Barry has been involved in folk music and song for the past fifty years and divides his time between a number of folk-related activities. Together with his wife, Gill, he ran the Luton Folk Club from 1974 to 1981, and was an organiser of the Luton Folk Festival in the 1980s and into the 90s. Barry is now an organiser of Unicorn Ceilidhs, a monthly ceilidh series held in Baldock, Herts.
Barry and Gill present an illustrated talk entitled "Good Morning, Lords and Ladies", introducing some of the more unusual calendar customs of England with songs and pictures - ideal for clubs, societies, WIs and any organisation that regularly engages speakers. A second talk, "Traditional Treasures", is now available, exploring more "quirky" English customs, again with songs and pictures.
Barry was part of the Fatea award-winning song duo, Life and Times, together with Graeme Meek, for over thirty years, leaving to pursue a solo career in 2015. Barry sings songs from the English tradition as well as some of his own compositions and songs from other writers, accompanied by melodeon, concertina or guitar, and sometimes not accompanied at all!
Barry plays and calls in the English Ceilidh band, Time of Your Life. He’s also called with a host of other bands, including The Old Swan Band, Random, Stomp, Whapweasel, Chalktown, Tickled Pink, The Simon Care Trio, Gloworms, Peeping Tom, Steamchicken, Gas Mark Five, Phoenix Dance Band, The Watch, The Valiant Dance Band, Asha, Polkaworks, Banter, The Pigeon Swing, Geckoes, Cock & Bull and The English String Band. Festivals he’s called at include Sidmouth, Towersey, Chippenham, Whitby, Shepley, Bromyard, Dartmoor, Ely, Shrewsbury, Folk East, St Neots, Broadstairs, Whittlesey, Wimborne, and Oxford Folk Weekend.
He danced with Redbornstoke Morris of Ampthill in Bedfordshire from 1977 until their retirement in 2018, and has been a musician for The Outside Capering Crew, Rockhopper Morris and Bedfordshire Lace. Barry has won the John Gasson Jig Competition at Sidmouth Folk Festival/Folk Week as musician in 1999 and 2003 (with Simon Pipe dancing) and the Over-40 section (coming third overall) in 2008 singing(!) for Adrian Williams. From 2010 to 2014 Barry was President of the Morris Federation, representing over 450 Morris sides throughout the UK.
For many years Barry was an organiser of The Hertfordshire Folk Association's Summer Dance Festival, at which as many as 500+ children danced together in the grounds of Hatfield House. He also runs Folk Dance Workshops for teachers and children. He was awarded the Bill Ranscombe Award by the Hertfordshire Folk Association in 2006 for valuable services to English Folk Music, Dance and Song.
Each year Barry is involved in the New Roots competition, together with Alison Macfarlane of St. Albans Folk Music. This competition is for young folk and roots musicians under the age of 25, and always produces a wonderful crop of new young artists, all of whom are rewarded with performance opportunities for appearing in the finals.
In 2013/14, Barry participated in the nationwide Full English education project, working with Graeme Meek and Patrick Dean at Loughton School in Milton Keynes,
and he has also worked on a number of other Arts Council and Heritage Lottery funded projects. As Life and Times, Barry and Graeme presented music, history and traditional
customs to primary school children in the form of interactive shows with role-play, choruses to sing and visual presentation, from 2006 to 2012.
As an MC, Barry has worked at Sidmouth, Towersey, Chippenham, Cheltenham, Broadstairs and Shepley Festivals.
Barry is a member of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, The EFDSS Folk Educators Group and The Association of Festival Organisers.
Strawplait and Bonelace – Life and Times – Fellside FE043
Shropshire Iron – Life and Times – Fellside FE071
A Select Few – Time of Your Life – Limited Edition
Charivari – Life and Times – Wixamtree WIX051
Grandson of Morris On – Ashley Hutchings et al – Talking Elephant TECD038
Keep Dancing – Compilation incl. Time of Your Life – EFDSS EDCD07
Where the Working Boats Went – Life and Times – Wixamtree WIX052
Marston Vale – Life and Times – Limited Edition
Sands of Time – Life and Times – Wixamtree WIXD104