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Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying

Phil Edwards 12 Mar 09 - 07:18 PM
Rafflesbear 12 Mar 09 - 04:45 PM
Phil Edwards 10 Mar 09 - 07:09 PM
Rafflesbear 10 Mar 09 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Working Radish 10 Mar 09 - 01:04 PM
Effsee 09 Mar 09 - 11:29 PM
Rafflesbear 09 Mar 09 - 07:12 PM
wrotham-arms-jen 09 Mar 09 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,synbyn 09 Mar 09 - 01:02 PM
Jayto 09 Mar 09 - 11:31 AM
Les in Chorlton 09 Mar 09 - 09:41 AM
Gedi 09 Mar 09 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Essex Girl 09 Mar 09 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Working Radish 09 Mar 09 - 09:14 AM
bubblyrat 09 Mar 09 - 06:38 AM
The Villan 09 Mar 09 - 06:09 AM
Leadfingers 09 Mar 09 - 06:05 AM
Banjiman 09 Mar 09 - 05:25 AM
wrotham-arms-jen 09 Mar 09 - 04:33 AM
The Villan 08 Mar 09 - 07:42 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Mar 09 - 05:12 PM
melodeonboy 08 Mar 09 - 04:56 PM
wrotham-arms-jen 08 Mar 09 - 04:17 PM
Leadfingers 08 Mar 09 - 04:04 PM
wrotham-arms-jen 08 Mar 09 - 03:47 PM
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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 07:18 PM

Not my call, you may be glad to hear!


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Rafflesbear
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 04:45 PM

I guess a booking is out then ?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:09 PM

I don't have a problem with the music - they sound like a lot of fun - just the attitude. If I hear someone talking about folk music as tired & boring & in need of a kick up the bum, I tend to think that person doesn't much like folk music. I realise that the "folk" label doesn't open a lot of doors, so saying "it's folk - but it's different and exciting!" makes sense for Norcsalordie themselves. It just doesn't do the rest of us any favours - particularly those of us who think traditional music is different and exciting, once you give it a listen.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Rafflesbear
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:43 PM

A point well made Pip but it would probably carry more weight were it not in a thread entitled 'Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying' - a thread started by someone who loves the music and is actively trying to promote it often at their own cost and one of a number of threads on the same theme recently

as for Norcsalordie - others speak for them

Breath of fresh air for the folk scene - great duo (folk club website)

I don't know much about folk music, but I do enjoy watching/listening to you guys - Keep it up (comment on MySpace)

I've never seen so many smiling faces in a Folk Club (floorsinger)

Norcsalordie are a fine young duo that have the talent to take a worn out, tired old folk song, give it a good kick up the ass, a shake down and produce something sparkling and fresh (folk organiser)

Best band in Broadstairs 2008 (video posted on YouTube)

The most difficult question they have to answer when knocking on the door of a live music pub is "what kind of music do you play" - answer 'Folk' and the chance of a booking often disappears

IMO if we are not to go round in ever decreasing circles we should at least be ready to accept the challenge of the young - I have sat through my fill of dirges however technically brilliant


As for other drinks you could order you could try a 'Spetzi' - a combination of 50/50 cola + fanta or where fanta isn't available 'Mud' = cola + orange juice


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:04 PM

[Norcsalordie]

"We want to bring folk music to life - to rescue Folk and Traditional music from its staid musty image. We want to take it out of its little box"

The irony is that these guys have great difficulty getting booked by folk clubs!

Irony? I'm amazed they get any bookings from folk clubs after announcing themselves like that. "Hallo, is that the quaint little box where closed-minded purists go to practise a dead art form? Why don't you book us, we're much better than the staid musty purists you usually... hallo? hallo?"


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Effsee
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 11:29 PM

"i must admit the number of music lovers that smuggle their own drinks into my pub (you know who you are) make my blood boil and make things worse for everybody"...
Way out of order!
Shame them!


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Rafflesbear
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 07:12 PM

Jen - Bless you for picking out Norcsalordie by name

I have the very great pleasure of following them round and time and again we get positive comments from non-folkies - just last week at The Man of Kent in Rochester someone came up to us and said "if I'd known what you played (folk music) I wouldn't have come, but you were great" - in Somerset we had the comment "you've just converted someone who hates folk music, I was meant to be going home an hour and a half ago"

Folk music can be its own worst enemy and so often fails to go beyond the clubs and reach out to the wider public on their own turf

this is a quote from the Norcsalordie website -

"We want to bring folk music to life - to rescue Folk and Traditional music from its staid musty image. We want to take it out of its little box and share it with as wide an audience as possible - reaching people who would never consider going to a folk club while still appealing to dedicated folk fans with open minds.  
We are passionate about it - our motivation is to see you out there in the audience really enjoying yourselves at our gigs - singing, clapping and dancing."

