Fond folk festival memories planted the seed of an idea with the founding members of the Medicine Hat Folk Music Club. They asked "Why couldn't Medicine Hat have folk music concerts and maybe even a folk festival some day?"
So.... In the early spring of 2002, the first meetings of this new folk music family were held and a board of directors chosen.
Our vision is to bring to Medicine Hat regular live concerts showcasing the many different folk genres. These include (but are not restricted to!) Celtic, Native American, Country Swing, Zydeco, Blues, Gospel, Bluegrass, Roots Country, Alternative Folk, Latin, Gypsy, African, Klezmer.... and more.
Founding members of the club: Les Pearson, Darla Sawatsky, Betty Aitken, and Donna Robinson. In the spring of 2002, the four of us all came to the same realization at the same time: We needed more live music in our lives. Our dream was to host a folk music festival in Medicine Hat, but after talking to other music clubs, we decided to start off small with 4 concerts in our first year (2002/2003). Fortunately, we chose wisely with Harry Manx, the Billhilly Band, Eileen Laverty and Jerusalem Ridge.
To bankroll ourselves, we staged a couple of successful garage sales at Donna Robinson's house (2002 and 2003) and chipped in some of our own money. We formed a society in 2003 and then a charitable society in 2007. A board was formed and our meetings have always been well-attended and lively because we share the belief that “it’s all about the music”. We also continue to ask ourselves “Are we having fun?” (The answer has to be “yes”!)
Things went so well in our first year, that in 2003/2004, we were able to go 5 concerts per year. Then, in January, 2007, our dream of a folk festival was realized when Tongue on the Post was born.
Singer Songwriter Night (SSN) started in 2006 at Cafe Caprice, then Prickly Pear then Inspire in 2012. This is a monthly opportunity for any musicians to perform in an “open mic” setting. Our mandate is to encourage local musicians and this has helped us to do that. We often have “featured performers” from other parts of the province for the second half of the night and open mic for the first half. Phyllis Sinclair got Singer Songwriter Night going (I think) and it has been handled by Bruce Dynes since then. Bruce has just stepped down and we are unsure of whether SSN will continue.