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.