Mudcat Café message #2583770 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119211   Message #2583770
Posted By: treewind
08-Mar-09 - 07:31 AM
Thread Name: Tom Bliss Article -So long and thanks
Subject: RE: Tom Bliss - So long and thanks
Ah - I've made this mistake before, confusing a "coffeehouse" with a café

I hope Jacey Bedford won't mind my quoting her in reply to me making the same mistake recently:

'coffeehouse'. This always causes confusion over here because the term is so close to 'coffee bar' and immediately gets us thinking of the sort of cappucino place in the town centre which is basically a daytime cafe. I'm thinking old fashioned Wimpy bar here - not even Starbucks. (Anybody remember the Aloha in Barnsley where all the cool kids hung out in 1968?)

In the USA and Canada a coffeehouse is an event not a place. Sometimes (rarely) they do take place in venues which are regular cafes but more often they happen in community halls and church basements (like church halls but usually underneath the church and occupying the same footprint - so it's a pretty big room - sometimes with a stage). Just to be perfectly clear these are not run by the church but they are community rooms for hire - often in Unitarian churches which are pretty free and easy.

So someone will decide to run a coffeehouse, get a committee together and run it just like a folk club except that since there is no bar there will usually be a catering committee and they provide (for sale) teas and coffees (wide variety and proper fresh brewed stuff) baked goods and sometimes fresh made sandwiches and a hot dish, too, like chilli or chowder. The committee arrives early, sets the room up (and PA if there is one - which there often is) and then quite often has a meal together with the artists (again courtesy of the catering committee or a delivered in pizza). Then there's a big clear up and the finishing polish to the set up before the audience arrives.

So a coffeehouse gig is definitely not to be confused with playing a gig in the local Starbucks or Burger King."

Anahata (quoting Jacey)