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Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment

The Villan 16 Mar 09 - 12:23 PM
Jayto 16 Mar 09 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Mar 09 - 10:25 AM
Faye Roche 16 Mar 09 - 10:12 AM
Faye Roche 16 Mar 09 - 09:37 AM
M.Ted 13 Mar 09 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Jayto 12 Mar 09 - 11:26 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Mar 09 - 10:21 AM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 04:45 PM
BB 11 Mar 09 - 04:25 PM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 12:46 PM
Banjiman 11 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM
Folkiedave 11 Mar 09 - 11:36 AM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 08:09 AM
AlexB 11 Mar 09 - 07:25 AM
Folkiedave 11 Mar 09 - 04:18 AM
The Villan 11 Mar 09 - 03:33 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Mar 09 - 10:15 PM
Gulliver 10 Mar 09 - 10:06 PM
olddude 10 Mar 09 - 07:52 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Mar 09 - 07:44 PM
olddude 10 Mar 09 - 07:29 PM
Anne Lister 10 Mar 09 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Helen 10 Mar 09 - 07:10 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 06:12 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 06:06 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 06:03 PM
Chris Green 10 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 04:47 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM
BB 10 Mar 09 - 04:34 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 09 - 04:26 PM
Banjiman 10 Mar 09 - 03:52 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 03:35 PM
TheSnail 10 Mar 09 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 02:42 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Mar 09 - 02:39 PM
Banjiman 10 Mar 09 - 02:27 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 02:12 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 02:10 PM
olddude 10 Mar 09 - 01:58 PM
Banjiman 10 Mar 09 - 01:43 PM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 09 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 12:53 PM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM
Mr Happy 10 Mar 09 - 12:04 PM
Will Fly 10 Mar 09 - 12:03 PM
Will Fly 10 Mar 09 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,Jayto 10 Mar 09 - 11:38 AM
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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:23 PM

>>OK- first I'll let you know where I stand. If I go to a bar or restaurant I like to hear live music played as background. I can enjoy an informal pub session. But- if I pay to go to any kind of concert, whatever the music is, I like to be able to listen to it properly.

I can accept that in a club situation there may be a bit of background noise from people buying drinks, etc., but imo a noisy bar is not the environment for folk music- you can't appreciate the subtleties of a singer if someone is barking down a phone three feet away.<<

Well I hold the same views Faye, but I am 63.

What we do at Faldingworth Live, is to close the bar, when an artist is performing.
Fortunately, we have an audience that comes to listen and enjoy (hopefully) the acts that are on.

I can see why Tom would not want to play in that environment. Thats a compliment Tom.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Jayto
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:37 AM

M.Ted I hate to inform you but it was passed down. It seems even worse listening to older players tell stories. I started hanging out with old cats when I was real young. Well more than anyone else my age around here. I loved to hear stories. I would go and listen to different old men around town before or after I met up with my buddies. I found out I loved storytelling from an old man that sold hunting license in my hometown. The older men would gather at his place and sit and tell stories for hours on end. Through this they got used to me being around from the time I could walk. When I decided to play music they were already used to me and opened up to me. I was one of the few lucky ones though. My brother and my cousin are really the only other 2 that I know of. They turned on me quick though (and the other 2) when we decided to play all styles of music. They treated us like traitors to be truthful. We were lucky that they spent as much time with us in the beginning but it didn't last long a few yrs at best. It was a few yrs most of the younger musicians didn't get though and really shaped our playing. All 3 of us went on to win national and international contests and 2 out of 3 have had major label deals. There is alot to be learned from these guys but for some reason they just don't want to show it. Now they are starting to pass on. The last yr some have been weighing on us about being the torch bearers but up until now we were the traitors lol. I am happy they decided to show us I just wish they would have taken the time for others as well. Like I said in that one post there were some they showed but they were not that good, plus none of them were accepted by the younger crowd. The initial 3 were and are accepted. I don't mean to sound arrogant by this but we were deemed cool because we played and loved all kinds of music. They enjoy and enjoyed hanging out with us because we were fun. We would have been part of the scene if we didn't play at all. Not just locally in Ky in Nashville and all surrounding states. The guys they picked (I tried to like man I swear I did) were odd. They were not sociable and BORING. Never had a girlfriend, never had an adrenaline rush, never had fun types. The kind that thier parents picked them up and dropped them off everywhere they went. (No offense) Couldn't stay out late Saturday because they had church Sunday. Nothing wrong if that's what anyone is into but when it comes to appealing to the younger folk musicians in the Ky/Tn scene not somone they are going to take to. Basically the things that made the older guys mad at us 3 were what drew the younger cats to us. We were all so stubborn none of the 3 of us changed. We remained who we were and took our exile from the older musicians. To this day though I hate that it happened. I also hate that it is fading away like it is. I am sure there are parts of this that might rile some feathers. It really was not intended just an observation of the local scene.
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:25 AM

This is why I've not played at the Nest myself - well, Sam and Joe (who say they love my stuff) rightly refused to book me on the grounds that they knew I'd hate it, as I agreed I would once they explained.

