Carlisle Folk and Blues Club, was founded in the Spring of 1989 by Ken and Sue Bradburn. The idea was born during a quiz night they attended with a group of friends in the old Carlisle Labour Club. Someone suggested it would make a good music venue.
Very quickly, after negotiations with the Labour Club, fortnightly music performances began to be held. The line-up for the first concert was Thrice Brewed, Chris James, Sue Bradburn and Paul Hart (Easter Leavers). Carlisle Folk and Blues Club now attracts artists not just from the UK but Ireland, Canada, the USA and Europe. The venues we have used over the years include not just the Labour Club, but, The Pheasant Inn, Tullie House, The Coach House, Dalston Hall and The Sunset Suite in the Carlisle United football ground. Since Ken and Sue’s departure from Cumbria to Devon, Myrna Reay was responsible for organising and planning the programme each year and ensured that the wide tastes of our audiences are catered for. Ted Muir has now taken on this role and is continuing to run one of the UKs most succesful folk clubs.
Those of us involved in running the now monthly performances are aware that people are sometimes discouraged from attending because of their misconceptions brought on by the words ‘folk club’. Strictly speaking, we are not a club and we are open to all. Our performances take place in a cabaret –style setting, using top quality sound reproduction and stage lighting. There is sometimes a 30 minute opening set followed by two 45 minute performances by the guest artiste/artistes. The style of music presented is always contemporary/traditional folk roots and acoustic. The age range of our audience is wide – it’s impossible to be too young or old. The only requirement or pre-requisite that we have of our audience is that they are prepared to enjoy world-class musical performance– and perhaps buy a raffle ticket during the interval!