Jonny has been a professional musician since graduating in Music (with an emphasis on composition) more than 20 years ago. He came up through the North East's proud brass band tradition, playing and writing music for Hartlepool Silver Band, Murton Colliery Band and Durham Miners' Association Brass Band, among others. A musical chameleon, he can be found playing in bands from 60s to heavy rock to ska, and even does a very fine Jake Thackray tribute.
Jonny started going to the Headland Folk Club run by Sean Cooney of the Young'Uns 15 years ago, which is where his interest in folk music began. He's been part of Hartlepool Folk Festival since the beginning, and while his admin and operational support have been invaluable, it's in the festival's unique, commissioned shows where his talents have really shone.
From the very first show, Come All Ye Bold Miners, Jonny used his knowledge of brass band arranging and general musicianship to bring together the annual commissions which have become the festival's centrepieces. He has been the Musical Director of Ironopolis, The Barrack-Room Ballads, The Bishoprick Garland and Your Affectionate Son, creating singular arrangements containing depth, complexity and often a knowing smile. He has worked with an incredible range of artists on these events, including Martin & Eliza Carthy, Vin Garbutt, Dick Gaughan, Jon Boden, The Wilsons, Alistair Anderson, Kathryn Tickell, Robb Johnson, John Hegley, Jim Moray and many more. He also teamed up with veteran ceilidh guitarist (and Jonny's occasional ska bandmate!) Matt Price to create the uniquely quirky arrangements for our 2016 Ska Ceilidh.
For 2022, he put forward the idea of attempting the festival's most ambitious show yet: Babbacombe Lee. In addition, he has brought his enthusiasm for classic British TV and cinema to Folkies on Film, which proved a huge success as part of 2021's streamed festival content. His ideas, passion and humour have become an essential part of the festival's magic.