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        Northwich Folk Club was born in March 1977 when Jeanie Hammersleigh, then an officer for DAN (Development of the Arts in Northwich), brought together some local performers (including Iain Bowley) at the White Lion in Witton Street.  After a run of successful nights that spring, a group of people formed a committee which has seen the club run continuously for thirty-nine years.  

        The club ran at the White Lion for about seven years or so, during which time the one and only Northwich Folk Festival took place in 1983.  Starting with a kitty of fourpence, the club has, through a mixture of guests and singers nights, gained a reputation and a financial stability that is the envy of many other clubs.  After a short spell at the Coachman's Inn in Hartford, the club moved to its present location in the Harlequin Theatre where folk music lovers still meet on Fridays throughout the year.  The club is still run by a committee whose members take turns to host evenings at the club.

        Over the years, many notable names on the circuit have performed at the club, including Martin Carthy, Ewan McColl, Dick Gaughan and Andy Irvine.  Many less well known names have also proved to be excellent entertainment, and in between guests, the talent in the club ranks has had its own chance to shine.  Many a talented musician or singer has risen from the audience, some of whom have gone on to professional or semi-professional status.  Regulars are from time to time invited to do a "super-spot", a chance to improve their skill by doing more than the usual one or two songs.  There are some fine voices and talented players with guitar, fiddle, bazouki, flute, squeeze box and bodhran (amongst others).  There was even a highland piper amongst the regulars once.

        Anything from traditional to contemporary, blues and beyond can be heard in the club, with local artists mixing with guests from as far afield as Hungary and the U.S.A..  The club has also arranged ceilidhs and boat trips, and is always open to new ideas.  After thirty-nine successful years, the club is still looking forward.

That First Night...

Iain Bowley relates that the first night was kicked off by Rob Ollerton doing "Misty Moisty Morning".  Iain made his own contribution, a version of James Taylor's "Fire And Rain

(Note: This is an edited version of a piece written by John Booth in 2003 celebrating 25 years of Northwich Folk Club)