2016 in Review
It’s time to look back at the past twelve months and look forward to the next.
2016 was something of a landmark year for Ruthin AllStyles Music club, in that we saw our 1,000th club night and celebrated it’s 20th anniversary.
That last Thursday of October saw the back room of The Feathers packed to the rafters with no fewer than sixty turning up, many of whom had been there right at the beginning, including Llinos and Campbell Finnie who founded what was then The Feathers Folk Club.
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It is a year in which we’ve seen the club grow from strength to strength, due in no small part to the enthusiasm and loyalty of the core group of regulars, many of whom travel up to 20 or 30 miles week after week.
It is also good to see lots of new faces turning up, many of whom keep coming back for more! In fact, we’ve seen several occasional visitors become regulars, notably Penny and Bob Neal and Glyn Hudson from Denbigh, David Rees from Ysceifiog, Mike and Colin from Llandudno, and Peter Leslie from Wrexham.
We are lucky to have so many talented musicians supporting the club, far too many to mention each one individually (but just look back through the reviews). And a special mention to Joe Lyon for his tireless support, helping with equipment, sound checking, and clearing up each week,
We’ve had some fabulous guest performers along too, showcasing some amazing talent. The first was Chris Yeoh in February, followed in March by a sell-out concert featuring ELO2’s Phil Bates. John Williams gave us a fabulous showcase in April, as did Jon Brindley in May. For Ruthin Festival Week, in June, we had Ben Robertson, and then in July, a summer concert by Welcomme Finnan and Chrimes. The sparkly eyed Irish singer songwriter Kieran Halpin entertained us in August, followed a month later by the lovely sweet voice of Elizabeth Anne Jones (Elfin Bow) supported by musicians Skeet Williams and Jay Christian. Elizabeth’s husband Gary Edward Jones has dropped in a few times during the year to do a floor spot, and in recent weeks we were delighted to learn that this talented Liverpool couple have moved to live in the Vale of Clwyd, so we will be seeing a lot more of them in the future.
It is nice too, to see our own home-grown musical collaborations picking up bookings for gigs throughout the area.
The Tom, Dick and Harry band have gone from strength to strength in that respect this year. Along with John Bass and fifth band member Raphael Callaghan, they have treated us to many a rousing finale spot featuring their own brand of blues, R&B and country, several having been written by the talented Harry Robertson.
We always enjoy seeing long-time member Mick Watson returning with his new band Jabberwocky, comprising his wife Gilly, Ian and Gill. Specialising in pop, soul and blues covers, the band are well known for their fund-raising around the area along with Robin (the Busker) Wynne-Jones. And in fact, Robin the Busker is worthy of a special mention, seeing his own fund-raising efforts top the £5,500 mark.
Wendy and Richard are another duo who are successfully making a name for themselves, and now Wendy has a jazz and swing side project called Almost Blue in collaboration with Llandudno pianist Andy Murtagh. Look out for them doing a spot for us on February 16th.
At the beginning of 2016 we made the decision to raise the weekly entrance fee donation to £1.50. It had remained at £1 ever since the club began twenty years ago. Back then a pint of beer was £1.60 and a litre of petrol cost 38p, compared with today’s average prices of £3.64 and £1.16 respectively, so you can see this rise was way less than the rate of inflation.
The weekly door money goes toward keeping the club’s equipment in good working order, to renew cables and leads, batteries and bulbs, purchase raffle prizes and all the other sundry renewables required to keep things running smoothly, and to fund the catering etc., for the Christmas party and 20th Anniversary night. This year we also purchased two new active PA speakers, a new D.I. box and a sturdy new lightweight music stand.
Most of all, the 50 pence increase has enabled us to accrue funds to book some fabulous guest performers, whilst keeping to our commitment that regular members will only ever pay the usual £1.50 entrance regardless of the cost. (There are no hard and fast rules, but regular members are defined as those who contribute throughout the year by attending the club on average a couple of times per month).
Looking forward to 2017…
We already have some great acts lined up, including: Jim Bazley, Edwina Hayes, Virginia Kettle, Anthony John Clark, Merry Hell and (early in 2018) Flossie Malavialle.
Most of all we look forward to lots of musical fun and entertainment each and every Thursday from you – the talented and enthusiastic floors singers who turn up at The Feathers for our Singers’ Nights come rain or shine.
Happy New Year to you all
from Chris & Jayne xx