It's all in a name for the Keston Cobblers Club

The story behind the Keston Cobblers Club's name is so good it simply has to be true

Keston Cobblers Club
Keston Cobblers Club

As band member Bethan Ecclestone explains: “The name lies in the folklore tale of a cobbler who used to live in Keston which is a village in Kent. The story goes that his business was failing, and he just didn’t have any customers. He was running out of money, and he took to going to the local pub with his violin to play a few melancholy tunes. People would like to listen, and the tunes started to get a bit more upbeat and then people would dance to them, and eventually they danced so much they wore their shoes out! And so he had customers again.”

Bethan would like to think the band – which plays West Dean Gardens on the Saturday of its Apple Affair weekend (October 1-2) – might, in his memory, wear out a few dancing shoes too.

“But I don’t think we can repair them!”

For those who will either miss them at West Dean or like KCC so much they want to see them again, they can always drive up to Grayshott Village Hall, near Hindhead GU26 6TZ, where Keston Cobblers Club will be playing live on Saturday, October 8 .

Bethan explains: "The band has been together for about five years now. You lose track of the time! It was started by Julia and Matt (in Keston) who are brother and sister. They started up a band with Tom who Dave has known for years. I joined the band a little bit later. They had a tuba player who left, and I saw an advert for a tuba player for a folk band – and you don’t see many of those!

“The music is a little bit genre-less in a way. We don’t like to be pigeon-holed. It’s upbeat folky pop. We don’t tend to play traditional folk, but the instruments are quite folky. Our music is quite upbeat and positive.

“Our main song-writers are Julia and Matt, and I think Tom has got some songs for the new album which we are working on at the moment. The new album is nearing completion. We have got most of the songs lined up. Some are in the mixing process. We are adding finishing touches. We are looking to release it next March, early next spring.

“We have not got a title yet. That’s one of the things we are working on at the moment. When we get all the songs together we will discover a theme. We haven’t done the songs with a particular angle or theme, but when you put them together, things might start to emerge. We will listen to them and work out what the lead tracks are. This will be our third album. We have done three EPs and two albums so far. It’s good to switch between the albums and the EPs. You have moments where you have not got enough tracks for an album, but you want to get the music out, so an EP is good. You can put four or five tracks out. I think in this digital age, people expect music to be as accessible as possible. Sometimes if you haven’t done a new album for a while, it can feel too long, so it is nice to have that freedom just to do an EP and so the music is out there.”

West Dean Gardens’ Apple Affair is a celebration of the best of the British autumn harvest including the apple harvest from West Dean’s own orchards and pumpkins and gourds from the Victorian Kitchen Garden. The weekend will include cooking demonstrations from Michelin Star award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and orchard/gardens tours.

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