This is the big challenge. You're right about the age issue Faye, (though I'd put the national average at over 60 not 50 and give it 10 years not 30), and yes there are some great folk-ish events being started up by youngsters. But only a very few that pay artists for a proper set, though with luck this number will grow once they realise that the existing clubs will soon no longer be there to support younger artists.

The issue of audience behaviour is more difficult. These people see no reason why they should sit quietly, and indeed view those of us who do as odd, and I can see why.

But without that silent attention, a whole load of things can't happen: The run of emotion round a room as the audience feels the turn of the story, the slim metaphor which melts every heart, the subtle joke which doesn't bear a laugh but which gladdens the soul and is missed if you're not playing full attention - never mind many musical shades and details.

Once these guy experience a good quiet concert they'll probably want it always to be like that. But how are they going to, when they've never been to one, and are never going to find out at a club full of Grans and Gamps?

That's what I want to know.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Faye Roche
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:12 AM

BTW I'm 30.


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Subject: Where are folk clubs going?
From: Faye Roche
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 09:37 AM

First let me say that I'm not implying any criticisms of the different ways that clubs are run. I'm interested in how people view the future of folk clubs.

I've made the point before that the old-school clubs are bound to die out eventually, if only by virtue of the fact that most of their audiences are aged around 50+ and there are few younger people coming into them. Please don't argue that your particular club is thriving- we've been there and I agree that there are many good clubs that have a full attendance every night. But it can only be a matter of 30 or so years before all the members have passed on. Where does that leave these clubs?

I've recently moved to live and work near London and have visited some London clubs. There is a phenomena in London that I haven't seen elsewhere. I went to a club called the Magpie's Nest in Islington and, whereas it was good in every other respect (nice room, good guest, good floor singers, good pa, etc.) the evening was marred by the behaviour of the audience, who spent the evening chatting and making and receiving mobile phone calls while the musicians were performing. I left before the end as the volume of the audience was louder than the band on stage.

The audience were all at the other end of the age spectrum- around 25 to 30-ish. It's obviously a successful club as it was packed out, and I see that the organisers have now opened two new venues, presumably (correct me if I'm wrong) on the same lines.

OK- first I'll let you know where I stand. If I go to a bar or restaurant I like to hear live music played as background. I can enjoy an informal pub session. But- if I pay to go to any kind of concert, whatever the music is, I like to be able to listen to it properly.

I can accept that in a club situation there may be a bit of background noise from people buying drinks, etc., but imo a noisy bar is not the environment for folk music- you can't appreciate the subtleties of a singer if someone is barking down a phone three feet away.

So this kind of club is not for me. Just my opinion- no offence intended. But what do the rest of us think? As it's dragging in an audience in large numbers, is it the way forward for UK folk music? What's the view of performers at this kind of venue?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 11:07 AM

Jayto- I grew up in a rust-belt city with lots of auto plants and also a major university. During the sixties, there were lots of folkies in and around the University, and a lot of pickers, particularly from Kentucky and Tennessee, working in and around the auto plants.

The thing was, there was no contact--kids desperate to learn banjo, Travis-picking, fiddle, steel guitar etc on one hand, and guys that had been doing just that for forty years on the other, and they avoided each other like the plague. I feel real pain thinking about all that could have been passed on, but never was--


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Jayto
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:26 AM

Here is Western Kentucky and Northern Tennessee younger people are heavily into folk. Well heavily as compared to alot of places I have been. It is not what a bunch of people on this board would consider folk though. It seems through the years they have taken what they have heard and fused it with what they know. By that I mean listening to old folk songs they have searched out as what they have heard. What they know is what they have grown up listening to (pre folk) and life experiences of growing up in modern times. They have fused it and I really like it. The old guard around here are not that welcome to these new bands and artists so they have forged their own scene. I just think it is a loss for both the old guard and the new artists to not be opened minded enough to include each other. It is not the younger ones that have a problem with it. They really admire what the older artists have done and in their own way are trying to mimic their styles (even down to the way they dress). It is the old artists and musicians that scorn them for not being traditional enough or for mixing musical styles. It really makes me upset and in the end it is going to be the older artists that suffer from this mind set. Younger musicians are not going to quit because the older set doesnt approve of their interpretation of what they consider their music. I know I am a prime example. They will continue to do their own thing pushing it further down whatever path they can. If the older musicians were more open to them the music would still evolve but the old traditional style would still be played and known by the younger generations. The younger cats are not going to see the older ones because of the attitude they encounter. I have heard that more times than I can count. The older musicians won't go see the younger musicians because they "are not playing folk. It is rock played on folk instruments." I have heard that said tons of times as well. I have also been accused of that more times than I care to think. The older ones will (without fail and around here not fussing at anyone here) pick one or two younger ones to carry their songs on. The problem is the young ones never seem to care about the torch bearers. They always seem to pick someone that is as disconnected with the younger generations as they are. Thus the younger generations don't take to them so the traditional stuff is dying out. There is an extreme amount of talent in the young cats around here. It is insane the amount of talent that is running around these hills. Folk is going to carry on with or without older artists approval. It is just a shame that most of them refuse to participate and help or teach the younger ones. Most of the younger ones that are new folkies are a pretty rebellious breed. Just by choosing to play folk and folk base they are going against the norm of modern society. Everyday they are bombarded by TV,Radio,friends ..etc that shove pop,modern country, metal, rap...etc down their throats and claim that is cool and folk is not. So I truly admire the way they have created their own thing and scene. THe way they have stood up to the peer pressure urging them to play anything but folk, blues, jazz, bluegrass, whatever. I think the older cats should show them some respect as well. I also think it is the job of older artists to help preserve the music. By not passing it on (except for to goody goody ass kissers) they are letting down generations of musicians before them. History and a record of musicians before us that could easily just disappear lay in the hands of the older musicians. If they fail to pass it own then it will be gone. Instead of complaining how the younger don't do it right they should show them. There will come a day they wont be around to show them and the supposed wrong way will be all that exists. It is a heavy load folk musicians carry and alot of them fail to see that.
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:21 AM

