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Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009

Valmai Goodyear 15 Dec 08 - 05:28 AM
greg stephens 15 Dec 08 - 05:34 AM
Will Fly 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 AM
Will Fly 15 Dec 08 - 05:51 AM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 15 Dec 08 - 06:15 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 15 Dec 08 - 06:16 AM
Fidjit 15 Dec 08 - 06:33 AM
Alan Day 15 Dec 08 - 06:45 AM
Valmai Goodyear 15 Dec 08 - 07:28 AM
Fidjit 15 Dec 08 - 07:42 AM
trayton 15 Dec 08 - 07:59 AM
Fidjit 15 Dec 08 - 08:01 AM
Leadfingers 15 Dec 08 - 11:34 AM
Marje 15 Dec 08 - 12:40 PM
BB 16 Dec 08 - 11:55 AM
JohnB 16 Dec 08 - 02:46 PM
Herga Kitty 16 Dec 08 - 03:04 PM
Crane Driver 16 Dec 08 - 04:40 PM
SussexCarole 16 Dec 08 - 04:44 PM
Mo the caller 16 Dec 08 - 05:05 PM
greg stephens 18 Dec 08 - 08:31 AM
TheSnail 18 Dec 08 - 09:48 AM
Vic Smith 18 Dec 08 - 10:03 AM
Vic Smith 19 Dec 08 - 09:43 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 20 Dec 08 - 10:10 PM
Fidjit 21 Dec 08 - 04:33 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 21 Dec 08 - 05:04 AM
Fidjit 21 Dec 08 - 06:14 AM
TheSnail 21 Dec 08 - 06:20 AM
TheSnail 21 Dec 08 - 06:29 AM
Dave Earl 21 Dec 08 - 06:34 AM
TheSnail 21 Dec 08 - 07:03 AM
Alan Day 21 Dec 08 - 08:58 AM
JohnB 24 Dec 08 - 11:32 AM
TheSnail 28 Dec 08 - 03:46 PM
Valmai Goodyear 29 Dec 08 - 02:05 PM
JohnB 29 Dec 08 - 04:03 PM
Vic Smith 02 Jan 09 - 09:29 AM
TheSnail 03 Jan 09 - 07:23 AM
Valmai Goodyear 03 Jan 09 - 08:29 AM
Will Fly 04 Jan 09 - 05:14 AM
Valmai Goodyear 04 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM
Vic Smith 04 Jan 09 - 03:21 PM
Valmai Goodyear 04 Jan 09 - 06:19 PM
SussexCarole 04 Jan 09 - 06:47 PM
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Subject: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:28 AM

Dear Everyone,

After twenty-one years at the Lewes Arms, the Lewes Arms Folk Club is moving to the Elephant & Castle, White Hill, Lewes BN7 2DJ   (www.elephantandcastlelewes.co.uk). We haven't quite finalised the name, but we expect to call ourselves something like 'LEWES SATURDAY FOLK CLUB at the Elephant & Castle.'

Our first night there will be a singaround on the theme of Great Escapes on Saturday 3rd. January.

We are moving because the new management of the Lewes Arms has asked us for £50 to use the club-room on a Saturday night and £75 during the daytime when we run workshops because they want to use it as a restaurant at weekends. We run to break even and give all door money to our guest performers, paying for our advertising with a weekly raffle and occasional night without a guest; the management were well aware of this when they asked us for money, which they described as a peppercorn rent in comparison with the amount of money they could be making out of the space we use: a room that holds fifty people at a pinch.

We have two more nights at the Lewes Arms:

20 DEC          CHRISTMAS PARTY with UDIMORE HANDBELL RINGERS                        (£4)

The Captain of the ringers is Peter Collins and they're all good solo performers too. Carol sheets provided; home-made mince pies served. Bring a party piece or choose a carol.

27 DEC          MATT QUINN & DOGAN MEHMET                   (£4)

Two fine young singers with fiddles, melodeon, mandola & percussion, raised in Sussex, on vacation from the Newcastle University traditional music degree course. It would be great to fill the place for our final night and make it one to remember.

