November -

A week earlier than usual due to town hall booking problems, the final ceilidh of the year was the long anticipated Crook
Morris Christmas ceilidh in Kendal Town Hall. With missing last year due to lockdown, the big band were really keen to
get out there and play. Unfortunately, after much practicing and rehearsing, our tenor sax player Debbie succumbed to
Covid and so had to isolate. Hence the brass section was reduced to Rose on trumpet and Claire on alto sax.
With Covid still around, the decision was taken to reduce the numbers in the hall,which had the benefit of allowing more
room for dancing.

Tumbling Tom were celebrating 40 years of playing - see our early history here - and to mark the occasion the band
started the evening singing a song called Rubydoo written by Les. Also to celebrate their 40 years, Fiona wrote a 40 bar
dance called The Rubicon, and the band played their version of the 40 bar tune Bowzabella.

With two singing spots from the Revellers, and one from Crook Morris, also celebrating 40 years, it was another excellent

Crook Morris said afterwards - We had a fantastic Christmas ceilidh on Saturday evening celebrating 40 years of Crook Morris as well as 40 years of the brilliant Tumbling Tom Big Band

Below are the band getting the evening underway with Les's song Rubydoo.

Below, the band are playing their version of the Cliff Hornpipe for the dance written by Les called Tumbling Tom's Tonic.

Crook Morris

The Revellers singing in one of their two spots.
Our sound man Pete Ord
Crook Morris with their bithday cake


October -

The Castle Green Hotel is a venue that we've played in many times, and this time was to help Becky and Ben celebrate their wedding. A very enthusiastic crowd, there were no problems in filling the dance floor.

Some very creative dancing to one of Fiona's dances can be seen here

Afterwards, Becky said - It was absolutely fantastic, you were wonderful. Everyone has been raving to me about how much fun they had dancing! Thank you for such a marvellous evening. Warm regards, Becky.

September -

The band are really looking forward to playing at the Christmas ceilidh, and below is the poster that Martyn has sent out. It's the bands 40th year of playing, so it should be quite a celebration with lots of 40 related tunes, dances, and songs. Get your ticket soon as it could be a sell out with all the pent-up demand.


We made a return visit to Leighton Hall to help Nina and her husband celebrate their wedding anniversary. As Steve couldn't make it, we had our good friend Norman Bell along to deputise. It was great to be playing again after the pandemic interlude, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Thanks Nina.
Nina said afterwards - You guys made the night Hugh! The Ceilidh was the best bit. Lots of our guests said they thoroughly enjoyed the dancing.

The photo on the right shows Nina and her husband lining up in the centre of a set.
Below left is Les the drummer's view of the dancing, and below right Fiona walking a set through a circle dance.

June -

We're now into June, and starting to accept new bookings at last, mainly weddings. We're starting to look forward to the Christmas ceilidh which this year will be slightly earlier than usual on November 27th. Will it go ahead? Will people feel confident enough? Only time will tell.
Music sessions continue in a mixture of Zoom and small get togethers outside, and we're all looking forward to playing socially inside soon.
Hugh played with four other musicians on the Radio 3 breakfast show on July 12. The program came live from Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale, and featured us playing three local tunes. Bob Ellis also provided background information on the tunes based on his book - There was none of this lazy dancing

Here we are with the presenter Petroc Trelawny



2020 -
With the Covid pandemic ripping the heart out of normal social activity, it's not surprising to say that we haven't played any ceilidhs this year. All the bookings we had were cancelled, leaving us without any gigs for the first time in our nearly 40 years of playing. We continue 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 Barbara 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 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 car park 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 for details). Also, we made a music video in order to show our support for the key workers in our community (
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 (
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 (
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 (, attended a few online sessions, watched my daughter Kath’s daily tune (, 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).

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

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Band Blog - 2020/2021