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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Ewan Spawned a Monster Earning a living in Folk (235* d) RE: Earning a living in Folk 30 Jun 08


Fair point, Folkie Dave - in a way.

Although it's actually quite a narrow list: traditional singers; singers of traditional songs, a few "folk club approved" singer songwriters and a couple of folk rock bands. Not entirely complaining, though: I'm hugely enthusiastic about some of the names you've listed.

The festival and concert scene side of the folk world is indeed far more open minded than the UK folk world as manifested, for example, on Mudcat could ever be. It also doesn't bear much resemblence to the folk clubs I've had the misfortune to attend, but that's probably another discussion (though not entirely unrelated to the one that John Kelly was trying to initiate before the Snail put him in detention).

Here's another list: Jackie Oates, Jim Causley, Jon Loomes, Spiers and Boden, the Askew Sisters, Bella Hardy, James Raynard, Mawkin, Ruth Notman, John Dipper. Off the top of my head. All excellent singers and players from the younger generations of folk performers. Not a one of them has played at any of the folk clubs in the major city where I live, as far as I know.

We've had Rachel Unthank and we've had Bellowhead and we've had 'em at non-folk venues. This, I think, is on reflection probably for the best. Non folk club types like me are more likely to attend.

It could be argued that the answer is for me to start a better club than those around me. This is the standard answer, after all. I can't due to not having time, what with the full time job, the young kids and the pre-existing extra-curricular commitments. This doesn't mean I shouldn't have an opinion though, nor does the fact that I'm one of those 40somethings who allegedly destroyed folk by not going to folk clubs in the 80s. Well, I did go to one...

But that's another story.

In summary, Alex Petradis's comments do reflect how it often feels to those of us who are on the outside, faces squashed against the glass, looking in. A bit like interlopers in a world that isn't theirs. And maybe that's one of the reasons why there's not enough guest-based clubs to sustain the careers of more than just a few professional folk singers, and to go back to the point of the thread, its so hard for them to earn a living. As Tom Bliss has said, nationally, there simply aren't enough decent guest nights to go around. And we can't keep citing the same handful of examples that buck the trend in an attempt to keep our heads valiantly buried in the sand.

Certainly, if there was a club locally regularly booking quality guests I would make a point of attending. As things stand, I've all; but given up, because those of us who "just want to listen" are second class citizens compared with those who enjoy the celebratory love-in that is participatory folk. And whilst there's nothing wrong with that, per se, can you see why us "punters" wouldn't want to stand on the periphery watching your private party?


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