Mudcat Café message #2584791 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119211   Message #2584791
Posted By: henryclem
09-Mar-09 - 01:16 PM
Thread Name: Tom Bliss Article -So long and thanks
Subject: RE: Tom Bliss - So long and thanks
We always seem to arrive at this assertion that dreadful floor singers are driving away otherwise willing audiences. This has currency as an argument if numbers (listening rather than participating/performing) are significantly lower on singers' nights; but in my (admittedly localised) experience we get as many, if not more, non-performers on an ordinary club night as we do when there is a guest. And often (frustratingly) a really great singers night, when the room is packed out, is followed the next week with half the numbers!

The local hall circuit is definitely worth developing, though : there is a wider audience than would ever think of coming to a folk club which finds itself royally entertained by the likes of Tom with his show; and they do come back for more - I've seen Tom McConville a couple of times at a local Arts Centre - packed out both times -
where maybe a half-dozen were recognisably Folk Club habitues.

Pubs disappearing, or changing their side/upstairs rooms to restaurants etc, may signal the end of the traditional venue for participatory folk music. The danger is that it's not just the venue, but the music itself which is lost. I love the informality, the sociability, and the sharing which is still the very essence of a decent club. On guest nights as well!

At present, they're using Woody Guthrie and Dylan on TV ads; presumably because they enhance the appeal of the products being sold. Taking "our" music into different settings, finding out how far that wider appeal extends, is a challenge for all of us.

I'll see you, Tom, at the end of the month in Devizes - a special club for lots of reasons.