The irony is that these guys have great difficulty getting booked by folk clubs!

We look forward to seeing you again on Friday May 1st Jen, and hope that we may have made just one or two people curious enough to support the both of us by turning up then


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: wrotham-arms-jen
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 01:41 PM

agreed synbyn - darn i hate it when i do that! no, you didnt mention the woodshed (FRIDAY 20 MAR)

some really interseting comments here. just a word of warning - people assume that if a pub is full then the landlord is off on holiday to the caribbean - not necessarily true. bear in mind the overheads.

I like the sound of what bubblyrat is doing - brill.

one thing that i do at the wrotham arms is that i recommend new musicians to play for free on a thursday night - it gives them a free stage to try their live music out and if it goes down well i tend to book them for a friday/saturday. we have some bands that now play regularly that started this way. it does make me feel like a bad simon cowell if the music is not right, but it helps to ensure the music is a good fit for the venue.

jen


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: GUEST,synbyn
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 01:02 PM

I think we're more or less on the same side here- if it works well it's a two-sided process-- the pub welcomes we musicians and we bring in enough trade for it to be worth their while. Which does mean that we have a duty to the landlord/landlady to entertain- and that means everyone in the pub must be entertained, not just the folkies, if we are in a bar rather than a clubroom. And I think people like variety- no-one would go to a dubliners session seven nights a week, and equally no-one would listen to bad salads for long. We musicians (moi?)have to involve everyone in the pub and give them a reason to come again- like melodeonboy say, landlords don't mind a little loss at first to build up a following... do they jen? of course they prefer £££s! and then there's an audience for local talent...
did i mention there's a woodshed soon?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Jayto
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 11:31 AM

In my area the economy is so tight right now few have the spare cash

to go out at all. I am still working alot but man the crowds have

dropped. Bookings have slowed alot as well. I have been doing more

recording sessions than live gigs. I have been talking to alot

of my friends only to hear the same. Things have slowed way down.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 09:41 AM

I think you will have to stick to tap water Phil, everything else is usually more expensive than bitter.

I start of assuming that most people in this game are honest. Landlords, musicians, audience even the 'local' press although they nearly always get something wrong. It seems to be the case that some landlords are much more effective at managing and promoting their pubs than others.

Pubs have folk nights, jazz nights, blues nights, darts, quizzes, poker, bridge, palm readings, Ann Summers Parties (I believe) curry nights, car club enthusiasts, darts, dominoes, chess, drafts, pool, TV arrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggg I could go on.

Some pubs open the doors and sell beer. In some circumstances this is enough and in some it isn't. If pubs are to survive they will have to do a lot more of those things in my list.

We have explored why folk clubs survive and why they don't in some detail. I cannot really sum it up but those of us who run folkie events will have to think very carefully about what is actually possible. The once a week club is only one choice amongst many.

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Gedi
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 09:29 AM

"I must admit the number of music lovers that smuggle their own drinks into my pub (you know who you are) make my blood boil and make things worse for everybody. next time i see it happening there will be a public flogging"

Oooh, Can I watch ; )

I agree with Pip, that is not on.

I like the idea of a "Music Box" on the bar (see link above). It seems to me a good way of being able to show your appreciation and as long as the money is being put to good use - ie to provide more music, and not just lining someones pockets, I reckon its a good approach.

Ged


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: GUEST,Essex Girl
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 09:26 AM

I too dislike 'soft drinks', but will drink some of the non-alcoholic beers when I'm driving. Not ideal but at least it tastes marginally like real lager. (I'd much prefer to drink bitter)Unfortunately a lot of pubs do not stock any brands of alcohol free beer of any kind. Both brewers and pubs coul do themselves a favour by supplying low alcohol and alcohol free beers.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: GUEST,Working Radish
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 09:14 AM

i must admit the number of music lovers that smuggle their own drinks into my pub (you know who you are) make my blood boil

That's so wrong.

