Next Guests: The Twagger Band

It’s roughly two generations ago that the first “folk” club opened in Brighton - the Skiffle Club in a cafe in Egremont Place - in 1957 to be precise - and, as elsewhere in the country, the folk “revival” was under way. 20 years on the charts were awash with the acoustic sounds of The Dubliners, Simon & Garfunkel and Ralph McTell and every town and village had a club. It was the indie music of the day.

Those heady days may be behind us but reports of the death of folk music have, to paraphrase Mark Twain, been greatly exaggerated. In recent times the success of the likes of Seth Lakeman, Kate Rusby and Show Of Hands have been heralded as an indication that acoustic musicians are once again swimming in the mainstream and the future looks bright. From other quarters come wails of despair: you’ll only get to see these top artists in concert venues because the folk clubs’ audiences are dwindling and can’t afford the fees or are closing altogether which means that the professional circuit that once existed can’t support them and soon there won’t be any clubs left at all.

As always, the truth lies somewhere in between. It’s true that the well known names will only be able to make a living if they mostly tour professional music venues like the Komedia or the Concorde here in Brighton - but not exclusively. To give some examples: The Watersons and Steve Knightley, both of whom have filled the Albert Hall in the past couple of years, played recently at the Royal Oak in Lewes and the Brighton Folk & Blues Club, as did Peter Sarstedt at the Hove Folk Club, in the usual folk club setting of a pub function room. That they did so is testament to the durability of the traditional clubs.

And then there are the singarounds, open mic nights and sessions which are growing in number and popularity as the live music scene changes. Our own session is one such. These days it’s standing room only which means, I hope, that we’re keeping up with the times. We’ve had some great musicians turning up and some unexpected delights from audience members who have contributed songs and tunes.

Our next guests, on May 4th, are the Twagger Band. They’re a 5-piece group who play armfuls of instruments between them and take up lots of room, so get there early!

More details, as usual at

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