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Sidmouth, young and old: a concern

GUEST 10 Oct 14 - 03:23 AM
Musket 10 Oct 14 - 02:56 AM
GUEST 09 Oct 14 - 08:46 PM
Leadfingers 09 Oct 14 - 08:29 PM
Phil Edwards 09 Oct 14 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 09 Oct 14 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 09 Oct 14 - 06:03 PM
Jack Campin 09 Oct 14 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 09 Oct 14 - 02:11 PM
bubblyrat 09 Oct 14 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Anon 09 Oct 14 - 12:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
Date: 10 Oct 14 - 03:23 AM

I've played in sessions all over the place, a lot in Whitby, Otley Cleckheaton, Holmfirth and all local sessions around Halifax and Bradford near where I live, without exception, young people recieve nothing but encouragement no matter what they sing and play.

Some years ago we started a Friday teatime session at The Fleece in Haworth, we pulled in lots of young people, from very early teens to early 20s, we gave them loads of encouragement but actually most of them were very good already, just needing somewhere to sing and play.

I find it hard to believe about Sidmouth.

Dave H

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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: Musket
Date: 10 Oct 14 - 02:56 AM

I enjoy Sidmouth whenever I go and at all levels from concerts to pub sessions via street entertainment. The only time I got frustrated was agreeing to be part of a backing band for a booked singer. Too busy to enjoy some of the bits I love.

Our original poster needs to give it a chance. It is too varied to sum up in one visit. I too was much younger than most of my first folk club mates when I started as a 16 year old, and even now in early retirement, I am one of the younger members of our local club. I don't buy into the Young and old so much as feel my generation is the missing one. Lots of older people still around and I am excited by the interest in folk and acoustic roots by a whole new generation of younger people, with their own heros who in years to come will be revered in words many here reserve for Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Fairport Convention etc.

Give Sidmouth another try next year eh? I'll buy you a pint.

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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 08:46 PM

Hate to say it Leadfingers but when you are ensconced in your own little fiefdom all of life can seem rosy.

I think that Anon makes some very valid points and as for not knowing his age group I think his posting makes it fairly clear that he is around 30 years of age.

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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 08:29 PM

Anon's view of Sidmouth is totally at odds with my experience.He/she
certainly didnt come anywhere near Gerry and my session at The Newt, nor The Middle Bar , as they let ANYBODY sing
Kitty's singaround at The Faulkner is always welcoming , so I cant imagine where Anon went !

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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 07:57 PM

I think Jack's line about singarounds being unwelcoming to strangers of any age is significant (although whether or not it applies to Whitby I don't know). Anon, you may feel that you got passed over because you were a young person sitting on the edge of a group of middle-aged folkies who all knew each other, but I really doubt that your age will have been a factor. Picture a middle-aged version of yourself sitting on the edge of that same group, also not knowing any of them - would the organiser's greydar have picked up that personand welcomed them in as a fellow old codger? I think it's far more likely that you happened on a group of friends who like to sing together and don't much like newcomers. Which is horrible - I hate it when that happens to me - but it's not about youth and age; it's just about some folkies being miserable and standoffish.

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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 06:20 PM

Derek, my real name is....[very low whisper]...

But please don't let any of the dangerous nutters and stalkers know what I just told you...

I hope you don't think I was chiding this young newcomer ?
As you so rightly point out,
I am the last person here to get on my high horse about anonymous posting...[just ask most mods...]

I was just giving 'anon' a little forewarning hint of potentially what to expect
from the mudcat neighbourhood watch anti-anonymity hardliners....

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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 06:03 PM

Bubblerat ... I don't think your posting does much to convince young Anon to continue pursuing his/her interest in folk music.

personally, I find there are undoubtedly some arrogant young people in folk, and equally some arrogant older people.... arrogance is not the prerogative of any particular age group. Generally, though the younger performers I come across are happy to mix with us oldies and keen to learn and hear what we have to say and sing ... and then do their own thing where appropriate, just like we did back in the day.

As for your experience Anon, I can only say that you might have been unfortunate .... not sure how old you are exactly - you didn't say - but are you in the Shooting Roots age range? Even if you are not (ie older) there are plenty of ex Shooting Roots people around who have themselves got a bit older.

I am not sure what young people would say ... I'll pass your comment to some of them who go to Sidmouth!

Finally, punkfolkrocker, I'd prefer it is everyone used their own name. Anon seems no different to punkfolkrocker .. perhaps I know who you really are, but punkfolkrocker gives me no clue!