Digressing slightly, what you said about the low profit margin on drinks got me thinking. I've been known to order a pint of bitter & a pint of tapwater to follow - either because I'm driving or because I over-indulged earlier on. I get thirsty when I'm out (hence the pint) and tend to find soft drinks too cloying, particularly after beer (hence the tapwater). I'm starting to wonder now what could I order that would be alcohol-free & reassuringly expensive. I guess there's always mineral water. Any other ideas?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: bubblyrat
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 06:38 AM

Not having too many problems in our area ,I am happy to say.At Marlow Bottom Acoustic Club's "Headquarters" in the eponymous village's only pub,"The Pegasus",we have an enthusiastic new management who are happy for us to play there once a month---the other three wednesdays ,we are at three other pubs,viz the "Prince Albert" in Frieth,the "Old Ship" in Cadmore End,and the "Belle Vue" in High Wycombe,at which latter venue we are allowed to set up amps,mics,etc ,and use the venue as a rehearsal for forthcoming gigs for our "Theme" band ( we have THREE next week---Stokenchurch village pub,Sunday,"Irish" theme, the "Pegasus",Tuesday ,Irish (St Patrick's) and Friday,the "Pegasus", a yacht-club dinner,trad. & contemporary ).Please look at our popular website if you'd like to visit us at any of these venues !!
                  We are not charged anything at any of our venues, and,whilst I HATE paying £3.20 for a pint of cider,I don't REALLY mind ,considering how nice (and free !) these venues are.The relationship with "our" landlords is symbiotic,really---We get somewhere nice to play at,and they get,once a month,a little added interest,and free entertainment,for their customers. Works beautifully !! No "back rooms",by the way; all our venues are in-the-bar & "in your face" !


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: The Villan
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 06:09 AM

Ah I see what you mean Terry. Thats a bit different.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 06:05 AM

Les - When I talk about 30 0r 40 people at a Folk evening , I am NOT considering it as a Pub Gig , but something run by someone else ! All the Landlord of a pub with a Folk Club has to do is run a bit if heating in winter , lights , and wash glasses ! Everything else is done by the club, including paying the Guest ! So IF a pub has a suitable room , having an EXTRA group . a lot of whom will be passengers will be a reasonable increase in turnover at minimal cost .


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 05:25 AM

Having played at Jen's pub I can't overstate what a friendly and welcoming establishment it is. You deserve to succeed. We look forward to returning in May. Hope we can get your non-folk audience going and maybe bring you in a couple of extras!

From an event organisers point of view, pubs rather than halls are far easier venues to put music on.... especially if there is a seperate room BUT it is easier to break even in a village hall.... As long as you are prepared to put in the hard work of providing a bar and food. These are very profitable in this setting where you don't have the overheads of staff etc.

Having said that I wish our village pub had not been a victim of Enterprise Inn's greed (and all the other reasons) and was still open.... we'd happily forget the additional revenue (it only gets spent on acts and infrastructure for the club anyway!). We'd take the club (KFFC) back to the pub in a flash if it were to re-open and they wanted us. I always think that this music belongs in the pub.

I certainly have not had the experience of getting ripped off by Landlords...... we play quite a few pub gigs and always try and work with them. If the pub has not done well when we've played, we have been known to return half of the fee promised..... we'd rather help the pub to survive and come back and try again. This has been reciprocated and when the pub has done better than expected they have increased our fee. Most people are pretty straight if you give them a chance!

Not sure if my ramblings help or not!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: wrotham-arms-jen
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 04:33 AM

melodeonboy,
thanks for your comments - i think a number of fine local musicians feel the same way as you and that is what keeps my music business alive - bless you all

richard,
luckily i am not involved in a pubco but my prices have to be set pretty high thanks to the brewery prices. in faversham the railway hotel (also a sheps pub) has a large banner saying 'we are still not as cheap as wetherspoons') lol we cannot compete with many pubcos but hope to provide a better service - a community pub with quality products and staff that take care of its customers.

villan,
i do put on a fair amount of folk music and in general it doesnt make money, for the very reasons you state.

our woodshed sessions are an exception to this since we have a number of local people that enjoy coming to listen to the diversity of the music and who enjoy a few good beers in the process.

there are notable exceptions of folk musicians that make folk music work in pubs. norcsalordie, for instance have an amazing effect on a 'non-folkie' audience. they have a great talent for connecting with the audience and the tempo sells a lot of beer!

dr beau weber at kentfolk.com has been looking at solutions to resolve the problem of dying live music on a local level. see: kent folk music box

i must admit the number of music lovers that smuggle their own drinks into my pub (you know who you are) make my blood boil and make things worse for everybody. next time i see it happening there will be a public flogging

jen


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: The Villan
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 07:42 PM

What concerns me more than anything, is to hear folkies say how much trade they bring to a pub.
Maybe 30/40 people turn up. A lot of them probably have to drive so can't drink much.
Probably on average the publican may get 3 drinks out of each person.

Work it out, and that isn't a lot of money taken over the bar for an evening.

However, they all go on about how much business they bring into the pub. They go on about how grateful the Landlord should be etc etc.

Yes, if nobody is coming into the pub, then something is better than nothing.

I know what we pay out to artists and what we take on the bar at our village hall. The people who work their socks off at the village hall do it for no pay. We do not make a lot of money, but then we are not that bothered to make profits as long as we break even.

