A Brief History

The Friday The 13th Folk Club was formed after the venue of an earlier club was lost - with a change of venue came a change of name as the result of the bizarre dominance of the number 13 on the club’s first night

After losing our first (excellent) venue we wandered around in the wilderness for forty years (well not quite) before we found another. It was upper floor of a converted barn in the grounds of The Knox Arms, Knox Lane, Harrogate. Our first meeting was in December, on (you guessed) Friday 13th. On her arrival, Lindsey, one of our members, noticed that the staircase leading to the room consisted of 13 steps. After 13 people had arrived nobody else turned up and in the terrifying sound that followed (No, Ray was not singing at the time) a name was born. More people did turn up later but during that space our fate had been forever sealed, and so our name entered the first year of its life.


Since then the club has become a popular venue and has been host to many excellent performers, both amateur and professional, welcoming all types of acoustic music. Recently the club has relocated to the Empress in Church Square where in the early 1960's Harrogate's first Folk Club was born. This was where various performers including Roger Knowles and Robin and Barry Dransfield first "cut their teeth". The reasons for this move is to bring the club nearer to the town and enjoy more comfortable surroundings, though it is also taking the club "back home".

Barry Dransfield


Friday 13th Folk Club will cease to exist after Christmas. I worked as hard as I could to create what
I envisaged a good club to be and achieved only a third of that ideal.

My feelings about a good folk club is that it should serve three basic functions, all of which we
seemed to manage at one time, but not any more. They are:
1. PARTICIPATORY: The Performers' and Listeners' evenings should give a chance for people to
share songs and banter with an audience and with each other. As these have not been very well
attended I assume my opinions are not generally held ones.
not-yet-famous artists should be a very strong feature of any folk club. Every time we try this we 
lose a lot of money by failing to get a decent sized audience. These performers are stuck in the
world's smallest vicious circle: They can't get a gig 'til they get a name, and they can't get a name
'til they get a gig.
3. BRINGING "BIG NAMES" TO TOWN: This works a treat, we are already more than half sold-out
for Vin Garbutt in December and well on the way to being completely sold-out for Spiers and Boden
in November.

Unfortunately "big" gigs are only one aspect of the club and not enough for me to go on giving
up so much of my time for. I do not make any money from the club, I do it for love. Put in maudlin
terms: I feel as if my "lover" has let me down.
There is now a CD recording of some of our regular performers from a couple of Performers and Listeners Evenings - click here.

The club finally closed on Friday 16 th December 2005.