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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones uk revival and Agents (34) RE: uk revival and Agents 06 May 19


The original question contains the implication that somehow agents are damaging the folk scene. I'm not quite sure how. They will only take on clients who they believe they will be able to find gigs for, so these are presumably the most successful and (whilst this doesn't always follow) the most talented. Is it being suggested that these performers don't deserve the gigs they are getting, or is it sour grapes that they are getting more work than those without an agent?

I believe the folk revival is underpinned by its professional musicians. Without them we'd just be a bunch of amateurs singing the same handful songs to each other. No doubt someone will pop up to say that is what folk music should be, but unless you are fortunate enough to have someone of exceptional talent in your circle it probably wouldn't be very inspiring, in an age when we have many other sources of entertainment.

Whilst I have taken some inspiration from fellow club musicians, it has come mostly from the professionals I admire. These are the ones who dig about in RVML to find new and interesting songs and work them up into a performance, which the rest of us can then steal. They are the ones who develop techniques and styles appropriate to the music. They are the ones with the time and motivation to think deeply about the music, to explore new avenues and to take risks. Most of the rest of us only follow in their wake. They are the ones who make albums which spread this new material and inspire others. If it weren't for them I'd be a far more limited musician than I am, with a much smaller repertoire.

No one is getting rich from playing folk music. A few probably make a decent living, many only just scrape by but keep doing it because they love it. I suspect nearly all of them could probably have made a far better for themselves had they chosen another profession. It's a tough job, involving large amounts of travel and sleeping on people's sofas, and for many the task of chasing up gigs is the most unpleasant aspect. If they choose to use agents to help them that is entirely understandable. If those agents are then successful in getting work for their clients they are only doing their job.


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