So how a pub makes anything out of a folk evening where they have to pay the acts, staff, overheads etc etc is beyond me.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 05:12 PM

The present problems of most of those running pubs can be laid at three doors (itself a fine pub, but not my point).

Our masters in Brussells laid down requirements for competition.

The arch-bitch Thatcher promptly ordered teh dismantling of the tied house system (in general terms).

The damned financial engineers promptly constructed a system in which the brewers raised capital by selling their pubs to pubcos (of which perhaps Inntrepreneur was the most notorious, but there are many others, see for example the case of Bellhaven -v- Ord).

In the Thatcherite depression, the pubcos raped the desperate who had lost their jobs by offering to let them pubs on fundamentall mendacious projections of turnover, and at accordingly astronomical rents. Then of course they bankrupted and evicted them and siezed like leeches on their next victims.

Then of course they clawed back their capital by selling the land to slavering developers who erected ferro-concrete temples to mammon over the objections of the communities from which the heart had been torn.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 04:56 PM

I play in a zydeco band. We get, on average, about half a dozen gigs a month, mostly in pubs. I think that, overall, we're treated fairly by pub landlords.

Once fuel and a few pints have been paid for, we don't really end up with that much money, and we certainly can't look on it as other than a second income. However, I'm aware that pubs are having a hard time, and it appears to me that pubs are not cheating us but rather paying us what they can afford. On a number of occasions we've played at pubs that I know have barely or not even recouped the fee spent on us in money taken over the bar, and then been rebooked! (Pretty much the same point as you made in your penultimate sentence, Jen.)

My comments are perhaps not particularly helpful (or even relevant) to the brave souls who are trying to make a living out of folk music. That must be such hard work. Unfortunately, I don't have any magic answers to their problems. All I can do is wish them well.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dying
From: wrotham-arms-jen
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 04:17 PM

thanks LF

i agree - there are very few pubs with separate rooms (i wish i did)

some good friends started a folk club in broadstairs but had to give up due to the few pubs with such rooms wanting to overcharge for their use - we're not all on the right side!!! this type of thing has to be measured on a profitable level over a period of time.

i feel that its better to break even, and ... get people in the pub, and ... give jobs to staff, and ... to make a platform for an artist, rather than play it safe and BORING!

its not just the rent that causes grief - it includes all the hidden bills as mentioned in my first posting - but you get the gist without me lamenting more.

jen


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Subject: RE: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dieing
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 04:04 PM

Jen - I have run Folk Clubs , been a Semi Pro Folk singer on the Club circuit AND been an Equity Card Entertainer , Worked Pubs all over , as well as Serious Corporate stuff .
Round MY area , very few pubs have a seperate room for a Club , and the ones that DO have a room want as much as a lot of clubs can afford to pay a guest to rent the room to someone who will bring as many as forty or fifty customers a week into their establishment .
I have a Great Sympathy for Publicans who get squeezed by some of the Companies that now own so many pubs and have NO concern for them except as Income generators . We are NOT all anti Landlord , per se , Honest .


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Subject: Musicians Quiting and Venues Dieing
From: wrotham-arms-jen
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 03:47 PM

excuse these late night ramblings...but here we go...

being a pub landlord that enjoys putting on live music, a few (unnamed) musicians comments on mudcat have hurt. pubs these days do not make a lot of money. if live music is on, and the pub is full, the pub may be breaking even. in my short time in the trade i have seen musicians on their way up and on their way down. i have seen many music venues (pubs included) close. such is life, hard as it is.

recently there have been a few mudcatters that have announced that they are quitting the music scene. Coincidentally(?) these are the ones that have slammed the pub landlord as making too much money from their skills. i am sure there are some landlords that take advantage, but in general the sums just dont add up.

if a musician was paid based on incomings (takings) and outgoings (staff costs, rent, rates, taxes, stock, licenses, electricity, gas, water, advertising, fire alarm maintenance, pest prevention, cleaning,... etc, etc) they wouldn't be too happy! i am not moaning - i chose to be in this business, but i think that some customers see £3 going into the till as £3 in my pocket, when in reality it is more like 30p.

venues that cannot sustain the music business are not in business for long. the venue also has to break even.

i have witnessed several local-but-major music events that have been created by musicians that have been a roaring success. good for them! they are not sitting back complaining about the lack of venues - they are creating a platform for their voice.

and yet we read about musicians giving up and venues closing - we are our own worst enemies.

times are hard for many types of businesses (pubs and musicians included) but if we dont show support and continually create platforms for each other we are all jeopardy of fizzling out.

comments?

jen


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