" I don't disagree with you about songs relevant to today, and there are singer-songwriters, such as Jez Lowe or the late lamented Keith Marsden or Duncan MacFarlane and a few others who *reach out* to the audience with their songs and their presentation of them - I do not include them in the 'navel-gazers'. "

BB - You have created a sterotype of "navel-gazers".   Trust me, I did the same thing at one point - I lumped them all together in a catagory that I called "singer-songwhiners".   What I discovered was that by creating that stereotype, I shut the door to some singer-songwriters who were creating powerful and important songs.

If you look at some traditional songs you will find 492 verses of whiny laments over some long-lost love that ended up with flowery allegories or comparisons to plants and barnyard animals that if written today would be considered self-indulgent therapy sessions. I'm sure at the time they were written they served a purpose.

The point I am making is based on the premise of this thread. No one is forcing anyone to like something that doesn't appeal to them. Times and tastes do change, and while I am glad BB's club is doing well, if others are finding themselves with dwindling attendance and a dearth of new performers - perhaps it is a time for the organizers to do some navel-gazing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:45 PM

BB

Bryan, I'm sorry, I should have put a smiley in my comment to you - and the bit about what Pete Heywood has said that you might disagree with - I don't know - 'twasn't me that said that.

It's all right Barbara; taken in jest. Folkiedave rightly recognised that the dig was at him. He did, for a change, read and understand one of my posts.

I've given in and subscribed to Living Tradition.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: BB
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:25 PM

Ron, the club I'm involved in running is not in any danger of dying, thank goodness, so I'm probably booking the right people for the audience. I book a wide range of styles, ages, instrumentation (including banjo, Paul!), etc., etc. (and both male and female, Paul - I was going to say "and sexes", but on second thoughts...:-)) - my only problem is with a certain type of singer-songwriter, and it just seems that it's mostly they who are asking me for bookings. Also, Ron, I don't disagree with you about songs relevant to today, and there are singer-songwriters, such as Jez Lowe or the late lamented Keith Marsden or Duncan MacFarlane and a few others who *reach out* to the audience with their songs and their presentation of them - I do not include them in the 'navel-gazers'. And I do not only book things that I personally like - I get the views of other members of the club's committee and members of the audience, but when we get people of a certain musical style drop in, it's not difficult to see when the audience is bored. Have a look at our guest list on our website here if you think I'm too hidebound in what I book - it may surprise you.

Dick, it's not about advertising in the likes of 'Living Tradition': it's about keeping abreast of what's going on in the scene that we inhabit, and as club organisers, I do think it's important to be aware of what's going on outside our own immediate area, either geographically or musically.

Bryan, I'm sorry, I should have put a smiley in my comment to you - and the bit about what Pete Heywood has said that you might disagree with - I don't know - 'twasn't me that said that.

Olddude, I'm happy to listen to anything that anyone sends me, and I do listen to these S-S's MySpace contributions when they ask me to. I then have to make a considered decision about what will appeal at our club - if I make wrong decisions, the club will go down, and it doesn't take many wrong decisions for that to happen. I've seen it happen in the past.

It's great that there are a *few* clubs - and I mean folk clubs - that are being run by a younger generation than those of us who have been involved for twenty-plus years, but it needs many more if the folk *club* scene is going to survive for much longer. There are just too many of us that are going to run out of steam over the next ten years or so in terms of organising things. And I still believe that the folk club scene has much to offer, in giving a platform for up-and-coming musicians and singers to perform, for somewhere to share this wealth of music and song, and not least, for friendship.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:46 PM

Folkiedave

Forget it Bryan -I've been wound up by experts.

If you'd like to address yourself to things I've actually said rather than what you think I've said, I'd be less inclined to take the piss and we might be able to have a constructive discussion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM

"Personally, I have listened to plenty of young performers that ask me for bookings, but the vast majority are singer-songwriters who, to me, all sound much the same - and bore me silly! I'm looking for good musicians and singers that are capable of *entertaining* my audience, and if those good musicians and singers are young, that's even better! It seems that many song writers, particularly the young ones, are what we always called 'navel gazers' - they're not interested in interacting and engaging their audiences, And if they're not, audiences aren't going to be interested in listening to them. There are exceptions amongst the writers, of course, but they seem to be few and far between."

Barbara, I've heard you previously state that there are also very few female performers who can *entertain* an audience as well. Does that mean you only book wrinkly men? In which case can I have a gig..... bet you don't book banjo players either! LoL

We had a virtually all female line up (and some of them were young!) at our last weekend bash..... virtually a sell out and very positive feedback. (Balanced by some wrinkly old men at points during the weekend, but not many).