Not only have we been at the Arms for twenty-one years, but Vic and Tina Smith ran a superb club there before us; the best of traditional music has been in the pub for the best part of forty years. My first visit was to Scan Tester's 83rd. birthday party in September 1971. This year alone we have run weekly performances and fifteen all-day workshops by excellent musicians including Alistair Anderson, Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick, Paul Sartin and Coope Boyes & Simpson.

If you would like to protest to the owners, Fuller Smith and Turner, in the hope of showing them that a lot of people value folk clubs and that they will lose goodwill and money by evicting them from their pubs, please email

fullers@fullers.co.uk

or write to

Mr. Michael Turner, Executive Chairman, Fuller Smith & Turner Plc, The Griffin Brewery, Chiswick Lane South, London W4 2QB.

Best wishes,

Valmai


Valmai Goodyear
20, St. John's Terrace, Lewes, BN7 2DL

01273 476757

Lewes Elephant Folk Music, Elephant & Castle, White Hill, Lewes BN7 2DJ
www.lewesarmsfolkclub.org
Residents: Bryan Creer, Dave Earl, Sandra Goddard, Valmai Goodyear, Suzanne Higgins, Steve & Diane Nevill, George Oakley, Robert O'Mahony, Derek Seed

LEWES ELEPHANT FOLK MUSIC WORKSHOPS 2009
The workshops last a full Saturday and the tutor performs at the pub in the evening.
Booking forms can be printed from the website about four months before the event.

28 Feb Brian Peters Melodeon
1 Mar Brian Peters Ballad forum
28 Mar Tom McConville Fiddle
25 Apr Craig Morgan Robson 'Way through the Woods'
26 Apr Craig Morgan Robson Vocal harmony
6 Jun Nancy Kerr Fiddle
James Fagan Bouzouki
Robert Harbron Concertina
7 Jun Nancy Kerr & James Fagan Vocal harmony
Robert Harbron Winter MS tunes
11 Jul Will Duke Scan Tester's tunes
18 Jul Bonnie Shaljean Harp
12 Sept Tommy Peoples Fiddle
19 Sept Jeff Warner Song accompaniment
10. Oct Tim Edey Melodeon
14 Nov Vicki Swan Scottish smallpipes
21 Nov Tom & Barbara Brown Ballad forum
5 Dec Billy Teare Storytelling
5 Dec Kathleen O'Sullivan Irish song


SPARE PARTS CONCERTINA BAND
Bryan Creer, Suzanne Higgins, Valmai Goodyear
http://www.sparepartsband.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:34 AM

Have emailed a complaint.


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 AM

I've also emailed a complaint - whether it will make any difference remains to be seen. Still, we do what we can. Given the size of the room, I doubt they'll make anything of it as a restaurant but, given the parlous state of the pub trade, I can see that they'd want to maximise as much profit from the space as possible.

Questions for Val:

1. Would they still charge for a different evening, say Friday?

2. Is the Elephant venue in the main bar, or is there a similar upstairs room there?


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:51 AM

Val - just spotted that there's a club room in the Elephant (mentioned in the other posts).


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM

There are folk clubs that we would be in competition with in the region on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The Jazz Club that meets at the Arms on Fridays has had a similar ultimatum and moved to Mondays for the time being. That leaves us Tuesdays for our Lewes Favourites and Concertinas Anonymous sessions.

Apart from that, our main strength and claim to fame is our series of workshop/evening club combinations which can only really work on a Saturday and/or Sunday.

The entry for The Lewes Arms on the Fuller's website makes interesting reading.


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:15 AM

What a bummer! Still, the new venue looks terrific - the "two high-ceilinged function rooms" upstairs which they describe on their web page sound quite good. Since they already have their obligatory pool and table-football and plasma screens downstairs, there's a hope.

Will, the reason for Saturdays is because of the long established all-day Saturday workshops, which finish with a gig in the evening - a lot of people are working during the week and wouldn't be able to attend the day sessions.

