Colchester Folk Club returns for it’s new season of weekly gigs at Colchester this Monday, 14th September. Elaine Barker, who has the most excellent reputation within the folk world, and a wonderful book of contacts to match, has kindly written for us an introduction to the Folk Club with a summary of what we can all expect from the new season.
Ben Howard

Colchester Folk Club has been taking place at Colchester Arts Centre since 1982. Running most Monday nights between September and May the club was originally founded in the heyday of the Folk Revival in 1964. Today, folk is enjoying a massive resurgence, helped by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Festivals and acts such as Bellowhead and Seth Lakeman receiving mainstream coverage.

The new Colchester Folk Club season starts on 14th September with giants of the scene for the last four decades, Martin Carthy (Waterson:Carthy, Steeleye Span and Dad of Eliza) and Dave Swarbrick (Fairport Convention and Whippersnapper).

As ever, the programme has a mix of new and up-and-coming acts, like multi-instrumentalists, The Foxglove Trio, and bluegrass trio, The Jaywalkers (Young Folk Award Finalists) and more seasoned and acclaimed folk scene stalwarts. Amongst those established regular performers at the club are Nancy Kerr (Folksinger of the Year 2015) and her partner James Fagan who together won a Best Duo Award, Megson (multiple nominations – check out their children’s show at Colchester Arts Centre) and John Kirkpatrick (Folk Musician of The Year previously) who brings his Christmas Show Carolling and Crumpets to the club.

Today, the club is enjoying good audiences and as the organiser and bookings secretary for over 30 years I am relishing introducing many new acts safe in the knowledge that the Colchester audience will take a punt and come to see as yet unknown acts. The club has quite a track record for spotting talent including a relatively unknown teenager who played Northumbrian pipes and had to be picked up from Colchester Station, Kathryn Tickell, and Bellowhead and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, now two acts so huge they couldn’t fit inside the Arts Centre!

It’s not easy for me to pick out highlights of the coming season – I booked them I like them – but a personal favourite duo, Mairearad Green and Anna Massie, appears for the second time at the club on 9th November. Their camaraderie and sheer fun of musical collaboration is plainly evident and infectious – stunning musicians too. And then there’s Jamie Smith’s Mabon (pictured) on 16th November who have been much requested since their first appearance last year that I missed so am desperate to see. Local heroes get a look in too, notably Clive Carroll (12th October) – the most stunning guitarist you are ever likely to see Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer with their Christmas Show A Victorian Winter Warmer and the club’s annual barn dance with a reunion of local band, Bass Instincts and their caller…me!

Anyone can attend the folk club without being members. There is a full price and then a concessionary price for members, pensioners, students and unemployed. Prices vary, check out the Arts Centre website.
If you join the club it’s £6 for an individual for a year or £10 per couple. For that you get in at the concessionary rate, receive a mailout of our own programme about three times a year and occasionally get offers to book tickets before they’re released to the general public. Our membership year runs from the end of March.

We also run a free e mailing list where a press release is sent out each week for the forthcoming Monday concert, news of other folk concerts in the area and also any last minute changes to the programme.

You can find the full list of Folk nights at Colchester Arts Centre here

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