We are having a Disgustingly Talented Young Persons day at our next weekend bash in November..... Mawkin:Causley, Kat Davidson & Dan Walsh & OK Brandy . They all write some songs & tunes, plus some covers plus some trads..... not a navel gazer amongst them though. I would imagine it will be a highly entertaining evening having been previously wowed by them all.

I'm pretty sure that our November weekend will help keep our club open as well.... hopefully bring in a few more youngsters (i.e. younger than me). Again there'll be plenty of variety including older acts at other points during the weekend.

We'll probably have a beard themed weekend at some point in the future.... just to balance things up.

I think as organisers we have to be very careful about our own prejudices or we risk alienating potential audience.... if that matters to more established, older style clubs?

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 11:36 AM

Forget it Bryan -I've been wound up by experts.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 08:09 AM

BB

Bryan, shame on you - have you never read 'Living Tradition'?

Sorry Barbara, not very often and not for a long time. What has Pete Heywood said that I should tell him isn't true?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: AlexB
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 07:25 AM

I like folk clubs. I also have no problem with spending time with people a lot older than myself. I grew up doing so, and that wasn't in the folk scene. I'm in my early twenties.

Something I do take umbrage at is people treating young people as something "other". I find it patronising. We all have our own separate tastes, mine probably lie in areas similar to that which people here are talking about trying to preserve, others may not. Strangely enough there are older people who want folk to go in all new directions and think that folk as many people here want to keep it to be stuffy, just the same as some young'uns. Not much difference between the age groups there!

So stop all the "us" and "them"ing. Let every folk enthusiast take folk in his or her own direction. It is a living tradition and if certain aspects can no longer hold out on their own, then rather than keep them on life support you should let them go naturally. Write a biography, maybe in the future some enterprising individual shall read it and that aspect will undergo a rebirth. That said, I don't think that is the case at all - there may be a lull but I'm not convinced of any deaths right now.

As for Folkiedave's subsidies... that is a certain way to get me to leave the scene. I think the government has it's fingers in too many pies already and should be cut down significantly. I don't think tax payers should be forced to fund other people's interests and I don't like the way people go begging to increase the size of the state. The bigger it is, the more power it exerts and the more everybody has to pay just for more red tape and less freedom to do things the way they want. Not to mention the very idea of folk needing a subsidy makes it less of the people. It has survived so far through the efforts of private individuals (Sharp, Vaughan Williams, Baring Gould et al) as well as communities. Admittedly there is the odd bit of government funding here and there, there is with a lot of arts stuff. But the people kept it alive, even if at points it was only a handful of them, it still endured. The moment you get serious state intervention, it changes into something else.

So, again, let people take it where they will. It might not be the folk you knew when you were young, but then I highly doubt you, as an organic individual, are who you were back then either. You grew in years and experience, and took on board other influences to make you who you are today. In a few years time you won't be as you are now. At the core you are the same individual, but you have been shaped by many hands and events. So folk music has been shaped since before you were born, and will likely continue to do so after we have gone. It may branch into something we are not interested in... but like a tree there is nothing to stop us continuing our own branch, and for others to branch it still further. I don't think the roots are in any danger.

Just my ten pence worth (because these days tuppence just doesn't go far enough).

Alex


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:18 AM

The emphasis is on putting on quality music in a pleasant environment.

Then I reckon it's got a good chance of survival. (I'd book Tom Bliss whilst I had chance!!)


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 03:33 AM

>>I tell you what Les
if the songs you booked are those folks on the CD's you sent me , you can count me in anytime my friend. They were all 10 out of 10 and I have worn em out for sure, just beautiful stuff

Dan <<

Hi Dan
Their does seem to be a lot of good songwriters in Lincolnshire and most of them, have been on at Faldingworth Live (or Market Rasen Folk Club as it used to be called). In fact quite a few were dissapointed, as I was not able to put everybody on the CD's.
Really glad you like the Lincolnshire Singers, Songwriters and Musicians. They know who they are and quite a few are mudcatters.
Lincolnshire is blessed.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:15 PM

It does sound like more a problem in the UK then here. We have our own issues but I think our "club" scene is very healthy - probably more active than at any other time except for the Folk Error, I mean Era. There could always be more opportunities, but I do not see any danger of the "folk" scene drying up - it just continues to evolve.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Gulliver
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:06 PM

The very fact that this is being discussed here in this intensity suggests to me that folk clubs are over the hill, as far as young people are concerned. My last visit to one was in 1974 (and it was great THEN).


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: olddude
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:52 PM

I have written music that would bring a tear to your eye. Not because they are so heartfelt but because they are soooo bad. I have a closet full of them. However, people can't get better if they are not given the chance and the guidance. There are just so many good young people doing some really great music and some really bad music like all of us. But if they love music and are given a chance, the music grows and becomes strong. I just think we have to break out of -this is the way the music is mode - and open up to younger people and really listen instead of discounting. I know I will never embrace rap ... it is not my genre ... but boy there are a lot of young folk people out there doing very good stuff. search around youtube with the word original song .. you will see what I mean and they deserve to be heard I think and for the sake of the music we all love that is disappearing it is important to hear the younger crowd


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:44 PM

"How many songwriters are there in the Folk World who can honestly say that they have written 10 very good songs, that will stand the test of time with the audience (and I mean very good)?
Not many I think."

