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How can a folkie make a living?

Stower 24 Oct 09 - 03:51 PM
dick greenhaus 24 Oct 09 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Mark Stevens 24 Oct 09 - 04:19 PM
Linda Kelly 24 Oct 09 - 04:26 PM
Vic Smith 24 Oct 09 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Mark Stevens 24 Oct 09 - 04:42 PM
Amos 24 Oct 09 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Mark Stevens 24 Oct 09 - 05:08 PM
Gervase 24 Oct 09 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Stuart Reed 24 Oct 09 - 05:30 PM
Tim Leaning 24 Oct 09 - 05:37 PM
Joe_F 24 Oct 09 - 05:41 PM
Tug the Cox 24 Oct 09 - 06:44 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Oct 09 - 06:45 PM
Will Fly 24 Oct 09 - 07:03 PM
Alice 24 Oct 09 - 07:10 PM
kendall 24 Oct 09 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Mark Stevens 24 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM
Charley Noble 24 Oct 09 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,FolkGiant 24 Oct 09 - 10:34 PM
Eve Goldberg 24 Oct 09 - 11:15 PM
Naemanson 24 Oct 09 - 11:19 PM
Richie 24 Oct 09 - 11:47 PM
Tim Leaning 25 Oct 09 - 05:14 AM
kendall 25 Oct 09 - 05:43 AM
Stower 25 Oct 09 - 06:05 AM
Young Buchan 25 Oct 09 - 06:05 AM
stallion 25 Oct 09 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Mooh, who? 25 Oct 09 - 09:47 AM
Stower 25 Oct 09 - 10:11 AM
Fidjit 25 Oct 09 - 10:34 AM
VirginiaTam 25 Oct 09 - 10:34 AM
Rafflesbear 25 Oct 09 - 01:29 PM
Patrick-Costello 25 Oct 09 - 02:02 PM
Paul Burke 25 Oct 09 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Guest John Hartford 25 Oct 09 - 03:07 PM
Anne Lister 25 Oct 09 - 04:52 PM
Alice 25 Oct 09 - 04:59 PM
Deckman 25 Oct 09 - 05:11 PM
Stringsinger 25 Oct 09 - 07:09 PM
Bill D 25 Oct 09 - 07:12 PM
Mark Ross 25 Oct 09 - 07:25 PM
Callie 25 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM
GUEST 25 Oct 09 - 08:16 PM
GUEST 25 Oct 09 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,cookieless Jed Marum 25 Oct 09 - 08:54 PM
JedMarum 25 Oct 09 - 08:57 PM
JedMarum 25 Oct 09 - 08:59 PM
JedMarum 25 Oct 09 - 09:06 PM
GUEST 25 Oct 09 - 09:14 PM
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Subject: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Stower
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 03:51 PM

I remember Martin Carthy saying once that, in the '60s, he and Swarb did a tour of all the folk clubs in Manchester. It took them two weeks.

Nowadays there are few folk clubs and some of them are struggling. So I am genuinely interested: how can a single folk performer, or indeed a duo or a band, possibly make a full time living out of their music? Obviously, for a few, it can be done, but we've all heard of performers who have to go back to a job where the wage is guaranteed. I find it difficult to imagine how our music from provide a living wage.

I'd be interested to hear from full or part time performers. How do you do it? Supportive partners with a regular income? Second jobs to fall back on? Other part time work? Instrument tuition? Educational work in schools? Playing solo and also in five different bands?


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 04:13 PM

McDonald's?


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 04:19 PM

Busking.
Blagging gigs at pubs that you can negotiate proper payment.
By NOT playing boring 'we don't know this song' folk music to the general public !
Give the public what they what, give them The Wild Rover till the cows come 'ome.
Folk-erize pop songs: Buddy Holly, Cat Stevens, The Beatles, The Kinks, Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
Forget about the Musician's Union, what have they ever done for me ?
Forget about Folk Clubs, they're full of b.o.fs and yoghurt knitters.

That's my personal experience, anyway. You may disagree.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 04:26 PM

I disagree


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 04:32 PM

"How can a folkie make a living?"

