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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Rich Where have the audiences gone? (378* d) RE: Where have the audiences gone? 01 Aug 08

Personally, I'm not surprised when things change for a while (i.e. audience numbers). Everything moves in cycles, audiences go up, and down, things become 'cool' and then 'uncool'.

Paddy Maloney, in a Chieftans documentary was explaining that when they started in the mid-60's the scene in Ireland was on its arse, including sessions. It was an old man's game, no-one was interested. It was uncool. (I'm paraphrasing, but that's basically what he was saying) The Chieftan's, Planxty et al certainly helped to turn that around. Obviously similar things happened in England and elsewhere. It will happen again, and, I believe, is happening now.

The number of young artists is amazing, the likes of Kris Drever, Bella Hardy, Ruth Notman, Mawkin:Causley, Wheeler Street, Breabach, Shona Kipling and Damien O'Kane, Jeanna Leslie and Siobhan Miller etc. etc. etc. etc. There was a band called Jiggawatt at my local folk club two weeks ago whose average age must have been about 16. These people are, and will over time, bring more with them, just like has happened before. There is phenomenal talent selling CDs and tickets. I admit that a lot of the younger audiences may, at the moment, be at the younger-festivals (Shepley, Chester etc. in my neck of the woods), and not at the club scene, but young people are out there playing and listening to this music, and I believe over time, it will spread.

(And by the way I'm not on about singer-songwriter festivals and concerts, I'm on about people playing predominantly traditional songs and tunes, but young people, with a love for it and an attitude to boot.)

However, I agree clubs, concerts etc. have to be attractive to younger audiences. Good PA, good quality advertising (in the right places), excellent young acts, good venues etc. etc. But please knock this stuff off about young people not being able to listen, it really gets on my tits, and is completely ageist, and crap. Some young people can't shut up and listen, some old people can't shut up and listen. It's nothing to do with age!!

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