Katie Howson (Artistic Director & General Manager 2000-2017) is a musician, dancer, teacher and researcher. She has led English-style ceilidh bands including Old Hat Dance Band and Katie’s Quartet and is a member of the festival band PolkaWorks. She has taught courses on melodeon and traditional music across the country, including for Hands on Music In Oxfordshire, Folkworks in the north east, and as far away as Aberdeen and the Netherlands. She is also a historian and ex primary teacher.
John Howson (Artistic Director 2000-2017) is a musician, singer, researcher and designer. In 1984 he founded the Veteran recording label which is internationally recognised as the leading specialist in the traditional music and song of the British Isles. Veteran was originally set up to make available recordings John had made during fieldwork in Suffolk, but has since expanded to include archive recordings and active singers from Cornwall to Yorkshire. John’s field recordings are now deposited in the British Museum National Sound Library.
Katie (melodeon) and John (banjo) started playing the local music alongside Oscar Woods in Suffolk and Billy Bennington in Norfolk in the late 1970s. Together with dulcimer player Reg Reader, they founded the Old Hat Concert Party in the early 1980s, which was a unique collaboration of traditional musicians, who became known all over the U.K. The East Anglian Traditional Music Trust is one way in which to ensure the music, singing and dancing reach a wider audience and carry on in the future. Much of Katie and John’s work as directors of the Trust is done in a voluntary capacity.
In 2010 they both received the English Folk Dance & Song Society’s Gold Badge Award for outstanding contributions to folk music – the full citation by Malcolm Taylor may be read here.
In October 2017, Katie and John stepped down as non-executive directors, and Katie retired from the post of General Manager.
Old Hat Concert Party in 2006 with EATMT directors Katie Howson (4th from left, melodeon) and John Howson (dancing, 3rd from left).