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Where have the audiences gone?

Stewart 28 Jul 08 - 12:18 AM
Sandra in Sydney 28 Jul 08 - 02:26 AM
GUEST,LTS pretending to work 28 Jul 08 - 02:48 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 28 Jul 08 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Betsy at work 28 Jul 08 - 04:43 AM
The Sandman 28 Jul 08 - 05:36 AM
Linda Kelly 28 Jul 08 - 06:25 AM
The Fooles Troupe 28 Jul 08 - 06:54 AM
The Fooles Troupe 28 Jul 08 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Peace 28 Jul 08 - 08:17 AM
Banjiman 28 Jul 08 - 08:26 AM
The Fooles Troupe 28 Jul 08 - 08:29 AM
Banjiman 28 Jul 08 - 08:38 AM
SINSULL 28 Jul 08 - 08:39 AM
The Sandman 28 Jul 08 - 08:50 AM
Mr Happy 28 Jul 08 - 08:58 AM
Deckman 28 Jul 08 - 10:09 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Jul 08 - 10:10 AM
Harmonium Hero 28 Jul 08 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Betsy at work 28 Jul 08 - 11:51 AM
Kiss Me Slow Slap Me Quick 28 Jul 08 - 12:03 PM
Banjiman 28 Jul 08 - 12:08 PM
Harmonium Hero 28 Jul 08 - 12:10 PM
stallion 28 Jul 08 - 12:25 PM
Stewart 28 Jul 08 - 12:29 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Jul 08 - 12:38 PM
Bee 28 Jul 08 - 12:40 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 01:11 PM
Harmonium Hero 28 Jul 08 - 01:20 PM
Banjiman 28 Jul 08 - 01:32 PM
Harmonium Hero 28 Jul 08 - 01:34 PM
Banjiman 28 Jul 08 - 01:38 PM
Deckman 28 Jul 08 - 01:47 PM
Harmonium Hero 28 Jul 08 - 01:50 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 01:54 PM
Deckman 28 Jul 08 - 02:43 PM
Banjiman 28 Jul 08 - 02:53 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 03:33 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 28 Jul 08 - 03:37 PM
Dave Sutherland 28 Jul 08 - 04:10 PM
The Sandman 28 Jul 08 - 04:30 PM
Harmonium Hero 28 Jul 08 - 04:57 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 05:00 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Jul 08 - 05:12 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 05:34 PM
Deckman 28 Jul 08 - 05:50 PM
Stewart 28 Jul 08 - 06:11 PM
Stewart 28 Jul 08 - 06:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 06:17 PM
Phil Edwards 28 Jul 08 - 06:27 PM
The Fooles Troupe 28 Jul 08 - 07:19 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jul 08 - 09:26 PM
The Fooles Troupe 28 Jul 08 - 10:19 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Jul 08 - 02:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jul 08 - 03:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jul 08 - 03:35 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Jul 08 - 05:41 AM
Banjiman 29 Jul 08 - 05:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jul 08 - 07:16 AM
melodeonboy 29 Jul 08 - 07:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 29 Jul 08 - 08:07 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 29 Jul 08 - 09:45 AM
Stringsinger 29 Jul 08 - 09:57 AM
Mr Happy 29 Jul 08 - 09:57 AM
Banjiman 29 Jul 08 - 10:19 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 29 Jul 08 - 11:32 AM
Banjiman 29 Jul 08 - 11:46 AM
Tootler 29 Jul 08 - 11:52 AM
Stringsinger 29 Jul 08 - 12:25 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 29 Jul 08 - 12:26 PM
Stewart 29 Jul 08 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Jul 08 - 12:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jul 08 - 01:26 PM
Stewart 29 Jul 08 - 01:44 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jul 08 - 01:55 PM
Stringsinger 29 Jul 08 - 02:40 PM
Phil Edwards 29 Jul 08 - 07:29 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 29 Jul 08 - 07:38 PM
Nick 29 Jul 08 - 08:18 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jul 08 - 08:28 PM
M.Ted 29 Jul 08 - 09:10 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 29 Jul 08 - 09:20 PM
Stewart 30 Jul 08 - 12:49 AM
GUEST,EricTheOrange 30 Jul 08 - 03:46 AM
Dave Sutherland 30 Jul 08 - 07:42 AM
TheSnail 30 Jul 08 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,HiLo 30 Jul 08 - 02:15 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 30 Jul 08 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,HiLo 30 Jul 08 - 02:44 PM
Stewart 30 Jul 08 - 03:41 PM
Phil Edwards 30 Jul 08 - 04:55 PM
dick greenhaus 30 Jul 08 - 06:25 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jul 08 - 06:40 PM
dick greenhaus 30 Jul 08 - 07:56 PM
Big Mick 30 Jul 08 - 08:02 PM
Liz the Squeak 30 Jul 08 - 11:46 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 30 Jul 08 - 11:52 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Jul 08 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,EricTheOrange 31 Jul 08 - 03:21 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Jul 08 - 03:24 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 31 Jul 08 - 04:51 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 09:23 AM
Peace 31 Jul 08 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,EricTheOrange 31 Jul 08 - 09:56 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 10:12 AM
Banjiman 31 Jul 08 - 10:23 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,Peace 31 Jul 08 - 10:31 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 10:43 AM
Banjiman 31 Jul 08 - 10:54 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 10:59 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Jul 08 - 11:19 AM
Banjiman 31 Jul 08 - 11:26 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 11:46 AM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 08 - 12:22 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 12:28 PM
TheSnail 31 Jul 08 - 12:31 PM
TheSnail 31 Jul 08 - 12:40 PM
dick greenhaus 31 Jul 08 - 12:45 PM
Banjiman 31 Jul 08 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Peace 31 Jul 08 - 12:58 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 01:00 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Jul 08 - 01:04 PM
TheSnail 31 Jul 08 - 01:15 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 01:20 PM
Stewart 31 Jul 08 - 01:22 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 01:27 PM
Banjiman 31 Jul 08 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,EricTheOrange 31 Jul 08 - 01:45 PM
TheSnail 31 Jul 08 - 01:48 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 08 - 01:52 PM
Stewart 31 Jul 08 - 02:03 PM
Banjiman 31 Jul 08 - 02:21 PM
TheSnail 31 Jul 08 - 02:24 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Jul 08 - 02:27 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 08 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Woody 31 Jul 08 - 02:41 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Jul 08 - 02:41 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 08 - 02:42 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,EricTheOrange 31 Jul 08 - 02:54 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 08 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Fionnghaile 31 Jul 08 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Woody 31 Jul 08 - 04:55 PM
dick greenhaus 31 Jul 08 - 05:22 PM
Melissa 31 Jul 08 - 06:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Jul 08 - 07:15 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 08 - 07:28 PM
Stewart 31 Jul 08 - 07:57 PM
Melissa 31 Jul 08 - 08:03 PM
TheSnail 31 Jul 08 - 08:06 PM
Phil Edwards 31 Jul 08 - 08:06 PM
Stewart 31 Jul 08 - 08:08 PM
Melissa 31 Jul 08 - 08:12 PM
Stewart 31 Jul 08 - 08:14 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 08:15 PM
Melissa 31 Jul 08 - 08:19 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 08:30 PM
Joe_F 31 Jul 08 - 08:38 PM
TheSnail 31 Jul 08 - 08:59 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 09:13 PM
TheSnail 31 Jul 08 - 09:24 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Jul 08 - 10:01 PM
George Papavgeris 31 Jul 08 - 10:42 PM
George Papavgeris 31 Jul 08 - 11:16 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Aug 08 - 02:30 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Aug 08 - 03:23 AM
George Papavgeris 01 Aug 08 - 03:58 AM
glueman 01 Aug 08 - 04:09 AM
TheSnail 01 Aug 08 - 06:12 AM
glueman 01 Aug 08 - 06:35 AM
melodeonboy 01 Aug 08 - 07:09 AM
glueman 01 Aug 08 - 07:33 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 01 Aug 08 - 08:16 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Aug 08 - 08:17 AM
TheSnail 01 Aug 08 - 08:48 AM
Gulliver 01 Aug 08 - 08:48 AM
Phil Edwards 01 Aug 08 - 09:18 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Aug 08 - 09:40 AM
TheSnail 01 Aug 08 - 10:48 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Aug 08 - 10:53 AM
Maryrrf 01 Aug 08 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Rich 01 Aug 08 - 03:56 PM
dick greenhaus 01 Aug 08 - 04:08 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Aug 08 - 04:19 PM
Stringsinger 01 Aug 08 - 04:31 PM
Alan Day 01 Aug 08 - 05:11 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Aug 08 - 06:31 PM
TheSnail 01 Aug 08 - 07:14 PM
Phil Edwards 01 Aug 08 - 07:21 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Aug 08 - 07:32 PM
Peace 01 Aug 08 - 07:43 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Aug 08 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,Fionnghuala 01 Aug 08 - 09:09 PM
Peace 01 Aug 08 - 09:56 PM
Peace 01 Aug 08 - 09:58 PM
Peace 01 Aug 08 - 10:16 PM
Sorcha 02 Aug 08 - 12:16 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Aug 08 - 01:44 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Aug 08 - 01:47 AM
Ebbie 02 Aug 08 - 02:10 PM
Stewart 02 Aug 08 - 02:25 PM
Ebbie 02 Aug 08 - 03:14 PM
Stewart 02 Aug 08 - 04:19 PM
Alan Day 03 Aug 08 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 03 Aug 08 - 04:25 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Aug 08 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Peace 03 Aug 08 - 09:42 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Aug 08 - 03:30 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Aug 08 - 05:00 PM
Alan Day 03 Aug 08 - 06:05 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 03 Aug 08 - 07:13 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Aug 08 - 04:38 AM
Big Al Whittle 04 Aug 08 - 01:26 PM
Tootler 04 Aug 08 - 05:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 04 Aug 08 - 05:43 PM
Big Al Whittle 04 Aug 08 - 05:45 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Aug 08 - 06:59 PM
Barry Finn 04 Aug 08 - 07:25 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Aug 08 - 07:34 PM
TheSnail 04 Aug 08 - 08:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Aug 08 - 02:45 AM
Mr Happy 05 Aug 08 - 07:21 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Aug 08 - 09:17 AM
Peace 05 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Aug 08 - 10:27 AM
Peace 05 Aug 08 - 10:33 AM
TheSnail 05 Aug 08 - 02:21 PM
The Sandman 05 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM
Stringsinger 05 Aug 08 - 04:11 PM
Alan Day 05 Aug 08 - 05:45 PM
GUEST, Mr Grumpy 05 Aug 08 - 06:03 PM
Phil Edwards 05 Aug 08 - 06:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Aug 08 - 07:54 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 08 - 03:24 AM
Alan Day 06 Aug 08 - 03:52 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 08 - 04:52 AM
GUEST, Mr Grumpy 06 Aug 08 - 05:01 AM
Banjiman 06 Aug 08 - 06:07 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Aug 08 - 06:15 AM
Banjiman 06 Aug 08 - 06:22 AM
Alan Day 06 Aug 08 - 06:53 AM
Phil Edwards 06 Aug 08 - 07:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Aug 08 - 08:37 AM
Mr Happy 06 Aug 08 - 08:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Aug 08 - 09:15 AM
Alan Day 06 Aug 08 - 11:30 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Arthur Mow 06 Aug 08 - 03:17 PM
TheSnail 06 Aug 08 - 04:06 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Aug 08 - 04:16 PM
Stringsinger 06 Aug 08 - 05:50 PM
Ebbie 06 Aug 08 - 07:55 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Aug 08 - 03:11 AM
Dave Sutherland 07 Aug 08 - 08:16 AM
The Sandman 07 Aug 08 - 09:14 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Aug 08 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 07 Aug 08 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,Peace 07 Aug 08 - 11:13 AM
TheSnail 07 Aug 08 - 11:39 AM
TheSnail 07 Aug 08 - 11:45 AM
Phil Edwards 07 Aug 08 - 12:27 PM
TheSnail 07 Aug 08 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 07 Aug 08 - 12:42 PM
Roger in Baltimore 07 Aug 08 - 12:56 PM
GUEST 07 Aug 08 - 01:46 PM
Alan Day 07 Aug 08 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 07 Aug 08 - 03:19 PM
GUEST 07 Aug 08 - 11:30 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Aug 08 - 03:26 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Aug 08 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 08 Aug 08 - 09:35 AM
TheSnail 08 Aug 08 - 10:08 AM
Peace 08 Aug 08 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,glueman 08 Aug 08 - 10:17 AM
Peace 08 Aug 08 - 10:18 AM
Jeri 08 Aug 08 - 10:39 AM
GUEST 08 Aug 08 - 11:16 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Aug 08 - 03:11 PM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Aug 08 - 11:05 PM
M.Ted 09 Aug 08 - 12:41 AM
Don Firth 09 Aug 08 - 01:24 AM
GUEST 09 Aug 08 - 03:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Aug 08 - 05:33 AM
TheSnail 09 Aug 08 - 06:17 AM
GUEST 09 Aug 08 - 08:10 AM
TheSnail 09 Aug 08 - 08:43 AM
The Sandman 09 Aug 08 - 01:46 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Aug 08 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Ian Fyvie 09 Aug 08 - 02:19 PM
GUEST 09 Aug 08 - 02:29 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 09 Aug 08 - 02:32 PM
gnu 09 Aug 08 - 02:46 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 08 - 03:04 AM
TheSnail 10 Aug 08 - 07:06 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 08 - 11:46 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Aug 08 - 12:07 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 08 - 01:39 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Aug 08 - 01:41 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Aug 08 - 01:42 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 08 - 02:16 PM
Peace 10 Aug 08 - 02:18 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Aug 08 - 02:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Aug 08 - 02:33 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Aug 08 - 02:35 PM
Peace 10 Aug 08 - 02:39 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Aug 08 - 02:44 PM
Peace 10 Aug 08 - 02:48 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 08 - 02:58 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Aug 08 - 02:59 PM
Peace 10 Aug 08 - 03:20 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Aug 08 - 03:22 PM
Don Firth 10 Aug 08 - 06:39 PM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Aug 08 - 07:00 PM
Peace 10 Aug 08 - 07:19 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Aug 08 - 07:49 PM
Don Firth 10 Aug 08 - 08:12 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Aug 08 - 08:15 PM
Peace 10 Aug 08 - 08:20 PM
M.Ted 10 Aug 08 - 08:42 PM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Aug 08 - 08:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Aug 08 - 09:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Aug 08 - 12:39 AM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Aug 08 - 04:58 AM
TheSnail 11 Aug 08 - 05:02 AM
Alan Day 11 Aug 08 - 05:42 AM
Mr Happy 11 Aug 08 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,Ian Fyvie 11 Aug 08 - 01:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Aug 08 - 02:13 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Aug 08 - 06:40 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Aug 08 - 07:08 PM
M.Ted 12 Aug 08 - 02:13 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Aug 08 - 02:34 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Aug 08 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,guest 12 Aug 08 - 09:08 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Aug 08 - 04:22 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Aug 08 - 07:29 AM
GUEST 13 Aug 08 - 02:25 PM
GUEST 13 Aug 08 - 02:29 PM
Nick 13 Aug 08 - 08:34 PM
Banjiman 14 Aug 08 - 03:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 14 Aug 08 - 04:08 AM
Nick 14 Aug 08 - 04:22 AM
Will Fly 14 Aug 08 - 04:34 AM
mattkeen 14 Aug 08 - 05:00 AM
GUEST 14 Aug 08 - 07:57 AM
Nick 14 Aug 08 - 08:01 AM
Banjiman 14 Aug 08 - 08:09 AM
Will Fly 14 Aug 08 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,confused 14 Aug 08 - 10:33 AM
Banjiman 14 Aug 08 - 10:35 AM
oggie 14 Aug 08 - 02:26 PM
Nick 14 Aug 08 - 07:05 PM
oggie 15 Aug 08 - 02:36 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Aug 08 - 03:22 AM
GUEST 15 Aug 08 - 08:01 AM
mattkeen 15 Aug 08 - 08:20 AM
Jayto 15 Aug 08 - 08:39 AM
Phil Edwards 15 Aug 08 - 08:41 AM
Nick 15 Aug 08 - 01:02 PM
oggie 15 Aug 08 - 04:46 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Aug 08 - 05:12 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Aug 08 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,ian fyvie 18 Aug 08 - 02:44 PM
Alan Day 18 Aug 08 - 03:30 PM
Tootler 18 Aug 08 - 05:17 PM
TalkingBird 18 Aug 08 - 11:19 PM
The Sandman 19 Aug 08 - 01:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Aug 08 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 19 Aug 08 - 01:48 PM
Alan Day 19 Aug 08 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Ian Fyvie 21 Aug 08 - 05:55 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Aug 08 - 07:45 PM
Alan Day 22 Aug 08 - 08:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Aug 08 - 09:26 AM
Stringsinger 22 Aug 08 - 11:03 AM
Jack Blandiver 23 Aug 08 - 04:27 AM
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Subject: Where have all the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:18 AM

The is the flip side (well sort of) to the recent thread
Where have the musicians sessions gone?

This afternoon we drove to a nice coffeehouse in West Seattle
with a half ton (seemed like) of sound gear
to do a 2 hour gig (3 x 40-min sets with 3 groups of musicians).
It was a nice space - converted house, nice stage, comfortable seats.

When my wife and I began our 40-min set -
myself on fiddle and voice, my wife on hammered dulcimer,
and a backup guitarist - there were 3 other people in the audience
in addition to 3 other musicians. Those 3 other people were
working on their laptop computers, two actually listening,
the third plugged into his own music. We had a nice set,
played well, no mistakes, and good sound (we also recorded the music).

By the middle of the second 40-min set about a half dozen people
had wandered in, and the laptop people had left. And that was
the audience for the last 40 min set.

We then broke down the sound system, lugged it back to the car
and drove home, stopping for some pizza on the way. It was a
good experience, the music was good and we all played well,
but it would have been nice to have had a larger audience.
That is the norm for most of these "coffeehouse" gigs here.

Several weeks earlier I performed three days (a 45-min set each day)
at the Tall Ships Festival in Tacoma.
Beautiful stage, professional sound crew,
one of my best performances (I thought), and paid $100 per day.
But seated audiences of only 2 to 5 people in addition
to passersby and people off to one side waiting in line to board ships.
Admittedly, they came to see the tall ships, not to hear us.
But an audience would have been nice.

And the pub gigs ('musician showcases')
where musicians play only to a few other musicians
in noisy bars with crappy sound systems -
the other patrons couldn't care less about the music,
they are playing pool, watching TV or playing video games,
talking and drinking, with the occasional drunk wandering around.

Then, I produce a concert series in a nice hall that seats 150 people.
If we get 25-30 people, that's the norm - sometime a few more or less.
And these concerts are by some of our best local musicians.

So, where have all the audiences gone?
What are your experiences in other places?

I play to more people when I busk,
not all passersby, but many sitting and eating lunch,
and I don't have to lug all that sound gear around.

Not really complaining, just some observations.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 02:26 AM

well, the Seattle audiences haven't gone to Sydney! & I'm not sure where the Sydney audiences are, either.

This weekend we had one of Australia's best traditional performers at our folk club, performing to an audience of 35 + 5 workers + 1 child. The Hall is the best acoustic space in Sydney & seats 100 ...

The club is famous & performers are always wanting gigs, a bit difficult as we only have 10 concerts per year, with 2 acts.

but where are the audiences?

Feb - 70 (Kieran Halpin), March - 48 (George Papavgeris), April 53, May 30, June 51,

None of the performers are unknown, a couple have OZ wide reputations, all are well-known & respected, but ...

sandra


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,LTS pretending to work
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 02:48 AM

As a potential audient (although admittedly not in Seattle unless you want to spring for the air fare), I find the biggest problem with going to see performances is the overall cost. It may be a small amount or even free to get into the venue, but travel costs either by own car or public transport, the hassle and expense of finding legal parking, negotiating a decreased transport service over weekends, exhorbitant taxi cab fares and such like are a real factor when deciding where to go.

Add to that the extortionate prices charged for soft drinks for the designated driver and it mounts up. For those on a budget, they have to think carefully and budget parsimoniously if they want to have any semblance of a social music life.

Sorry, but that's how I see it, and it's why I go to so few single events. At least with a festival, you're there on site, you don't need to travel too far to see many and varied acts and you get better value for money with beer instead of staying sober.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 04:23 AM

One likely reason for an audience deficit is the well-known fact that attendance and abstention are both contagious.

Sometimes an event, a venue, or an entire genre of entertainment suddenly acquires a reputation for being on the up. The people who attend because they actually like what's on offer will then be augmented by many others who show up simply because they believe lots of people like themselves are going to be there too.

Conversely, when attendances start falling, people who never really cared much about the entertainment itself will quickly drift away,seeking the elusive buzz which comes from being a member of the right sort of crowd. Sadly, there's not a lot that the poor artist or event organiser can do to manage this rollercoaster.

If making money is your bottom line, then you have to move on with the crowd. But if your primary loyalty is to one particular kind of activity, then you should keep on doing it for its own sake. If you do it well enough for long enough,then the audiences may eventually return. And meanwhile, remember that a little more publicity may be helpful:

"He who whispers down a well about the goods he has to sell
Will not make as many dollars as he who climbs a tree and hollers."

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Betsy at work
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 04:43 AM

I suspect the audiences are still there, but, as with the other thread, I don't think the organisers work hard enough to promote, or to let people know, what is happening or about to happen.
Many appear to hold the opinion that - we will have this event and that everything else will fall into place, which of course it often doesn't.
For an example of how to work your socks off, and to make it work - consult Paul's (Banjiman's) efforts over the last few months on these threads and elsewhere.
He cannot be faulted for the amount of energy he expends in letting anyone and everyone know about an event.
I also suspect that people who risk losing their own money work a lot harder at the promotion, rather than those who receive guaranteed funding / financial backing in the form of various types of grants etc.
I we don't know , we don't show !!.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:36 AM

I recently did amini tour in England.Whitby folk club[30] was well attended,Scarborough folk festival[hundreds] was well attended,Stockton folk club[40] was well attended.
about 1996 I once had a shared gig with Jim Bainbridge,the venue was Sheffield,the organiser was a Mr Marshall,only one person turned up,and that was an ex girlfriend of mine,fair play to Vaughan Marshall,he paid us both.
so poor attendances are not a new phenomenon,it can depend upon the venue ,the organiser[possibly his/her popularity,possibly his her promotion],plus,what else is happening the same night.
on this particular occasion I doubt if it was either the fault of the two guests,the next night I had a usual folk club attendance of 30 plus.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:25 AM

When we did an Ethno England gig in a small market town in East Yorkshire NO-ONE TURNED UP!!!! so we entertained ourselves! No let me see who was on.......
Tim Van Eycken
Joe O'Connor (Last Orders)
The Askew Sisters
Bella Hardy
Sam Pirt

I remember Graham Pirt bought Pizzas and drinks and we had a great time - I sang a song with Bella accompanying me-I should be so lucky nowadays!!!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:54 AM

Re-insertion of deleted post no 2

"Long time passing..."


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 07:01 AM

As a follow on to my previous(ly) deleted post...

I put forward a proposal to a small school to do a small folk festival.

The guy who used to organise the local one had moved away.

The killer was the Public Insurance - the school P&C refused to add it on to its existing policy, which they needed to d the 'sausage sizzles', and wanted somebody else to pay.

Anybody else who wanted to put the money up, wanted to keep the profits...

So no festival... the audience would have turned up (and the sort of publicity needed locally to get them in was well known), as previous years demonstrated.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 08:17 AM

Folks are hard up for cash and time.

Generation that loved live music is dying out.

Some people couldn't promote a BJ at a c-suckers convention.

Lots of reasons I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 08:26 AM

"For an example of how to work your socks off, and to make it work - consult Paul's (Banjiman's) efforts over the last few months on these threads and elsewhere.
He cannot be faulted for the amount of energy he expends in letting anyone and everyone know about an event."

Hi Betsy....is that a polite way of telling me I am over selling?!!

There are other venues that do well (I admit to stealing their ideas!) Les does an excellent job with Faldingworth Live!, Roland also does anexcellent job at The Black Swan in York.....and there are many other examples, I'm sure.....they are just the ones that spring to mind.

The key common characteristic that I can see is passion and active advertising .......that means via the interweb (forums such as this, MySpace invites and bulletins....not just a passive web site) as well as flyers.... handed out at other folk events and to others who will hand them out for you as well. This is in addition to more local papers and radio stations.....

In my expereince not all folk events do this effectively.......there is (not surprisingly) a direct relationship between good advertising and good attendance..... if you don't tell people something is happening, how do they know?

By the way....
KFFC is back on September 20th with Roger Davies and
Wendy Arrowsmith with
Blind Summat!

Expect to see a flyer in a club near you soon......

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 08:29 AM

"telling me I am over selling"

Only if you have nothing worthwhile to sell.... :-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 08:38 AM

Foolestroupe ..... have a listen (links above) and decide for yourself!

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 08:39 AM

We are having the same problem here in the states. House Concerts draw only limited audiences - and we feed them!

On Saturday, the first Portland Harbor Museum Maritime Festival takes place and we are all holding our breath. Posters, fliers, newspapers, TV, websites, radio - we have tried to get coverage on all. I have given fliers to people on the street, put up posters at local markets. Now we wait and see.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 08:50 AM

people can listen to music on their computers, whilst drinking alcohol, they dont have to pay out extortionate prices for petrol to drive to a destination,they can sit at home,with their pockets fuller.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 08:58 AM

..........well in our weakly sinsong - the 'audients' are rapidly turning into 'performers' themselves!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 10:09 AM

Stewart,

I thought I'd attempt to respond to your well expressed complaint:

It appears from the responses to your thread that this problem seems universal. I know for a fact that YOU have worked harder, and make more efforts, than anyone I know to build audiences. For this you are to be greatly commended. And yet the problem remains.

I think there are several real reasons: the price of petrol; everyone's expendable incomes are dimminished now; costs of paid advertising has increased (inflation); etc. As always, audiences or very curious animals. What worked once may not work the next time.

