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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones UK 60s Folk Club Boom? (1167* d) RE: UK 60s Folk Club Boom? 14 Mar 19

We can only go on our own experiences, and we should be cautious about drawing general conclusions from these. My experience has been that the folk clubs I occasionally attend now are not much different from the ones I attended more regularly 30 or 40 years ago - yours is apparently different. The balance of music I hear is much the same, largely but by no means exclusively traditional. The guests are often the same, together with some excellent young acts coming through. The audiences are certainly mostly the same individuals, but I know many young people who are involved in folk music, they are just not doing it in the same venues as us.

My point is simply that the folk clubs were always about more than just traditional song. They encompassed a broad range of other music, some of it with little connection to traditional song, but unified by a shared approach and style. This broad approach is nothing new, and if it is now a threat to traditional song it must also have been a threat during the boom years, and I simply don't believe this was the case.

I am not trying to diminish the importance of authentic traditional song, far from it. However the reality is that most people discover folk music through the revival, and for most that is sufficient. Only a few go on to discover the "real thing", and the world of folk clubs and festivals does little to steer them towards it. When I eventually discovered traditional singing in the 1970s it was not through folk clubs but through the English Country Music Weekends (which Rod Stradling was instrumental in setting up). It is perhaps even harder now for young people to discover true traditional singing except on record, but they then prefer to stream for free rather than buy CDs.

We are clearly not going to persuade one another, all I can say is that I am more optimistic about the future of folk than you are. Whether this includes folk clubs as we knew them is another matter.

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