Think I'll throw in a plug for my own date here - the 18th July (see above). My workshop will be on traditional Irish harp playing, particularly focusing on the highly-ornamented style which has evolved here. It's fairly specialised, I know, but it's also something that harp players outside of Ireland are not often given a hands-on chance to learn. (People will need to already know how to play, though it doesn't have to be to an advanced standard, and will have to bring an instrument with them.) Then there's the club in the evening, which will feature songs as well, and is not just a harp recital. There. Commercial over. I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Val - I'll certainly write a protest letter, but is this because you would prefer to stay at the old venue, if there's any choice, or just to - quite rightly - make our voices heard? But I don't know how successfully that will compete against people's stomachs. Restaurants seem to be the way pubs are going. . .

In any case, here's best wishes for prosperity and joy at the Heffalump & Castle. See you in the summer!


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:16 AM

Woooops, I see that Will answered his own question while I was writing my post -


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Fidjit
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:33 AM

Shame !
I shall certainly complain.
That pub had some really nice ales.
They had Mud Rat cider The best there is. Which led me to sleep in my car in the car park after playing at the club in August.
(Shouldn't think you'd get 50 people in that room Val)

Hope you settle down nicely at the new venue and that I get to come and visit you all again.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Alan Day
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:45 AM

A little plug for me.I shall be performing there on the evening of the 21st March
As I used to live in Clapham so going to the Elephant and Castle will be like old times.
Well done Valmai and "The Snail" for finding the new venue.
Al


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:28 AM

Thanks for the supportive messages, everyone. My last post disappeared into cyberspace, so I'll try again.

We had to find a new home in a great hurry, having effectively been given four weeks' notice after 21 years. Announcing and arranging the move is a huge effort and will continue to cause confusion for a long time; it would also be very graceless to run away from the Elephant after they've been so helpful and welcoming, so our move is not reversible.

Nevertheless it's worth complaining to Fullers and anyone else you can think of, in the interest of saving refuges for traditional music and showing them that you lose money and friends if you evict folk clubs.

I must point out here that the Saturday Lewes Arms /Elephant club is completely separate although on good terms with Vic Smith's Thursday night club in the Royal Oak , Lewes.

Tootle pip,

Valmai (steam still coming out of ears and keyboard)


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Fidjit
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:42 AM

Harveys Best Bitter is stocked all year round alongside, currently, Hobgoblin and Brakespear Bitter. Also available is Old Rosie, a traditional hand pump cider from Westons.

The Elephant and Castle boasts one of the largest ranges of draught lagers in Lewes, with Heineken, Kronenbourg, Stella Artois, Becks Vier, Carling and Fosters all available as well as Budvar, Peroni, Becks and more in bottles.

It will have to do.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: trayton
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:59 AM

It's a shame, in fact it's a great big shame, may their Harveys turn sour.
The new venue looks promising, well it has two of my favorite beers on at the same time, lets hope you manage another 21 years without a move.
Best of luck and long may the club survive
Looking forward to a Harveys / Brakespear comparison


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Fidjit
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:01 AM

Valmai

I have posted you news on concertina.net

someone there told me about this

Seems the Lewes Arms had trouble earlier too. angst in 2006

Here's a picture of the pumps and you can see the Black Rat cider there too!

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 11:34 AM

Good Luck in the new Venue ! This is the problem with a weekend club though , isnt it ?


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Marje
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 12:40 PM

Hello Valmai, sorry to hear of your problems. I have fond memories of the club and the workshops at the Lewes Arms. It has to be said, though, that it wasn't the ideal room, being that odd shape, and I can't see it working well as a restaurant either.

I shall boycott the Lewes Arms henceforth, althugh I don't suppose they'll notice, as I now live several hundred miles away anyway. Hope all goes well for you and the club at the new venue.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: BB
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:55 AM

Good luck in the move to the new venue, Valmai et al! It'll seem really strange to be at your club in a different venue, but if the landlord at the new one is positive, this could be really good for you all. As has already been said, the Lewes Arms room was a bit of a strange shape, and you were limited by that.

I'm sure the strength of your regulars will carry you through, and maybe get better still!

Very best wishes to you all for a very **happy** New Year!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: JohnB
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 02:46 PM

A complaint from Canada has been lodged.
Not that it will probably do much good, it may shock them slightly though.
I guess if I get to the area I will be looking for the Elephant and Castle instead.
Good Luck in your new Location, whatever the name, keep on going.
JohnB.


