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What's Happening with EFDSS?

Related threads:
The Amazing Story of Cecil Sharp House (23)
No Summer 'English Song & Dance' EFDSS (4)
EFDSS Sunday Club (9)
Cecil Sharp House Health & Safety Alert (28)
Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance (111)
EFDSS and the Carpenter Collection (36)
EFDSS awards funding for new music (61)
EFDSS: Alan Davey CBE as new board appointment (6)
Top International Award for EFDSS (13)
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Tech: trouble with the 'Full English' Website (32)
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Vaughan Williams library gets MLA status (6)
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Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 07:08 AM
manitas_at_work 18 Apr 07 - 08:53 AM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Goodbye Cecil 18 Apr 07 - 09:31 AM
Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM
George Papavgeris 18 Apr 07 - 09:56 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Apr 07 - 10:03 AM
GUEST 18 Apr 07 - 10:07 AM
concertina ceol 18 Apr 07 - 10:49 AM
Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Gadaffi 18 Apr 07 - 11:15 AM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 11:29 AM
Folkiedave 18 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM
Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 12:27 PM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 01:00 PM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Robbie H Thomas 18 Apr 07 - 02:03 PM
George Papavgeris 18 Apr 07 - 02:30 PM
concertina ceol 18 Apr 07 - 02:33 PM
Ruth Archer 18 Apr 07 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 18 Apr 07 - 03:02 PM
Ruth Archer 18 Apr 07 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 18 Apr 07 - 03:16 PM
Ruth Archer 18 Apr 07 - 03:19 PM
BB 18 Apr 07 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 18 Apr 07 - 04:20 PM
BB 18 Apr 07 - 05:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Apr 07 - 05:56 PM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 06:09 PM
Ruth Archer 18 Apr 07 - 06:43 PM
Balsto da Loteya 18 Apr 07 - 07:03 PM
Surreysinger 18 Apr 07 - 07:57 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 07 - 02:57 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 04:14 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 04:23 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 07 - 04:45 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 04:51 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 05:02 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 07 - 05:06 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 07 - 06:02 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 06:26 AM
Folkiedave 19 Apr 07 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler 19 Apr 07 - 07:37 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 07:52 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 07 - 08:00 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 19 Apr 07 - 09:15 AM
Folkiedave 19 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM
George Papavgeris 19 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 09:55 AM
DMcG 19 Apr 07 - 10:09 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Apr 07 - 10:16 AM
treewind 19 Apr 07 - 10:26 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,cliff 19 Apr 07 - 12:02 PM
Folkiedave 19 Apr 07 - 12:08 PM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 12:19 PM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 01:22 PM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 01:25 PM
BB 19 Apr 07 - 03:46 PM
Herga Kitty 19 Apr 07 - 04:15 PM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 04:57 PM
treewind 19 Apr 07 - 05:13 PM
BB 19 Apr 07 - 05:19 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 07 - 05:20 PM
treewind 19 Apr 07 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 19 Apr 07 - 06:16 PM
Folkiedave 19 Apr 07 - 06:19 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 07 - 06:20 PM
Stu 20 Apr 07 - 04:02 AM
Kevin Sheils 20 Apr 07 - 04:21 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 07 - 04:35 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 07 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,Knute 20 Apr 07 - 04:48 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 07 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Knute 20 Apr 07 - 04:59 AM
Ruth Archer 20 Apr 07 - 05:16 AM
Stu 20 Apr 07 - 05:23 AM
greg stephens 20 Apr 07 - 05:41 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 07 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler 20 Apr 07 - 07:24 AM
George Papavgeris 20 Apr 07 - 07:29 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 07 - 07:48 AM
Ruth Archer 20 Apr 07 - 07:53 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 07 - 07:56 AM
GUEST,Knute 20 Apr 07 - 08:16 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 07 - 08:24 AM
nutty 20 Apr 07 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Somebody who can browse for info 20 Apr 07 - 09:03 AM
Folkiedave 20 Apr 07 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Somebody who can browse for info 20 Apr 07 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Knute 20 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM
RTim 20 Apr 07 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Robbie H Thomas 20 Apr 07 - 07:21 PM
treewind 21 Apr 07 - 03:57 AM
BB 21 Apr 07 - 04:05 AM
The Sandman 21 Apr 07 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Robbie H Thomas 21 Apr 07 - 05:57 AM
George Papavgeris 21 Apr 07 - 06:12 AM
greg stephens 21 Apr 07 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Robbie H Thomas 21 Apr 07 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Robbie H Thomas 21 Apr 07 - 06:58 AM
Ruth Archer 21 Apr 07 - 07:30 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 21 Apr 07 - 07:35 AM
The Sandman 21 Apr 07 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,Adam Lesson 21 Apr 07 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Robbie H Thomas 21 Apr 07 - 08:24 AM
Ruth Archer 21 Apr 07 - 08:45 AM
Stu 21 Apr 07 - 08:58 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 07 - 10:26 AM
The Sandman 21 Apr 07 - 11:34 AM
oggie 21 Apr 07 - 05:16 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Apr 07 - 05:46 PM
Blowzabella 22 Apr 07 - 04:26 AM
The Sandman 22 Apr 07 - 04:44 AM
Folkiedave 22 Apr 07 - 05:41 AM
BB 22 Apr 07 - 06:02 AM
johnadams 22 Apr 07 - 06:06 AM
The Sandman 22 Apr 07 - 08:49 AM
Kevin Sheils 22 Apr 07 - 09:16 AM
The Sandman 22 Apr 07 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,cliff 22 Apr 07 - 10:56 AM
Mo the caller 22 Apr 07 - 11:48 AM
johnadams 22 Apr 07 - 12:10 PM
Robbie H Thomas 22 Apr 07 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,cookieless in a spanish internet cafe. Folki 22 Apr 07 - 01:38 PM
BB 22 Apr 07 - 02:36 PM
Mo the caller 22 Apr 07 - 02:56 PM
johnadams 22 Apr 07 - 02:56 PM
johnadams 22 Apr 07 - 03:02 PM
Herga Kitty 22 Apr 07 - 03:09 PM
Surreysinger 22 Apr 07 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,GUEST: PippaSandford 23 Apr 07 - 04:43 AM
Stu 23 Apr 07 - 05:55 AM
Surreysinger 23 Apr 07 - 07:15 AM
treewind 23 Apr 07 - 10:47 AM
oggie 23 Apr 07 - 10:55 AM
The Sandman 23 Apr 07 - 02:11 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 07 - 03:10 PM
The Sandman 23 Apr 07 - 03:44 PM
danensis 23 Apr 07 - 04:04 PM
oggie 23 Apr 07 - 04:54 PM
treewind 24 Apr 07 - 04:09 AM
nutty 24 Apr 07 - 06:13 AM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Sue 24 Apr 07 - 06:46 AM
Blowzabella 24 Apr 07 - 06:49 AM
nutty 24 Apr 07 - 07:35 AM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 08:11 AM
Surreysinger 24 Apr 07 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Knute 24 Apr 07 - 08:43 AM
Grimmy 24 Apr 07 - 08:43 AM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 09:05 AM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 09:14 AM
Grimmy 24 Apr 07 - 09:57 AM
nutty 24 Apr 07 - 10:10 AM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 10:13 AM
oggie 24 Apr 07 - 10:24 AM
nutty 24 Apr 07 - 10:25 AM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 10:40 AM
nutty 24 Apr 07 - 11:25 AM
Canberra Chris 24 Apr 07 - 11:43 AM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 01:12 PM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 02:17 PM
oggie 24 Apr 07 - 03:16 PM
johnadams 24 Apr 07 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,cliff 24 Apr 07 - 04:26 PM
The Sandman 24 Apr 07 - 06:59 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Apr 07 - 07:50 PM
The Sandman 25 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM
nutty 25 Apr 07 - 12:45 PM
The Sandman 26 Apr 07 - 08:00 AM
Surreysinger 26 Apr 07 - 08:38 AM
concertina ceol 26 Apr 07 - 08:47 AM
Ruth Archer 26 Apr 07 - 10:08 AM
The Sandman 26 Apr 07 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Adam Lesson 26 Apr 07 - 10:45 AM
johnadams 26 Apr 07 - 10:56 AM
The Sandman 26 Apr 07 - 12:13 PM
johnadams 26 Apr 07 - 12:21 PM
The Sandman 26 Apr 07 - 12:52 PM
Surreysinger 26 Apr 07 - 01:02 PM
The Sandman 26 Apr 07 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Confusionus 26 Apr 07 - 02:12 PM
The Sandman 04 Jun 07 - 12:56 PM
Mr Red 05 Jun 07 - 12:20 PM
The Sandman 11 Jul 07 - 09:42 AM
RTim 11 Jul 07 - 09:49 AM
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The Sandman 11 Jul 07 - 03:53 PM
GUEST 18 Jul 07 - 03:15 PM
The Sandman 18 Jul 07 - 07:17 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Jul 07 - 04:13 AM
The Sandman 19 Jul 07 - 05:45 AM
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GUEST,Darowyn 19 Jul 07 - 07:36 AM
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Subject: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:08 AM

Just heard a rumor that the Board of Trustees has made all the staff at Cecil Sharpe House redundant, except the librarian and the caretakers.

Does anyone know if this is true?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 08:53 AM

I have just heard that there is a six week consulation period starting with a new organisation chart but no job descriptions to go with it yet. It seems to be affecting the admin staff where there are a lot of part-timers and it looks as if some consolidation is taking place.

I don't want to reveal my source in case they are in breach of their conditions of employment.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:25 AM

Dear o dear,what will they do next


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Goodbye Cecil
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:31 AM

Probably sell Cecil Sharpe House and relocate to to a cheaper place outside London as many other organisations have done?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM

Thanks, Manitas - that does confirm that what I've heard/seen isn't just a bad practical joke.

My source is in much the same situation as yours, I suspect!

The bit of paper that I saw showed 9 jobs redundant, 2 seriously changed (including the librarian - that's worrying!) and 13 unchanged, 7 of which are cleaners & caretakers and 3 of which are managers! Wonder who they'll be managing?

The Society might be salvageable if they sold Cecil Sharpe House, but as I understand it the "Friends" of CSH pretty much ensured back in the 80s that it could never be sold due to that hideous mural in the main hall.

So sad to see it all going to hell in a handbasket. I just hope that the library doesn't suffer through all this.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:56 AM

So, what were the redundant jobs, Downshift? That would be a good pointer for the future of the place.

And they retain 7 cleaners?!?! As permanent staff?!?! These days, this seems a tad extravagant for any organisation (or building) that size.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 10:03 AM

Personally I would refrain from comment until something actually happens, rather than speculate over what may or may not be in a confidential discussion document.

Please do try to spell Cecil Sharp's name properly. He deserves that courtesy.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 10:07 AM

Sell Cecil Sharpe House? They'll never do that. It's a pity the rest of the country hasn't yet realised the EFDSS council are more interested in keeping Cecil Sharp House as their personal dance club than in operating a viable national organisation. The real question is, why haven't they made plans to replace their education director, who announced her retirement a year ago and whose last day is coming up soon, if I'm not mistaken.

Still, when they eventually grind to a halt and are left with that big albatross of a building and no funds to support themselves, the time will be ripe for folks interested in and passionate about folk music and dance to come in and start making a difference in London. Luckily, there are other folk music support organisations elsewhere in the country that actually work, so the very small hole left by the demise of EFDSS won't affect people who are actually interested in folk music. I suspect the thriving network of London-area folk clubs will continue on no matter what happens to EFDSS. Pity about that library, though.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 10:49 AM

Is it me or is this an annual event? EFDSS should have sold their main asset and moved to Sheffield when they had the chance a few years ago.

The problem with EFDSS is that it is seen as being distant from what is happening in terms of folk on the ground. My parents have been members for years but I don't know anyone of my generation who are members or knows what EFDSS does.

oh dear! how very very sad.....


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:10 AM

Concertina ceol - the difference this time is that they are actually getting rid of the staff. Previously, as far as I can tell, the Trustees have just moved staff around, prevented them from working and that's about it. This time they've just sacked over half of the people who keep things running.

You're right about the age of the membership, tho. I joined because I wanted to use the library. Great resource, helpful people - couldn't have been happier with it. The rest? I got the impression that the staff were wading through treacle to just try and operate. I think the fact that they couldn't keep a Chief Exec for more than a year at a stretch says something about how they treat people.

I let my membership lapse because what else was I getting for £35 a year? A rather parochial little magazine and err... That was it. Oh, and public liability insurance if you're a club. Which I'm not.

They seemed to have picked up in recent times with a few stonking publications - "Traveller's Joy" is great, particularly, and they've had some good occasional events - the Shirley Collins talk, Cyril Tawney's memorial and so forth. I wondered if they'd found the plot again.

I guess the Trustees must have decided that they looked a bit too much like a working folk organisation, so decided to sack some people and get the boot in.

Bloody shame. I'd hoped it was all a bad practical joke. All the Trustees should be ashamed of themselves.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Gadaffi
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:15 AM

FWIW, my understanding is that the librarian's job is funded separately through the Douglas Kennedy Trust, not directly from the EFDSS. Much of the staff have been volunteers or part-time since the hiatus of the 1980s.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:29 AM

malcolm,douglas.
for god sake stop worrying about how cecils name is spelt,and start worrying about what is happening to EFDSS.
You remind me of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM

Dick I suspect Malcolm is much closer to what is happening to the EFDSS and is more worried about it than you will ever be.

Politely asking people to spell Cecil Sharp´s name correctly is not exactly onerous. When people do get it correct it gives the impression they know what they are talking about at least a tiny bit.

Spelling his name incorrectly gives just the opposite impression.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 12:27 PM

Sorry, initial spelling my mistake.

Do I get to make up any brownie points by being able to spell both "Karpeles" and "Trefusis"?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 01:00 PM

Dave,no need to be patronising,why do you assume I am not worried about what is happening at cecil sharp house.
to tick someone off for not spelling his name correctly ,when there are more serious issues to be concerned with does remind me of Nero.
who is responsible for the decline of efdss,over the last thirty years,that is what I would like to know.
when I was a member I voted for the house to be sold and relocated,fearing that what appears to be happening now ,would happen.
the only useful purposes efdss,appear to have now,are the library,insurance coverage for festivals and publications,my god how the mighty have fallen,.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 01:03 PM

oh yes and no one could be bothered to take me up on my donation for a song writing competition,typical.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Robbie H Thomas
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:03 PM

May I, as an EFDSS Trustee and a NC member involved in this matter, echo Malcolm's post and ask that you all refrain from making comments on assumptions based on misquotations of a confidential discussion document. Announcements will be made and information given as and when appropriate.

I would also ask that those people amongst you who have been, or who may be in the future, given sight of any confidential document relating to this matter refrain from quoting from it or discussing it on any forum, public or private, as it breaches the confidence not only of the EFDSS, but also of the other EFDSS staff members who have chosen to keep this matter in confidence.

Thank you
Robbie H Thomas
EFDSS National Council National Member

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Now, I'd like to make some purely personal comments arising from a couple of points made in earlier posts on this thread:

(1) Cecil Sharp house is the headquarters of a UK national folk organisation - the English Folk Dance and Song Society - whose Mission Statement is:
"The EFDSS will develop its resources, namely the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, its professional staff and members, to:
•maintain itself as a centre of excellence for the study, practice and dissemination of traditional English folk song, dance and music;
•provide national and local outreach services that enable and increase access;
•celebrate diversity and promote equality"

The EFDSS is also the Trustee of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, whose Mission Statement is:
"To:
•Continuously expand access to the library, by always being outward looking and developing partnerships which celebrate the many and various cultural traditions of England'
•Build our membership and encourage a larger and more diverse range of people to discover, use and develop the library
•Make a full contribution to national, regional and local educational and social programmes which develop citizenship and help to build communities
•Maintain and enhance our unique heritage asset in innovative ways to achieve the highest standards of care for the collection and the building it lives in
•Employ the best staff and volunteers possible, and to continuously support their professional development to the benefit of our users."