Short of trying organize a world wide boycott of club singers (ever tried to push a rope?) I don't really have an answer for anyone other than myself ... I'm going fishing for while. While this effort may not improve the audience attendence, it certainly will improve my attitude!

In honor of this thread, I offer the follwing song idea:

"Where have all the customers gone,
Long time passing,
Where have all the customers gone,
Long time ago, ....
... Gone to gas lines everyone ...!"

CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 10:10 AM

Running a radio show and a local club, I see a line drawn in the sand.   I've been to several festivals this summer - NJ Folk Fest, Mystic Sea Music Fest, Old Songs, and Falcon Ridge - and I've seen some interesting changes.   With the exception of Falcon Ridge, the audience is getting older. I'm 51 and at most festivals I feel like a kid.   Falcon Ridge is an exception, an audience of twenty and thrity somethings that are enjoying singer-songwriters - a contemporary form of folk music.

My opinion is that traditional folk music has been promoted and marketed in the same fashion since the 1960's. It has operated as "church basement" production with little reason to change with the times. The hard core traditionalists scare off a younger audience with the feeling that they will need to turn in a term paper at the end of the evening and justify their knowledge of the music. I honestly see a snobbery effect that is a huge turnoff.

Even singer-songwriters are used to operating out of the trunk of their car, living hand to mouth, and their scene does not attract media attention - except when someone with talent manages to create something a bit different - such as an Ani DiFranco or Shawn Colvin. These are artists who are stepping out of the old mold and creating something new.

I think the audiences are there - but they do not know it!! They have yet to be recognized and counted.   As soon as someone can figure out how to fight the negative stereotypes that have built up over the decades, they will return - looking much younger.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 11:15 AM

They are out there, somewhere, and will come around when they are hungry.
Mike of Northumbria's comment about attendance and abstention is a good one. People have a dreadful tendency to go where the crowd is, in the - often - mistaken belief that there must be something there worth looking at. In fact the presence of many bodies will, to some extent, make them believe they are enjoying what's happening, whereas it's really the feeling of belonging, or being 'in' on something which creates the illusion. Or something... I think this is particularly true of the English; too fashion-conscious, which comes of all those centuries of kow-towing to marauding foreigners in order to stay alive.
Also, habit has something to do with it; once you get out of a habit, it can be hard to get back in - unless, of course it's something destructive! One thing that strikes me as possibly not helping, is that where folk clubs were once almost all weekly, many are now twice a month, or even once a month. I'm in the middle of trying to arrange a week or ten days of promotional floor spots around the East Midlands. Every time I arrange one of these trips, it takes me about a week, and I'm still left with nights when I'm doing nothing, because whatever week it is, half the clubs are not operating. It's very discouraging - and I need to do this, to get work; what's it like for the punters? There are other things they can do without all this palaver, so why would they bother? And if a club isn't run on a weekly basis, there is less likelihood of them developing the habit of regular attendance; each week becomes a seperate event, which then needs publicising as such. Once upon a time (when dragons prowled the earth, and you could make a living at being a folksinger), once a club was established, it became known that the club was on every Tuesday or Friday or whatever, and people could just turn up.
Getting me coat and umbrella before the deluge...
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Betsy at work
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 11:51 AM

Paul (Banjiman), have a look at my comment again - it is pure, 100% compliment.
There's no hidden meaning - I think you are so enthusiastic about what you do.
With you , no one can ever say they didn't know about an event, and you rightfully use every and any opportunity to remind people , and so you should !.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Kiss Me Slow Slap Me Quick
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:03 PM

There are more and more "young" performers BUT these young performers are not bringing in young/new audences in great numbers and they don't allways appeal to the (older?) or should that be more established audence. Bring out the old hands, with the experience and know how, and worthwhile material not just gleaned and coppied from the last CD they have heard, and stage craft not just based on short skirts and giggling and the audence will be there.

Oh, and it would also help if folk music promoters stoped trying to compete with the Masonic Order in trying to become the most secretive of secret societies.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:08 PM

Betsy....thanks, my comment was pure tongue in cheek......I didn't really think you were getting at me!

HH......some thoughts. The club (any club) is run for the punters, not the performers. I don't think I could get the KFFC audience out every week (£££££) and I also don't have the time to run a weekly night.

I know only too well the difficulty this means in getting gigs but no one forced you (or my wife!) into becoming an act that wants gigs (and paying!).

So what is the palaver for the "audience" then.......I didn't understand what were saying there.

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:10 PM

Eh?... Short skirts? NOW you're talking! Where's this on at? I'll be there, and it'll be me doing the giggling.
JK.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: stallion
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:25 PM

Paulo (Banji...)works hard on promotion and the product is excellent, I think it easier to put everything into a good product, and he does. KFFC Winter Warmer was quite a unique event, certainly the singaround was, stuff of legends, but I dare say that was a tough one to pull round.
As to where the audiences are, well they are there, but are a bit like sheep, I think a lot miss out on good performances cos the performers are not houshold names, I think a lot kudos lies with the phrase, "I have been to see blah blah "(insert any name, KR, VG,MC,Cops. etc) But no kudos attached to seeing "Who?". Oh are people that shallow! It was nice to sing in front of 150 at the NCEM but they were really there to see "The Young Coppers" not us (actually we did manage to pack thirty or so in with rellies and friends!).


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:29 PM

Good Morning (here in Seattle),
the sun is shining, another rare day!
And thank you for your interesting comments.
I guess it's not just a Seattle phenomenon.
Admittedly, the coffeehouse gig wasn't well publicized,
and many of our musicians just don't promote their own gigs.

But for my own concert series, I go all out -
press releases, posters & flyers, web and published calendars,
emailings, radio spots if possible, everything I can think of,
and still only a meager audience. I don't think it's the cost -
mostly $10 - $12, or free (with a tip jar).

I would like to promote community and neighborhood events where
people don't have to drive any great distance (might even walk).
But people don't want to leave their houses after a busy day's work,
and local, live music is something they can't even imagine.
And they already have too many other scheduled activities.
But then they might spend $100 to see some an out-of-town big name star
in a stadium or arena with lousy sound - doesn't make much sense.

But then these musicians come to me and say "I'd like to play at your venue,"
and assume they will have a large audience with no promotion of their own.

So my favorite musical activities remain -
our monthly house jams with other musician friends,
busking for passersby and those eating lunch
in front of the PCC (food co-op) in Fremont (Seattle)
where I'm off to this noon with the nice weather,
and open mics attended only by other performing musicians.

Still, it would be nice to play to a large appreciative audience
of listeners who aren't just a few other musicians.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:38 PM

"Bring out the old hands, with the experience and know how, and worthwhile material not just gleaned and coppied from the last CD they have heard, and stage craft not just based on short skirts and giggling and the audence will be there. "

I wish that were true.   The "old hands" are not drawing the audience they once held, at least in my region. I won't name names, but I've attended concerts and festivals, and also presented concerts, with some of the finest traditional musicians are country has produced and in recent years the audiences have been reduced to handfuls. These artists cannot afford to tour when a promoter cannot pay them a fair share, and the promoter cannot pay them a fair share if the audience sits at home staring at the walls.

It is also unfair to judge based on "short skirts and giggles". Failure to recognize current fashions and style results in a giant wall being created.

As to saying that younger performers will not "ways appeal to the (older?) or should that be more established audence", then why would you expect younger audiences to find older performers appealing based on that logic?   That kind of thinking continues to create barriers and that giant wall becomes even more imposing.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Bee
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 12:40 PM

In the wide open spaces of rural Canada, music festivals of any sort are usually well-attended. People love to camp out for a weekend in one nice grassy space, where they can save a bit of money by bringing their own food and beverage. Going to a bar for music is out of the question - no way to get home if you have so much as one beer, and not too many people enjoy being the 'drunk taxi'.

Locally, for one night events, it seems to be hit or miss, venue to venue. We have a parish hall here that does a variety music show once a month. The place is small but is packed for every occasion, as is the local firehall when they do a gig. Also, there are a couple rural Legion halls which host music events, and they are well attended. These are all local musicians who are very rarely paid, of course, so it's no good for the poor musician trying to make a living at it. On the other hand, I know of at least a couple younger people who started out in this very circle of unpaid rural venues who have gone on to become well known and able to sell their music and get pretty regular work in larger population centres.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:11 PM

Well it could be that the 'traditional' musicians were only really tolerated on festivals where people came really to see the vibrant exciting contemporary songwriters of the period.

This kind of music that belongs in the woodshed, down on the farm, and whilst crossing Cape Horn, and on the cabin porch was sat through with not much real enjoyment.

Then came the edicts of the 1970's that proclaimed all singer songwriters were horribly introspective - (just egocentric 'head music' I've heard it referred to).

And it was found that playing slip jigs and the like was a skill many middle class types could get to grips with (a bit like needle point) but surprise surpise! It ain't much of spectator sport.

And now we're finding out who really were the self indulgent ones.

That's a vast over simplification - there are some people who can really make traditional music get up and dance - but alas - not all that many!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:20 PM

Paul: Now you think I'm getting at you! KIDDING!
The 'palaver' is the same one I keep having to go through; trying to find out which clubs are on this week. My point was that I have to do this; the audience doesn't, and the danger is that it might put them off going to a club when it's easier to find out what's on at the cinema. I know I keep banging on about how things used to be, and I know there are all sorts of factors coming to bear, but I also remember that when people could assume that clubs were there on a weekly basis, those clubs ran successfully with minimal publicity.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:32 PM

HH..... no, I didn't think that you were getting at me either. I just had some questions about your post is all.

I must be sounding paranoid today, can't say I'm feeling paranoid though...... I just KNOW the b*st*rds are out to get me!

I think if we ran a weekly night attendances would drop....it would be more thinly spread.....doing a monthly night makes it a special event and people do seem to make the effort (though it is easier to get a good audience for acts that people have heard of).

Chin up...... you probably need a night off now and again at your age!!!!

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:34 PM

My Age? Now YOU'RE getting at ME!. JK


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:38 PM

By the way WLD, we have no prejudice, we put on boring old middle class farts doing traddy stuff and up themselves working class heroes (young or old) working out their self penned angst!

See.... we're equally dismissive of everyone's efforts!

It's good to see you polishing that chip on that there shoulder of yours.

Keep smiling.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:47 PM

Wee Little Drummers last comments reminded me of the way that "singer song-writers" sing the musical scale: DO RE MI MI MI MI MI MI! Bob, who's looking for the back door!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:50 PM

Bob - I thought I'd left it open! JK.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 01:54 PM

No you were just asking where the audience pissed off to, and I was suggesting a possible solution.

I think traditional music is a lot more complicated than most people allow. To be a John Kirkpatrick, Martin Carthy, Brian Peters or John Kelly takes hours of obsessive practice. Then it becomes worth watching.

The chances of being a sonwriter with something to say are slightly higher. You know what they say - everybody has got a book inside them. Maybe everybody has got a song.

But the sort of application it takes to become someone who can make people devour the detail - its something a bit different to strumming along to a jig or reel, or limping through a basic melody.

If I've got a chip on my shoulder - its being asked to find something interessting that really isn't all that spellbinding. In fact its being told that finding crap music unlistenable is some sort of lapse of taste on my part.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 02:43 PM

Wee Little Drummer ... Damned well said, I say!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 02:53 PM

WLD.....I think what you are saying is that what matters is the quality.... in terms of "performers" I agree entirely.

Participative events are different, everyones efforts should be encouraged and applauded.

KFFC club nights are performance based.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 03:33 PM

well okay - but you can't expect the same audiences for the village green team as you do for the test match.

And some of the kids I've heard - well at that stage I stayed at home and learned a bit more. the thing is that the agencies and record companies are looking for the nest Tickell, Rusby, Liza etc.

To be honest their bloody search in public(with admission charged) isn't all that fascinating to behold. these people are getting booked at festivals alongside shit hot players and of course - they're not doing the business - so don't expect a full house when you book them for your club.

Okay I realise its the tradition right or wrong, but in this case I think you'd be better off booking a juggler - or even a singer songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 03:37 PM

"Okay I realise its the tradition right or wrong, but in this case I think you'd be better off booking a juggler - or even a singer songwriter. "

There is the wall that I was mentioning earlier. No wonder the audiences are staying home.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 04:10 PM

As an organiser of one of these East Midland's folk clubs which does not meet weekly I have to ask is the first Sunday in every month not memorable enough? That has been our regular club night for the last seventeen years. Over this time we have at times attempted to run twice per month, and for a short time every week, with less than encouraging results from the nights other than our regular meeting. We still put on about four extra Sundays per year in order to fit in with tours or to present someone totally unmissable but unless they are some real megga name we will budget for our regular die hard audience - no matter how much publicity.
BTW I have done plenty of the weekly club organising too over the years; Royal Turf, Felling on Tyne, South Tyne Folk and Blues, Kegworth Folk Club and audiences were equally unpredictable then.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 04:30 PM

WLD,crap music?Well there are also crap singer songwriters.
oh and by the way strumming along to a jig or a reel,if you want to do it properly is demanding,many irish tunes can have quite complicated chord progressions and even modulations,just take a listen to my old mate, GED fOLEY, exBattlefield Band,and now with PatrickStreet and Kevin Burke.
why are the chances of being a songwriter with something to say higher?the truth of the matter is that one encounters crap performers every where,
but when a crap performer wrecks a good traditional song,it may be annoying,but generally if the song has survived all these years,it has done so because it is a good song,however I frequently hear modern songwriters songs wrecked by floor singers;and what I then notice is, how weak the song is, when its not performed by a good polished performer.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 04:57 PM

Dave: I was surmising (check my comment) that, as I was having trouble checking out clubs that I can get to on a given week, then punters might have the same propblem. I asked the question "What is it like for the punters?" There seems to be a silence from the direction of said punters on this thread, which is a pity, as they are the people we need to speak to - or rather, we need them to speak. I just seem to be alienating the very people I need to be nice to.
Actually, while I'm on, any chance of a floor spot on 3rd August?
Hold that door Bob, I'm coming with yer. John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:00 PM

aye aye Captain. there is indeed crap everywhere we look, and only man is vile.

Its not really a question of crap.. Some of this stuff is competent and so on - but its just not a spectator sport. Unless you're very pissed indeed.


The reason those guys in the log cabin or living under the haystack were so good is that there wasn't a telly to watch , or dvds or the late night porn channel and they just had to play with their banjos. And they got good, they discovered a harmonic and rhythmic complexities.

We would be better employed doing simpler structures well.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:12 PM

Mabe they've figured out that Oasis do antisocial solpsism every bit as incomprehensibly as lesser songwhiners.

"I wandered slowly down the hall
Faster than a cannonball" (wasn't it?)

Real deep man, like my head's so screwed man, I'm mad for it, me... (etc)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:34 PM

Of course its up to you - if you are determined to see nothing in the craft of the songwriter. fair enough. keep up the abuse. songwhiners, snigger snoggers ...they were good ones. mi mi mi mi.

Its not me whose wonderng why there are no audiences. And as a punter, I'll tell you - its cos Ive sat through too many indifferent/totally shit evenings. And now I've reached my dotage - my wife says why did you put me through all those evenings listening to total shite, sitting on uncomfortable seats in dirty little pubs.

Basically you've shit on your own doorstep - you abused the trust and intelligence of your audience. And now you're blaming all those people who have the temerity to think Oasis songs say something about their lives.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Deckman
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 05:50 PM

Hey Stew ... are you still glad you posed this question? Bob


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:11 PM

This discussion seems to be going on at several different levels or situations.

My own situation here in Seattle is that we have a certain Folklore Society that presents mostly out-of-town singer songwriters. But they usually get a good audience because the organization has a large following, and the performers are promoted with a lot of hype - "promises to wow Seattle listeners with her honest and intimate voice, her delicate guitar work and her disarming lyricism. [A certain well-known] Guitar magazine describes her as 'a songwriter of startling clarity and depth, equally skilled at turning a melody or lyrical phrase into what you didn't know you needed until you heard it'." Usually they turn out to be quite boring and inferior to our own local talent.

The concert committee picks performers "because we (the members of the committee) have heard them perform and liked them. We do accept applications from artists who wish to perform in Seattle. Be warned, however, that the process is uncertain and can take a long time. Almost all of the concerts that we do are for people with whom we are already familiar." In other words, someone on the committee has to already have heard the performer.

Well, last year a world-class folklorist/singer/instrumentalist/story teller from New Hampshire, well known on East Coast and who often tours in the British Isles, wrote to the committee about a gig. They ignored him (not even the courtesy of a reply), probably because they never heard of him in their infatuation with pop-folk singer songwriters.

I offered him a house concert. He was great and we had a good, but not overwhelming audience turnout. That's when I decided to revive the 55-year-old Pacific Northwest Folklore Society to try and promote some real talent from our own local musicians (often much better than the out-of-towners who come here), and occasionally a good out-of-town musician who gets overlooked because no one has heard him or her.

But when no one has heard of a particular musician and the big organization doesn't back him or her, it's hard to get an audience to come out.

But we'll work on it.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:15 PM

Hi Bob, this is fun and interesting - a lot of angles to the discussion.

Yes, I'm glad I started it.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:17 PM

well you can see how courteous the replies tend to be, that chap on the east coast was probably better off without one.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 06:27 PM

WLD - our perspectives differ slightly. I'd kill - or at least give quite a serious Chinese burn - to sit through a folk club night consisting entirely of traditional music, however indifferently played. Last time I went to my local club I heard hardly any traditional anything, and absolutely nothing from the traditions of these islands. (I confess, I was part of the problem myself, but what can I say - I'd written that song weeks ago...)

On the other hand, our club runs weekly and it's always busy, so I guess that's an answer of sorts. Where are the audiences? One of them's right here, happily listening to 15-20 acts doing one or two numbers each. It's a good night out - you just don't hear much folk music.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 07:19 PM

"I must be sounding paranoid today, can't say I'm feeling paranoid though...... I just KNOW the b*st*rds are out to get me!"

Make them come to you on their knees - hide in a drain!


"In fact its being told that finding crap music unlistenable is some sort of lapse of taste on my part."

ROFL!   Ra! Ra! Ra!

"when a crap performer wrecks a good traditional song,it may be annoying,but generally if the song has survived all these years,it has done so because it is a good song,however I frequently hear modern songwriters songs wrecked by floor singers;and what I then notice is, how weak the song is, when its not performed by a good polished performer"

Very well spotted sir!


""I wandered slowly down the hall
Faster than a cannonball""

Weellll, depends if it is shot or rolled.... :-P



"I've sat through too many indifferent/totally shit evenings. And now I've reached my dotage - my wife says why did you put me through all those evenings listening to total shite, sitting on uncomfortable seats in dirty little pubs."

I'm a pretty bad audience member (I keep silent, laugh and applaud in all the 'wrong ' places!) - even when I was working in theatre, the good directors didn't want me to sit and watch a show in rehearsal unless it was blindly good. I also find it easier on a damaged back to walk or stand than sit.

I prefer to perform myself, and frankly in accord with these sentiments expressed, prefer to play with just a few others in private who have the same standards than pay to sit all night in uncomfortable cold or hot surroundings watching other's egos, when with a little practice on most any tune, I can do pretty near as good - but then that's MY ego! :-) I prefer to work ensemble, but found very few who wanted to also do so, and I have found this to be the case that this is so very much the case with self taught musos.

Notice that now, as looming recession bites, that the movie studios' incomes are increasing - people WILL go out to good exciting entertainment (Take Transformers, Batman, etc) in times of recession/financial stress, cutting back on other luxuries. But you can't force then to choose YOUR particular product.


"Some of this stuff is competent and so on - but its just not a spectator sport. Unless you're very pissed indeed. The reason those guys in the log cabin or living under the haystack were so good is that there wasn't a telly to watch , or dvds or the late night porn channel and they just had to play with their banjos. And they got good, they discovered a harmonic and rhythmic complexities."

Yeah, I don't drink much these days, and prefer to play with myself. .... Er.... Well... I suppose that one can only do that so much before taking up the banjo.... :-P

Without the stimulus of public performance somewhere, there isn't much interest on my part these days, but you need to be up to a certain standard, no matter how much ego and drive you have. The 'old guys' made a living BECAUSE they were good, having hacked away at it for 40 years - the sad part about 'wanting to do it for a living' only works when someone else with deep pockets pushes the right buttons in out society, and you don't NEED any real talent when you are carried along like that. Watched one of our "top diva pop singers" struggle with her breathing when doing The Aussie National Anthem live on National TV...

Me - I used to be good once, but I'm out of practice these days.... :-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 09:26 PM

Where do you live Pip, where there are no traddy clubs? there are several to choose from round here and here, and by and large traddies are veRy welcome at open mics round here - Notts /Derby. The folk radio won't anounce open mic nights - apparently we're not proper folk clubs. You need to be a card carrying melodeon player before you qualify.

You see, traditional music round here is under threat - serious business. It is defended stoutly by the establishment, but so uncertain is the future thaT bookies frequently take bets on John Barleycorn's survival.

Also in derbyshire we particularly feel the impact of the closure of the Greenland Whale fishery. That really has buggered up things no end. As for the the First world war we are so traumatised by it, we can hardly bring ourselves o write another song'in the tradition ' about it. We all all find it so bloody moving. sometimes whole audiences move.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Jul 08 - 10:19 PM

"sometimes whole audiences move"

away, even, wld.... :-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 02:54 AM

All right, WLD - I hate to blow my own trumpet and I actually don't think I'm all that good, but about a year ago (maybe two) my daughter who then lived in Nottingham told me that the pub (large pub, near Nottinhgam City Centre) that the chap who later became her bass player in a band (since split) called Basso Loco managed was having a beer fest/folk weekend, so I killed three birds with one stone, packed some guitars and headed north to see daughter/sleep on her floor/go to a beer festival/get some folking.

The folking turned out to be an open mic in a room that opened off the main room of the pub. I was not on the "list" so I sat and chatted and drank beer and listened in another room that opened off the other two. There was a sequence of frankly pretty horrible "original" stuff, mostly but not all not very well done (a different weekend I saw a youngster playing some very useful DADGAD in the Orange Tree but there was nothing like that) and pretty well no-one was going into the room with the PA rig. All that relevant, new, young, original singer-songwriter stuff was just so much acoustical wallpaper.

Then one of the listed performers no-showed, and since they'd seen me sitting there like Banquo's ghost the manager offered me the slot. As you know I do mostly traditional or "mistaken for traditional" stuff. Gradually, over about half a dozen songs (that was the slot length) most of the pub started really to listen. One barman later complained that I had not done any shanties (which I had guesstimated to be too hardcore for the gathering), one youngster was all over me for details of my guitar and how I got that "liquid gold" sound out of it (mostly down to the guitar and actually quite a good soundman, not me) and a couple of chaps quite a bit younger than me but not as young as most of the other players were (foolish fellows) saying nice things about my guitar accompaniments, how nice it was to hear the old songs, and was I booked (! - I wish, usually they pay me to go away) anywhere else over the weekend.

No, WLD, it is not the old songs, nor even the old folkers who are driving people away - not if people as average as me can get a reaction as good as that. The demand for it is there.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 03:28 AM

Richard - yes you care about the music. Possibly like me, you are obsessed. However there are a lot of people performing it who devote about as much to it as I do to car maintenance.

For everyone like you and me - there half a dozen, who just got their guitar out of the attic after sixteen years: wrote this song this afternoon so I don't really know it; put new strings on last week and can't get it in tune; haven't sung this one for about ten year - but they thought of it driving here tonite, so try not mind if they forget the words and the tune; got this from a book last week and don't really know it, bought this tin whistle(ocarina, uillean pipes, concertina, mandolin - perm any three) a fortnight ago and they're dying to show it off.

everyone deserves applause.....! What are we......? Care in the bloody Community.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 03:35 AM

Plus - it has to be said

The Last thing on my mind is do-able by a dilletante. not particularly interesting but do- able. Achievable - shall we say.

Most traditional music done by people not giving a 110% effort is excruciating.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 05:41 AM

Not that I would ever lead "Last thing on my mind", but the harmonies can be fun.

But my point WLD was to contradict you. You blame the absence of audience on people doing folk songs. Yet someone as bad as me can (sometimes) nearly stop a large pub with folk song.

The problem is not folk song.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 05:54 AM

"The problem is not folk song. "

Not often I agree with RB.....having said that the problem is not more modern songs either (of the right sort!).

The challenge is quality, presentation and marketing. Simple as that!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 07:16 AM

Theres nowt wrong with anything that has that elemaent of contact with the audience. Its when this performance business is carried out as a sort of neurotic alternative to being an ordinary human being that the trouble starts - and I suspect it afflicts every byway of every artform.

but you're not admitting it , are you?

I think the worse scenario (and most common) is the trad singer who doesn't realise that its actually harder to sing without accompaniment - harder to keep in key, harder to keep the story going, harder to get the punctuation and rhthym of the song going - can be done, but its harder.


Trad instrumental stuff is - well its a bit of a pain listening to beginners, isn't it. i'm not really sure one should be required to appreciate everything the the trad English scene has to offer.

i hope WAV puts a special section in his award scheme for the audiences that have kept their sense of humour. Gold medals all round.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 07:55 AM

"i'm not really sure one should be required to appreciate everything the the trad English scene has to offer."

Quite so. But is there any music scene that the above comment wouldn't apply to?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:07 AM

"if people as average as me can get a reaction as good as that"

Yeah - me too - I was in Eisteddfods as a youngster, and I know how good I was relevant to the very best around then (many others were far better!) - and I'm out of practice these days! :-)

Yet, I can still pull off a 'show', funny though, it's actually EASIER for me to do it with a big crowd than a small one!

Yes, if I focus and get a chance to rehearse up to speed, I can do - as my dad used to say - a passable attempt and be listenable, and even con some into thinking they enjoyed it! And, the sad thing is - it's not (so it seems to me - at least, even the practice is enjoyable!) all that much work, oh pardon me, does that mean I have some ... shudder... 'natural talent'... or did I just put in years of hard work decades ago.... :-P

So if I mutter under my breath about the relative level of others' performance skills, maybe I do know a few tricks... not that I think I'm all THAT good...


