27th September – Eileen McGann

Eileen McGann – one of Canada’s finest songwriters and said to be the country’s most distinguished cultural export – is the special guest at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 27th September. Her appearance at the Irvine Club is part of her month long UK tour.
Toronto born and raised but now living on beautiful Vancouver Island, Eileen has been a professional musician for almost three decades and as well as being a seasoned performer she does workshops too and also frequently exhibits her landscape and tree paintings. A busy lady.
Eileen’s song lyrics challenge, stimulate and inspire. She is a strong voice for justice and her songs tackle life’s challenges and contradictions. Her award-winning songs can be environmental anthems, stark social commentary or side-splittingly funny. Eileen has released eight albums and a Songbook too which also features her artwork.
Tich Frier after finishing his guest billing at the Irvine Club last week – he went down a storm – acknowledged in straightforward fashion that ‘Eileen is good’. So, hear for yourself at Irvine Folk Club on Wednesday 27th September at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB. It’s a Club but non-members are always welcome.
Looking ahead, and marking the 50th Anniversary of Marymass Folk Festival continues. Coming up on Thursday 26th October at The Townhouse in Irvine is The Johnny Silvo Story and it promises to be a great night. Irvine Folk Club is determined to do justice to this much-missed man who died almost six years ago and who was a great friend of so many in Irvine.

Marymass 50 Concert: The Johnny Silvo Story – The Townhouse, Irvine. Friday 27th October, 7.30pm

Tickets are now available online for the first of our special Marymass 50 Concerts to be held in the upstairs hall in The Townhouse, The Portal, Irvine. Friday 27th October, 7.30pm. This first concert is The Johnny Silvo Story

Johnny Silvo was a regular performer at Marymass Folk Festival over most of its 50 year history, and he was one who connected more than most with Irvine audiences. Johnny Silvo sadly passed away in 2011, just a few weeks after he had headlined the Marymass Saturday Evening Concert. Thankfully we have some wonderful live recordings of Johnny at Marymass and his musical legacy lives on in his songs and our memories. Johnny’s life story is a fascinating one and The Johnny Silvo Story will give you insight into the life of a travelling musician who was at the heart of the post war revival of music making which swept the country from the 50s and 60s setting the scene for so much of the music which thrives to the present day. Through the wonders of technology, The Johnny Silvo Story will be another chance to experience the music of Johnny Silvo, to sing along with him, and to see images from the recent and not so recent past. With Special Guests.

Tickets are £8 and are available online from this website or will be on sale at Irvine Folk Club. The hall upstairs in the Townhouse is a lovely venue (it was where we held the Marymass Exhibition launch). We are limited to a capacity of 80 people, for what promises to be a very special evening. Please book your tickets early.

13th September – Tich Frier

Tich Frier has one of the most distinctive voices on the Scottish Folk Scene and it will be good to hear him again at Irvine Folk Club when he tops the bill on Wednesday 13th September. As his biog describes him so succinctly ‘Small guy, big voice, sharp wit.’ That’s Mr Frier.
Edinburgh born Tich was Head Chorister at St Mary’s School Cathedral Choir – not a lot of people know that – before deciding that his future lay in Folk Music. Tich first came to Irvine in the ‘70s as part of the much-loved Bitter Withy. A trio whose harmonies were second-to-none and filled The Eglinton – the then home of Irvine Folk Club and Marymass Folk Festival. Since then, Tich has concentrated on his solo career apart from occasional musical forays with, for example, the aforementioned Vindscreen Vipers.
The powerful voice of Tich, his passionate singing style, clear diction, skilled guitar work and sense of fun all add up to him being a great entertainer. He is comfortable singing traditional and contemporary Scottish songs, Burns material, self-penned songs as well as parodies – and all of them linked by his sharp wit and sense of fun. In days of yore, Tich’s ‘brother in mischievous fun’ was none other than the late Danny Kyle.
Tich’s ‘One Man’s Burns’ show is yet another string to his bow. In addition he has released a number of Albums and he also features in the 50th Marymass Folk Festival Exhibition currently on at The Townhouse.
To summarise, make sure you are in the Irvine Folk Club audience on Wednesday 13th September for 8pm at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road to hear Tich Frier. You will kick yourself if you miss him.

Next club night features Tich Frier

Photo of Danny Kyle, mike Whellans, Mick Elliott and Tich Frier as The Opera Singers Tich Frier is our next guest on Wednesday 13th September. Tich has been a friend of the club since its earliest days back in the late 60s. A fine singer and a sharp wit. If you don’t know Tich have a look at his website but we advise you not to miss this one. (The photograph is one from our Marymass History archive – with Tich on the right hand side as one of the ‘spoof’ Opera Singers.)

The website has now been updated with the guests up to Christmas and most of them have website links so you can check them out at your leisure. 27th September – Eileen McGann; 11th October – TBC; 25th October – James Keelaghan & Hugh McMillan; 8th November – Flossie Malavialle; SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, 11th November. Far, Far from Ypres – The Volunteer Rooms (Please get your tickets well in advance as we expect this special performance to sell out quickly.); 22nd November – Kieran Halpin; 6th December – Luckenbooth; 20th December – Christmas Surprise Night!

