A NICE play on words in a catchy slogan underscores how a club for music lovers and musicians has enriched the Redland cultural scene for almost a decade. "The folkus is on bringing people and music together" in Folk Redlands, which this week is basking in the success of its three-day ukulele convention. The convention last weekend at the Cleveland artspace and cafe, The Artist Tree, and Redland City Council's Indigiscapes Centre has lifted spirits in the folk club as it prepares for its annual general meeting next month.
CLUB vice-president Colin Nightingale says about 300 people attended the three sessions and club officials were keen to hold the convention annually. Folk Redlands has been a big part of Colin's life since he was founding president nine years ago. He not only serves on the executive but also promotes its message on a Bay-FM radio show, Acoustic Harvest, every second Thursday at 8pm. The show is promoted as "where you can enjoy music that main stream FM radio long since abandoned as not being commercial enough". Colin still finds time to develop his own musical skills, playing the whistle, concertina and of course the ukulele. He says Folk Redlands has blossomed in a "perfect partnership" with Indigiscapes, where the club holds concerts on the first and third Sundays each month – proudly supporting emerging talent.
"WE have a very welcoming atmosphere at Indigiscapes," he says. "Budding musicians can feel very, very relaxed as they get exposure in front of an audience. "We also feature professional artists and they often comment on the enthusiasm and involvement of the audience." Folk Redlands, which started with just seven members, now involves a "pool" of about 200 people, many of whom perform, Colin says. Although emphasisis is on folk music, he says, "We are not so pedantic that we say 'That's not folk' so musicians with interests in other genres do perform for us.
COLIN says the club regards its sound system, which it bought with the help of grants from the council and the Regional Arts Development Fund, as belonging to the community. "We supply the equipment and the service of a sound engineer to community events," he says. With a committee of seven, led by president Patrick Burke, Folk Redlands has used a public notice in The Redland Times to invite "all members and friends" to its AGM at The Artist Tree, Bloomfield Street, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, August 27.
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