The Ram Folk Club has run on most Fridays (except Christmases, Good Fridays and Augusts) since October 1983. The club was originally started by Brian and Jane Ravenhill and is now run by a small group of music enthusiasts and performers. We don't have a committee, it just 'happens'! We have a loyal and evolving clientele - yourselves - and we only put on guests we like and can therefore recommend. There is a very special kind of warm intimacy and friendliness about the club which makes an evening there so enjoyable.
Since January 2009, our home has been the function room of the Old Cranleighan Club in Thames Ditton, a stone's throw from the Scilly Isles roundabouts, almost within shouting distance of our old home the Foley Arms and not far from where it all started back in 1983 at The Greyhound pub in Weston Green.
We are very pleased with our new venue. It has allowed us to become an even better club with a friendly, intimate atmosphere, great acoustic music and a supportive network of helpers and resident performers. The Old Cranleighan is a handsome, wood-clad colonial-style Edwardian building and the room has comfortable seating for over 100. It has great acoustics, oodles of character, a gallery at either end, beams and a fireplace. On Friday nights we have exclusive use of the whole venue so it becomes 'The Ram Club'.
The spacious and well-stocked bar is adjacent to the club room so you can take full advantage of a wide range of drinks (including real ale and wines), available at lower prices than your average pub! There is a large car park immediately adjacent to the club house; so please do not park anywhere else. As the venue is on the ground floor, there is reasonable disabled access.
Doors open at 8.15 after the sound check when Amanda will welcome you and gently take your money. If you arrive earlier, feel free to relax in the bar area. The music kicks off at 8.30, usually with a couple of 'floor spots' from visiting musicians or our talented regulars. The guest then does a 45 min set, followed by a drinks break and the famous raffle. The second half follows the same format, with the artist doing 45 min - 1 hour. We finish about 11.15pm.
If you haven't been before, we will make you welcome. We don't have a problem with the stereotyped image of folk clubs because those open-minded enough to give us a try don't see labels, just great music. And they come back! Even if you think you don't like folk, give us a try if you like acoustic music in any of its forms.
The club puts on a full and varied programme of Folk and Acoustic artists and bands at the top of their profession. Such is our reputation that we often have guests who don't normally play in such small venues (check out the archive). The music ranges from Traditional to Contemporary, Blues to Ballads, Instrumental to a cappella, Comedy, a smattering of jazz and much more.
Bands and musicians love the venue and clamour to come back. BOO HEWERDINE relaunched his solo career at the club in 2001 (recorded and released on a CD as 'A Live One'). Famous names drop in occasionally to watch their peers and perhaps even do a couple of songs, like hit-maker BENNY GALLAGHER (writer for the likes of Art Garfunkel & Bryan Ferry and one half of the duo Gallagher and Lyle). DENNY LAINE and Elton John's guitarist JOHN JORGENSEN have graced the stage, but mainly it is the less-familiar but highly-talented Folk and Acoustic Artists from here and abroad.
We like to think our publicity gives a true description of the type of music, and if you are 'connected' you can usually listen to samples of the music on the artists' web sites or MySpaces. Our fine PA gives a natural acoustic sound so you can hear everything.
The only house rules we have are:
- Please turn phones off in the room and respect the right of everyone to enjoy the music. Because of the nature and the intimacy of the club please leave conversations for in the bar.
- Please use gaps between songs, or the interval, to refuel or relieve!
We like to maintain the tradition of paying the artists a living wage, so that they keep on doing what they do! There are very few performers who are rich - they mostly do it for the love - but they need to live. Please bear this in mind when paying your entrance fee. We usually charge between £7 and £12 (£1-£2 off for members), which is much less than you will pay 'in town' or in a theatre. Please note that none of this goes to line the organisers' pockets.
Membership will cost you a whopping £4 per year - little more than the price of a pint in your average pub! In return we will keep you posted four times a year and give you a reduction on entry. To join, just go along to the club any Friday, hand over your money and your details to the ladies on the desk and you will immediately get the reduced entrance price. It's win, win, win! To join the email list (useful if we have a late change), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (NOTE new address).
