In 1987 the Reverend Paton placed a postcard in a shop in Crail asking if anyone was interested in starting a folk club. They were interested, so alongside the Reverend, Jill Saunderson and Bernie Precious started the club in the Balcomie Links Hotel. Very quickly the Reverend considered his work was done and left it to Bernie and Jill. Bernie was involved until last year when he took himself off to the south of France; Jill is still the mainstay of the committee. Despite not wishing to turn the club into a pub crawl the venue changed to the Marine Hotel, then the Golf Hotel and then, in 2012, to our current venue, Crail Town Hall.
The first booked and paid for guests were Sheena Wellington and John Watts with the club meeting on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. Many of the people from those early days, both audience and artists, are still involved today. Some of the guest artists from those early days appeared at our 30th Anniversary Party Night at the Community Hall in Crail on 20th July which formed part of the Crail Festival. Those guests are Sheena Wellington (who not only was our first guest but she also sang at the opening of the first Scottish Parliament) and Ewan Sutherland, The Sangsters, Scalded Cats and Adam McNaughtan. As you can see from the following pictures a great night was had by all.
In the early years the club also put on ceilidhs – maybe we should do that again? We should not forget the regular Singers' Nights which just get better and better due to the considerable talents of many local singers and musicians, as well as regular visitors from far and wide.
Looking back over the list of guests over those 30 years it reads like something of a who’s who of folk music. Tom Paxton, Eric Bogle, The Tannahill Weavers, The Battlefield Band, The McCalmans, Richard Digance, Michael Marra, Rab Noakes, Vin Garbutt, Emily Smith and Archie Fisher and on it goes.
Audiences are the biggest we’ve consistently had over that period so we must be doing something right!!