2020 -
Not surprisingly, we haven't played any ceilidhs this year due to the pandemic. All the bookings we had were cancelled, leaving us without any gigs for the first time in our nearly 40 years of playing. We contiue to receive requests for 2021 but won't be accepting any until we're sure about the future. Late news: The prospect of a vaccine being available in the new year makes the future look a lot more positive than it has for long time: hurrah.
Nevertheless, all the band members have been busy on various musical activities, so here is a summary of what we've been doing during these dark Covid-19 days.

Hugh - I normally help to organise with Steve a monthly music session in Kendal at the Oddfellows Arms, playing English and continental music, but of course that hasn't happened since lockdown. In its place, I've been helping to organise and take part in a fortnightly music session using Zoom. Nowhere near as good as a 'live' session, but good for keeping fingers in trim and keeping in contact with other musicians. One advantage is that we can see and hear friends Ron and Barabara from the USA.
I also continue to play music in a small acoustic group in the village of Arnside where I live. The three or four of us meet live when guidelines permit, and on Zoom otherwise. This video was made some years ago, but shows the type of music we play - More
I was booked to run two musical 'Tune swap' sessions at Sidmouth Festival in August, along with playing some tunes to accompany a book launch, but all that had to cancelled. Watching concerts being streamed instead of being live is a new experience, and one which I think will be an integral part of most festivals, concerts, and workshops in the future.

Steve - With no ceilidhs this year (and no Womad Festival!) I’ve been keeping up my musical interests by taking part in the fortnightly ‘virtual Oddfellows’ music sessions organised by Hugh. I’ve been playing melodeon more than guitar whilst the band is unable to get out and play. In particular I try to post the melodeon.net Tune of the Month and Theme of the Month to my YouTube channel each month.

Fiona - Lockdown Musings. Making the most of all musical opportunities in this strange year has involved enjoying a variety of internet workshops and sessions backed up by listening to  various music genres streamed from festivals and house concerts. The occasional shared, live sessions have mostly been Swedish music for us – including a wonderful blanket swathed 3 hours of playing up in Dumfries in a friend’s garden, a very happy birthday afternoon in a Sedbergh garden and a wonderful musical picnic in a forest carpark with a friend from Leeds! Before this second lockdown we also enjoyed 2 lovely cosy Irish/Swedish sessions in a friend’s kitchen, helping him celebrate his 90th birthday. My husband Pete has been very busy in his workshop completing 2 silverbas nyckelharpas and making one 4-row and two 3-row nyckelharpas.
We have been really sad to miss out on all the Scandi music weekends and folk festivals that usually pepper our year, as well as really missing all the ceilidhs and socialising that playing in the band enables. Playing for dancing is such a joy and for me calling is the cherry on the cake. Will I remember all the dances when the time comes, it feeling as if the brain has turned to fudge over the past few months?! I have no doubt that we will slot straight back into it all as soon as we can safely do so: until then thank goodness for Zoom and congratulations and thanks to all the people who have worked so hard adapting their performances to be internet based.

Les - Apart from missing playing with Tumbling Tom, I’m also missing all my other musical activities, and trying to make the best of it. Gone is my regular Tuesday night session at the Hope & Anchor, but I’ve managed to keep going other activities. The Furness Tradition Folk Festival that I help organise was cancelled in it’s live form, but we went ahead with a virtual festival featuring “live” Zoom concerts, including storytelling, singing, dance, music, and some workshops for adults and children. It was very successful, and as the current situation won't ease for some time, we decided to continue with monthly Zoom concerts (see furnesstradition.org.uk for details). Also, we made a music video in order to show our support for the key workers in our community (https://youtu.be/hyd4SLfPpuk).
My street band Blast Furness has been meeting every week on Zoom, and we play along to some of our existing recordings, and chat and make plans for the future. We also made a music video (https://youtu.be/6Vnymk9IyVw).
Furness Morris has had a weekly virtual pub session, although there’s not been a lot music or dancing, just a lot of talking and drinking (surprising for a Morris team). Our annual Mummers Play didn’t go ahead, so I quickly learnt how to use iMovie and put together a one-man version of it (https://www.facebook.com/100002856835205/videos/2583055718466297/).
My singing group have also had Zoom meetings, although this has fallen off a bit lately. We were sharing songs individually, which made a nice change from singing together, and made us widen our repertoire.
I was due to run Mumming workshops for children at Sidmouth this year, but that’s now scheduled for 2021.
I’ve been to a few “live” Zoom concerts (https://livetoyourlivingroom.com/), attended a few online sessions, watched my daughter Kath’s daily tune (https://youtu.be/7gFZw56-QPQ), and watched all the plays made available by the National Theatre and the BBC via Culture in Quarantine.
Like everyone else in the band I'm looking forward to getting back to normal.


A radio station in New Zealand, Radio Kidnappers, saw our CD on this web site, and made enquiries to us. They're now featuring tracks from it regularly on their weekly show - Folk on Sunday and Kidnappers Ceilidh, Radio Kidnappers 1431AM & 104.7FM).

