Mudcat Café message #3266828 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141742   Message #3266828
Posted By: Suffet
01-Dec-11 - 02:15 PM
Thread Name: Occupy Folk Music! (USA)
Subject: RE: Occupy Folk Music! (USA)

I guess we disagree about the extent of the problem.

Maybe a lot of our seeing things diffeeently has to do with the slices of the folk music scene we have witnessed. My experiences go back to around 1963, but admittedly they have all been in the Northeast. I have never traveled like you and Brian have, and at my age I never will. The incidents I cited all occurred in the Northeast, but unfortunately not within just one or two organizations. And yes, most of the names that would come to your mind are the people I am thinking about. But one or two would surely surprise you.

That having been said, I agree with most of what you write. For example, you say, "BTW-if you look at the many performers that work in schools here in the US, you will see an amazingly diverse population: young, old, and many who share their ethnic cultures with kids. That is where the IMPORTANT work is being done IMO." Here we are in total agreement. In fact, of the few gigs that I do in any one year, a good number of them are in schools. Others are for labor unions, where there is also quite a lot of diversity of age, ethnicity, musical style, etc.

We are also in total agreement when you say, "I have seen many venues in my travels that open their doors to genres other than folk and allow their patrons to experience different types of performances. These are venues that draw in new audience and create an environment where they can experience something different. Many of them are quite successful, I might add and contribute positively to their communities." These are venues that have made a conscious and successful effort to address the problems I cited. But that doesn't always just happen. It often takes prodding from both inside and outside.

Furthermore, we are in total agreement when you suggest, "Let's put this kind of energy into changing our political system ... of government where there are some real problems that affect the lives of our fellow citizens."

However, when you say, "Folk music is just fine," I have to respond that it can be even better.

Finally, I have taken seriously every criticism on this thread and on Facebook that I considered justified, and I have made appropriate adjustments. I now explicitly state on Facebook: Let us better focus on the positive mission of working to make the folk music community more open, diverse, and welcoming. I hope we can add that to the list of areas where we agree.

Meanwhile, as I wrote in the e-mail, have a good Christmas and a happy New Year.

--- Steve