Mudcat Café message #2552652 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116964   Message #2552652
Posted By: Will Fly
30-Jan-09 - 04:38 AM
Thread Name: Why folk clubs are dying
Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
Jim - I respect your position totally and have always been impressed with the quality and passion of your arguments. My main worry - if you can call it that - throughout this convoluted thread, is that it is very difficult to generalise completely on a few examples posted here. The original post described a dire situation at one club. Other commentators have chipped in with their descriptions of the goodness or badness of their local situation.

And, as usual, the whole debate has been muddied by this assertion and that assertion as to what constitutes the music - with little mention of the tunes, as opposed to the songs.

Of course the scene is evolving and changing - as it always did - but to state categorically that folk clubs are dying is to state something that can neither be proved nor disproved from one month to the next. They are simply changing, and whether they are changing for "better" or "worse" depends solely on our individual viewpoints. And, of course, the population of this forum - brilliant observers of the scene, though we may be - does not constitute a total view either.

All we can say is that, depending on where you live, on your own individual experiences, and on your personal view of what constitutes the music, the folk scene is what it is. Here's my own recent experience: I'm currently doing the rounds of local clubs and sessions giving out fliers for a Duck Baker concert I'm promoting - and doing a spot here and there. It's a mixed bag. I've been to one club recently that was, in my view, dire. A tribute evening to Buddy Holly, with piss-poor renditions of the same songs over and over again. I left after a decent interval. Every other session/club I've attended has been excellent - a good emphasis on traditional tunes and some excellent musicianship.

I was at the Royal Oak at Lewes last night, as it happens, and we had Irene Shettle and Ralph Jordan presenting an evening around the life of Lucy Broadwood, with floor singers providing quality support - Dan Quinn, Will Duke and others. Shirley Collins and Martin Wyndham-Read came along to listen, and MW-R was persuaded to sing. It was an evening of excellent musicianship (with several 'Catters in the audience and on the floor). Should I say, from these experiences that clubs are dying or flourishing? All I can say is, that they are as they are - which should not preclude us all from striving to make the quality better.