So??? What is the point?   You won't listen to a song because it won't be remembered 200 years from now? Holy crap!!

Live for today. Songs have relevance to the time they are created. We fondly remember folk songs, but many do not have much relevance in our daily lives. Sorry, but that is true.

Artists create for the here and now. Some of us many enjoy living in the past, but the last time I looked folk music was still a living tradition. You may choose to ignore the present, that is your choice, but saying a song won't stand the test of time is one of the most absurd statements I've heard in years. If any of us had a crystal ball, the economy would be in much better shape - and the coffeehouses would still be in business.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: olddude
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:29 PM

I tell you what Les
if the songs you booked are those folks on the CD's you sent me , you can count me in anytime my friend. They were all 10 out of 10 and I have worn em out for sure, just beautiful stuff

Dan


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Anne Lister
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:11 PM

Blimey! Well, after just putting out my eighth album of original songs of course I'm going to disagree about the ten good songs - I don't generally plan to put out rubbish songs when I record. I'm fairly sure I could list quite a few other songwriters who have written more than ten (Jez Lowe, Pete Morton, Jim Woodland, Leon Rosselson, Robb Johnson, Mike O'Connor, James Keelaghan ...that's just off the top of my head).

Let's not go overboard with the generalisations!

I'm not having a go at Les (and I'm looking forward to playing Faldingworth Live! later this year), or Barbara, or Dick. However, as the acoustic open mic clubs appear to be thriving (and, as I said above, there are several in Cardiff where folk club activity is thin on the ground) it can't be a universal problem of the young singer-songwriter failing to pull the crowds in.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Helen
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:10 PM

Obvioulsy there is the Magpies Nest as counter example to the Folk Club = Old assumption. Also, I am 26 and me and my friend Katie (23) have just started a folk club in Deptford. The first one was last month. We got a really mixed crowd (just what we wanted) but a seriously healthy turn out of our peers who - as we suspected they might - absolutely went wild for Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham's shanties and Toby Bennet's clog dancing. It was *brilliant*! We caught the yooofs attention by also booking a lady from popular indie outfit Bat for Lashes ( Caroline Weeks who has done a stunning album of settings of the poems of Edna St Vincent Millay). We kept it cheap (£3 for students) enough that people would be willing to have a punt. There was a real sense of excitment and discovery... next up The Boat Band and Yo Zushi.... I think young people do like traditional music clubs --- they just haven't realised it yet!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:12 PM

Villan,I agree.
I reckon I have written three maybe four good songs ,and cannot think of a songwriter that has written 10 good songs,of course others might think I havent written any,that is why I perform a lot of traditional material as well as contemporary songs .


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:06 PM

Why should Bryan have heard of Peter Heywood ,he is involved in running a successful folk club.
in these days of mass communication via the computer ,magazines such as Living Tradition and Folk roots ,are not as important as regards publicising ones club as they were twenty years ago , it is even debatable whether they were ever of any importance .


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:03 PM

Congratulations Chris.

I wish you much success.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Chris Green
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM

On a (hopefully) more positive note, myself and a couple of colleagues have started running a new venue in Coventry. We had our first concert last week (Phil Beer guesting) and got around 80 people through the door. Tickets are already selling briskly for Vin Garbutt on April 9th (no surprise there!)

I'm 31 and the other two who run it with me are 32 and 24 respectively. The emphasis is on putting on quality music in a pleasant environment.

No axe to grind - I just thought it might be nice to post something about a club opening rather than closing!

Cheers

Chris

Maudslay Thursday


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:14 PM

>>Personally, I have listened to plenty of young performers that ask me for bookings, but the vast majority are singer-songwriters who, to me, all sound much the same - and bore me silly! I'm looking for good) musicians and singers that are capable of *entertaining* my audience, and if those good musicians and singers are young, that's even better! It seems that many song writers, particularly the young ones, are what we always called 'navel gazers' - they're not interested in interacting and engaging their audiences, And if they're not, audiences aren't going to be interested in listening to them. There are exceptions amongst the writers, of course, but they seem to be few and far between.
<<

Barbara, very well put.I couldn't agree more. The following may get me in a load of bubble and squeek, but I am trying to say it how I see it, no punches held.

Put in a different way. How many songwriters are there in the Folk World who can honestly say that they have written 10 very good songs, that will stand the test of time with the audience (and I mean very good)?
Not many I think.
However, many singer/songwriters keep on writing songs, that sound very similar and sing them in front of an audience, and they bore the pants off the audience. They get on stage and do the songs as though they are saying to the audience "look at me , aren't I great, I have written a song and another and another, (totally oblivious of the fact that the songs are just not good enough). you must like them".
All of them are very good singing and playing their instruments, but its all about "ME".

I have heard many singers who do cover songs that suit their style and they just WOW me, but when they do song after song of their own, they lose the plot.