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:04 PM

All best wishes for your new venue!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Crane Driver
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:40 PM

We're looking forward to appearing in the new place next October.

Best of luck with the move.

Andrew & Carole


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: SussexCarole
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:44 PM

First the Harveys - now the folk club! Tradition ain't what it used to be.

Great memories for us both of the club in the Lewes Arms (with and without Harveys). Kicking out the Harveys proved to be a mistake - I'm sure they will live to regret their decision in trying to financially penalise the folk club.

I remember the singaround we had at the Elephant and Castle. The room is larger but just as homely as the Lewes Arms and great accoustics - we'll check them out again in October 2009.

All the best with your new venue - sorry we can't be there for the opening night but we'll be in Sussex for the all day sing in January

Carole & Andrew


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Mo the caller
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:05 PM

When I saw you were moving I had a wild hope. But you've not come to Cheshire.
Will have to make do with your Chippenham workshops.
All the best as 'Not the Lewes Arms'


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:31 AM

I do the hope the move is a great success. As a matter of interest, did the club ever explore the question of getting some funding to cover the moeny the pub was asking for? I mention this, because times are very difficult for pubs, and they may have a valid case that they could earn more money using the room in another way. They were asking £50 for the evening and £75 for the day, weren't they? Now, the Lewes club has a fantastic track record in artistic terms, and surely therere must be someone (Arts Council? local council?)who could have covered up a few grand for premises hire for you for the year? Has anybody experience of getting funds for clubs in this way?
I raise this, because in the last analysis it's not a pub's job to subsidise a folk club if they see a clearer way for theselves to make more money. But it absolutely is many other organisations' jobs to subsidise art, and we all could do with a slice of of that support!


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 09:48 AM

Interesting idea but we've had very short notice with Christmas taking up most of it. With contractual obligations to our future guests we need to know we have a secure venue.

When we have looked into funding in the past, we have got the impression that it is available for new projects but not for something that is already running. Would any funder want some sort of control over things like our booking policy?

Does anybody else have any experience of this?


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:03 AM

Greg wrote:-
it absolutely is many other organisations' jobs to subsidise art, and we all could do with a slice of of that support!

Well, if we could work out which Olympic sports category that running a folk club comes into, perhaps we could apply for support. Otherwise, I don't think we have much chance with the current state of lottery/ACE (Art Council of England) provision.

State of funding for other Arts events in the Lewes area -

1] Lewes Guitar Festival, a wonderful ten-day event in August showing the whole range of that instrument's possibilities - ACE grant removed for 2008 - event will no longer take place.

2] Lewes Literary Festival takes place in October and its ambitious events are always packed out. Events also includes music events that have included Lewes's writer/singer/icon Shirley Collins presenting her "America Over The Water" and a number of very interesting African traditional music events - ACE grant removed for 2008 - event will struggle on with a much reduced localised content.

3] Komedia Brighton has for years put on a wonderful range of folk, world, rock, jazz, comedy events. Looking through their programme there was always the feeling that there were quite a number of events that you wanted to see and that here was a booker that knew what he was doing - ACE grant removed for 2008 - The booker, Laurence Hill, a man who knew his stuff and if he didn't would contact people he trusted (self included) for opinions. Laurence has now lost his job and the venue will continue with not-so-knowledgeable part-timers taking his place.

A lot of folk acts that were booked at the Komedia have now had their bookings for 2009 cancelled. I know this because several agents have been on to me asking if the lost Komedia bookings could be transferred to the Royal Oak in Lewes - and then they were then decidedly sniffy when I told them what our non-subsidised room above a pub venue could offer financially.


