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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw Are Folk Clubs untraditional? (32) RE: Are Folk Clubs untraditional? 26 Mar 09

Well, I think it is generally agreed that the Topic is the oldest running club in the UK, but it is entirely possible that there were others that functioned before 1956, that could be described as being in a similar format to what we now regard as 'a folk club'.

Don't forget though that many of them came out of skiffle clubs, many of which were offshoots of the earlier trad jazz clubs. (What Diz Disley used to lovingly refer to as "The Great Skiffle Disaster")

It wasn't until the late 50s and early 60s that the big explosion of folk clubs took place, and a lot of that was on the back of commercial success at that time - fuelled by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter Paul & Mary etc.

The lines do get very blurred.

The question is, will any current commercial success generate a renewed interest in the folk club format? Probably not, unless they are being run by the same age group who started them up way back then, ie the teens and 20s. I certainly don't remember any clubs back then that were run by old farts, and I don't think they would have held any attraction to my generation at the time if that HAD been the case.

Of course there was always singing in pubs, where much of the folk song canon was collected, and where the oral tradition still continues (to a much lesser extent) today.

Back in the 60s, folk clubs were a 'voyage of discovery' for most of us. Nowadays, they are just another branch of the Entertainment Industry, plain and simple.

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