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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Harmonium Hero Poor Performers & What to do? (133* d) RE: Poor Performers & What to do? 16 May 13


While I can sympathise with the OP, and, as Dave says, this discussion has come up before - seemingly to no avail, there is another side to the problem for performers like me. Some of you know me, and have seen me, either as a booked guest, or doing promotional floor spots. Almost all of my bookings are the result of promo spots. I have done these spots up and down the UK, from Aberdeen to the south coast. So far, about two thirds of the clubs have not been interested. The traveling has cost me more than I have had back in earnings, and I can no longer afford the cost of diesel and insurance. I currently have three dates lined up: Swinton in August, Skipton in October, and Frodsham in May 2014....that's if I'm still on the road. As things stand, it's likely that I won't be able to afford to renew my van insurance next February. Ten or a dozen dates would fix that, but most of the clubs which might be interested are booked further ahead. I have offers of two dates in the south east, but can't afford to do them except as part of a tour. Before some helpful person informs me that the folk scene (hate that term - can we find another?) doesn't owe me a living, I would like to point out that I know; it doesn't owe any of us a living, for that matter, but that is not what this post is about.
I don't imagine myself to be the best singer or performer in the business; I think I have a pretty fair idea of my abilities and shortcomings. I have always been a nervous performer, and lacking in confidence. I am probably my own biggest critic, but I know from past experience, that I would get over the nervousness if I were out performing regularly. What keeps me going is that, from the comments I have had, both in person and on this forum and elsewhere, and from the fact that the clubs that have booked me usually do so again - Swinton, for instance is a fourth date (plus a couple of times at their mini-weekend), Skipton a third date, and Frodsham about the tenth - I believe that I have something to offer that is appreciated by a lot of people. (Please bear with me - this is not a trumpet-blowing excercise). And, as I said, these dates are almost exclusively from turning up, at considerable expense, and performing to their audience. What more can people like me do? Everybody told me I should get a website. I have - harmoniumhero.com if anybody's interested. On it you can hear short clips from about half of the songs on my CDs, and there are now four videos, with more to follow. This has so far got me no bookings. I don't think people visit websites by accident. They have usually heard/of the performer before. I still think that turning up and singing ought to be the way to do things.
So where does this leave me? I was driven out of the game once before for a few years, from disillusionment and frustration, but wasn't happy not singing, and returned to the fray, determined not to be driven out again. But it's happening. I'm not alone in this. There are plenty of people in the same position - frustrated, ignored and bitter.
Sorry this has been so long-winded, and it's not all about me (see previous sentence).

John Kelly.


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