As you might be aware, we had planned to reopen the club in September after a closure of 18 months due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, with huge sadness we now have to announce that, after a great deal of agonising and heartache, we have come to a reluctant decision to close our beloved Ram Club.
Maggie and Bob Wood have been working almost continuously over the past year to prepare for a reopening, negotiating with artists and creating a programme. But closer examination of the issues affecting the club in a post-pandemic era, and the changing circumstances of the organising group, make the decision inevitable. Either way, as you might imagine, it’s not a conclusion arrived at quickly or lightly.
The background is that, having been organisationally involved with folk clubs pretty much all their lives and at the Ram since its inception in 1983, Maggie and Bob wished, for their part and with or without Covid considerations – to relinquish their role in the day-to-day running of the club.
Moving on from there, however, it states only the obvious that the Ram’s doors have already had to be closed for a year and that we’re certainly not out of the woods yet. It’s clear that a post-pandemic world is likely to pose a raft of challenges to the running and viability of small indoor live music venues, such as the Ram.
Having therefore reflected and discussed at length with co-organisers and considering every option, all have agreed, after much soul-searching, to call it a day. Better that, we believe, than to struggle on with a reduced offering. That’s not how any of us wish to remember the Ram!
So, it’s the end of a truly unforgettable era. Running the club since 1983 has been an absolute privilege and joy for “Teams Ram”, past and present. The club owes so many debts of gratitude – to the countless, stellar musicians who have graced the Ram; to their agents and management teams; to all our regular floor singers; to the club’s many landlords down the years, but with a special mention to JJ and Georgie Griffin for giving us such strong support and leeway at the Old Cranleighans; and to all of those who performed so much unsung work behind the scenes.
But, above all, the greatest thanks go without question to those who have made it all worthwhile – that’s you, the club’s incredible, loyal and enthusiastic audiences. Down the years, we’ve enjoyed such tremendous support and devotion without which it would all have been, well, pointless. Because the Ram was always about much more than the music, vital though that was. Together, in the special atmosphere which you created, we’ve enjoyed so much Friday night laughter and forged so many lasting friendships along the way.
We’re just sorry and disappointed in these pandemic times to be springing the news in the form of this email. It’s not at all how we’d have wished it. But we do intend to say goodbye properly as soon as Covid precautions permit, and we hope very much to throw a party (probably outdoors😀) at the Old Cranleighans. It’s too soon to fix a date, obviously, but we’ll be working on a plan to go out in style and will send further details when the way ahead is clearer.
We wish you all well and will be in touch soon.
The Ram Club featured some of the world’s finest musicians on stage every Friday night and was one of the most successful acoustic music venues in the UK. The atmosphere was informal and this was reflected in the warmth and intimacy of the weekly concerts. It was called a club but everyone, whether a member or not, was made more than welcome.