How it began and grew to what it is today.
In the beginning……..
Early 1998 Cec Bucello met Frank Russell at a bush dance run by Central Coast Bush Dance and Music Assoc. Both playing guitar, and shared an interest in acoustic music.
In March or April 1998, they met with some other like minded musicians at Cec’s place with the view of playing some music together. At the first meeting was Cec and Frank on guitar, Mark Snell on recorder, Jenny on flute and Wilga on fiddle. Marilyn (who was going out with Frank at that time) joined them at the second meeting playing percussion. After a few weeks the group was down to Frank Cec and Marilyn who have continued to play together, later calling themselves The Usual Suspects.
In December 1998 Cec introduced Frank and Marilyn to Gulgong Folk festival, and in 1999 St Albans Folk festival. All three spent every moment enjoying the festivals both dance and music and gaining a stronger appreciation of Folk music.
In 1999 it was decided to approach the Central Coast Bush Dance and Music Association to form a music group to promote Folk music and to also attempt to start a band to play at the Gosford Bush Dance. And so the Troubadour Folk Club was created.
The “Bush Band” started playing music weekly from the “blue book”. Cec and Frank were on guitar, Norm was on banjo, Ron was on mandolin and Marilyn was learning keyboard. The group started to learn a few tunes, before Ron gave up his mandolin and Norm had to cease playing banjo due to illness.
Our first meeting of the Troubadour was at at C J’s cafe in Woy Woy where the group met once a month and played music in a session format taking it in turns in a circle. Some music was shared and some played as performance. Many musicians came and went over the next year with one of the early participants being Billy Rae. Billy Rae would become an avid supporter of the folk club many years later when his legs failed him due to polio as a child. The group moved to the Masonic hall in Woy Woy where we were joined by Linda Campbell and John Gaydan.
The group continued to learn tunes and play music, but the group had too many different styles and everyone wanted to play every song. An Italian accordion player trying to play along with a classical flutist, a singer songwriter guitarist and a Japanese lady chanting with Japanese drums to the tune of a celtic, traditional song , just didn’t quite work and the group gradually dwindled to just Frank, Marilyn, Cec, Linda and John.
Frank and Marilyn Russell had been frequenting Hornsby Folk Club and it was decided to re-structure The Troubadour along the lines of Hornsby with a guest performer and allowing our local musicians to do floor spots. In August 1999 we moved our monthly concerts to the CWA Hall at Woy Woy and were soon having regular guest performers at our monthly concerts. The concerts went from strength to strength.
We were approached by the Downes Syndrome Association in 2001 to host a music of weekend at Patonga for their annual camp-out and entertainment for the families of their association. This was first festival held by the Troubadour Folk Club.
The Patonga Folk 2002 festival was held with a bush dance and a weekend of concerts at the Progress Hall and blackboard concerts at the caravan park. One of the interesting venues was the music punt which took small groups on the Broken Bay Fitness Centre’s punt out for an hour on the water whilst being entertained by folk performers. One such trip which was a magical moment in time was the beautiful voice of Duncan Chalmers in the quiet of the night.
The Troubadour Folk Club continued to grow and from it’s ranks emerged several bush poets. Encouraged to perform his poetry at the club was Vic Jefferies and also Peter Mace. Vic and Peter would go on to perform at Major festivals and to eventually form The Gosford Bush Poets.
Paul Regan was also a regular at The Troubadour and eventually started his own sessions further north under the auspices of Newcastle-Hunter Valley Folk Club.
In 2003 the Festival moved to Umina Beach and took up residence in the Umina Primary School and Umina Bowling Club. The Umina Beach Folk Festival was a huge task for a small committee of 4 or 5 people to run.
The CCBDMA then decided that it did not want to run any further festivals and thought that the focus was taken away too much from bush dancing and too much with the music. It was then decided that the sub-committee of Central Coast Bush Dance and Music Association separate and form their own Association which would become Troubadour Central Coast Inc.
The Umina Beach Folk Festival was run for two years 2003 and 2004, before the festival became Coastfest based in Gosford under the control of The Troubadour and Brackets and Jam, and eventually run by Brackets alone.
………………….. to be continued………………