Purple Parrot Reunion
Congratulations to everyone who played a part in getting the Folk Club Reunion together. In particular the small group that took the event from the germ of an idea to completion. Ray Ingham first discussed the idea with Dina Smith (nee Haney) and soon Helen Williams (nee Cummings), Rosemary Melville (nee Johnson), Sally Such (nee Hale) and Kay Cogan were putting the pieces together. As the date drew nearer Neil Kilgour and others started trawling through their old diaries as they tried to track down as many of the people who had been part of the Folk Club over the years.
Their efforts and the response from those who answered the call were outstanding. The success of the event was a demonstration of the importance of the Folk Club in the lives of so many people.
I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity on the night to talk to some of those people who were there at the beginning. Their stories provided me with a much clearer understanding of the foundations of the Club and the bonds that have held it together over the years.
Events of the sixties had a profound impact on the lives of young people in particular. It was a time when young people started to have a voice in the affairs of the world and the issues and politics of the time helped to bring the baby boomer generation together.
Barry Wright was just one of the young people swept up with the times and he and his friends quickly found themselves venturing out into the cafes and bars around town. The Vienna Café in Telford St, Newcastle East became a natural meeting place for young people growing up in Newcastle in the sixties. It was the only venue open after midnight and Barry and his friends gathered there to talk about politics, peace and popular music while they enjoyed coffee and raisin toast.
With the entrepreneurial skills of people like Paul Beard and Warren Faye this youthful energy and enthusiasm was brought together under the banner of the Purple Parrot Folk Club. It quickly became more than just a weekly Folk Venue where music and songs could be shared and enjoyed. It became an integral part of their lives. Weekend camping trips were regular events with up to 40 people travelling by bus to the Snowy, up the Coast or Out West to explore and enjoy each others company and friendship – and with 38 guitars and 9 banjos packed in the boot there was always a lot of music to keep the party rolling along.
We may never be able to get back to that time again but it is great to know that the Folk Club is still alive and well. People can still get together to share their music and fellowship. All I can say is thank you to those who were there in the beginning and thank you to those are keeping the flame burning today.
Review from Ron Brown