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With a resume that reads folk singer, comedian, writer, broadcaster, fell-walker and fly-fisherman; it’s hard to pigeon-hole Mike Harding.
But he’ll be focussing on comedy for a month straight after Easter when he’s off on his 4th tour in two years; starting on April 3 with the first of two nights in one of the country’s smallest venues, the 70-seat Shed at Brawby, near Malton. (already sold out we’re afraid)
That’s followed by a trip to Lancashire with an April 5 date at the 500-seat, newly-refurbished, Oldham Coliseum, after which he heads north to the Alnwick Playhouse before returning to Yorkshire with appearances in Hebden Bridge and Harrogate, (also sold out) then Whitby and Bridlington.
The Sage at Gateshead is next on the agenda followed by appearances in Preston and Runcorn, and then more sold out Yorkshire dates in Ilkley, Selby and Penistone.
The deep south – well the Midlands – is featured in the tour with dates in Peterborough, Mansfield, Solihull and Newcastle-under-Lyme, winding up with a return to Lancaster, followed by a trip to Lincolnshire to visit Gainsborough and, finally, Boston.
Mike’s been described by Billy Connelly as the “funniest man in England” and acclaimed by his peers as the “grandfather of alternative comedy” and his recent tours have proved the point with sell out shows all over the country.
Mike returned to touring two years ago after a 15 year absence from the stage to concentrate on writing and broadcasting. In that time he racked up a total of 40 books and plays published and built up Radio 2’s weekly folk show from an audience of less that 100,000 to almost a million.
But as his fans know to their cost, he was axed by the BBC at Christmas with the excuse that they wanted to play folk music more in tune with the daytime output of Radio 2.
Undeterred, he’s launched the Mike Harding Folk Show on the internet featuring a combination of new releases and classic tracks which have stood the test of time.
“I’ll also be looking out for raw new talent from the folk, roots and acoustic music scene,” he says, “so please leave a posting on the Guest Book page if you come across anything that you think might be good on the show.”
Mike’s new tour also signals a change of direction in that despite selling out 1,000-seat venues such as Blackpool Grand and York Opera House in recent visits he’s now decided to restrict himself mainly to smaller theatres in order to retain the intimacy of his performance.