The Kelso Folk and Live Music Club’s home for the last decade and more has been The Cobbles Inn on Bowmont Street. The Friday night sessions start around 10pm and may attract anything from two or three regulars – a rare instance now – to over twenty musicians and singers with visitors from far afield.
The first Friday in every month is a purely acoustic session, all other nights use a PA system which the club installed with support from the venue. We provide two vocal microphones and two guitar leads, and a table microphone for fiddle, flute, accordion etc., with the ability to plug in others as needed. Accompaniment to performers should be left acoustic unless requested by the organisers (usually David Kilpatrick, Allan Connochie, Dave Mullen or Andrew Hunter).
Acoustic guitars form the mainstay for singers but many other instruments make regular appearances. Unaccompanied singing is appreciated just as much as a full dance-tune stramash and you’ll hear originals from the 12th the 21st centuries.
Because The Cobbles Inn is a restaurant, children are welcome. It is a safe environment with a friendly atmosphere. Closing on Friday nights tends to happen on Saturday morning; it’s a late session. Taxis leaves from a few yards outside the pub door, and the location right in the centre of Kelso is very easy to find. The pub was remodelled in early 2008 – read about it and see photos. Since then it has been further refurbished with a wooden finish floor in place of carpeting, and this has improved the acoustic qualities of the room.
Other Sessions and Guest Nights
The club will, from time to time, organise sessions on another weekday night. These will be publicised to members/regulars. There are now occasional Sunday afternoon traditional sessions at The Cobbles, anchored by local musicians and open to all traditional tune players. Usually there will be a few songs too.
Though not part of the folk club, a traditional session is now a regular feature of Thursday evenings at The Cross Keys from around 8.00pm. Anchored by small pipes, fiddle, flute and guitar it’s mainly tunes with occasional songs and the repertoire is exactly what you would expect to hear in a Scottish Border town.
The club was started in 1995 when a Perthshire fiddle player arrived to work at Plexus and discovered no sessions were happening in the town. Mike, who has long since departed for England, advertised a meeting to set one up and it has grown on a weekly basis ever since.
The club was formally constituted in at the turn of the millennium when three years of sponsored ‘Seasons of Sessions’ brought in funds, donated by the members who anchored sessions round the Borders. These in turn enabled the first Kelso Free Folk Festival in 2003, supported by a council grant.
Since then the club has been self-supporting with a programme of visiting guest concerts, a regular weekly open mic and late night session, and frequent contributions to the cultural life of Kelso by taking part in events. One recent event was our own 2008 Burns Supper.
To let our organisers know if you are planning to come along as a new musician, singer or just to listen email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs by James Shepherd