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:45 AM

It is interesting how a thread about dwindling audiences, started by someone here in the U.S., has been turned into yet another thread about the issues with folk clubs in the UK.   I think it sort of misses the point of why AUDIENCES are staying away, or then again, perhaps it is shining a spotlight on why they are staying away in the UK.   

Is there anyone from North America out there????


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:57 AM

I think that people are discovering that they can make music for themselves and don't
want to spend the money to support others.

Here in the States there is a three-letter word for the lack of audience problem It's easier to stay home.

I encourage people to make music for themselves in their own homes with friends and
family. Audiences are participants and the more they participate by making their own
music, the better audience they become.

I have found that real folk music or even authentically oriented folk-style music has
never really been supported on a mass scale. Small audiences are all that is to be expected. The content for appreciation of this kind of music requires a certain
educated audience and where is that education going to come from? Not many are
willing to take a course in folklore or song study for that matter. In the States, music has become either a star-studded problem or background for other things. Music education in the public schools has dwindled and instead of concert halls, we are building sports arenas with taxpayer money. Music programs are being cut in the public school system.
Radio and media have dried up with very little content proportional to either propagandistic news pap or "safe" programming that contains little controversy.

This all impacts on an audience for folk music.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:57 AM

......... as I alluded earlier above, the audients at Mr H's weakly do have been over the last several years becoming increasingly enthusiastic about being participant 'performers' themselves.

A number have started on gob-irons, doing songs unaccompanied [or we accompany them], banging/shaking various items, even a novice squeezebox player!

In Chester [UK] where I'm based, there's 3 informal sinaround/music seshes held weakly, & 7 monthly ones, but only one Folk Club in the formal sense.

Me Fiends regularly go to the FC but report that there's often only the 2 of them + the resident group there, & that the number of audients is either 2/3 or none, in fact more people come to our sesh on a regular basis.

IMO, I feel the formal FC set up may've had its day, & its the informal sinaround & music sesh is currently the more popular & well attended.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 10:19 AM

"It is interesting how a thread about dwindling audiences, started by someone here in the U.S., has been turned into yet another thread about the issues with folk clubs in the UK.   I think it sort of misses the point of why AUDIENCES are staying away, or then again, perhaps it is shining a spotlight on why they are staying away in the UK.   

Is there anyone from North America out there???? "

Ron,

The discussion moved onto to discuss some English Folk Clubs where the audiences AREN'T staying away.......just maybe we can all learn from each other? It seems to me the challenges are universal?

Here's to cross Atlantic co-operation!!!!!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 11:32 AM

Paul,

There are major differences between the English folk clubs and what is happening here. We do not have clubs that are modeled on what you are doing over there.   Many of the issues that have been brought up are very specific to how your club sessions are operating, but they do not address the concerns about why audiences are dwindling. Although, perhaps if we tried the UK model here, maybe that might prove interesting and helpful.

You are right, we need co-operation - but there have been many other threads that discussed issues specific to English clubs. Obviously a conversation will go in any direction that the participants take it, but I'm hoping that we will here from more people like Frank Hamilton who are addressing concerns that are indeed universal in relation to audiences AND most importantly, participants.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 11:46 AM

Ron,

While I agree there are dfferences, the challenges are universal......there seems to be a concern over dwindling audiences for live folk and related musical forms (no I don't want THAT debate!!!)in both the USA and UK.

A wise man once said to me that (as musicans) we spend 80% of our time, effort & money creating and polishing our "product" and only 20% selling it. For any other "product" this ratio would be reversed.

I think that is something we can all reflect on.

If you cut through some of the local UK banter, that is all I'm saying above. It is a universal message.

Yours (and attempting to be helpful!)

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 11:52 AM

Ron,

There is also a lot of commonality too. I can relate to almost everything Frank Hamilton said four posts back. It fits here pretty well too.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 12:25 PM

Geoff and Ron, like you, I am concerned about the audience support for what we call folk
music. I am enthusiastic that there is a potential to increase interest that is not yet being tapped.

Again, I am sounding like a broken record, but the key to it is "participation".
So often, there has been a schism between performer and audience that Pete Seeger and others have attempted to bridge through the concept of the "hootenanny" where the audience is an important part of the performance through the singing and familiarity with
the songs.

On a less public level, community groups forming in homes and on intimate
levels whereby they become the performers/participants create these audiences. There was a period in the 1970's and 80's in Los Angeles which under the inspiration of Bess Lomax Hawes, "Songmakers" had gatherings at a lot of different homes (almost one night a week in various locations). The idea was simple, everybody brought instruments. Each person could sing a song and lead a song. Two songs. It was great entertainment and everyone got a chance to play and sing.

I have been teaching private classes in folk music instruction on a variety of instruments
for many years and have seen the interest patterns shift from a level of participant to
spectator. One good thing is the summer camps that have sprung up throughout the US which encourages participation but the criticism is that they become "star" camps where sometimes the participants are more interested in developing a relationship with the leading performing practitioners rather than their own skills at playing and singing. This is the problem I have with "workshops" which need to have a follow-up rather than a "one-shot" attendance. There is room to be inspired by the leading performers but this
is not an end-all in itself. Folk music requires that it not be segregated into performer/audience and this is one of the essential aspects of its survival in a public form.

This was one of the raison d'etres of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.
The music can remain accessible to anyone who wishes to participate. Fortunately,
there are other such places as Passims School in Boston or the Folklore Center School in Colorado. It would be interesting to have more imput from those who are involved in these places and I would like to know if such places exist in the US, UK or other countries than the famous CCE in Dublin. The Clancy School has been mentioned and I think what
goes on there would be helpful to know about.

This is a separate thread but in my view relates to this one.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 12:26 PM

Geoff & Paul,

I completely agree that we can learn from each other. Franks comments were indeed somethign that everyone can relate to.    What concerns me is that a conversation bogged down with minutae about whether floor singers should be unaccompanied is very specific to your scene. All I am hoping is for more particpation in the conversation from folks here in North America and sharing of information that will, as you say, be benefitial to all of us.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 12:35 PM

Ron and Frank, thanks for your input from the US side.

"Is there anyone from North America out there????"
Maybe that's the problem here.

I'm not particularly concerned about the type of music,
although I prefer the more traditional. In my concert series at Haller Lake Community Club I've booked a wide variety - Irish/Scottish, Klezmer, Greek, American old-timey, Gypsy-Jazz fiddle, etc. And by some of our best local musicians, many of whom are touring pros. Still the audiences are meager.
"It's easier to stay home." That's probably the biggest reason.

I also encourage "home made" participatory music. We've have some great monthly house jams with 10-15 people. And open mics are good in their own way, although they can range from very good to very bad. But these are just the musicians playing for and with each other. That's fine, but where are the larger audiences?

I really think this has to start at the local community and neighborhood level. Where you don't have to drive across town and pay a lot of money. And you can get together with friends and people with a common interest. Probably much easier in a small town than in a large city like Seattle.

But I'm not complaining, I just wanted to share some observations and find out what is going on in other places, primarily in the US.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 12:39 PM

I recently played at the harp tent of the Highland Games. The committee put another tent where snare drums and pipes were played right next to us. (Not played all day, fortunately, but it was still foolish and rude.)

The main announcer on the big PA never mentioned our existence. It was obvious that to the people in charge, the athletics were the only important thing.

My band played for an audience of three - all harpers. I'm not going back.

As for concerts, one big problem is that the newspaper will not give us any publicity. It is rare even to get a calendar listing - forget an article. Traditional music is not 'cool,' I guess, and they don't have the guts to risk looking uncool.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 01:26 PM

Perhaps it wasn't really done with intent.....


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 01:44 PM

Frank, interesting comments on "star camps" and workshops "which need to have a follow-up rather than a "one-shot" attendance." It's nice to say I've done a workshop with Martin Hayes, Liz Carroll, etc. etc. But then what? I've learned 2-3 new tunes at each, some of which I've kept, some not. Now I've pretty much quit doing that.

I think a participatory concert where the performer connects with this audience by doing such things as putting the performer off of the stage and down on the floor with the audience (a nice thing to do with a small audience), sing-along choruses, a workshop or jam with the performer before or after the concert.

At many concerts I've attended the performer seldom interacts with the audience. He or she disappears during the intermission and after the concert. Or if they are seen during those times, they only interact with the "important people."

At some of my house concerts I've scheduled a late afternoon concert followed by a potluck and then an open jam. That seems to work well with the right people.

leeneia, that sounds all too familiar - my experience at the Tall Ships Festival. Admittedly, music is not the primary reason for the event, but still it could be better integrated into it. My complaint about many maritime and wooden boat festivals is that the music has little or nothing to do with the maritime theme (i.e. mostly jazz, singer-songwriter non-maritime, bluegrass, etc.), it's just sort of background noise to wash over the attendees as they go from one thing to another.

Let's hear more about US audiences. It could be interesting.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 01:55 PM

At many UK festivals we do meet the artist hours where you can get to talk to the the people who will be entertaining you. They tend to be held in the mornings or midday. they're a very popular feature amongst the folk music anoraks and assorted saddos like myself

You can't blame the artist for networking with 'the important people' - its part of his job - the continuing search for gigs. Most folksingers are like great whites devouring each career lead before them.
(however pathetic that might be - my cousin books concertina players to catch flies in Benghazi - I must give you his e-mail..etc !).


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 02:40 PM

Stewart, the idea of performers jamming with non-pros is a good one. It seems that
before he passed away, John Hartford did that much to his credit.

WLD, as to the idea of gig collecting, that shouldn't be the province of the folk "workshops".
Gig hustling is not part of a workshop job description. The idea that there are "important people" or a "folk A-list" if you like is repugnant to me and I am a practicing professional
musician that does some folk music. If there were a place to catch concertina players anywhere, that would be great. it's the virus of "show biz" that has infected the folk music
scenes over the country and although it is a reality, it doesn't have to dominate the educative value of the music by sacrificing the meeting of fans to hanging out with
the gig-makers. The country musicians in the US have never really done that. This attribute is why popular country music is so successful here. Maybe Dolly Parton or the Dixie Chicks aren't being radio-active, these days, but their concerts do quite well.

Again, the reason the audiences for folk are dwindling is because the educative aspects
are not being emphasized enough. Why should people relate to music they don't get?
The way they get it is if it is shown to them as an important cultural experience with which to learn. After all, it took years of PR by recording companies to get people to like rock and roll. It just didn't come from off the streets by a long shot. The demographic had to be courted. People like Ron who run informative radio programs are doing a great job to
increase the folk audience.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 07:29 PM

Where do you live Pip, where there are no traddy clubs?

South Manchester. I can't complain - in walking distance I've got one excellent (and 95% trad) monthly singaround, three or four bars with stages & PAs (including one with a weekly open mike) and the aforementioned club (which has given me some great evenings, trad or no trad). I'm really not sure where the nearest predominantly-trad club would be, though. (Stockport, possibly. Long way away.)

just got their guitar out of the attic after sixteen years: wrote this song this afternoon so I don't really know it; put new strings on last week and can't get it in tune; haven't sung this one for about ten year - but they thought of it driving here tonite, so try not mind if they forget the words and the tune; got this from a book last week and don't really know it, bought this tin whistle(ocarina, uillean pipes, concertina, mandolin - perm any three) a fortnight ago and they're dying to show it off

Nope, doesn't ring any bells. Never heard any of those lines. Well, maybe one or two of them. But only once or twice. Recently.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 07:38 PM

Frank, thank you for the kind words.

That is a great point about education.   Last night I had the pleasure of speaking with Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, known as the duo Mapgie. They are celebrating their 35th anniversary as professional musicians.

One part of our discussion was about the opportunities for performance, and they made a very good point about "creating opportunities".   They have created programs that are geared for specific events and organizations such as historical societies. They created a wonderful program based on the letters of abolitionist John Brown and his wife Mary.   They are also activists and have been teaching others how folk music can be a tool. They also perform in schools and try to teach about "the power" of song.

As Frank said, it is a market that needs to be courted, and it is up to all of us who love this music to break down stereotypes and show why this music is so important.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Nick
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:18 PM

Well we must be in a strange position where I am. We do no publicity to speak of apart from word of mouth; are in a pub that is not particularly beautiful or quaint or anything; and meet weekly.

Last week was a particularly good evening though by no means the best attended ever. 21 singers and musicians; 35+ people; 3 and a half hours of solid music ranging from choruses to unaccompanied song to a particularly impressive young band (Magic P and the Innuendoes who I'd recommend highly to anyone) with an average age of about 22 I would guess, to ensemble things like Willow Tree (the impromptu arrangement unashamedly nicked from Eliza Carthy) with three guitars, three fiddles, electric bass, two concertinas and a trumpet player and a lot of chorus singing.

With holidays we'll probably get quieter but people know it is on every week and people come when it suits them knowing that there will be people there as is mentioned elsewhere on the thread. We have a large enough hardcore of people and a larger number of occasional visitors who come from anything up to fifty miles away that there is nearly always a good crowd. If there isn't who cares - we'll have a sing and share a tune with whoever is there.

It is inclusive and manages to balance (hopefully) the needs of the faction who love playing tunes and the singers.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 08:28 PM

'WLD, as to the idea of gig collecting, that shouldn't be the province of the folk "workshops".'

a rather patrician view, we are talking about professional folksingers - people who have dedicated their lives to acquiring this craft - and half the idiots on Mudcat (who could couldn't string three chords together if their life depended on it) won't even agree what they do is folk music - so they are scuttling round trying to SURVIVE!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:10 PM

I have to say that Ron's comments about "Magpie" hit the nail--it is really all about creating opportunities-- you go where the people are, and give them something that they want--

The problem with this, of course, is that a lot of people feel that this approach compromises their integrity as folk performers. To a certain degree, I think their is something to be said for integrity, but don't think that any interests are being served when you play to only three people.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 29 Jul 08 - 09:20 PM

Actually, I think it helps cement their integrity as performers. If a performer compromises, they lose the element that they are trying to perpetuate.

In the case of Magpie, they are going to the community that they are part of. The are singing and performing songs that are important to them as folk musicians - songs about the environment, peace, civil rights, etc.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 12:49 AM

And then there's the performer that I've booked who doesn't respond to email or voice mail, doesn't return the signed performance agreement, doesn't get me the promo material that I need, does nothing on his end to promote the concert. I'm dealing with one of those right now for a Sept. concert. I'm ready to cancel him and book another band if possible at this late date. Ah, the joys of being a concert promoter.

Then there's another performer who responded within hours of my first email that she would be happy to do the gig. I sent an agreement a few hours later, which she then returned within another few hours. She put the concert announcement up on her web page within a few days. And I know she'll be at the gig a half hour before I ask her to be there. She's a real pro. What a pleasure.

Yes, a certain amount is up to the performer.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,EricTheOrange
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 03:46 AM

As a youngish person with no folky background I think part of the problem is in presentation in that many events seems to have no relevance to me. I'm quite keen to see folk but I've been turned off going to clubs because they seems the province of old (I think most seem past my idea of middle aged) people reliving their younger days. I think that many younger people are like me in that I am far more keen to see traditional music and songs performed traditionally or in reinterpreted form than I am to see second rate "singer/songwriters". The age of the performer is irrelevant but their enthusiasm and attitude are.

I've just come back from Womad and that's an example of how to present music (yes including folk) in a format appealing to us younger ones.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 07:42 AM

"Reliving our younger days" - if only!!! :-(


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 11:28 AM

GUEST,EricTheOrange

I'm quite keen to see folk but I've been turned off going to clubs because they seems the province of old (I think most seem past my idea of middle aged) people reliving their younger days.

Bit of a Catch 22 though isn't it. Any advice on how to get young people into folk clubs and, better still, helping to run them would be more than welcome.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 02:15 PM

I don't go round to pubs to hear music much anymore. Pubs that afvertise "folk" seem to feel that a small pub needs to hire a band that totes in enough sound equipment to play in a football stadium. Too loud for me and anyone else within a mile. So if you arrive at a small venue loaded with amps you've probably scared off most folks.
PS Bodrans (sic) haven't helped).


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 02:23 PM

"So if you arrive at a small venue loaded with amps you've probably scared off most folks. "

Sort of reminds me of the Yogi Berra story about going to a restaurant.   Arriving to find there were no tables, Berra supposedly said "No wonder nobody comes here, the place is always packed!"

I'm wondering why a venue would hire a band with amps if it would scare off most folks. Is it possible the band is attracting a different audience?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 02:44 PM

In the case of the local pubs, they don't seem to be attracting an audience at all. As for why they are hired..my guess would be that the pub maangement is under the impression that louder is better. I don't quite follow the Berra analogy as the Pub is seldom crowded and many folks here abouts don"t go simply because they have no wish to be blown out of the room. The result usually is that there is no music much in the pub anymore.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 03:41 PM

My dream/fantasy is to play/sing in a small cafe/coffeehouse/pub(well no, I've sworn off the noisy drunken scene) with acoustics good enough that no sound system is needed (that would keep away the singer-songwriters who can't seem to sing without all the electronic enhancements - "can you turn up the monitors more?!" while the sound man smiles, pretends that he's turning the knob, but doesn't do anything knowing that terrible feedback would soon follow). I call that my "Dream Cafe" (although Greg Brown had a different take on that with his song). But I haven't found it, at least not yet in Seattle. Of course then there would still be the problem of finding the audience. Oh well...
I guess I'll stick with my busking.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 04:55 PM

acoustics good enough that no sound system is needed

Any reasonably boxy room without too much insulation is good enough, if the audience will shut up - and if not, not. My experience is that amplification goes together with audiences who don't see the need to keep quiet - why should they, they're not stopping anyone else hearing the music.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 06:25 PM

Y'know, folk music isn't really about performing and audiences. The fact that at one time there were large audiences was a fluke of popular taste; it may return, but I wouldn't hold my breath.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 06:40 PM

'The fact that at one time there were large audiences was a fluke of popular taste'

No its no fluke that folksingers stopped trying to entertain audiences - sheer bloody pretentiousness did it. Some thought they were soul searching poets. Others thought they were curators of some ghastly museum in which any old rubbish had an honourable place.

And folks got fed up of dirty scruffy pubs.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 07:56 PM

IMO, they were pretty godawful in the 60s and 70s. Didn't stop the crowds.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 08:02 PM

Somewhere between Dick and Al lies a pretty good assessment. And you two are well qualified to comment. I think we forget sometimes that while we want our music to have gravitas, our job is to entertain. That is what Utah got, and he told me that at length over his final 2 months. It seems we never had a conversation that he wasn't telling me that folks will just stop listening at some point if they are not being entertained.

I am happy to say that my own band still fills the seats and they don't leave until we do. I put that down to damn fine music, and we make them glad to be there. And we manage to teach them a thing or two while we are at it.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 11:46 PM

"folk music isn't really about performing and audiences".

I always thought folk music was the song and tune passed down through generations, that had stood the test of time and usually had at least one dead body in it... but therein lies a whole heap of cans of worms....

LTS

*ducking and running abroad for cover*


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Jul 08 - 11:52 PM

"I always thought folk music was the song and tune passed down through generations, that had stood the test of time and usually had at least one dead body in it... but therein lies a whole heap of cans of worms...."

No, you are describing traditional folk song. The folk music that is being discussed here is the type that became relevant beginning with the folk revival and continues through today.

I think the folk music that Dick is describing will always carry on in one form or another. It has always been there. People still like to make their own music - perhaps not sitting in a park or in a group with friends, but they are making music and that will carry on.

As this header notes, this discussion concerns the various clubs, coffeehouses, festivals and other such venues that introduce folk music as entertainment and to educate. Those are the audiences that appear to be shrinking.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 03:01 AM

You're still making up your definition (non-definition) as you go along Ron
             "Words mean what I want them to mean" -
                        Humpty Dumpty (Alice Through The Looking Glass)

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,EricTheOrange
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 03:21 AM

If I could solve the problems with a sentence or two I wouldn't be posting here but hiring myself out as a consultant! A few things do come to mind though --

This is the 21st century, the age of Digital TV, Youtube and iPods -- even my old mum uses an mp3 player, PVR and the internet. Audiences are more "sophisticated" and demanding so what worked in the 60s or 70s often seems dated or dull or boring.

One of the things Womad do is educate a potential audience through their promotional material so that those turning up feel as though they're already "in the know" and buy in to the cultural event they're attending. Professional events such as Opera, Ballet or Classical music are increasingly taking this approach as well to find a new audience.

Targeting events at a particular audience and combining events imaginatively as is done by smaller touring theatre groups could also be productive. I'd suggest that an evening featuring the traditional music, food and folklore of north-east England would be of far more interest to many people of that region than a generic "folk" evening.

Choice of venue should also be a consideration. If you want to draw in passers or those casually interested don't choose a hall or back room of a pub where anybody entering immediately gets all the old hands staring at the "new face".

There's no doubt that the word "Folk" has become devalued and covers a lot of evils. For those in the UK the M&S food adverts show how use of language can massively alter perception.

People have a far larger range of entertainment options than in the past so if you want an audience to come you've got to go and find them and give them a reason to be interested in what you offer.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 03:24 AM

You'd have to pay me to go to WOMAD, and it would NOT be cheap!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:51 AM

Eric the Orange: "I'm quite keen to see folk but I've been turned off going to clubs because they seems the province of old (I think most seem past my idea of middle aged) people reliving their younger days."

Hi Eric,

Yes, quite a few folk clubs (though by no means all of them) are like that. Try going to a festival instead.

There was a time, long, long time ago, when large numbers of young – yes YOUNG! – people used to hang out in places where folk music was played and sung. Many of them didn't pay very much attention to it, but it provided a moderately agreeable backing track for their social lives, and they identified with it – up to a point.

Eventually, the crowd moved on, as it always does, but some of us who liked the music for its own sake stayed with it. A few are still here – certainly older, probably not much wiser, but possibly a little better informed. And most of us are delighted when we see younger people taking an interest in the music. However, I'm not praying for the return of the (so called)good old days when folk (so called) attracted a much larger youth audience, most of whom weren't actually listening.

Posters to this forum who play music for a living may think well differently. But to them I'd say: fashion is a fickle friend – boom today means crash tomorrow, as surely as sunset follows sunrise. Meanwhile, be thankful that there are audiences at all, even if most of their members are outside the age-group which the music industry prefers to cater for.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 09:23 AM

"You're still making up your definition (non-definition) as you go along Ron "

No Jim, I'm just recognizing a definition that is in more common usage than you wish to give credit for. It isn't something that "I" made up, it is a definition that has been used for the music we are discussing for decades. You don't have to accept it, but it exists in this world.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 09:49 AM

I think too many song writers are 'unschooled' in various types of music (including traditional, however one might define that). I also think too many 'traditionalists' are unschooled in singer-song writers.

I also think the most devisive people on this planet to do with music live in England. You seem to consistently cut each other down. You do NOT support live music. You support YOUR live music. Fuckin' wake up.

When the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,EricTheOrange
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 09:56 AM

MikeofNorthumbria -- I agree. I think many folk festivals are definitely getting the idea. I don't think clubs etc should seek to be fashionable just inviting and not off putting.

Richard Bridge -- you do not like Womad -- fine. Look at how Warwick Folk, Larmer Tree and Chelenham Music festivals present themselves and thei artists, and compare it to your local folk clubs or events.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:12 AM

Eric - I think you shared some brilliant points about WOMAD. Not having had an opportunity to attend, I have only heard good things about the events. They do seem to have a good approach about the presentation and educating the audience without turning it into a college seminar. At the very root, the music is meant to entertain AND to communicate.   The museum-like approach that many people take to it fails to recognize these aspects and only adds to the stereotypes.

Peace, I tend think that the people that post on Mudcat are not typical of the vast majority of Brits. We tend to see the extremists posting here and they come across as having closed minds. In another thread, I tried to get an answer to what their "definition" of folk music was - and while most avoided responding directly, the answers that came back were very ethnocentric to the music of their homeland and dismissive of other traditions. The "sound" that they are accustomed to was really limited to a sterotyped style that grew out of the English folk revival.   

I think the rest of the world has a different view, which is why a dictionary has a more universal definition for "folk music" - one that is embraced by more.   WOMAD is a great example of how the living tradition of folk music is celebrated.

Getting back to the roots of this discussion that was started by someone in Seattle, right here in the USA, I do think that audiences want more from an experience with music.   The old days of sitting in a church basement on folding chairs listening to someone without amplification in an acoustically unfriendly room just doesn't cut it anymore   The music and songs deserve better attention - from both the media, the artist and the venue operator.   

"Trad is Rad" is an expression that the group the Mammals created, and it fits. Groups like Crooked Still are incorporating traditional songs and tunes and remaining true to their own vision. THAT is what the "oral tradition" was all about. It isn't the method but the spirit of WHY it was done that makes a folk song.

Trees are meant to bend and sway with the wind. If they remain steadfast, they will eventually tumble and fall and the trunk will rot away.   Folk music is a living tradition that can swing and sway with the best of them!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:23 AM

"I think the rest of the world has a different view, which is why a dictionary has a more universal definition for "folk music" - one that is embraced by more.   WOMAD is a great example of how the living tradition of folk music is celebrated."

Ron, I'm a brit but I agree with you....I hope that doesn't mess up your stereotypical description of a Brit Mudcatter!!!! Please don't lump me in with the ultratraddies here!

In transatlantic friendship......

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:31 AM

Paul - rest assured, I KNOW that people like you are out there! I love British folk music (traditional and contemporary) and my playlists for my radio show recognize that. I see a great respect for the traditions, but I also see musicians on your side of the pond NOT being held back by traditions. They embrace the traditions and carry it on - in a fashion that is still contemporary AND respectful (at least in my opinion).    I wish American artists had the same foresight to embrace OUR traditions more. I'm encouraged by what I am seeing in recent years (Mammals, Crooked Still, etc.), but for many years "folk" was a four letter word. That is changing. What comes up won't be your grandparents vision of folk music, but it is indeed folk music in its natural evolution!

Place like Mudcat tend to attract staunch defenders of the tradition, and these are people I admire greatly. Their work has enabled me to enjoy this music.   It does bother me that some of these people seem to thrive on putting up roadblocks and become dictorial in sharing their views.

