North West Fed Article

This is an article about the club, written by EmmCee, published in the N.W Fed magazine


Welcome to the Rhyl Folk Club.

What goes on, who goes on and on and on, by Andrew Pritchard.

This year saw the 50th anniversary of the Rhyl Folk Club. An event given added prestige by the award from  the Parliamnetary Folk Group together with a fine glass trophy and the honour of it’s presentation at the Houses of Parliament in March this year. There was a coach-load of members present and a good time was had by all.

Like most clubs, whether folk ,bridge or golf, we have had our ups and downs. Mint Julep were among the first “turns” as regulars and there has been many comings and (sadly) goings over the years. Proper oldies since the late sixties are Brian Bull and Jeff Blythin, the compere back then was Darryl Morley. Venues have been many and various over the years. The longest tenure being at the Bee Hotel under the tutelage of Rum, Bum and Concertina. The personnel involved were Jeff Blythin, Ted Robshaw (sorely missed) and Alun Rhys Jones.

The current venue is at the Tynewydd  Community Centre . Our room is a 60 or 70 capacity with all mod cons ( bring your own beer –and a glass!). Friday is our night and we aim to start at 8.15pm with me trying to pretend I am M.C.. The format is folk with all the variety that the term implies. £2 for audience and £1 for singers is the tariff, with guests about every two months at a supplement commensurate with the hiring fee. We also have extended spots by favourites/stalwarts which always go down well. Special nights, anniversary and xmas, will have the added allure of butties and cake supplied by our tight- knit cohort of friends and regulars.

Your warm welcome is assured by the pair at the door, the fine voiced Mike Hawkins and his wife Sheila (hon Tres.) We have mixing thingy with wires attached to a big box at the front area. No stage as such just a quartet of microphones which some like and some don’t. Adrian West doesn’t need them and is a fine traditional singer. Angel Alonso is head of our youth section. That is to say, that he is not only under 50 but- dash it all- under 40! Angel is currently putting the finishing touches to our 50th Anniversary Club CD. All of our regulars will be on it and Alun is assisting in the compilation of tracks and whatever else is involved (don’t ask).

Another of our residents is John Shepherd who has a lovely guitar, praise indeed coming from me, a died-in-wool musical incompetent. John runs the website  and as well as singing fine tunes from north of the border, he reviews the Friday nights activities and shenanigans in an amusing and entertaining few paragraphs which is always anxiously and impatiently awaited by absentees from the nights goings on. The web site also has a fine selection of photos (expertly snapped by Ruth Pritchard ) from the turns on the night and also a few record reviews and divers whimsy. We would like to get more traffic thru’ the site but people seem reluctant somehow, don’t know why, but there it is. Maybe it’s an age thing. Anyway, M.C. is always banging on about it and will get through one day. We have had a bit of success with members reviews when John is off, so, we are getting there-slowly.

We have a good relationship with our neighbours at Conwy Folk Club  and we exchange visits as often as we can. They are a Monday club. But we do need to get out more and Flint and Ellsmere Port are not far for us, so there is room to stretch our collective legs. We are also trying to cement a “trip” as mentioned by a previous spotlight. The success of our London adventure has galvanised our members, especially ,maybe paradoxically, the non-singers. So any suggestions of a venue with reasonable en-suite accom.  and a bar (obv) would be more than welcome.

Another big plus for our visitors is the raffle in the beer-break. Having been thoroughly entertained for over an hour, the audience, still reeling from fine musicianship and banter, get the opportunity to win (via the free raffle) a range of goodies that would set your heart racing. John, as well as being a whizz with the web, is a keen baker (retired dentist- go figure) and his loaf is usually the top of an impressive list of prizes generously donated by the audience. Rogue, novelty prizes creep in occasionally (anon) and include ludicrously cheap aka undrinkable wine (sic) in preposterous volume. Also known to appear is marmalade and sometimes trout, if the MC has been successful with either venture.

So there we are. If you want to know more, then please visit our web-site, if you want to visit, you are assured of a warm welcome, because-like the music- we are so much better live.


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