Edinburgh Folk Club are the 6th recipients of Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight Award. The “Limelight’s” are a monthly initiative (launched in October 2012) that recognises the outstanding contributions made by businesses and organisations who contribute, shape and influence the arts and cultural sector in Scotland today. Edinburgh Folk Club have run since 1973 and have consistently promoted and provided quality folk music to the public.

We asked John Jessiman of Edinburgh Folk Club the following questions.

What is your principle company activity?
Edinburgh Folk Club is an organisation which exists to foster an interest in the wide international world of folk and related musics. The club meets weekly (Wednesday evening) for most of the year in the Pleasance Cabaret Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Although a large proportion of our programme naturally features Scottish Traditional music in all its forms, we also include artists from much further afield along with other related genres.

When and where did the company first start trading?
September 1973 within The Albert Chaplaincy Centre, 23-24 George Square, Edinburgh.

What made you want to work in Scottish culture?
The founder members(John Barrow, Ian Green and Kenny Thompson) recognised the need for a new weekly folk club in Edinburgh which would be accessible to all comers.

There were already other folk clubs, e.g. The Police Club, Crown Folk Club, and The Triangle but entry was mainly restricted to members of the parent organisations, i.e. The Police, Edinburgh students etc although “friends” were also invited along.

Can you tell us of any particular company highlights?
Several highlights including the founding of The Carrying Stream Festival, various special concerts within Edinburgh International festival and at other times…we even presented Tom Paxton in our day!

We have also encouraged many young performers who have since become established favourites on the folk scene.

Our Annual Song Contest is an institution and has launched several classic songs by artists such as Karine Polwart, Jim Malcolm, Nancy Nicolson and many more.

What are your company’s plans for the future?
The present committee intend to carry on in the same spirit as our predecessors and continue to feature a wide variety of folk and related music including both traditional and contemporary styles.

We will, of course, remain conscious of changing trends, styles, and innovations while also welcoming advice or suggestions from our members and loyal regulars.

How will you celebrate receiving Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight award?
We are delighted to receive this award and, of course, we will celebrate this by notifying our members and highlighting the fact on our publicity.We are also celebrating 40 years of Edinburgh Folk Club on 9th October 2013 when we feature our first ever guest, Mike Whellans. This award will be the icing on our birthday cake.

Eberhard ‘Paddy’ Bort
Institute of Governance
University of Edinburgh
Chisholm House
High School Yards
1 Surgeon’s Square
[email protected]