Thanks for your note Paul - I am glad that you represent the vast majority of music lovers on your side of the Atlantic! Keep it going!!!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:31 AM

That remark was based on what I have seen posted on various Mudcat thread, guys. Just have seen too many people cut down by self-appointed critics who do reviews with THEIR agendas in mind. I do not think that of all Brits. I have too many good Brit friends--and I am of Brit extraction myself--to paint all folks there as whiners for THEIR cause. But look at the history here.

A Canuck does something, many Canuck M'caters support that person. Yes, it's with words, but they mean lots. I see the same when Yanks put something new out. They get support. But let some kid in England use an electric instrument on a song and the Tradites--closely connected in thought to Ned Ludd--slam him/her. Let a person with feet in both worlds add ANYthing to a Trad song and it all of a sudden heralds the end of civilization as we know it.

Case in point: when I see ANY musician putting out his/her work to the public, I damned well FIND something good to say. In some cases it's more difficult than others, but it's worth the effort to help a fellow(ette) worker in the music world. I seldom see that from England.

As a btw, it was a BRIT who first drew my attention to this.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:43 AM

Peace,I just LOVE your term "Tradites"!!   I just might steal it, or rather use the oral tradition to process it in the proper folk tradition.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:54 AM

Ron, Peace,

I agree that there are some very intolerant (to anything but Brit trad folk) views expressed by Brits on here....but it is neither universal or exclusive. I'm not sure these generalisations are helpful to the debate.

By the way, I love Crooked Still..... don't know the Mammals at all though. I think there is a lot of good, progessive (but roots based) music coming from your side of the pond......Be Good Tanyas, Stairwell Sisters, Uncle Earl to name but a few.

If I could get this quality of band on at our Folk Club every time, I'm sure I could sell out every month! (O.K so the last sentance might be an attempt to avoid thread drift!).

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:59 AM

"I'm not sure these generalisations are helpful to the debate"

I do agree, and I was not trying generalize. My comments were for the handful that tend to dominate conversations.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 11:19 AM

"No Jim, I'm just recognizing a definition that is in more common usage than you wish to give credit for. It isn't something that "I" made up, it is a definition that has been used for the music we are discussing for decades. You don't have to accept it, but it exists in this world."
Who are these mythical people and what is their alternative definition?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 11:26 AM

Tradites....yes very good description, I will also be using it.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 11:46 AM

"Who are these mythical people and what is their alternative definition?"

Funk & Wagnells are two.

They are not mythical people. Please do not resort to this kind of argument. Let's keep it as a discussion.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:22 PM

Ron, I think asking you to explain your definition of 'folk' is very much part of this discussion - particularly since you're quite willing to turn the question the other way.

Never mind the dictionary for a moment; let's approach this another way. There are lots and lots of performers out there who say that what they're doing is folk, or folk-ish, or folk-and-a-hyphen. Are any of them wrong?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:28 PM

Pip - You know very well that I, and others, have explained it before in other threads.   Then you tell me ignore the dictionary.

To answer your question if any of them are wrong, the answer is everyone except for the third guy on left.   Sorry, but I cannot answer a hypothetical question without hearing the music and observing the setting.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:31 PM

GUEST,EricTheOrange

I don't think clubs etc should seek to be fashionable just inviting and not off putting.

Bring us ideas. Make suggestions. Contribute. Don't just whinge about how awful clubs are. I'm sorry, but we can't stop being old much as we'd like to. Tell us what you want. What would bring you in? Folk clubs aren't WOMAD or Warwick Folk, Larmer Tree and Cheltenham Music festivals nor do they pretend to be but they do have a different sort of value.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:40 PM

Tradites

So now liking traditional music has become something to be sneered at.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:45 PM

Somehow, this thread has shifted to yet another "what is folk" . How dull.

The question of vanishing audiences is probably worth investigating, though.Maybe we could get back to that.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:47 PM

Snail.....please re-read Peace's post before getting defensive. He is referring to people who ONLY like Trad music and don't want to see it progress in any way..... and more importantly just dismiss everything else.

He is criticising those that are blinkered, not those who like traditional music. I'm sure you don't fall into this category.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 12:58 PM

Paul is right, Snail. But then you and I have some 'history' as it were. I don't wish to argue with you. Have your thread.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:00 PM

Thanks Dick. My apologies for sharing in the drift.

One thing that has always puzzled me - there are complaints that there are not enough venues supporting traditional music (or even singer-songwriters for that matter), yet when there is something of interest to traditional music fans, they do not seem to come out.   To me it is like the old comment about not voting and then feelign the right to complain about the winner. If you are not participating, how do you expect things to change?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:04 PM

"They are not mythical people. Please do not resort to this kind of argument. Let's keep it as a discussion."
I am constantly being told that the 1954 definition no longer applies because 'people' have changed that definition for a new one - I repeat - who are these people (somebody quoted 64 million not so long ago) and what is now the alternative definition?
If you can't give an alternative - it stands to reaon that the old one still applies.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:15 PM

Banjiman

Snail.....please re-read Peace's post before getting defensive. He is referring to people who ONLY like Trad music and don't want to see it progress in any way..... and more importantly just dismiss everything else..

Do these people really exist and if so do they have any influence?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:20 PM

Jim, I will post it one more time. Either you have forgotten or missed it. Let's start with the dictionary.

Here is one definition from American Heritage:
1. Music originating among the common people of a nation or region and spread about or passed down orally, often with considerable variation. 2. Contemporary music in the style of traditional folk music.

Here is another from Random House:
1. music, usually of simple character and anonymous authorship, handed down among the common people by oral tradition.
2. music by known composers that has become part of the folk tradition of a country or region.

There is a community of people who have created their own tradition in modern times. You can choose not to recognize it, but you just need to get out and look around you to see that "folk music" is a much larger community than you choose to give credit to.

Dick made a very good point. We should be discussing this in other threads. You will surely respond to this and that is your choice. I'd like to get back to the subject.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:22 PM

I think this thread that I started has just about run its course.
And its course has run a far direction from what I first imagined.
I'm not concerned about folk music versus any other kind of music,
traditional versus contemporary, and certainly not folk clubs
of which we don't have any as such here in Seattle.

We have a very nice facility (concert hall, community center) here in north Seattle, which we'd like to utilize through a newly-formed small arts council. We would like to bring local musicians and the community together for the benefit of all. But it's a struggle to get going.

We've had some great concerts - for example, a local Klezmer group of nationally known musicians (have even played on The Prairie Home Companion show) played to a small, but very enthusiastic audience. Also two fantastic young local fiddle/violin players who are probably headed for national recognition - a young lady who plays old-timey and Irish fiddle with a style of a much older and seasoned player, and a young college student playing incredible gypsy-jazz violin with his own band. Again a small, but very enthusiastic audience. But the audiences don't seem to grow.

This could/should be a great community resource, but the immediate community doesn't come out to any extent. People just seem to want to stay at home, can't conceive of local, live music (music is just a commodity to purchase through mp3 players or as background to other activities). They may come out to hear big name, out-of-town stars at outrageous prices because they're told that these people are good. But we just want to connect the community with their own local artists and musicians. Another smaller community-based concert series recently folded due to dwindling audiences.

Many of my musician friends play at the local coffeehouses, sort of like what I experienced (probably won't do that again), playing to three people glued to their laptop computers (one plugged into his own music) and, if lucky, two other friends. Or playing at a local pub to a few other musicians and a room full of half-drunk, noisy bar patrons who probably find the music annoying and have to talk louder to be heard. I really don't see the point of it.

So that's all. I'll let the UK members talk about their folk clubs and definitions of trad music.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:27 PM

Stewart,

Who created the arts council? What kind of support does it have from the venue, local government, community, etc?    Do you think they are doing adequate publicity?

The club I work with, the Hurdy Gurdy, partnered with a local town and we are now putting on concerts in a gorgeous 171 seat theater. It might be small for some artists, but we find it just about right. Working with the town, our rate to rent the space and sound techs gives us some money left over to do publicity. However, we rely on "free" publicity where we can.   Establishing an e-mail list is critical. You can create a "buzz" without spending a dime!

Getting the word out is probably the most critical aspect of building and audience - and letting an audience know that this type of music is out there.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:35 PM

Snail,

I would like to hope not, unfortunately I've met one or two, some of whom run folk clubs. These clubs usually have very small attendances and the attendees tend to frown a lot....especially when I get my banjo out......even if I'm doing "trad" songs or tunes.

They then tend to say things like...we're really a traditional singers club........ completely devaluing one's efforts.

Clearly they have a perfect right to run their club along any lines they want.....but we're highly unlikely to go back or recommend them to anyone else. Hence audiences dwindle.

These clubs are the minority..... I can think of 2 that I have been to in the north of England. But yes, unfortunately they do exist.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,EricTheOrange
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:45 PM

TheSnail -- you said "Bring us ideas. Make suggestions. Contribute. Don't just whinge about how awful clubs are. I'm sorry, but we can't stop being old much as we'd like to. Tell us what you want. What would bring you in? Folk clubs aren't WOMAD or Warwick Folk, Larmer Tree and Cheltenham Music festivals nor do they pretend to be but they do have a different sort of value."


I'm sorry if I was not clear about this though I thought I'd provided a few suggestions in my posts. I also don't think I was whingeing -- the question was "where have the audiences gone" and I was trying to give one possible answer. YMMV

As for the festivals I mentioned I was using them as examples of how they have worked at their presentation and communications to engage with modern audiences -- the festivals I have attended seem to have no problem attracting interest from across age, gender and racial groups. At Womad Cara Dillon filled her venue, Show of Hands overflowed theirs. Obviously folk clubs and performances are something different and obviously they don't want to copy what those festivals do but that doesn't mean that there aren't good lessons to be learned and it doesn't mean that they cannot attract interest from the same sort of people.

If you are happy with the state of performances or folk clubs where you are then there's no problem, but if what you are doing at the moment isn't working then doing more of the same is unlikely to improve matters. Age in itself is not the problem but I think that if you are interested in a "living" tradition but are not attracting both genders across ages and backgrounds how long will it remain alive?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:48 PM

Banjiman

I can think of 2 that I have been to in the north of England.

Whereas Peace had said -

But let some kid in England use an electric instrument on a song and the Tradites--closely connected in thought to Ned Ludd--slam him/her. Let a person with feet in both worlds add ANYthing to a Trad song and it all of a sudden heralds the end of civilization as we know it.

which is a bit of a damning statement. It followed on from -

I also think the most devisive people on this planet to do with music live in England. You seem to consistently cut each other down. You do NOT support live music. You support YOUR live music. Fuckin' wake up.

I think I'm entitled to get a little bit defensive. He's cursing the whole country. The implication is that the"Tradites" are responsible for the lack of audiences.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 01:52 PM

I'll let the UK members talk about their folk clubs and definitions of trad music.

Apologies for the drift. Here's the way it looks in Chorlton, Manchester, England, England, across the Atlantic sea.

One singaround, monthly, mostly trad, doing well (10-15 people, almost all performers).
One folk club running singers' nights, most weeks, mostly non-trad, also doing well (30-40 people, about half performers)
The same folk club with a guest act, occasional, mostly non-trad, not doing so well (20-30 people)
One tunes session, weekly, all trad, doing well (15-20 terrifyingly virtuosic people)
Several bars with PA, some with open mike nights, apparently doing well (but whether this has anything to do with the music (or indeed whether anyone listens to the music) is unclear)
An Irish Club, doing well, frequently puts on one of the local C+W bands (not trad)
Occasional folkie acts big enough to run to an actual gig, not doing terrifically well unless they're really big - there's "headlining at the folk club" and "headlining at the Lowry,/a>" and not much in between.

What that tells me is that people, round here at least, will come out to
a) perform themselves or support friends who perform
b) dance
c) drink

but not so much to

d) listen to live music

It's a weird situation, because from my perspective as an amateur performer both the folk club and the singaround represent a scene that's doing really well. (When I've worked on my whistle for another 30 years I might be able to sit in on the tunes session, and then I'll have the set.) But to a pro, semi-pro or would-be-pro performer I can see that the same landscape would look rather barren.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:03 PM

Ron, the arts council was started by a local graphic artist and her husband, and I am the third active member. The facility is a non-profit community club - originally a private club founded in the 1920s, then outside of the city limits. The facilities are completely paid for, and a few rentals and endowed funds completely sustain it with increasing reserves each year. Part of the problem is political - the old members, 2nd generation from the founders, view it as their own private club, but don't want to do anything but meet there once a month. They are all aging and have little energy to do anything. And the community has no focal point, just private homes with no retail stores/shop/cafe. But the club, as a non-profit, has a legal obligation to serve the community.

My music friends all say this is a great thing. "A gem of a hall" (seats 150 or more), they say "we need more music venues," "you're doing a great thing," etc. But we're also up against a local folklore society that has its own large constituency, but mostly brings in out-of-town singer-songwriters. They usually get a good audience, but it's not the kind of thing we want to do. It's not competition - we are just trying to do something different.

As for promotion, we do everything we can think of or is recommended. But to be successful we need to get the local community involved - where people don't have to drive across town to some place they're not familiar with. I think it's more of a wide-spread cultural/sociological thing that people are becoming more isolated, too busy with work, too many other activities, etc. Just a new era.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:21 PM

Snail....if you want to be defensive, that's absolutely fine by me! I made my point that I didn't think generalisations were useful, there was a clarification which I fully accept and we moved on.

Stewart,

I would be interested to know what sort of figure you would consider to be a good audience? Some of us (me included) this side of the pond are busy congratulating ourselves on reasonable attendances.....but what we consider good, you might consider poor.

Thanks

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:24 PM

I'm sorry Eric, I'm not getting at you. If you've got some positive suggestions, I'm genuinely interested. All your suggestions seem a little vague. Holding up WOMAD, which is once a year on a massive scale, is not much use as an example for a club that meets once a week in a room with maximum capacity 50; Cara Dillon and Show of Hands don't play that sort of venue these days. You say "don't choose a hall or back room of a pub". Where then?

"if you want an audience to come you've got to go and find them and give them a reason to be interested in what you offer." Advice on advertising that would bring in the young would be welcome.

Actually the asnwer to "where have the audiences gone" is "They've all grown old and don't get out much anymore". The real question is "How do we get a new audience in?" Answers gratefully received.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:27 PM

Ron, you should read the second of the definitions you cite more carefully.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:34 PM

As one of the mainly missing club audience I would make a couple of points.

When I started attending clubs they started early evening, 7.30ish. This has now pushed back and back so there's less music in the evening and fewer chances for newbies and less variety. At the other end of the night more and more of the audience seem to be leaving early during the guest's last set leaving, in some cases, only half the number that started the evening. Doesn't make for a great atmosphere.

There is also (I think) more participation in making music than back in the seventies and eighties. People are attending sessions and if they're there then they're not in clubs.

There is an audience for folk music but it is finding venues other than clubs to hear it in and a new wave of performer is coming along who is meeting that need without playing the clubs.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Woody
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:41 PM

I was at Womad 2008 and can agree with Eric that Show Of Hands got a good turn out. I go to a few festivals a year but when I've looked at our local FC offerings there's been nothing very enticing - if you can find out anything about them at all that is as many of them seem unaware of the existence of the Internet, or if they do the web pages are uninformative or many times broken.

I live in a rural area and we have a local Open Mike society that organize regular events around the area, they regularly get a good turn out of punters and acts (averaging maybe 15 performers and maybe 50 watchers) with the acts varying from poor to excellent, and they do a lot to get younger people and people of diverse styles joining in. Recently they put on a show of local performers in a pub's garden on a Sunday afternoon & evening, combined with stuff for the kids and a BBQ, and they got over 200 punters watching. I think their secret is they make going to one of their things seem fun.


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Subject: RE: Where have all the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:41 PM

Ron
One more time:
I have no problem with your first two - have agreed on numerous occasions with you and others but-
"There is a community of people who have created their own tradition in modern times. You can choose not to recognize it, but you just need to get out and look around you to see that "folk music" is a much larger community than you choose to give credit to."
Who are these and what do they have to do with the other two?
I saw very little example of these when I quit the clubs - that's why I quit; the second lot appear to coincide with the people who replaced them and used the clubs as a cultural dustbin.
The question is "Where have all the audiences gone?"
In the eighties the majority of the clubs disappeared and the audiences more than halved.
I would guess that what you are seeing now is the residue dying off (or maybe they can't get their wheelchairs up the stairs).
We pissed off because the clubs failed to live up to their descriptions. The number of people who remained were never really replaced - simple as that.
I went to a club in London last time I was there, that I had frequented on a fairly regular basis. It was almost as if I'd slipped out for a pee and returned a few minutes later - the heads were either grayer or balder, more wrinkles - but the same faces, though much less of them.
The solution so far seems to have been 'let's widen our terms of reference to draw in more people' - stupid, stupid, stupid. People don't go out to listen to a night of 'music' - they go to listen to jazz, or classical, or country-and-western, or garage, or hip-hop.
If I turned up for a night of chamber music at the R.F.H. and found a barbers shop trio - no matter how good they were, I'd be pretty hacked off - I certainly wouldn't go back. The same applies (in my case applied) if I went to a folk club and found a group of tossers mumbling their way (usually badly) through Buddy Holly resurrections.
If folk clubs put on folk music proper, and perform it well - and it still doesn't attract audiences - then the music will have failed and it could be argued that it is no longer relevant as a performed art.
The way things are at present, we'll never know.
If you want to see what can be achieved when you do it properly have a look at the thread on the Irish Trad. Music Archive and see what you'r e missing.
As it is while the folk growth continues to be overrun by th parasite - well - enjoy the funeral.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:42 PM

Ugh - could a mod look in and fix my blue clicky back here?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:54 PM

"Ron, you should read the second of the definitions you cite more carefully. "
Trust me, I did. If you wish to discuss further, either a PM or a different thread please.

"People don't go out to listen to a night of 'music' - they go to listen to jazz, or classical, or country-and-western, or garage, or hip-hop."
Or they go to an evening of YOUR definition of folk.

Jim, we just have a failure to communicate. I can only answer your question so many times.   Please, either a PM or a different thread.   Let's stay on topic, and it is not a topic about definitions.


Now back to the topic - Woody hit on it - "I think their secret is they make going to one of their things seem fun."    In order to do that you need to think outside of normal realm - educating and entertaining and providing a sense of "cool".   

Stewart - I would suggest trying to work with the local folk club. It seems as if they have gone off in a different direction and if they have any brains they would realize that everyone needs to work together. I think we can see in this very thread what divise activity leads to.    Here in NJ, we do cross-promote each other. A healthy community has lots of choices.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,EricTheOrange
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 02:54 PM

TheSnail -- you said "All your suggestions seem a little vague. Holding up WOMAD, which is once a year on a massive scale, is not much use as an example for a club that meets once a week in a room with maximum capacity 50; Cara Dillon and Show of Hands don't play that sort of venue these days. You say "don't choose a hall or back room of a pub". Where then?"


I'm sorry you do not seem to be getting my point covered in my previous posts so there is not much point in me continuing further with this -- it seems unlikely that more words from me will help much so this will be my last post except to note -- you also said

"Actually the asnwer to "where have the audiences gone" is "They've all grown old and don't get out much anymore".

This is just untrue -- there are plenty of all ages who travel a long way at great expense to go to festivals big and small with acts known and unknown -- maybe you should ask why they will do that but you can not get them to attend local events?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:34 PM

"This is just untrue -- there are plenty of all ages who travel a long way at great expense to go to festivals big and small with acts known and unknown -- maybe you should ask why they will do that but you can not get them to attend local events?"

Therein also lies the answer. You go to a festival, you don't like the act on the mainstage, you wander off to another stage. Local events and clubs don't work that way.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Fionnghaile
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:42 PM

OMG your so jaded except maybe Eric the orange sometimes. i wish he wasnt so bloody serious=lighten up will ye? the rest of you are so past it. I bet your older than my dad. at least hes a good singer. when hes sober lol. i wouldnt be seen dead in a 'folk club' where theres no craic only a bunch of wannabes. the only place for trad music is a good session.

But Jim Carroll was right and said why are the adiences smaller=cos theyve all died. I think my da threw a pint over him once, dunno why. well i'm off to a festival, not folk, or three and afterwards well find a good session.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Woody
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 04:55 PM

Regarding Eric's post and Steve's reply the Open Mike group round here don't run multiple stages & they get & keep an audience.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 05:22 PM

If you want to attract a larger audience, you have to do what that audience wants to listen to. That--obvious as it may be--has nothing to do with whether what's being performed is folk music or not.

From a historical perspective, traditional folk music is probably doing much better today than it was in all the years before the 60s-70s "folk" boom, which was a pop music phenomenon, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 06:54 PM

Stewart:
That sounds like a fun project..except maybe for the Swimming Uphill aspect.

Is the handful of people (connected with the building) that seem content with monthly meetings AGAINST having the place used more frequently, or are they just kind of not particularly interested in actively working toward serving/drawing the community?
Have they tried things that failed..and gotten pessimistic?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 07:15 PM

'widen the terms of reference....stupid, stupid, stupid'

okay lets see what a bloody marvellous experiment narrowing the terms of reference has been.

You've narrowed it so even educated members of the working classes can't relate to it. Just a gang of professional ...what? I hesitate to give them a title.

The great sadness is that so many talented people have bought into the lie that folk music is about a dead culture, like Latin verse or something. Songs about things we haven't experienced and scarcely understand.

The fact is that you've turned the idea of folkmusic on its head. Its a sort of chamber music for middle class types with a superiority complex.

The folk art of playing the guitar is regarded as unimportant - compared to the cardinal virtue of having solidarity with that tradition that has bypassed every family in the land that I have ever met.


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Subject: Report from a folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 07:28 PM

Buzzing. 18 acts, two of them unaccompanied, plus a mandola, a uke, a banjo and a lot of acoustic guitars. Spancil Hill, Out of the Window, a couple of tunes and Frankie and Albert, plus a lot of covers and a lot of original material.

There's obviously an audience for this kind of mixture, and some of tonight's bill was very good - including some of the original stuff. But it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to say that most of it wasn't folk.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 07:57 PM

Melissa,

"Is the handful of people (connected with the building) that seem content with monthly meetings AGAINST having the place used more frequently, or are they just kind of not particularly interested in actively working toward serving/drawing the community?" Yes to both. They did things in the past, but are now too old and tired to do much of anything, but they are still in control.

Here's an announcement of our upcoming series that I just wrote up for the Seattle Folklore Society Flyer. It will give you a flavor of what we do.

The Haller Lake Arts Council begins its monthly "2nd Saturdays at the club" concert series. They aim to bring local artists and musicians together with the community for the benefit of all. On Sept. 13 The Cutters, a Northwest family band, will sing songs of British Isles and North American seafaring traditions, with heart-felt vocals, backed by guitars, banjos, bodhran, whistle, and driving percussion. And Molly Bauckham and Davy Axtell, a Seattle duo who perform on guitar, harp, hammered dulcimer, flute and vocals, will play music from lands of the Britons and the Celts. The Righteous Mothers will perform on Oct. 11. They are four funny, philosophical female folk-rock musicians who have performed together for the past 26 years. They surprise and delight young and old, gay and straight, male and female with their quirky humor and open hearts. November features Tania Opland & Mike Freeman playing hamered dulcimer, guitar, violin, cittern, Native American flute, percussion, with songs in many languages and rhythmic roots from Siberia to Morocco. In December Jean Sherrard will present a Holiday Special of dramatic reading and stories. He is coauthor, with Paul Dorpat, of "Washington Then and Now." The DownTown Mountain Boys, the Pacific Northwest's most exciting and accomplished bluegrass band, will play in January. And Crookshank, Seattle's hottest folk-rock band, will play in February. Concerts for March, April and May will be announced later.

It's not all folk music or even traditional, but hopefully something that will appeal to many people. It's just getting people in the community to recognize that there is good local live music, and getting them out to experience it. Yes it is like "Swimming Uphill."

Ron, yes I have tried to work with the SFS. I've even produced a couple of concerts for them in the past. But they have a different agenda (not folklore or even anything to do with Seattle). We're not in competition, we just do different things.

Cheers, S. in Seattle
And now back to the UK, seemingly stuck in a roundabout of folk clubs and tradition vs non-tradition. (just kidding!)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:03 PM

Stewart:
...and there are three of you who actively Want a thriving program?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:06 PM

GUEST,EricTheOrange

maybe you should ask why they will do that but you can not get them to attend local events?

I am asking. I was hoping you might be able to emlighten me. I'm genuinely interested in any contribution you have to make but I'm afraid a folk club can't be like WOMAD anymore than a corner shop can be like a supermarket.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:06 PM

Stewart - I realise it sounds like a completely different discussion, but I don't think your problems are that far from ours. It's just not easy to get people to come out and listen to traditional music - or even to (local/unknown/semi-pro) singer-songwriters.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:08 PM

... and we're on the verge of serious burnout. I know, we need more volunteers, we've certainly tried but so far with no luck. The club isn't interested and every one else is too busy.

S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:12 PM

Stewart:
Nah..three is a magic number!

Does your trio still have energy and interest enough to keep putting effort into it? Burnout can sometimes be cured by an injection of new ideas to consider..


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:14 PM

... I'd welcome any and all.

S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:15 PM

Stewart - I would suggest approaching the Folklore Society again. The fact that you have different agendas can work for both sides. Unlike some of the posters on Mudcat, "folk music" audiences in the U.S. tend to have more diverse tastes and accept the fact that there are different traditions - both traditional and contemporary.   You can work together, sharing mailing lists, distributing flyers at each others events, etc.   I really think it is important that everyone in the area realizes they are working together. A "scene" does not develop if there is only one venue.

It sounds like a very interesting series, but I can see it is a tough one to "sell" if the artists are not very well known. Still, you can build some excitement. Where do you distribute your flyers? Are there local newspapers that give you coverage? Are there any central areas with bulletin boards - libraries, supermarkets, etc?    How about radio? Do you have a website?

I realize from an earlier comment that you might be strapped for volunteers that can do the work, but you would be surprised at how fast some of it can be done in an hour or two of sitting in front of the computer.   

Have you checked for Yahoo newsgroups that are dealing with your area?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Melissa
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:19 PM

I'll pm you later tonight..and allow this thread to return to it's regularly scheduled distraction..if that's ok?

