Morley Folk Club set for opening night

AN audience of music lovers is now all that is needed to make Morley's fledgling folk club a roaring success when it opens its doors for the first time on February 17.

Funding is in place, there is a small band of committed folkies to run it and some great artists lined up, so now all that is lacking is people to go along to the Regency Ballroom, on Albion Street, and enjoy.

The idea of setting up Morley Folk Club came from town centre manager Peter Mudge as part of plans to revive the evening economy. He has also provided funding to help the fledgling group get on its feet.

Peter said: "The town centre management board were really enthused by the application from the folk group so they have their funding, which is great because part of our work is developing a strong town centre and we feel that having activities and evening events in the town will be of benefit to everyone."

The club is being run by Keith Brown who has 40 years' experience in the folk scene.

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Peter added: "Keith has put a huge amount of work in and we hope others will get involved and it will take on a life of its own."

Keith, 62, said: "If we have a population of 60,000 even if we get a one per cent take up then that is an audience of 60, I don't thing that is expecting too much!"

It's a new chapter for folk music in Morley, which has not had a club for more than 20 years.

Keith said: "My friend, Geoff Pickles, went over to Cleckheaton where he has done a really good job for local folk music, arranging the Cleckheaton Folk Festival, but Morley has not had a folk scene since."

Although Keith plays guitar, fiddle and mandolin, was in a folk band in the 1970s and clocked up years of experience running clubs on the east coast, it had been quite a while since he was actively involved in the folk scene.

However, having gone along to a couple of meetings with Peter it became clear that his experience, as well as his years in business management, made him the ideal choice for running the club.

He is keen though that others pitch in to help in any capacity from organising artists to announcing acts.

He added: "We would also encourage anyone who comes, with an instrument or without, and who wants to perform. I will guarantee them a spot no matter what because floor artists are the life-blood of the club.”

He is confident, however, that he has got the club off to a good start by booking the first three acts, Bruce Michael Baillie on February 17, Berkana on March 3 and Kieran Halpin on March 17.

He is also delighted with the venue they have found, saying: “It is an amazing place and has got all the prerequisites.”

The club will meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month and the first session will cost 4.50 per person.

After that the price of tickets will vary from week to week but those who pay their 2 annual membership will qualify for a reduced rate.

Keith added: “The entry fee will vary according to who the guest artist is and what we have to pay them, but it is a not-for-profit organisation though we must generate working capital.”

Anyone wishing to contact Keith can reach him by e-mailing keith.morleyfolk@btinternet.com