HEART OF LINCOLNSHIRE FOLK, ROOTS & BLUES CLUB

CLUB HISTORY ~ 1994 to present

(Artwork by Ali)

CLUB GIGS ARE HELD MONTHLY AT:

EAGLE LODGE HOTEL, WOODHALL SPA, LINCOLNSHIRE, ENGLAND

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A CONCISE HISTORY OF

THE HEART OF LINCOLNSHIRE FOLK, ROOTS & BLUES CLUB

(formerly Coningsby Folk, Roots & Blues Club)

The Coningsby Folk Club was formed by Darren & Sharon Rawnsley in 1994, the first meeting being held on January 8th 1994 at the White Bull in Coningsby. The setting of the local village pub meant that funds could only be raised from raffles, though many local people enjoyed the music they could hear for nothing on a Saturday night once a month. (and the free food!). The first singer at the club was a local 3 year old boy! It was a while before the club could host their first guests. Lincolnshire Folk singer Angela King & guitarist & singer Paul Dickinson who we'd seen supporting folk pop band Prelude some years previously in Spalding appeared at the club's 6th meeting on July 2nd 1994. We were proud to be able to bring some excellent acts to the village, including folk pop band To Hell With Burgundy who were such a star turn that they appeared at the club twice in succession (1st Oct 1994 / 18th Feb 1995) Indeed our own local star duo Gentle Union take their name from part of the THWB song 'Gentle'. Another talented duo appeared at the club on the 4th Mar 1995, fiddle player Sam & guitarist & keyboard player Alan played some delightful contemporary acoustic music, Dark Lantern went on to find success at many of the top festivals, including the Off The Tracks Festival. Yorkshire based folk singer Dave Vermond was guest on 6th May 1995, an excellent singer-songwriter who had won the first BBC Radio Lincolnshire Folk Song Competition in 1992 with his song 'The Green Mist Is Rising'. On Oct 7th 1995 our guests were Mark T & The Root Dogs who played a totally acoustic opening set due to a power cut. Their rootsy sound drew influences from folk, blues & Hawaiian music. As well as our guests, many performers turned up to perform open floor spots, including local favourites bluegrass band Humdinger, & Gentle Union who started their career as folk performers at the Coningsby Club. There was the surprise appearance by Phil a fiddle player from Newcastle who mesmerised the audience with his playing, Barry Smith a performer who cycled from Yorkshire one summers day to perform at our club, Jane Ludlum, another singer who wrote a winning song for the BBC Radio Lincolnshire Folk Song competition, Cajun style band La Fujun who featured Darren in their line-up, The Witham Delta Boys, an acoustic blues trio & Boston's Random Band featuring songstress Katie Abbott. With such an array of talent bringing large audiences to the White Bull, it was a surprise to find the club without a home following the final gig at the venue on Feb 3rd 1996 (perhaps the first club to be turned out of a venue for bringing too many people in!).

It was a while before a new home was found for Coningsby Folk, Roots & Blues Club, eventually we moved to The Castle Inn in Coningsby with the club's 26th meeting taking place on the 20 April 1996, now with a separate room, we continued with a number of free open floor nights to try to entice local audiences in though. One of the highlights during our sojourn at the Castle was an appearance by The Hotlicks Cookies from the North East, an act we'd previously seen performing at the Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival at Colne on 16th Nov 1996. On the 7th Jun 1997 local duo Winter Wilson who were making quite an impact on the Midlands Folk circuit following the release of their excellent debut CD 'By The Skin Of Our Teeth' were our guests. But for the club the honeymoon was over, audiences dwindled (around the same time as Tom Lane's excellent folk programme was cut by BBC Radio Lincolnshire), worse still floor singers & musicians also became less regular in their support, & for the first & only time the folk club actually finished before closing time on 21st March 1997!