I might be able to come up with something that you could adapt and/or use as a launchpoint for better ideas.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:30 PM

"I'm afraid a folk club can't be like WOMAD anymore than a corner shop"

Snail, I think you seriously are missing the point that Eric has trying to explain to you.   Think outside of the box. He isn't saying that a folk club should be run like Womad, but look at what they are doing right and why it works. If you take the time to step back and observe, you might discover a few things.

The next step is to get over preconceived ideas and fears of change. If you truly want things to stay the way they are, then that is your direction and you take what you get. If you are interested in growth and perpetuation, you need to look for new ideas.   

Any business that sits around doing nothing will eventually fail. That my friend, is a fact. Your club is a business.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Joe_F
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:38 PM

I'm weird in a lot of ways, but FWIW: For me the question is why I *ever* go to public performances, when I can listen to recordings and/or download the words & sing the songs to myself.

1. Sentimentality. There are people whose recordings have introduced me to songs I cherish, so I go to their concerts, when within reach, as a gesture of gratitude. Every year, tho, a couple more of them die.

2. Conviviality. Sometimes people invite me to go along with them. Then I get to chat with them at dinner, and to talk about the songs with them, and maybe a hug too. Happens maybe once a year.

The actual experience of being part of an audience is one that, on the whole, I do not enjoy. There is no reason to expect the performance to be better than a recorded one, and then there is the dreary ritual of applause (makes a good time to fart is the best I can say for it).


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 08:59 PM

WFDU - Ron Olesko

Snail, I think you seriously are missing the point that Eric has trying to explain to you.

Yes I am but I'm not doing it deliberately. I have been involved in folk clubs and folk festivals for many years and I know that they are very different things.

He isn't saying that a folk club should be run like Womad, but look at what they are doing right and why it works.

They are doing what is right and what works for a folk festival. They are taking place over one weekend a year with multiple events in 1000 seat concert tents, booking acts that probably charge more to get out of bed than our annual turnover and spending similar sums on national advertising. They are employing professional organisers backed up by an army of volunteers.

Half a dozen volunteers run a weekly club in a single room with maximum capacity fifty. We finance ourselves from the raffle and singaround nights. You are just not comparing like with like.

If you are interested in growth and perpetuation, you need to look for new ideas.

I'm asking for new ideas but I'm not be offered anything practical.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 09:13 PM

"I'm asking for new ideas but I'm not be offered anything practical. "

The ideas are there, but you are on the wrong plane. You keep harping on the fact that one is a festival and the other a local club. You aren't seeing that there is a connection and the reasons Womad works can be a lesson for a small club. You just can't see the forest because of the trees.

The reasons that people go to a festival are not because of the size - it is because of the attitude, the music, and most importantly - the way they are treated.   As soon as you can understand that you can begin to translate into what is appropriate for your club.   It boils down to reasons why people go to ANY event regardless of size.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 09:24 PM

WFDU - Ron Olesko

You aren't seeing that there is a connection and the reasons Womad works can be a lesson for a small club.

No I'm not. Perhaps I'm just being dim. Spell it out for me. Give me an example of one of those lessons.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:01 PM

First, I was not at Womad - but Eric offered some great suggestions that could be implemented by any club.

Eric mentioned that Womad "educated" their audiences with brochures. Think about your club, how would someone that has no knowledge of your the music you present be made to feel welcome and knowledgeable?   Can you do something like "teen night" or perhaps some handouts that can explain what you do BEFORE someone sets foot.

Eric also mentioned about gatherings for specific styles. People come out for "events" or something special. Throw a little Barnum into your thinking and create something special. You don't throw out your core features, but you find ways to throw a spotlight on them.

I can tell you about one of the clubs in our area - Sanctuary Concerts.   They have done "theme" shows. They put together a Bob Dylan Birthday party - the artists did cover songs. They put on a Valentine's Day show and gave everyone chocolate desserts. I was involved in one concert with three songwriters - we did an informal "chat" where I conversed the artists about their craft of songwriting.   I don't know if you have gone to festivals with "theme" workshops, but they are a great source of ideas.

What Eric was trying to explain to you is that Womad apparently thinks outside of the box and comes up with ways of making an audience part of the show.   You need to sit back and examine such events, even events that are not part of your genre, and see what they are doing right.

It ain't the field of dreams. If you simply build it, they won't come. You need to put in some work for results. Even minimal efforts in the right place can bring results.

I should also say that the club I'm involved with is a work in progress. We are seeing our audience return and I know the folks that show up enjoy themselves and come back again.   As I noted from watching Sanctuary Concerts and from what I gathered from Eric's note about Womad, you can learn a lot by watching others.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 10:42 PM

What a lot of hot air in this thread, people finding the opportunity to vent on what is (or isn't) folk, why a festival's success cannot inform a club's running, why a cafe/house concert is different to a UK club, and of course what the Government should (or shouldn't) do about it.

And yet the question seemed so simple. It asked about the disappearance of audiences, not afficionados of this or that genre, membership card holders, locals, youngsters or bus-pass owners.

The answer has to be about plain supply and demand I think, and what drives them. Give the audiences something entertaining in a decent environment at a decent price, at a decent time of the day and a decent day in the week (whatever works in your area), advertise it properly, invest time, effort and probably money, take care of the proceedings, quality-control the performers/performances, ensure troublemakers are turned away or are otherwise controlled, and you might have a chance.

Subsidies help, but only to patch the inadequacies of whichever of the above is weak. No entrepreneur depends on subsidies.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 31 Jul 08 - 11:16 PM

Oh, and by the way I agree with Ron that we can all learn lessons from others. Clubs learning from festivals is just the start of it.

Preserving or promoting this or that category of music is a wholly different bag. You can ride it on the back of attracting audiences if you want (though it will not always be the best vehicle for what you want to achieve), but it has nothing to do directly with attracting audiences in itself.

Breezy has that right. He provides entertainment, and then lets slip some folk in between to the unsuspecting. That way he catches some, but that is not his main driver or criterion for success. No, that is judged by how many punters are waving their arms madly in the air doing the "pump"!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 02:30 AM

Ron,
This - and many other similar threads are exaxctly about definitions.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 03:23 AM

If that is so now George, why was it not so in the 60s?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 03:58 AM

The rule applied then just as much as now. But in 1960 we were offering something the people wanted - then. And dressing it up as we were in the "alternative" clothes in vogue at the time, it was attractive to the young audiences. But 2010 audiences don't want the same as 1960 ones, see what difference 50 years has made in the tastes in films, theatre, music, comedy, entertainment etc.

Also, what counted as a decent environment in 1960 would not wear long in 2010. Expectations in this have changed too.

And with plenty of entertainment to be had for free on the internet, prices are under pressure now also.

So, the rule remains constant. But the parameters did not.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: glueman
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 04:09 AM

Someone may have made the point already - and I'm certainly not going to read the whole thread - but the difference between the sixties' popularity and now is down to fashion. For a fleeting moment folk captured a counter cultural, back-to-nature mood that almost made its way into the mainstream.

Folk clubs were where you graduated when you'd finished with youth clubs. The fact a young man or woman could meet someone of the opposite sex while bathing in imagined history and tolerable beer didn't mean those individuals were serious folk enthusiasts or historians, clubs were simply the default night out for those who didn't fancy the Palais. My impression is the vibe lasted into the middle seventies but by the eighties folk clubs had degenerated into a happy clappy spin off of church groups with anything approximating folk music very much at a premium.
Last night I visited our local who had begun to have a folk groups and asked the bar girl if there was any music on. 'No', she admitted, 'not for a while. It was scaring the regulars away'.

That, as we may once have said, is where we're at.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 06:12 AM

Ron, you seem to think we are sitting in an empty room with a hand written notice on the door saying "Flok Club- Keep Out".

We advertise in the Folk Diary which is distributed over Sussex (pop 1.5 million) and beyond and Folk London. We have a website. We produce handouts that go to other clubs over a wide area and to local libraries and tourist information centres.

We run theme nights. We run workshops (follow the link on the website).

Yes, I have gone to festivals with "theme" workshops. I help run some of them.

We book young guest performers and, sometimes, they bring in a young audience but they don't come back next week.

OK, we could run a "teen night" but how do we get them to come? If I was a teenager and a bunch of "old folkies" were running a teen night, I'd run a mile.

We do have regular audiences. What we don't have is YOUNG audiences.

Asking a young enthusiast what we can do in practical terms to draw young people in doesn't seem to have got me very far.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: glueman
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 06:35 AM

The problem isn't with the music, it's the club part that doesn't appeal. Rachel Unthank seems to be filling the airwaves, festival and awards circuit with her brand of acoustic sexiness but as people are all too ready to tell us, it's probably not folk. Young people appear not to care - in considerable numbers. Why an under 25 would want to go into a folk club (present company and exemplars excepted) is all too obvious.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 07:09 AM

"Last night I visited our local who had begun to have a folk groups and asked the bar girl if there was any music on. 'No', she admitted, 'not for a while. It was scaring the regulars away'."

If it was a bar girl serving you rather than a barmaid, I'm not surprised. Your local's not in Pattaya, is it? (tee-hee!)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: glueman
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 07:33 AM

I was about to write 'barmaid' when I remembered maids of any kind are thin on the ground hereabouts, even thinner by the time they're old enough to pull a pint.
I appreciate it's a generic term that doesn't preclude intersexuals and those who simply (in the memorable words of one entrapped high court judge) 'enjoy the freedom only a skirt can give' but bar girl came out unbidden. Either way folk is off the menu and drinkers can enjoy their ale without being troubled by invitations to repeat a chorus.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 08:16 AM

A few more thoughts on the perennial topic: how might we attract more people - particularly young people - to folk venues? Here are a few suggestions, some more serious than others.

Lose most of the chairs and tables. Kids want space to mill about in, not a structured environment that looks suspiciously like a classroom.

Keep the lights dim. The nervous and friendless can remain anonymous, while the confident and attractive cultivate an aura of mystery in the gloom.

Get in a powerful PA system. Youngsters like their music loud, whether they're listening to it or just using it as a backdrop for their social lives. And they rarely maintain a respectful silence during a performance - even by an artist they admire - so you'll need mega-volume, whatever.

Book acts that look drop-dead cool and display shedloads of attitude. If they sound good that's useful, but not essential. Young audiences prefer stylish icons they can identify with (or lust after) to accomplished musicians who don't look the part.

Recruit a few bouncers. Peaceable punters will be reassured that there is protection on hand in case trouble breaks out. Rowdy ones will feel flattered that the management thinks they're hard enough to need restraining by professional security.

Display a wide range of alcopops and bottled lagers at the bar. Definitely no hand-pumps - we are what we drink, and ale is terminally uncool.

Instruct the door staff to turn away everyone who seems to be over 25 - unless they are recognisable celebrities.   

Finally, do not permit the word "Folk" to be uttered anywhere in the establishment, because it is the kiss of commercial death.   

In short - for folk clubs to attract young people in large numbers, they must cease to be folk clubs as we oldsters have known them.   From a historical perspective, this is no big deal. Folk clubs were the voice of our generation, and as we die off, so will they. But the music will survive somewhere or other. Whether it's at festivals, sessions, open mikes, or just in people's homes matters little, so long as the tunes are played and the songs sung.

Eventually, another generation of youngsters may re-invent the folk club - in their own way, and on their own terms.   If any of us are still around, we probably won't like the result much. And if we do happen to like it, they'll probably re-invent it all over again, because upsetting the old folks is one of the functions of a healthy youth culture.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 08:17 AM

Snail - I never said you were playing to empty houses. Again, you aren't comprehending what we have been telling you. You are asking the right questions, but I'm not sure you are open to finding answers. You need to observe more and listen when young people give you answers, since you said you've asked them. My guess is you were looking for a direct answer - which won't come. You need to read between the lines.

There is no magic answer that will suddenly open your doors to young people, but there are ways of making your venue more friendly - IF that is what you truly want.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 08:48 AM

So basically, Ron, you haven't got a clue either. What is so wrong about asking people, especially someone young who shows an interest, for practical suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Gulliver
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 08:48 AM

I find that observation by MikeofNorthumbria interesting. I live in Ireland where we've got very few folk clubs but there are sessions, gigs, concerts and other venues.

Last year I went to see an Irish musician, who does mainly his own version of traditional songs, in the Cobblestone, a good folk venue in Dublin. He's still good and has great songs and he would have packed the place 30 years ago--this time around, for most of the evening, I was the only person in the audience. Just after that the Foghorn String band played there and the place was packed (mainly with young people)--and bluegrass is a real minority interest in Dublin. Around that time Prison Love, a young Irish group who play a mixture of bluegrass/zydeco, played in Whelans, a much larger venue, and to my great surprise the place was totally packed out--average age around 20-22. Meanwhile, at the bluegrass gigs that I go to, where most musicians are middle-aged, there is practically no audience (besides myself!) of any age.

My take on this (and I go to a lot of venues in Dublin): young people go out, they want young groups, they want a bit of fun. Older people stay at home and watch TV--they don't even go to the local any more. Nothing will change this.

As obnoxious as her comments were, I fear that Guest,Fionnghuala does represent the viewpoint of many young people.

Don


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 09:18 AM

I think we need to be clear on what the problem is. It certainly isn't that nobody under 30 is going to folk clubs anywhere, or even that nobody under 30 is doing the old stuff. Some of the performers I saw last night looked distinctly age-deprived - and that includes the bloke who stopped the show with his rendition of Spancil Hill.

Where there is an imbalance, in my experience, is in the audience in the proper sense - the regular punters who don't perform. I don't think that's a 'folk' problem - I just think it's hard to get people to come out & listen to live music in any numbers, and it's that much harder with younger people.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 09:40 AM

Snail- I think your problem is becoming obvious to all us. You are looking for an easy answer and not listening and observing. Every situation is different and several of us have given you suggestions and tried to lead you to your own answer.   The experience that I have described with my own club is showing some positive results, but as I say, it is still a work in progress. We are seeing the audience grow and a number of younger faces. It is a positive experience and we have learned to embrace changes and still remain true to our core goals.

Also, re-read my statement. I never said it was wrong to ask a young person about their feelings. What I said was that I don't think you were really listening to their response and looking for a direct answer. You need to examine more.

You are asking the right questions, but I think you are expecting an easy answer and not paying attention to what people are telling you, based on your responses and interpretations in this thread. Believe me, that is something that I have done and all of us do. We all need to take a step back now and then.

Gulliver, Pip and Fionnghuala made some wonderful points. A young audience is going to be attracted to music that they want to be attracted to. Every generation FINDS their own muse. I could not sit my own children down and tell them what music to listen to. It is a self-discovery. The artists that are carrying on the traditions, the young people, are finding their own path - and their own audience.   Sometimes it takes those of us who are the "elders" to open our minds and ears to accept this and see why they are attracted to the Foghorn String Band, Crooked Still, Red Molly, etc.

This summer I went to several festivals. At age 51, I was still a "kid" at some of the events, but when I went to Falcon Ridge, I became the old man. Much of the music at Falcon Ridge is contemporary singer-songwriters, but the influence and new interpretation of trad music was in the air. When I witness Anthony Da Costa reduce an audience to tears, I am amazed - especially when I know that he is just entering his senior year of high school!! I'm wearing T-shirt that are older than he is!

Sometimes all it takes is offering these artists to an audience that will bring in a younger crowd and help erase the images of the stodgey folk scene that has been sterotyped since the 1950s. Once they become comfortable, they might take the path that we did - exploring new and old artist.

Of course, we are talking compromise. From what I gather of the "folk club" scene in the UK, the idea of compromise might be an issue. However, based on the original premise of this thread - it might be more easily acceptable in the U.S.   Stewart's issue in Seattle could be turned around.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 10:48 AM

Ron, I am not looking for easy solutions I am looking for ideas, suggestions, hints and tips, things I can act on that might help. You don't appear to have anything practical to offer that we aren't doing already.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 10:53 AM

There you have it then. Eric tried to get through to you, and so did I, but you cannot grasp what we are suggesting.   Best of luck.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 02:43 PM

Knock on wood (I don't want to jinx things) we have done pretty well at Richmond Folk Music in developing and keeping a following. We started small in a venue that only seated 40 at the most. Towards the end of the first year we were usually filling that. It helped that, as a result of booking a wonderful man who sang Yiddish folk songs we ended up with several members of a local synagogue who came to the Yiddish concert, then were intrigued and started sampling some of the other concerts. When we lost that venue, the synagogue offered us the use of their space for a minimal fee. That brought even more synagogue members in, and they promote the concerts in their newsletters. Some Irish acts got the local Irish American Society interested, and many of them sample other types of concerts as well. We don't do any advertising that we have to pay for, but we do utilize as many free calendar listings as possible and have developed an e-mail list. I make it a point to let special interest groups know when we have something of interest to them. We've also been lucky in that all the acts we've booked have been very good and entertaining, as well as informative. We do a mix of local and touring performers but none of them are big folk "names". But I work pretty hard on putting up a good description of the act on the website, and send out three e-mails prior to the concert in which I give quite a bit of information about what to expect (and of course I make it sound very interesting - which it usually is anyway). We only book traditional folk (I don't want to get into a debate as to what that is, OK?) but basically it means no singer/songwriters although if people do mostly traditional and want to throw in some of their own compositions or a few covers that is acceptable as long as it is in the traditional style. We charge $12.00 for advance tickets, $15.00 at the door and that includes coffee and cookies or cake. We make it a point to promote the concert as an alternative for older folks - who really don't have that many options! Most of our audience is 50 plus, and they really appreciate the idea of being able to have a nice dinner then come out to the concert for dessert, coffee and music. We cross promote with another concert series in Richmond that mostly books singer songwriters - I announce their upcoming concerts and they put our flyers out at theirs - and we've had some 'cross fertilization' so that works all around.

Another good thing that has happened, especially since we moved to the synagogue, is that the audience is starting to get to know one another and they socialize over the refreshments. It helps that the synagogue space is very, very comfortable, inviting, good acoustics, parking, and handicapped accessible...we've been lucky!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 03:56 PM

Personally, I'm not surprised when things change for a while (i.e. audience numbers). Everything moves in cycles, audiences go up, and down, things become 'cool' and then 'uncool'.

Paddy Maloney, in a Chieftans documentary was explaining that when they started in the mid-60's the scene in Ireland was on its arse, including sessions. It was an old man's game, no-one was interested. It was uncool. (I'm paraphrasing, but that's basically what he was saying) The Chieftan's, Planxty et al certainly helped to turn that around. Obviously similar things happened in England and elsewhere. It will happen again, and, I believe, is happening now.

The number of young artists is amazing, the likes of Kris Drever, Bella Hardy, Ruth Notman, Mawkin:Causley, Wheeler Street, Breabach, Shona Kipling and Damien O'Kane, Jeanna Leslie and Siobhan Miller etc. etc. etc. etc. There was a band called Jiggawatt at my local folk club two weeks ago whose average age must have been about 16. These people are, and will over time, bring more with them, just like has happened before. There is phenomenal talent selling CDs and tickets. I admit that a lot of the younger audiences may, at the moment, be at the younger-festivals (Shepley, Chester etc. in my neck of the woods), and not at the club scene, but young people are out there playing and listening to this music, and I believe over time, it will spread.

(And by the way I'm not on about singer-songwriter festivals and concerts, I'm on about people playing predominantly traditional songs and tunes, but young people, with a love for it and an attitude to boot.)

However, I agree clubs, concerts etc. have to be attractive to younger audiences. Good PA, good quality advertising (in the right places), excellent young acts, good venues etc. etc. But please knock this stuff off about young people not being able to listen, it really gets on my tits, and is completely ageist, and crap. Some young people can't shut up and listen, some old people can't shut up and listen. It's nothing to do with age!!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 04:08 PM

Y'know, a couple of years before the "folk" boom, there was a big commercial audience for polkas. Then there wasn't. Does anyone think that polka music is dead as a result?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 04:19 PM

Now it may be different in the USA. I suspect not. I remember in, let's see, I think it must have been 1973. Anyone remember "Melody Maker"? Back then it was teh ONLY muso's music paper. They gave out a tee-shirt to readers who got a letter printed.

Much bewailing! Why do people want disco shit in stead of real music? (that meant - "real live progressive rock")

I wrote to tell them. People go out to look for a fuck. Dancing is an entrenched part of our courtship ritual. Prog rock one sits and listens too. Result, no fuck.   So people want disco music.

I must ahve kept that tee-shirt for over 10 years...


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 04:31 PM

"Where have all the audiences gone?
Long time passing,
Where have all the audiences gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the audiences gone?
Gone as relics, every one.
When will they soon return?
Oh when will they soon return?

Where have all performers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all performers gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all performers gone?
Gone to show biz, every one.
When will they ever earn?
Oh, when will they ever earn?

Where have all the folk-stars gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the folk-stars gone?
Long time ago?
Where have all the folk-stars gone?
American Idols, everyone.
Who cares if they return?
Who cares if they return?

Where have all the folksongs gone?
Long time passing,
Where have all the folksongs gone?
Long time ago?
Where have all the folksong gone?
They'll outlive us, every one.
Why should we have concern?
Oh why should we ever have concern?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 05:11 PM

Well The Snail you run one of the best Folk Clubs I have attended.You above all are welcoming to guest artists,you run workshops on a regular basis most of which are a full house during the day and for the concert spot in the evening.As residents you do not dominate the sing arounds but give everyone an equal turn. You are not running your club for yourself and self promotion, but for the love of Folk Music.There is a very strong Folk Scene in Lewes and you help to promote it.You can do no more than you are doing.Promotion in local schools to invite youngsters along free to join the sessions is the only suggestion I can offer, but just carry on and I will join you when I can.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 06:31 PM

I have secreted the audiences in my left armpit. I will not release them until the ransome is paid.

Them as die will be the lucky ones. Ah-ha!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 07:14 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Alan, though I must make it clear that I am only one of an extended committee, fellow Mudcatters Valmai Goodyear and Breton Cap being others. It takes team work.

Getting stuff into schools could be an interesting idea but not sure how to set about it. I gather music teaching of any sort is not what it was.

Interestingly, one of the local tune sessions has been attracting young people. Last time, there were about fifteen over fifties and five under twenty fives (or younger). I think that missing generation may be part of the problem. Were they all into punk or making millions in the city during the Thatchr years?

See you at the John Harvey Tavern in a couple of months.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 07:21 PM

I think that missing generation may be part of the problem. Were they all into punk or making millions in the city during the Thatchr years?

a) Yes.
b) No.

(Phil, 47, didn't really listen to folk between Commoners' Crown and James Yorkston's Rosemary Lane, currently making up for lost time.)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 07:32 PM

No but between those dates they were still FOLK.

And you can bet your ass that what they heard was more like folk music than what they heard when they were watching the watch pot of the great folk revival boil itself dry.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 07:43 PM

Al, I had a dog like that.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 08:27 PM

shaved its ass and made it walk backwards


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Fionnghuala
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 09:09 PM

who ya callin obnoxious, gulver, youre obnoxious, ya gobshite. An what r u doin in whelans bof? young pussy coke or viagra lol. yur only a loadashites


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 09:56 PM

I will have you know that a truckload of Viagra was stolen today in Montreal. The police are now looking for hardened criminals. FYI!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 09:58 PM

"youre obnoxious, ya gobshite"

The 1954 or 1967 definition of gobshite?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 01 Aug 08 - 10:16 PM

Question that might be of help. How often do YOU go see performers?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 12:16 AM

Oh, I see we got us another one. Lovely.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 01:44 AM

performers......jugglers, lap dancers, thespians


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 01:47 AM

What I used to love was those old purple face routines, but no one does them any more.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 02:10 PM

I grant that Juneau, Alaska, is a smallish (30,000) town but it is a vital community, one that offers many facets and levels of the various arts. For instance, we have five different levels of live theatre here, ranging from a professional troupe down to high school productions; we have painters and writers, publishing houses, music studios, professional music teachers, a symphony and more.

We have music from lyric opera down (or up!) to folk, we have concerts in halls, concerts in houses, music jams and sessions, we have song writers and song stylists, we have music festivals ranging from folk to jazz and classics, we support many bands and orchestras in this town.'

Just about everything is well attended. Three years ago I was one of four people who started a monthly folk music club which is going strong and two years ago on a top-of-the-mountain venue reachable on foot or by tram we started a 'mountain music fest' where we offer 10 twenty-minute performing sets. Last year, the manager told me, they sold 212 tickets for the fest; he was pretty happy about it. I anticipate no less this year.

Promotion, I think, is the key. That, and the tradition of supporting the arts.

We also support outside artists. In August John Prine will do a concert, Gordon Bok will do one in September, Tommy Sands one in October. These are in addition to our own local venues.

I love music in Juneau.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 02:25 PM

Ebbie,

I think you hit on something important,
that is a sense of community.
You have to provide your own entertainment
on those cold long winter nights and rainy days.
And there are few distractions of the big city.

I was in Juneau about 10 years ago on a rainy spring day
(it seemed like all the days were rainy!).
Walking through town, it seemed that there was
some sort of little festival going on,
every gallery, shop, cafe, etc. had some sort of live music and art
and it was a great way to get out of the rain,
meet people and enjoy the arts and culture.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 03:14 PM

Rainy? You got that right, Stewart! Keep in mind that we are in the midst of a temperate rain forest and rainy days are our norm.

The way I see it is that we have ubiquitous mountains that create their own weather, we are far enough north to have to expect cool/chilly/cold temperatures, and we have the ocean at our doorstep which brings in an element of warmth. All together it adds up to moisture. Not only do we average around a hundred inches of rain each year but we experience another 100+ inches of snow!

But it is a great place to live. I've just passed my twentieth anniversary here and I'm still in the honeymoon phase. (Would that my marriage had weathered so well. *g*)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stewart
Date: 02 Aug 08 - 04:19 PM

I had a chemist friend many years ago who lived in Tromso, Norway, way above the Arctic Circle. I asked him if he found the winter days with no sunlight depressing. He said, no. He said there was a great sense of community, and for everyone to survive those winter months they had to get together for music, dances and all sorts of other activities, and he really enjoyed that.

But unfortunately, his marriage didn't last either. Don't know what that has to do with it.

