The Milkmaid Folk Club
The Milkmaid Folk Club started its life at the Milk Maid Tavern in Willingham, Cambridgeshire in October 1996. The club was opened by the wonderful Dave Burland and continued for three very successful years with memorable evenings with the likes of Martin Carthy, John Renbourn, Alan Taylor, Kate Rusby, Rory McCleod and many others. When the pub was sold the next eighteen months saw The Milkmaid appear on several occasions at the Cambridge Folk Festival, where it ran and organised a floor singers stage at the Coldhams Common Campsite.
The Milkmaid then moved to The Railway at Wymondham, Norfolk, where it was again a great success with lots of big names weekly. Saturday and occasional Wednesday nights were concert nights, weekly Sunday lunch sessions (thirty players plus audience sometimes) and Monday was Open Mic.
The music was great but the pub less so. The Milkmaid ended up in Bury St Edmunds where one day in 2003 it was suggested we have a folk day with local performers playing all day and an evening concert with professionals. A great day was had at The Rising Sun with music and local Morris dancers all day culminating with an evening concert featuring Andy Wall, Jane Walden, Derek Brimstone, Wiz Jones and John Renbourn.
Well, after the success of that first folk day it was decided to start a regular folk club, initially as as a fund-raising exercise for the Headway charity. In 2005 we set up at the Royal British Legion Club in Guildhall Street, Bury and had eighteen wonderful months there before sadly they went into liquidation and closed. The Constitutional Club further up the road in Guildhall Street came to our rescue and offered us their comfortable facilities for which we were extremely grateful.
Since then the Milkmaid has moved again, first to The Railway Club in Bury and then to the Risbygate Sports Club, where it is going strong and keeping the great folk tradition in Suffolk alive!