The agreed and declared Strategy of the EFDSS is:
1. EFDSS will commit itself to a major renovation of Cecil Sharp House which will greatly increase the capacity of the VWML; enable the collection to be preserved in accordance with professional standards, renovate the performance spaces; increase the areas also suitable for commercial letting (in order to offset running costs); add an exhibition space and an interactive "museum" space and significantly rework the public areas.
2. Nationally, EFDSS will continue with and expand its outreach programme by disseminating information through the VWML; through EFDSS publications; through its education programme and by providing access to its extensive network of folk contacts.
3. Locally, EFDSS will concentrate on outreach projects that: promote use of the VWML through educational activities; and that promote use of CSH through folk activities (particularly those involving children, the disabled, the elderly and ethnic groups).
4. EFDSS will give priority to programmes and projects which can be developed in partnership with other organisations.

Those Mission Statements and Strategy are what the EFDSS and the VWML are committed to, and everything that they do is being aligned with that Mission Statement and Strategy.

(2) As well as housing the administrative office of the Society, Cecil Sharp House is the home of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

(3) Any surplus from the operation of Cecil Sharp House (and CSH does generate an operational surplus annually), any surplus from the membership income of the Society (after the costs of running the Society, producing the Folk Music Journal and English Dance and Song), any surplus from the Society's Publications programme, and any other available monies (ie that are not given or raised for a specific pupose) that come into, or are generated by, the Society from grants, fundraising, donations, legacies etc go towards supporting the costs of running of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and the upkeep of the building that houses it - Cecil Sharp House. Some of these additional monies (for example the annual grant from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust) are given to the Society specifically for the Library.

As a Trustee of the EFDSS I have a legal duty to ensure that the Society fulfils its charitable purposes, makes best use of its resources and that it is and remains financially secure.

On a personal level I thoroughly resent, and feel extremely insulted by, being told in this thread that I should be ashamed of myself, that I'm only interested in having a London dance club house, that I've "... decided that they (sic) looked a bit too much like a working folk organisation, so decided to sack some people and get the boot in...." and being accused of all the other clap-trap that gets regurgitated incessantly every time CSH and EFDSS get mentioned in the same breath.

I'm happy to discuss and debate with anyone, anywhere and on any forum what EFDSS could and should be doing, but I'm not happy to be gratuitously insulted. If anyone wants to accuse me (and by extension the EFDSS National Council)of getting something wrong then tell me to my face and I'll respond and defend our actions and motives - and I'll happily admit it and change my and the NC's ways if you're right and we're wrong... but you'd better have your facts right and not just be regurgitating ancient assertions!

In this day and age where other organisations, some commercial, some charitable, have sprung up to take advantage of "market opportunities" and available grants for "projects" and the like, the EFDSS remains the only organisation that is dedicated to preserving a national treasure and resource (the library) and to "maintain itself as a centre of excellence in the development of traditional English folk dance, song and music by providing national and local outreach services which enable and increase access to all; to celebrate diversity and promote equality."

The EFDSS gets very little grant funding (unlike many other folk arts organisations) as the majority of the costs that it has to find are core costs and, as anyone who works with funders knows, it's much easier to get funding for an eye-catching project than to get funding for core activities - especially when these core activities are as unglamorous as keeping a folk music, dance and song archive (in our case the VWML) going and growing.

I'll be the first to state (not to admit, but to state) that EFDSS hasn't got everything right in the past and it hasn't got everything all right now. Furthermore, I have my own severe and valid criticisms of how, where and why it does what it does. However, unlike many of the detractors out there who are only too quick to bitch about what EFDSS did and didn't do over the last 75 years, does and doesn't do now, should and shouldn't do in the future and those who are seemingly stuck in the self-destructive timewarp of the "Sell the House" debate, I decided last year to get stuck in and to help the Society work towards ensuring that it (and thereby the VWML) survives and prospers.

One lesson that I have learned in life is that I can't change what happened yesterday, what is happening today was largely decided yesterday and that the only difference that I can make is to change what is going to happen tomorrow. Or as my Mum used to say, "Don't cry over spilt milk, mop it up and get on with milking the cow!"

With regard to EFDSS, its operation and its relationship with the wider folk world there is a tremendous amount that needs to be done, there is a lot that is being done and there is an awful lot that is going to be done. To people like me and the other NC members who are all working together to drive the transformation of the EFDSS into a strong, relevant, proactive organisation and thereby to ensure an enhanced future for the VWML, many of the comments elsewhere on this thread are unhelpful at best and downright insulting at worst.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

That's my personal comments over.

Just to reiterate where I started from - can I again echo Malcolm's post and ask you all to refrain from comment on this confidential matter until something actually happens. Announcements will be made and information given as and when appropriate.

Thanks again,
Robbie Thomas
EFDSS National Council National Member


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:30 PM

Can't say fairer, Robbie. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:33 PM

The basic issue seems to be money. Should the more successful artists and festivals charge a levy which goes toward EFDSS?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:54 PM

I'm a member, on the "right" side of 40 (for a little while longer, anyway!) and I see lots of signs of positive change in EFDSS.

I recently joined the education advisory committee. What does that mean in real terms? Well, EFDSS are a partner in our Shooting Roots summerschool in July, and I look forward to partnering them in the long term with our other folk development work. I think that these kinds of partnerships represent part of the way forward for EFDSS, and it's exciting that they're embracing regional development projects like this.

The "parochial magazine" is now a full-colour quarterly, packed with features on the contemporary folk scene while still fulfilling its remit for exploring the history and heritage of folk music and dance. I think it stands favourable comparison with, say, Living Tradition these days. Which is why I'm proud to contribute to it. And I think the other recent publications, both the CDs and support materials for schools, and books aimed at the general membership like Traveller's Joy, have been brilliant.

Finally, my understanding is that there are solid plans for the replacement of the Education Director.

IMHO, EFDSS is making a real effort to move forward, and should be helped and supported by those who purport to care about the tradition, not given a gleeful kicking by people with obvious axes to grind.

Admittedly, if I were the boss of everyone I'd sell CSH tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:02 PM

Ruth - you're right. The recent publications have been brilliant. I can't imagine why the team behind them have been let go if that's what's happened.

And why isn't the new EDS hitting the news-stands along with Living Tradition and fROOTs? It should do. Maybe then there'd be more money to actually invest in staff and premises.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:05 PM

Wow - where do you see LTrad or fRoots on the newsstand? I always used to have to order them from my newsagents or subscribe, and I don't think I've ever seen them sitting next to Mojo or Kerrang at WH Smiths.

EDS is available on the record stall at loads of festivals, though.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:16 PM

Err... All of the big bookshops up Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road where I work stock them. Along with Dirty Linen, Sing Out etc. The bigger music shops with magazine sections usually stock fRoots and LTrad, too.

Don't get to many festivals, so can't speak for that, though.

I'm not having a go, honestly. I agree that the public face of EFDSS has greatly improved recently, and would stand up along many of the other organisations working today if given a chance.

I guess that this news just worries me - I'd rather see them consolidate on the good work that's happening now instead of knocking it all down and starting again.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:19 PM

I'd rather wait and hear what's going on when they're ready to tell us, to be honest, instead of fretting based on rumour...I reckon that building on the good work is probably what they're trying to do...

Ah - Oxford Street. I think you'll find that situation isn't reflected outside London! I used to order fRoots from the newsagents and they took it out of a little brown file behind the counter. It was like buying porn...


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:23 PM

I have no wish to speculate on what is happening as far as staffing is concerned at the moment, but any organisation has to cut its coat according to its cloth, which is what EFDSS seems to be doing at the moment. I also don't wish to bring up the 'sell CSH' debate again, which is what lost the Society an awful lot of members in the '80s.

What I do want to do is to refute some of the statements which have been made.

"The difference this time is that they are actually getting rid of the staff. Previously, as far as I can tell, the Trustees have just moved staff around, prevented them from working and that's about it." Not so. When the Society was going through a hard time at the beginning of the '80s, initially two of the full-time regional staff were made redundant, followed a year or so later by another one who had been made up to National Events Officer, leaving only one full-time member of staff not based in London, who was the Education Officer at the time.

"Why haven't they made plans to replace their education director, who announced her retirement a year ago and whose last day is coming up soon, if I'm not mistaken." Because that post was funded by the Sports Council, who are no longer operating in the same way, and therefore the funding is no longer available.

"A rather parochial little magazine" - the last issue of which seemed to be rather more interesting than the last issue of 'Living Tradition'. At least, I found more of interest to an English person primarily interested in song, but also interested in other areas of the tradition.

"The only useful purposes efdss,appear to have now,are the library,insurance coverage for festivals and publications" And is that so bad? The library is an invaluable resource to anyone interested in English song, amongst other things, even when, like me, one has a pretty vast library of one's own. The insurance cover is not just for festivals (in fact, I'm not sure it's *even* for festivals), but it is of great value to organisers of small events. And as for publications, there are some great ones coming out at the moment, including the reissue of the 'Marrowbones' series. No-one else seems to be bringing out books of traditional songs these days, which has been a problem for newbies for years now - the only place they've been able to find songs has been from recordings, which isn't necessarily the best way to learn songs as there's a tendency to slavishly copy the style of the people singing the songs.

As for the person who didn't think this was worth £35 a year (less than the price of a decent meal out), have you ever thought how much more the Society could do if more people put in their £35 a year, and actually thought, in the words of JFK I think, 'Don't ask what EFDSS can do for you, but what you can do for the EFDSS!' and all things that they might be able to achieve if people joined it instead of forever complaining about it?

I'm not saying that I never criticise the Society - I do, but I hope from a position of some knowledge - but it makes me mad when people complain from a position of almost total ignorance. If you're a member, as far as I am concerned you have a right to criticise; if you're not, you haven't - it's not *your* money that's going into it!

There, I feel better for that!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 04:20 PM

Barbara: I *am* a member. Proudly wearing my badge at dances and spreading the word :-)

Am I right in thinking that EFDSS is the only fee/membership based folk organisation/agency in the country? How do other people do it and make it profitable? This isn't a weighted question - genuinely curious as to how people like Eddie Upton and Paul Davenport make it pay (or at least support itself) whilst appearing to have less "public face" than EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 05:41 PM

Good for you, Melodeon Man, but then, you weren't one of those complaining!

Eddie's Folk South West is an Arts Council funded folk development agency - not membership based. Not sure about Paul's, but it's basically small and local, although doing good work - don't know whether it's membership based. Certainly has no headquarters to maintain. I think it's rather like Ryburn 3-Step, local enthusiasts who make things happen locally.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 05:56 PM

If you're talking about Paul's 'Hallam Traditions', that's just him and Liz, so not really comparable.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:09 PM

BB.Everyone has a right to criticise whether they are a member or not.
Jim Carroll frequently criticises comhaltas[he is not a member],I disagree with some of his criticisms,but he has aright to make his points.
secondly, comhaltas also bring out books of traditional music.
thirdly comhaltas had the good sense to realise,that competitions brought in revenue,,,,,,and that fleadhs/festivals brought much needed trade to the areas in question,something that efdss didnt seem to realise.
you can get as mad as you like,but as the western world believes in free speech,lots of ex and non members will continue to criticise,
what EFDSS needs to do is listen to some of that criticism.,and ask themselvers why the ex members are ex members.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:43 PM

good lord, Dick. We've been here before with the festivals and competitions. Comhaltas is hardly a model to hold up of relevant, dynamic contemporary practice.

Festivals are best organised by professional festival organisers - why duplicate what's being done very well elsewhere?

If this is really just you being chippy because EFDSS didn't leap on your offer of funding some competition as long as you were the judge...well, it was a bit daft.

As an EFDSS member, I would oppose your ideas about festivals and competitions most vociferously. But please let's not have this discussion again - it's still irrelevant and unhelpful.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Balsto da Loteya
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:03 PM

i think your Cecil Sharp House a very good thing. Some people say move it to Sheffield. Where that? Londion is a place I have heard of here in Portugal. Capital opf England no? Good place for study of English folk music yes?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:57 PM

I've been a member for about 36 years, through thick and thin, having joined while a student, and certainly not feeling the need to let my membership lapse during the problems of the 1980's. Through the years I've valued receiving ED&S in its many guises (have to say I'm actually not sure about ALL colour magazines of any type- I'm more concerned with the content of the articles , and not the pretty pretty look of something - which in fact I find a distraction rather than a benefit), and in the last few years the Journal far more so (something I never read in my younger days, but devour with interest now). Until recent years I NEVER used the library, but always valued the fact that it was there for me if I wanted to - all of the benefits which were being scorned earlier in the thread have been of value to me in one way or another. I too have been known to wear my badge proudly (at the moment it seems to have done a runner, but it will turn up, I have no doubt - it always does). As far as I'm concerned my annual subscription is partly a statement of my support for what the Society does and is - I do not necessarily need to get anything out of it.

By the way, could I echo Ruth's thoughts about the question of festivals and competitions being raised again - old ground covered at length previously.

As to the points raised at the start of this thread, even though I'm a member I can't see that internal documents, and proposals (and proposals don't necessarily result in actualities) are any business of the rank and file and non-members at this stage, and therefore are not a suitable matter for discussion here.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:57 AM

Agreed on that last point, SS. It's not really fair to be speculating on the future of the organisation or its direction based on gossip.

Re the colour magazine: I think it's a great step forward. The magazine is not just a good read - it's a good marketing tool for EFDSS. When it's sold at festivals it is available to the general public. While I think that the content has, for some time, been able to hold its own against more commercial publications, it has not quite had the equivalent professional look, largely because so few magazines are produced in monochrome these days. By updating that look, I think it gives a better impression of the society itself: an organisation that's not a parochial backwater, but which instead is striving to be relevant and contemporary.

I think everyone would agree that EFDSS could do with an influx of new, younger members. Hopefully the new-look magazine will be one tool in helping to achieve that goal (especially now that the magazine has got its own Myspace!). I think the content is still unique: there's not really any other folk magazine that carries the range of features that EDS does. But by updating its look, maybe the magazine can get that content out to a readership that extends beyond the current membership. And maybe some of those new readers will eventually want to become members themselves...

Of course, the magazine can't achieve this goal on its own. There have to be changes in perception about what the society is there for, and what it does, if a new generation of members is going to be attracted. But I think there have been some very interesting things happening recently, and the general direction seems to have been a very positive one. So I'm reserving judgement about the latest developments at CSH till we know what's really going on.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:14 AM

Ruth Archer,you say comhaltas is hardly a model to hold up of contemporary dynamic practice.
Comhaltas have recently been holding round the fireside sessions,involving children and adults,these have been very successful..
During the summer they organise seisuins throughout Ireland,which again are very successful,
A national tradional concert tour was also organised[featuring top Irish musicians and singers],again a success.
they publish books/cds on traditional music,.
they organise fleadhs both regionally and nationally,as well as instrument workshops.,and produce a colour magazine.
viewers can make their own decisions from this information.
In my opinion this information shows comhaltas to be more dynamic and contemporary[particuarly the fireside sessions]than EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:23 AM

RuthArcher,why is a song writing competion daft ,efdss were involved with one at cheltenham festival,.
do you mean that its daft for me to be judging,let me remind you that I have been a professional performer for over thirty years,have written a number of songs[some have been recorded by other performers].your remark[daft]is either insulting to me,or denigratory to efdss[Cheltenham festival].


