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johnross RE: have the American audiences gone? (137* d) RE: RE: have the AMERICAN audiences gone? 22 Aug 08

Rosalie makes an important point:
>Another factor: The individual performers our members loved 20 or 30
>years ago are not as likely to be performing now (many are dead,
> e.g. Utah Philips).

Hindsight is easy, but we failed to expose the next generation of performers to our audiences as well as we should have done. Every concert by a well-known performer who filled the house should have included a opening set or guest set by a young or new-to-the-scene performer that the audience would not have otherwise come out to see and hear. Same thing with "tweener" sets at festivals. If the guest set is good, some of that audience would come to see them when they're at the top of the bill. And the audience for the established act would have been exposed to somebody out of the next generation.

But that didn't happen, and so we now have a generational divide within the "folk" audience. The same people come to hear the same acts that they first knew twenty or more years ago, and those people don't know or care about the newer generation of folksingers.

True, the guest set method is not always practical, especially with touring acts coming to town for the first few times, but there's probably some good local act that could benefit from the exposure.

Here in Seattle, that's how Jim Page developed a following and learned his craft as a performer: he showed up at everybody else's gigs and offerred to do a couple of songs during the break. Made a nuisance of himself, but he got onto lots of stages, sometimes two or three a night. And he gradually developed his own following.

But it's also important to understand that people don't have to come to concerts: as somebody (probably Yogi Berra) said, "if people don't want to come to the game, you can't stop them." It's the concert promoter/presenter's job to attract an audience in site of the inertia, competing events and indifference that drives them to do something (or nothing) else.

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