Maybe the weather is too good here in Seattle!

Cheers, S. in Seattle
maybe I should come up to Juneau again.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 03 Aug 08 - 04:18 AM

Has anyone thought of taking the Folk Club to visit?
I was interested in the article above re moving to a synagogue and finding a new audience. I have enjoyed a visit to school giving a talk on concertinas,using a few CD tracks to show different types of playing and getting them to sing The Twelve Days of Christmas.I had two groups from five to seven and from eight to eleven. Certainly the best audience I have ever had. I know that the local Infants school sing folk songs as my Grand Daughter sings them to me. A group of musicians and singers could get an interesting act together aimed at children and from that may develop a few of the next generation of Folk Artists.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 03 Aug 08 - 04:25 AM

Unless you do something extraordinary well, and get exposure, its hard to draw much of an audience. Audiences have been desensitized by over hype, and/or mediocre talent. Another thing, and sometimes its hard to convince certain musicians, for some stupid, blocked reason,..being as we are dealing with sound, learn more than chops, learn sound, and sound engineering!!....Even if you are doing acoustic sets, learn blending of sound!!..it is a huge must!!..And don't give any attention to the 'purists' who get pissy at electronics...Every thing we've ever heard, on the radio, on a record, disc, t.v., or even live, as soon as you use a microphone, or pick-up, you're using electronics. Now if you like to play around a campfire,..don't expect a big audience. Warmest regards to all my musical family out there!!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Aug 08 - 04:40 AM

Yes indeed in England we used to have a radio show called Singing Together for schools. It would be a way of bringing together the strands of our multiracial society. A unifying force.

The trouble is, I think that the folk clubs most under the cosh are ones that have bought the traddy gospel. They go for songs sang in funny voices - resembling how no people speak, very uncatchy songs that are 'in the tradition', long boring instrumentals - and these people are immensely pleased with themselves and their music. Proably cos it says to the world - we are not of the common herd, we are folk people!

Ask yourself, are these people going to make it with kids - they have trouble getting it on with intelligent adults.

Kids really don't like complicated people. If you want to teach - take a simple idea, strip it down to its elements. Songs children will enjoy singing, dances they will enjoy dancing.

In a way - we should do this anyway. Not out of self interest for our folk revival. I can't see it sustaining in its present factionalised form past our lifetimes. I'm not all that sure it deserves to.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 03 Aug 08 - 09:42 AM

"Audiences have been desensitized by over hype, and/or mediocre talent."

That's certainly part of it.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Aug 08 - 03:30 PM

WMD
"I think that the folk clubs most under the cosh are ones that have bought the traddy gospel"
I wasn't going to bother - but seeing as we appear to be in the blame game, it's a bit disingenuous to put the failure of the revival on the 'Traddies' - it seems to me that nearly all the clubs, whatever their musical persuasion, are in a mess. It's just as likely that this can be put down to singer songwriters producing material that appears to be specifically designed to exclude the listener.... or failed wannabe pop singers using the folk clubs as a convelescent home until something better comes along.
"They go for songs sang in funny voices "
Do they really? It's my understanding that the 'traditional style' is based largely on the natural voice - akin to how people speak. Some of the most hilariously funny voices I have heard have been from those performers from say Yorkshire or Aberdeenshire, desperately trying to sound as if they have just moseyed along after branding a herd of cattle.
Apart from the confusion which appears to reign on the British club scene, many of the problems are obviously down to the fact that many of the clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither like nor understand folk song.
I believe that folk song can be both relevant and enjoyable, it just needs a little respect and understanding on the part of those involved.
If you want to see how traditional forms can be used to create new, relevant and extremely entertaining songs, have a look at 'Sing Out', the collection of old and new protest songs edited by Fintan Vallely, or Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll's 'The Spoons Murder' - streets ahead of anything I've come across being written in the UK nowadays.
Youngsters are coming to folk music here in Ireland in enough numbers to guarantee it will still be played by the next two generations. It hasn't happened to the same extent yet with singing, but there are enough new young singers appearing on the scene to give me hope that it will in the not to distant future.
Anyway, sorry to interrupt - I'll let you get back to re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Aug 08 - 05:00 PM

If you want to understand children, read "Lord of the Flies". William Golding.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 03 Aug 08 - 06:05 PM

Jim I have now arranged the chairs and guess what? You have won a free ticket for the next cruise. That should cheer you up.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 03 Aug 08 - 07:13 PM

The nice thing about a cruise is you get to see many different things and experience different people. Each trip is different.

I guess the moral of the Titanic story is that you have to keep a look to everything around you and not expect that the map you are following will be clear each time. A good captain is aware that the sea is always changing. We saw what happens when the captain doesn't pay attention.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 04:38 AM

"sometimes its hard to convince certain musicians, for some stupid, blocked reason,..being as we are dealing with sound, learn more than chops, learn sound, and sound engineering!!....Even if you are doing acoustic sets, learn blending of sound!!..it is a huge must!!"

Actually, you don't need to have any electronics to need to knew about sound!

This is why we have people singing/playing too softly/loudly! People who seem to be unable to blend in with others!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 01:26 PM

Is Ireland really that different from England. maybe everybody sings funny over there. they never have done when ever I've been there - except for when they're grinding out out the old sham shamrock for the tourists.

When Ronan, Daniel, Westlife, Sinead and the rest want to make themselves understood they seem to have access to the mid altantic lingua franca that is availble to all of us. You know the one that renders you helpless with laughter and confirms us in your eyes as poltroons.

Come to think of it The Bachelors are in the charts at the moment - which of their hits did they do inthe old sean nos style - myself, I forget - its been a long day.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 05:26 PM

I don't think the situation in England is anywhere near as bad as Jim Carroll portrays it, at least not in NE England, where I live.

There are plenty of clubs locally. I think I counted around 80 in "Folk Roundabout" a local publication which features folk music activity in our region, roughly between the Tees and the Scottish Border.

Certainly I could go to a folk club within reasonable driving distance of Middlesbrough, where I live, every night of the week and on some nights have a choice of several.

Not only that, but your assertion that "the clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither like nor understand folk song." is not true in my experience. Traditional songs are sung and enjoyed and I certainly have never been made to feel uncomfortable for singing a traditional song. Obviously traditional songs are not the only ones sung, but they certainly form a major part of what is sung in many local clubs. My experience of local folk clubs is that they are very welcoming and keen to encourage newcomers.

Although folk clubs do have an ageing "membership" there are clubs that have been started up by younger folk enthusiasts, and very good they are too - at least the two I have been to are.

Add to that there are festivals round the country and it is possible to go to a folk festival somewhere in England every week throughout the summer. These range from the major festivals such as Sidmouth and Whitby to local weekend singaround type events which book no acts but rely on those going to provide the music.

There are a considerable number of young folk musicians some of whom have become known nationally, and I have personally met a number of students, some now graduates, of the Newcastle Folk Music degree and they are very talented musicians.

Obviously things are different from Ireland, and that is how it should be. Traditional music seems to get more support from the Government and more a more positive press over there, but things are nowhere near as bad in England as you paint them.

At least that's my view.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 05:43 PM

That's right Geoff. The differences are purely superficial.

In Ireland, they have maidens dancing at the crossroads, whereas in England - we tend to go in for discos, down the local pub and drug fuelled orgies of lust and depravity.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 05:45 PM

Its just a question of emphasis.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 06:59 PM

"In Ireland, they have maidens dancing at the crossroads, whereas in England - we tend to go in for discos, down the local pub and drug fueled orgies of lust and depravity."

And in Australia, we have run out of maidens...


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 07:25 PM

We have plenty of maidens right here in the US if you're in need of a few. And most are lovely dancers too.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 07:34 PM

They told me, they stopped maiden 'em...


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 04 Aug 08 - 08:23 PM

I am glad to see that Tootler in Middlesbrough is experiencing just as vibrant a folkscene as I am down here in Sussex.

According to weelittledrummer -

The trouble is, I think that the folk clubs most under the cosh are ones that have bought the traddy gospel.

Whereas Jim Carroll says -

Apart from the confusion which appears to reign on the British club scene, many of the problems are obviously down to the fact that many of the clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither like nor understand folk song.

What these two have in common, of course, is that they rarely, if ever, go to folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 02:45 AM

quite right - not more than three or four a weeek. I just know that the ones doing well, are the ones with an open door policy - and the ones getting all the infrastructure support, are where they are always bleating on about how difficult times are - and how their valiant efforts are being rewarded by insufficient audiences.

still you horny little thing with your home upon you back - your comment will raise a chuckle amongst those who know me. I might have that one framed.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 07:21 AM

...........several respondents above commenting on attracting youngsters into FC's & sessions.

In my neck o'the woods, there's clearly a marked increase in younger muso's attending diddly sessions, rather than in FC's/sinarounds - don't really know why - suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 09:17 AM

I think the open mike things are were we tend to see most young people turning up spontaneously with something to offer - as opposed to trailing round after their demented parents - which has always been the tune session scene. Thankfully most of them discover drugs and bugger off and get a life eventually.

But it can be a rough passage for the club when they are limping through their exam pieces every week to the dismay of everybody not actually related to them.

Thinking about what you said Snail old man. jim and I have been to lots of folk clubs. I still go to them. But we know a lot of the same people - I would guess He did all the collecting and stuff like that. I was a jobbing musician taking care of a disabled wife - hustling round England - doing all sorts of gigs. In our own ways we were both devoted to folk music.

I'm hazarding a guess, but I imagine think he would say people like the Copper family were the most influential singers, and people like Michael Coleman were the most influential musicians. Ewan MacColl - the most influential songwriter in the revival.

Whereas I happen to KNOW that Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan were the biggest influence on the way people expressed themselves musically in my lifetime. I think theres a bigger picture - not sure we can see it in its totality - but I sense that its there.

However although jim and I disagree - there is mutual respect. I really can't understand why you can't manage this. after all what i say makes not a jot of difference to you. Yet you seem permanently pissed off.

i say that neither me nor any of my friends got to appear on your poncy festivals and record stations and you seem to think I've farted in the face of Christ for having the bad grace to mention this fact - which rankles, lets be frank - it rankles. Cos some of my friends were very talented when they were alive - gave their lives to their version of folk music and never got listened to.

best wishes

al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 09:55 AM

There's a new day coming, Al.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 10:27 AM

Bet it feels like that today Bruce - with that superb album out. Well done! a great achievement!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 10:33 AM

Well, you were one of the folks who gave me a ton of encouragement, Al, and I ain't about to forget that. If I ever get to England to do some work, you and I will hook up and perhaps I'd have the honour of you gracing the stage with me--or me with you. Split the cash after expenses, etc. I think clubs are important, but some of the attitudes that go along with some of the clubs are archaic or dated. Let's get beyond that and stay beyond that. A year from now we'll see just where the bear went in the buckwheat.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 02:21 PM

The trouble is, WLD, I don't know Al Whittle, I only know weelittledrummer through your postings on Mudcat. It seems they must be two entirely different people since weelittledrummer gives the impression that he wouldn't be caught dead in a folk club. Do those who know you chuckle when you describe them as "middle class types with a superiority complex" and heckle them for not being able to tune their guitars or remember their words without reading them from an exercise book?

I don't usually take much notice of you these days but the opportunity to point out that you and Jim were giving diametrically opposite reasons for the (alleged) absence of audiences. According to Jim, people were driven out of folk clubs decades ago by people like you and according to you, people are being driven out of folk clubs by people like Jim. I'd like to be there if you meet.

Jim has done marvellous work in the past for which we owe him an enormous debt but he seems to be somewhat out of touch with what's happening in clubs these days.

If Tootler "could go to a folk club within reasonable driving distance of Middlesbrough, where I live, every night of the week" and you go to a three or four clubs a week, it sounds as if they are thriving. I generally only manage two a week but then I go to a lot of sessions which are attracting an increasing number of young people.

I must say, it's curious to be described as "permanently pissed off" by WLD.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM

why are sessions attracting young people?is it because they cost nothing apart from a few pints,or is it because they dont want to learn the art of performing and stage craft,or is it that they want to participate instrumentally,but not vocally ,or is it acombination of all these things.
I refuse to comment on Jim Carroll.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 04:11 PM

Ron, the idea that folk music of today has become a specific community is very interesting and true. It does meld people together who like to play and sing. In earlier times, it was this kind of environment that spawned the so-called "traditional" culture-based folksong and that's why we know about it today.

Nowadays, people are hungry for a community-based musical experience. I don't personally care for a pub or bar setting but perhaps that's because it's different in the States then in the UK. Here, music in a bar becomes loud, and presented only to drunks who don't care about it. The pub has a different tradition it seems in the UK.

Here, the house concert seems to be the most reasonable approach to melding communities and potential audiences. After a concert, a jam session can occur or
the chairs can be moved aside for a contra or square dance. It seems to me that
the solo performer arises out of this environment and finds an appreciative support.
It's not American Idol which stresses an individual gymnastic show-biz approach to singing.

I like the concept of the celidh or ceili (formerly the "visit") where people participate in the entertainment through offerings of tunes, readings, poetry, and social dancing (not the show oriented "step-dancing" but the "home dances").

The song material can range from popular to traditional and if there is a healthy balance struck between solo performance and group participation, the of folk music is served.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 05:45 PM

I was at The George Session nr London Bridge on Monday Night,as most of the usual musicians were away at festivals it is usually the quietest night of the year.even so we had about six of us there, At the end of the evening three young lads asked if they could play at the next session as they enjoyed their evening so much.So the music attracts young players,not all of course as it comes down to personal choice.They get in for nothing they are made welcome and they want to join in and participate. With Folk Clubs ,firstly most assume that youngsters know what Folk Clubs are,(a typical salesman mistake,assuming everyone knows about your product and no sales talk is necessary )secondly if they do go into a Folk Club are we providing entertainment for youngsters? A twenty verse dirge ,interesting perhaps to a folk enthusiast is hardly going to excite a teenager,whereas a session will.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST, Mr Grumpy
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 06:03 PM

Well, I've popped into the George several times.

No song. No singers. No-one noticing a repeat attendee who might want to sing. Welcome? My arse.

Some pretty poor players. Very Euro-centrique. Very little Anglicana - whatever played upon.

And why on earth might teenagers not want to sing? Who is singing their lungs up at karaoke?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 06:27 PM

A twenty verse dirge ,interesting perhaps to a folk enthusiast is hardly going to excite a teenager,whereas a session will.

I'd agree that "session" and "folk club" are at opposite extremes (with "singaround" somewhere in between), but I'd define them a bit differently. "Session" for me equals 'practise for weeks beforehand but still trip up between the A repeat and the B section of your favourite tune, and sit there feeling like an idiot for the rest of the evening'. (At least, that's what I'd be afraid of.) Whereas "folk club" (or rather "singers' night") for me equals 'get up and sing your heart out'.

I must admit, I've hardly ever experienced (or even been part of) a non-performing audience for folk music. I've got a certain amount of sympathy for the position the EFDSS argued at the time of the licensing act - that folk music should be exempted on the grounds that it's not entertainment. Go to a singaround - or a session - and you'll be hard put to see anyone who's sitting there just spectating and being entertained: there's something very enjoyable happening, but everyone there is part of making it happen. If I had a singaround to go to every week, I don't think I'd feel the lack of an audience.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Aug 08 - 07:54 PM

yeh we disagree, so what.....a divergence of opinion. It happens.

Neither of us see it as a reason for being rude and unpleasant to each other.

Your great insights are witheld from us. Who knows perhaps we would disagree with you - maybe even be a little bitchy, if we thought you had any sense of humour.

as for being out of touch - I really don't think so. He knows and sees stuff - he just has a different opinion.

My opinion is the correct one of course - just in case you were wondering.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 03:24 AM

Snail (hate these names - always seems offensive),
I have no problem whatever accepting your assessment of the club scene in your part of the world. Lewes always had a reputation for good folk music; when Pat was doing the bookings for the Singers Club she was often in contact with the club there in order to share guests on tour.
A few years ago a bunch of people from this town spent a long week-end there listening to and playing music - had a whale of a time. (Been meaning to apologise for the incident - Nurse Ratchett was on holiday so they didn't get their medication and managed to slip under the wire!!)
Nor do I have any problem accepting that there are other clubs, like Teesside, flourishing as well as those in Lewes.
Are you saying that the state you outlined is the case for the rest of the clubs (I desperately want this to be the case - I have no desire to slag off clubs; they were my introduction to folk music and they gave be decades of pleasure and inspiration) - if so, what is this (and other threads in similar vein) all about?
You are right of course - I am not fully in touch with what is happening in the English clubs nowadays. We moved to Ireland nearly ten years ago; since then I have had to rely on the handful of visits I have made to the UK, magazines such as The Living Tradition and fRoots, friends who are still involved in the UK scene and forums such as this one for my information. Because of this, in many ways my outlook on the club scene is far wider than it was when I was involved in singing and running clubs - albeit second-hand.
The overall impression I am left with is one of mess, poor health and lack of direction.
In the late 70s, early 80s the club scene began to decline. This was documented quite well in the then leading folk magazine 'Folk Review' first by an article by editor Fed Woods (I think) entitled 'Crap Begets Crap', then by the correspondence which followed. The decline was put down to a variety of causes, noisy, inattentively audiences, bad singing - even passive smoking. A number of correspondents commented "crisis, what crisis?" -shortly afterwards the number of clubs halved and there was a massive exodus away from the scene - I was part of that exodus.
As far as I was concerned, the main problem was that it became virtually impossible to go to a 'folk' club to listen to an evening of 'folk' or 'folk related' songs. We were being fed a mish-mash of music-hall, Victorian parlour ballads, early pop songs, and newly composed songs which were none of these, nor bore any relation to folk song proper - in short, we could no longer be guaranteed the type of music we wanted to listen to. Much of what we heard was performed indifferently - even badly, and totally lacked any joy or understanding.
Yes, the clubs did fall into the hands of people who neither understood nor liked folk music - this from a couple of postings up from this one "A twenty verse dirge ,interesting perhaps to a folk enthusiast.....". Those of us who commented on the situation were branded 'finger-in-ear', 'purist', 'folk-police' (or 'folk-fascists'). We didn't go back to the clubs - some of us continued to work on different aspects of folk song, others drifted away completely. Now it seems that even the 'dictionary re-writers' who took over the scene are deserting the sinking ship - and the same feeble excuses are being proffered.
For me, the problem is plain, even if the solution is not simple. In order to bring in new blood, or even re-attract the old, clubs have to specialise - audiences need to know what they are going to hear if they are going to get up off their bums and traipse along to a folk club.
What is presented has to be performed well enough not to be embarrassing - folk music is worth the effort of working on the songs so that the singer, at the very least, stays in tune, remembers the words and gives the impression that he or she understands and enjoys what they are doing (I've been to numerous clubs where this has patently not been the case).
The singers performing on a particular night need to be aware of their fellow performers to ascertain that the presented repertoire is varied and contrasting, so that the songs don't all sound the same.
A little imagination with the programming, so that the impression is not that the singers attending haven't just turned up unprepared (feature evenings worked very well in the clubs I was attended)..... and a whole host of other little things can make the difference between an interesting and enjoyable evening and a dull one.
For me, the best clubs are those with a handful of strong residents and an occasional guest - that's what makes a club a club and gives it continuity.
I'd like to dispel some of the misinformation about the Irish scene - but this is getting far to long - so, perhaps another time. Enough to say that fifteen or so years ago the Irish music establishment wouldn't have given traditional music the steam from their piss, let alone the money and respect they are giving it now - the situation has been turned round by a handful of dedicated individuals and a great deal of thought and hard work.
I believe the same is possible for the UK, but it won't be done by castigating the folk clubs who have the 'short-sightedness' to put on real 'folk songs' at their 'folk' clubs.
Jim Carroll
PS WLD
We did all of our collecting in Travellers caravans, and in the homes of farmers and fishermen.. etc; not in folk clubs.
Cap'n
"I refuse to comment on Jim Carroll"
For which I will be eternally grateful - let's keep it like that.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 03:52 AM

The George Session takes place in a large room in one of the oldest parts of this Historic pub. The room is open to the public and during the evening has visitors from all over the World popping in and out on the London Historic Pub tour to hear the music, The Session is a mixture of French English and Breton music and the musicians range from new to some players who have been members of past, or recent well known bands. There is the occasional song, but it is a music session not a sing around. If however someone wishes to sing there are no rules to prevent it. We do not have someone at the door interviewing each person that enters asking them if they want to sing.The session ,like all sessions depends on who turns up on the night.
It is probably a coincidence, but I noticed someone recently having a row with a poor girl behind the counter and thought how rude that person was and out of order.He then proceeded to the session.
Grumpy I can accept,but rudeness I cannot ,if it was you then please take yourself and your singing elsewhere.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 04:52 AM

Alan,
Is that The George in Southwark - the most beautiful pub in the world?
Used to go there regularly - in those days it was staffed by a lovely Australian girl doing The Grand Tour.
I commented one night what a beautiful pub it was and received the reply "It's like working in a ******* museum".
We were in there with the late Tom Munnelly and his wife Annette; when he asked for a "glass" (common in Ireland for a half-pint) she replied "we don't serve it in ******* buckets love" - good times!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST, Mr Grumpy
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 05:01 AM

My my, pot, kettle.

As I said I went in several times over last winter. The last time I went would have been either Mon 4 Feb or possibly Mon 7th April (it's a "first Monday" event, isn't it?).

If those are not the dates when you saw someone diss the bar-staff (it is plausible, they are rubbish) youe apology will oblige.

In any event, to return to the question. Where did the audience go? You just told it to leave.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 06:07 AM

Do we have any thoughts as to what makes a "good" audience (numbers not personality!)?

We've played at 2 folk clubs over a long weekend (Gainsborough on Friday and a support slot at The Woodlark near Nottingham on Monday). These are both good clubs in smallish rooms and both were pretty near capacity..... 30 odd at both.

Talking to my Mum, her memory is of "hundreds" at the old Lincoln Folk Club at The Turk's Head back in the 60s and 70s (I'm too young to be able to validate this)......we usually get between 35 and 65 at the club we run in North Yorkshire.......

What are peoples expectations for folk event audiences (I don't mean to make this UK Folk Club specific but it is the examples I have knowledge of)?

Thanks

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 06:15 AM

Chorlton FC: 15-20 in a bad week, 30+ usually & 40-50 on a good week. The club's on a bit of a roll at the moment, albeit without much traditional music being played.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 06:22 AM

Pip,

Do you think this is a "good" audience or would you expect more? Is it shrinking?

We have a good mixture of trad/ trad sounding and a small amount of more contemporary singer/ songwriter stuff (of the "right" sort....I like to think)at KFFC.

BTW...... a fair smattering of younger audience at the Woodlark which was good!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 06:53 AM

That's the one Jim.The sessions are the first Monday in every month unless it is a Bank Holiday and then it is the following week. I am not there every Month as I live a good distance away, but I find the journey worth while to play with like minded musicians . Some good some not so good, but all are welcome. As I stressed in is not a sing around had it have been so then I would have gone around the pub asking for singers.A music session is open to all to start a tune they like, when there is a gap in playing. The fact that we have there on a regular basis approx twenty musicians playing a variety of instruments on a regular basis shows the popularity of the session.We do have the occasional loud yuppies, the odd birthday party to play over and the odd grumpy person but in general it is a good fun evening.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 07:05 AM

I think pulling in around 30 week after week is pretty good, particularly in what we laughingly call summer (and on the back of absolutely no advertising). It's coming up to six years old now, & it's pretty well established as a local institution - and a stop on the Manchester 'acoustic' circuit.

Where the club has perhaps fallen down is in building an *audience* - there are only about a dozen regular non-playing punters, and most of them have been with us from the start. But arguably that's a feature, not a bug - it works pretty well as a club that's mainly for performers. Apart from anything else, if we were getting 100 every week we'd need a bigger room. (We had that many for our first Dylan night. Brilliant atmosphere, you just couldn't breathe.)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 08:37 AM

In a small pub - 10 can be a good audience, probably less.

Its this business of sustaining a standing army of pro singers that means you need the numbers.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 08:46 AM

.........mmmmmmmaybe I shouldn't ask what're "real 'folk songs' "?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 09:15 AM

All I meant is that you could have a hundred or two hundred people there and the atmosphere might seem a bit sterile - but you could have just a few people and it could be quite nice.

I've certainly been to concerts like that. Excellent music - but somehow the room wasn't charged with atmosphere.

The atmosphere is definitely one of the components of folksong. A bit like phlogiston that the old alchemists said that you needed to produce gold.

You can't quantify folkmusic. Its a qualitative thing, I believe.   Although some of it I suspect is down to the gravitas and experience that the performer brings to his task.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 11:30 AM

Morris sides can generate a wonderful atmosphere from the enthusiasm of their singing and members joining the chorus. I have had many excellent nights at pubs or folk clubs who put them on as an act.
I went to watch Hartley Morris Men recently and it was a marvelous evening.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM

"
.........mmmmmmmaybe I shouldn't ask what're "real 'folk songs' "?"
Dunt esk
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Arthur Mow
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 03:17 PM

Jim Carroll

>>Apart from the confusion which appears to reign on the British club scene, many of the problems are obviously down to the fact that many of the clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither like nor understand folk song.
>>Youngsters are coming to folk music here in Ireland in enough numbers to guarantee it will still be played by the next two generations. It hasn't happened to the same extent yet with singing...

I always thought that you had put across the view countless times that folk clubs had been destroyed by their moving away from traditional SONG. You now appear to be saying that the future of folk music is secured for the coming generations (in Ireland at least) by the MUSIC not by song and that seems a fundamental shift in position.

Perhaps you've been nobbled.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 04:06 PM

Jim Carroll

Snail (hate these names - always seems offensive),

I quite like being TheSnail. If it makes you feel more comfortable, call me Bryan.

I have no problem whatever accepting your assessment of the club scene in your part of the world.

Nor do I have any problem accepting that there are other clubs, like Teesside, flourishing as well as those in Lewes.


But you DO have a problem accepting that there is anything going on that you would call folk music. You seem obsessed with the fact that a friend once told you that a folk club somewhere in the north of England once had an evening of Beatles songs. From that you seem to conclude that "real" folk music is extinct in the land.

