KELSO Folk & Live Music Club welcomes everyone – there’s no ‘membership’, you become a member just by turning up at our meetings. In 2010, with some exceptions for pub holiday closures and ‘high days’ in Kelso’s civic calendar, you have a choice of two different venues every Friday night to suit early or late.
Our Open Mic (organised by Peter Fry) starts at 7.30pm in the upstairs room of the Black Swan Hotel – if you can’t find the stairs just ask at the bar (or go in under the sign, the right hand door and up). The room is just for the club meeting – though anyone can come in and join the audience, or volunteer for the open mic. There is a bar and a range of seating, from big sofas at the far end near the bar, tables in the middle, and seats at the performance end.
The Open Mic has a small PA system to help with vocals and acoustic instruments. It’s quiet but conversation is not banned (just move up to the bar end of the room) and performers may invite others to play or sing along with what they are doing. The evening ends around 11pm. There is no admission charge but donations (towards club funds and guest artists) are welcomed.
The format at the Black Swan is one number at a time in turn, round the room, with the usual flexibility in running order if you happen to be at the bar or tuning up and need to swap your turn. It’s a very democratic and informal approach, all levels of skill are welcomed, as are all genres of music.
The Black Swan is also the venue for most guest concerts planned in 2010. To receive information on these, email David Kilpatrick to be added to the club’s announcement list. The Black Swan offers excellent bar meals downstairs from 6pm onwards, and can also offer B&B accommodation which is right in the heart of Kelso and very reasonably priced. It’s a good idea to stay if you are visiting and also want to come to the Cobbles Inn open session afterwards.
The Cobbles Inn is an award-winning restaurant and Friday nights can be busy! Our session does not start before 9.30pm and on most typical Fridays, 10.30pm is when you are likely to catch the music and songs really getting going. If you want a seat, remember that tables are often vacated by diners, but there is also a table reserved for the musicians. Please don’t be offended if we try to rearrange your seating and swap chairs round, the ones with arms are very comfortable for sitting in but impossible for a guitar player or fiddler.
Although there is more traditional and tune-driven content at the Cobbles Session, it is not just folk or celtic and a very wide range of material can be performed. Completely unaccompanied or solo stuff can fit in as well, despite the tradition of all competent singers and players joining in almost everything. We generally have a small amplifier and one microphone, which can help if it’s a busy night.
The music is at the far end away from the bar, it’s a great atmosphere and changes as we pass midnight – loud chorus songs are more likely early on, quiet personal performances 0r experiments with new stuff later on. Chucking out time is normally 1.00am with last drinks at 12.45pm.
As with the Black Swan, dining before the session is possible (ask for a table downstairs and you can keep it for the session). The Cobbles Inn does not offer accommodation. In addition to the Friday night sessions, we have concert nights which may coincide with bank holiday, civic festival and other weekends. These are often on Saturdays. There are also traditional Scots sessions occasionally on Sunday afternoons or evenings.
- David Kilpatrick, Chairman