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:45 AM

I was at the competition at Cheltenham, actually. There was a judging panel made up of a range of interesting young folk performers, rather than one person insisting on judging just because they were donating the prize money. If you're after that sort of self-aggrandisement, set up your own competition. But regardless of who is judging, do I think this represents a major strand in the way forward for EFDSS? No, I do not.

I'm not going to debate comhaltas aain. The last EFDSS thread got taken over by you banging on about comhaltas. It was tedious in the extreme. I'm sure anyone with a sufficiently masochistic bent can find and read that discussion if they so wish.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:51 AM

"Wow - where do you see LTrad or fRoots on the newsstand"

As has been said, I often see them for sale, and every Borders I have been in has a reasonalbe selection of folk mags.

I have just let my membership lapse for the simple reason that I can't actually afford it (I'm a freelancer and everyone wants their pound of flesh from us!) due to cashflow problems and at £35 it's just too much money at the moment. I could stay in for two weeks I suppose, but as I work on myu own I'd go crackers. I'll rejoin when a big cheque finally lands on my doormat. I think it's reasonable value for money - the journal is excellent and you get insurance for playing gigs.

As for the magazine, I don't think it's as slick as LT which is a more commercial concern, but the quality is always excellent, the articles interesting and the reviews good. No compliants there, but to get it on the newstands it'd have to have more pages.

EFGSS is London-centric though, no doubt about it (primarily because it's based there I suppose). For those of us that never get the Smoke it can seem a bit of waste of cash being a member when you may only visit the library once a decade. Moving it to a more central location and making it a national centre for folk music and dance would make it more relevant - perhaps along the lines of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, which has vibrant branches across the country(ies) and which could teach music and dance to people across the land.

Digitising the library and making the entire collection available online to members would be a step forward too - the sound archive should be online and accessible as soon as possible, and this is well within the bounds of current technology.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:02 AM

as I have stated elsewhere,my offer still stands,I am prepared to agree on a judge mutually acceptable to efdss and myself.
you are again insulting me by suggesting that I am in this for self aggrandisement,
I thought this was one of the more progressive moves by EFDSS.and one that would be worth repeating,and was hoping to have some dialogue between EFDSS and myself,but nothing happened.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:06 AM

Maybe they'd take more notice if you were a member.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:02 AM

"Moving it to a more central location and making it a national centre for folk music and dance would make it more relevant"
Hello, can you tell me what part of England is more accessable to the rest of the country than London?


"Digitising the library and making the entire collection available online to members would be a step forward too - the sound archive should be online and accessible as soon as possible, and this is well within the bounds of current technology."
I take it you haven't heard of Copyright laws then. . . .


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:26 AM

Ahhh, the nameless Guest . . .

"Hello, can you tell me what part of England is more accessable to the rest of the country than London?"

The answer is in the quote in your post - more central. London is not easily accessible to people living in the North of England, East Anglia or the South West even, whereas a location around the Midlands which is at the centre of the motorway and rail networks and therefore far easier (and cheaper) to get to.


"I take it you haven't heard of Copyright laws then. . . ."

I have actually - I deal with music, footage and image copyright as part of my work and whilst I don't know the provenance of all the sound recordings in the EFDSS library, copyright is a surmountable obstacle in many cases- simple as that.

I can tell you many folk musicians out in here in the dark 'parochial' provencies see the EFDSS as a rather stuffy organisation that caters to home counties that bears little or no relevance to them, keeping the tradition alive in pub sessions and singarounds. I don't agree with that view, but it is an image that needs to be addressed, and making the Society more accessible would be a major step,in that direction.

What are your objections to the CCE model Ruth?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 07:22 AM

All the problems with the CCE model v. EFDSSS were voiced on a previous thread that Ruth mentioned. To repeat them all would be tedious. If the EFDSS had´half the funding the CCE get from the Irish government it could do a lot more.

As for digitising the library and making it available any suggestions as to who might meet the cost of this? There is a full-time librarian and two part-time librarians (I think) at present ansd every time I have been there they have been snowed under with work.

I agree the perception of the EFDSS needs altering - but people´s perception´s are often wrong too.................

Incidentally another EFDSS publication, a completely revised edition of "Marrow Bones" is due to be launched at the beginning of May.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 07:37 AM

London accessable? I've not been there in years.
I pass the NEC 30 or 40 times every year on my travels around the country and that's just 130 miles or so from me in Lancaster. Sheffield area I've get to about 5 or 6 times a year. On the other hand I've only ever been to Manchester 4 times in my life.
If you want somewhere accessable don't put it in a big city.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 07:52 AM

I mentioned three positives about EFDSS,and as a result am character assassanated for offering to sponsor a song writing competition.,.
Ruth Archer you owe me an apology,Iam not offering to sponsor a songwriting competition for my own self aggrandisement,you are unnecessarily aggressive,insulting and rude.
Folkie Dave,is right about the need for EFDSS to change the way it is perceived it also needs to change its own perception,try and learn from errors it has made in the past.
Any business that is not successful needs to look at and analyse successful businesses,see what they are doing ,look at the ingredients of their success,EFDSS is not successful, Comhaltas is.
Please do not insult all the volunteers in comhaltas,who work very hard in making it a success,by trying to imply that it is all down to more cash,it is also down to many other things,policies,branch membership,involvement in fleadhs/exams competitions,and social music playing,in the branches.,all of which is a result of hard work and superior organisation.[although there is still room for improvement].


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 08:00 AM

Balsto da Loteya: Sheffield is where the last vestiges of the sole remaining dedicated Folklore Department in England cling on NATCECT

It is also where Doc Rowe's Archive
has its physical home.

And you can get a decent meal for less than £35 (BB 03.23)


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 08:50 AM

"And you can get a decent meal for less than £35 (BB 03.23)"

Sounds like London prices to me. You can get a cheese and bacon oatcake with beans and a brew for less than four quid in Macclesfield, and that's a reet decent meal.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:15 AM

Stigweard - you're making me hungry now!


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM

Sheffield is a dump.

Houese are overpriced; there isn´t a decent restaurant for miles; scenery around is vastly over-rated; most of the beer is undrinkable; football teams are both rubbish;(that´s Sheffield United and Sheffield United reserves); no folk club worth talking about; sessions are few and far between; etc........etc...............

So don´t any of you Southern jessies bother coming.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM

So I can drive there for me tea tonight, stig - £4 for that plus £29 for petrol, why, I'd be quids in! :-)

Seriously though. You lot have it better up north, it's true. Bettr than Londong and the Home Counties anyroad. I'd move to Macclesfield like a shot, were it not for Herga; and I don't want to put too much distance between me and Shambles.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:55 AM

"All the problems with the CCE model v. EFDSSS were voiced on a previous thread that Ruth mentioned. To repeat them all would be tedious"

I assume it's this thread you're talking about - please correct me if I am wrong.

Well, after reading the thread I get a better idea of what you mean FolkieDave, especially with regards to funding. I've got great respect to all those (especially the volunteers) who make the Society work, who are trying to keep our traditions alive and who store this pricesless resource for future generations. Hats off to you and your work is appreciated.

But . . . I'm now less sure about renewing my membership than I was. I sense some hostility here to the idea of the EFDSS as a truly national organisation. It <>is London-centric, and it's relevance to the majority is questionable when you have to live inside the M25 to get the best out of it. I wouldn't know if the librarians are snowed under with work - I cannot get to CSH without a great deal of expense and time, I have never been and can't see me being able to go in the future.

The cost of digitising the library. How much do you think that would be? Possibly a lot less than you think unless you wanted it done by tomorrow. I'll do it here at home if you want, free of charge. Cost is not an issue - willingness to do the work is, and whether you want members from across the country access to the archive.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: DMcG
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:09 AM

I'll do it here at home if you want, free of charge. Cost is not an issue - willingness to do the work is..

Up to a point. If all you have is a vinyl record that plays for 45 mins, its going to take 45 minutes to record it. So one person could do at best about 10 records a day (per turntable & PC). The problems of recording from cylinders are worse. So yes, with enough volunteers, equipment and the willingness to risk sending the material offsite it could be done at low cost. Otherwise, you are talking LOTS of time.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:16 AM

Surely the sound archive is likely to be out of copyright qua sound recording, isn't it, if early Cliff Richard already is?

And since the recordings were of folk songs, the words and tunes will be out of copyright too, no?

And the civil rights of performers eventually having been found to have been inherent under the Performers' Protection Acts 1958-72 will surely also have expired, no?

So copyright in the sound archive ought not to be an issue (and there are provisions about desgnated archives too). And if the digitised collection was put on line, with associated modern performances of the songs in question donated by eager performers, securely, on a subscription basis, then there might be a revenue stream....


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: treewind
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:26 AM

The raw time taken to copy audio is only part of it. It's a management problem: deciding what gets done first, keeping track of who's done what, making sure it comes back, indexing it all and putting it on a database and the website, and organising and managing the whole process.

Oh, and it's not all audio: there are stacks and stacks of paper with valuable infomation on it too. Mary's currently going though copies of VW's (sometimes rather illegible) notation of the tunes to songs he collected in Cambridgeshire and it's taking weeks of spare time. Not for the library, but I guess it can be made public and/or returned in more web-worthy formats if they want to use it.

The online library catalogue (such as it is) and Roud index are an excellent start. Nothing like the digitising the whole library but what's there has been done well and I'm sure took a lot of work.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 11:49 AM

Crikey, I've no idea how much paper manuscript the library has but digitising that lot would take a while - and be a logistical nightmare.

As for the sound library, I guess you would start with digitising what the Board (or membership) wanted to hear most and was not already out there. Still heavy on the logistics but not nearly as bad as the paper.

Oh well. The idealist in me thinks it's possible, and I'd help, but I guess it's unlikey to happen.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,cliff
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 12:02 PM

In London last summer, we made a special trip to Cecil Sharpe House. Apparently they had just closed the shop and moved what was left of the merchandise to the library. Mainly, everyone was quite rude and unwilling to discuss… anything. I bought a CD and left in mild disgust. Good luck to EFDSS. They will need it.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 12:08 PM

The Minister for the Arts in Ireland made mention in his speech about the level of funding given to Irish traditional music, and also said that in the last 2 years, he had awarded 5 mill euros to Comhaltas for its development plan .... and 165,000 euros to the Archive's capital expenditure, and a further 3mill euros to traditional arts and another half a million euros to .... you get the picture .... he wants to make the traditional arts amongst the top 3 best funded arts forms in the next 3 to 5 years.......
Do we have a political party in ther UK that would make the same commitment ....?


Was not the quote I was looking for...but........it will do........
With grants like that, believe you me, funding would be no problem for the EFDSS!!

If you think digitising and making things available is simple, talk to Malcolm Douglas - who may read this thread - about the "simple" task of reproducing the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, or of "Marrow Bones" (forthcoming).

As Anahata says, there are enormous management implications if it is to be done properly. And they are costly.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 12:19 PM

yes ,but it is still more than just funding ,it is policies,and involvement, comhaltas still has active branches[does EFDSS still have branches]they encourage children to participate in fireside sessions [something I help with as an unpaid volunteer].it is the committment and dedication of volunteers that make these things work not just cash,.
they[comhaltas] also realise that competitions and exams are money spinners,as well as being places where children can socially interact in a safe environment.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 01:22 PM

Folike dave is at last talking sense,Sheffield United are not a good football team,Sheffield Wednesday,may be marginally better.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 01:25 PM

"If you think digitising and making things available is simple, talk to Malcolm Douglas"

I know what's involved - my entire career has been spent in design and print, and I'm not saying it would be easy to do at CSH, but volunteers could help.

The funding point is interesting though - are CCE branches in the UK funded by the Irish government? If not, how are they surviving? I know there is a reluctance to compare the two organisations, but surely there is some case for doing so.

I suppose the EFDSS needs to decide what it wants to be. If it wants to build a song and dnace archive and serve the London area with live events then fine, it can stay as it is. If it wants to be a truly national organisation, bringing folk music and dance to a largely ignorant public, it'll have to venture forth from the fortress of CSH and engage the public in communities as CCE does.

Alternatively, us hayseeds in the provinces can just get on with making music and dancing as we have done since the year dot and spend the money in the pub at sessions or on CDs and books. At least that way we're involved.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 03:46 PM

But it's a chicken and egg situation, isn't it? I said before that the regional officers of EFDSS were made redundant in the early '80s, and there is no money to employ others now to take it back out into other areas of the country.

On the other hand, there are more folk development agencies elsewhere in the country, at least in the North East, South West and South - there are probably others - so the need for regional officers may be less than it used to be. And many of these, and other groups, are working with children as well as adults, so there's plenty going on.

It seems to me that, by and large and given the very limited resources at its disposal, the Society is concentrating on the things that matter - the library, which, even if some of is never get there, is there for research by many of the artists that you may buy CDs of or see in your local club; publications which are necessary for disseminating songs and dance tunes, amongst other things; an excellent magazine and journal; public liability insurance which is required by many venues these days; and trying to bring things into the modern world as far as it can with limited staff and volunteers. The Roud index online is indeed very useful, and the Folkopedia which John Adams has set up for EFDSS also looks as though it could be a very valuable research tool.

I'm really sad that Guest Cliff had a bad experience with the people at the House - that's not been my experience, but then I tend to be there for the library, and the staff in there are unfailingly helpful.

Yes, Dave, I heard that bit of news about the funding of Comhaltas, and boy, was I envious. How much could the Society do with that sort of funding?! And I think they have ten staff just looking after their archive!

Just so that you don't think I never criticise the Society, I think they made a big mistake in doing away with specifically regional reps. on the NEC or whatever it's called these days. I feel that it has indeed made the Society appear more London-centric, and, yes, it would probably be better if the whole kit and caboodle was transferred to Derby (which I think is about the centre of England), even though it would be even further away from me in Devon than London is. But the latter argument has been and gone, and considering how much ill-feeling it generated last time, it really wouldn't be of help to the Society to visit it again.

But it's by no means all doom and gloom, and if all those who profess to care about our traditional heritage put time and effort and/or money into helping preserve it through EFDSS (have you every read their objects?), things would not be looking as black as many of you seem to think they are.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:15 PM

George P - one of Herga's finest singers (Tim Edwards) did actually move to Macclesfield, where he still lives.

Once upon a time EFDSS ran a London folk festival at Cecil Sharp House - that's how I got to sing at concerts headlined by the High Leval Ranters and Finn and Eddy Furey... and meet Kevin Sheils, who ran the shop.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:57 PM

"and if all those who profess to care about our traditional heritage put time and effort and/or money into helping preserve it through EFDSS (have you every read their objects?), things would not be looking as black as many of you seem to think they are.


Good points all Barbara , but many who do care about our heritage don't feel the EFDSS is relevant to them. Lots of muso's are out here in the shires just playing the tunes and singing the songs and I don't think things are as black as people think they are.

I suppose the Society has tried to get lottery funding - what has been the result of this?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: treewind
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:13 PM

EFDSS is (I think) a member of Folk Arts England which is a much bigger organisation with many members (individuals, organisations or associates) and seems much more likely to get funding and be generally influential.

