First, let me thank you all for the support you have shown Jayne and I over the past year, and in particular for your patience during the transition to our new venue last January due to the impending closure of the Cross Keys.
The move brought new challenges. Whilst that lovely atmospheric upstairs room at the Cross Keys had great acoustics, requiring little or no amplification, the much longer room here at the feathers has necessitated the use of a PA system each week.
The aim was was to achieve a balanced, rounded sound so that everyone, right to the back of the room, could hear properly and enjoy the performances at a comfortable volume. We’re still juggling and experimenting with placement of the speakers, but I think we’re slowly getting there. The room has developed a character, atmosphere and ambience all of its own now and the acoustic screen we built has gone a long way to cutting down the background noise from the main bar, allowing us to “turn down the volume” as much as possible.
A Wealth of Fine Performers
Over the year, we’ve seen many fine performances, both from our enthusiastic core of regular members and from the many new faces that keep cropping up. I’ve compiled a photo montage at the foot of this page of everyone who’s performed at the club. If anyone has been missed out, I do apologize.
We had ten Showcase spots featuring: Rag Mama Rag, Hanks Company Band, The Hedge Gods, Bob & Annie, The Conwy Mountain Bluegrass Band, Joe Topping, Wendy Eastwood, Jabberwocky, The Quirky Karen White and, last month, the fabulous Merry Hell.
Another highlight of the year was the very successful Guitar Workshop we held during Ruthin Festival Week with tutors Skeet Williams, Gareth Evans and Ronnie Parry, and luthier Harry Miller in attendance.
Ever since it was founded by Llinos and Campbell Finnie back in the nineties, the club has steadily evolved to embrace the widening musical genre that is now becoming accepted under the general umbrella of Folk Music. Our name changed several times along the way, variously incorporating the terms “Acoustic” and “All Styles” and in so doing, broadening the club’s appeal. So now, as the club enters its twentieth year, we aim to continue along the path trodden by John and Cathy Rowell, Ros and John Ryder, and Joe Lyon, and let this trend progress in a natural and unforced manner.
Above all, Ruthin AllStyles will remain a “singers club”. The format we have adopted since moving to The Feathers has ensured there are floor spots for members every Thursday, including Showcase Nights, regardless of whether it’s a “30 minute Showcase” by a singer from a neighbouring club or a “45 minute plus extended finale” by a paid guest.
It is also our aim to ensure as far as possible that members who turn up on a fairly regular basis, thereby contributing to club funds, will pay only the regular entrance fee (£1.50 from January) regardless of how much a guest artist might cost. Where appropriate, we will make tickets available for non-members at the going rate to help balance the books.
And as we’ve said before – it’s your club and we welcome any suggestions or feedback. You can use the “Comments” box below or message us privately.
We couldn’t complete this look back over 2015 without keeping within our thoughts a much loved and respected musician who passed away 21 days into the year at the age of 64. Bryn Roberts had been associated with the club since its founding in 1996. If you haven’t already, head over to the tributes page and read all the lovely memories people have posted. There is a Comments Form on there should you wish to add to them.
Our next get-together at The Feathers is a Singers’ Night on January 7th. Meanwhile we’d like to take this opportunity of wishing you, one and all, a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.
The 2015 Floor Spots Gallery
Click an image to enlarge and refresh the page for a different random order