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 09:43 AM

Page 5 of today's Sussex Express has an article on this which overall seems to sympathise with the folk club. There is a photograph of the clubs three main organisers, Valmai Goodyear, Sandra Goddard and Bryan Creer and under the headline -

The music dies at pub after 20 years of folk

It says -
by STEVE HOLLOWAY
A FOLK club is to leave a Lewes pub after more than 20 years.
Members of the Lewes Arms Folk Club were shocked to hear they would have to shell out up to £75 a day to play there.
The pub is no stranger to con­troversy, in 2006 regulars car­ried out a five-month boycott when, the then landlord, Greene King temporarily ditched the Lewes favourite Harveys Best.
Current owner Fullers took over in August and promised to work with the local commu­nity.
But Valmai Goodyear, a Lewes Arms Folk Club com­mittee member, said her fellow members were 'heartbroken and angry' at the way they had been treated.
She said: 'After 21 years in its beloved Lewes Arms, the folk club which meets there every Saturday night is being forced to leave.
'This is a very special club which is unique in that it runs 15 or more all-day music work­shops every year, with the tutor performing in the evening.
'The new management, Fullers, want to charge £50 for using the club-room on Friday and Saturday nights and £75 for the use of the room during the day at weekends because it wants to sell more food there.
'As the club runs to break even, giving all money taken on the door to guest perform­ers and financing its advertis­ing through a weekly raffle, we do nothave this sort of money.
'Previous landlords have judged that we bring in enough business, especially with our all-day workshops, which bring in people from all over the country, to justify our use of the room.
'When we first got the de­mand for money we were heartbroken and angry.
We work hard for the tradi­tional music welove and we are part of the eco-system of this very special pub.'
Val said there has been a folk club in the building for nearly 40 years and has seen perform-ances from a range of renowned folk acts including the Copper Family.
Rob Shepped! from the Friends of Lewes Arms, said: 'We are very disappointed the folk club is moving on.
'It seems a shame because the folk club has been asscociated with the pub for quite a long time.
'The Fullers website even promotes the folk club as one of the three or four things that make the pub special, so what's happened is something of an irony.'
Mike Clist, a director at Fullers, said: 'The Folk Club, like the Lewes Jazz Workshop, has had use of the upstairs room free of charge and Blue (the pub's landlord Peter Dowd) has been delighted to have them as customers.
'However, there was a need for more space on the busiest nights of the week and the Folk and Jazz Clubs were offered the chance to move to any night of the week bar Friday and Saturday free of charge.
'Alternatively they could .continue to use the rooms on a Friday or Saturday in return for a hire charge.
'The Jazz Workshop have taken up Blue's offer and are now meeting on a Sunday evening free of charge.
'At no time were the Folk Club asked to leave the pub and we are really sorry they have taken the decision to hold their events elsewhere.'
The club's new home will be the Elephant and Castle, White Hill, from January.


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 10:10 PM

What do you want to bet that the Arms ends up regretting their rash move (not for the first time)? Sure, restaurants can earn more money than folk clubs, but only if they shift a certain amount of nosh. Lewes is already full of nice places to eat, and they're all going to be competing for the same phantom pounds and dollars and euros that nobody has. And they cost to run: you have to buy food (which has a very short sell-by date before it must be tossed), pay staff, kit out a kitchen - whereas the club brings its own party on board, with no maintenance outlay.   

This isn't the time to be embarking on new overhead-bearing ventures in an already crowded market, not to mention further loss of local confidence and public goodwill. Could be a bad move, guys. You were onto a good thing with your loyal folkies. As you're bound to realise sooner or later. ("Don't it always seem to go . . .")

In the meantime, I feel a Mudcat challenge coming on: How do you work "Elephant and Castle" in to a here's-good-luck-to-the-Barley-Mow -type song?   

See y'all in July - looking forward to the lovely new venue.


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Fidjit
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 04:33 AM

they're all going to be competing for the same phantom pounds and dollars and euros

Not to mention that funny Lewes Currency that they have invented.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:04 AM

Yes, that's right - can anyone explain what this is, for the uninitiated among us?


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Fidjit
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:14 AM

I think it's a bit like Luncheon vouches, which you can exchange for articles in all the shops.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:20 AM

Various friends and regular attendees of the club have been sending their protests to Fuller's Brewery, the owners of the Lewes Arms. They have beebsending out the following reply -

===========================================================================================
Dear Sally,

Many thanks for your recent email regarding the Lewes Arms Folk Club.

When Fuller's purchased the Lewes Arms earlier this year, we did so because we knew it was a fantastic traditional ale house, and just the type of pub that we like to have in our estate. We want to run the best pub in any area and the Lewes Arms is just that.

