Mudcat Café message #2521586 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2521586
Posted By: The Villan
21-Dec-08 - 02:46 PM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
Just to add water to the fire.

If it is a singaround folk club, then everybody is entitled to participate. Good or Bad.

If you put a performer on (guest) at a singaround club and charge an entrance fee, I think you owe it to the paying audience to put on the best quality you can. To put somebody on who is poor quality is only going to alieanate people who have paid to see the guest. they have an expectation and they don't want to listen to somebody who obviously cannot sing or play an instrument reasonably well. OK you would not expect them to have the stagecraft that a Guest is expected to have.

I went to Gainsborough Folk Club last week to see Hannah James & Sam Sweeney as guest, in what would normally be a singaround folk club. I knew who the 2 support acts were going to be and they would grace any folk club. They got it right. They made the complete evening a great pleasure. Unless you didn't like the style of music, you would have been very hard pushed to make any criticism.

I have been to other guest nights at other singaround folk clubs and wishing I wasn't there, becuase the support spots were pretty poor and soured my experience, to the point that I was finding it hard to enjoy the main guest. That is definately not good practice.

I think I can say the following without making this performer seeming full of their own importance. This man speaks words of wisdom and twice I have changed my approach to putting on Main Guests, becuase of his wise words of experience and my reflection on what he said.
He puts things in a very simple way.

I will mention his name becuase wherever he goes, he sells out. Vin Garbutt.

It was about 4 years ago I tried to book Vin for what is now known as Faldingworth Live. This was about a year before he became very ill.
I told him that I planned to put a support act on and was that OK. he said "People will be coming to see me, not the support act". At the time, I thought "You big headed bugger". However I went away and thought about it and realised that he was right. People who pay good money to see a main Guest are coming primarily to see that act. Anyway he became ill and the gig didn't go ahead.

Finally I managed to book him for Jan 17 2009. This time I asked if it would be alright to put a 30 minute floorspot on a what I considered good quality that would enhance the evening. I sent a song for him to listen to of the act. he approved it.
We discussed the layout of the room, and I mentioned that we liked to put tables out and that our max audience would be just over 60.
Vin being a man of business and knowing his trade, just said "If you look down on the floor, over one third of the room will be taken up with tables, when they could be taken up with audience, who you may well have turned away"
I went away thinking about that. From that day, we work on the basis of "if the audience looks as though its going over the 70 mark, then we do not put tables out."

All I can say is if you want to succeed, have a listen to what Vin says. He talks sense and by god he is right.