Folk Award 2007
Yes, it's true - your very own Ram Club has won the coveted BBC Radio 2 'Folk Club of the Year 2007' award! This was presented to the club at the BBC Folk Awards on Monday 5th February in London. The ceremony and music was recorded and broadcast on the Mike Harding show at 7pm on Wednesday February 7th.
We are very proud to have received this award, but it is for all of YOU who support the club and come along and create the atmosphere and fill the seats, as well as the artists who work so hard to entertain us. It is the artists themselves who vote for this category and who this year voted for us! You can rest assured that fame won't change things. No stretch limos nor minders will be appearing at the Foley, and we will carry on doing what we do the way we always have until we drop. After all, what else is there to do on a Friday?
So, thank YOU all once again very much for making the club what it is, and we hope that you keep coming to enjoy Friday nights at The Ram.
Hey, that was some gig! Where else can you mingle with the likes of BOB HOSKINS, JENNIFER SAUNDERS, BILL ODDIE, DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, LEMBIT OPIK MP with his CHEEKY GIRL (sorry, I bottled out of grabbing a photo), BOB HARRIS, CHARLES DANCE, PETER GABRIEL, ADE EDMONSON, GREG DYKE and the Director-General of the BBC MARK THOMPSON? We express profuse thanks to him for the wonderful food, wine and champagne provided by the Beeb, whilst wondering whether we might ever get invited again as we behaved so nicely? It was an honour, with BOB, MAGGIE and IAN, to represent the club at this bash. We are only sorry it wasn't possible to take a coach-load of you, but tickets were like gold dust and even the great and the good were only allowed two.
It could be argued that quite a large proportion of the guests had only a tenuous connection to Folk Music (although David Attenborough revealed he had been involved in early folk music broadcasts on the Beeb and still listened to it), but the idea of the awards is to promote Folk music to a wider audience and broaden its appeal, which it seems to be doing with great effect. Did you know that Seth Lakeman's latest CD has sold over 100,000 and that he creates hysteria among the ladies wherever he goes? May his fiddle never flag.
Beforehand we joked about it being like the Oscars but it wasn't far off, and it's the closest the likes of us will ever get to it! There was a lot of smartly-dressed and efficient security staff at the entrance to the Brewery in the Barbican complex. Once inside, the fizz flowed ("oh, go on then..."), and just about everyone of note on the Folk scene was there, catching up with each other. It was nice to see Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, who were at the club recently. They were nominated for Best Duo, which was won by Martin Carthy and a resurrected Dave Swarbrick. We chatted with Jez Lowe and Kate Bramley (coming to the club on February 16th), Steve Knightley, Archie Fisher and Tom McConville before being summoned into the main auditorium.
The Brewery is a very atmospheric place, and very 'Folky' in a nouveau way. There were about 400 guests in tables of 10, and we shared the convivial company of Sarah Allen of Flook (winners of last year's 'Best Group' Award) and her partner, singer and actor Bernard Wrigley and his wife Mary, and I had the honour and pleasure of sitting next to Ashley Hutchings and fellow Rainbow Chaser Mark Hutchinson (who will be at the club in September)...and they were all so nice and friendly!
Nosh arrived - and very good it was too - and the wine flowed freely. Then the lights dimmed, order was called and Mike Harding took to the stage to host the ceremony. Vin Garbutt presented our award in his usual style, Bob and Maggie accepted it and did a nice little double speech, making the point that the award truly is for everyone - punters, helpers and artists alike - who make the Ram Club the holistic whole that it is. To see the speech in full on YouTube, click here.
The atmosphere was great, and everything flashed by far too quickly. No tears or tantrums or 'Don't you know who I am?' s - too much competition for that! There was music between each presentation, and highlights included Seth Lakeman, Karin Polwart, Roseanne Cash, Salsa Celtica, Chris Thile (of Nickel Creek) & John McCusker with a stunning set of tunes on mandolin and fiddle, and Show of Hands and friends with an impassioned rendition of 'Roots', possibly the most powerful song Steve Knightley has ever written (boy, did ex-Culture Minister Kim Howells wind him up with his comments about hell being three folk singers in a pub).
Most poignant moment was Simon Nicol, accepting the award for Favourite Folk Track Ever - the late Sandy Denny's 'Who Knows where the Time Goes' - with a short speech that just said it all.
After the ceremony we mingled, and Ralph McTell said some very nice things to us about the club (he does sneak in every now and then for some quiet relaxation).
The minders called time and people drifted downstairs to the foyer. No red carpet on leaving, but plenty of limos and cabs to whisk people away. I was glad I took up the offer of a hotel room as by this time my on-board Sat Nav had gone a bit awry.
I meant to stay up for the après folk, I really did, but I went to my room to refresh and appallingly I drifted off. Did some dastard spike one of my drinks with Horlicks? Who knows, these things happen. I was awoken a couple of hours later though, by the sound of a tremendous session going on that shook the hotel to its very foundations. Marvellous!
So, a wonderful night which we will remember for a long, long time. The award trophy will be appearing at the club so you can all get your mitts on it. One question though - do we have to give it back?
Steve PooleClick here to view photos from the night