Romany step dancer Billy West stepping with Kerry Fletcher, accompanied by Tim Brooks (picture courtesy of Essex Folk News)
Kent’s Kerry Fletcheris a traditional dancer of many styles, from waltzing to clogging, but at Frittenden she will be focusing on Southern English-style stepping. She’ll be teaching step dancing at the Memorial Hall during the afternoon on the Saturday (open to adult and children with parents), and performing at the lunch-time sessions at the Bell & Jorrocks and in the afternoon concert.
Andy Turner will sing and play at the Frittenden Old Fashioned Night Out
Andy Turner sings, plays anglo-concertina and one-row melodeon. He was born and bred at Ashford, and first became involved in the folk scene in Kent.
In the 1980s, he danced with Oyster Morris, was an occasional member of the Oyster Band, played in a duo with Chris Wood and, along with Chris, was a member of local dance bands including Polkabilly and the Old City Band.
Finding that songs from Kent were under-represented in published collections, he also began to research local singers, and was fortunate to meet Charlie Bridger, a fine singer from Stone-in-Oxney. Andy brought Charlie along to the English Country Music Weekend at Frittenden in 1986, and this was one of the last times Charlie sang in public before his death in 1988.
Andy has lived in Oxfordshire since 1987. In addition to his solo performances, he is a member of English Ceilidh band Geckoes, Oxford-based concert band Magpie Lane, West Gallery choir The Christminster Singers and in a duo with Bampton fiddler Mat Green.
Despite being so busy living in exile, he maintains a strong interest in songs and singers from Kent, and has recorded several Kentish songs, both under his own name and with Magpie Lane. His repertoire includes items noted down in the county by early collectors such as Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams, from the post-war collection of Francis Collinson, and from singers recorded in the last few decades by Mike Yates and others – including George Spicer, the travelling Willett family and, of course, Charlie Bridger.