History of the Cambridge Folk Club

From its inauspicious beginnings, back in 1964, when The Cambridge Folk Club opened briefly, lost £10.00, and shut down again, its reputation has steadily grown to the point where it's now a recognised and respected fixture in Cambridge's varied musical landscape. From the start, it supported local grass-roots talent, but soon began to promote a variety of acts from further afield, and now welcomes artists from across the whole gamut of folk music. Until recently, it hosted the Friday night session in the Club Tent at Cambridge Folk Festival, and is now involved in organising a Folk Day in collaboration with Black Fen Folk Club, at Cambridge Museum of Technology.

Over the years, the Club has seen some pretty amazing musical events, not least the chance to book the young Paul Simon for the princely sum of £10.00 back in 1965, just after CBS released his first single, I am a Rock. Nic Jones, Diz Disley and Martin Carthy are just some of the now legendary figures to have played at the Club in the1980s.

We’re also very honoured to have hosted performances by Roy Bailey, Julie Felix, John Renbourn and Dave Swarbrick, all very much missed. Dick Gaughan, Ralph McTell, John Kirkpatrick, Show of Hands and Christine Collister are just some of the other stellar acts who have played for us. More recently, the Club has hosted gigs by Boo Hewerdine, Miranda Sykes, Charlie Dore, Chris While and Julie Mattews, and Pete Morton, amongst others.

The Club has consistently sought to support up-and-coming young acts, both local and national, and it’s great to see that amongst those acts, The Willows, Sam Carter and Luke Jackson are now well-established on the folk scene. Maddie Morris, Katie Spencer, Morganway, Fred's House, Luke James Williams and Dan Wilde, who are all currently making names for themselves, have performed at the Club too, and we’re very flattered that the American Blues guitarist Brooks Williams, now resident in Cambridgeshire, refers to the Club as his 'home' club. Most recently, we spent a wonderful evening with Peggy Seeger, who spoke about her long career in folk music to local journalist Mark Walsh, before inviting the audience to take part in a question and answer session.

The Club has met at a number of different venues in the city, including The George and Dragon (later The now lost Spade and Beket), the old YMCA, the Red Cow, the Lion Bar, The Portland Arms, the Golden Hind (its present home), The Man on the Moon and The Unicorn in Trumpington (now The Lord Byron).   In September 2024, we will be celebrating our nineteenth year at The Golden Hind, Milton Road, where Greene King, and Richard Keepings, the licensee, have made us feel so welcome.