At The Barrier pays tribute to Mick Peat – Doyen of the Derbyshire folk scene
At The Barrier was saddened to read, this week, of the passing of Mick Peat, former member of The Ripley Wayfarers and Rogue’s Gallery and a nationally admired musician, singer and presenter on the folk scene. Mick played guitar and melodion and was famed for his rich, bass singing voice that so enriched the harmony singing of his various groups.
Born in Ripley, Derbyshire, Mick was a frequent performer in the local folk clubs during the 1960s and he went on to establish his own club. He was a founding member of The Ripley Wayfarers, a group whose line up he was to grace for a career spanning 27 years and six much-loved albums. The Wayfarers’ arrangement of the Irish traditional song Rose of Allendale has been acknowledged by John Tams as the inspiration for The Home Service’s version of the song, featured on their seminal Alright Jack album.
After the Wayfarers, Mick worked with Barry Coope in Rogue’s Gallery and was a frequent participant in the often fluid line up of Coope, Boyes and Simpson – all of this in addition to presenting radio Derby’s Folkwaves show for 25 years, establishing and taking leading roles in the organisation of Derby Folk Festival and The Amber Folk Festival of the Peak, promoting many folk events throughout Derbyshire and performing the role of Dance Director at Whitby Folk Week. His most recent involvement with the folk movement was as Founding President of Drystone, a not-for-profit venture, established to rebuild the arts in Derbyshire in the wake of the ongoing COVID pandemic. He was, without doubt, a keystone of the folk movement, both locally and nationally.
Mick’s contribution to folk was recognised in 2020 by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) when the society awarded its highest honour, the Gold Badge, to Mick for his outstanding contributions to folk music, dance and song. Deserved recognition indeed.
Heartfelt tributes to Mick have poured onto countless internet forums. Drystone noted that “Separating Derbyshire, folk music and Mick Peat is a pointless exercise” and long-time friend, John Tams said “The stage has emptied, the lights are dimmed, but we will capture his flame and carry it forward. He will forever be our guide and inspiration and always in our thoughts.” Perhaps most poignantly, Mick’s wife Celia donated the simple epithet: A Derbyshire Gentleman and a Derbyshire Gentle Man.
I was a resident of Derbyshire from 1985 to 1996 and, as a habitué of the local folk scene, I was extremely grateful to Mick for bringing acts like Ralph McTell, Vin Garbutt, Barbara Dickson, Bernard Wrigley, Chris Wood & Andy Cutting, Steve Tilston and Bellowhead to the area. Particularly so because a favoured venue for many of the concerts he promoted was the upstairs room of my local, the Queen’s Head in Belper! I was also very happy to note that, even back then, the Peat legacy was already becoming well established – Mick’s nephew James was a talented musician and performer with Ripley Morris Men and with my own side, Heanor’s White Boar Morris.
A bursary for young artists has been set up in Mick’s name by John Tams and Drystone and donations are invited to help support it and develop young folk musicians – you can donate by visiting https://www.justgiving/crowdfunding/mickpeat
Mick Peat passed away on 22nd January 2021, after a short illness. He was 80 years old. He will be greatly missed and we at At The Barrier offer our sincere condolences and best wishes to Mick’s family. Thank you Mick Peat.
Watch the video of Coope, Boyes and Simpson – with Mick Peat – performing Bully in the Alley here: Mick is on the right.