Easy-Peasy. I can tell you how to make a living as a folk singer and end up with a million quid! You start out with £2 million.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 04:42 PM

But where do you get £2M from in the first place, Vic ?


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Amos
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 04:58 PM

Make a brilliant CD and flog it to hundreds of thousands of people.


A


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 05:08 PM

I've already tried that, haven't I, Vic ?


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Gervase
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 05:11 PM

Get a proper job and save the proper music for your spare time.
Or if you don't give a toss about your own heritage and culture, follow Mark Stevens' advice and churn out any old crap for drunkards in pubs.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,Stuart Reed
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 05:30 PM

There are very few folkies making a living. By that I mean enough to pay the mortgage, bring up 2.4 children, run a car, take the family away for two weeks in the sun etc.

That probably means that handful of well known performers on the concert circuit. I'm sure that Vic would agree that very few of the guests he books at his weekly club are among them.

But it's not just folkies - I reckon that only about 10 per cent of all "full time" musicians of any genre fulfil the criteria above.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 05:37 PM

Get a job?
Go back to uni ?
Enhance your networking skills?
Accept that you maybe cant do what you would like to do and then do what you can and enjoy that~?
Keep trying and if you do, all the very best wishes for your success.
Maybe when you have made the big time you could post a how to do it thread on the cat.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 05:41 PM

How can a blue-eyed person make a living? Plenty of ways, but not by having blue eyes. And that, IMO, is just as well.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 06:44 PM

Forget about Folk Clubs, they're full of b.o.fs and yoghurt knitters.
That's my personal experience, anyway. You may disagree.


   Yep, I do. But I also disagree with most of what mark ye Morris of Wild Hunt and the BNP says.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 06:45 PM

Pretty much a giveaway for the amount the BNP really care about folk music and other traditions, Mark.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 07:03 PM

I made a living from music for a short spell - before I got totally bored with the life - and it wasn't from folk music, it was rock'n roll. We (the trio) played up and down the country - British Legions, Con Clubs, Trades & Labour clubs, Army messes, social clubs of all sorts, one-offs in pubs residencies in pubs - plus weddings, anniversary bashes, corporate events, blah, blah and blah. Southport one night, Clacton the next, "50s" themed weekends at out-of-season holiday camps, works "do's"... with the New Year's Eve gig as the cash high spot of the year. Even made a record or two.

In the end, the life nearly killed the love of music so, in spite of quite good money, I jacked it in. But, and note this - only a few of those venues above are open to folkies. Bring on the day job...


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Alice
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 07:10 PM

Most artists have to have another source of income.

Musicians, painters, dancers, actors, writers, composers, sculptors, you name it. If you are in the arts, most do it without making a living from it (if you get paid to teach in the arts, that helps). My degree is in fine art. I've had gallery shows over the last 35 years, but lose money on those in the long run, because of framing, shipping, paying the gallery their commission. The money I made from art was from being employed as a graphic artist, illustrator, or art director, totally commercial stuff.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: kendall
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 07:36 PM

I never wanted to make a living doing folk music. Anything you MUST do is work, and I never want music to be work.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,Mark Stevens
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM

well, cheers Gervaise, Tug, and Richard !
I don't suppose you've even heard my musick, so what do you know ? !!


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 09:39 PM

A wealthy wife or husband would help.

Very few people can make it professionally.

But it's still a lot of fun to sing, and sing well.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,FolkGiant
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 10:34 PM

I have also had a period of time where I made my living (admittedly as a single man in a cheap apartment with a roommate) at music. I am forming a new band and will soon make that living again, albeit with a wife and 3 kids in tow. Nevertheless, it shall get done.

My advice? Just keep plugging away, mate. Never mind all the bull about having to play crappy music for drunkards. Play what you want. Polish that motherfucker till it shines. Own the stage... whatever it is you do, do it like no one else. Put your own stamp on the music and leave no doubt in anyone's mind that your show is a scene worth making.