See -  http://www.radiokidnappers.org.nz/Programmes/Details.aspx?PID=0aed8b81-7438-4da5-b2f9-d5dfc3ef3447


2019 -
December -

The final ceilidh of the year, and the one that we all look forward to playing at, was the annual Crook Morris Christmas ceilidh in Kendal Town Hall, where the Tumbling Tom Big Band was up to full strength. Our 11th visit, the ceilidh just goes from strength to strength. Apart from some new dances written by Fiona and Les, the new traditional dances introduced this year included a Playford dance from the C17 'Upon a summers day' played and danced in a 'zesty' style, and the trance like Breton dance 'Gavotte de l'Aven'. Some excellent singing from the Revellers, who just seem to go on improving, and some energetic dancing from Crook Morris rounded off a great night.
November -
The first of three ceilidhs this month saw the band travel over to Barrow for the birthday party of George (ina). Some story telling by Ian Douglas, and performances by a local Samba Band and others made for a great evening. Happy birthday George.

George and Gary in a left hand star

Below: the Samba Band

The Kendal Mountain Festival is the largest of its kind in the UK, and the band were pleased to be asked to play again this year following our succesful playing last year. A sell out event from 10 - midnight, it was another great ceilidh with the dance floor filled all night with enthusiastic dancers. After the ceilidh, Zoe Wilkinson, the Community and Guest Manager said - As always the Ceilidh went down a storm. Please book us in for next year: the date will be Sat 21st Nov. See you next year!
Fiona on keyboards, Dan our caller for the evening, Hugh on melodeon, our dep drummer John, with Steve and Tony off to the right.
John on drums, Steve on rhythm and lead guitar, and Tony on bass.

Below is a photo taken at last years festival, and used to promote this years event.

The final ceilidh of the busy month was to help Denise and Ian celebrate their joint 60th birthdays and 40th wedding anniversary. The Town Hall is a lovely venue, and Denise and Ian created a wonderful atmoshere which everyone seemed to enjoy. Happy birthdays and anniversaries Denise and Ian.
After the event, Denise said - Thanks for a brilliant performance!  I was really happy that so many got up and danced because it will have been very unfamiliar territory for many.  Great calling and great musicianship.

Below shows the ceilidh in full swing.



October -
A new venue for the band was Ulverston Parish Church, where we played for the joint 60th birthdays of Sue, Carolyn, and Kirsten. The converted aisle in the church made for a lovely dancable space. Happy birthday to you all.

Dancing Double Gloucester
The three birthday girls with their cake.
September -
The band are now starting to plan for the annual Christmas ceilidh, held in Kendal Town Hall. The Big Band have a new opening song planned, plus new tunes and dances.
Its always a great evening and usually sold out, so make sure you contact Martyn to buy your tickets.


August -
With the festival season well underway, band members visited many festivals including WOMAD, Sidmouth, Whitby, and Shrewsbury, but we still managed to squeeze in a ceilidh for Bill and Elaine Thomson's golden wedding anniversary. It was held in the Shakespeare Centre in Kendal, a new venue for us with a tight entrance through the archway. It was a lovely evening, and interesting to talk with Bill and Elaine about when we played for their silver wedding anniversary in the Brewery Arts Centre 25 years ago. Also special for the evening was to be reunited with Dave Rochell, our original caller all those years ago - see Blog/Early Days.

The band playing their opening tune set
Our caller Dave Rochell strutting his stuff
Looks like the Gay Gordon's dance


July -
Les, our drummer and one of our two callers, is a committee member of Furness Tradition who promote folk arts in the community. Each July they hold a weekend festival, and once again the big band were asked to play the Saturday evening ceilidh. For this event we were a six piece band, with Fiona and Debbie elsewhere. Some great dancing and lots of positive comments about the band made for an excellent evening.
Thanks to Furness Tradition for booking us again, and to Pete Ord for the excellent sound mixing.



February -
It's great that the band has built up a loyal band of supporters over the years. Stephen Coleman is one such as he's been to
countless of our gigs, and so it was lovely that he asked us to play for his special birthday celebrations in St Thomas' church
in Kendal. He really likes our brass section and asked for it specifically, so it was another outing for the Tumbling Tom Big Band.
The band have played there a few times, and its a great venue, with a decent size stage and lots of room for dancing. Fiona
had other engagements and so couldn't make it, so Les called and Iain drummed.
Thanks to Stephen for a lovely evening, with great food and dancing. Happy birthday!

Stephen making his speech of thanks
All ready to start!
Dancing the Circle Schottische
The view from the balcony

January -
Poynton is a fair drive from our home base in South Lakes, but the ceilidhs are such a delight to play for that we looked forward to
our third visit to their series of monthly dances. The great crowd of near capacity were on the floor the whole time. Starting with our
version of Jon Harvisons song 'Turning of the Year', the evening was non-stop dancing. Thanks to Steve and his team.
Steve said afterwards - Thanks for playing at Poynton again. I thought it was a really good night. I had to leave soon after the
interval, but reports are that it continued being a really good night!

The band, with Les hidden.
Dancing 'The Witches Reel'.






















Tumbling Tom Band 'the ceilidh roots dance band for people out there'

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Band Blog - 2019/2020