Fund raising with music in Tavistock

It works like this:Jeff Sleeman, who started Acoustic Café in September 2000, puts it on at the Parish Rooms in Plymouth Road once a month.Jeff has a list of musicians who are willing to perform predominantly contemporary folk and blues but also sometimes jazz trios, barbershop quartets, storytellers, jugglers, close harmony groups, community choirs, African drummers and more besides. He also has temporary props which transform the room into an appropriate and relaxed cafe setting for the evening, and a caterer who provides food in return for the kitchen receipts.

Every month a local charity is invited to take the gate money after all expenses have been met, and in return to provide five or more people for the evening, to arrange the tables and chairs, take the money at the door, heat food where necessary, serve the people who come for the music, clear the tables and wash-up.The charity has an opportunity to explain to the audience how the money collected will be used, say something about themselves; and distribute information.Our Meeting joined in enthusiastically. I did some serving at the tables, but many of us helped in the kitchen. I didn’t stay until the end myself, but we were told in advance that a few people would need to stay until 11pm to clear up and clean after the event.
On that evening in November the place was packed – it was the busiest evening Jeff had ever had. The £5 per head entrance money was a bargain for an evening’s entertainment, and the music was good. It was (is) obviously a good opportunity for up and coming local musicians to perform in front of an appreciative audience and thus gain confidence and public exposure It's also, of course, a nice social event for the town. Tavistock Quakers were happy last November, and QPSW had reason to be happy too, when they got £400+ from us. We will do it again!

Tavistock’s Acoustic Café is a brilliant idea, thanks mainly to Jeff. 
Alan Ray-Jones, April 2008 [back to News Page]