Happy New Year!
I hope you all had an excellent Christmas and New Year break.
Firstly I would like to say that 2016 was yet another brilliant year for the Woodman Folk Club.
We have managed to increase our membership year on year and we are now on a par with the halcyon days of the 70ís/80ís as far as membership numbers go. Itís all good!
Having a broad membership is the life blood of any club, but with the Woodman itís much more than that. Weíre not just members are we? We are all the best of friends, almost family and thatís a rare and precious thing these days. A sense of belonging is very important in everyoneís life and thatís what we have here at The Woodman Folk Club. Itís our ďsecret ingredientĒ.
Another vital ďingredientĒ, is the most excellent variety and skills of the artistes that have graced the stage here at the Woodman F.C. We simply havenít had a duff one. From folk rock bands, trios, duos, and solo artistes to comic acts; some, way out there and others erring on the traditional side, itís all been great. Mostly thatís down to Deb. Admittedly, a small band of helpers including myself muck in and we all have a say, but Deb devotes the time, skill and effort needed to liaise with the acts and their agents. Believe me, itís not always straight forward! And Deb does the door too. I think they call that multitasking chaps!
I mentioned earlier a sense of belonging and that also applies to the people who come and perform for us all. We make them feel welcome and at ease. Some may call it heckling, but itís just positive feedback from the audience and it works a treat. When an artiste feels right at home with an audience their performance is lifted and they are more willing to divert from the old favourites and try something new. That just adds to the experience. Also, all the other little things count too. Starting on time, finishing on time and having a clear picture of what the format is, before the performance begins. All professional performers invest a great deal of time and effort into honing their skills, so itís only right that they should get the best sound reinforcement possible, thatís my job.
Itís really important to ensure that all of these things come together seamlessly and coalesce into one enjoyable experience. That would be the M.Cís job and what an M.C. we have in Bryn. Presenting an easy style and up for a laugh, not to mention a brilliant singer-songwriter too. The structure of the evening is guided by the M.C. but not dominated and rigorous. Brynís got it covered, no problem.
Ah but, we mustnít forget another very important part of finishing the night at a reasonable time is the class ďAĒ breakdown team: A marvellous band of dismantlers that have certainly made life easier for me and Deb. Off the blocks like athletes at the end of every night, devouring the PA like a plague of very well trained electrical Locusts!
Then thereís the photography. This is very important. Otherwise what would we put on the website and on Facebook? Thanks to Gary for doing a great job here.
It would be a very lonely night if people didnít know where we are and what it is we do. So many people are involved in this multifaceted task. Once again Bryn steps up to the mark as our long-standing webmaster. The Woodman website really is one of the most comprehensive out there and has had over 107460 hits. Thatís fantastic, take a look. Regular contributors are Rob, Les and Chris. Rob with his fantastic newsletter and artistes summaries informing the masses of whatís about to occur, Les and Chris with their excellent reviews of the acts that have appeared and occasionally Bryn also provides reviews too, ably assisted by contributions from other members every now and then. Social media plays its part too. Thatís my job to make sure that FB land knows who we are, what we have and where and when itís happening. This all works closely with the website.
A wide and varied in-house musical support team is also a vital ingredient in the making of a successful club and we are blessed with the best. Resident band, resident duos and resident solo performers, all of us together cover the whole gambit of musical styles and all of it is delivered with a great big dollop of fun! On singerís nights, we have an incredibly talented pool of regular musicians and singers that are more than capable of delivering a fantastic evening. We are so lucky, thank you all.
I have seen some folk clubs get pushed from pillar to post by the venues they use, but not us! The Ashwood Marina treat us well and make us feel most welcome all of the time and thatís very important. Not only does the marina give us stability, the people who run it, both behind the scenes and up front are brilliant. Pat, looks after us behind the bar, as does Mark on the odd occasion, all expertly ďsupervisedĒ by Geoff of course who also opens the venue for us. Itís thanks to them that the beer and scratchings keep flowing! Hurrah!
The most important ingredient of all; the audience. None of this would make any sense at all without you. Thank you for your support!
With your help itís going to be a great 2017. Scream if you want to go faster!
Keep Music Live Ė Enjoy Yourself!!!
Derry & Deb xx