It is always a pleasure to play at the Barnet Folk Club. Organiser JJ is always good humoured and welcoming and there is a good and friendly crowd of listeners to play to, and an excellent p.a. system to play through.
Such are the fond memories of our visits to the Cambridge Folk Club that I was surprised when Rob told me that, other than to perform briefly at a charity evening organised by club members Les Scrine and Deirdre Murphy, it had been a full 18 months since we had played there.
We arrived in good time for a full sound check, in the very capable hands of Les Scrine. We also had chance to chat with our friends at the club before the evening truly got underway. Downstairs in the bar, it was also good to see some old friends turn up unexpectedly and catch up with their news.
It is always a pleasure to play at the Watford Folk Club. It was doubly wonderful to find out that our appearance coincided with the fifth anniversary of the relaunch of the club. The committee at Watford Folk Club have done a really terrific job in growing membership and, through their popular singarounds and guest nights, have brought a lot of pleasure to people in the surrounding area through their hard work. They are also now beginning their second annual song competition which is a wonderful way to develop and attract new music.
It was lovely to receive a request from Alan Castle, and Bob and Kathy Drage to return again to play at the Tenterden Folk Festival. We had enjoyed our time there last year and were happy to make the long trip again to this very pleasant festival.
We had an early workshop on the Saturday morning and set off well before the motorways got busy, arriving around 9.30am. The workshop itself was intimate and the players talented and fun to be with.
After letting the usual daily madness of the morning M25 calm down, we loaded up ‘the van’ with our instruments and necessaries on an overcast Friday morning and set off for Bromyard. Despite the weather, excitement was running high as great news had reached us earlier in the week.
What a cracking night! Back in April, indefatigable folk singer, journalist and Radio Dacorum presenter Daria Kulesh kindly invited us to participate in an evening concert to end the first Dacorum Folk Fest on August 10th. Naturally, we were only too pleased to oblige.
Despite it being a long way to go, after days of blisteringly hot weather in London and St Albans both of us were looking forward to travelling to the beautiful coastal village of Cley-next-the –Sea in Norfolk to play a concert as part of the local Contemporary Arts Festival there. We have found that our music goes down well with the audiences for such events and had a good feeling about the evening ahead.
With a keen eye on weather conditions, we were pretty sure (it being close to midsummer’s day and all that! that we could'nt be prevented from reaching the wonderful Song Loft at Stony Stratford this time by a heavy downfall of snow - but with a summer like this one, anything could happen! Six months earlier, the snow had indeed closed in and both club organisers and ourselves agreed at that time it would not be a good idea for either us and club members to be out on snowy, icy, roads on a night like that. So, with confidence we set off in good heart; nothing could go wrong this time!
Rob and I have played many interesting venues in our time but this is the first time we have played in a courtroom. As part of a weekend of music in the town, courtesy of the St. Albans Festival, local folk organisers, Alison Raymond, Alison MacFarlane and others had arranged a solid eight hours(!) showcasing the best in local folk music in the former courtroom of the old town hall in the centre of town. While a truly grand session of musicians was being taking place in a large airy room upstairs, an impressive string of local folk musicians were performing in the courtroom downstairs.
Wanting to be sure of reaching the Great kNight Folk Club in good time, I picked Rob up from the station and we set out for our first visit to this excellent Northampton-based folk club. The capricious nature of motorways was such that, of course, we arrived with oodles of time to spare with ample chance to relax in the car park at the Old White Hart before the club organisers arrived.