We do not offer a regular advance ticket facility as there are genuine issues about how best and how often to do this without altering the character of a weekly folk club - hence our past reticence on the subject. We think it is part of being a folk club that you can just turn up on the night! However, we have taken members' comments on board and we are now making advance tickets available for certain nights which we think may sell out - such as Phil Beer on 13th April 2012.. They will be on sale in the weeks prior to relevant gigs (please remember to bring your membership cards to secure the members' discount on ticket prices). Such ticketed gigs will be noted on the website programme listing, in our flyers and at the club.
This will only apply to a few dates and, if you are not already a member, taking out membership when you buy such tickets will cost you very little extra and save you money all year! Any remaining tickets will, of course, be available in the usual way on the night on a first-come, first-served basis. ......And please remember to keep an eye on the website and your inbox for updates on advance ticket sales and to make sure there are tickets left before you set off.
Old Cranleighan Club, Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0HB
Click here for a detailed map of how to find the OC Club
Take Junction 10, A3 exit. Take the A244 junction (signposted Sandown Park and Esher). Turn left into A244 and follow road into Esher. In town centre turn right at traffic lights, follow signs for A307 to London. At Scilly Isles roundabout, continue straight along A307 (Portsmouth Road). The Old Cranleighan Club is 600 yards on the left, immediately after the long railway bridge. Turn up the drive across the Common, forking right at the houses.
From London (A3):
Come off A3 at onto A309 just after Hook exit. Go straight on at roundabout and through traffic lights at Hinchley Wood. At Scilly Isles roundabout, turn right onto A307 (Portsmouth Road). The Old Cranleighan Club is 600 yards on the left, immediately after the railway bridge. Turn up the drive across the Common, forking right at the houses.
From Esher (A307):
Follow signs for A307 to London. At Scilly Isles roundabout, continue straight along A307 (Portsmouth Road). The Old Cranleighan Club is 600 yards on the left, immediately after the long railway bridge. Turn up the drive across the Common, forking right at the houses.
From Kingston (A307):
Head out of Kingston towards Esher on the A307, past Giggs Hill Green, Thames Ditton, and turn right just before the second railway bridge. Drive across the Common to the club, forking right at the houses.
Please do not park on the common - there is ample parking available inside the grounds.
(See the South West Trains website for timetables)
Hinchley Wood is the preferred station.
From Waterloo to Hinchley Wood station (journey 25 minutes). Go to the end of the platform, walk up the main stairs and turn right along the bridge at the top. Walk down the stairs and turn left and then almost immediately turn right along a short alley between fences heading away from the main road (Kingston Bypass) and towards houses. At the end of the alley the road goes off to the left. After 30 yards, turn right along Eastmont Road (by the post box), and at the end of it (after a left-hand bend) turn right on to Couchmore Avenue. At the main road (Portsmouth Road) turn right, cross over, go under the railway bridge and the Old Cranleighans drive is first left (12-14 minutes walk).
From Waterloo to Thames Ditton station (journey 25 minutes).
- By footpath - Turn left out of station down Weston Green Road, turn 3rd left into Longmead Road and then right into sports ground. (Please note that there is a gate here which is sometimes locked at night. If so, please follow the by road directions instead). Across first ground/pavilion, head for floodlights and second clubhouse (10 minutes walk).
- By road – Turn right out of station along Station Road, following round to the right down Watts Road, which leads into Giggs Hill Road. Turn right at the main road (Portsmouth Road) and continue under the railway, turning right just before the next railway bridge up the drive across the Common to the club, forking right at the houses.
From Waterloo to Esher station (journey 28 minutes).
- By footpath - Turn right out of station up Station Road and turn right north of the railway along a path. Cross over Hampton Court Way and continue along path opposite towards club.
- By road – Turn left out of the station down Station Road, turning left when you reach the main road (Portsmouth Road). Continue to the Scilly Isles roundabout, crossing Hampton Court Way and continuing along Portsmouth Road towards Kingston. The Old Cranleighan Club is 600 yards on the left, immediately after the long railway bridge. Turn up the drive across the Common, forking right at the houses.