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Why folk clubs are dying

Faye Roche 14 Dec 08 - 01:57 PM
Little Hawk 14 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM
Acorn4 14 Dec 08 - 02:25 PM
Dave (Bridge) 14 Dec 08 - 02:28 PM
Leadfingers 14 Dec 08 - 02:28 PM
The Sandman 14 Dec 08 - 02:34 PM
SunrayFC 14 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM
Dave (Bridge) 14 Dec 08 - 02:47 PM
Ann N 14 Dec 08 - 02:57 PM
Will Fly 14 Dec 08 - 03:01 PM
Jack Blandiver 14 Dec 08 - 03:06 PM
Linda Kelly 14 Dec 08 - 03:29 PM
Folkiedave 14 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM
Folkiedave 14 Dec 08 - 03:32 PM
Will Fly 14 Dec 08 - 03:36 PM
Gervase 14 Dec 08 - 03:37 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Dec 08 - 03:45 PM
olddude 14 Dec 08 - 03:48 PM
Jack Blandiver 14 Dec 08 - 03:52 PM
Folkiedave 14 Dec 08 - 03:59 PM
Will Fly 14 Dec 08 - 03:59 PM
filidh 14 Dec 08 - 04:04 PM
greg stephens 14 Dec 08 - 04:05 PM
Joybell 14 Dec 08 - 04:18 PM
Joybell 14 Dec 08 - 04:50 PM
Peter T. 14 Dec 08 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Sarah, Barnsley 14 Dec 08 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,Rafflesbear 14 Dec 08 - 05:17 PM
The Sandman 14 Dec 08 - 05:22 PM
The Borchester Echo 14 Dec 08 - 05:57 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 14 Dec 08 - 06:03 PM
Folkiedave 14 Dec 08 - 06:19 PM
Joybell 14 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM
Ruth Archer 14 Dec 08 - 06:37 PM
GUEST 14 Dec 08 - 06:46 PM
The Sandman 14 Dec 08 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Ebor_fiddler 14 Dec 08 - 06:55 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Dec 08 - 07:25 PM
Leadfingers 14 Dec 08 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Captain Swing 14 Dec 08 - 07:43 PM
Amos 14 Dec 08 - 07:55 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM
Nick 14 Dec 08 - 07:58 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Dec 08 - 09:19 PM
Art Thieme 14 Dec 08 - 09:54 PM
romany man 15 Dec 08 - 02:39 AM
Peter T. 15 Dec 08 - 02:49 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 08 - 02:56 AM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 03:13 AM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 04:22 AM
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Subject: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Faye Roche
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 01:57 PM

OK I know that this is going to be a bit contentious, but here goes.

Most of the clubs that I've frequented, since I became interested in this music two years or so ago, have been populated by people aged from about 50 upwards. I'm not being ageist or morbid, but it's a fact that in thirty years or so most of them will not be around.

I'm 30 and my friends are all about my age, so we are, are we not, exactly the sort of new blood that the folk world needs if it's going to survive. So why aren't we going to folk clubs?

Here's a possible explanation:

I took a group of friends with me to a club not very far from where I live, but not in my home town (no names, no clues, no accusations of trolling please.) The guests were a band that I wanted to hear and my friends were keen to hear what I've been up to since I started singing this stuff.

The band were disappointing, but no more of that; it was not them that made my friends vow never to grace a folk club again. It was the rest of the evening.

First a selection of floor singers ambled on and after the usual false starts ("oops- a bit high; I'll try that again", etc.- haven't these people ever heard of pitch pipes?) a singer came on who stumbled to the end of the first verse of her chosen song, then forgot the rest and had to be helped through it by members of the audience. As she sat down, to cries of "Well done" and "We got there in the end", one of my friends whispered to me "People actually PAY to listen to this???" in astonishment.

I was so angry that, like my friends, I almost vowed to give up folk music and do something else. Why is it that this sort of thing is tolerated in folk clubs when in any other music venue the performer would be taken off?

So, four people who may have been converted to this music have now decided to steer clear of it. And people come on this message board and debate about where the deckchairs whould be while the ship sinks lower and lower in the water.

Sorry about the rant- it's most unlike me, but I couldn't contain it. FFS- why can't club organisers impose some kind of quality control; ban crap singers from appearing again, or at least only invite known good singers on guest nights?

I'll close with a personal message to any singer who thinks that it's OK to stand up in public and hack his/her way through a song without learning and rehearsing it properly first: YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME AND MY MONEY! GET IT RIGHT OR STAY IN THE AUDIENCE!

Phew.

