Mudcat Café message #3265407 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141742   Message #3265407
Posted By: Brian Peters
29-Nov-11 - 09:13 AM
Thread Name: Occupy Folk Music! (USA)
Subject: RE: Occupy Folk Music! (USA)
Whilst respecting your previous experience and active participation in folk music organizations over there, I'm still at a loss to see what you're trying to acheive. In your opening post you told us that "1% of the folkies control nearly all of what is heard in folk music clubs and societies. It is time to stand up to the dreaded Folk Police", then a little further down you're telling us that it's not actually all about promoters at all, but the "Big Boys and Big Girls of folk music", a point you illustrate by quoting a number of examples of what is essentially boorishness and poor session etiquette. Well yes, ill-mannered and arrogant idiots exist in all walks of life including folk music, but you can find that kind of behaviour from singers and musicians who gather in the pub to play, just as much as amongst any so-called 'Big Boys'.

On your Facebook page you explain that 'Folk Police' has a different meaning in the US from that which it carries in the UK, yet your use of the term in that opening post carries exactly the same kind of meaning that we've grown wearily accustomed to over here. I've been involved for thirty years and, belive me, there's no sinister organization, no conspiracy.

Look at it another way. I recently spent an evening talking with the director of an excellent US Folk Festival, that books a really interesting range of acts and encourages new ones. When this person had explained to me what they had to go through - in terms of bureaucratic and financial headaches, never mind keeping the actual programme interesting - I was amazed that someone would devote themselves to their own musical enthusiasm with such patience and dedication, and realised pretty quickly that if this person weren't doing it, the event simply wouldn't happen. That's my experience of a lot of venue organizers over there. Your first post seemed to suggest that such people are comparable in some way to the money-grabbing plutocrats that wrecked our economies and continue to take the piss out everybody else. I find that quite offensive.

And yet, as you point out, you have a flourishing house concert circuit in the USA, that has no musical boundaries other than the personal tastes of whoever decides to persuade a musician to play in their living room. If the established Folk Song Societies aren't giving you what you want, there are countless alternatives for music of all kinds. So what do you want to see happen? If you want people to stop behaving objectionably at folk events, that's fine (we've had discussions here on 'session etiquette' before), but please keep 'folk police' cliches, rhetorical percentages and insinuations about hard-working volunteers out of it.