You will probably be aware that prior to our taking over the pub it was run as a managed house with a major brewer. We believed that the pub could better serve the community of Lewes as a tenanted house and appointed Blue as the tenant with Abbey ably assisting him. Blue is also the tenant of the Basketmakers in Brighton which regularly features in the press as one of the top ten pubs in England. Blue and the team have worked very closely with the local community since the pub changed hands. He has signed up to the local Lewes currency, while Dwyle flunking, the bridge and toad leagues all continue to thrive. The world pea throwing event has taken place and the fireworks festival week was a tremendous success. The games area remains just that and customers are actively encouraged to take part. The food business has been dramatically improved and now is of a very high standard and enjoyed by many local people.

As a tenant Blue is running his own personal business, he pays a rent to the company and is tied to us for all of the wet products. Since his appointment the business has increased week on week and the Lewes Arms is now a very successful and busy community pub. The food business has been improved and is of a very high standard and enjoyed by many local people. It is therefore essential that whilst trying to work closely with all the regulars of the Lewes Arms, Blue also seeks ways to build his business to the benefit of both himself and the community.

The Folk Club, like the Lewes Jazz Workshop, has had use of the upstairs room free of charge and Blue has been delighted to have them as customers. However, there was a need for more space on the busiest nights of the week and the Folk and Jazz Clubs were offered the chance to move to any night of the week bar Friday and Saturday free of charge. Alternatively they could continue to use the rooms on a Friday or Saturday in return for a hire charge. The Jazz Workshop have taken up Blue's offer and are now meeting on a Sunday evening free of charge. At no time were the Folk Club asked to leave the pub and we are really sorry they have taken the decision to hold their events elsewhere. If they wish to either pay the hire fee for the Friday/Saturday night or take up the offer to have another night free of charge they will be welcomed back to the pub by Blue and his team.

We thank you for bringing the matter to or attention, any email to the company whether complimentary or complaint is taken seriously and whilst the outcome may not be what you require you will hopefully understand why the decision was made to request a small charge.

Yours sincerely

Deborah Steel
Business Development Manager
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

===========================================================================================

I have sent the following email to Deborah Steel -

===========================================================================================
Dear Ms Steel

    Our friend and fellow folk music enthusiast Sally has been so kind as to forward your message to her regarding the departure of the folk club from The Lewes Arms. Since you have heard the tenants' version of events, I think it only fair that you should hear ours.

    We have run a club at the Arms for twenty one years and there was another earlier club. Folk music has been played in that room for over forty years hosting some of the best performers on the British folk scene. We have always worked with the pub on the basis that we got the room for free because of the trade we brought in. The present club has achieved national status largely for its series of full-day workshop/concert events. In these we book a top name artist who will give instruction to up to twenty people during the day followed by an evening performance.

    Clearly, these events have to be on a weekend day and Sunday would clash with another folk club in the area. We have all our workshops arranged for 2009 and contracts signed with the artists who are highly unlikely to be able to reschedule so changing the day is not an option. The new tenants were given a list of these as soon as they moved in.

    All the workshop fees, apart from a small deduction for administration and advertising, goes to the artist. All the door take for these and other evenings goes to the booked guest. We cover our advertising and other costs from the raffle and the occasional "open night" with no booked guests. We are an entirely non-profit organisation with no superfluous income.

    Blue and Abby were well aware of the way we operated from the start and appeared perfectly happy with the arrangement. You say "At no time were the Folk Club asked to leave the pub" which is true but we were asked for a rent that they knew we could not possibly provide. Blue described this as a "peppercorn rent" which suggests that we would have no guarantee against future increases. The only way we could pay would be to take money from the performers. Even if we were prepared to do that, it would break the contractual arrangements we have for the next year and beyond. I think the term might be "constructive dismissal".

    We also run two other monthly sessions in the room on a weekday. In fairness to our new venue and to keep all our activities under one roof, we will be moving these as well.

    The entry on your web site for The Lewes Arms lists the activities that make it a "very special pub indeed" including folk music and dwyle flunking. One of the major aspects of the dwyle flunking is the street band that accompanies it. This is recruited from members of the folk club and friends. We do it for the sheer fun of it and to contribute to its charity fund raising efforts. I think you will understand if we feel reluctant, under the circumstances, to take part in unpaid promotional activities for the pub.

