The Ram Club is one of the most successful acoustic music venues in the UK, able to attract some of the world’s finest musicians. It was founded in October 1983 by Brian and Jane Ravenhill and is now run by a small group of music enthusiasts and performers. There is no committee – everything is managed informally, and this is reflected in the warmth and intimacy of the concerts. It is called a club – but everyone, whether a member or not, is made more than welcome.
The club has been based at the Old Cranleighan Club in Thames Ditton since January 2009. The driveway is off the A307, not far from the Scilly Isles roundabouts, heading towards Kingston, and there is ample parking. On Friday nights we have exclusive use of the whole venue.
The Old Cranleighan Club is a handsome, wood-clad colonial-style Edwardian building and the concert room has comfortable seating for more than 100 people. Our excellent PA system provides a natural acoustic sound – words and sounds can be heard clearly. And the acoustics and atmosphere are excellent, with a spacious and well-stocked bar in the next room. The rooms are on the ground floor, giving reasonable disabled access.
Previous venues have been The Foley Arms in Claygate and the The Greyhound pub in Weston Green.
The bar is open from about 7.30pm, the concert room doors open at 8.15, and the music begins at 8.30. Support for the headline artists is provided by two “floor spots” – talented musicians from the audience who play two songs each. The headline guest then plays two sets of about 45 minutes each, with an interval, followed by the raffle draw and another floor spot at the start of the second half. The concert finishes at about 11.15.
The club’s reputation means it attracts artists who would not normally play in small venues (see archive), with musical styles ranging from traditional to contemporary folk, blues, bluegrass, ballads, instrumental, a cappella, comedy, and country and western to a smattering of jazz, pop and acoustic rock. It pays to ditch your preconceptions about “folk” music and come along every week. Sign up to our email list (just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org) and receive a weekly reminder of what’s on, plus news of late changes to the schedule.
The club aims to run on a break-even basis, with entrance fees going to the guest artists after essential costs have been covered. The usual entry price is between £8 and £12, with a £1 or £2 discount for members. Club membership costs only £4 a year.
The club operates a “pay-at-the-door” system: advance tickets only go on sale when the club suspects demand for seats will outstrip capacity. Ticketed events will be clearly marked on the club website, in emails, and announced at the club’s events.
The only house rules we have are to ensure that everyone can enjoy the music and to ensure our Old Cranleighan hosts benefit from us using their facilities:
- Please turn off all phones during the concert;
- Please limit conversations to the gaps between songs;
- Please only enter or leave the room between songs;
- Please do not bring drinks bought elsewhere to the club – the Old Cranleighan Club provides us with a very good bar.