Bournemouth Folk Club books top quality folk, roots and acoustic artists, hosting concerts once a month during the spring and autumn seasons. Founded and run by Paul Burke for over twenty years, the club has booked many of the greats over the years, along with featuring up and coming artists. In the early days the club ran out of the Cellar Bar at the Blue Boar in Poole, before relocating to Centre Stage. After the sad transformation of Centre Stage into a convenience store the club used various hotels in Bournemouth before finding a regular home at the charismatic Shelley Theatre in Boscombe.

We have now relocated to St Ambrose Church in Westbourne. Following Paul’s retirement in late 2020, the club is now run by Jo Elkington and Leo MacKenzie.

Located on Westcliff Road in Westbourne, St Ambrose church has a long association with music and has been the home of the Westbourne Orchestra for nearly 100 years. It regularly hosts Bournemouth University music events and is also the home of St Ambrose Strings. It’s a large spacious church with proper chairs, not pews! The natural acoustic is lovely, there is ample free parking on site and on the streets around, it’s easily accessible on a number of bus routes and has good disabled access. Toilets are located in the adjoining church hall.

The stealth raffle that no one shall speak of! Proceeds from the raffle are used to find paid support slots, giving local and emerging artists the chance to play at the folk club. Buy your ticket on the way in or in the interval and check to see if you’ve won a prize on the way out at the end of the evening.

We run a licensed bar offering a selection of Southbourne Ales brewed just down the road at Poole Hill Brewery, cider, wine and soft drinks. Cash and card accepted.

St Ambrose Church, Westcliff Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth BH4 8BE

There is some parking on site and lots of unrestricted free parking on the streets immediately around. The church is within walking distance of the main pay car parks in Westbourne.

A number of bus routes serve Westbourne:
More Bus Purbeck Breezer route 50 stops outside the church.

Stopping in Westbourne centre, a short walk to the church:
Yellow bus routes 1, 3 and 18
More Bus routes M1, M2, 16

Access is via a ramp into the church. The church interior is level access. There is an accessible toilet located in the adjoining church hall, also accessed via a ramp. Please contact us if you have any concerns or queries about accessibility in the venue.

We are Jo Elkington and Leo MacKenzie. We’ve been friends for years. Anyone remember Kadia? Leo is the singing cellist and Jo was the manager of the band. We’ve worked together on musical promotions in the past, including programming the music for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival in 2019, the year we moved the concerts into the Minster church. Together we host the Totally Folked podcast.

Jo is a music photographer and live music booking agent at Fancourt Music. You’ll find photos of past Bournemouth Folk Club gigs on her Facebook photography page. She keeps bees, volunteers at a hedgehog rescue and occasionally scrapes out the odd tune on her fiddle.

Leo is a professional musician, half of The Last Inklings (along with David also from Kadia) and a member of Ninebarrow’s band. He’s a session musician and peripatetic music teacher for several local secondary schools. He has performed at the folk club a number of times with Kadia, most recently supporting Jim Moray the time before last he played the club! When he’s not engrossed in music and events, Lee is often buried in a sci-fi novel or following the latest archaeology news as a qualified prehistorian.

We are long standing folk fans and regulars at local gigs and festivals. You may even have seen Leo compering at Purbeck Valley Folk Festival, and Jo with a camera (or two!) in her hand at many of our local gigs and festivals.