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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Jess A Competitions in Folk related activities (26) RE: Competitions in Folk related activities 20 Jun 05

Hi Mo,
Interesting subject!
I've got mixed feelings on this. I went to DERT (mentioned above) a couple of years ago as a musician and not only was it great fun for all the teams I saw, it did seem to be spurring teams on to raise standards. My suspiscion with DERT is that while it may lead to a uniformity of style among some teams, innovation and flair and audience 'wow' factor were also valued by the judges and that seemed to allow for (encourage?) individuality which is IMHO a very good thing. Nobody would really want all teams to look the same!
I don't dance rapper myself but I do dance Cotswold morris and it has occured to me on several occasions that if cotswold had a simlar competition to DERT it might be no bad thing, for the teams that were interested. I know about the jigs competition at Sidmouth but I'm not aware of a whole team competition anywhere. It'd never make any difference (nor should it!) to the teams who just want to go out and have fun, but for those who want to strive to high technical standards it'd be a new way for them to get together, improve collectively by learning from each other, and improve as individual teams by appealing to the competitive streak that a lot of people have.
But... there're plenty of circumstances under which I don't like folk performance competitions. I'm very sceptical about the BBC Young Folk Awards. see for a rambling discussion on last years YFA finals which seems to demonstrate the arbitrary nature of such things. Some strongly opinioned people are always going to think that one person should have won over another, and I start to get concerned that it's all a bit destructive. When you consider that being a performer is a fairly competitive business anyway in terms of trying to get gigs, there's a bit of me that thinks it's unfair if 'YFA finalist John Smith' gets gigs on the strength of having entered the competition when equally talented Joe Bloggs who chose not enter finds it difficult to get similar gigs, simply because audiences & organisers seem disproportionately impressed by the hype that surrounds that kind of competition.

Jess A

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