Richard and Julia have been running the Foresters for over ten years making it more family friendly, and offering a good range of food and drink. The building itself is fascinating, originally mid-Victorian, but following bomb damage, a major make-over was undertaken in the 1950s.
Unknown to many, on Monday nights they hold an acoustic bluegrass session. This American roots music, derived from English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish folk, with jazz and blues influences, originally featured guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo and double base. As Forest Hill local, Dave Marshall, explains they accept all comers such as dobro and drums, and delve into other genres, popular and traditional.
Dave is a captivating character. He recalls his formative years in the 60s when he was mesmerised by groups including The Animals, Howling Wolf and John Lee Hooker at Newcastle’s Club A’Gogo. He late ran a folk club at the Bird in Hand.
The session is held virtually every Monday, check http://ukbluegrass.com/forum/ (search for ‘Foresters’) for details or contact Dave directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. Session members, such as dobro player Mark Langmead, can give advice on lessons and where to buy a instruments.
You don't need to play to enjoy the session. You can enjoy a quiet chat, read or contemplate life, and let the music wash over you. For those new to this you may wish to take out the wonderful Coen brothers DVD 'O Brother Where Art Thou'.
The Foresters has tried other nights including trad jazz, and Blues, sadly falling my the wayside. Richard and Julia are happy to consider suggestions.