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Dita Folk sushhhhing folk (142* d) RE: Folk sushhhhing folk 03 Nov 09

Quieting a noisy room.

Danny Kyle - "Shhhhhh, (pause), the cat's peein'."

Iain MacKintosh- He would play quieter and quieter and mummble inaudibly into the mic until one by one the room hushed to hear what he was saying, then he started.

Rowdy individuals/crowds

Danny Kyle- "Go and sit against the wall, it's plastered tae".

Diggery Venn - "Some village is missing it's idiot tonight".

Cilla & Artie, and Dick Gaughan, pack up and leave, if orginiser not taking control.

Robin Williamson During bardic period, telling stories and playing harp, when confronted with drunk Incredible String Band "fans" loudly insisting on ISB songs, including some of Mike Heron's!. Gig halted while said fans evicted.

I've also used a variation of the "take the mic to the table" trick.

Someone at the back talking loudly and oblivious to what's hapening on stage. Stop mid song, fold arms and listen intently, suddenly the talker realises that all's gone quiet. Looks around puzzled, looks at stage. Moments silence with eyes engaged, then you say "Sorry, my singing and playing was interupting your conversation, it won't happen again".
Round of applause, silence, restart gig.


In the 70's/80's folk cubs in Scottish seaside town's often had tourists making a large part of the summer crowd (and so giving the clubs a bit of cash in the bank for winter bookings). These crowds often had kids with them, (no baby-sitters in a hotel then).

We used to get the kids down front about the middle of the first set, and spent ten minutes doing kids songs with them. After that we could do no wrong. Our approach contrasted favourably, one organiser told me, with that of a more famous singer/songwriter, who the week before had told a child to "be quiet they were in a folk club". Parents who were regulars, left never to come back.

Doesn't work with sceeming weans though. :)

Whatever you do, do it with good nature, the last thing you want to do is make your audience feel ill at ease, either due to your handling of the situation, or by feeling you are arrogant and bullying. I'm not suggesting you should do nothing as a performer, just do it well, and with humour.

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