Mudcat Café message #2542361 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2542361
Posted By: Will Fly
18-Jan-09 - 01:45 PM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
This discussion - like many before it - has mutated from the issue of whether folk cubs are dying or not (the OP's initial proposition) to the wider question of whether "folk" has any relevance or not. And - yet again - it is almost (but not quite) entirely focussed on song rather than the more inclusive song & melody aspect of folk.

I attend a monthly acoustic session at a pub a few miles away. This, in turn, has spawned a monthly session - which I run - in my local pub. In both cases, the music us held in the bar, not in a private room. We have guitars, mandolins, fiddles, whistles, free reeds, saxes - a variable mixture from month to month. The non-playing drinkers in both venues nearly always come up to us at the end of the sessions, saying how much they've enjoyed it, and ask when are we playing again. We play a mixture of music with a big emphasis on traditional tunes - which gets feet tapping and sometimes stamping.

We're not trying to put a message across, or to reach out to a "class", or to do anything other than just play great music and enjoy ourselves. No political, moral or social agenda. No breaking down of doors or slamming of doors. The problem with all these discussions of "folk music" is that they constantly emphasise the stereotype of the guitar-slinging folkie. There's more to the music than that. I saw John Kirkpatrick and Chris Parkinson (the Sultans of Squeeze) at a club recently. What did I get? Bloody good music, great tunes and songs, superb performances and stacks of belly laughs. I guarantee I could have taken my Mum, windowcleaner, hairdresser, mates from down the pub - virtually anyone - to this event, and they would have loved it.

The argument is grey, not black and white - and there are too many shades and sides to traditional music to make overall pronouncements. We should just get on and do it - as best and as passionately as we can - and bugger the carpers.