I never, ever bow my knee to what people want to hear irrespective of what I love (and was born) to play. I do, of course, try to get gigs where my music (Chicago and Kansas City-style blues) where the music is more likely to be appreciated, but damn if I play some bubblegum garbage pop music just because some rumpot is waving a dollar.

What does Pete Seeger always say, anyway? "Take it easy, but take it."


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 11:15 PM

When people ask me if I make a living from music, my answer is always, "define living."

Having said that, my only source of income is from music, and for me the key has been diversifying. Most of my steady income these days is from teaching. I teach private lessons out of my home (extremely low overhead and very satisfying). I have developed a bunch of workshops I can teach. So sometimes when I'm performing a concert I can also offer a workshop on guitar, singing, performance, or songwriting in the same town the afternoon before or the day after before I leave town. That helps me bring in more income for the same amount of travel.

I also teach classes at an arts school every summer now, and teach at several music camps. I have recently started teaching guitar lessons on an online website. And I've just started offering long distance lessons via Skype, so now I can teach guitar to someone halfway around the world if I want.

I love teaching and it adds immeasurably to my musicianship. I can (for the most part) set my own hours, and move my schedule around if I need to. My students become great supporters and fans, bringing their friends to gigs and buying CDs to give other people as gifts, and so on.

Recently I've also started looking into working with kids. I am currently taking a course for artists in different disciplines who want to work in schools. I'm learning about the learning culture in schools, developing programs that fit the curriculum, working with teachers, what's appropriate for different ages, multiple intelligences, and all kinds of great stuff that will hopefully prepare me to be able to bring my music into schools in a meaningful way.

I am also learning how to play the ukulele, because I love the instrument, but also because I see a lot of potential for working with kids - the uke is small, easy to get started on, portable, and incredibly versatile. All of which make it ideal instrument for kids.

All of this is in addition to my performing and recording activities, which I originally thought would be my main sources of income. I learned fast that I would have to find other ways of using my music if I wanted to be able to survive. Doing lots of other things with my music has helped me stay interested in what I'm doing, introduced me to new audiences, and helped me develop as a musician. So all in all, I think it's been a great thing for me. Your mileage may vary, of course!


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 11:19 PM

Most folkies I know have a real job and music is their hobby. As the old saying goes, "Don't give up your day job."

My plan was always to retire and live on the retirement and tour the little folk clubs for fun. Now that I'm retired I'm on the wrong side of the world for that plus the retirement doesn't do the support job so well as to let me do anything but work at a second career.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Richie
Date: 24 Oct 09 - 11:47 PM

Hi,

I make a living playing music because that's what I do. I also teach and write. I really don't worry about making money- but my wife does- haha!

Times are tougher to make good money playing. I make less than I used to and play more.

My main goal is to contribute to the music community by doing research and sharing what little I know with others.

I've had some success and played with a few legends but it means more to me to uncover info about old songs and musicians than what I do.

I hope I can give more- money isn't everything.

Richie


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 05:14 AM

Seems success depends how you measure life eh?


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: kendall
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 05:43 AM

Well said, FolkGiant! LOL. I would sometimes reluctantly sing a song that I had recorded earlier and grew tired of, but iI would never make like a freekin' juke box.

"You sing Irish songs? can you do WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING?" AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Stower
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 06:05 AM

Thank you. Thank you especially, Eve Goldberg, for being so positive and constructive. The answers are, on the whole, what I expected (but hoped to hear differently) - that making a folkie living is nigh on impossible.

Money isn't everything. I am not materialistic. On the other hand, I have bills to pay, a mortgage (like most people), and I never want to be in the position where my choice is to be in debt or sell an instrument, as has happened to two professional musicians I know.

More contributions on making a success if it, as Eve has, would be most welcome.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 06:05 AM

Harry Cox and Fred Jordan made a living working on a farm. Sam Larner and John Doughty made a living working on trawlers. Belle Stewart and Phoebe Smith made a living selling things from door to door. John McDonald made a living as a molecatcher.

None of them made a particularly good living. But look at the music!


