Mudcat Café message #2521330 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2521330
Posted By: GUEST,Tom Bliss
21-Dec-08 - 09:56 AM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
Hi Richard,

I've never told people they should not use the word folk for the 56 def. I have merely asked them please not to be nasty about others for using it differently. I've have also suggested that if they could substitute the word trad then the problem would largely evaporate.

If we could reclaim 'folk' for the 56 that would also solve the problem, and maybe we can. But I think it's easier for 'folkies' to go with the flow here, than try to mount a worl-wide PR campaign to people who are not really interested anyway.

I did read your linked post. I know a lot of those folks and I'm sure it was a grand night. But what was the average age of the group? Those of us who are concerned for the long term health of the club movement take this as a primary marker. And was it partially a gig with a main act and a door charge? This is the type of event where people have identified the potential problems being discussed in this thread.

"I still say that it is not my place (or yours) to stop another singing or playing"

I'm with you in spirit Richard, but you haven't answered my question. I do hope you will, because I think your view has much validity (I'm 100% with you in theory), but I'm unclear how it pans out in practice. I assume you'd not suggest that you or I should be allowed to turn up with our guitars at a U2 gig or Royal Philharmonic concert and insist we be allowed to perform. Equally obviously everyone must be allowed to make music in his own home. But in the folk world we have a sliding scale between the two extremes, and club organisers up and down the land struggle (we've seen posts here expressing their difficulties) to know where and how to draw a line.

As someone with passionate views who's not afraid to express them I think your advice on this could be very useful. So I'll repeat:

You say no-one should be debarred from performing.

I'm curious to know how far you think that should go, because you've not said.

Does it only apply if the word folk is used in the title of the event?

I think you're saying that at a free/cheap-entry folk singaround or folk singers club everyone should be free to have a go, and therefore JIm and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering. (If so you seem to be in a majority here anyway).

I think you're also saying that at any gathering labelled as a folk club, even when there is a booked guest and a door charge, everyone should have a turn that wants one, regardless of ability - because it's a folk club (is that right?). So policies such as booked supports, MC-led quality control or no-cribs rules are morally wrong. Is that right?

Are you also saying that folk concerts should not exist, because there's no participation in the mix? If so, would that apply to Arts Centres, or only to events that had the word folk in the title, namely festivals and clubs? How about places that are included in the folk listings, but avoid the word folk in their titles and use words like 'acoustic' or 'roots' or 'live' instead? Should there be unfettered participation offered in all of these?

I'm not having a go, I've just seen nothing from you apart from a very genuine championing of freedom of expression, and I'd like to know how far you would take it.


I once worked with a film editor who genuinely thought the word was 'hang bag' - and why not?!