Mudcat Café message #3886172 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162917   Message #3886172
Posted By: Howard Jones
01-Nov-17 - 08:29 AM
Thread Name: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
The "1954 definition" was for academic study, it was never intended to define what should or should not be played in folk clubs. We have tried countless times on here to try to define what is meant by "folk" but without success. Like it or not, it has spread to encompass more than 'traditional' but where the boundaries lie is inevitably vague and open to dispute.

Folk clubs have always encompassed a wide range of music, often traditional or based on traditional forms but also more modern material. I've heard music hall, early music, ragtime and jazz guitarists, and who knows what else in folk clubs. Even pop songs - surely Swan Arcade's magnificent 3-part harmony version of the Kinks' 'Lola' should not be excluded? Clubs were driven by the preferences of their audiences. It was always a question of finding a club where the balance most suited one's own taste, but back then we often had the luxury of plenty of choice.

I would agree that a venue where people are mostly playing fairly modern pop songs might struggle to justify calling itself a folk club, but is that really a fair representation of clubs now? I admit don't get to many these days, but in my now limited experience I would say that is not the case, and most are largely based around 'folk' as broadly understood and often with a strong emphasis on traditional.