longsword in Surrey in the 1950s, later dancing with Whirligigs demonstration team in London (working closely with Pat Shaw). In 1982 he started two Playford groups in Scotland, The Glasgow and Edinburgh Assemblies, and has run 34 annual Balls there. He formed the Assembly Players in 1987 and has led them for balls, ceilidh dances and workshops; playing on, directing and producing their nineteen recordings of English Country Dances and one of Scottish Ceilidh Dances. He is a composer, editor and publisher of tunes and dances, and a researcher into C17th, C18th and C19th country dances. He has taught widely in England, mainland Europe and the USA.
Dave and Maggie Hunt
Dave Hunt is the founder of Sunshine Arts, a long-established English folk arts group specialising in working in schools, at Festivals and in the community. Widely known at folk festivals as the children's entertainer Dr Sunshine, he is also recognised as a top caller for English barn-dances and ceilidh dances, and as an instrumentalist and singer. Dave teaches Border Morris, Longsword dancing and Mumming plays at festivals and in schools all over the country. He has also run workshops on calling and dance writing.
Maggie Hunt’s particular strengths have been in encouraging young people in the development of their performance skills. As an integral part of Sunshine Arts, she has been responsible for developing children’s dance and drama activities away from the children’s tents and into mainstream festival activities. She has a strong association with the North East including a regular part in the traditional Skinningrove bonfire, assisting with the design and construction of their spectacular displays.
The Wilson Family are five brothers – Tom, Chris, Steve, Ken and Mike Wilson – who emerged onto the folk scene in 1973 with their own blend of powerful unaccompanied sibling harmonies. In the early days they were a six part a cappella group along with their sister Pat, who stopped touring ten years ago. They have organised and run a folk club in their beloved Teesside for over forty years. The club is still running, providing a platform for local singers. They are regular headlining guests at festivals and clubs across the UK and Europe, and they appeared at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the 2011 BBC Proms. In 2013 the family accompanied Sting to New York to launch his critically acclaimed album 'The Last Ship'. The Wilson Family are particularly known for their dedication to both traditional and social comment songs, as well as their pure joy of singing. They are often cited as a major source of influence by younger performers on today’s folk scene.