Far, Far from Ypres – Tickets now on sale

Far Far from Ypres - Artists on stage

Tickets are now on sale for Far, Far from Ypres which we are bringing to Irvine as one of our special 50 year anniversary events. This will be in The Volunteer Rooms on Saturday 11th November at 7.30pm. Currently this is the only scheduled performance of the show in 2017 – the next confirmed performance is at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh in November 2018. Tickets have deliberately been set at an affordable level and are only £10. We expect the event to sell out quickly and we advise you to book them directly from the Folk Club or On-line before our main publicity for this event is launched.

16th August – Mike Whellans

Topping the bill the week before the 50th Marymass Folk Festival is not an easy gig but in the capable hands of one-man Blues powerhouse Mike Whellans, there’s no need for any concern. Mike is Irvine Folk Club’s special guest on Wednesday 16th August.
From Lauder in the Borders, Mike’s first musical instrument was his Dad’s Drum Kit – his Dad being a well-respected Jazz musician. Moving on to Acoustic Guitar, Mike began his professional career as a musician in 1969.
Mike’s early years included being one half of a very popular duo with Aly Bain and then as a member of one of the early incarnations of Boys of the Lough. He was also a member of The Vindscreen Vipers and The Flying Dugz. Latterly, Mike has carved a name for himself as the UK’s foremost one-man Blues Band. But it’s not Blues as in gloom – he has a really broadchurch approach to the Blues and it suits his lived-in voice very well.
Mike does simultaneous multi-tasking of instruments. Watch him play guitar – electric and acoustic, mouth-harps, harmonicas, drums, his trademark mouth-percussion – and he sings too! He is also a songwriter. Mr Whellans has boundless energy despite his lean build.
Having toured extensively in Scandinavia, Germany and the Low Countries, Mike settled in Denmark for a number of years but is now back resident in his native heath. He has played at Cambridge, Edinburgh, Tonder and Glastonbury Festivals among others and has recorded or been a session musician on some 30 albums.
Wednesday 16th August at Irvine Folk Club in Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road is where to hear the skilful musician Mike Whellans. The Club starts at 8pm and it’s BYOB.
And on Thursday 24th August the 50th Marymass Folk Festival begins. Tickets are moving fast for the Saturday Night Concert in particular and little wonder given the line-up. Visit for full details or phone Joyce on 01294 551047 for all info and tickets. Running parallel to the Festival is an Exhibition in The Townhouse in Irvine’s High Street. It charts the origins and development of Marymass Folk Festival and Irvine Folk Club and it’s well worth a visit. The Exhibition is open until the end of September.

Whammy-Diddling World Championship

I have lost (sorry misplaced sounds better) the Whammy Diddle Box. Know where it should be but it’s not there. Something at the back of my mind tells me someone was interested in it for something but for the life of me I can’t remember (it’s an age thing)
If anyone can shed any light on this please let me know asap. It’s a hand made brown wooden box approx. 15″ x 15″ x 4″. Last used in Vineburgh on Marymass Sunday but have checked and it’s definitely not there.

2nd August – Singers’ Night

For the uninitiated, Singers’ Nights are when the whole evening at a Folk Club is given over to Floor Singers and there is no special guest topping the bill. Such a night comes up on Wednesday 2nd August at Irvine Folk Club.
Since it started over 50 years ago, Irvine Folk Club has encouraged and welcomed many, many singers and musicians to play in front of the audience. For some, it might be the first time they have performed in front of an audience at all. And making the transition from singing in your bedroom to being in front of 40 – 60 people you don’t know takes a whole lot of courage. However, there will be very few professional musicians who did not start their career in exactly the same way.
On August 2nd, the stage will be open to the regular Floor Singers who support the Club throughout the year and also those who are thinking about making their debut appearance at the Irvine Club. If you fall into the latter category, then please consider yourself invited. Instrumentalists, Singers and Storytellers all welcome.
The Irvine Club meets at Vineburgh Community Centre in Quarry Road and starts at 8pm. Singers’ Nights reflect a variety of playing styles and a range of material and they are usually good fun.
This being already the 50th Marymass Folk Festival coming up, a suitable package of events has been assembled to celebrate this memorable anniversary. The first event is an Exhibition celebrating 50 years of Marymass Folk Festival and 50 years of Irvine Folk Club. Principally a digital Exhibition, it will open to the public on Friday 4th August and continue at least to the end of September. The venue is the revamped and totally transformed Townhouse in Irvine’s High Street. We think that you will think that it’s a good Exhibition. Go along and judge for yourself. It’s free.
Meanwhile, Marymass Folk Festival Info Leaflets are out – your best bet is Irvine Library – but if you can’t find one, go online at or phone Joyce on 01294 551047. The Festival dates are Thursday 24th – Sunday 27th August. ENDS