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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones The current state of folk music in UK (2105* d) RE: The current state of folk music in UK 23 Oct 19

I have suggested elsewhere that the figures in that wikipedia article are highly suspect. There is no mention of how they were arrived at. My recollection from when I started going to folk clubs in the late 60s and early 70s is that there were at least a dozen clubs within a 20 or 30 minute drive. Scaling up over the whole county, and even allowing for the more rural areas, that would suggest that 10%-15% of folk clubs were in Essex alone, which I don't find remotely credible. Similarly, when I look at the number of clubs in my region today the wikipedia figure looks like an underestimate.

Folk clubs are pretty special. I can't think of many other situations where amateurs get to perform alongside professionals, or where both floorsingers and general audience are able to easily meet with and talk to their heroes. However none of the clubs I went to, over 20 years and in many different parts of the country, were anything other than places of entertainment. I can't think of any which regularly held discussions or workshops. Of course people chatted about music in the intervals, as well as the other usual topics of conversation, but the clubs of my experience were not centres of education.

However folk clubs are not the only place to listen to or perform folk music. To focus solely on the clubs while ignoring or dismissing all the other options is to gain a false impression of the true state of folk music today.

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