    The Lewes Arms seems to be in danger of having its "unique character" eroded in the name of selling more lamburgers and portions of sausage and mash.

Bryan Creer - The Lewes Arms Folk Club

===========================================================================================

I have yet to receive a reply.

The Friends of the Lewes Arms (FOLA), who famously fought off Greene King last year, were particularly incensed by referring to BONFIRE and THE FIFTH as "fireworks festival week". A bit like calling Christmas "baby jesus festival week".

Bryan


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:29 AM

Don't want to be a kill joy, but can we keep this thread on subject please?

Bryan


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Dave Earl
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:34 AM

Yes Bryan'

"referring to BONFIRE and THE FIFTH as "fireworks festival week" !!!!!!

They clearly are not as "into" Lewes traditions and customs as they would like us to think.

I think it's a case case of "sexing up" what is a weak money grabbing position they have placed themselves in.

If they can't see that they've shot themselves in the foot they'll have to live without us.

Incidentally, when the next Dwlye Flunking match occurs will it be at the Arms and will the music be the club scratch band?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 07:03 AM

Breton Cap

Incidentally, when the next Dwlye Flunking match occurs will it be at the Arms and will the music be the club scratch band?

Things are in a state of flux. The effective eviction of the folk club has proved a tipping point for a lot of Lewes Arms customers who were getting increasingly frustrated at the changes being made which seem to be aimed at getting rid of everything that gets in the way of selling food.

Whether Dwlye Flunking will go ahead, I don't know but, as I said in my email to Fuller's, I think we would be reluctant to do unpaid promotional activity for the pub (or bijou eatery as it will probably have become).


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Alan Day
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:58 AM

This is my letter to Fullers to which I received the standard reply above

Dear Sirs
So once again you have shot yourselves in the foot.
The Lewes Arms Folk Club has been in residence for the last twenty or so years running a weekly event using the upstairs room of the Lewes Arms.I have attended evenings when the room has been packed full of people.To charge a club bringing trade into your bars is a short sighted attitude to say the least.The Club has now found another venue,so you can now stumble into recession rudderless.
Regards
Alan Day


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: JohnB
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 11:32 AM

I also received the Standard reply, in Canada. So they obviously don't read what emails they get in much detail.
Good Luck anyhow, JohnB. (who, one day, will now try to visit the Elephant and Castle Folk Club)


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 03:46 PM

The last night of The Lewes Arms Folk Club under that name and at that venue was a cracker. Matt Quinn and Dogan Mehmet gave a splendid performance. They were good before but one term at the Newcastle Folk degree has brought them on enormously. Goodness knows what they'll be like after four years. Audience of about 45 including a lot of young people.

From Saturday 3rd January, we'll be trading as Lewes Saturday Folk Club (although that's still under discussion) at the Elephant and Castle where Huw and Declan have made us welcome.

First night is an open night on the theme Great Escapes which we really had decided before any of this blew up.

We're moving out to the Royal Oak on the 10th because of a long standing booking at the Elly but from then on, we seem to have a permanent home for the foreseeable future.


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 02:05 PM

May I add that the Elephant & Castle also has Harveys beer? Old Rosie cider, too.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: JohnB
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 04:03 PM

Just found out yesterday, talking to a friend in Cambridge (Ontario Canada that is) he is from Lewes. He corrected my imagined pronunciation of the name, more like Lewis than my Loose. He also knew the whole history of the Pub, and folk club, with the inns and outs of Harveys etc. What started the specific conversation was, he was wearing a Harveys tee shirt.
His name is Phil Cowles if anyone knows him.
Good Luck in the new venue, still hope to get there one day.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 09:29 AM

In response to my Sussex Folk Music News email circular - which is also on Mudcat at thread.cfm?threadid=117439&messages=1 - I received the following response from Richard Mann of the Spinning Jenny Band:-

Dear Vic and Tina

Just to let you know that I have responded to the appeal for letters to Fuller, Smith etc. I set out my reply below.

I have also copied the section of your newsletter relating to the appeal and sent it to as many of my Folk Contacts as possible - this is not something to be ignored.

