The Travelling Folk


The Travelling Folk (TTF) is a travelling folk club for West Kent and East Sussex. We don't meet regularly in one venue but gather in pre-selected pubs around the area on the first and third Thursdays of each month to enjoy ourselves and to bring folk music to those who may not have had the opportunity of experiencing a live folk session before. |



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Den Giddens 1920 – 2012

Den wears his TTF sweatshirt with pride

Den died (he hated expressions such as 'passed away') at Truro hospital on Saturday 8 September 2012 after a fairly short illness. Den was one of the best loved and appreciated performers on the folk scene and was a regular at TTF sessions from the mid 80s until 2009 when, due to failing health, he moved down to Cornwall to be with his very supportive family.

He was my best man in 1996 when Steph and I were married and I think Steph was quite concerned especially as he tried to convince her it was his duty to prepare the bride the night before the wedding! In fact, in typical Den style, he was left behind due to an unscheduled loo visit and I had to go back to the house for him! The day he died was our 16th anniversary and was, therefore, all the more poignant.

Though essentially an unaccompanied singer Den (until his hearing was too restrictive) played many a mean tune on his melodeon, which he later, generously, passed to me. I was impressed by the 'Pollards Oak Polka' (his house was in Pollards Oak Road) that he composed. Sadly he lost his only recording of the tune!

Of course there were times when we saw too much of Den via his infamous stripping song! He loved to shock his audience; who can forget his 'Aylesbury Duck' joke!
I always thought of Den as the 'icing on our cake' he was a complete 'one off' appreciated by old and young for his outlandish humour, common sense and kindness. Yes, there will never be another like him, he led a full life and will be remembered very fondly by his family and friends as long as they have breath.

Terry King - 12 September 2012


TTF Collection for The Grant Rule Trust

Once again TTF members decided not to send or give each other Christmas cards and this is the third year now that we have done a collection for a charity instead. This year, at our very successful Christmas Carols evening at the Bush, Blackbird & Thrush in East Peckham on 15th December, our collection was for The Grant Rule Trust. Well over £70 was collected and this enabled TTF to donate £100 to this newly created trust.

The Grant Rule Trust

18 December 2011

Grant Rule – 1953 to 2011

Grant, who attended many TTF sessions over the last 20 years or so mainly with his wife Sue, died tragically in a boating accident on 23rd October. His will be a tremendous loss to the folk scene but of course even more so to his family.

A sad but uplifting humanist memorial service was held at St John’s United Reformed Church, Marsh Green on Friday 18th November attended by over 200 family and friends, with a wake at the Kentish Horse, Mark Beech. The service will not be forgotten by those present who heard of all the many inspirational skills that Grant possessed and used to the full.

In the folk world Grant will be remembered mainly for his immense contribution to 'Pigs Ear' the family group that involved Sue, brother Keith and daughter Lyndsey. Their annual 'Folk Ale' weekend festival at Mark Beech is now an established event attracting top named guests.

Grant's family have set up the Grant Rule Trust to further the many things that Grant was passionate about in his life and TTF propose running a fund raising evening in the New Year to help.

24 November 2011

Donald Downs – died earlier this year (2011)

Donald truly was a larger than life character who brought colour to the many TTF sessions that he attended, mainly in the 80s and 90s. He was easily recognised with his handle-bar moustache, tweed jacket, breeches with gartered socks and brogues. Not forgetting the drinking vessel that hung around his neck!

Donald was a prolific writer of prose, often witty and sometimes close to the knuckle. When not performing he was often seen sketching fellow performers or audience. The current TTF logo was in fact designed and signed by Donald and is a small testament to his many skills including that of fly fishing, having lectured and written several books on the subject.

24 November 2011

Isfield 2011

Report and photos.

21 October 2011

Snargate 2011

Pictures posted.

4 May 2011

On the WWW map

The Travelling Folk web is currently coming up in first place when googling "Travelling Folk".

15 April 2011

New TTF website

The TTF launches a new website. This is it!

11 April 2011


Harvest Supper - Demelza House

On Saturday 23rd October Travelling Folk teamed up with Marlings Morris to provide entertainment at the splendid Kippington Church hall in Sevenoaks.

Some of the audience dressed up as scarecrows and aunt sally's and the organisers cooked a delicious supper of chicken, potatoes & veg with a wonderful choice of home made fruit pies to follow.

TTF played music as the guests arrived and then after the meal sang and played hearty tunes in keeping with the harvest festival. By this time the meal had settled and Marlings Morris danced their clogs off - well almost. The evening concluded with the raffle and answers to the quiz.

It was a highly successful evening and a handsome sum was raised by the organisers for the charity Demelza House.

Travelling Folk and Marlings Morris are proud to have given their services for free.

MS Society - Southborough

On the 20th October Terry and Steph King were asked to perform at this event and it was with great pleasure that we accepted.

Terry, unfortunately, hadn't been well but a quick change to the programme and all was well. We sang and played music for about forty minutes finishing with a medley of war time songs just as Den would have done.

The quote from the thank you card reads: Your singing, playing and jokes were lovely and we all enjoyed it very much.

We certainly took great pleasure in doing this one.

Tenterden Folk Festival

On Sunday 3rd October 2010 TTF were again invited to run a singing and music session at The Vine Inn as part of the festival. This was our fourth official appearance at Tenterden and we all felt that this year our expectations were again exceeded. The organisers have expressed their wish that we take part in the 2011 festival.

Den Giddens pictured on his CD

Den Giddens goes west!

One of the best known folk charactors in the country, Den, graced TTF sessions for over two decades. He was the icing on our cake, providing terrific entertainment to old and young alike. A legend in his own lunchtime, notorious for his stripping song!

Den decided to spend his retirement in warmer climes with his family in Cornwall and went west in Autumn 2009. A recent visit to him showed him in good spirits and still singing the odd song or two.

If you want a contact number for him please speak to us. He would love to hear from you.

Den celebrated his 90th birthday in June 2010 which some of us attended. His 'Old Time Religion' went down well with a record number of Giddettes.


Folk Roots Tour Blog

Read a blog written by Mark about his visit to a TTF session at the Junction Inn, Groombridge in May 2009

As our sessions are held in various pubs around West Kent/East Sussex, each one can vary depending on those of Travelling Folk who come along. This means that every session is unique but they are always happy and lively with a generally relaxed air.


Clun Green Man Festival

This year a contingent of Travelling Folk were invited to run some singing & music sessions in The Sun Pub as part of this very successful festival. The organisers were highly delighted with the sessions, as were many of the locals, who generally listened very attentively. A return visit has been requested via David and Jenny Wright who live in this picturesque Shropshire market town and were our hosts.


Upton upon Severn Folk Festival

Unite & Unite & let us all Unite for summer is a come untoday 2006...

At the last minute TTF went to Upton Upon Severn May Weekend Folk Festival which nearly didn't happen. We helped with a folk session and there was much singing in the pubs with some dancing in the streets. It was a most enjoyable weekend and we are looking forward to meeting up again with our new friends next year.

Upton is a delightful small town devoid of the usual repetitive chain stores that clone most high streets these days. The river Severn flows by the town to add interest and touch of serenity. But back to the festival which this year whilst smaller was still a thriving affair.