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: stallion
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 06:27 AM

It sometimes pays for the beer we consume, sometimes we give it back, some clubs are so cash strapped it feels like the beggar is giving us money! the music is the most important bit.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,Mooh, who?
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 09:47 AM

Get a haircut and get a real job. It actually worked for years, that is, working for others. Then came stress and burnout. Screw that routine. I ended up teaching private music lessons, small time gigs and recording sessions. It's a living, and the best job I've ever had.

Peace, Mooh.

P.S. Apologies to the mod squad, I ate my cookie.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Stower
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 10:11 AM

Yes, Mooh: 'real job', stress, burnout. I'm doing that now. I've had enough of it. This is why I ask the question. I want to know how not having a 'real job' can work in practice.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Fidjit
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 10:34 AM

Much better now I'm a pensioner.

Fixed income. Solves the payment of the bills. Mortgage is payed off.

Plenty of time to get to gigs. I plan at least six months ahead.

Gave up pub singing in the seventy's
Can't remember when I last sang "The Wild Rover".

Choose where I want to play. Library's, Museums, Art centers and the like.

Won't say I'm making a living at it (Tax man would be after me) I'm not, but I don't care. I just enjoy what I'm doing.

Do a fare amount for free 'cos I enjoy the buzz.

Play with two different groups. Mostly for dance.

Play with another couple that live 3 hours drive away (even in another country) I have the time, they don't.

Then there's my solo stuff too.

Chas


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 10:34 AM

Not likely to support yourself with gigs, but it can be a nice supplement to other income and will keep it enjoyable because you don't have to bust butt and rely on it to pay bills.

If you do trad music put together a package of story telling and song that is folkloric especially geographically specific, maybe consider working schools, libraries, history groups for a small fee?

Though Tom Bliss did just this and still, sadly, had to pack it in to find more gainful employment.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Rafflesbear
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 01:29 PM

Norcsalordie went the pub route and kept it going for a while. They carved their niche in upbeat folk - there are enough videos on YouTube for you to make up your own minds as to whether they sold out

Yes there were pubs full of drunkards - but when you can get those drunkards dancing on the tables because there's not enough room on the floor just by playing folk music - that's quite a buzz

If you are not prepared to play and sing music that many people enjoy then you are not serious about making a living at it. Treat it as a crusade - give them Fields of Athenry then when they are on board put in something less well known

There were times when the duo threatened to outnumber the audience and there were the pubs with appreciative audiences that kept inviting them back. There were the myriads of phone calls, the publicity material, e-mails are an absolute boon, the website - essential, making contacts and hoping that someone will take a chance on you - in the case of Norcsalordie that someone was Kim Headley at Broadstairs - the socialising in the interval and at the end

Folk clubs were overall a dead loss - most of them fix their program up to a year in advance and are pretty conservative in who they book. They tend to run on a limited budget and are the haunt of people who play for free and are often pleased to do so. That said when Norcsalordie did get into clubs they went down extremely well

Travel all over the country and if you are not playing you should be getting bookings. When you travel to a gig, leave early and make personal calls on potential venues along the route and in the area. Take your instruments in with you and be ready to give an audition on the spot - if you are lucky you will get the ear of the locals who will insist that the publican gives you a gig.

Essentially - to make it in pubs

get an act that people will want to see
promote yourself 24/7
be thick skinned
be prepared to travel wherever necessary
don't have too many people in your act
keep it lively - pubs will have you back if you sell beer - not if you make their clientele stick to their chairs
break into festivals as soon as you can
and if you work extremely hard you may just get by on the takings


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Patrick-Costello
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:02 PM

I thing the real breakthrough for me was the realization that performing has nothing to do with folk music. Once I understood that I set out breaking all of the "rules" of the music biz. I flat-out refuse to perform. I have managed to put off releasing CD for several years. I refuse to charge for music lessons. I only leave my home town a couple of times a year. Anything I do sell is almost always made available online under a Creative Commons license.