Arguably FAE is the group that EFDSS could have been if it had more large-scale business sense. It remains for EFDSS to find a niche that suits it, because as a national umbrella organisation it has been overtaken.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:19 PM

Stigweard, don't you ever listen to professional singers of traditional songs - do you ever wonder where they get their material, directly or indirectly? Nowhere else in this country is there such a collection as exists in the Library at Cecil Sharp House, and in storage there, even though at present difficult to get at.

I'm not on the National Council nor on the 'inside' these days, so I've no idea about lottery funding. Perhaps what they could do with is a fundraiser who's paid according to results, which I believe is not uncommon in the Arts world. They did get £50,000, I think, through The People's Millions on TV, but it was specifically to spruce up the outside, I believe, rather than to go into the Society's general coffers.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:20 PM

I agree that a lot of the development work handled by FAE could once have been within EFDSS's remit, but I also think that FAE has a very wide brief. It does not have the specialist position retained by EFDSS: guardianship and stewardship of the tradition. The VWML pretty much ringfences this position for the forseeable, methinks.

Of course, making the tradition more accessible could and should be a big part of what EFDSS does in 2007 and beyond. IMHO.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: treewind
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:36 PM

It might be worth remembering that the VWML is not strictly part of the EFDSS. The EFDSS has an obligation to look after it, but I'm told it's a separate entity in some respects (don't ask me for the legal details).

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:16 PM

Lottery Funding? In London?

I'd be gobsmacked if anyone other than the sodding Olympics get any money from the Lottery before 2012. I know other organisations have been turned down flat recently, and the Olympics bid has been cited as the reason why.

It was all over the Evening Standard a while back that the estimates for the Olympics have skyrocketed, and that most of the available grant money in London is being diverted towards that.

Now, if we could get the athletes to do the "100 metre Circassian Circle", I'd consider it money slightly better spent than the last white elephant (aka "The Millennium Dome").

Bah. Don't get me started.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:19 PM

Sheffield United are not a good football team,Sheffield Wednesday,may be marginally better.

I sincerely hope you know more about folk music than you do about football..............


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:20 PM

I'm sure you're right, but I reckon that as long as the library is housed at CSH and the librarian's post is funded by EFDSS, that stewardship role remains pretty strong.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:02 AM

Barbara, I'm fully aware of where many pro singers get their songs, but that's not what I'm talking about in this case - I suppose the point I'm trying to make is many muso's who don't travel to the capital don't appear to need the EFDSS, even if they do receive songs from the library via osmosis.

But a consenus of opinion does seem to be emerging that the collection needs to be made more accessible, and this would be an important step in bringing our culture back where it belongs - with the people.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:21 AM

Once upon a time EFDSS ran a London folk festival at Cecil Sharp House - that's how I got to sing at concerts headlined by the High Leval Ranters and Finn and Eddy Furey... and meet Kevin Sheils, who ran the shop.

Damn I keep trying to forget those days, Kitty.

I mean running the shop, not meeting you!


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:35 AM

Sheffield united are fourth from bottom in the premiership[ does thtat make them good]sheffield wednesday are 10 from top in the next division[possibilities for play off place].probably about as good as each other.
Ruth ArcHer,Somewhere in all this correspondence,somebody stated that the librarians job,was funded by the Douglas Kennedy trust,so the librarians post is not funded by EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:41 AM

Ruth Archer, see guest Gaddafi 18 april 11 15 am,the librarians post is funded by Douglas Kennedy trust.
what happens when there is no money left in the trust,no librarian.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Knute
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:48 AM

Well some of you hayseeds in the provinces are missing out on a good thing. Do you know that the library staff at EFDSS answers queries and sends information to researchers, performers and just plain folk who want to know the rest of the words to a song their granny sang - all over the world? They also manage to serve loads of foreign visitors, writers, composers, university students, professional musicians and television, radio and film producers. So why can't you be bothered to get in touch if you have a query? They've been on e-mail for eons, plus (gosh) they have phones and still get post delivered. You'd think Camden Town was in Left Armpit Slobovia the way you talk about it. Don't blame EFDSS for the fact that they're not convenient to get to when you're too lazy to even send an e-mail.

I don't usually bother to respond to these things but this is getting out of hand. So much disinformation, I almnost think some of you are making it up as you go along
I am a mudcat member, but I've forgotten how to sign in as it's been so long since I've felt moved to join in.
K


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:51 AM

TO guest Robbie Thomas,does the EFDSS still have branches.if not why were they disbanded.
CCEstrength lies in its branches getting involved in the local communities,which they do in Ireland,America,andEngland.
when Iwas living in nottingham circa 1989,itwas CCE notEFDSS,that was teaching local nottingham [english as well as Irish]childrenhow tyo play musical instruments.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Knute
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:59 AM

You are completely wrong about the Librarian's post, EFDSS pays his salary.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 05:16 AM

The history of EFDSS will be published later this year, Dick - you can read all about why and when the regional branches were disbanded.

As it happens (and as I've mentioned earlier), EFDSS are partnering my venue in the Shooting Roots summerschool we're running this summer. I'm hoping they'll also partner some long-term instrumental tuition we're currently planning.

More partnerships with delivery organisations and development agencies in the regions are, as I understand it, one of the strategies currently in the pipeline. I reckon this is the way to develop a stronger regional profile, and it's good to know that the society is embracing such ideas.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 05:23 AM

Knute: It's true the staff provide a valuable service via snail mail and email - the value of this service is not in doubt or dispute. Part of the overall discussion is about making the whole library (but the sound archive especially) more accessible to people who can't get to London.

Who wouldn't want to browse and discover the treasures to be heard in there?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 05:41 AM

Personally, I like the odd trip from the frozen north to London to research in Cecil Sharp House. For a country bumpkin such as myself, the great metropolis is quite exciting in small doses. I dont think I would get the same buzz from going to Lichfield or Coventry or Meriden or wherever they decided to locate to in order to find a more central location.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 05:46 AM

guest knute,Iam notwrong ,Its Gadaffi that is wrong.
Ruth can you tell us more about the summer schools project ,it sounds like a good idea.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 07:24 AM

I know some folkies who will not visit London. There are various reasons given for their dislike, including, I'm afraid, the possibilty of terrorist activity. I know the statistcs but this doesn't change their opinions.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 07:29 AM

And I live just outside the M25, 25 miles from Camden, yet I hate going into London (nothing to do with terrorism, I just don't like it) and would happily drive 50 miles up the M1 instead.

But that's just personal foibles - one cannot expect the EFDSS to relocate or reopen branches on that reasoning!


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 07:48 AM

I dislike going to london.
wherever Cecil sharp house is, it needs to be near a railway station,it should also have good disabled access.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 07:53 AM

We're doing a week-long folk summerschool this year, Dick, to be delivered by Shooting Roots, and we're very excited by it. The age range is 12 - 18, so slightly higher than the age we normally target. Some subsidy we've managed to secure means we can offer a whole week of activity for just £35 per child. Tuition will be both vocal and instrumental.

It's an opportunity for kids whose parents might not have the time or money to take them to a big festival to still benefit from the same kind of learning opportunity.

In the autumn, funding permitting, we're hoping to launch a more long-term folk music project in schools. In the past we've concentrated mostly on dance; now we want to look more at playing and singing.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 07:56 AM

excellent news,well done Ruth.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Knute
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 08:16 AM

Captain B
Pity the poor souls who have to live in London. . .
C Sharp House is accessable by public transport. It's on a bus route that goes directly from Kings Cross / St Pancras station, it's a ten minute walk from the tube station and about two minutes from the Regent's Canal if you fancy coming by boat or via the tow path. While the entire building is not yet accessible to the disabled, there have been changes made so that the ground floor is. Considering the cost and major work invovled in upgrading a grade II listed building (and lack of money to do this)this is measurable progress. From as far away as Japan and Australia make the journey to use the Library, it's a shame many English people are not as motivated.

The 'You' in my previous post wasn't directed at anyone in particular, but a collective pronoun.

All of you folks who have strong ideas about what EFDSS should and shouldn't do, ought to join, become active members, and make your voices heard. If you are a member, write to the NEC. One of the biggest problems the Society has is apathetic members. Letting off steam in cyberspace will not change anything. Get involved, or as my father would say 'put up or shut up'
K (yes I am a member)


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 08:24 AM

I have been to CecilSharp house many times in the past,have been booked there three times at least,it is actually a ten to fifteen minute walk from a tube station.[some people havesaid they have been intimidated by this,particuarly late at night]
I now live in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: nutty
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 08:27 AM

Surely the main problem regarding accessibility is opening times. Wherever the EFDSS is located, if it still insists on shutting up shop at weekends, it is going to suffer from lack of support.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Somebody who can browse for info
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 09:03 AM

From their website

Tuesday to Friday 09.30 to 17.30 (sometimes closed for lunch) and first and third Saturdays each month, 10:00 to 16:00. The Sound Library is closed 12.00 to 14.00 every day.

not quite as good as the british library who can afford to open every saturday but then they've got a bit of funding.......


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 09:12 AM

Seen the British Library´s charges for sound recordings?

http://www.bl.uk/collections/sound-archive/transcription.html

You may need to scroll down.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Somebody who can browse for info
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 09:19 AM

Is this what you mean?

Service level*

Express 5 day delivery £180 per operator hour (£42.50 minimum)

Standard Plus 20 day delivery £105 per operator hour (£32 minimum)

Standard 40 day delivery £42 per operator hour (£21 minimum)


What do the efdss charge?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Knute
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM

Service level*

Express 5 day delivery £180 per operator hour (£42.50 minimum)

Standard Plus 20 day delivery £105 per operator hour (£32 minimum)

Standard 40 day delivery £42 per operator hour (£21 minimum)


This looks like duplication charges. In other words for copying something. I don't believe the library at EFDSS provides a formal service like that. But you could always ask. In either case (I have had to request copies of something from the British Library) they require permission from the copyright holder, or the collector in the case of field recordings
K


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: RTim
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 02:03 PM

Hi - I have just had another bunch of copying from mircofilm done by the library - cost with postage to the US -£28!
This is about the 3rd or 4th lot of copying they have done for me. I just write a request and it is happily filled in a few days - no problem, I just have to fill out a copyright form and presto!
The staff are great, always helpful and pleasant, and that is also true of the only actual visit I have managed as yet - Living now in the USA visits to the library are not that easy - so all you people who moan about being remote - just use e-mail and post! They also have telephones!!
Even though they deal in traditional material - they are very up to date!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Robbie H Thomas
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 07:21 PM

>Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
>From: Captain Birdseye
>Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:51 AM
>TO guest Robbie Thomas,does the EFDSS still have branches.if not >why were they disbanded.
>CCEstrength lies in its branches getting involved in the local >communities,which they do in Ireland,America,andEngland.
>when Iwas living in nottingham circa 1989,itwas CCE notEFDSS,that >was teaching local nottingham [english as well as Irish]childrenhow >tyo play musical instruments.

Captain - sitting here at home, I don't know the exact answer as to why the branches were closed, although I understand (from the time when I often visited the Liverpool EFDSS Branch office during my Silly Wizard days when we were thesping at the Liverpool Everyman with Julie Walters, Pete Postlethwaite, Bill Nighy et al) that it was a decision taken by one of the past Chief Officers of the EFDSS (but others will know better than I).

I am in total agreement with you about CCE - it does a great job - I've been to many a CCE event and back in 1975 SW regularly had a couple of Liverpool CCE hard-shoe dancers joining us for encores at our Liverpool concerts (and this was 20 years before Riverdance)... We also went to the Liverpool CCE events a lot back then ... and to a lot of very good sessions. Nowadays I go to a fine CCE session in Northampton whenever I can - it's great to sit next to a 12 year-old who can play like Martin Hayes, but it's even better to sit next to a 10 year-old who has just taken up playing guitar behind tunes and showing him a few of the "old dog's tricks" whilst learning tunes from a white-haired box player who has a repertoire of tune variants and tunes that I haven't heard before... and then there's a really good English session not a milllion miles from where I live now that I must get to soon.....

However I don't see the two organisations (EFDSS and CCE) as mutually exclusive or that one is "better" than the other. Each works according to its own lights and each fulfils a different and no less important role in their communities.

CCE is is a cultural movement concerned with the promotion and preservation of the music, dance and language of Ireland. Its goals are:
To promote Irish Traditional Music in all its forms;
To restore the playing of the Harp and Uilleann Pipes in the National life of Ireland;
To promote Irish Traditional Dancing;
To foster and promote the Irish language at all times;
To create a closer bond among all lovers of Irish music;
To co-operate with all bodies working for the restoration or Irish Culture;
To establish Branches throughout the country and abroad to achieve the foregoing aims and objects

EFDSS is a UK national folk organisation and the Trustee of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, whose goal is to develop its resources, to:
•maintain itself as a centre of excellence for the study, practice and dissemination of traditional English folk song, dance and music;
•provide national and local outreach services that enable and increase access;
•celebrate diversity and promote equality.

These are two very different approaches to the teaching and preservation of the traditional music of the UK and Eire and I would argue that each are equally valid, each are of equal and immense importance and each are equally deserving of the utmost respect for the work that they are attempting to do.

As a piper, I am a member of Na Piobhari Uilleann, whose aim is the promotion generally of Irish music and the music of the uilleann pipes in particular... I'm also a member of the Country Dance and Song Society in the USA - both these organisations have different aims and promotional/teaching approaches to EFDSS and CCE. I don't see any conflict in these differences and I don't regard one as being better than the other. I pay my subs to them all as I get something I want from them and/or I believe that they should be supported.

Just as an aside, I've seen a lot of "complaints" about the fact that CSH is in London. It is! That's a fact. CCE headquarters is in Dublin as is the NPU's. CDSS's headquarters is in Massachussets - so what? If I want information, then I call, email, write or phone. So, to me, the location (from the point of view of contacting the organisation) is irrelevant. No matter where the organisation is, only a limited number of people will ever be able to physically get to it - so let's just drop that argument. London is easily accessible from all over the UK - it's just a matter of cost if you want to go there in person... which is the same argument you'd get if it was in Newcastle, Birmingham or Leeds.

On the "events are only for Londoners" side, I suppose that the only solution is to close CSH to events, and just treat the House as a rental income generator supporting the Library... if I can be persuaded that that will encourage those based in the provinces to join or rejoin EFDSS and pay their subs I'll happily put it to the EFDSS NC financial sub-committee for consideration.

Of course, that means that all this folk activity will have to go somewhere else or disappear (This is the May programme- but most months are pretty similar in number and scope):

1         Tues        Cotswold Morris
                Sharps Folk Club
                Salsa and Latin
                Clog Dancing Workshop
2         Wed        Various Latin
                Fiddle Class - Irish Traditional
3         Thur        Thursday Beginners Plus, country dancing)
                Irish Set Dancing, all levels,
4         Fri        File Gumbo, Cajun dance and music
                Friday Feet
5         Sat        Hellzapoppin' - Lindy Hop, jive, swing etc,
6         Sun         Baroque dance
8         Tues        Cotswold Morris
                Sharps Folk Club
                Salsa and Latin
9         Wed         Various Latin
                Fiddle Class - Irish Traditional
10         Thur         Thursday Beginners Plus,)
                Irish Set Dancing, all levels,
11         Fri         Scottish Ceilidh Club
                Friday Feet,
12         Sat         London Barndance Co,
                Balkanplus Group
13         Sun         Breton dance
                 Beyond Marrow Bones: Hammond and Gardiner
                SIFD Social, International folk Dance
14         Mon         Slovak Dance
                Monday Musicians:
15         Tues         Cotswold Morris
                Sharps Folk Club
                Salsa and Latin
                Clog Dancing Workshop
16        Wed        Wednesday Workshops (
                Various Latin Dances
                Fiddle Class - Irish Traditional
17        Thu        Thursday Beginners Plus,
                Irish Set Dancing, all levels,
18        Fri        English Ceilidh: Knees Up
                Friday Feet,)
19        Sat        MAY FETE
20        Sun        Quadrille Club
                Chantraine School of Dance festival:
21        Mon        Let's Really Dance!
22        Tue        Cotswold Morris
                Sharps Folk Club,
                Salsa and Latin Dance
23        Wed        Various Latin Dances
                Fiddle Class - Irish Traditional
24        Thu        Thursday Beginners Plus,
                Irish Set Dancing, all levels,
25        Fri        Scottish Ceilidh Club
                Friday Feet
29        Tue        Cotswold Morris,
                Sharps Folk Club
                Salsa and Latin Dance
30        Wed        Wednesday Workshops English/American social dance
                Various Latin Dances
                Fiddle Class - Irish Traditional
31        Thu        Thursday Beginners Plus,
                Irish Set Dancing, all levels,

Other people's mileages may vary, but if we are to pass our folk heritage on to our children we need to support every organisation that tries to do just that. I'm sick to the back teeth of the carping that goes on about what happened back in the last century - we've only got this life to make a difference... and if I don't make that difference by singing, playing and supporting this music now my grandson may never hear Joseph Taylor singing Unto Brigg Fair....