I remember once getting a phone call from an agency, trying to get me to book a particular act. I said that I had seen them live and the only songs I enjoyed were the ones they hadn't written. I said I wouldn't dream of booking them.
The agent was very angry with me and literally implied that I was talking a load of bollocks. I disgreed and put the phone down.

Having said all of that, if anybody takes humbrage, then stop, count to 10 and genuinly ask yourself if your songs you have written, are that good, enough for people to really love. Then have a real go at me, if you so wish.

Just to mention, I have put lots of singer/songwriters on at Faldingworth. I have never regretted it.

I have also refused many a very good top performer, because they do not suit the style of Faldingworth. They know who they are, but I can't put them on if I do not think they suit the style of what I am trying to put on.

There you go, I have bared all and if anybody wants to have a go at me, feel free.

Another organiser who works for nowt :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:47 PM

"My unstatistical impression of clubs (NOT sessions) is that the number of clubs is pretty well unchanged since I came into the scene 40 years ago but now with fewer nationally known guests being booked and far more singers nights / singarounds. Paticipation seems to be much higher but overall attendance seems lower."

Yes, as i keep saying - it's not so much clubs closing (though that's happening) but fewer guest nights, and very poor turnouts by regulars for guests. So if the guest doesn't have a big following the club may loose money.

That's the problem.

Tom

That's about all I know Barbara, though I believe they're looking for input from the likes of us. Agree 100% with what you say - hence why we desperately need a body to represent the club/small gig sector, and one that doesn't bicker :-) !!


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM

"I have listened to plenty of young performers that ask me for bookings, but the vast majority are singer-songwriters who, to me, all sound much the same - and bore me silly! I'm looking for good musicians and singers that are capable of *entertaining* my audience, and if those good musicians and singers are young, that's even better! "

In that case, you cannot complain about diminishing attendance.

If you are booking based on your own tastes, hopefully you have an audience that agrees with you and your shows are heavily attended. If you have no worries, then proceed without a second thought.

IF you are seeing your audience age and attendance shriveling, perhaps you need to step back and reconsider. Your tastes are part of your generation and the style you are accustomed to - and there is nothing wrong with that. However, you may want to consider the fact that there could be an audience for those "boring" singer-songwriters and maybe mixing things up a bit might bring a boost and some faces that have not been around the block so many times.

There is no right or wrong - there only "is".


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: BB
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:34 PM

olddude said:"See we all , myself included need to give encouragement to any young performer who is writing folk and performing... There are many great young writers and performers but I don't think they get the chance i clubs or otherwise."

There are lots of young performers who are given lots of chances in the clubs - if the clubs can afford to book them! But that's another subject perhaps.

Personally, I have listened to plenty of young performers that ask me for bookings, but the vast majority are singer-songwriters who, to me, all sound much the same - and bore me silly! I'm looking for good musicians and singers that are capable of *entertaining* my audience, and if those good musicians and singers are young, that's even better! It seems that many song writers, particularly the young ones, are what we always called 'navel gazers' - they're not interested in interacting and engaging their audiences, And if they're not, audiences aren't going to be interested in listening to them. There are exceptions amongst the writers, of course, but they seem to be few and far between.

Tom B., tell us more about this Arts Council survey - how do we know they're asking the 'right' people? It has long been a concern that all the funding seemed to be going through only two organisations, and no-one else seemed to be getting a look in, particularly since funding was withdrawn from all but one of the folk development agencies.

Bryan, shame on you - have you never read 'Living Tradition'? - Pete Heywood's the editor.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:26 PM

My unstatistical impression of clubs (NOT sessions) is that the number of clubs is pretty well unchanged since I came into the scene 40 years ago but now with fewer nationally known guests being booked and far more singers nights / singarounds. Paticipation seems to be much higher but overall attendance seems lower.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:52 PM

Hi Les,

I didn't feel knocked. I did however feel that you were implying that audiences would only enjoy the bigger names...... I think you probably didn't mean quite that (having discussed many things with you in the past) but that is how your post read. Just thought it needed some clarification, which you duly gave.

Key thing is that we do what we can to provide platforms for quality "real" music. Without becoming bankrupt in the process.

I enjoyed the Yellowbellies CD that we got from you.

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:35 PM

>> there are plenty of unknowns out there who just need a chance to show what they can do, they have talent, quality and stagecraft by the bucketfull.... but they need introducing to audiences. That is (hopefully) where a club like out ours can play an important role.
<<
Agree with you entirely.

Thats how I used to work when I first started Market Rasen Folk Club. I have to say that i loved it, but my health and lack of people wanting to help made me stop. Have a look at Yellowbellies 1 and 2 CD's to see the variety of very good local performers in Lincolnshire. Those Cd's went on to make over £2500 for charity.

I started Faldingworth live in Concert, because i had promises that I would get a lot of help. Those people have kept their promise and Faldingworth would not be there, if it wasn't for them.

So I wasn't knocking you, but merely pointing something out.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:09 PM

Folkidave

Now why not write to the that thread and to Pete Heywood with a reply if you think it isn't true?

I haven't said anything is true or not, I'm only asking for some facts to clarify just what the problem we are tackling is. Surely it makes sense to analyse the situation thoroughly before trying to come up with solutions.

I think the OP may live in America so his situation may be different from the UK.

