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By Ted Steven's

Folk News

August 1977

Steeleye Span are backing Britain! Following a refusal by new members Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick to cancel any more British gigs. The band has postponed its proposed Australian tour and will instead play for the first time during an English coast to coast tour expected to begin in Taunton on Tuesday August 9. That was when the Australian tour was originally scheduled to start but the Australian promoter asked for the commencement to be brought forward to the beginning of the month. This would have meant Martin Carthy dropping out of the Cambridge and Rotherham festivals and John Kirkpatrick cancelling an appearance with his Morris team, the Shropshire Bedlam's at Sidmouth. This they both refused to do.

Hence the British debut tour, which is expected to also take in Plymouth (August 10), Hove (11), Ipswich (12), Peterborough (13), Great Yarmouth (14), Wolverhampton (16), Hanley (17), Halifax,(19), Blackpool (21), and Harrogate (23). All these dates are subject to confirmation. No information was available at press time about any possible London or other big city dates.

Nothing has been decided about the support act for the tour except that it will be British and is expected to be a band rather than a solo artist. A spokesperson for Wizard Records, Steeleye's management company, told Folk News that the Australian tour had to be postponed because the Australian end of the operation wanted more dates which the band was unable to offer due to pressure of rehearsals.

The tour kept getting shorter and shorter so we decided to wait till later when it could be done thoroughly, it was stated. It will now take place after an extensive tour of Europe in September, followed by an American trip. This sudden about-turn in the band's plans is sure to please their massive British following who were very keen to hear the new Steeleye after the surprise announcement last month that Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick were to replace Bob Johnson and Peter Knight.

Steeleye's extensive rehearsals are understood to be going very well, with a mixture of old and new material in the set. The band has been practising solidly throughout July and they are now adding the finishing touches to the show. It is understood that a mummer play sequence is being incorporated into the act, with each member dressing up and assuming separate roles. This is a revival of a popular feature of Steeleye shows in the recent past, the dropping of which had provoked disappointment and criticism from fans.

Folk News

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