Having said all that and getting back on topic.... as I said in my earlier post - I do have criticisms of the EFDSS (which is why I am involved in trying to help it sort itself out) however I do passionately believe that if EFDSS isn't a strong organisation then we may well lose the open access to the VWML - just think how much a university would pay for that treasure trove!!! - and we will lose the one organisation that holds the single most important collection of treaditional English (and plenty of other - you should see the Jimmy Shand collection) language folk music song and dance.

The Scottish equivalent of the VWML is, I suppose, the School of Scottish Studies.... I don't know what would happen if you pitched up there at 11am on a Saturday morning looking for the verses of Child 33 because you had a recording session down the road and you'd left your copy of Child at home.... but I'll bet that there isn't a Malcolm there to make you a cup of coffee and sit you down with paper and pencil...

Unfortunately, English music hasn't yet found its Riverdance that pulls its diaspora and audiences seeking a theatrical night out into a massive, multi-national tourist generator where the millions of tourist Euros that come into a nation of 3.5m people can be linked directly to the music itself. England doesn't have the tartan history and heritage of Scotland that fascinates its massive diaspora and a relatively massive tourist industry that brings millions of pounds into a nation of 5.5m people.

What we seem to have in England is a country that sees no value in its national music (Cecil Sharp was hoping for an English Bartok, for God's sake), has a media that lampoons it at every turn and a society in general that turns its back on its national customs unless it's a quaint little hobby horse at Sidmouth. Contrast that with the way that the Scots and the Irish have put their music at the heart of their countries' marketing plans. Back in the late 70's Silly Wizard did a stack of gigs for the Scottish Tourist Board promoting Scotland to tour operators, airlines and the like. We did dozens of gigs on BBC and Independent radio and TV stations in Scotland - it got to the point where in one week we played to sell out audiences in both the Playhouse and the Usher Hall in Edinburgh...that's how much the music of Scotland was valued in Scotland..... I've never seen anything like that down in England - at least not since the Spinners were on BBC TV in the days of Black and White.....and even in those days the Corries sold out the Albert Hall faster than the Spinners and sold a damn sight more LP's....

Personally, and alongside my EFDSS National Council colleagues, I'm doing everything I can to get EFDSS into a position to be not only/just the guardian of the VWML, but also to become a relevant, proactive organisation. While the carping and internal and external back-biting has been going on inside EFDSS since 1986, other organisations (as you pointed out earlier)have sprung up around the land doing much of what EFDSS might have done if things had been different. Things weren't different so we are where we are.   

Some of these new bodies are commercial organisations relying on grants to pay their way, some are charitable bodies relying on grants and donations, some are a mix of the two. All of them are doing great work. However, none of them has the responsibility of maintaining the UK's only national, public access, traditional music archive - and this responsibility is the EFDSS's challenge, burden and privilege. If there were no Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, EFDSS could sell CSH, have a nice little office somewhere in the middle of nowhere, run a wee webshop and organise the odd summer camp. But there is a Library, EFDSS holds it in trust for all of us, and it has to be paid for with very little in the way of external grant funding, just the profit from CSH, surplus from membership subscriptions and profit from publications.

Unfortunately, core costs don't easily attract funding in this era of projects, goals and outcomes... it isn't easy to get a grant when the only outcome possible is that the library will still open its doors in 2008 - that doesn't get the funder a big headline or a tick in a box on some governmental performance measurement scale.

So Captain, please try to understand where EFDSS has come from, where it is now and that it genuinely is trying to develop and to work towards its future. There are huge challenges ahead for it. I hope that everyone who values the traditional music, dance and song of England will get involved and help the Society. If you genuinely want to help - at the very least, join the Society and pay the subscription which goes towards enabling the Society to achieve its mission. If you can't afford the sub (and also if you can), then come along and help out as a volunteer. Failing that, send a donation or send us constructive ideas for income generation or things that we could or should be doing and suggest ways that we can find the resources (people/money/places) carry them out.

EFDSS needs to change, EFDSS wants to change and EFDSS needs help to change.

EFDSS needs effort from all of us who value our traditional folk arts to preserve, promote and disseminate a vitally important archive of our national heritage .... but even if we don't agree with everything that EFDSS does or how it does it, the most important thing of all is that we all do something, no matter how small or how big, to ensure that the music, song, dance and traditions that are the most important jewels in the various national heritages of our islands survive to be passed on to future generations....

For the remaining 5 years of my(maximum)term as a EFDSS National Council member I know what I'll be working towards. I hope that many more people will join me (and the other Society members and volunteers) by joining the Society and/or by actively getting involved in the Society. If we can make the necessary difference, then we will have ensured that that a great and unique archive remains freely available to everyone who comes to its door for generations to come ... my task for the next 5 years is to help ensure that that happens...

I hope that the length of this post hasn't bored you all to death - as you might have guessed, the subject is fairly important to me :-)

Robbie


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: treewind
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 03:57 AM

Fascinating to see the aims of CCE listed next to those of EFDSS. Every item in CCE's list is quite specific, clear and understandable, while the EFDSS has three aims, two of which are vague (see below) and the third of which, while entirely worthy, is put there for political correctness reasons, possibly to deflect any potential criticism that it's a nationalist organisation.

It gives the impression that CCE knows where it's going while EFDSS isn't really going anywhere.

I'm really playing devil's advocate here, but bear with me for a moment while we take another look at the wording of this:
maintain itself : don't change anything!
as a centre of excellence : charter for centralism and elitism!
for the study, practice : that looks dusty and academic!
and dissemination : not promotion - oh, no that would be far too pushy and commercial!
of traditional English folk song, dance and music; : that bit's OK...

English trad music needs promoting. Most English people don't know it exists and when do they hear it they think it's something foreign. For example: is the EFDSS doing anything to dissuade the BBC from dropping folk programs from local and national radio? What support would I get if I wanted to start teaching kids trad English music or morris dancing, the equivalent of what Comhaltas does?

Good luck, Robbie. I do want the EFDSS to succeed, and I've seen many people join it with the attitude: "don't just criticise it, join it and change it" and then retire hurt after being bogged down with political intransigence within. I do feel that the current onslaught of change from active members of the society is dragging it screaming into the 21st century. Keep up the good work!

There is a lot going on in C# house. It would be nice if the EFDSS could afford the higher visibility of running events etc. outside London. That might defuse some of the "London-centric" criticism.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 04:05 AM

Hooray! Well said, Robbie!

Oh, and further to what I said above about where artists get their material from, this in relation to the song 'Master Kilby' came up on uk.music.folk over the last couple of days -

"Where did Nic Jones get this from?
>>
>>
>> From the Journals of the Folk Song Society (it says on the back of
>> From the
>> Devil to a Stranger).
>
>
> Muchly ta!

Specifically, from the 'Journal of the Folk-Song Society' volume 5
(issue number 20) 1916, p.272."

For those who don't know, the Folk-Song Society was the fore-runner of EFDSS before it joined with the English Folk Dance Society.

It is unlikely that Nic had a full set of the Folk Song Journals (there are relatively few around), so he probably went to the library at CSH and found it. And that is the only source of the song, so without the Society, either in the distant past or when he visited the House, it would not have been in his repertoire.

Please, those of you who value our heritage, get in there and help!

Barbara

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 05:15 AM

Robbie,it was not I that mentioned other organisations springing up around the country and replacing EFDSS.
Iknow full well where efdss is coming from..
I have been a professional folksinger for over thirty years,and I [along with many other professional folk singers]have done more to PROMOTE English folksong,than EFDSS with its passive attitude towards song,.
yes some of our material has come from Cecil sharp house and I appreciate that,but it has been myself and other singers that have promoted it.
I also believe the LACK of promotion of english folk song by EFDSS,was accelerated when they withdrew from running festivals.
letting professional organisers run folk festivals is no guarantee that ENGLISH Folk music will be promoted.
Iwould be happierto see EFDSS running festivals.[they used to manage it very well].


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Robbie H Thomas
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 05:57 AM

Anahata

I don't disagree with your analysis of the difference between the aims of the two organisations EFDSS and CCE - but they are very different organisations and (as I keep saying) the EFDSS just now is where the EFDSS is just now....

However I do disagree a bit with your "devilish" conclusions from the EFDSS mssion statement..

Maintain:- to maintain the status quo is to die ... to maintain itself an organisation must continuously evolve - perhaps not a bit that EFDSS has been much good at.. until now :-)

Centre of Excellence:- a place where everyone can find best practice, best resources etc

Study and Practice:- I wouldn't call the VWML dusty..... and Kennedy has a great dance floor and fab acoustics if you're not using megawatts of PA (and Trefusis is a great dance and song space too)

Dissemination:- we've got to spread it about, but remember that EFDSS is a Trustee of the VWML and (to me) this really refers to the wealth of knowledge in the library. Promotion is a different matter and is now my responsibility... promotion takes money.... Give EFDSS your cash!!! :-)

... and the bit about diversity and equality...? It's nothing to do with PC, it's all to do with an organisation's values... if EFDSS isn't celebrating diversity and promoting equality in this land of ours then (IMHO) it isn't worthy of being in existence...and I wouldn't have any part of it...

As I wrote earlier on in this thread.....
The agreed and declared Strategy of the EFDSS is:
1. EFDSS will commit itself to a major renovation of Cecil Sharp House which will greatly increase the capacity of the VWML; enable the collection to be preserved in accordance with professional standards, renovate the performance spaces; increase the areas also suitable for commercial letting (in order to offset running costs); add an exhibition space and an interactive "museum" space and significantly rework the public areas.
2. Nationally, EFDSS will continue with and expand its outreach programme by disseminating information through the VWML; through EFDSS publications; through its education programme and by providing access to its extensive network of folk contacts.
3. Locally, EFDSS will concentrate on outreach projects that: promote use of the VWML through educational activities; and that promote use of CSH through folk activities (particularly those involving children, the disabled, the elderly and ethnic groups).
4. EFDSS will give priority to programmes and projects which can be developed in partnership with other organisations.

That strategy is what EFDSS can achieve as it stands at this point in time. Every one of the NC has great ideas and great plans for what could be done in the future. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step... EFDSS is taking that now.

Promotion is where I come in as the NC portfolio holder for that very area. Promotion takes people, time and money, but most importantly it takes a plan and that's being worked on now. There's a whole pile of stuff that needs to be done in this regard and a couple of us are starting the process of putting ducks in line in between our day jobs. We'll be looking for help as well when the time comes for implementation, so don't be surprised if you (and many others) get a tap on the shoulder from me and an offer you can't understand....

In the meantime I'll take all the money I can raise for the EFDSS Promotions warchest... cheques/cash/negotiable bonds etc to EFDSS please with a note saying that the money is to be used for the promotion of traditional music, dance and song.... and while you're at it, don't forget to join the Society if you haven't already!

On the advocacy bit - EFDSS needs to do work there.... that will happen as the promotion plan implements...

In terms of support for teaching - that is one area where EFDSS has put a lot of effort (although I have heard criticism of its past work there too). There's the education resources on the webshop (http://folkshop.efdss.org/educational/index.htm), but for more specific advice I would contact CSH. There's a revitalised Education Committee building up a fair head of steam so I'm certain that if you ask the question there'll be a stack of help and support flyng your way in very short order.

On the London-centric bit - absolutely agree with your suggestion and it's something that is high up on my promotions agenda - plan, money, time and people are the gating factors - as some Greek bloke once said (in paraphrase), "give me a lever and a fulcrum and I'll move the Earth...." .... I'm a bit short of either just at the minute.... but give me time....

You're right, it is easy to get bogged down in politics in any organisation - the answer that I've found is to ignore the politics, get on with the job in hand and fight your corner ruthlessly - I spent 18 years at senior management levels in a Japanese multinational electronics corporation... coming from that background, EFDSS politics aren't REAL politics.... and if the politicos in EFDSS think that they can make this particular newbie retire hurt.... well they're in for a bit of a shock, aren't they? :-)

Thanks for the good wishes, they're sincerely much appreciated. I know that there is much wrong with EFDSS, and I passionately want it to survive. Last summer I spent a rainy day at the Pinewoods Camp in Massachussets during American Week reading Cecil Sharp's correspondence with his sponsors in the US who enabled him to undertake his collecting in the Appalachians. What came across was his absolute enthusiasm for the work he was doing and his determination to somehow get it done by scrounging, begging, scraping, starving and risking his own health to get the work completed. We all know that Cecil was no virtuous angel, but we do owe him an enormous debt for preserving so much of our traditional heritage. He put the welfare of his family, his life and Maude on the line to collect these songs and, whatever you think of his motives, we each owe it to the cultural heritage of our nation to follow in his footsteps and to do as much as we possibly can to preserve (and develop and promote) his work and all that preceded and followed on from it.

As Barbara so eloquently puts it in her last post ... "Please, those of you who value our heritage, get in there and help!"

Robbie


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 06:12 AM

Thanks for the long post Robbie, it was very useful for this Yorgo-come-lately. But to move away from written statements and constitutions and onto more practical things: How can the ordinary folkie punter help? OK, become a member is an obvious one, but is that all? Is £33 from each one of us all that is needed to put things onto a proper footing? The majority of English folkies on this board live well outside London, so volunteered time at C#H is not an option for most.

Practical ideas please...


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 06:16 AM

At the risk of being pedantic, I think Robbie Thomas' EFDSS mission statement should refer to "ethnic minority groups", rather than "ethnic groups". Or perhaps they really meant "ethnic groups"? It's adodgy area.
    And on that point, I have spent a considerable amount of the last five years working closely with ethnic minority groups recording bits of hardcore traditional folk music from the various recent immigrants to Stoke-on-Trent. What is the EFDSS actually doing in this line? I wouldn't have thought it had any resources for systematic work in this line, but it would be wondereful to get a bit of support from them. I didn't think it was really their territory.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Robbie H Thomas
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 06:22 AM

Captain wrote:
"I have been a professional folksinger for over thirty years,and I [along with many other professional folk singers]have done more to PROMOTE English folksong,than EFDSS with its passive attitude towards song,."

Don't disagree with you in that that's how I saw it up until I got stuck in... the AGM that I got elected at had a Tea Dance as the afternoon attraction.... you can guess my reaction :-) However, that's what outside folk see, what they don't see is Malcolm and the team beavering away in the library sending information on song, story, dance, music, customs aound the UK and round the globe. Outsiders don't read the Journal, they don't read EDS, they don't understand that the Society does one hell of a lot of work in the areas of song and music.

