Separating Derbyshire, folk music and Mick Peat is a pointless exercise— they are so inextricably linked.
Ripley born Mick was a time-served master craftsman—as it said on his truck—M.J.Peat Traditional Builder. Having witnessed Harry Webb playing his first gig as Cliff Richard at Ripley’s Regal Ballroom beyond thousands of us give thanks the magnet of folk music attracted him. He began performing at Alfreton’s Upstairs Cellar in the 60’s before setting up his own folk club and with The Ripley Wayfarers toured professionally with numerous tv and radio broadcasts, recording 6 albums over a 25 year period.
Mick’s next venture, alongside Barry Coope, was the highly acclaimed Rogues Gallery who went on to perform and create the music score for The Northern Mysteries in a record-breaking run at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre coincidentally in a version by John Tams. Mick was one of the longest serving presenters and best—known voices on BBC Radio Derby with his Folkwaves show—a 25 year tenure syndicated across the East Midlands. Following the tragic Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 The Derbyshire Volunteers was formed and remains on-going—a free-giving assembly of local musicians intent on raising charitable funding and Mick was the first in line often referring to himself with his usual self-deprecation as Private Peat when Field Marshall was nearer his rank.
More recently as a successful promoter he established the Derby Folk Festival, building it to achieve national status, annually breaking records and massively improving the local economy. Mick holds the Andy Potter Award for Services to Community Arts and was recently awarded the prestigious “Gold Badge” the highest order of The English Folk Dance and Song Society.
He lived for many years in Fritchley, Derbyshire in a cottage he largely built himself with his wife Celia and lots of cats. A service officiated by Canon Dave Perkins, a fellow musician and vicar to the Duke of Devonshire will be held at Fritchley Methodist Chapel. Had these been normal times Derby Cathedral would have been filled. Not unusual for Mick—a full house!
Some words from our patron
When I think of Derby, I think of Mick. When I think of John Tams and Coope, Boyes and Simpson, I think of Mick. When I think of War Horse, the concert, with John Tams and Barry Coope, or of Private Peaceful, the concert, I think of Mick, of the warmth and generosity we always received from Mick and Celia, after our long journeys up from Devon to Derby. And oh, the rolls, the huge ham rolls, the crisps, the beer, the biscuits. Always a feast of forbidden food!
He worked tirelessly to make a success of every concert we did, filled halls like no one else, ironed out this problem or that, made them go away. With Mick there we always went on stage in good heart, full of good cheer.
But above all he was passionate about folk, folk people, folk song, the people and the music. What times he gave us. How we shall miss him.
Michael & Claire Morpurgo
Tunes for our builder
For Mick's 80th birthday, his friends composed and performed a pair of tunes for him: One For Mick and The Traditional Builder. We would love to share these with you, so that you can learn and play them in his memory.
They were performed here by the Derbyshire Volunteers featuring Sarah Matthews (Fiddles), Doug Eunson (Melodeon), John Adams (Mandolin & Electric Guitar), Fi Fraser (Fiddle & Hammered Dulcimer), Jo Freya (Saxes), Pete Bullock (Baritone Sax), Alan Squires (Trombone) and Barry Coope (Keyboard, Cajon & Programming). They were written by Sarah Matthews and Fi Fraser
Mick touched so many people's lives. Here are some of the many kinds words that have been sent to us about him. We will keep building this wall in his memory so if you would like to add a stone, please Get in touch.
The Mick Peat Drystone Bursary
Mick was passionate about many things during his marvellous 80 year life and was President of recently founded Drystone Arts a not-for-profit enterprise, building community and the arts throughout Derbyshire. "The Mick Peat Drystone Bursary" has been established to raise funds to encourage and facilitate creativity in all its forms and bring people together.
Mick's children Garry & Maxine, said Dad would be "chuffed to bits" that his legacy continues to support this fantastic cause.