City folk club cel­e­brates 50 musical years


Fifty years ago, a group of lo­cal folkies look­ing to cre­ate a space to share their mu­sic, and in­spired by sim­i­lar clubs in Wellington and Auck­land, got their act to­gether.

On Friday night the Palmer­ston North Folk Club is host­ing a party to cel­e­brate.

‘‘It’s had its ups and downs over the years,’’ club pres­i­dent Rose­mary van Essen said.

‘‘At one point in the 1980s it very nearly closed com­pletely. But there have al­ways been some ar­dent folkies keep­ing the mu­sic alive, and now we can cel­e­brate this re­mark­able milestone.’’

While some big names in folk mu­sic have played at the club, such as the Hamil­ton County Blue­grass Band and Eric Bogle, the club has a his­tory of supporting lo­cal folk mu­sic acts, giv­ing some bands their first real gig.

‘‘Most of our club nights are sing-arounds giv­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to our own mem­bers to play and sing. We’ve had peo­ple come not know­ing how to play any in­stru­ment and now some of them are play­ing in bands.’’

As well as gui­tars and ukule­les, the in­stru­ments tun­ing up on a nor­mal club night in­clude ac­cor­dions, tin whis­tles, harps, recorders, con­certi­nas, man­dolins, flutes, bodhrans, fid­dles, Ir­ish bouzoukis, Ap­palachian dul­cimers, Uil­leann pipes, and even Chi­nese folk in­stru­ments.

The club’s Friday night cel­e­bra­tion from 8pm in the Theo­soph­i­cal Hall in Church St will be a ‘60s jam’ - play­ing the likes of Bob Dy­lan, Cree­dence Clear­wa­ter Re­vival, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and other mu­sic from its found­ing decade.

Van Essen ex­pected some of the club’s early mem­bers will be turn­ing up to play.

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