Captain also wrote:
"I also believe the LACK of promotion of english folk song by EFDSS,was accelerated when they withdrew from running festivals.
letting professional organisers run folk festivals is no guarantee that ENGLISH Folk music will be promoted.
Iwould be happierto see EFDSS running festivals.[they used to manage it very well]."

I completely agree with you on this .....

Promotion has not been one of the Society's strengths... that's going to change... but don't expect overnight miracles... It took almost 6 years for the last similar change programme that I was involved in to bear fruit so we're only just starting.. you'll see buds and shoots, some things will work, some things will fail, but at the end of the day EFDSS will change into a strong, vibrant, relevant, proactive organisation - and if it works out the way that I'd personally like it to, we'll maybe manage a couple or three Folk Festivals in there!!

Now is the time for us all to check our egos and the past at the door and get stuck in - I'll take advice from anyone, warranted criticism from anybody, practical help (financial or otherwise) from everyone to get this change process up and running.

Robbie


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Robbie H Thomas
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 06:58 AM

George Papavgeris wrote:
"How can the ordinary folkie punter help?"

George
The money is incredibly useful - so joining the Society (and getting your free Public Liability Insurance, EDS and the Journal as well as a vote a the AGM and the opportunity to stand for membership of the NC) is a great first step.

EFDSS isn't a monolith - it's made up of its members so we need (in order to have a strong voice in the corridors of power) as many as possible - so obviously number one help is to recruit members to the Society.

Volunteering opportunities won't be confined to London and CSH.

We're beginning work now on a developing potential regional and national projects etc that will require volunteers to work on them, it'll take time and we need help to both develop and implement these.

Opportunities to assist will exist across all the areas of the Society's activities.

In this day of Skype, webcams and email, teams can be spread across vast areas so what I would ask is that everyone who wants to help drops an email with a note of their background, their skills, what they have to offer and an indication of the amount of time that they can put in (if that's possible to quantify) to info@efdss.org with Robbie H Thomas in the subject line (so that I'll get it). We'll then start assigning teams and tasks appropriate to the Society's needs and individuals' talents.

Let me stress again - you don't need to be an EFDSS member to help out, but it would be really nice if you were :-)

Robbie


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 07:30 AM

Robbie, I'm interested to know why you see festivals as a way forward. There are over 350 folk festivals annually in Britain - many of which feature and promote English music. What would an EFDSS festival have to offer as a USP? How would it manage the infrastructure required? Festival punters have become much more discerning, and expect quite a professional level of management. For many festvals, this means a team who work all year round on delivery. EFDSS would have to be pretty confident about creating that kind of experience to make all the effort worthwhile...

There is, of course, a significant gap left behind by the demise of The National, which was a unique event, and maybe that's where EFDSS could step in. But there were serious infrastructural issues which caused The National to stop, and I should imagine these would have to be addressed before anyone picked up the reins...and I should also imagine that if such a thing were easily achievable, it would have been accomplished within the past couple of years.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 07:35 AM

Hi Robbie,

I have a specific point to make regarding a comment in one of your recent posts. You argue (rightly I think) that the Library is the Society's most precious asset. You add that if one day the Society found itself unable to continue running the Library, any university would jump at the chance to purchase it.   If you mean by that "any English university", then I'm very dubious.    And if any English university (even, I'm embarrassed to say, my own Alma Mater) were bidding in the market for the VWML, I wouldn't trust them with it.

Our once-flourishing groves of academe are being converted to joyless factory farms by bureaucrats who will not look beyond the bottom line of a balance sheet. Whenever an injection of capital is required to finance its latest expansion programme, or to reduce its overdraft, then a university's cultural assets are likely to be flogged to the highest bidder, regardless of their historic significance. If you and your colleagues at CSH are contemplating – however remotely – the idea of giving the Library into the care of an English university, please, please, please think again. It would be much safer at the Smithsonian!

By the way, I agree entirely with your observations on the lack of official support for English traditional culture (as compared with Irish, Scottish, etc). For further comments, see my article "England, whose England?" on the Musical Traditions website (www.mustrad.org.uk)

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 08:04 AM

I would like to thank robbie for giving his time to answering these questions,and not personally abusing me as Ruth Archer has done earlier.
Ruth archer,it is my opinion that english folk song is becoming more and more marginalised I see less ansd less ENGLISH TRADTIONAL MUSIC FEATURING AT FOLK FESTIVALS ,Because it is not commercial,
professional organisers have to be commercial ,and do not have a duty in their constitution to preserve or promote English song.the EFDSS has a duty to preserve it.
I am sure EFDSS would in time be capable of running a professional festival,they ran Sidmouth, Whitby. Chippenhamand others for many many years in aprofessional manner.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Adam Lesson
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 08:18 AM

captain

I'm sure Ruth Archer is just frustrated, as I am, at your persitent refusal to factor in all the previous replies and information to produce a logically argued case.

Robbie is obviously a patient saint who might get a heavenly reward.

AL


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Robbie H Thomas
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 08:24 AM

Just very quickly as I've got to get some other stuff done...and the dogs need walking....

Ruth
I don't "see festivals as the way forward" - what I said was "and if it works out the way that I'd personally like it to, we'll maybe manage a couple or three Folk Festivals in there!!"

There's a world of difference, but in any event there are other much more pressing matters to hand at the moment and festivals are not at the top of my EFDSS to-do list, in fact they're not even on it yet.


Mikeo f Northumbria
No-one, but no-one is thinking of disposing of the VWML so please - nobody start that hare off again.....
My point was that if we lose EFDSS we could lose the VWML to a university or somewhere where we'd neer get to see it again - and that the VWML has a significant financial value as well as an incalculable cultural one. I don't fancy the trek to the Smithsonian ...

Robbie


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 08:45 AM

I'd be interested to know how you're defining English traditional music, Dick, cause I see lots of young performers booked at loads of festivals who are exploring English traditional song. Jim Causley and Devil's Interval, Demon Barbers, Tim van Eyken, Witches of Elswick, Jackie Oates, Lisa Knapp...the list goes on.

Our folk festival is incorporating its own in-house acoustic folk club this year, specifically to cater for and celebrate the more traditional end of the market. Many other festivals have a second stage featuring more traditional acts, too.

I disagree that incorporating traditional work is a bad commercial decision. You can have commercial and traditional performers in the same festival. The cost of putting on traditional acts is tiny compared to the cost of the more commercial strand of the programme, plus the technical costs are negligible. But if you have a decent traditional strand to your programme you'll attract additional audiences. So as a business decision, it seems a sound one to me.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 08:58 AM

Excellent posts Robbie. Expect a mail from me in the near future. I still can't afford the £33 to renew my membership, but when I have the cash I think I will be back for another year to see how it goes.

However, I have to take issue with your assertion that CSH is accessible - if you have the money. It would be more accessible if it were based more centrally in the country and cheaper for people to get too, and without the dreaded London prices easier to stay close by (you Southerners don't half pay a lot for your ale!).

Sorry I keep harping on about the financial side, but when you're a bit strapped it casts a new light on some of these arguments, and you realise how much you can miss out on.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 10:26 AM

The EFDSS really has to do something to make it relevant to the majority of people. I have been involved with folk music for 40 years but I've never felt that EFDSS had anything to offer me. I did join it briefly, because I felt I ought to, but realised I was getting nothing from it apart from a rather academic journal, and I let my membership lapse.

When I lived near London I'd occasionally make the journey out to Camden Town but C#H always seemed totally dead - hardly anyone about, and a poorly-stocked shop with a just handful of records and books, mostly about dance. I came away feeling I'd had a wasted journey and have never bothered since - especially after I moved north 25 years ago.

The impression I had of it back then was that it was full of old farts who were mainly interested in D4D. Apart from hosting the library, it appeared to do little for song, which was and remains my interest.

In fairness, that was a long time ago and I'm now an old fart myself.   But I've seen very little effort from EFDSS to try to attract me. Most of the events and projects I've been involved with have been run by enthusiasts without involving EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 11:34 AM

adam lesson
,stop trying to rewite history,Ruth Archer said that my offering to sponsor a songwriting competition,was an attempt to obtain self aggrandisement and an attempt to influence the future of EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: oggie
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 05:16 PM

Whilst it may seem that a CSH located in the midlands would be more accessable, the reality is that all roads lead to London and whilst it may be further for anyone not living in the midlands it's easier to get to. When I visit CSH and the VWML it tends not to be a specific journey as it would be to, say, Birmingham, but I add it into my itinery as one item for a visit to London.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 05:46 PM

I think I might join - but surely the reality of the preservation of folk music is to present it with verve. Curious that Jim Moray is not on the list of youngsters "promoting", nor John Loomes.

This brings me back to the idea of a cup, not for breeding cuckoos to displace our young, but to arrange and present our young to their best advantage. Would the kennel club permit a jack russell terrier (actually, a mongrel) (or a pit bull) into the pointer puppy class? But the pointer breed has evolved into a much sleeker bigger stronger dog than it was 40 years ago. Not sure if any can still point or scent or quarter - but with luck you see the analogy.

A revival of the Nats is a very good plan...


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Blowzabella
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 04:26 AM

If all roads lead to London, how does anyone manage to get anywhere else????


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 04:44 AM

Ruth Archer,while I realise that traditional music evolves and changes.I am concerned that traditional unaccompanied solo singing,is likely to miss out if professional organisers run festivals,because it does not represent the most commercial side of folk music.EFDSS has aduty to preserve unaccompanied traditional folk song,along with other traditional music.
I dont see much evidence that leading exponents,such as Roy Harris RonTaylor Kevin Mitchell being booked at festivals,yet they are fine exponents of their craft.
The mis managers of EFDSS,over the lAST THIRTY /FORTY YEARS,have managed to stem the flow of revenue in,by abolishing branches, abolishing competitions,withdrawing from Festival organisation.
apart from festivals being a way of encouraging new membership,they offer a ready made market for selling EFDSS publications.
no wonder EFDSS is in this financial predicament.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 05:41 AM

Dick,

First of all Roy Harris is virtually retired from professional singing. As singers get older they tend to sing less.

However I believe he came out of retirement recently to compere the Cyril Tawney Memorial Concert at .......err......Cecil Sharp House.

There is a whole festival devoted to traditional singing less then five miles from where I live. Google Bradfield Traditional Music Festival. Real (i.e. done for enjoyment) traditional singing carries on in the outer Sheffield area at places like shepherd´s meets and hunt suppers and in a local pub each Saturday night. Course it might not make the headlines where you live Dick, in fact it doesn´t even make the headlines around here, but it does exist. And we have six weeks or so of traditional carols every year and a sell-out festival devoted to those carols every two years. People come from all over the world for that. Even Ireland this year.

The idea that professional organisers will not include traditional singers whereas non-professionals will, just does not reflect reality as it exists. One place where it was usually possible to hear traditional unaccompanied singing was the National, closed for reasons other than finance.

What they bring to a festival is much more than programming. Fund raising outside ticket sales is an important job, which is why they spend huge amounts of time doing it. It enables more artists to be booked, it enables community involvement often with young people and it enables modern IT to be used to spread the message, amongst other things.

Virtually all the organisers, professional and amateur have a love of folk music and that includes unaccompanied singing. Waterson:Carthy are still a top draw at festivals and whilst they do use guitar and fiddle, they are hardly a rock band.

Unaccompanied singing has never been a great draw at festivals. Unaccompanied singers have been included, and it seems to me they still are.

First of all there were no young people. When presented with a list of young people you switch tack and say no unaccompanied singers.

Next?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 06:02 AM

Likewise, Kevin Mitchell has also given up singing - much to the chagrin of one festival organiser at least, who used to book him regularly.

This business of EFDSS running festivals is really a bit of a red herring. Most of the 'EFDSS' festivals were, in fact, run not by EFDSS but by amateurs as most are today (please don't equate 'amateur' with 'unprofessional'), but were simply run under the EFDSS banner, and were overseen by EFDSS regional staff. When the regional staff were made redundant, the festivals like Whitby, Chippenham, etc. became independent. (Sidmouth was the only one which had full-time staff, and that was in financial trouble. Its staff were made redundant and independent organisers took over.) What it meant was that if the festivals lost money, EFDSS was liable to bail them out, and EFDSS could not afford to do that. Thus those festivals, when they became independent, had to sink or swim - some succeeded, others didn't, but those that did probably became stronger and better run in consequence.

And two that did succeed, and still do, are Whitby and Chippenham, which still maintain a strong 'traditional' identity, and book many unaccompanied singers of traditional songs.

Oh, and Ron Taylor was booked at Sidmouth last year.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 06:06 AM

Wow, that's a bit of a tirade Cap'n!

It looks like you're blaming the efdss for absolutely everything. (note: we didn't go into Iraq waving our six longswords!)

As I remember, the efdss main festival involvement was Sidmouth and Whitby. There were probably other weekend festivals but I've only been with the efdss since 2000 so I wouldn't know. When the efdss handed over Sidmouth to professional management in 1986 it was a good financial decision by a volunteer council and saved both the festival and the society. You can check the history in Derek Schofield's excellent book 'The First Week in August'.


As a regular attender until recently, I can say that when Steve Heap and John Heydon took over Sidmouth I have seen as much solo traditional singing as when the efdss ran it, maybe more. I used to go to post efdss Whitby especially FOR the traditional singers. So you can't say things went to pot because the efdss left - that's just rubbish,

Abolish competitions? What are you referring to? Did the efdss run traditional singing competitions? Did they stop them and send an order out to the folk world that this was 'not allowed'. If they had, would the folk world of the time complied? Probably not. It's irrelevant anyway.

I agree that the disappearance of the branches was not a good move in my eyes but the NC at the time probably had their reasons and I'm certainly not going to worry about them in the 3rd millenium.

But here we go again...... talking ancient history - boring, boring, boring.   I joined the efdss in 2000 and I'm only interested in looking forward - that's why I joined. Since I joined I've concentrated on getting the online infrastructure in place. Robbie is newly arrived and is using his vast and very very high level business experience to get the business infrastructure right. Others are working slowly and steadily on Education and Publishing and Capital projects. We're busy Captain, and just because we're not presently doing all the numerous little things that everybody thinks we ought to be doing because that's what they're interested in doesn't mean we're not interested or that we don't want to do them in the future - it just means we're busy.

And while we're on 'ready made market for selling EFDSS publications' - while I've been writing this email I've had two emails from the EFDSS shop robot to tell me we've just taken another two book orders - one of them for traditional song book published by the efdss. That's the way we sell a lot of stuff these days. Having said that you could have visited our stall at some of the recent festivals, joined, bought a book, had a chat, or even stood and told us how to run the society. We might even have offered you a coffee. We don't need to RUN a festival to be there and others are making such a good job of it anyway.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 08:49 AM

I am blaming past EFDSS directors for mistaken policy decisions [including in my opinion the decision not to relocate Cecil Sharp House],nothing more nothing less.[who else is to blame].
the point is that if efdss are not running festivals they are missing business oppurtunities.
only an idiot businessman would close down or get rid of their branches.
BB .The fact Ron taylor had one booking at sidmouth,proves nothing one swallow does not make a summer.
Unaccompanied english language solo singing is becoming marginilised,with the exception of IRELAND Where partly due to Comhaltas competitions it is flourishing,along with unaccompanied singing in the IRISH language.it is the responsibility of EFDSSS toPRESERVE ALL FORMS OF english Traditional song.
Finally it is agood thing if efdss can be discussed in an amicable fashion,I am not against EFDSS but lessons can be learned from past mistakes.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 09:16 AM

Likewise, Kevin Mitchell has also given up singing - much to the chagrin of one festival organiser at least, who used to book him regularly.

