Blackbeard's Tea Party

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Blackbeard's Tea Party
Blackbeard's Tea Party, Towersey 2018.jpg
Closing concert at Towersey Festival 2018.
L-R Laura, Yom, Dave, Stuart, Martin, Tim
Background information
GenresBritish folk rock, Tech Folk
Years active2009–present
LabelsAdastra, Proper Music Distribution
Associated actsThe Albion Band, Stuart Giddens & Pip Jopling, The QP, The Axis Percussion Trio, The Dan Webster Band
MembersLaura Barber, Dave Boston, Martin Coumbe, Stuart Giddens, Liam 'Yom' Hardy, Tim Yates
Past membersPaul Young (2009-2011)

Blackbeard's Tea Party are a contemporary Folk Rock band based in York, UK. The 6 person band plays a mix of traditional folk songs as well as covers of more recent songs from the folk genre. They are also known for their instrumental arrangements of traditional and modern folk tunes, as well as self-penned instrumental material. Blackbeard's Tea Party function as both a concert and ceilidh band and have become well known on the English festival circuit, having performed at mainstream festivals including the Glastonbury Festival, Larmer Tree Festival & Bingley Music Live,[1] as well as folk festivals such as Fairport's Cropredy Convention, Towersey Festival and the Cambridge, Shrewsbury & Sidmouth folk festivals.[2]


Early years and ‘Heavens To Betsy’: 2009-2011[edit]

The band originally formed after Paul Young and Laura Barber decided to put together a ceilidh and busking band in order to make money to supplement their income. The other members were asked to join and were either friends from University or previous bandmates from other bands.

Their first act was to record the EP ‘Heaven’s To Betsy’ as promotional material to send to ceilidh clubs and festivals. In order to fill space on the EP four songs that has been loosely arranged beforehand by Paul, Martin, Tim and Yom were added. This led to Blackbeard's Tea Party performing as a concert band as well as a ceilidh band.[3]

The EP was released on 27 November by the band with a gig at the Melbourne Pub in York. In the months that followed the band promoted it heavily by busking,[3] playing concerts and festival appearances in 2010 at Beverley Folk Festival and Galtres Festival. The track ‘High Barbary’ was played on Mike Harding’s Folk Show on BBC Radio 2.[4] The EP received a small amount of critical praise, gaining a positive review in R2 Magazine[5]

‘Tomorrow We’ll Be Sober’: 2011-2013[edit]

Throughout 2011 Blackbeard’s Tea Party cemented their reputation as a formidable festival act with performances at Sidmouth, Shrewsbury, Galtres, Beverley Folk Festival as well as appearances at numerous smaller festivals.

Throughout this period they were also busy recording their debut full length album ‘Tomorrow We’ll be Sober’. It was produced by the band's bassist Tim Yates and like ‘Heaven’s To Betsy’ was self-released with no professional backing. The band released the album on 22 October 2011 at a gig at The Duchess venue in their home town of York. The album was critically received well with positive reviews in numerous Folk magazines[6] and websites[7][8] including a 5-star review in R2.[9]

Shortly after the release of ‘Tomorrow We’ll Be Sober’ Paul Young left the band and was replaced by Stuart Giddens.

2012 involved another prolific festival run for the band, with repeat performances at Sidmouth and Shrewsbury as well as a successful appearance at Cambridge Folk Festival and many others.

‘Whip Jamboree’: 2013 – present[edit]

Blackbeard's Tea Party at Fairport's Cropredy Convention 2014

On 7 November 2012 Blackbeard's Tea Party posted a photo of Yom's Cajon in a recording studio on their Facebook page. Shortly after they revealed that work on their next full-length album had begun. It was released on 8 April 2013, followed by the band's first UK headline tour.[10] Initial response to the album has been positive, with the song 'The Valiant Turpin' receiving airplay on numerous BBC Radio Shows[11][12] as well as Mike Harding's podcast.

They continued to tour the album throughout 2013 and the early part of 2014, before embarking on their biggest run of festivals to date, with 20 performances over the summer. During this festival season, the band made their first overseas appearances, with performances at the Costa Del Folk Festival in Spain, and the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak, Borneo.[13] This summer also saw them reaching out to a wider fan-base with shows at large festivals including the Glastonbury Festival and Fairport's Cropredy Convention (where they played to a sell out audience of 20,000 people).

After appearing at Towersey Festival for the second time in 2017, they were invited back to play the main stage 'finale' in 2018. Talking to the festival in 2017, Stuart discussed the band and their relationship with the wider folk scene, saying: "We have always been on the 'naughty step' of folk music." [14]

Band members[edit]

Stuart Giddens and Laura Barber

Current members[edit]

L-R: Dave Boston, Martin Coumbe and Tim Yates

Past members[edit]



  • Tomorrow We’ll Be Sober (2011)
  • Whip Jamboree (2013)
  • Reprobates (2015)


  • Heavens To Betsy (2009)
  • Leviathan! (2018)


  1. ^ The Huffington Post
  2. ^ R2 Magazine. 2 (33): 32. May – June 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b Hardwick, Oz (July – August 2011). R2 Magazine. 2 (28): 24. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Hardwick, Oz (May – June 2011). R2 Magazine. 2 (27): 99. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Jones, Simon (May 2012). Froots Magazine. 347: 64. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Hardwick, Oz (January – February 2012). R2 Magazine. 2 (31): 71. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ R2 Magazine. 2 (37): 48. January – February 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ The Borneo Post
  14. ^ Towersey Festival newsletter, My Towersey: Blackbeard's Tea Party, interview, 4 May 2017,

External links[edit]