Who's Pete Heywood?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:42 PM

But, Dick, to what extent are you playing clubs which have always booked you in the past, and to what extent are you looking for new places to play in the UK? Perhaps the clubs that book you happen to be the strong ones. I bow to your greater experience, but there's a big difference between someone like you who made his career in the days when the club scene was strong, and someone like me who only tried recently. You're not a member of Britfolk, are you? I think others here who are will confirm that the view among most pros seems to be that there are indeed massively fewer guest clubs today than there were 20-30 years ago. I myself have counted the numbers that have closed and opened since 2000. My article was privately vetted by a small groups of friends who happen to be some of the bigger names on the folk scene. They agreed with the main thrust of my argument.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:39 PM

"See we all , myself included need to give encouragement to any young performer who is writing folk and performing. It is the only way I think to keep the music alive. It is up to us to open ourselves up to new music created by the young people and not just focus on the names we know and love. We can do both, love the names we have known for so many years and yet take the time to hear a young performer do their original work. There are many great young writers and performers but I don't think they get the chance i clubs or otherwise ."

Well said!   

The complaints I hear, from either side of the pond, are about young people not wanting to participate in folk clubs - yet I see an equal problem with older generations not wishing to listen to the original music being made by younger musicians. Even for traditional music, younger performers tend to get overlooked.

No one can expect a younger generation to participate in the same fashion that we participated when we were that younger generation. We carved our own path back then, and the younger artists of today are doing the same. Either path can be a pleasant journey if you have the right mindset.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:27 PM

"Depends which side of the fence you are looking from Paul.

In other words from a performer/organiser point of view

or

from and audience/organiser point of view."

Les,

No criticism intended of Faldingworth, I've been and I like it!..... remember though, I am audient as well as an organiser and musician (well banjo player anyway).

Why would an audience not like acts without a big name?..... you seem to be equating being a big name with talent and quality..... there are plenty of unknowns out there who just need a chance to show what they can do, they have talent, quality and stagecraft by the bucketfull.... but they need introducing to audiences. That is (hopefully) where a club like out ours can play an important role.

Once they are famous they can go on to play clubs like yours!

But please don't imply that because someone hasn't won the publicity game yet that it means that they are not as good as those who have.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:12 PM

Tom,I have spent much time over the last few years,and I have no statistical evidence to suggest that there are more clubs closing than new ones opening ,have you ?,if you have let us have the facts.
my livelihood depends on the folk club scene too .,but ever since 1976 I have heard this crap about the declining folk club scene,it is so f###### tedious.
on the subject of guessing,I guessed the winner of the 4 oclock at cheltenham,now thats the sort of guessing I like.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:10 PM

>>If we only booked big names we could get a lot more audience..... but what's the fun in that!
<<

Depends which side of the fence you are looking from Paul.

In other words from a performer/organiser point of view

or

from and audience/organiser point of view.

I fall into the second category and see it from a person in the audience point of view. That upsets some performers, but you win some lose some. As they say, you can't please everybody.

At the end of the day, its about covering your costs, whichever route you take.

Like you we have a group of people that work very hard to provide what we hope is a very good quality of entertainment for our audience.
At this moment in time, our core audience keeps coming back (which we do not take for granted) and that is great. As its a concert style venue, then if the audience dropped below what would be our breakeven point and that became a regular thing, then we would have to stop.

Its totally different to a singaround, but we have several of very good ones in the area that cover that side. Gainsborough being my favourite, as well as Louth.

There are also quite a few sessions in the area. As I am not a musician, then it is not my style. However, I do sometimes put the occasional session on, and faldingworth Live pay for that.

The great thing is that we can all survive together and try to help each other. None of us want to lose money.

At the end of the day, you sets your stall out and do your very best to make it work. Nobody can ask more from you.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: olddude
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:58 PM

Here is a case in point and i mean this in the most respectable manner and not as any critism for I am also guilty of it. Lately I have been seeking out young folk artists on youtube to hear their music and post comments. there are some wonderful musicians. Yet I see the number of views and they are typically 10 or 8 or some very low number yet the music is wonderful. I posted a thread about a young lady named Wil Maring. Now she doesn't need any approval from us, she is selling records and recording but not one of us on the cat listened or commented because it was not a name we recognized. See we all , myself included need to give encouragement to any young performer who is writing folk and performing. It is the only way I think to keep the music alive. It is up to us to open ourselves up to new music created by the young people and not just focus on the names we know and love. We can do both, love the names we have known for so many years and yet take the time to hear a young performer do their original work. There are many great young writers and performers but I don't think they get the chance i clubs or otherwise . In my humble opinion


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:43 PM

Backwoodsman (going back several hundred postings)..... I can say these things, I'm from Lincolnshire!

and Les, no, I'm spending my time constructively rather than watching this seasons shower of has beens and yet to bes and going to Bedale Folk Club!

Retuirning to the thread. I live in the middle of rural North Yorks, there are at least 5 folk gatherings within 10 or so miles of where I live (including 2 guest clubs- monthly). If I widen this out to 25 miles I lose count....... Yes the avergae age is fairly high, but probably more or less matches the demographic of the local population.

