Unicorn Magazine has been supporting folk music and dance since its foundation by Alan Creamer and Theo Thomas in 1983. Some 30 years later, new editors took over when Alan retired and since Autumn 2019 Sandra Lawes ran the publication single-handed. Sandra has now handed over the responsibility for Unicorn Magazine to me* but still gets involved and I value her advice and continued input.
Covid-19 and other factors have made it almost impossible to continue producing the printed magazine so, with Sandra’s agreement and support I have changed the format to an online website in a bid to carry on supporting the folk community.
The new online community is known as Unicorn Folk and it will aim to continue the relationship of trust that has been built up over many years between the publication and its advertisers and contributors. The key focus will be on the traditional Unicorn catchment area of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and parts of north London. However, the online format will also make the website accessible to advertisers and folk enthusiasts in other parts of the UK.
Future aims: The arts industry, music in general and the folk world in particular have all been affected by the Covid pandemic. Finances are even tighter for folk organisations now and the viability of folk musicians and venues has been adversely affected. In order to counter one aspect of this unwelcome situation I am aiming to run Unicorn Folk effectively as a not-for-profit organisation for the moment. Existing ‘free’ listings in Unicorn Magazine will continue to be free on the Unicorn Folk website and extended in range, and the cost of other advertisements has been cut substantially. However, I am trying to keep the principle of paid advertisements alive in order to fund the operation so that it may be handed over to someone else in due course as will be necessary at some stage given that I am 70 (just! :).
If you have read this far then I would be very grateful to anyone who spreads the word about Unicorn Folk to potential viewers, folk audiences, musicians and Morris and Dance sides who are entitled to a FREE listing of their activities if they submit details in the requested format.
I am grateful to Creative Royston for currently allowing the free use of their website hosting services which are provided by LCN.com. Whilst that situation continues any profit, net of some costs and expenses, from the Unicorn Folk website will be donated to Creative Royston on an annual basis. I will not take any personal payment for the maintenance and administration of the website.
Creative Royston is a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by unpaid volunteers whose main aim is to stage Royston Arts Festival (including Royston MusicFest) each year and to promote the arts in general in Royston and the surrounding area. http://www.creativeroyston.org/
Thank you to anyone who supports Unicorn Folk in any way at all whether you be advertiser, reader, organiser, musician, dancer or general folk enthusiast!
Carl Filby, 2022
* Biographical note: I really did fall in love with folk music after listening to Fairport’s ‘Liege & Lief’ album, bought unheard on a whim from a friend. I Morris-danced my way through a Sociology course at Bath University in the ’70s organising numerous Ceilidhs, dance sessions and a summer tour of Jersey along the way. I started Royston MusicFest in 2016 as part of Royston Arts Festival and I am currently the ‘Chair’ of Creative Royston. I built and administer this and the arts festival and MusicFest websites along with that of Royston Arts Society, the last three of which were part of the online Royston Arts Festival in 2020. I can often be found hanging around Royston Live (Folk Club as was) and organised the judging of their Young Folk Artist Competitions in 2017 & 2018 both supported by Creative Royston which put up the second prize of £250. There are plans afoot to repeat this exercise in 2022.