Traditional Music Day 2023 – Report from HQ – For a short film excerpt of the day click on the above link

For a copy of the programme see below:

The big event of the EATMT year, Traditional Music Day was held in Stowmarket on Saturday 2nd September.  After 6 years of organising, thwarted by the pandemic and then the death of the Queen, EATMT Chair, Ivan Cutting and other Trustees officially opened the Music Day festivities, which took place in 15 venues/sites around the centre of Stowmarket with over 200 performers and artists involved. 

Ivan Cutting opens Traditional Music Day
Credit G Wade
Trustee Lindsay Want joins the opening with fellow musicians Poppy Price-Dowhan & Bryony Elinor
Credit G Wade
Green Dragon Morris at Traditional Music Day
Credit SJG Event Photography

There were lots of free events aimed at a local audience as well as ticketed events for the more seasoned trad/folk enthusiast and the whole day and evening created a wonderful atmosphere across the town.  Town, District and County council support helped make this event happen and they were delighted with the outcomes as were the local retail community. 

Stepdance Workshop
Broom Dance Workshop
More Stepdancing
Jig Dolls
Have a Go Melodeon
Puppet Show
Tune Workshop
Morris Dancers

Credit: SJG Event Photography

Under the Artistic Director Alan Bearman’s expert direction, there was a strong leaning towards showcasing East Anglian music, song and dance traditions but also showcased were a number of performers who are very much on the national scene. 

An Afternoon with Tony Hall
Credit SJG Event Photography
Sound Tradition
Credit G Wade
Racker Donnelly – RackerJacq
Jacquelyn Hines – RackerJacq
Dick Miles
Credit S Harry
Mr Walsh’s Wonders
Credit S Harry
Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
Credit SJG Event Photography
SJG Event Photography

Our final official event as part of the Trust’s Vaughan Williams’ Folk project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund took place in the John Peel Centre featuring the second Showcase Performance from our Young musicians. Seven of our nine original musicians joined us, with Elye and Anna away on music courses in Romania and Sweden respectively, and so we were delighted to have Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne deputise in their place. All musicians worked together incredibly mindfully and professionally in order to make this work and once again, the audience was delighted with the showcase.

You can watch this performance HERE:

We held a reception for family members and key project participants after this performance and showed our Schools and Communities Film which documented the majority of workshops delivered for this project in Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Edited and produced by our sound expert Jake Lee-Savage, this can be viewed below:

There was something for everyone programmed into the day and evening. The numerous Morris and Molly dance sides that took to their various dance spots throughout the day were a vibrant and colourful addition to the town with the sound of bells, clogs, crashing sticks and squeezeboxes filling the air throughout the day.

If joining in on music and song sessions were your thing, then there were opportunities to do this, alternatively there were organised sessions showcasing musicians from across the region to listen and dance to. There were numerous concerts to choose from, several workshops to drop in to, multiple performances including storytelling and puppet show sessions, specialised talks and exhibitions timetabled in throughout the day with music making continuing into the evening in various venues across the town.

Local musician Heather Bexon kicks things off at the Pallet Bar
All Aboard the Charabanc with Katie Howson
Blaxhall Ship Exhibition

We also were grateful to our stall holders who set up shop in the Church grounds:

Ward Violins, Fiddle Daemons, One Row Records, Veteran, Communities Together East Anglia (including the Stowmarket Rickshaw), local vintage clothes stall Second Coming Clothing and local auctioneers Bishop & Miller.

Rod Ward of Ward Violins

For a copy of the event programme see below:


EATMT are indebted to the Working Party who came together in advance of this event to share their experiences and wisdom which was invaluable in putting this event together. We are also extremely grateful to the additional volunteers who helped out on the day. 

Our local venues provided some wonderful outlets for our performers and we are very grateful for their generosity in welcoming musicians and audiences alike.  Huge thanks to The John Peel Centre & 11 Market Place, The Royal British Legion, The Walnut, The Queens Head, The Pallet Bar, Bonitas, The Stowmarket Scout group and Asda. In addition thanks to the Stowmarket Town Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Stowmarket based District Councillors and Cllr Keith Welham via Suffolk County Council’s Locality Funding for advice, guidance and support over the past few years. We are also grateful for the support of local Alfred Williams Charitable Trust.

Plans are afoot for next year’s event and the Working Party have met up for a debrief and ideas going forward. The date of this will be confirmed very shortly. If you’d like to get involved and join the Working Party leading up to this event or volunteer as a steward on the day, please get in touch. We’re keen to hear from you!