Kevin Mitchell was in fine singing form at the recent Inishowen Song Seminar. It was a real pleasure to hear him again.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 10:00 AM

What is happening with EFDSS.
1.Alot of hard work by unpaid volunteers John Adams, Malcolm Douglas and many others.
2.the Rectification[hopefully]of lots of catastrophic policy decisions by past directors.
well I wish EFDSS good luck,because afterall the past mis management,your going to need it.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,cliff
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 10:56 AM

Hi Barbara B., way up there on 19 April.
Actually, it was the library staff that was unfriendly. To give them benefit of the doubt, i think they were disgruntled at the prospect of being shut down. Plus, the shop had shut, and they (the librarians) were expected to hawk the leftover wares. Or maybe they just hate Americans-- can't say's i blame them. On the other hand, everyone else in London was friendly. And the food was good.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 11:48 AM

If guest Robbie Thomas joined Mudcat we could all pm him to offer our support as volunteer promoters of EfD&S, or at leastr to find out what kind of help he wants


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 12:10 PM

Mo,

Robbie published an email address in an earlier thread. It was a bit buried in other stuff but the sentence ran...

In this day of Skype, webcams and email, teams can be spread across vast areas so what I would ask is that everyone who wants to help drops an email with a note of their background, their skills, what they have to offer and an indication of the amount of time that they can put in (if that's possible to quantify) to info@efdss.org with Robbie H Thomas in the subject line (so that I'll get it). We'll then start assigning teams and tasks appropriate to the Society's needs and individuals' talents.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Robbie H Thomas
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 12:57 PM

Hi Mo and all..

I'm in now - so PM away ... tho' I'll have to find out how that works :-)

Robbie


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,cookieless in a spanish internet cafe. Folki
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 01:38 PM

the point is that if efdss are not running festivals they are missing business oppurtunities.

No Dick they are not missing business opportunities.

The are not risking their members´ money - an entirely different thing. You seem to think there a fortune to be made in running festivals. Trust me on this one Dick, there isn´t. And virtually every festival in the UK is at risk from the weather.

I have been to festivals where the EFDSS has had a stall, and I am sure there are others where the work of the society is promoted.

The situation as has been patiently explained to you over and over again is that in Ireland traditional music has respect and compartively speaking, massive funding. Here it doesn´t. Neither of us may like that, but we have to work from where we are, and not from where we would like to be.

And I certainly wouldn´t like my remarks about professional v. non-professional festival organisers to be seen as a criticism of non-professional organisers, many of whom I count as my friends and for whom I have the greatest respect.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 02:36 PM

Guest Cliff, they must have been having a really off day - it really is unlike them!

And Dick, I accept that the fact that Ron was booked at Sidmouth says very little, and I have no idea what other festivals he may have been/is booked at. It just came to my mind when you mentioned his name.

As to Kevin Mitchell, I'm delighted to know he hasn't stopped singing completely - maybe he's just not taking bookings any more.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 02:56 PM

John or Robbie, can you point us to the earlier thread, I can't find it by search, (especially as I don't know when or what to search for)


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 02:56 PM

Also Guest Cliff:

I agree with Barbara, the library staff are generally wonderful.

However, I didn't understand your post. There's been no folkshop at C#H for many a year, probably more than a decade - certainly not since I've been there (2000).

......... and there's not been any prospect of the library shutting down.

I don't know where this stuff comes from..... is there a parallel folk universe? :-)


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 03:02 PM

Sorry Mo, I said earlier THREAD when I meant earlier POST.

It was buried in Robbie's post to this thread on 21 Apr 07 - 06:58 AM (He's an early riser!)

Sorry for the confusion.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 03:09 PM

Running festivals is now much more difficult and expensive because of the licensing requirements, and the need to provide facilities and security - and folkies who don't want to pay for these on top of the amounts needed to pay the artists. I'm very grateful to the people who are still running festivals, but EFDSS got out of running festivals because it couldn't afford to.

I joined EFDSS when I was 17, partly because EFDSS was running Sidmouth festival, and the amount of the season ticket discount for EFDSS members was the same as the annual EFDSS sub (5/- in old money, I think). For many years there were Sidmouth competitions for singing and storytelling (Sidmouth singers of the year include Moira Craig, Gilly Hewitt and Sam Viner).

EFDSS was also at that time running a London folk festival in Cecil Sharp House in October, and there was a competition in that people who impressed the judges in the Saturday audition sessions were invited to perform in the main Saturday evening concert.

There was a competition at the National Festival too. Mudcat's Noreen was one of the last winners before Sutton Bonington ceased to be available as a venue. The only reason the National hasn't been resurrected is because no venue has so far been identified that provides such a great combination of performance halls and rooms, lecture facilities, informal sessions (singing and playing), reasonably good food and drink, and affordable accommodation.

Even if EFDSS was willing in principle to resurrect the National, there would still be a problem finding an affordable venue.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 04:35 PM

"There was a competition at the National Festival too. Mudcat's Noreen was one of the last winners before Sutton Bonington ceased to be available as a venue"
Probably not really on topic, but in fact Kitty, although as far as I recall Noreen did go in for the competition, I don't think she ever won it - Sue v G did, and Noreen reported the fact to this forum(the year in question was 2003) - she was the last in a consecutive run of at least 5 female winners of the title "Singer of the National" (and was not the only Mudcatter amongst them), before it was won by a male singer (whose name I ashamed to admit I can't recall in 2004, but he was good), and a young lady (whose name I didn't catch) in the last competition in 2005. The competition carried no kudos - merely the chance to win an inscribed pewter tankard (although in earlier years there had been the chance to move on to take part in the Brewhouse competition as well), long defunct before I went in for the competition myself in 2000. It was also probably the best kept secret at the National - few people there knew who had won! It did, however, serve a very good purpose in providing those who participated with valuable, and honest feedback on their performance IMHO- both merits and demerits, and also some education as well as entertainment for the spectators of the event.

As to the National Festival itself - that's sorely missed. There was nothing quite like it - if the EFDSS were able to resurrect it (or anyone else for that matter)it would fill a gaping hole. However, as you say, the reasons for its demise appear to have been practical ones ... great shame.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,GUEST: PippaSandford
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 04:43 AM

Surreysinger - the winner of the last competition at the National was Julie Russell, from Nottingham. A lovely singer.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 05:55 AM

"the reality is that all roads lead to London and whilst it may be further for anyone not living in the midlands it's easier to get to"

Then you have a distorted view of reality, and you need to get out and about a bit more.

The country doesn't stop at the Midlands - it carries on into what's called 'the north'. Strangely, the Midlands is easier to get to than London for people in 'the north'. This is because it's in the geographical centre of the country (that's the big green bit outside the M25 - you can see it from the clockwise lane).

Also difficult for Londoners to comprehend is the fact that up here in the Midlands and 'the north' we are able to carry on our lives without feeling as if all roads lead to London - they don't. Some lead to the pub, or town or to other roads, and these in turn go to Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and even Hull.

So siting the EFDSS more centrally would mean it could probably afford bigger and better premises, the parking and access may be better, and more people would be closer, and that's better for the Society, the country and the tradition.

Eh up!


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 07:15 AM

Thanks for that Pippa - and I have recalled that the winner in 2004 was named Brian (but I still can't remember his surname).Sadly it seems that the organisers never kept a full record of who had won in each year -I am aware that Rita Cherriman won on one occasion. Although I attended quite a few of the competitions I cannot remember the names of winners before 1998 when Theresa Tooley won, although I do know that the winner before that was a woman as well!! After that the winners were 1999 Mo Keast, 2000 Irene Shettle, 2001 No-one (National suspended due to foot and mouth), 2002 Marian Button ,2003 Sue ,2004 Brian ? ,2005 Julie Russell - and in that bunch there are at least three Mudcatters!!!

Back to main topic - hadn't noticed the plea for volunteers embedded in one of Robbie's earlier posts - you'll be getting an email from me on that score Robbie!


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: treewind
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 10:47 AM

Robbie - welcome to Mudcat!
You'll have seen my PM by the time you read this.
Thanks for taking my dissection of the EDFSS aims seriously enough to reply to it - a very revealing and inspiring post, and it's encouraging to know that there are people with real commercial management experience shaking things up there.

I consequently feel better disposed to supporting the society financially - it looks as if it might be getting spent sensibly!

As Robbie asked, I've sent an offer of practical help and list of possibly useful skills. I hope others are doing the same.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: oggie
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 10:55 AM

OK - so I was making the point in a semi-flippant manner but the case still remains that from Hull (where I live) it is easier to visit CSH as part of a day in London than make a special trip to, say, Birmingham or Coventry. If I choose not to drive it is definately easier.

I realise that not being a southerner and supporting CSH being in London may seem odd but so be it. Oh, BTW I get out quite enough thank you.

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 02:11 PM

Yes BB,and Roy Harris ,has just said that he would be happy to do a few more bookings,see favourite folksingers thread.
EFDSS used to have a flagship it was called   sidmouth,where herga kitty,and undoubtedly many others joined.
this cookieless from spanish internet cafe,is putting words into my mouth,I never said there was a fortune to be made from running folk festivals,what I am saying is that EFDSS should be able to run one festival,and be able to do so without making aloss
Their INSURANCE rates for other festivals are very cheap,for example the jazz festival I am involved in,costs over 1000 euros to insure,[750 STERLING]
I believe Insurance under the umbrella of EFDSS for a festival is 50 STERLING,if that is right,it is ridiculously cheap.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 03:10 PM

Crikey. Is it really easier to get to London than Brum from Hull?

Ah well. I don't suppose it really matters. I still think it would be better more central, but what the heck. I can't see myself going any time soon, and when I finally do get to the smoke I'll endeavour to make a visit.

"Oh, BTW I get out quite enough thank you"

Sorry - I meant that light heartedly, but realised when I read it back it looked a tad scratty.

I think I need to get out more . . .


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 03:44 PM

Bubbly rat,is reviving the BUDE FOLK FESTIVAL,and asking if performers will come for free.
I have performed for EFDSS free in the past,it used to be worth doing Sidmouth for free tickets for the publicity,and also the BBC folk on two coverage in the Beach Hut.
Of course the smartest business movers are CCE who run fleadhs,and charege the musicians for entering the competitions,that is really good business.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: danensis
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 04:04 PM

The other reason that location is important is the high rent and rates in London, and the inflated salaries that have to be paid.

You could probably get something mcuh more suited to the 21st century in say the former coalfield entirely paid for out of grants and subsidies, with most of the salaries paid for as well.

If location is unimportant because of telephones and t'internet that's a good reason to move it out of one of the most expensive areas of the country.

According to the Ordnance Survey the geographic centre of the country is just outside Morton in North East Derbyshire - funnily enough in a former coalfield!

John


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: oggie
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 04:54 PM

Grants, subsidies and location.

At one level yes it makes a lot of sense to go to an area which is offering the above. The snag is always in the small print. Can you take any existing staff with you? Have you been in existence too long? Do you meet the multicultural requirements? etc

These are not idle problems. As a small business I have applied for grants, I have never been successful. Why? In one case I did not employ enough people fron an ethnic minority, in another I had traded for 5 years, the cut-off was 4, in another case they would help with staff training costs but not working capital etc.

There is an assumption that there is a lot of money out there and there is BUT you have to tick the right boxes. It is easier for a new venture to receive funding than an existing one. Round here, Remould Theatre did lots of good work (inc "Northern Trawl" for those with long memories) but one year the boxes changed and they didn't meet them anymore so exit one community theatre company.

Also bear in mind that the London Olympics has just raided the Lottery again so there is less money there.

My personal opinion is that the priority is to get the organisation focussed and functioning and then consider location etc. It's a matter of getting ducks in line and not doing everything at once as I don't think the resources (both money and management) are there to do it all at once.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: treewind
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 04:09 AM

For better or for worse (and most seem to think it's for worse) the EFDSS got Cecil Sharp House listed some years ago. That lowers the resale value of the house enormously because you can't change its use much and of course you can't rebuild it. So it would be hideously expensive to move by selling the house and buying another (even at northern prices)

Of course keeping Cecil Sharp house and acquiring another property in the Midlands or the North would be expensive too. It's probably the better option, as it makes sense for the society to keep some sort of London presence.

The practical way forward might be to start a small branch in the North and build it up slowly. I have no idea if that's the plan, it's just an idea.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: nutty
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 06:13 AM

If the issue is one of accessibility, then the most sensible solution and probably the cheapest in the longrun would be to put every thing on line. Once everything catalogued as is happening at present it shouldn't be too hard a job.

You could then encourage people to become members so they can access this material from their own homes.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 06:36 AM

Nutty suggestion: (sorry, couldn't resists that!)

If the issue is one of accessibility, then the most sensible solution and probably the cheapest in the longrun would be to put every thing on line. Once everything catalogued as is happening at present it shouldn't be too hard a job.

The Society has already made a start with the online catalogue

Out of interest, can anyone suggest another Society who has already done this and might provide a model?

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Sue
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 06:46 AM

Regarding accessibility ... if everything is just online then that is NOT accessible to everyone, because everyone isn't online. I produce a newsletter for writers - hard copy and an online version - and I advertise writing competitions in it. Space is so limited that I often just give website addresses for where people can find detailed guidance notes. BUT, in the interests of accessibility I have to have to state that hard copies of all information can be obtained from me at my postal address - and I get plenty of takers for that from people who don't use computers.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Blowzabella
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 06:49 AM

Hi John

No examples to offer but if you are interested in finding out about possibilities, this chap (Bill Hubbard) is a friend of mine and is in charge of a leading research project about open access for info .... hmmm ... do I smell a partnership project .... http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/staff.html

Might be worth an approach to the Uni?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: nutty
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 07:35 AM

Plenty of examples John ....... Malcolm Douglas will be able to advise you on this but many establishments are now attempting to put collections on line.....

Online Collections


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 08:11 AM

Nutty, that's all wonderful stuff and thanks for pointing me to a few things I hadn't seen before.

However, you can't compare EFDSS capability with Library of Congress, the Bodleian Library, the Canadian National Library, the British Library, etc. Even the Irish Traditional Music Archive with its millions of Euros investment from the goverment isn't offering anything like an online library.

I think that the Bodleian Broadside project was AHRB funded - a source not generally available for non academic bodies. The Farne project was probably quite attractive to the funders as it sits nicely alongside the Sage in a regeneration area and it was a huge piece of funding that achieved it.

There are also lots of worthy small scale volunteer projects such as my own Village Music Project and the Traditional Music Library and others, but they are not on the scale that you are implying we should aspire to.

No, I was wondering if there was any small membership Society that was trying to do what efdss is trying to do and actually achieving it.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 08:35 AM

Nutty ... "Once everything catalogued as is happening at present it shouldn't be too hard a job."
As far as I understand it from the information available up to date the cataloguing job is still an ongoing and slow process, and has to be due to the lack of sufficient bodies/available funding. If that is so, it may be some time before that particular task is itself complete... and then you say "Once everything catalogued as is happening at present it shouldn't be too hard a job". As a layperson I would have thought that actually arranging for online availability of documents etc itself would also be a time consuming and costly process - notwithstanding the availability of catalogue entries. The idea is very nice in theory - but as John has pointed out many of the great collections available online had the money, and presumably the bodies, to throw at the task.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Knute
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 08:43 AM

Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: danensis
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 04:04 PM

The other reason that location is important is the high rent and rates in London, and the inflated salaries that have to be paid.

