Worcester Acoustic Music Sessions at St. Swithun’s Hall and at The Dragon Inn Folk Club
Two venues in Worcester where you can now regularly listen to live, acoustic music from a range of local and national musicians.
I find myself slightly gob-smacked to realise that I’ve been playing and listening to live music around Worcester and Worcestershire now for some 50 years and I have to say that the number of musicians and the quality of what they play are both higher now than I have ever known.
The odd thing is that the number of venues in which these amazing people can find to play to a live audience is more limited than I have ever known it to be. They are missing out on a chance to display their own considerable virtuosity and creativity, and you, the listening public, are missing out on the chance to hear them!
This is why we started, first of all the ‘Worcester Acoustic Music Sessions’ in St. Swithun’s Institute, and now, the Dragon Folk Club in the very wonderful Dragon Inn, Tything, Worcester.
St. Swithun’s provides us with a large hall where we run concerts and ceilidhs, whereas the upstairs room of the Dragon Inn is a much smaller more intimate space. In both venues the music is acoustic / un-plugged / un-amplified (though this does not apply to some of the Ceilidhs at St. Swithun’s where the Whole Caboodle Electric Ceilidh Band sometimes strut their stuff).
At St. Swithun’s we run ‘Acoustic Music Sessions’ where four local artistes are invited to perform a half-hour set each to provide a concert with a range of musical styles and genres. The audience bring their own drinks and nibbles and can order a fish and chip supper on the door for an extra charge. We aim to do this three times a year, and these are friendly and intimate concerts with some of the best musicians on the local scene performing free of charge.
We also run Shindig (Arts Council Funded) concerts at St. Swithun’s. These are bigger events with nationally-known guests. Tickets for these must be purchased in advance, and we run a limited licensed bar on these evenings. We do two or three of these each year.
Lastly at St. Swithun’s we run Ceilidhs, family events for people of all ages and all levels of skill in dancing from none at all to really quite a lot! Again, you can order a fish and chip supper on the door for an extra charge. Again, we run two or three ceilidhs each year.
The Dragon Folk Club is a different animal altogether. Meeting more frequently (first and third Wednesdays in each Month) it provides a venue for local musicians to just turn up on the night and perform a 15 minute set as ‘floor singers’. This means that we will never know precisely what is going to happen or who is going to turn up to each evening at the Folk Club. Just to make sure that we have some control over the situation though, on each club night there will be an invited guest who will perform for the last 30 – 40 minutes of the evening. The only exception to this will be when we have special ‘themed’ evenings, and these will be advertised on this site.
Of course it must also be added that the Dragon Inn provides us not only with a wonderful upstairs room to perform in, but also a range of some of the finest craft beers in Worcestershire.
A famous story-teller once said, there are three elements to storytelling. They are all equally important, and if any one of them is absent or not fully engaged, the process simply does not work. They are firstly, the Storyteller; secondly, the Story, and thirdly the Audience.
Exactly the same thing applies to live, acoustic music. We need the musicians who are willing to perform. We need the fascinating songs and tunes that they play on a wide range of instruments. But also, we need an audience who want to come along and listen and experience this amazing and often under-valued art-form.
I hope you will want to be part of it.