I make myself freely available to my students online and in person (even our Folk Music Retreats in Crisfield are now pass-the-hat funded events). I never try to market myself. We do sell a lot of books, videos and instruments but I take a very passive approach to sales – and sales have nothing to do with how I treat people.
As a folk musician I view my job along the lines of service. Day after day I work to help folks discover that they can make music. The people I help go out into their own communities and, bit by bit, the good will spreads.

Whenever other folkies make fun of how I do business I pull my health insurance card from my wallet and smile.
-Patrick
http://dailyfrail.com/


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 02:26 PM

Here's a suggsetion, though it's parochial (to UK), and assumes you have access to some capital.

Buy a pub in a rural location- they are closing down like wasps die in the autumn at the moment. It needs to have a suitable camping field nearby. I could suggest one.

Run it as a folk venue- a permanent do-it-yourself festival. You'll get income from camping fees, beer, food. Extra expenses will be cost of bookings when you run a special event- the rest of the time, the punters entertain themselves.

Keep the snug for locals, and encourage them to mix with the folkies. Do them things they like on quiet nights.

Be high profile.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,Guest John Hartford
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 03:07 PM

hi

I understand the feelings of most of the contributors to this thread. Making a living as a " folkie" is almost impossible.

It can be done but to do it you have to understand that you will be a proffessional and as such will need to dedicate most of your time and effort into being so.......oh and you will need more than just a little luck.

I did make a living out of music but not in folk music. I made my "pile" in rock & pop. It paid as a very good living for a few years and I was able to buy my home outright and feed and clothe and educate my family.

Having done this I got out and took up a "proper job" in commerce.

So I was then able to set myself and some friends up in the folk field and pick and choose what I wanted to do and when and where I wanted to do it.

Needless to say we didn't add to our bank accounts but we did bank some rich life experiences.

Good playing

John


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Anne Lister
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 04:52 PM

I can tell you what is a really, really bad idea financially, and that's to marry an actor.
How we make ends meet - luckily his acting is also a day job (pays peanuts, but it's regular peanuts). And I do supply teaching, storytelling, run workshops and do whatever I can to pull in more pennies. About to join him for a week at his day job (living history museum) where I will be acting for even smaller peanuts but it's school half term so hey, it's work.
So to take the opposite point of view, a folkie should aim to marry someone with a good regular income and that would probably help a lot.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Alice
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 04:59 PM

Thanks, John, for your input.

To add to what I posted earlier, the choice to be an artist of any kind is usually not motivated by money, but rather the love of plying that art. I spent many financially struggling years as an artist, but I am happy for the experiences I've had with art and music.




Alice


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Deckman
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 05:11 PM

I especially liked Kendall's first comment ... fits me to a tee.

I'm retired now, layed down my hammer and picked up my guitar about four years ago. Over the last 45 years of building, I always kept my hand in my music, performing the occasional concert, gigs, etc. We just returned from a 1,724 mile road trip: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, back home to Washington. We made enough on the road to match expenses, but that's all. Did concerts, TV, a supper club, and some freebies.

If you MUST make your living at music ... and you KNOW if you're driven to do that ... take EVERYTHING you can get. All kinds of gigs, teach, do school programs, nursing homes, funerals, weddings, children's parties, the Rotary club, the Kiwanis club, etc. Back in the early 60's I knew I'd reached my musical prostitution limit when I was offered a gig singing for a Safeway Store opening. (I turned it down).

Hang in there and don't pick up any expensive needs, such as a family! Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 07:09 PM

This is probably the worst time to try to make a living as a folkie. That doesn't mean it can't be done.

You have to be your own promoter, publicist and manager. You have to make one deal for a concert at a time. You have to either be willing to travel or play for little money. You have to find out what works for you individually because it may not work for anyone else.

You have to decide what it means to be a folkie.

CD's don't mean much any more. You Tube is a better vehicle for gigs. Or live DVD's.

You have to be ready to pay the psychic costs for being a performer. It's not as romantic as you think it would be. On the road, bad food, health issues, expenses associated with travel and lodging become highly important problems.

You have to find your niche. In this way, many will not know who you are nationally.

