The economics of folk music

Merry Hell
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NOWT SO QUEER: Martin Browne takes his fortnightly look at the local folk scene

Spalding Folk Club usually has as its monthly guest an individual artist, occasionally a duo and less frequently a trio.

This format is usually driven by economics in as much as the more performers there are the more expensive will be the fee. Coupled with this, the intention of the club has always been to maintain low admission costs in order to provide wider access for the community to enjoy some of the best acts on the current folk scene.

The club’s own performers frequently take their music out into the community and any income from donations is put back into club funds to also enable a reasonable quality of guests at an affordable admission price.

So, every now and then, we push the boat out with a bigger group and this is what happened with March’s club guests. Six-piece folk-rock band Merry Hell from the Manchester area regaled us with their very-own energetic brand of folk music. They include several singer-songwriters in their line-up and all the songs were their own original material.

Mostly the theme was political injustice or social comment but this was intermingled and tempered with songs about love and personal relationships, often with a touch of humour.

Their music was put over with enthusiasm and skill and they held our attention throughout the evening. They are an experienced group of musicians and are used to performing in front of much larger audiences but they also made us feel equally important in our smaller, more intimate setting. It was a real buzz of an evening.

Looking ahead, tonight (Thursday), we hold our monthly singaround at the Welland Yacht Club, Cradge Bank, Spalding (8pm). Entry is free so come along and join in or just listen.

On Friday , March 16, Belfast Celtic band Craobh Rua (pronounced Crave Roo-ah) is in concert at the Guildhall Arts Centre, St. Peter’s Hill, Grantham (7.30 pm). Box office telephone 01476 406158.

There is an open mic singaround at the Old Ship Inn, High Street, Pointon on Sunday (2pm-5pm). Contact Rick and Annette on 07827 953252 for details.

On Mondy 19, Bob Bakewell hosts Collyweston Folk Club singaround at the Collyweston Slater, Collyweston (8pm). Call Bob on 0116 2593395 for information.

Pete Shaw and friends host the Haconby Hare tune session, also on the March 19, at the Hare and Hounds, Haconby (8pm). Ring 01778 571563 for further details.

Concerts at the Barn at Baston have Night Fall as their guests on Thursday 22. This trio – vocals, fiddle and guitar – are graduates of the Newcastle University folk music course.

The Barn concerts are usually sold out ahead of time but it is worth calling Alan or Maggie on 01778 560497 to check for ticket availability. Bring your own drinks, concert starts at 8pm.

Also on the March 22, there is Lawrence’s acoustic-only singaround and music session at the Red Lion, King Street, West Deeping (7.30pm; 01733 253347) and an open mic/acoustic café at the John Clare Cottage Café, Woodgate, Helpston, Peterborough with Rev Dave Maylor (6.30pm for 7.30 pm start; 01733 253330).

Lastly, at the Castle Inn, Castle Bytham on Sunday 25 there is a song and music session from 7.30 to 10.30pm.