Clare and Ken Penny had been to a Song and Ale weekend in Hampshire, and when it was over they were told that the site on which it had been held was up for sale, so could they hold the next one at Westland, their home? This was agreed, but after a few years the event became too large for the site, and a move was made to the nearby Black Dog Inn with its larger facilities.
As a result of a change of ownership at the Black Dog Inn, the 2005 event was held in the village and pub where Pennymoor Singaround started some 30 years ago - at the Cruwys Arms, Pennymoor. In 2009 we returned to The Black Dog, but subsequently in 2012 we changed to The London Inn, Morchard Bishop - with a small village shop, and camping facilities, where we have been ever since.
Although the venue changes, the notion is the same as ever.
The Song and Ale is targeted at people who wish to sing and make music themselves, have fun, and are keen to join in with other people who wish to do the same. Most important, the supportive atmosphere encourages many to start singing It is very much a community based Folk Festival, (no guests booked), that many have described as a lively and enjoyable party in a country pub. Everyone gets a chance to meet and get to know everyone else, and a good solid core return year after year.
To preserve this informal, friendly atmosphere, numbers are limited, and it is advisable to book early if you wish to reserve a place. So if you have a hankering to “Sing, Say or Play” or just join in the fun and meet old and new friends, your contribution will receive a warm West Country welcome.
Each session (all acoustic) has a different host to run it and make sure no one gets left out! They start with a short jam session, followed by a song session, which lasts until everyone who wishes to have made their contribution. This may take some time! Then on the Friday and Saturday nights for those with the stamina, begins one of the famous “Song & Ale Parties” that centre around the infamous “log” (this takes place well away from the campsite so that light sleepers will not be disturbed.) Formal sessions are arranged for Saturday lunchtime and evening, and the weekend concludes with a farewell Sunday lunchtime Singaround.
The Campsite field is adjacent to the pub. A water supply and flush toilets are provided and the site is suitable for camper vans, caravans and tents.
The pub provides breakfasts, snacks and evening meals in the bar, for those who are not self-catering. A small village shop is close to pub.
The ‘Wildlife Walk’ on Saturday morning attracts a large group who slogg up streams, through mud and up and down hills for the rewards of woodland and untouched meadows full of birdsong and wild flowers. The effort is well worth it. (Weather permitting).
Finally there is an evening meal on Sunday for the “Survivors”, and sometimes a little more singing.