On the 9th February 1974 the Smokey Mountain Country Music Club opened for the first time at Park Hall. The band on stage was the 6 piece blue grass outfit Down County Boys from Coventry. The club had been formed by a group of enthusiasts from the Wythall Community Association and one of them, Alan Kennerley, was to be the stalwart of the country music club for many years. He was shortly joined by Geoff Bishop and together they took the club forward presenting on the 2nd Saturday of each month the very best of British bands, as well as visiting artistes from abroad.
Over the years the style of the music has changed dramatically and with the advent of line dancing in the 1990’s the club became a dancing venue. This saw the departure of Alan from the Committee. Ray Packham had been involved for some years and he and his wife Cindy and daughter Nikki, together with newcomers Andrea and Bruce Howard, joined Geoff to form the new Committee. Since then Mike Gorman has also been added to the team. In 2016 Martin & Heather Thompson and together with their daughter and son in law Kathryn and David took over running the club.
To accommodate the many dancers, and also to look after the interests of the listeners amongst our audiences, new acts were introduced to the club and a DJ was introduced to the programme. Our two Resident DJ’s are Chris Hill from Bootscooters and Johnny B sounds.
It is a long time since that opening show in 1974. The club is still thriving and still meets on the 2nd Saturday of the month at Park Hall. There are few clubs in the UK who have been around as long as the Smokey Mountain and it seems unlikely that any can point to an unbroken run at the same venue.
The club name changed to Smokey 2 CMC in 2017 when Heather and Martin gave up running the club and John Bowen (who is also the resident DJ) and Ray Packham took over the reins at short notice. Some changes were made – the club membership scheme was dropped so there is no longer a members’ draw held but we maintain a monthly raffle (for charity) and a door draw. Tea, Coffee and Cakes are also sold.