I'm 44 and a guest club organiser, not exactly young but quite a long way off my pension. Most of our attendees are 50s/ 60s but we do have a healthy number of 20's, 30's and 40's. We can struggle for numbers on some club nights...... but our 2 weekend events a year do very well indeed. We do attract people in from a fair distance too.

Having been to young for the halycon folk club days of the 60s & 70s I can't really comment on any demise.... you just accept todays conditions and get on with it. We only started the club in October 2007 and though it would be nice to have 50 people here every club night (we don't) the bank balance is healthy and attendances are just about viable. If we only booked big names we could get a lot more audience..... but what's the fun in that!

We do work pretty hard on it though.......


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:15 PM

Oh - I suppose it's just an old-fashioned suspicion of the tentacles of government. Look at Arts Council funding - they subsidise a project for a number of years and then, with little warning, there's a change of policy and the bottom drops out.

That is what happens - but how much time does the RNLI spend fund raising? I used to visit my inlaws' house in Scotland and the local RNLI there had many more members that the local folk club. And probably put on more events!!

But there are Arts Council grants out there and other arts organisations don't seem quite so reluctant to take the money.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:53 PM

Hello Dick - yes, we're all just guessing, but I hope you'll allow that those of us who have spent the last 9 years keeping an up-to-date nation-wide database of clubs (i.e. spending 15-20 hours a week on the phone and internet finding new clubs, and ringing and emailing organisers new and old up and down the land, on an almost daily basis), plus who talk frequently and at length to club organisers and other touring pros about trends in the folk club movement because their livelihood depends on it are at least making educated guesses.

There's a wealth of information on forums like this too, most if it directly quoted personal experiences by well-informed, erudite individuals, but unfortunately some people have some need to dismiss this as gossip or worse if it doesn't concur with their own beliefs or agenda.

This is why we need a proper academic study - which even if dismissed by some, will provide the information that the movers and shakers need (thank goodness there are some) to press forward on the business/funding/licensing side of things.

By chance (I wrote my article before Christmas), this is now happening. Philip Butterworth from the Arts Council is conducting a survey in the English Folk scene to establish the best way forward for Arts Council funding through 2009, 2010 and into 2011. I'd rather it was commissioned by a folk club organisers group, and carried out by an independent academic, but this is a start.

Certainly funding would make a huge difference, and could do so without impacting on the rebellious, independent-minded spirit that pervades the folk world. We pay the taxes, lets get some baxes. (Plus Arts funding is a great anti-Depressant).

Threads like this are usually well-supplied with stories of new and blossoming participation events, often presented as evidence that clubs are not closing. But, as is so often the case, different people have different definitions of the word 'club.'

No-one I know is saying that the folk scene is in trouble - quite the opposite. But the evidence I have is that guest clubs ARE dwindling, and - because support for guests is also diminishing, are likely to dwindle further. And if they drop below a viable number, we will lose something valuable.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM

Can we have some facts? Even if the statistics aren't there, a few anecdotes would help.

My comments directly arose from the OP's comments that folk music would die if we failed to atract young people - it's at the top of this thread.

I wanted to contradict that by saying that it isn't true - folk music isn't dying but the folk club paying the semi- and full-time pro seems to be/is and I can refer you to the word of Tom Bliss a full time professional singer who has a thread about it here; and a long article about it in the latest edition of "Living Tradition" magazine.

Now why not write to the that thread and to Pete Heywood with a reply if you think it isn't true?

You'll make your point in LT to a lot more people than you will on here.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:04 PM

Given current trends, I think the outlets for live acoustic music & song gatherings are evolving from the formal stage & audience set up of the folk clubs to the more informal [& less artificial] settings of the come all ye type.

This type of setting gives better opportunity for onlookers [onlistners?] to experience the music as its inclusive, rather than the sometimes exclusiveness of fc's


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:03 PM

I am not sure what you have against subsidy - many Scottish CD's I get sent have "Scottish Arts Council" on them and the Irish government have pumped squillions into traditional music. It doesn't have seemed to have done young people much harm over there....

Oh - I suppose it's just an old-fashioned suspicion of the tentacles of government. Look at Arts Council funding - they subsidise a project for a number of years and then, with little warning, there's a change of policy and the bottom drops out. I prefer the RNLI model - they exist successfully on their own efforts and refuse government intervention.

Did I ever tell you about my days in the Judean People's Liberation Front... :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 11:56 AM

Jayto, the tone of this thread - and others before it - really depends on the perspective of the poster, as I'm sure you can tell. And it may, to some extent, depend on the part of the UK the poster comes from - strange, you might think, for a country which is relatively tiny when compared with the US!

I don't think there is a definitive answer to any of these threads. All each one of us can do is to say how we see it from our particular vantage point. For myself, I would say that 90% of the clubs, sessions and singarounds I've been to in the UK - some in the south, some in the midlands - have been lively, good fun, in good shape, successful. That's just me experience - but it sounds as though some others have experienced likewise. Good.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Jayto
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 11:38 AM

After reading this thread I think we are going to have to go back and delete alot of other threads. Up until now all I have read was how the scene was dying, clubs closing, and on and on. Upon reading this the whole scene is thriving and growing like mad. Wow! Everything pointed before to gloom and doom and now it's hot and boom. Hmm.


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