THERE’S plenty to choose from around the region’s folk venues in the week ahead, starting tonight, when the legendary Bolton Bullfrog, Bernard Wrigley is at The Copper Beech in Darlington. As well as having a fine reputation as a singer and instrumentalist, Bernard is a familiar face from his TV and film appearances on shows like Coronation Street and especially with the late Victoria Wood. Get there early to be sure of seat.

Tomorrow I’ll be back almost on home ground with my duo partner Steve Tilston at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, where we’ll be playing songs from our recent joint album, along with a few old favourites thrown in. Also tomorrow, Sedgefield Cricket Club has their last concert of the season, with Blue Horizon, John Weighill, Gina D’Oyle, Holky Folkies and The John Wrightson Band, while down at The Arc in Stockton, award-winning duo Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar will be making a rare local appearance. Friday also boasts the monthly meeting of Hartlepool Headland Folk Club at The Duke of Cleveland, where Iain Glover and Joolz Cavell are the main attraction.

Next Tuesday’s choice is between Tom McConville and Dave Newey at The Cutty Wren, held at Redcar Bowling Club, and top Scottish band The Shee at Gateshead’s Sage. Next week, I’ll be giving you the low down on the BBC Folk Awards from London’s Royal Albert Hall, which many of you will have already seen and heard broadcast by now. Strange to think, when the awards started all those years ago, the BBC originally wanted to hold the event in the backroom of a pub in Camden Town.

Finally, another sad farewell, this time to Dave Hutchinson, known for many years as part of popular local duo Nebula. His voice and enthusiasm will be missed by us all around the local scene.