Are you saying that the state you outlined is the case for the rest of the clubs

No, of course I'm not. I don't know what's happening elsewhere but, unlike you, I don't extrapolate from limited experience. I know what's happening in my neck of the woods and I know that it doesn't fit with your sweeping condemnation.

In the late 70s, early 80s the club scene began to decline.

Jim...that was thirty years ago. Things might have changed. If you get all your information at second hand, you'll never know.

From an earlier post -

Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll's 'The Spoons Murder' - streets ahead of anything I've come across being written in the UK nowadays.

"anything I've come across" - You are using your own ignorance as evidence.

The music you love is alive and well in south east England and, I suspect, in other areas as well. It just seems to suit your self-imposed martyrdom to believe it isn't.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 04:16 PM

does it really matter what we all believe, as long as it isn't used to disrupt the careers of serious artists?

in the last analysis the living working artists are our most precious resource.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 05:50 PM

I am intrigued with the discussion about traditional music in the folk clubs.

There is a way of learning about traditional singing styles and presentation and it
requires some study. Much of the traditional music itself can't be relegated to print
so that any dating of publication of this music can't be relied upon as a start of any song.

Only composed songs or song variants that have been attributed to certain people have a copyright date.

As to the singing styles, much of the traditional music was not meant for clubs or the concert stage. Much of it has to be heard in its own environment. This means you have to do some leg work. You have to go to where it was originally sung in a cultural setting.

When you transfer this type of performance (an "informant" in his/her habitat) to the concert or club stage, the music changes. Singing for example a sea chantey onstage will not recreate the use of that song for the work. When music becomes a performance
onstage, it is a different entity than when it comes out of a cultural environment.

The values for performance change it for one thing. People want to be entertained so they have a way of expecting what that is. A lot of musical material enters the ring, so to speak, and must often defeat that which is considered to some without the context to be boring.

I am able to enjoy an old ballad by an untrained singer if I know the context, background and the references of the text. This is not easily communicated to an "audience". In this way, Jim Carroll has a point.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 Aug 08 - 07:55 PM

"...living working artists..." weelittledrummer

That reminds me, Al. Juneau Alaska's Buddy Tabor introduces himself as "one of the world's living singer songwriters". :)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 03:11 AM

Bryan,
"But you DO have a problem accepting that there is anything going on that you would call folk music."
No I don't - I know there are still some clubs; my point is that there are not enough nationally for its survival as a performing art. My point about the Beatles evening (2 years ago - and things haven't changed there) is that if a folk club can move that far away from folk music then the term has lost its meaning.
Nor are there enough even to argue for facilities for its survival in archived form.
There is nothing resembling a comprehensive archive in the UK.
EFDSS and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library are on a permanent hand-to-mouth existence and constantly under threat of closure.
The nearest thing to a national archive in the UK is part of The National Sound Archive at the British Library, which several of us worked to develop some years ago with some limited success with their 'Bright Golden Store' project, but this seems now to have dried up.
"Things might have changed."
My information is not thirty years old - it is pretty well up to date.
Please tell me it is wrong and that the clubs are thriving - what I am getting is an increased hostility to folk music - finger-in-ear, boring, "twenty verse dirges", irrelevant......
"You are using your own ignorance as evidence."
OK - tell me of publications matching the two I mentioned - I may have missed them.
It may well be that I am being over-pessimistic - I sincerely hope that is the case.
On the other hand, it might be that you are being complacent because your own club is doing well.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 08:16 AM

In sympathy with Jim I have to say that a few years ago I visited a club in Leicestershire and at the end of the evening while chatting to the organiser he asked who our guest was on the following Sunday. When I told him John Kirkpatrick he said
"Oh yes, your club is a bit err, err (as if he couldn't bring himself to say the word traditional)
"Actually it's very err, err" I told him
"Yes, that doesn't go down here" he answered and since I had not heard a folk song (the Bushbury Mountain Daredevils had been the guests on the night and they only had two floor singers as support)all night in his club I was not particularly surprised.
The worst thing was that when Roy Harris rang me a few months later to ask if I could run him to the club as he was booked there and what was the club like, I had to relate the same story to him!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 09:14 AM

Jim, you are over pessimistic.there have always been clubs[since 1966to my knowledge] like the one DAVE describes,there have been clubs where only traditional music was accepted,and[broad church] clubs where traditional music,singer songwriters,ragtimehave all been accepted.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 10:14 AM

Cap'n
I don't want clubs where only traditional music is accepted (haven't seen one of them since the 60s and never frequented them then) - it would be self defeating and condemn the music into the history books.
I do believe that clubs which call themselves 'folk' should bear some resemblance to folk music - too often, in my experience, they don't.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 11:08 AM

If is folk music, C-F-G, with an Em or Am thrown is gets a bit worn out and boring.6-2-5-1, changes are pretty predictable, too...Try something creative, and leave the whining out of the lyrics...and do, oh please do, get hip to mixing the sound, better than 'just louder'...

Then do a blitz of open Mikes and any place you can get exposure(assuming that you do your homework, and bring some NEW element to your audiences. Traditional and folk music can be 'slicked' up a bit, without sacrificing anything. The fact audiences aren't coming, might just be your clue. "If you don't like getting what you're getting, stop doing what you're doing to get it." Go for whatever you want, the make necessary changes and homework to get it.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 11:13 AM

Trad music in clubs will likely begin to die unless it shares the stage with other musics, imo. People tend to like good music regardless its genre. The key is 'good'. Fewer and fewer will even listen to trad unless it is seen as an important music worthy of respect and to a degree veneration. If people are so narrow minded as to think of trad as a sacrosanct place rather than a respected member of a great art, then trad is doomed.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 11:39 AM

I give up on you Jim. If you are determined to be miserable, there is nothing anyone can do about it.

One thing I must take you up on though. A couple of posts back you said -

Yes, the clubs did fall into the hands of people who neither understood nor liked folk music - this from a couple of postings up from this one "A twenty verse dirge ,interesting perhaps to a folk enthusiast.....".

If you think Alan Day is somebody who neither understands nor likes folk music, you really are demonstrating how out of touch you are. Alan is primarily a dance musician and has done huge amounts to promote traditional music and deserves more respect. Apart from that, his comment was made in the context of what would appeal to a teenager; the immediacy of a session compared to the more thoughtful atmosphere of a folk club.

Unfortunately, you are determined to cling to every scrap of evidence that seems to prove your doom laden case while dismissing experiences that don't fit as "complacent".


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 11:45 AM

And another thing -

Earlier you said -

If you want to see how traditional forms can be used to create new, relevant and extremely entertaining songs, have a look at 'Sing Out', the collection of old and new protest songs edited by Fintan Vallely, or Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll's 'The Spoons Murder' - streets ahead of anything I've come across being written in the UK nowadays.

I think you've alread mentioned Graeme Miles and Leon Rosselson elsewhere. How about - Keith Marsden, Dave Webber, Mike O'Connor, John Connolly, Barry Temple, Brian Ingham, Brian Bedford, Mick Ryan, Graham Moore...


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 12:27 PM

[Alan's] comment was made in the context of what would appeal to a teenager; the immediacy of a session compared to the more thoughtful atmosphere of a folk club

Fair point, but I think 'dirge' was unfortunate, particularly coupled with 'might appeal to a folk enthusiast'. I've been bored once or twice at a folk club (Simple Twist of Fate doesn't seem to go on half that long on record) but never by traditional material - on the contrary, I've heard electrifying renditions of Lord Bateman, Tam Lin and one of the longer variants of Sir Patrick Spens. These songs are good music, not ethnographic curiosities. Give them space and a halfway decent performance, and they'll go on finding new ears.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 12:39 PM

Pip Radish

Fair point, but I think 'dirge' was unfortunate

Perhaps so. I'd better let Alan answer for himself but to dismiss him as someone who "neither understood nor liked folk music" was well out of order.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 12:42 PM

If you want to see a good example of 'traditional' music re-done(along with other stuff not so traditional), then I suggest taking another good hard look at Celtic Woman! Great arrangements and excellent, superb sound engineering...with incredibly talented performing. And don't even bother with the 'purist' nonsense.we've heard all that before....We have an expression for purist, in the studio...when the refuse to use a digital tuner,,"You can ALWAYS tell who the 'purists' are..they're always out of tune"


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 12:56 PM

Stringsinger mentioned House Concerts. That seems to be what has shattered some of the "Folk Clubs" in the Baltimore-Washington area. They present a performer in a usually comfortable venue at a reasonable price. The audience is attentive and usually no PA is required.

Like many of the clubs, they only present once a month. However, there seems to be a plethora of them so weekly attendance is not impossible.

There is only a limited audience in any area and it can only be divided up in limited ways. As House Concerts grew, other venues shrank.

It would appear that most performers are making the same amount of money per night as they did at the clubs.

The drawback to House Concerts is that it is difficult for "new" people to find out about them. Advertising is limited.

Roger in Baltimore (well, Virginia, now)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 01:46 PM

'If is folk music, C-F-G, with an Em or Am thrown is gets a bit worn out and boring.6-2-5-1, changes are pretty predictable, too...'


sorry for asking, but what's a 6-2-5-1 change?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 03:09 PM

Firstly thank you Pip and Snail for your support.
Jim you have picked up a very small part of my posting to try and make Folk Clubs of more interest to youngsters ,who will be the future of Folk Music.I have been involved with promoting Traditional music for forty years and it is what I enjoy and what I work hard at.
Above all most go out to a Folk Club for entertainment,to be excited by the music and singing,they expect a reasonable level of performance.A badly sung twenty verse Folk Song is not going to promote the club,the music or the performer and certainly not excite a young punter on his first visit.I do not know you Jim and I do not expect you to know me ,but please consider the many years of Folk Club visits you and I have done and I would be very surprised if you have never heard a twenty verse dirge,because I have many times.As I made a point of saying some would find it of interest and just because I do not enjoy this aspect of folk music does not mean that I dislike Traditional Music in total.If the word dirge annoys you please accept my apologies and it will not alter the pint I owe you if you come down The George.
I have just completed the History of the English Concertina from about 1850 to the present day(English International)a three CD collection due out in about ten days ,so I am getting on with it Jim not sitting back and complaining.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 03:19 PM

6251, is the chord progression, using the 6th(root) then going to the 2nd 5th then 1....take the chord progression of...hmmm..say 'Alice's Restaurant'...humm it in your head....hear the chords??...it is a very common folk progression...actually a lot more than folk..used in jazz...pop...just about everything..


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 11:30 PM

6   /2   /5   /1   
C   /G   /Bflat/ A flat

counting the semitones. doesn't sound like anything I've ever heard.


Give me an exact example.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 03:26 AM

Alan,
Don't know about being owed a pint - it looks as if I owe you an apology.
Please put it down to the red mist before the eyes whenever I meet up with terms like "twenty verse dirge" - which, as has been said, I took out of context (more later on getting teenagers involved in our music).
There were plenty of other examples on this and other threads which I could have chosen - however, our 'Guest from Sanity' saved me the search with "the 'purists'......they're always out of tune" - thanks for that guest (or is it Sanity?).
I always find that having our songs sneered at by 'snigger wrongsighters' is a little little having squatters break into your home, and then complain about your taste in wallpaper.
The problem with these people is that they have no history, no workable definition, no validating documentation, no research - no pedigree; their identity exists purely in their heads, and eventually, like the mini-choirs, 'electric folk', and all the other fads that have gone before, they will eventually drift off into the mists of time leaving little or nothing behind them. Even their Icon-in-Chief, Dylan, had the good business sense to move into fresh fields and pastures-more-lucrative - as the man said... "that's all over now Baby Blue"......
See - anybody can slag off other peoples' tastes.... but wouldn't it be far better to just accept that we all like different things and let each other get on with it.
Bryan
"I give up on you Jim. If you are determined to be miserable,"
I really am not miserable (disappointed sometimes maybe).
I've had a great time in the music; over forty years of it - met some wonderful people and heard some beautiful songs and stories; if nothing else, I have the memories (and the recordings) to fall back on.
We're now living in Ireland where we have wall-to-wall music of an enviable standard 4 nights (and more) a week, within walking distance, as well as a choice of singing and music week-end on an average of around 2 a month within driving distance: Joe Heaney, Frank Harte, Geordie Hanna, Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin, Mrs Crotty, Seamus Ennis, Johnny Doran, Micho Russell, Willie Clancy, Frankie Kennedy.... and many more; all are honoured with a weekend of singing or music (they don't just bury their dead singers and musicians here - the give them a festival). We can turn on our television or radio and be regaled with high standard folk music programmes most nights of the week, and should we decide to take our activities further - we can always apply to the Arts Council for funding to work on our own collection (a bit of a plug - Lyric F.M., the (usually) classics based Irish radio station are broadcasting three programmes on the Travellers we recorded in London later this month, starting on Saturday 23rd - commercial break over).
As I said, not miserable (but I might be if you gave up on me, Bryan), and certainly not bored.
My problem is that we have now reached a stage in our lives when we have to make choices. We have a mass of material which we recorded in the UK which we have to decide what to do with. Do we spend valuable time sorting out and editing the 20 years worth of work we did with Walter Pardon (and the others we recorded) in order to make it generally available, say on the internet (are there enough people interested) - or do we let it stay on the shelves of the British Library and let posterity judge its worth.
I have always tended to judge questions like this on the state of the clubs; my main interest in folk song has always been as a performed art rather than an academic study.
I joined this thread in order to find out whether my judgment of the club scene was an accurate one - I wasn't making a statement regarding your (Bryan's) complacency - it was a question - are you being complacent because your own club is doing well - if not, what is all the fuss about? (nearly 270 postings to this thread when I last counted).
I would like to think that my impressions are wrong and there will be enough interest to keep the clubs going to allow people to have the hairs on the back of their neck bristle the first time they hear Sheila McGregor sing 'Tiftie's Annie' as happened to me (my condolences to those of you whose attention span doesn't stretch beyond songs of more than three verses!)
Frank Hamilton put the value of the clubs in a nutshell for me in his last posting - it would be a pity to lose them.
Peace:
"Trad music in clubs will likely begin to die unless it shares the stage with other musics,"
Sorry - beg to differ; in my experience the opposite is the case.
I believe the mess that the clubs appear to be in is largely down to trying to please all of the people all of the time, and ending up pleasing nobody. I think this works both ways; I have read from singer-songwriters on this forum that describing an evening of their songs as 'folk' repels rather than attracts audiences - so why the charade.
The success of the Irish scene is largely down to the fact that the people who did the work threw the stowaways overboard rather than inviting them up to the wheelhouse - they decided what their tradition was and went for it - this has been to the benefit of all sides of the divide.
Alan:
Sorry - this is getting awfully long; but the sun is shining and there's an acre of grass out there - so I'm not going to get another chance.
I'm not sure that attracting teenagers is one of my priorities but Pat and I did a number of talks at schools and colleges in London years ago without having to compromise or water down the recorded material we used, with some apparent success.
One of the best of these we did was in Deptford, when we took Irish Traveller storyteller Mikeen McCarthy to a youth festival. He sat for nearly two hours and sang and told stories as if he was back on his site performing to adults - we may have been deluding ourselves, but they appeared to love it.
I believe it all lies in the presentation of the material rather than the watering-down.
In the long run - the answer lies in getting our songs and stories accepted and respected by the Education Establishment rather than adapting our clubs to attract the young.
Whew - better leave it there.
Jim Carroll
PS Bryan
"Fintan Vallely, or Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll's 'The Spoons Murder'"
I know there are new songs being written in the UK - I wasn't aware that they were being published to any great extent, and I'm not sure how many are based on traditional forms, which is what I was talking about.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 09:15 AM

Guest:
Wish I'd said that!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 09:35 AM

Jim, I don't know whether to say,'Your welcome' or how to take your part of the post, referencing my 'out of tune' line. I hope it wasn't taken offensively. I DO know, and appreciate the difference between traditional music purely done, and a 'purist'...however, the thread was about,'Where have the audiences gone?'. Like so many things out there, the pendulum swings as to what is popular and what is not. If one is going to stick to a strictly traditional program in their music, well, they better play it not just well, but extremely outstanding, that is if they want to attract an audience. My comment about the 'out of tune', is meant for those musicians, who come into the studio, and feel that using a digital tuner, is an 'insult' to their 'I've got perfect pitch' rap...when in actuality, they've just got used to hearing themselves out of tune for so long, that they think that that is the way their instrument is supposed to sound like..but in ensemble playing, somebody's always out, and of course, its never the one who couldn't stoop so low, as to use a tuner. Those are the same ones, who blame the audience(s), for Not appreciating 'good stuff'....Just thought I'd clarify that...for we all have run across those(or used to)....or you might be one, (I do not know), and perhaps needed a handy hint, found on the web...Hey, keep pickin'!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 10:08 AM

Jim Carroll

are you being complacent because your own club is doing well

No, I'm just reporting my experience that we put on for the most part traditional and "in the tradition" music and attract an audience. A hundred yards away, there is another club doing the same. I know of many others.

I go to major and minor folk festivals and other smaller gatherings where I find traditional music thriving. My fellow folk club residents go to yet others. We frequently book guests who seem to be able to arrange extended tours and don't just rely on us for bookings.

You, on the other hand, were told by a friend that a folk club in the north of England once held an evening of Beatles songs and on the basis of this you declare the UK folk scene moribund.

I know there are new songs being written in the UK - I wasn't aware that they were being published to any great extent, and I'm not sure how many are based on traditional forms, which is what I was talking about.

Quite.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 10:14 AM

Point taken, Jim, re the efficacy of trad. Likely very different in Ireland. Keep well.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 10:17 AM

The audiences read this thread. Then hung themselves from the rafters.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 10:18 AM

You saw the movie "Airplane" didn't you.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 10:39 AM

GUEST, regarding chord progressions, I think its more like:
(In C)
A D G C


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 11:16 AM

ADGC

And he wants us to stop doing this? I never started it.
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 02:57 PM

"You saw the movie "Airplane" didn't you."
Don't call me Shirley.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 03:11 PM

"The drawback to House Concerts is that it is difficult for "new" people to find out about them. Advertising is limited. "

There are websites and other ways to promote house concerts. Many of our local house concerts contact me to mention their "shows" on my radio program - but we only announce phone numbers and towns instead of street addresses. There are local laws that can prohibit these gatherings.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 11:05 PM

"GUEST, regarding chord progressions, I think its more like:
(In C)
A D G C"

Which would be the fairly standard I IV V I
(which is the normal notation) or

1 4 5 1 for those not so trained.

This is dead easy on the Stradella Bass of a Piano Accordion - as this is the sort of music progression for which it was designed.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 12:41 AM

Not to put to fine a point on it, but it would have to be Am Dm G7 C--otherwise, it is a circle of fourths progression, starting out in the key of D, and ending up in C.

You can lose an audience pretty fast if you can't keep track of which key you're in.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 01:24 AM

"You can lose an audience pretty fast if you can't keep track of which key you're in."

!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 03:55 AM

Bryan
"ou, on the other hand, were told by a friend that a folk club in the north of England once held an evening of Beatles songs and on the basis of this you declare the UK folk scene moribund."
Pity this got down to point scoring - thought we were doing quite well

Paul
"Likely very different in Ireland."
Not so different -except they seem to have found a way to keep the music alive
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 05:33 AM

"otherwise, it is a circle of fourths progression, starting out in the key of D, and ending up in C."

Que?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 06:17 AM

Jim Carroll

Pity this got down to point scoring - thought we were doing quite well

It's not point scoring, Jim, its IS the point which you have just neatly illustrated. You ignore all of my post except the one line that (taken out of the context of the whole post) allows you to attack me.

You said earlier -

I joined this thread in order to find out whether my judgment of the club scene was an accurate one

No you didn't. You joined it to find evidence to prove your case. You pick up any tiny fragment that suits you and ignore anything that doesn't.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 08:10 AM

Just as you have chosen to ignore all the other sources of information I have given for my opinions on the state of the clubs.
I did not ignore the rest of your post - you made a statement - I accepted it - as far as I was concerned, it needed no sesponse..
"No you didn't. You joined it to find evidence to prove your case."
On what do you base this?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 08:43 AM

Jim Carroll

"No you didn't. You joined it to find evidence to prove your case."
On what do you base this?


Your posts.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 01:46 PM

check mate.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 02:08 PM

What a bunch of silly altercockers. Why don't you take this outside to the schoolyard and let the rest of us get back to discussing the subject.

Why does every post need to be ruined by a couple of Brits who have nothing better to do then argue about the definition of "folk music". Leave the rest of us who understand the differences and aren't hung up on semantics get back to really helping each other instead of this constant bickering that seems to get your rocks off. Enough!!   This thread was not about your precious clubs, it was about audiences!!   If you can't read the writing on the wall that your anal-attentive postings are turning off audience, then god help you. The rest of us have learned by your example and now it is time to get back to work.   Enough already!!!!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Ian Fyvie
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 02:19 PM

Golden Rule: Don't generalise!
I don't actually recognise the scenario debated here in relation to our city.

Folk Clubs are thriving - here's what's happened in the last 15 months:
Spring 2007 - new Club starts in 'away from city centre' pub. It continues successfully despite recessions, smoking bans and a short notice enforced break during this April.

Another club (twice weekly) was having problems in its two different venues. !5 months ago it found a single pub for both nights and people now travel for many miles away to sing there.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 02:29 PM

6251 squared. take away the number you first thought of.....
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 02:32 PM

Ian - you are right, I did not mean to generalize. It is only a handful of people that are running around on Mudcat saying the sky is falling.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: gnu
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 02:46 PM

Sorry.... I know this is not quite right, but...

A couple of weeks ago, at my cousin's 40th birthday bash, at an "Irish" bar downtown, I enjoyed an old buddy's music... hadn't seen him for near ten years... it was a great evening with him playing... and my cousins playing... and...

But, when I arrived, I order a beer for me and a G for my nephew. The waitress stood waiting after I gave her a tenspot. Me too... I was awaiting change, not realizing that I owed her MORE money!!! Two glasses of beer and my ten was shy? Well, this audience is back home to stay. $5 fer a beer? Not fookin likely when I can play my own tunes in the kitchen.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 03:04 AM

My apologies Bryan,
I can see I was wrong - there is nothing with th club scene and its healthy enough to carry on for another millennium. The answer to the question is obviously 'nowhere'.
I'm off -
"Check mate"
My mother told me never to argue with a man with a parrot on his shoulder
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 07:06 AM

Don't just take my word for it Jim. Come and see for yourself instead of relying on travellers' tales and what you read in the folk press. You might just be pleasantly surprised.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 11:46 AM

Perhaps I'll just leave it there -
"couple of Brits who have nothing better to do"
After all, why do we bothr when our Tranatlantic cousins have all the answers?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 12:07 PM

"After all, why do we bothr when our Tranatlantic cousins have all the answers?"

We aren't the ones claiming to have the answers. We aren't the ones who get huffy and defensive when somone has a different idea to share.

We are the ones that get shot down whenever we disagree with your set in stone definitions. We are the ones whose conversations become dominated by drifts that have nothing to do with the subject we attempted to discuss. We are the ones who know that there is a time and place for discussions and we are the ones who try to be respectful of others.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 01:39 PM

Ron,
When people have an opinion on a subject they tend to be able to express them - that's how it works over here.
I believe that the state of the clubs rests entirely on what is performed in the clubs and how it is performed - you are quite free to disagree - as I said, that's ....... oh never mind.
However, Bryan (and his pet parrot) assures me that everything in the garden is fine; I suppose that means it wasn't a very good question to start with.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 01:41 PM

Jim - I accept and respect that you have a different opinion about a subject that is only fractionally relevant to this thread, however when you make a sarcastic statment that your "cousins" on this side of the Atlantic have all the answers, then you are not offering me the same courtesy you are expecting to be shown. There should be no double standard.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 01:42 PM

Also, based on what I am seeing from this vantage point - admittedly one that is not close to the scene, I do see a lot of healthy and exciting music coming out of the UK. Somebody is doing something right.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:16 PM

Ron
"a couple of Brits who have nothing better to do than argue"
Perhaps you might have worded this better - don't you think?
I do have respect for you - and anybody else who shares my interest in folk music and is prepared to discuss it.
I don't get annoyed when people don't agree with me - I'm well used to that by now - read my postings.
I do get pissed off when I am told what I am thinking; and what is relevant and otherwise to the topic in hand - both have happened on this thread....
Sorry for the short fuse - it happens sometimes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:18 PM

Jim , this is Ron. He's a good guy.

Ron, this is Jim. He's a good guy.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:23 PM

Also what you fail to realise Ron, much of this so called 'healthy and exciting' music has a 6251 change in it, AND it features songs all about the writer's actual lives.

Its a well known fact, the only good writer of folksongs is a dead 'un, that we've never heard of.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:33 PM

we caught one filthy devil last week usig a cycle of fourths, we shouted, 'OI! You can cut that out! Put the melodeon down! Lie down and grab some floor!'

Its a man's life in the folk police!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:35 PM

I'm sorry for my short fuse as well.   I have tremendous respect for the work you have done and your passion for perpetuating the music is evident. I could have rephrased my comment, but to be blunt, I was very pissed. I don't think you realize how it looks to the rest of us and what a distraction it has been to THIS conversation. I agree, your comments deserve to be discussed.

It would not be proper if I were to enter into a discussion of English folk music and started a conversation about the Mets chances of overtaking the Phillies this season.

Again, I apologize for my short fuse. As you say, it happens - and we all move on.

Now, about our relief pitching....


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:39 PM

Mets overtake the Phillies?

Pass it over here, buddy . . . .


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:44 PM

That's it Peace - you are banned!!!!


:)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:48 PM

LOL

Clubs everywhere have hit hard times. It's expensive to drink in a club ($5 a beer? Makes me want to save my urine for times I'm broke) and it's not much fun singing for a room filled with drunks. Thinks have got much more expensive than they ever were, and salaries/wages haven't kept pace, so disposible income is short. Makes it tough for those who wish to follow live music but just don't have the bucks to do so.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:58 PM

Who are the Mets and the Phillies?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 02:59 PM

Metropolitan Opera and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra maybe?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 03:20 PM

That was pretty good.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 03:22 PM

The Mets and Phillies had better seasons then the Opera and Orchestra did.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 06:39 PM

Now, don't get me started!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 07:00 PM

Que?

