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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Gene Burton Can folk clubs get any better? (135* d) RE: Can folk clubs get any better? 06 Jul 08

I've been following this thread with some interest, and not a little deja-vu:>) Not pitched in before because I've said pretty much everything useful I might have to contribute on the subject elsewhere.

However, I've got to say I'd be absolutely dismayed if I was to turn up say at the Black Diamond in Birmingham (the one FC I've attended with any regularity of late) to find a roomful of people singing Damian Rice and David Gray songs! I hear quite enough of that kind of thing at open mics and it's not what I go to a folk club either to hear or perform. I don't think that WOULD attract more young people, either; again, if they want to listen to that kind of thing there are any number of indie-toilet-venues around where they can hear it; AND be guaranteed of company and a social scene dominated by their own age group. If you want to attract youth into folk clubs, you have to concentrate on people who actually LIKE folk ( traditional folk and GENUINE contemporary folk) to begin with.

Can I just say, too (in response to one or two posters who've derided it) that I think the singaround format has considerable merit and I for one would be very sorry if it was allowed to become extinct. There are plenty of singarounds around which can boast some extremely talented regulars (the ones @ Black Diamond being one prime example IMO- and not just because I go there!); and my own musical experience would be much the poorer without them- most of the trad songs I perform I picked up at singarounds; most of the best traditional singers I've heard, I've heard at singarounds. It resonates with me in the main because its a mutually participatory experience- not about standing on a stage being the "star", or about sitting around on your arse, passively being entertained- and people (young or otherwise) need that more than ever in an age when mass culture is becoming ever more about being a passive, receptive consumer thereof.

So, all that being said, er, how DO we attract more young people into folk clubs whilst retaining the folk brand? Dunno...:^(

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