Before I took up folk music I sang with a pop covers band. Yes, you may laugh (justifiably so) at this kind of outfit, but I've never seen a band of this type stop halfway through "Dancing Queen" and ask the audience how the next verse goes.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:17 PM

Well....there's also an interesting subculture of hobbyists who get together over their common interest, which is building plastic model kits of planes, ships, armoured vehicles, figures, etc...and they are also mostly people in their 50s and over. The reason for it is similar. Plastic model kits were something that EVERY young boy (and a few girls) built in their spare time back in the 1950s and 60s and into the 70s. Those were the days long before Nintendo and computers, so kids liked building models. Some of the same people who were kids back then liked the models so much that they have continued building them ever since...so it became an adult pursuit as the decades went by. It's mostly middle-aged adults who build models now. Why? because they loved models in their youth, when the local hobby shop was in its heyday. They'll all be gone in another 20 years too. So what?

Okay...so us folkies got to love folk music when the local folk club and the folk scene was in its heyday. That was from about 1958 to 1972. The scene remains...just as any other scene does...because of the lingering affection of people remembering the days of their youth, and there are always a few new young people who also become attracted to various past trends, so it never dies out entirely....but it's not the mainstream anymore.

A folk club now is just that....a "club" for people...a place where a few local people get together with their friends to relax and share in a common interest. If they have a more informal attitude to the music than you do, that may bother you, but if you want to be part of that scene then you either have to put up with it, or else BECOME the change you wish to see. In other words, YOU learn to play some stuff really well, without screwing up any of it, and get up there onstage and do that. It should give you much satisfaction, and it should entertain other people as well. You will be personally building the future for the kind of folk club you want.

You have to understand that after a certain age when friends get together with other friends they may become a lot less demanding of performance perfection than they were in the days of youthful ambition. They're no longer trying to conquer Mount Everest, you see. Mountain climbing is for the young.

(I might add, though, that some people go on being very competitive and perfectionist no matter how old they get...and from them you will get that standard of professionalism you are expecting.)

So take the good with the bad. There's gotta be stuff happening in the folk scene that you would like too. Try going to a major folk festival in the summer. You will see some absolutely amazingly good performances there, I guarantee it.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:25 PM

I think there's going to be quite a lot of overlap here with the "what kind of club is yours?" and "folk club manners" threads of recent - I've got a choice of five or six clubs within driving distance to go to tonight, so it's not dying -the age balance is a bit of a problem though - perhaps all those intense punk/ heavy metallists will eventually drift folkwards - look at what Robert Plant's doing now!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave (Bridge)
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:28 PM

Folk clubs will change, as they have over the years already. Gone are the days when all folk clubs were heaving every night. There are still a lot of young performers about but they have different ways of expressing themselves and don't want to be amongst the old fuddy duddies, I suspect. Having said that we can all still learn a lot from each other, if we want to. Imagine the wealth of knowledge about the material, the tradition, how to perform (or not in some cases)that abounds in the minds of some of these 'old' folk. I do believe that folk music will continue for ever, nut not necessarily as we know it 'Jim'


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:28 PM

The main problem , apart from L H 's excellent point , is that despite the obnoxious types who post here , your average UK Folkie is NICE ! And being nice , they find it very difficult to say to someone who has just done a Crap floor spot that that is what they have just done ! We ALL have off days - Even well established Professionals forget their lines - but there does seem to be a requirement for clubs to have a member responsible for quality , who can tactfully ask if a singer IS happy with their performance ,and suggest possible improvements .
Of course that is totally against ALL the Inborn Qualities that the Average Englishman (OR Scot , Irishman or Welshman) are brought up to exhibit .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:34 PM

I agree with some of your points.
but,[Before I took up folk music I sang with a pop covers band. Yes, you may laugh (justifiably so) at this kind of outfit, but I've never seen a band of this type stop halfway through "Dancing Queen" and ask the audience how the next verse goes.]
a few facts,Elvis Presley forgot the words to: are you lonesome tonight,the Beatles were frequently out of tune,when they played in Hamburg, as were The Rolling Stones on occasions in their early days,the Dave Clark Five,had a drummer who[well the less said the better],many pop groups of the sixties could not be heard live,because of the screaming[and a good job too].
many of the pop covers bands are playing crap[just my opinion].
I would rather hear folk music performed not very well,than a professional competent pop covers band.
however, I think there is room for improvement,and some floorsingers,could do with more rehearsal,before performing in public,there are also some very good floorsingers[some of them do gigs and support their local folk club by doing floor spots Gary and Vera Aspey spring to mind
http://www.dickmiles.com .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: SunrayFC
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM

but some clubs are thriving.

