Mudcat Café message #3187605 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138735   Message #3187605
Posted By: Howard Jones
14-Jul-11 - 02:27 PM
Thread Name: Do purists really exist?
Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
I think Big Al has put his finger on a crucial point. Was the role of folk clubs simply to be an aspect of light entertainment, a middle-class version of working men's club, or should it be a place for people who want to get into the music at a deeper level?

There's no reason why the latter shouldn't also be entertaining, but it's inevitably going to be more challenging and difficult. It's the same in any genre of music, and probabaly in most activities. Someone whose idea of jazz is Kenny Ball is going to struggle when taken to a jazz club playing modern jazz, just as someone whose idea of classical music is Classical FM will be challenged by John Cage.

It doesn't seem unreasonable to me for people with a deep interest in something, whether its folk music or model railways, to want somewhere they can pursue that interst. However its inevitable that a version which is more accessible will have a wider appeal, which can very easily crowd out the minority specialists - the purists if you like.

Whether that was responsible for the initial decline is debateable. As Brian pointed out, once the rot set in the decline affected both types of club. I suspect it was largely due to the ageing folk club population having less time and money to spare due to family and professional commitments (I know that's what reduced my folk club attendance). When you're left to draw both audiences and performers from a much-diminished pool it is more likely that the format with the widest appeal will win out, leaving the specialists/purists with nowhere to go.