Mr. Michael Turner
Executive Chairman
Fuller Smith & Turner Plc,
The Griffin Brewery
Chiswick Lane South
London W4 2QB.

I read of the policy changes affecting The Lewes Arms (and doubtless many other hitherto "Music Friendly" pubs) with great dismay. As an organiser of Folk Music sessions and pub concerts in East Sussex, I am well aware that any brewery/catering chain has a duty to the shareholders and that a landlord must put commercial considerations first.

However, I feel that this perceived duty is sometimes misplaced.

In the present climate (with particular reference to the Lewes Arms) is it really good business sense to force the cessation of an activity (Folk Club and Workshops) which provide regular income by virtue of a dedicated clientele and for which there is no competition, in favour of restaurant facilities where the clientele will be dependant on public acceptance and where the competitors are legion?

The Folk Club tradition in it's present form goes back at least to the 1960s and has many spin-offs which are beneficial to the community as a whole. No sensible person would advocate a return to the days of the gloomy, grubby unhygenic "local" with the music confined to a damp, draughty and dilapidated back room, but with the current upsurge of interest in things "folk" and "traditional" it seems very short sighted to put short-term profit (uncertain) before TRADITIONAL values of long-term goodwill and customer numbers (certain).

Lines from a popular folk song sum up the sentiments, and the reality, of the present situation:-

"The landlord kept his cellar well, with ale both Mild and Strong.
A place to take your troubles to, and a place for a b****y good song.
But they're knockin' them down, the old pubs, around the town, the old pubs,
And Plastic's all the go!

Hoping that some good may come of this letter

yours sincerely

Richard Mann


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: TheSnail
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 07:23 AM

Thanks for passing that on, Vic. I don't know how much sway Fuller's have over their tenants but they must surely offer advice if they think they are getting it seriously wrong.

Our first night at the Elephant and Castle is tonight trading as The Lewes Saturday Folk Club although this is still subject to change. The first draught of the modified website is up at the same url - Lewes Saturday Folk Club.

Tonight is an open night on the (previously chosen) theme Great Escapes.


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 08:29 AM

Anyone know a song about King Kong, or possibly Unseen University's Librarian?

Oook,

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 05:14 AM

Bryan and Valmai - congratulations on your first night at the Elephant & Castle with the Lewes Saturday Folk Club! It was a lovely evening - made even better by the bottle of Cote du Rhone I won in the raffle... The evening was so warming that it more than compensated for the outside temperature registering on the car dial driving home - -6c!

Best wishes for coming sessions there - the massive Angel of Death statue on the stairway going up to the function room obviously augurs well for the future!

Will


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 03:02 PM

Thanks, Will. And when the room is enlarged we may be able to have a bit of dancing - we'll see what the space looks like when the partition wall is down.

I tested the Harveys to destruction and can report that it was in excellent nick.


Valmai


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 03:21 PM

Valmai wrote:-

And when the room is enlarged we may be able to have a bit of dancing

You probably don't know, Valmai, but years ago, before that partition was put up, and when The Sussex Pistols were first formed, we used to do monthly dances in that room at the Elephant. In fact one, of my favourite band stories comes from that time......

We were doing a big Christmas dance there and during the interval, there was a large crowd at the bar and amongst them, waiting to be served was our accordion player, Bing Lyle.

He heard a voice behind him saying, "Hey! That's Bing."

And then another voice said, "He's a really great singer, you know!"

Bing didn't turn round, but he did think to himself, "I might get a drink bought for me here....."

And then it registered with him what was being played on the pub's music system..... I'm dreaming of a White Christmas.....


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 06:19 PM

Goes to show the dangers of piped music in pubs! (Lewes Arms management, take note.) I also liked your story about Bing once failing to turn up on time for a gig and the incident being referred to as The Unbearable Lateness of Bing.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Lewes Arms Folk Club moving in 2009
From: SussexCarole
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 06:47 PM

Nearly bought a pint of London Pride tonight here in Wales - never realised before that it was brewed by Fullers. Another pint to boycott. Still can't bring myself to buy a Greene King pint either.

Great to hear that your first night went without a hitch.


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