Drastic action was needed to try to inject life back into the club! Amazing Blondel contacted us regarding a gig, which may have been the first of their 90's comeback gigs, sadly we had to decline their offer, then we received news of Huw & Tony Williams 'Stripped & Stuffed' tour, it had always been our ambition to bring Huw & Tony to our little club since seeing them supporting Fairport Convention, once again though it seemed an impossible dream, even with their specially reduced fee for small folk clubs. A few months later Tim (Akmed's Camel's caller) brought up the idea again, & in a make or break effort to put the club back on the map, we decided to bring Huw & Tony to our club, with help from Akmed's Camel who played for free on Aug 8th 1998 to help us raise funds for Huw & Tony's gig. The final open floor night took place on 14th November 1998, once again to a pitifully small audience which didn't inspire confidence for the forthcoming big night! But the crowds filled the pub to overflowing on the memorable night Huw & Tony appeared, supported by Akmed's Camel, & the night was a resounding success! We decided after that gig that the way forward for the club was 'pay-on-the-door'nights with big name acts with showcase appearances by local musicians who would benefit from the larger audiences drawn by the headline acts.

Unfortunately a lot of people were suffering from flu for our 5th Anniversary party, when our headline act were Vikki Clayton & Chris Conway, Vikki of course is well known for her work with Fairport Convention, Chris a multi-instrumentalist played with Midlands based band The Storm Thieves, together they played an amazing set, support came from Miranda Sykes playing haunting folk & pop songs on her double bass, (she is the bass player with the band Pressgang), she later finished second in the Young Tradition Awards. She was to add a new song to her repertoire that night after hearing Chris's song 'Ten Years'. The final gig at the Castle Inn took place on 17th April 1999, when our guests were Pete Oakley & Paul Bacon. We discovered Pete at The Lace Market Theatre in Nottingham some years ago, supporting steel guitarist Michael Messer, & after a series of phone calls we eventually tracked him down to his music shop in Burton On Trent, he asked if it would be possible to bring along a young harmonica player called Paul Bacon. Paul had been the guitarist & harmonica player with the band Sunhouse, who were receiving airplay on Bob Harris's Saturday night shows - his evocative harp work was a great addition to the night's music! Local support for the night came from Katie Abbott & Jez Bryant whose humorous set had everyone in stitches. But despite another full house it was time to move on again ...... once again the difficulty of fitting live music into drinking establishments was the root cause of the problem!

We had already pre-booked another act in March 1999, after hearing A.G. & Kate on Mick Smith's Country Music programme, so following a rest for the organisers, the hunt was on for a new venue, the Eagle Lodge Hotel had previously put on a series of concerts with mixed success in the mid 90's. The Pinewoods Blues Club had a relatively short existence, but that time saw some amazing gigs including an appearance by The Hoax, who were to go on to become Britain's top blues band, a down-home blues night featuring a totally acoustic concert by Little Whitt & Big Bo, on their first & only (so far!) tour of the UK, as well as appearances by The Mean Blue Monsters (the only gig they ever played in the county), local favourites The Walter Harpman Band & top North East act Archie Brown & The Young Bucks - around that time to Greg Wright's Left Hook played at the venue & American singer songwriter Cathy Winter, supported by ..... Gentle Union!

Now they will open the Heart Of Lincolnshire Folk, Roots & Blues Club at the same venue, supporting A.G. & Kate, the first International stars that the club have put on!

To be continued...................!

(History compiled by Tom & Ali)

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CONTACT DETAILS

Concert tickets 01526 343989

email fizgigmusic@tinyonline.co.uk

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Hotel bookings 01526 353231

email Markie2@msn.com

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For further information about our club please check out the following pages!

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* Club Venue * Forthcoming gigs * Artists

Reviews * Home

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LINKS

DAVID ROVICS

(American Folk / Bluegrass Singer songwriter)

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SPALDING BLUES CLUB

(Lincolnshire Blues Club site ~ acoustic / electric blues)

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GUESTLIST

(Folk Directory)

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FOLKTALK

(Lincolnshire Folk Magazine)

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GIGS

Index for all music styles as follows

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BLUES

Guide to Blues gigs / news in Lincolnshire & East Midlands

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FOLK

Guide to Folk gigs / news in Lincolnshire & East Midlands

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Guide to Rock & Pop gigs / news in Lincolnshire & East Midlands

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COUNTRY

Guide to Country gigs / news in Lincolnshire & East Midlands

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Guide to Jazz gigs / news in Lincolnshire & East Midlands

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Guide to Soul gigs / news in Lincolnshire & East Midlands

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VENUES

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FOLK, BLUES & BEYOND

Weekly column written by Alberta & Mississippi Bill for Boston Target Newspaper Group

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Music Articles kindly submiited for use on our website by Steve Jackson, Music Corrospondent for Grimsby Evening Telegraph

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