"circle of fourths progression, starting out in the key of D, and ending up in C"

D Maj G Maj C Maj F Maj

"6 2 5 1 in D Maj"

B Maj E Maj A Maj D Maj

If you start bringing in 7ths and Minors, this aint either just a 'circle of fourths' or just a '6251'...

Of course I'm only using "Classical Music Theory" not "make it up as you go along Folk Music pseudo Music Theory"... :-P


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 07:19 PM

He's right.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 07:49 PM

'Of course I'm only using "Classical Music Theory" not "make it up as you go along Folk Music pseudo Music Theory"... :-P'

So there's a choice....?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 08:12 PM

Depends on whether you want to drive onto the ferry or if you don't mind driving off the end of the dock.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 08:15 PM

Al probably prefers sittig on the dock of the bay...


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 08:20 PM

Only once in the water with sharks.





















New York is a tough town.











New York


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 08:42 PM

My point is that c chord progression that moves from A major to D major, then from G major to C major is in two different keys, and that a 6-2-5-1 progression, in the key of C would feature Am-Dm-G7-C.

If you think I am being nitpicky, play the two progression--even in a perpetual Foster's fog, you should be able to tell the difference. And don't ever use that "Folk Music pseudo Music Theory" again, or I'll clip you with me wobble board.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 08:59 PM

"a 6-2-5-1 progression, in the key of C would feature Am-Dm-G7-C."

Nope, that would be a 'modulation progression' out of the 'Key of C Major' .... :-P

It may well be 'common practice' in 'folk music', but it also demonstrates the difference in 'musical theories'.... :-P

"I'll clip you with me wobble board"

Try that and I'll play me Piano Accordion at ya - or me Bodhran and spoons.... :-P


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 09:05 PM

"even in a perpetual Foster's fog"

You insult a Queenslander sir!

Only 'cockaroaches' guzzle that Fosters Spew!

Real Queenslanders have always drunk (and I use the word advisedly to excess!) XXXX !!!!

See the misunderstanding of foreigners inherent in the system! Even Aussies from other states get it wrong! Here in Queensland, we are sick and tired of being sick and tired of having our local culture obliterated by goddam Southerners who do not appreciate us!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 12:39 AM

When I was collecting folklore from the Todger family of Glossop in Derbyshire. They passed on to me the following:-

Red sky in the morning
I give 'ee fair warning
Some buggers on
Using 6251

Him what uses fourths in a cycle
Will make a sound thats somewhat faecal

or as Christina Rosetti put it

Who uses major 7ths?
Neither you nor I
But clever dick guitarists
Always seem to try.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 04:58 AM

"Who uses major 7ths?
Neither you nor I
But clever dick guitarists
Always seem to try."

Well if you read
my thread (gawd, now he's doin' it too!) I explain that for 'folk music', you can 'fake it' on the Piano Accordion by not having a &th row - you can just play the normal (usually Vth) chord, i.e. a G Maj chord for the C V7 one (which is actually G7). I also point out that if the 7th is really important or necessary, then somebody is probably playing it in the melody anyway!

Actually, getting back to the the title of this thread, perhaps this is why the audience has gone home.... :-P

:-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 05:02 AM

Well now we know where the audiences went. They were all driven away by guitarists boring on about chord sequences.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 05:42 AM

After you with the rope Snail.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 07:46 AM

............wot's an &th row?


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Ian Fyvie
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 01:54 PM

Whilst some have been bickering or boring since my last posting, I've been along to a folk club 1o minutes ramble from wheree I live and had another very good night of music and folk banter.

Those who live in an area where thing are failing should start a session of their own based on what a folk gettogether should be like.

In my view this would be (in the English context - and US eqivalent) a good pub that sells Real Ale. Ensure the evening is lighthearted. frienldy and welcoming to everyone.

AND try to avoid the Bottom Rung Middle Classes taking control as they will surely turn it into a status worshipping, oneupmanship session where the object is to themselves playing as near as possible to the guest - and pushing out anyone who doesn't fit - thus driving the audiences away.

Does this ring a bell with anyone whose seen a folk club die?

Cheers for you earlier comments by the way Ron.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 02:13 PM

well naturally we bicker and bore away without your stimulating input.

Nice to have the bonny Ian of Fyvie oh - back amongst us - sorting out all our minor objections and minor squabbles. Its probably cos we're all defective in some way.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 06:40 PM

A "&th row" is a folkie veriosn of a "7th row" - close, but not quite right...

:-P


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Aug 08 - 07:08 PM

possibly that where the audiences have gone - in the interstices between the 7th row, the cycle of fourths and and the 6251 interchange.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 02:13 AM

Sorry about the Foster's remark--all meant in good fun.

I must confess that most of what I know about Australia comes from   documentaries about Shapelle Corby and Kevin Bloody Wilson songs. I have seen the movie version of "A Town Called Alice", all the Road Warrior films, and I fell asleep halfway through "The Shout", though I woke up at the end.

I've also seen platypuses at the zoo on several occasions--and I had an INXS vinyl album once, though it melted in the back of my car. In the US, this qualifies me as an expert on Australia, though I suppose the bar is a bit higher "down under".


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 02:34 AM

Y'see, in Queensland "XXXX" is how they spell "beer".

Whereas in Perth, it's "Swan".


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 04:09 AM

"I must confess that most of what I know about Australia comes from   documentaries about Shapelle Corby and Kevin Bloody Wilson songs. I have seen the movie version of "A Town Called Alice", all the Road Warrior films, and I fell asleep halfway through "The Shout", though I woke up at the end."

Ah - Goddam Sydney and Melbourne - time for my "those bloody southerners think they own ALL Australia" rant...


"I suppose the bar is a bit higher "down under"."

Probably, here the drunks lean up against it - no chairs or stools.... :-P

:-)


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:08 PM

musicians go to folk clubs because they want to play music,not because they want to listen to someone ,who is famous because people like sandra in sydney say so!.if i am paying some ridiculous admission price i want to be entertained not bored to death by mediocrity. so if she wants to be a bigot ,and only allow people who she considers "famous" to play ,then it isnt any wonder theres no audience.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 04:22 AM

'musicians go to folk clubs because they want to play music,not because they want to listen to someone'

well I go to listen. I generally shove my guitar in the boot of the car, but if Im midway through working through my obsession with a song - I'm generally quite relieved not to have to go through the loose change in my pockets for an audience. Balance that with the need to play and keep your self 'performance sharp'.

that's how I feel anyway.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 07:29 AM

"musicians go to folk clubs because they want to play music"

Funny that - I agree...


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:25 PM

Been to another folk club since my last posting (bus trip this to the other side of the city).

And yes!, only 3 of the 14 people there were listeners. It was a superb session.

This raises the question of what's an ideal number of singers in any folk gathering not based on consuming who the Music Industry (Folk Dept) is telling us who to see (coz we couldn't possibly be as good as them and should hang up our instuments or voices and all become punters...)

This particular session, unlike the other two I go to in the city, has seen numbers drop over the year. BUT in the old days (last autumn/winter) it was attracting up to 30 supporters - again nearly all singers; and a small number were getting annoyed at only one song for the evening despite arriving fairly early.

If I was starting a new club I would go for about a dozen singers as a basis for it now.

So it looks like it has settled to a balance of about a dozen performers to create a lovely atmosphere were everyone is happy.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 02:29 PM

Apols for the misplaced line in the posting a minute or so ago!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Nick
Date: 13 Aug 08 - 08:34 PM

I've been to the weekly gathering myself and friends run on a Wednesday up here in North Yorkshire and this is what we had this evening - I just replied to an email from someone who is going to come soon so rather than rewrite I'll post it - he asked if we were still going:

"Very much going every week. Just got back a few minutes ago in fact.

It's a mixed singaround / session and it operates on a very simple basis - we go round the room and if people want to do something they can and if they don't they don't. The mix of people and content changes weekly and there could be anything going on from unaccompanied (and uninterrupted) solo song to everyone playing along and singing to solo things on instruments, occasional Les Barker monologues, pretty much anything.

The only thing we expect is that people respect others and don't join in if it's inappropriate and do if it is welcomed. We had a recent week where a young folk rock band came and visited and joined in as well as playing some of their own stuff - my wife sang a version of Willow Tree (the arrangement shamelessly pinched from Eliza Carthy) and we had the backing of 3 fiddles, concertina, melodeon, trumpet (!), three guitars, electric bass, harmonica and a lot of singing! We try and treat everyone equally whoever they are and even when we once had about 30+ performers there (including people who play (semi- or)professionally) everyone waited their turn or played. Some are good, some less so but standard is reasonable I think and we make quite a volume of sound when we all join in together!

Numbers vary - this week there were between 35 and 40 people there of whom about 18 or 19 played or sung (most weeks there are 30 something people there, rarely less). The rest listen or just come to the pub for a drink and chat - it can get noisyish sometimes, it's not a club or a concert.

Everyone got at least a couple of tunes or songs and there was a range of stuff from chorus to solo to Jake Thackray to sets of fiddle tunes (in an average evening there are probably 40+ songs or tunes). We start about 8:30 and finish about 12:00 ish. Pretty much never know who will come but most people come back! Tonight there was a chap who comes from lkley when he can, a mudcatter I have known a little for a few years on his way to Whitby who I saw in Sidmouth the other week, people from York, Pocklington/Barmby Moor as well as localish people. Age range varies from teens to a chap who used to come and sin who was in his nineties.

There are two very short clips at Short clip 1 and Short Clip 2 which may give an idea - the room is not the best room in the world but we have a good time whether 15 or 50 people come and the not knowing is part of the fun. I hope that helps and you'd be very welcome - if you have any other questions let me know"

From our end audiences (and players) are growing, but we are limited by the physical size of the room and the relative remoteness of the pub from towns and cities


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 03:28 AM

.....and ditto (except I don't think we've had a trumpet yet!) 30 miles north but still in N. Yorks at Burneston also on Wednesday nights.

Nick, we were talking to Bill on Friday night about maybe arranging some exchange visits between the 2 clubs.... any thoughts?

Things are pretty healthy in North Yorks I reckon.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 04:08 AM

'Age range varies from teens to a chap who used to come and sin who was in his nineties.'

Can't think of a better recommendation for folkmusic!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Nick
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 04:22 AM

As he lived with his boyfriend some people might think...


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 04:34 AM

GUEST,Ian Fyvie

"Those who live in an area where thing are failing should start a session of their own based on what a folk gettogether should be like."

Just what's going to happen, in a month's time, in my West Sussex village. Rags, reels and airs sort of thing. Sit round and join in if you know the tune. Play or sing. Drink the landlord's beers - London Pride, Harveys, Speckled hen and guest beer (currently Timothy Taylor's "Landlord"). If it works, we'll do it again.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: mattkeen
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 05:00 AM

Has any body mentioned Magpies Nest yet?

Sam Lee and others
Its very succesful with young people - so please feel free to ignore it.

I feel that the previos poster who mentioned the numbers of new youg bands and musicians, and that they will bring in their own crowds in time is probably right.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 07:57 AM

Paul

Who's Bill or which Bill? Joolz and Glyn visited quite a while ago. I'll probably come up to Burneston sometime but I'm not sure what is served by having a huge do at one place and chopping the attendance at the other. Perhaps we could arrange a get together on a different evening rather than alternately decimate them both?

Gross generalisation I'm sure but the young do seem to find tunes more accessible than the singing and the less accompanied the less accessible - in fact that goes for people generally. I do still think that unaccompanied singing is both hard to do well and hard to listen to in bulk as it is an acquired taste (perhaps blues is similar - I tend to think that Eric Clapton is more accessible to people than Robert Johnson though he couldn't exist without the latter). I'm playing at a beer festival next week where there are a teenage band playing (Jiggawatt) and a bunch of acoustic singers in the afternoon but very few who will be singing very traditional stuff. Sad as it may be it is probably what people want and I tend to side with the people who look at this as a positive as it may at some point lead people back to the more rootsy material.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Nick
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 08:01 AM

Sorry that was me not logged in.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 08:09 AM

Nick (I assume the guest is you before you get zapped!),

The different night get together sounds good. PM me and let's see if we can pull something together..... perhaps one of the Friday nights in The Roebuck at Bagby (every 2nd Friday.... started last month) .... it would be good to help kickstart this new session/ singaround. Tunes, songs, cornets.....anything goes. Pretty much half way as well.

Unaccompanied singing done well (which as you say is hard to do) can silence the noisiest of rooms, unaccompanied singing done averagely or worse tends to empty them.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 08:11 AM

I recently did an outdoor gig at my local village club for St. George's day - money collected for charity. For a change, I put together a few backing tracks to traditional tunes and "folkie"-style ballads - rather than the usual blues/rock mix. I was amazed to see the lager'n footie crowd whooping it up to the "Rochdale Coconut Dance" and the "Swallowtail Reel" - mind you, the lager consumed might have had something to do with it! Anyway, 'twas heartening to see that the old ones still have a little oomph with the non-folk public.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,confused
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 10:33 AM

Banji - Is it "every 2nd Friday" or (as in another thread) "the 2nd Friday of each month"???????


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 10:35 AM

Oooops 2nd Friday of each month.

Sorry!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: oggie
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 02:26 PM

"Talking to my Mum, her memory is of "hundreds" at the old Lincoln Folk Club at The Turk's Head back in the 60s and 70s (I'm too young to be able to validate this)......we usually get between 35 and 65 at the club we run in North Yorkshire.......

Thanks

Paul"

My memory of the Turks Head is that the room would hold about 100 and it was often full in it's heyday. Guests were about every other week. It was not the only club in Lincoln either as the Swiss Cottage (later at the Aquarius club) also met weekly in this era.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Nick
Date: 14 Aug 08 - 07:05 PM

I was talking to a friend of mine who ran Leicester University's folk club in the 1970's and the first time John Martyn and Danny Thompson came and played there were about 400 people there and the folk club made pots of cash!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: oggie
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 02:36 AM

Back in the same era we got over 200 to see Martin Carthy at Hull Uni Folk Club (The Round). Within ten years there wasn't a folk club there at all.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 03:22 AM

I bet you could still get two hundred (more even) to see Martin Carthy most places.

Really that's largely irrelevant.

If we are to pinpoint the reason the audiences have pissed off. The common theme seems to be this - singers (that's us) seem to be making unfair demands on the audience.

1)We lure them to folkclubs where too often they don't hear any traditional songs - just whining self indulgent singer songwriters

2)We play instrumental medleys too long and not well enough

3)We sing long traditional ballads that we don't know well enough to sing in public

4) We have no shame and should stick to playing our banjos in the shower

There are a lot of people saying these things. Perhaps they have a point. Perhaps there are too many of us doing it. Perhaps we should leave it to the pro's like Martin, and do something else - car maintenance, ham radio, DIY, study for a degree in forensic psychology or renaissance art.....


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 08:01 AM

"Perhaps we should leave it to the pro's like Martin"
(Always assuming that he is your idea of a good singer.)
5) Or perhaps treat the audiences and the material with enough respect to put in the work beforehand.
It lies within the abilities of most people to sing well.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: mattkeen
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 08:20 AM

Quote Jim Carroll

"Perhaps we should leave it to the pro's like Martin"
(Always assuming that he is your idea of a good singer.)



You are welcome to your opinion Jim, but I just have to say, that it is my opinion, that you are a complete prat


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jayto
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 08:39 AM

I think a good answer to this question is the song lists in 50 songs everyone should know lol.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 08:41 AM

Martin Carthy's a great guitarist, he presents his material skilfully & expressively, and he's done more for folk music than I could if I lived to be 100. I don't think he's a very good singer, though.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Nick
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 01:02 PM

I do think a lot of this is far more fundamental than being a "folk" problem.

When I was teens-30 there were stacks of pubs around that played music and it was accepted and normal. There were limited specialities. Life was broadcast and millions of people watched The Morecombe and Wise Show and people accepted what little entertainment was on hand because there were fewer choices.

People travelled less. I've been down to Sidmouth recently to play and will be at Whitby next week now and then when it fits in with work and will think little of a 100mile evening roundtrip. This would have been almost unthinkable in the 60s.

People didn't spend their life watching hours of TV.

We didn't live in a cocooned world where people moved to a narrowcasted world where individuals stayed at home in their little 'safe' worlds and browsed the internet for the nooks and crannies of their interests.

It's a wonderful world that we now have so many choices. It does mean however that audiences everywhere are smaller for most things.

It does however mean that audiences who come to things are usually more positive to what they are at and - as long as they come in sustainable enough numbers - all these things will survive. In a digital age and increasingly video age the mass of historical material in the future of the legacy of our present will be enormous.

It's just different than it was.

In the late 1970's/early 1980's I worked for a large global advertising agency and went to a presentation by a 'future' predictor (a la Faith Popcorn and the like) and they were stratingly accurate in many things. The main predictions being that media would fragment to narrowcasting rather than broadcasting and the effects this would have on culture and choice; the increasing coccooning of people to be more home/community/security based; the increasing isolation of folk from each other. I'd be interested as to what they are predicting now as - if the trends of our present were so obvious to a few in the past - presumably our futures are also.

(Excuse the pretensious bollocks :)!! )


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: oggie
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 04:46 PM

Seen Carthy three times in clubs in recent years and none of the audiences reached 100.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 05:12 PM

yes but several were in their late nineties.......they reached 100 after they got home.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 03:43 AM

"You are welcome to your opinion Jim, but I just have to say, that it is my opinion, that you are a complete prat"
Mattkeen
I have been listening to Martin Carthy for a long time; I have always admired his dedication and tenacity and am of the opinion that if others had put in a fraction of the time and energy to folk music that he has, it would be light years further advanced than it is today.
I've met him on several occasions; he and Norma were two of the artists who generously dedicated their services to the Walter Pardon memorial concert we helped organise in London, the proceeds of which went to the folk section of the National Sound Archive.
Whatever my opinion of him as a singer (and I haven't given it here), he has always struck me as being an extremely pleasant and self-effacing performer - certainly not the type of person to throw a hissy-fit at the slightest hint of criticism of his singing.
But there again - he doesn't have to - there are an army of people out there ready to do so on his behalf.
IMO, placing any artist on a pedestal and above criticism shows a deep contempt for them and their confidence in their work.
There have been many people I have admired on the folk scene. I have always been ready to tackle what I believe to be misinformation or inaccuarcy about them and their work, but the idea that anybody who doesn't admire them as much as I do is a 'complete prat' is more than a little immature - don't you think?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,ian fyvie
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 02:44 PM

Best wishes to Will Fly for his new session in West Sussex. Local Folk Mag is the Sussex Folk Diary - and (for newcomers and people bored stupid by overrated guests ) it's good if you prefer singing and sharing songs from equals to check out non guest nights at the guest clubs - or look up the singarounds / "come-all-ye"s. And listeners! - yes, some sessions can be a bit self endulgant (like the average Open Mic without-the-mic sadly) but most are good sessions with nice atmospheres reminiscent of the good old days of Folk. Simply filter out the insular ones - and spread the word about the good ones!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 03:30 PM

Have any Folk Clubs offered special evenings to cater for non folkies ? Some of the most favorite artists have been The Dubliners,The Spinners as two examples.A special evening of popular Folk , Music Hall,popular songs that everyone can sing along to.This will attract a whole new audience it can be put on by the Folk Club regulars.Surely one evening every three months would not be too unwelcome for purist folk goers.Instead of the little private room ,take it all down to the bar
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 05:17 PM

One of the problems with the arguments we have about folk clubs and their quality or otherwise is that we are often arguing at cross purposes.

It seems to me that there are two main types of evening/venue.

1) The guest night/concert venue when a performer or band are paid to entertain an audience. In such circumstances, it is reasonable to expect a professional standard of performance from those who have been engaged to entertain.

2) The singers night/singaround when the primary purpose is participation by those present. Sometimes you get people coming along on singers nights to listen, but they are incidental to the main purpose of the evening and if you do come to listen on such evenings it is not unreasonable to expect you to take pot luck as the singers are not there to entertain an audience but to share songs with other singers.

Many of the criticisms voiced here of the quality of singing in folk clubs seem to me to be confusing the two purposes. If you are criticising a club for poor singing on a singers night, then maybe you are being unfair as the singers nights are, among other things, an opportunity to try things including new songs that may not have been completely learnt yet, for newcomers to dip their toes in the water and for those who have no professional aspirations but simply enjoy singing. On the other hand, if your criticism was of a guest on a guest night then that is a different matter.


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Subject: RE: Where have all the audiences gone?
From: TalkingBird
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 11:19 PM

Despite the tremendous volume and variety of music available on the internet now, not to mention the thousands of CD's to choose from, I'd still rather hear live music than recorded music. Even an amateur, when playing and singing acoustically right there in the room, has a certain kind of appeal that recordings by the best professionals lack.

But these days most live performances of folk music use a sound system, so they don't have that kind of appeal. They look live music shows, but they sound like recorded music. And they don't offer the choice that I have at home to switch to some other recorded music if I want.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 01:04 PM

I play to more people when I busk,
not all passersby, but many sitting and eating lunch,
and I don't have to lug all that sound gear around.

Not really complaining, just some observations.

Cheers, S. in Seattle.[original poster]
what the hell has Martin Carthy got to do with this?.
I really get fed up with people bringing in irrelevancies to threads,to have ago at somebody who has done more for traditional music than they will ever do.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 01:27 PM

'Have any Folk Clubs offered special evenings to cater for non folkies ?'

Brilliant! we could call it.....Quiz Night, or darts Night....

Then stepping out from behind a curtain we could have ....Martin Carthy.

I don't think anyone much would notice.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 01:48 PM

I rarely perform these days, but my son and his band do. I have attended several of their performances at local venues over the last eight years or so. The crowds vary wildly, depending on the night or day of the week, the quality of other performers on the bill and the advance promotion (or lack thereof). They usually draw from 25 to 100 people even in smaller venues, unless there was no promotion done. I also see a number of familiar faces in the audiences, indicating some sort of mobile fan base. They usually perform where alcohol is served - a mixed blessing, at least in terms of crowd behavior. Some of the less well-attended gigs have been in non-alcoholic settings.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 05:57 PM

Can you clarify your posting WLD or are you just taking the pi**.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: GUEST,Ian Fyvie
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 05:55 PM

Since joining this debate I've been taking note of which sorts of numbers/proportions make for a good singaround session.

I'm pretty sure 12 is a magic number for performers (assuming a 2+a bit hour session). This lets everyone do two songs if they're at the club fairly early - and gives earliest singers a third song. Technically the number of listeners can be none to infinity - but a typical 12 singer session here in the last two weeks seems to be 4/5 listeners.

So if your session pulls many more than a dozen perhaps friction may develop and a natural split occur. On the basis that one group will find a new venue, then new people should be pulled in if advertised properly, therefore more people participating in folk and getting around to other sessions in due course.

The danger is folk people not in the slightest bit interested in spreading the folk word outward but simply trying to grab a big slice of the old setup - and that's when a folk scene starts spirally down the big musical plughole as neither is sustainable. Discuss!


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 07:45 PM

well I'm with Jim Carrol on one point. I do tend to think you should set your stall out and call it folk music, which is scheduled to happen in a folk club.

where we differ is that I tend to think my fingers have done enough work over the years to call what they produce folkmusic. It feels like folkmusic to me. I'm a folkie - if ever there was one.

i don't think buggering about with cerebration and semantics is going to yield much. And if someone is going to be a declared, card carrying, non folkie - well luring them in with topless barmaids and free pie and chips and then subjecting them to The ballad of tam Linn - well frankly, I think its a bit of a long shot.....


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Alan Day
Date: 22 Aug 08 - 08:05 AM

I agree with you on your comments on Folk Music. My suggestion was to provide an evening of popular Folk Music to encourage new members just as we were encouraged years ago. I stress this was only for a suggested one night in three month intervals.Or even once a year if you consider this an insult to serious folkies.
Al


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Aug 08 - 09:26 AM

Sounds alright. the thing is, groups like The Spinners and The Corries used to do quite straight folkmusic, but they presnted it in a way that was accessible.

Although I thought they were rather drippy when I was a sea green incorruptible teenager - when I had a shot at folkmusic myself, I was staggered by the enormity of their achievement.

To my mind - there are people who never got smarter than I was as a teenager. To find a formula that is a winner with the public - and then go on developing it. It takes some doing. If anyone ever manages it again it will take all that.

There are too many people sulking in the corner with a great definition of folk music that ticks all their boxes, but meanwhile the music is dying. Okay there are a few middle class kids, but there is no general push to make sure the population knows folksongs like our generation did. I bet every kid in our school knew songs like High Germany, and The Cornish Nightingale. You wouldn't find that the case nowadays.

Where is our national folk music on the National Curriulum? You can bet your ass, if its there at all - its in the hands of someone who has no clear idea of what the nation is within a hairsbreadth of losing - someone without the missionary zeal to abandon stylistic quirks for the great substance which is all but lost.


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Aug 08 - 11:03 AM

Those who think the audiences for folk music are dead and gone have never been to the
Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. There are all kinds of folk music
to fit your definitions.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Where have the audiences gone?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Aug 08 - 04:27 AM

Is not the problem one of demographics? I first started regularly attending folk clubs back in the autumn of 1976 at the age of fifteen, and, of course, I was the youngest in the room. Thirty-two years on - and I'm still the youngest in the room!

The baby-boomer so-called folk revival did nothing to engender, encourage or even inspire a second wave of any significance. It remained until their own offspring came of age that any new blood came through by way of a second generation, albeit with very different agendas & priorities to that of their parents. As the years go by, my old folkie friends get older, frailer and, sadly, fewer, but the crack remains, somehow, undimmed irrespective of the audience.

Take heart; for there is a new generation of folkies; second-lifers in retirement spending the kids inheritance on camper vans and discovering that they too have a voice. In such company I still find myself the youngest, often by several decades, but a veritable veteran in folkish terms. I get the impression these still game folkies would rather sing than listen though, and more power to them.


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