article appeared in the Fairfax Times, Tuesday June 1, 2010.
Reprinted by permission. Original article can be viewed
Still strumming after 25 years
Local folk club lets its hair down every Tuesday
Gregg MacDonald | Staff Writer
folk music spirit of the 1960s is alive and well in Herndon.
25, The Folk Club of Reston & Herndon celebrated its 25th
anniversary at the Tortilla Factory restaurant, where it has met
every Tuesday evening for nearly all of its quarter-century
name is Dave Hurd and I'm a folkaholic," announced original club
member Dave Hurd, kicking off the Silver Jubilee Anniversary
Celebration. "It is an ailment for which there is apparently no
cure. Everyone else who initially started this group has moved on
and I'm still here."
According to Hurd, the club was started in May 1985 by a group of
close friends who modeled it after the British "folk club" concept
that another founding member, Rose Haskell, discovered while living
in London. After short stints at two now-defunct Reston locations,
the club moved to Herndon's Tortilla Factory in 1987.
"It's been a very rewarding experience," said Chuck Curcio,
the owner of the Mexican eatery. "Club members have become close
friends and long-standing customers, and we just love having them
level of commitment by a restaurant to the music community is not
the rule of thumb," said longtime Folk Club member Ellen Kaminsky.
"Very few clubs in the United States have enjoyed as many years in
one place, and The Folk Club enjoys a reputation in the music
community as being a very rare --and fortunate -- venue."
Great Britain," Hurd explained, "neighborhood pubs have individual
histories that have been preserved for centuries through a folk
music tradition. We expanded that concept into sort of a
'singer-songwriter' club of our own. "
club, which has about 70 members, meets every Tuesday evening in the
restaurant's back room, where it hosts open
microphone nights and concerts.
Performing artists include emerging singer-songwriters as well as
legends in the folk music industry. The mainstay of the club is its
open mic nights, during which local performers are featured in
12-minute sets consisting of three songs each. The club also
features a monthly concert series in which well-known local,
national and international performers display their talents. Another
featured event is the monthly member showcase, in which members are
selected by lottery to perform an extended 25-minute set.
own admission, the club's definition of folk music is very loose.
music is whatever we folks play," said Bill Davis, another longtime
member. Performances can vary from traditional 19th century English
folk music to wild, modern-day ditties.
performers play guitars, while others may play banjos, ukuleles, or
no instrument at all.
only my voice," said "A-Cappella Pete" Nelson, a member since 1996.
aren't but maybe a handful of folk clubs like this in the country,"
said Kaminsky, adding that she still lives her life in the spirit of
the 1960s folk troubadours.
She and her husband, Ray, recently sold their Herndon home
-- along with everything in it -- and are planning a three-plus-year
tour of North, Central and South America by RV.
plan to visit many folk venues along the trip, Kaminsky said.
are really going to miss everyone here in Herndon," she said. "But
we have always said that this is the best folk club in the country
-- from Boston to Austin -- and now we plan to prove it."
Folk Club of Reston & Herndon meets Tuesday nights, 7:15 p.m. at The
Tortilla Factory, 648 Elden St. in Herndon.
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