Richard Digance is the guest at Folk on the Coast at the Bognor Regis Town FC Seasons venue on Friday, February 23 at 8pm.
Folk on the Coast organiser Roger Nash said: “It’s a real honour to have someone of his superb calibre at the club. He was one of the great folk entertainers of the 70s and 80s, and his evergreen career continues to go from strength to strength.
Richard has been in the business for more than 50 years – and all from the least auspicious of starts.
“The first date was on a disused double-decker bus on a scrapyard in the east end of London,” Richard recalls. “I got £5, and there wasn’t any VAT. People used to sing downstairs where the driver used to be. No seats, just cushions on the floor. And then everyone went upstairs in the interval to have some oxtail soup! I started singing when I was at college in Glasgow. Being a southern softie, I tended to keep my mouth shut in Glasgow. But I found my solace in a local folk club which I liked. It was beer barrels and candles and very dark. And there was a resident singer called Billy Connolly! I remember Billy used to get blokes to buy him pints of beer and the girls used to chat him up. And I thought that’s the reason I went to college. What am I doing studying modern British history!
“And so I started singing in folk clubs. I had not really sung before, and I had to sing unaccompanied because I was not really much of a guitarist. From there on I decided that that’s what I wanted to do. I dropped out of college and came back home. It was one of the 27 times I returned home in my skint days! And then I got a VW camper van like any other folkie of the time used to do and I wandered around the country, and that’s how it was until 1973 when I went on tour with Steeleye Span. That was the turning point. My fee by that time had gone up to something like £15. By touring with Steeleye Span it went up to £50. And then after that, through the 1970s, I was the support act to have, not because I was good or bad, but because I was simple. I was just a bloke on stage with a guitar.” Tickets 07751 594285