Huh? Ask any member of staff about their alleged 'inflated salaries'

Many of them work there (especially in the library) because they're committed to supporting the aims of EFDSS, not because it pays well.
Knute


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Grimmy
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 08:43 AM

Would this not be a prime candidate for Lottery funding?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 09:05 AM

Yes Grimmy, it would.

Would you like to join in as a volunteer and write yet another application? It would only take a year or so out of your social life.

I'm not being snotty or disrespectful - it's just that these phrases are so easy to slip into a forum conversation but when you look at the reality, the development of funding applications at that level is very time consuming and inevitably soaks up money or staff time that has to be diverted from other activities. We know that because we've got lottery funding applications in progress at the moment.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 09:14 AM

Having said that, don't let me put anyone off. We would welcome with open arms ANY volunteer with funding application writing expertise to help us with all manner of applications, not necessarily 'the big one' ie. digitise the library.

I have half a dozen project ideas on the stocks which could go forward with some funding for competent project managers.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Grimmy
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 09:57 AM

John,

I don't have a social life ;-)

Seriously, I know these applications take time, money and effort but, as you intimated, they don't HAVE to be processed by EDFSS staff alone (although their co-operation would be essential of course).

And the rewards could be well worth the effort, as other organisations have found.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: nutty
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 10:10 AM

More examples here about how sound files are dealt with.....


Honking Duck

Max Hunter Collection

I would like to take issue with GUEST Sue ...

    'if everything is just online then that is NOT accessible to everyone, because everyone isn't online.'
I agree that not every on is on line at present but what about in 5years, 10 years etc. If you don't start planning for the future now it will never happen. Also many people are not on line because they don't know what is available on the Internet or where or how to find things.

John you describe CSH as non-academic with regard to its collections. Personally I can think of nothing that deserves the 'academic' title more than the premier collection of folk music resources in the country.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 10:13 AM

John you describe CSH as non-academic with regard to its collections. Personally I can think of nothing that deserves the 'academic' title more than the premier collection of folk music resources in the country.


I agree, but AHRB doesn't, in that we are apparently not eligible to apply.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: oggie
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 10:24 AM

Whilst this site is under the auspices of Sheffield University
it gives an example of what is possible

Folkplays

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: nutty
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 10:25 AM

I can understand that in respect to the AHRB after reading the mission statements of the AHRC
HERE
the collaberation already established with Sheffield and Aberdeen Universities , may make the EFDSS eligible


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 10:40 AM

Although partnerships have been explored, there is no such formal collaboration at this stage, partly due to the type of problem with universities that was expressed earlier in this thread.

On that subject, I have heard it rumoured (but not had it confirmed) that the NATCECT library has been absorbed into the main university library, thus diluting the vision that Professor John Widdowson had for the Centre.

Perhaps there are university partnerships to be had, but they certainly need approaching with care.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: nutty
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 11:25 AM

I didn't ralise that there was such an interesting archive there John. Thank you for pointing that out.

Link to NATCECT Archive Info


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Canberra Chris
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 11:43 AM

I live in Australia. I dropped into the Library at Cecil Sharp House a few years ago, in the hope of finding a couple of songs that had haunted me for years since I had lost the books they were in. The library staff were just wonderful, and found both songs for me. One was 'Three Danish Galleys', about a Viking raid on Porlock, collected I think by Cecil Sharp. Because the library found it for me, I will shortly be able to sing it at the Bude festival, further along the same coastline, as I am on my way over to tour with the Shiny Bum Singers.

I am also bringing over with me to the library on behalf of Lyn and Evan Mathieson a copy of Evan's CD of Harry Robertson songs, which I helped them launch at Easter in Canberra, to lodge in the collection, because a copy should be there.

On my last trip I also visited and sang at Sharps, and was delighted to find that almost all the members were themselves folksingers. To hear thirty or so new voices in an evening was a treat indeed for me. I was asked to return and sing, and did so twice. On my first return the MC of the first evening saw me come through the door, and by the time I reached the bar, there was a pint already drawn for me.

That sort of welcome and atmosphere leaves a lasting impression, and an inclination to offer a positive opinion of the place and people concerned, and the hope that they will not themselves be discouraged by the disconcerting experience of being argued about while they go about the business of fulfilling their charter, apparently to the letter, and with respect to the beer somewhat beyond the call of duty.

Thanks also to our friend from Portugal, Balsto da Loteya, for his pertinent thread message above, from a similar distance and perhaps sentiment.

Cheers,
Chris


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 01:12 PM

Oggie,


Whilst this site is under the auspices of Sheffield University
it gives an example of what is possible

Folkplay

All the best

Steve


Actually, this site is now hosted on the EFDSS server and will soon be badged as such.

Sheffield University allegedly wanted it moved off so we offered to host it. As far as I know it's been transferred and is waiting to be tidied up.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 02:17 PM

Checking further, it's already badged EFDSS at the bottom of the page.

..... and additionally we'll be hosting a new International Mummers directory if the technical aspects check out. It's on my 'to do' list (which is quite long!)

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: oggie
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 03:16 PM

Cheers John,

Looks like you're a way down the road. So the reality seems to be that a lot is happening and with goodwill and co-operation more will follow. Work is in progress so to speak. Is that a reasonable reading of the situation?

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 04:10 PM

Yes Steve, work in progress.

There will always be the detractors and those who insist that the efdss is this and that because it was so 3 decades ago, but we don't mind them.

In fact they can be quite useful because every time there's a little spat on Mudcat the sales go up in the internet shop.

Thankyou to those people who have contacted me or Robbie offering support in various ways. We'll be pleased to hear from any others.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,cliff
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 04:26 PM

@John Adams

Right. Maybe there's something to that "parallel folk universe" thing.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 06:59 PM

JohnAdams,as I have said before there is no such thing as bad publicity,glad I have helped efdss sales,in the internet shop.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 07:50 PM

It is nevertheless also the case that good publicity is usually better than bad; and that informed comment is generally more helpful than other kinds.

I can assure anyone who imagines that digitising the collections and putting them online would be in any way simple or cheap that that is not the case. Neither can it safely be done by well-intentioned amateurs; with the greatest respect to all such people (and they include me) that is one reason why the existing catalogues have to be revised and corrected, and why the collections themselves are not necessarily in such good order as might be wished. A lot of things happened in the years before Malcolm Taylor became Librarian at the VWML that will take a long time yet to put right. As it happens, a grant application for at least partial digitisation of some of the MS material is currently underway; whether or not it will be successful remains to be seen.

Organisations, whether charitable or not, don't publish lists of things they have looked into but decided against, or of failed grant applications. Many of the suggestions made here are sufficiently obvious to have been examined in considerable depth already, of course; including possible partnerships with universities; Sheffield having been one with which discussions took place a few years ago. As John has already pointed out, that can be a perilous road to take. NATCECT (Sheffield) has lost most of its staff, and its collections have always been less accessible than are those held at Cecil Sharp House. John Widdowson was my departmental tutor in my student days, and I took folklore studies with him as part of my degree. Much as I love my old university, I find it hard to forgive their shameful neglect of what ought to have become the English equivalent of the School of Scottish Studies.

It is, however, immensely encouraging to hear that the Traditional Drama Research Group site is now hosted by EFDSS. It will be safer there than it was when hosted by my old college.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM

my comments are informed ,EFDSS has been mismanaged in the past.
my information was correct as regarding the disbanding of branches,Malcolm Douglas that is informed comment,CCE also generates revenue from its competitions and Fleadhs,EFDSS does not as it nolonger runs feStivals or competitions,This is not uninformed comment.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: nutty
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 12:45 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Malcolm. However, Communication is the name of the game and I for one, (I'm sure there must be others), am very grateful that the situation has been made clear.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 08:00 AM

the very first post,suggests that a number of staff have been made redundant[presumably as aresult of financial mis management].
that was over a week ago, is there any up to date news.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 08:38 AM

Captain - the second post which may, or may not be authoritative, refers to a six week consultation period.The first post also makes it clear that what you are referring to is a rumour - furthermore, Robbie stated quite clearly in his first post "Announcements will be made and information given as and when appropriate".

Clearly the time at present is NOT appropriate - if the NC have anything to say to the outside world (and I would hope that they would say it to those immediately affected first, then possibly the membership if it affects them, before the outside world) then I am sure they will do so. Posts like your last one are not much help to anyone ... especially since you're neither a member of staff, nor a member of the Society.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 08:47 AM

Redundancy is covered by some very strict employment laws. We should leave this subject alone now. I haven't posted on this thread since one of the NC members asked us not to.
What we could do is join the society and ask our friends etc. if they are members and also buy from the shop so that the society has some funds. All the best to everyone trying to sort this out.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 10:08 AM

"[presumably as aresult of financial mis management]."

Presumed by whom? On what evidence are you basing this presumption? Organisations restructure all the time; sometimes (in fact, most of the time) there will be jobs lost as a result of streamlining and an attempt to deliver more efficient working practice.

I'm not saying I'm not sympathetic to anyone who might be facing job loss, but I do think that such "presumptions" by the general public are misleading and unhelpful. EFDSS has a responsibility to its membership to offer value for money; in restructuring the staff at C#H, perhaps this is what they're trying to do. In any case, no formal statement has yet been made, and they certainly don't owe you any explanations, Dick, as you're not even a member.

It does occur to me that you engage in an awful lot of mudslinging where EFDSS is concerned, though. I'd love to know what your motives really are. And if you responsd, see if you can do it without mentioning Comhaltas.

Go on. Think of it as a challenge.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 10:35 AM

no ,I have praised the hard work of John Adams, Malcolm Douglas and many others ,that is not mudslinging..
EFDSS for some years ,has been having financial problems,that is not mudslinging,that is a fact. EFDSS owes everyone interested in folk music explanations, whether they are members or ex members,.
I agree members have a right to know first.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Adam Lesson
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 10:45 AM

Captain Birdseye wrote

EFDSS owes everyone interested in folk music explanations, whether they are members or ex members,.

Why? If they are not getting government funding and the only income is from members and selling stuff, why do they owe anybody but their members an explanation about anything at all?

None of MY money (taxes OR membership subscription) is being spent by them so it's none of my business OR YOURS!

AL


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 10:56 AM

Captain,

I'd be obliged if you didn't keep singling me out by referring to my 'hard work'. Yes, some of my contribution is apparent because I post here, but there are literally SCORES of people working as volunteers for the efdss - not just me (and Malcolm).

... and I'd be surprised if you know what we actually do.

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 12:13 PM

I said and many others.,Please read my posts.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: johnadams
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 12:21 PM

I do read your posts Dick and because of reading them, I suspect that you don't really know how many the 'many others' actually is, or what the 'many others' actually do.

Consequently, I get a bit uncomfortable being one of only two periodically mentioned in this context .

J


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 12:52 PM

I get told off by Ruth Archer for mudslinging,and told off by you for praising the hardworking volunteers.
It seems to me that you and certain other EFDSS members are unnecessarily defensive.It seems EFDSS cant bear any criticism.
Please feel free to tell us what all the volunteers are doing.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 01:02 PM

Captain - all of us (members or not) have been asked to lay off - that includes both me, and you ... none of this discussion is helping anyone - nor does it help to keep on harping on about past problems, financial, organisational or otherwise , or comparing the EFDSS to other organisations with dissimilar funding/staffing and aims.

I would echo what concertina ceol said earlier in the thread "We should leave this subject alone now" - which I intend to do!!!


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 01:34 PM

SurreySinger, it also includes John Adams to whom I was replying ,.
mistakes are fine if organisations/people learn from them ,and EFDSS needs to learn from past mistakes,I hope it is not too late.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Confusionus
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 02:12 PM

Usually, if one has nothing to say, 'tis best to say........ nothing.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 12:56 PM

the first post was six weeks ago,anymore news.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Jun 07 - 12:20 PM

I'm saying nuffink.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 09:42 AM

any developments.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: RTim
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 09:49 AM

Malcolm Taylor has been made the VWML Library Director.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: RTim
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 12:04 PM

MALCOLM TAYLOR APPOINTED LIBRARY DIRECTOR

The English Folk Dance and Song Society is pleased to announce that Malcolm Taylor, the Librarian of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, has been promoted to the post of Library Director.

The new post of Library Director is intended to emphasise the more strategic aspects of Malcolm?s role, with more focus on external networking and profile-raising for the Library and the EFDSS. Nevertheless, Malcolm will still maintain a hands-on role within the Library ? facilitating research,answering queries and encouraging new and existing users of the Library.

Judith Hanson, a trustee of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, said, "This promotion recognises and reflects the importance of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and its staff within the future focus of the work of the EFDSS".

Malcolm Taylor has been employed in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library since 1979 ? first as assistant librarian and, from 1981 as Librarian. In 2002 his contribution to music librarianship was recognised in the award of an OBE in the New Year Honours. In 2005 he received the EFDSS?s Gold Badge for his significant contribution to the work of the Society.

Over the years, Malcolm has been responsible for vastly improving the profile, credibility and authority of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. He instituted a programme of Library Lectures, a series of recordings first on cassette and later on CD, as well as other musical events, concerts, conferences and exhibitions. He has presented several radio programmes on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 4. The emphasis of all these events has been to encourage people to come in and use the Library and also to share in the research of others.

A folk music enthusiast since his teens, Malcolm Taylor has eclectic musical tastes ranging beyond folk music. He lives with his wife Laura also a librarian - and their two children in South London.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 03:53 PM

but how many people were made redundant?or lost their jobs,even if they were part time.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 07 - 03:15 PM

All members of staff, both current and ex have been told not to discuss this in public.

I don't think you'll find much information forthcoming unless National Council decide to inform the membership about current staffing levels. If you phone Cecil Sharp House and ask to speak to various members of staff (I suggest working down a staff list from a publication over three months old), I think you'll find out who has gone very quickly.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jul 07 - 07:17 PM

That is bad,to tell members and ex members of staff, they cant talk about it,not much freedom of speech.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 04:13 AM

It's also rubbish.

There are still things happening; the new structure is not completely implemented. Which is, I suspect, why no formal announcement has been made.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 05:45 AM

Ruth,who am I to believe.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 06:36 AM

Perhaps not someone who makes damaging allegations behind the veil of anonymity. I am Joan Crump, by the way (though I suspect most people know this). Guest, would you like to tell us who you are?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Darowyn
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 07:36 AM

I'm sure he doen not need me to stand up for him, but since Captain Birdseye regularly included links to his Dick Miles website, he is not very anonymous really, is he?
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Ruston Hornsby
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 07:53 AM

What's bothering me is that the way that the releases of information that are appearing from EFDSS sound just like the "selective information on a need to know basis" that I get via the internal website of the Government Department that I work for that try to tell me what to think, along with PR and spin styled press release type quotes from those in charge. I expect this kind of Orwellian management in the UK in this day and age, but not from the EFDSS. They'll be promoting their Executive's "Visions" next.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 07:56 AM

JO, So that there is no misunderstanding ,I can assure you, I am not the anonymous guest,Dick Mileshttp://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 08:11 AM

Dick, I know you're not. You're always transparent about who you are. But when you asked "Who am I to believe?" I was simply suggesting that people who post as "Guest" without any hint as to their identity, are often simply here to stir up trouble. If someone won't provide a source for their information, I regard it as gossip and hearsay until such source is provided and the provider identifies themselves.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Raggytash
Date: 19 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM

I know it's sad 200!!!


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