Mudcat Café message #2601253 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119211   Message #2601253
Posted By: matt milton
31-Mar-09 - 10:15 AM
Thread Name: Tom Bliss Article -So long and thanks
Subject: RE: Tom Bliss's article in TLT (UK)
"He (and many comparable artists) is very, very good but he quite simply cannot make a living in the current messy, disorganised set-up.
This is because too many "f*lk club organisers" think (or wish) it's still 1963 and performers will come out for a tenner because fuel for their transport drops like manna from heaven and they don't have the living costs of "normal" people"

I think that's a very partial view. I think it's more than a bit off to put the majority (entirety?) of the blame on folk clubs. I imagine in most cases they pay what they can afford to pay.

The folk clubs that I'm familiar with charge what they can get away with charging (ie a price that will cover the costs and pay something to the performers but will nonetheless ensure a sizeable audience). Yes, a folk club could charge 15-20 per ticket, but I know plenty of people who would find that a struggle. Yes, a folk club can always do more publicity, but there are limits to the amount of time a (non-full-time) club organiser can put in outside of their day job.

I've only really found out about folk clubs in the last 5 years. Having some experience of the indie rock scene, the jazz scene, and the free improvisation scene, there have been many occasions during all these debates when I've had to resist asking "what makes folk so special?"

Meaning that I've been genuinely surprised to hear the expectation voiced that anyone could sustain a living *exclusively* and *entirely* within one genre's national live music network. Nobody expects to do that in rock music or hip-hop music. Instead you get a following, get a record deal and try to sell albums. If you don't manage that, it becomes a hobby/semi-pro hobby.

I started to think that maybe jazz music was anaologous, and then remembered that the examples I was thinking of were either the jazz equivalents of your Seth Lakemans or Martin Carthys, or they were working musicians who played weddings and parties too and who taught during the day.

I got the impression, reading that article, that a problem was being described that doesn't really have a solution. Folk music is one music among many vying for funding today and I don't personally see that it should have any more of a default claim to funding than other musics.