Fame generally finds you rather than you finding it.

Fame doesn't always translate into making money.

You have to study hard. Guitar, or any instrument, voice, performance techniques, songwriting (if that's what you do) just like an actor does. You kinda' have to train like an athlete. Even with all of this, you may not wind up where you thought you would be in a career.

You need to really know what you're doing. If you sing folk songs, know everything there is to know about the songs you sing historically, musically, vocally etc. If you write songs, they better be the kind that others will want either to hear more than once or sing themselves.

If you are a soloist, be prepared to be alone and like it. If you are in a group, it's like a marriage without any of the benefits. It's usually a temporary marriage, too.

You have to schmooze plenty with those who hire you. How far you want to go with this differs from gig to gig. (I am not willing to drink or smoke dope with anyone).

Luck plays an important role because unlike going to med or law school, you can make all the right moves and still be unsuccessful.

The best question would be:How can you be the best folkie you can be?

Stringsinger


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 07:12 PM

No one has really said **write songs**. It won't make you a gen-you-wine 'folkie', but if you OWN some good songs...(did I mention that you have to write good ones?)... it can increase your value a lot. If you also do some 'folk' songs, it can be a pleasant mixture.
   The other thing that *I* look for is someone who is knowledgeable and outgoing/gregarious about sharing what they do & know when they perform. That intangible thing called 'stage presence' helps also...I'm not sure one can just adopt that....it''s gotta come naturally.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 07:25 PM

I have learned after 421/2 years that there are literally tens of dollars to be made!

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: Callie
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:03 PM

have several projects going at once. that way you can get gigs or play at festivals under many different guises (and not only as "oh - we had him last year, we can't book him again").

teach

get on the Arts Councils touring circuits

tour tour tour

continue to record and sell new cds (including under different guises)

move to a cheap part of town

don't have children!!

drive a bomb

ask other performers to billet you on tour, and expect to do the same for them when they are in town

play gigs at non-folk venues, fetes, fairs, festivals, community gatherings

practise all the time so that you can be good when the gigs come in

that's all i can think of!


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:16 PM

DEPEMDING

Age
Sex
Location
Morals
Connection
Living?

MOST of the world makes "a living" on about 2,000 Euros a year.
There are some.. who I hear...that support on their rear...
Two mortgagues - three dogs and four homes.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:52 PM

I'll tell you what I think; the first thing you do is give up the day job. Now you have to earn ALL of your living from music. Then you pound the pavement.

Figure what kind of gigs you might be able to take and try every flipping one of them. If you're not good at some of them, figure out how you can get better at them and keep trying. Obviously the ones you are good at, keep booking.

You build on your successes. You turn over every stone. Look at where the players you want to follow are working and figure out how to get booked there too.

Always develop your music; if you're a writer, keep writing. If you're a folklorist, keep researching and learning new material. Figure out how to "tell the tale" and hold an audience's attention.

You've got work at it - and I mean every minute of the day. The booking is the hardest part for me. I still hate it, but I do it constantly. I've been earning a living at it for over just under 10 years and I still struggle - but I love it.

Good luck


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST,cookieless Jed Marum
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:54 PM

Ooops! Me again above. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:57 PM

... and most folkies I know work only music for their living, and some do very well.

If you're looking to jump into a comfortable or even a good living, that won't happen to most people. But if you're determined to make your income from performing and willing to work really hard and keep pounding away at it - you can make it.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 08:59 PM

right on, folk giant!


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 09:06 PM

PM me for particulars. I'd be glad to share more thoughts on this.

It was through Mudcat that I got jump-started into performing folk music for my living - and I am more then happy to help out folks seriously considering the path I chose.


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Subject: RE: How can a folkie make a living?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 09:14 PM

Relationships (aka networking)

You NEED some "anchor points."

No matter how "bad" tight, bankrupt, the ecomony you need at least three resources (they do Not have to be musical - fruit picking works).

Bottom Line - "The Grass is NOT Greener - if you do not hoe."

IF you can make "de man" money - you will live in "the land of milk and honey."


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