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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Cappuccino Folk Club Manners (1109* d) RE: Folk Club Manners 22 Nov 08

Many apologies I had missed this thread (only a thousand entries!) and now find it's relevant to something I had been wondering about posting.

I'll avoid the location, because I don't want to offend, but it was a pub, deep in the west country (UK). We booked a few days' rest and peace at this quiet out-of-the-way pub, and partly because we noticed it promoted a folk night. Great!   Arrived at the pub and saw 'folk music' promoted on a board outside. All very promising.

Come the night, the customers sitting, and indeed dining, near the nice log fire were all moved elsewhere, because 'that's where the musicians sit'.   The musicians arrived about nine of them, I think, couple of guitars, accordion, two or three fiddles, bodhran, usual stuff.   They all sat in a circle by the log fire, which meant that at least half of them had their backs to everyone else in the pub.

They played the kind of tunes you would expect, and weren't bad at all.

But some things niggled me.

After several of the tunes, the customers in the bar applauded. The applause was completely ignored by this circle of musicians.   Some people attempted to speak to the musicians they were ignored, too. The musicians spoke only to each other.

Surely, if a venue promotes music as an attraction, then the musicians should be playing to the audience, not to themselves? If it's a 'session', you must say so in the publicity, or otherwise it suggests a 'show', someone entertaining an audience?

Even in a session situation in a pub, is it acceptable for the musicians to play in a closed private circle, with their backs to the audience? Surely, even if it is a 'session' and not a 'show', it is appalling bad manners for any musicians to ignore applause?      

Or am I wrong to be miffed about this? (And after so many years on this forum, I should know better than to ask such a question!).

What an appalling image for the folk scene to put out.


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