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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 03:02 PM

I've never been to Sidmouth but I have been to Whitby a few times. I can imagine somebody having Anon's experience, but only if they were a singer. Instrumentalists do tend to sort themselves out into groups doing different things, but there isn't a lot of aggro. On the other hand there are very few younger singers at all - certainly none with the student-virtuoso pretensions complained about above - and the singarounds I've looked into or attempted to take part in have not been welcoming to strangers of any age. Arriving in a squad of at least three might help. Or maybe there are exceptions I've missed.

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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 02:11 PM

First off, calling yourself 'Anon' is guaranteed to wind up more than a few here.
So if this thread takes off, and you carry on posting, it's best to make up a guest name.
[I made up mine as a one off joke, and I've been lumbered with it for more than a decade.]

What's maybe surprising is you've actually stuck it out with the folk scene for so long,
before arriving at this realisation...

It might not seem like it right now, but disillusionment can be turned around
into a positive critical awareness
of the reality of the 'friendly' folk business;
and a new mature outlook on the myriad of self-righteous tossers
who tend to overshadow the good encouraging helpful folks...

I'm in my mid 50s by the way.....

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Subject: RE: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: bubblyrat
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 02:04 PM

As an OLD "folkie" who first went to Sidmouth in 1965, I would like to reply to this "young person " thus ; Actually, the REVERSE of what you say is true,in my experience . For years now,there have young performers/ bands etc ,who have been "reading" folk at University, and who consequently think that they are VASTLY superior to those of us "amateurs" who don't,can't or won't , read music or play complex jigs and reels at breakneck speed without a single mistake !! Trying to join them in a "session" often results in frosty stares and a very unfriendly and unwelcoming attitude .This has been going on for some years now, and the sheer bloody ARROGANCE of these young upstarts is ,frankly , APPALLING !! So STOP MOANING and be grateful for being able to get "on the ladder" , so to speak ; it takes TIME, believe me !!

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Subject: Sidmouth, young and old: a concern
From: GUEST,Anon
Date: 09 Oct 14 - 12:24 PM

Dear Everyone

This is not going to be a popular post by any means but I hope you'll forgive me because it is a genuine question that I'd like your help on; I truly want to make sense of it.

I can be classified as a young folkie in that my friends in my local folk clubs are usually about 30 years older than me. I didn't grow up with folk music but I went out to discover it myself and now perform traditional songs at clubs and festivals and am a member of a festival organising Committee in the west of England.

I went to Sidmouth for the first time this year after many of my fellow folkies had waxed lyrically about it and told me I'd love it. I was really excited to go to a proper traditional festival, having previously been to more 'broad' folk festivals like Cambridge, Shrewsbury and Warwick.

I have to say that I was really very saddened and disappointed by my experience at Sidmouth. I don't say this as criticism of the organisers at all who put on some great concerts. I speak of the fringe events and the festival goers. For starters, most of the young people were performing and very few seemed to have gone without that as an incentive. Not only this, but every pub session I went into seemed closed off and unfriendly. At singarounds, people put on singers they knew – several people I spoke to said that this was the normal thing. More than this however, was how miserable everyone looked – it was as if to show any emotion rather than stony boredom might make other people mistakenly assume that they had only been coming for a mere 20 years and therefore that things could still surprise them – they would therefore be classed as not 'the real deal'.

I found Sidmouth incredibly unfriendly, with knowledge presiding over passion and with no real engagement with young people. I've spoken to people who have said the same thing about Whitby and I can't comment, not having been, but surely this is not good enough if we want to avoid another 'folk doldrums' in ten years or so after all the young people have been scared away?

To my complete horror, I have been put off folk music. My initial attraction to folk music in general stemmed from love of music from the past but also folk's sociableness and the way two people from different backgrounds can meet, share music , take something away from the encounter and make something both old and new at the same time. I am coming to believe that instead of this, folk is a dry, insular thing, full of censure, disapproval and unfriendliness and the only right way is to do things in one particular way.

The reason I'm writing this is that I haven't been able to have a proper discussion with the people in my folk club who will hear no wrong about it. I have tried a couple of times but have stopped at the risk of maligning something so many people hold dear.

I worked very hard to find out more about folk music and to be a part of it but I feel very sad about the possibility that the majority of my 20s might have been accidentally given to an ungenerous, judgemental area of music. I do not want to feel like this and would appreciate some insight from others.

I know that much has been discussed about young people and folk music on Mudcat but I would like to know if A) other young people have felt this way about Sidmouth and the very traditional English festivals, B) if older people have felt this way and C) how I communicate my thoughts with other folkies that I meet and how I can help to make things better. I go to one of the most traditional clubs in England specifically to learn more about the traditional stuff and have found what I've learned to be invaluable. I don't want now to feel at war somehow with the older generation.

Apologies for any offence caused. I think it is important for me to have these questions asked and answered and I do hope that you understand my reason for writing.

Thank you to all of you.

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