On its founding, The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids continued the tradition, started by the group out of which it emerged, The Ancient Druid Order, of having an honorary position, known as 'Presider' which represented the Order's links with the literary and artistic world.
In 1998 we changed the position to that of Honorary Bard - in recognition of the contributions poets, musicians, artists and story-tellers are now making to the contemporary cultural scene. Bards have been crowned at one of our Glastonbury Gatherings, held before the Winter and Summer solstices, or on a Mt Haemus Award Day - in the illustrious setting of the Medieval Hall in Salisbury. Here is a list of Bards we have honoured so far.
Robin Williamson - founder in the 60's of the influential Incredible String Band and the Merry Band of the 70's, has been a key figure at the forefront of the storytelling revival in Europe and America since the 80's. He has authored a number of books including The Craneskin Bag (re-telling and re-versifications of Celtic lore) and Celtic Bards, Celtic Druids (co-authored with R.J. Stewart). Website
Mara Freeman - is a teacher of Western esoteric traditions, from the faery realms within the Earth to the regions of the Summer Stars. She is the author of Kindling the Celtic Spirit, and is director of the Avalon Mystery School. Website
Myrdhin - was born in Upper Brittany to a Cornish family, Myrdhin is one of the driving forces behind the rebirth of the Celtic harp in Brittany. He plays solo or with the trio An Delen Dir both in France and abroad since the 1970s. He has received numerous awards and a Grammy nomination in 2000. He has played on many of the AfroCelt albums, and has written music inspired by the story of Taliesin. Website
Damh the Bard - A modern-day Bard whose spirituality, and love of folk tradition, is expressed through his music, storytelling and poetry. Drawing on the Bardic traditions his performances are both entertaining and educational, weaving a tapestry of myth, peace, and anthems that speak directly to the heart, but never without a good splash of humour. Damh is a musical storyteller who works within the world of myth: where the Faerie really do dance on Midsummer's Eve, where the trees talk, and the Hollow Hills take you into the realms of Annwn. Where the Goddess rides her horse, guiding you to magic, and the Horned God of old calls us from the shadows of the Greenwood. On the Summer Solstice 2010 he was made the Pendragon of the Order. Website
Jim Faupel - A hugely talented songwriter, vocalist and guitarist, Jim Faupel is widely respected and admired in the European druidic and bardic community, and released his debut solo album Here Be Dragons (on Stop the World Records) in 2003, and a follow up album, Reinventing the Wheel in 2009. But Jim can also rock out with the best of them! In addition to his solo work, he is also the front-man for Rig Records classic rock artist Sanctuary Rig as well as spending a number of years portraying Rick Parfitt in Staid As Quo, the UK's foremost Status Quo tribute band. More recently Jim has been working under the pseudonym of bluesman 'Poplar Jake'. Website
Arthur ZZ Birmingham - Founder member of R Cajun & The Zydeco Bros with a background in folk music, Arthur has gone on to perform extensively as bluesman Z.Z.Birmingham and with his family band - daughter Ursula (Weil Influenz) on fiddle, wife Penny (Carmen Piranha) harmonies and percussion and son Jake (Elmos Grandez) on bass. Forty years in the business, he's no stranger to TV, National Radio and major festivals. ZZ's engaging stage presence, compelling vocals and off-the-wall humour make for a truly unique act. Arthur discovered Druidry at OBOD’s first SummerCamp ( 1993 ) and soon gained a reputation as a formidable enabler of others to blossom and shine - camp, residential event or more formal circumstances; wherever there’s a call for a fund of music, story and song: in ritual, eisteddfod and round the campfire. His accessible style, and versatility insists on the music in every one of us. Website
Liv Torc - A performance poet, writer and comedian who runs cabaret events and poetry workshops across the UK. The winner of the southwest heat of the Radio 4 National Poetry Slam 2009, the 2010 Bard of Exeter, the 2011 Bridport Poet in Residence and a constant and popular figure on the UK spoken word scene. In 2011 Liv appeared on the Wondermentalist Cabaret's pilot Radio 4 series and went on a three-day poetry tour of Munich and Salzburg (March 2011), where she competed in an international slam. Liv is also the author of ‘Take Your Monkey and Get out of My Life’, ‘Dancing Naked in Banana Land’ and 'Lips Akimbo'. Website
Esme Vincent - is a calligrapher whose meticulous and beautiful work includes miniature books, illustrated volumes and many different book styles and illustrations. She was crowned an Honorary Bard of the Order in recognition of her artistry at the Mount Haemus Award day in Salisbury Medieval Hall in 2008
Steve Gladwin (Ardan) - is is a poet, workshop leader, performer, storyteller, musician, confidence builder and teacher based in Meifod, Powys. His novel for young adults, The Seven, is published by the Gomer Press.
Claire Hamilton - Musician, writer and storyteller, Claire Hamilton has recorded many Celtic harp albums. Her books Tales of the Celtic Bards, Celtic Seasonal Meditations, and Maiden, Mother, Crone: Voices of the Goddess are inspired retellings of Celtic myth. Claire’s work has been described by Professor Ronald Hutton as a ‘complete bardic festival.’ Website
Barry Patterson - is a full time bard, house-husband & urban peasant. He has always been inspired by our beautiful, ancient land & its wildlife. Barry started making & playing frame drums like the bodhran in 1990 and joined OBOD in 2002 after having been a guest speaker at a couple of wonderful camps. Some writing & news about his published works & other projects: Website
Eric Maddern - is a storyteller, the author of a dozen children’s books and a singer-songwriter. Born in South Australia, Eric spent years working as a ‘bush artist’ in Aboriginal communities, learning about their notion of ‘songlines’ and ‘the dreaming’. Since living in Snowdonia he’s become familiar with the old tales and mythology of this land. Over this time Eric has also created Cae Mabon, a beautiful eco-retreat centre in Snowdonia, that the Order uses for retreats. Website
Henriëtte de Groot - is an opera singer based in the Netherlands, who performs solo in the fields of opera, art song and
oratorio. For many years she sang at the Dutch Opera House. Her favourite opera roles were as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and as Nedda in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. Through her music and stories from opera, which still resonate for us today, she tries to touch peoples' hearts. She is currently in the process of producing her debut album, featuring many of her favourite classical songs, and artist friends who accompany her on piano and harp. Website