Thanks to Kate Parsons for the new Raven Folk Club logo.


Who we are

What to expect

Membership? Rules?


Who we are                                                                                                                                                                                                     top

The Raven Folk Club was founded in 1978, at The Raven pub in Farndon. Since then we have had several homes, most notably Chester Rowing Club and here at The Bear and Billet. Its founder, Dave Russell is still a regular at the club and until very recently was a member of the resident band, Full House.  Nick, who took over the running of the club in 1980, is still one of the organisers together with Chris and Debbie Lee who joined in in 1987.  

The club runs every Sunday and, with one or two notable exceptions, we are never closed.  These exceptions are a) for Chester Folk Festival during the late May bank holiday weekend  and b) over Christmas when we have our Christmas party on the Saturday before Christmas instead.  In recent years though the organisers have got together for a session in the Cross-Keys the day after the party, together with anyone who feels like joining them.     

The club has always had a loyal group of supporters, regulars who have attended for many years, whether to perform or to listen, who have become part of the club’s our extended family. We encourage new performers - you’ll always find someone to give a bit of advice, or join you with a song or two if you like.

We have also always been very lucky with the quality of the performers who come to the club. Many play their first public performances for us, and become regulars at the club. Some of our regulars have even gone on to soar the heights of the Folk Scene - both Joe Broughton and Greg Russell played their first performances for us at the ages of 10 and 14 respectively and are still great friends of the club. Greg (son of founder Dave) comes down and gives us a song or two whenever he can.

  

What to expect                                                                                                                                                                                            top

The club has a mix of singers’ nights with guest nights every month or so.  Singers’ nights are free whether you’ve come to perform or to listen. Performers will find we use an ambient mike system. You don’t have to get up close to it - in fact it’s better if you just ignore it. It’s there really just to  drown out the sound of the quiz on the lower floors which can sometimes be heard in the club.   

These nights are run in concert format, with performers putting their name on the list to play, and then getting up at the front of the room to perform a couple of songs.  If there aren’t many performers on the list, you might get to do an extra one in the second half.

There is an admission charge for guest nights, varying depending on the guest, and occasionally we may have a ticket only event - in this case tickets will be available from WeGotTickets, or in person from the club, three weeks ahead of the date. We regret that we cannot take reservations over the phone and  can no longer reserve tickets without prior payment.  Support on guests nights is usually from Full House, so for these you can leave your guitars at home.

A list of upcoming guests will be found on our main page and also on our Facebook page www.facebook.com\RavenFolkClub - (you don’t need a Facebook account to view it), and will include cost of entry and details of how to get tickets if necessary.


Membership? Rules?                                                                                                                                                                                top

We don’t have any signed up members as such, just people who come down regularly to enjoy a night of unpretentious live music, and everyone is welcome. So, no membership charges, no obligations (and no perks, unfortunately.)  

Neither do we have any rules really, merely common courtesies toward performers, be they professional or amateur, and other audience members who have come to listen.

We ask people not to interrupt performers while they are onstage. Professional performers have a right to expect this, and non-professionals may be very nervous, easily distracted, and may lose their place.   So please show them all respect by keeping conversation low and to a bare minimum please, and if you’ve just come in, or are returning to your seat, please wait until the song is finished. For the same reason, please put your phones on silent at the start of the night.    

Unless you are causing a real nuisance, no one is going to ask you to leave if you breach one of these courtesies, but watch out for heads turning in your direction to let you know.

Performers - we know some of you like to get a quick floor spot in at as many places as possible during the course of the evening. Obviously there will be occasions when people have to leave early for all sorts of reasons, and you have every right to, but if you are just diving out to get another floor spot somewhere else, please think of the effect of the room gradually emptying as you leave, and the lack of respect this shows to those who have still to perform. They have done you the courtesy to come early enough to hear you play. Please return the courtesy by staying to hear them. Who knows, you may even find a performer, tune or song that you really like and want to know more about.


    

Home

First - a bit about our venue.                      

There are two flights of stairs, so if you have difficulty climbing stairs you may want to check it out first, or get someone to help you.  Unfortunately, this means that we cannot provide disabled access to the room or to any of our events.

The room can get very warm, and we are told that part of the licencee’s conditions are that windows are kept closed whenever there is any music playing.  So be prepared, wear layers that you can remove if you find you are getting uncomfortable.