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Howard Jones the uk folk revival in 2019 (330* d) RE: the uk folk revival in 2019 11 Oct 19


We've been over all this many times. The clubs in their heyday included a broad range of music, not all of it traditional or even in a traditional style, but it all seemed to rub along and was broadly acceptable to the audiences.

I don't think it can be as simple as the other music driving out trad and trad-sounding songs, or we would still have a thriving club scene but with a different balance of music. However I think the open-mic movement stole our clothes - they saw how the folk club model provided an opportunity to perform in front of an audience, and adapted it to include a wider range of music than had been typical of folk clubs. Perhaps some of these were folk clubs which, deliberately or otherwise, broadened their base and haven't got around to changing how they describe themselves.

The other feature I see is that the standards of performance now cover a far greater range. At the top, I see far more people capable of playing and singing to a far higher standard than was the case when I started in the 70s. It is understandable that audiences, accustomed to high standards in other genres, expect the same and don't want to be subjected to mediocre random floor singers. That inevitably leads to more controlled events without floor singers, and in concert rather than club conditions.

At the other end of the scale, the philosophy that everyone should be allowed to sing has resulted in sessions with appallingly low standards where people who would never have been given a floor spot are encouraged to keep coming back. The needs of the performers take priority over those of the audience. It is hardly surprising that these tend to be shunned by both audiences and more accomplished performers and become remedial self-help groups of people singing badly to each other.

I deplore both these directions, but I'm not sure how they can be reversed.




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