It is possible.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave (Bridge)
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:47 PM

What is the definition of 'dying'? Is this a numbers thing?
I am regular at at least two clubs which vary in numbers, weekly. Often the best nights are the quiet nights when we have a chance to chat about things folkie. Quiet night are also useful for letting the less talented have a go and hopefully improve.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ann N
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 02:57 PM

Some people who can sing or play really well just get a bad attack of 'stage fright' when they stand up and it's a rare performer who has never forgotten a tune or song halfway through. Beginners have to start somewhere to build up confidence and with encouragement most (though admittedly not all) get better :)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:01 PM

I must be lucky, Faye. In the last few weeks I've been to a mixture of clubs, sessions and singarounds in Cheshire, Sussex and Surrey, where the standard of performance - on the whole - was excellent. The acoustic sessions, in particular, produced some excellent young singers and instrumentalists. I know what you mean, though - there are certainly one or two fairly deadly places around the place. However, whether all this means that the scene is dying or flourishing, appears to be in the eye of the beholder. I echo the wise words of Little Hawk:

A folk club now is just that....a "club" for people...a place where a few local people get together with their friends to relax and share in a common interest. If they have a more informal attitude to the music than you do, that may bother you, but if you want to be part of that scene then you either have to put up with it, or else BECOME the change you wish to see. In other words, YOU learn to play some stuff really well, without screwing up any of it, and get up there onstage and do that. It should give you much satisfaction, and it should entertain other people as well. You will be personally building the future for the kind of folk club you want.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:06 PM

In my experience nothing could be further from the truth - I regularly attend folk clubs & singarounds from Chorlton-cum-Hardy to Byker, via Preston, Blackpool & Fleetwood, and I'd say they were thriving.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:29 PM

I'd say they were thriving too -and we don't pay the club members to perform Other than guest nights when we pay professionals-for most this is a hobby -if everyone was perfect they would probably be doing it as a profession -we get together through a shared interest have a mixed audience including students from the university and we try really hard not to patronise each other- If I watched a sunday league football game I wouldnt winge saying the standard wasnt that of Manchester United, i might just be pleased to see some real stars amongst the also rans and pleased that they were enjoying themselves- .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM

Can't see where sing arounds/sessions come into it so lets start off by missing those out. Different animal. Faye never mentioned them.

As I understand it what she was complaining about was that she had PAID to go into a club which presented a lesser performance than she thought she was entitled to expect for the money she had paid. And from her description she is correct. I recognise the type anyway.

Can I suggest that instead of going to a folk club Faye - you check locally where some festival is presenting your favourite band(s) - and if you can't afford a ticket, volunteer as a steward.

You should find a load of people around your age.

Don't give up on the music though because of one bad experience - there are far too many good ones to go around to compensate. Get into the festival scene - IMHO far more rewarding.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:32 PM


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:36 PM

Can't see where sing arounds/sessions come into it so lets start off by missing those out. Different animal.

Yes, but one sort of gathering feeds the other. The same people who populate our session and singarounds are also those who turn up in clubs - they aren't totally divorced and are part of the same overall scene.

I've also been to concerts (not folk) - at a rare old price - where the main act was substandard. It might have put me off ever seeing that act again, but it hasn't put me off concerts per se.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:37 PM

I know exactly what you mean, Faye. Trouble is, by posting that you'll probably get umpteen of the usual suspects pitching up to say it ain't so, or that their particular club would never do that, so all's rosy in the garden of folk.
You're right, though - your average trad club is pretty well doomed, and deservedly so; it seems to have become a support group for the musically or emotionally challenged. There are some good ones about that I know of, but even those aren't really the sort of places you'd take a friend to. It would involve far too much explaining...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:45 PM

I believe on one occasion recently Rod Stewart sang "Maggie May" from a cheat sheet.

When doing sound for some local heavy-ish bands round Medway I've seen some really amazing electric shit.

I've seen plenty of kids unable to tune a guitar.

I've seen plenty of bands too drunk (or otherwise enhanced) to stand, much less play.

Hells bells, I've seen Amy Winehouse totally incoherent on stage, and Babyshambles truly live up to their name.

Oh, does anyone remember Sly and the Family Stone?

I'v seen a four-guitarists (killer guitarists, all four of them) set at Cambridge when I still went there at which TWO of the guitarists could not find, much less ascend, the stage.

I've never heard anyone say "this is why electric music is dying".


It's a pretty simple riposte. If your friends are so great, why aren't they stars?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: olddude
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:48 PM

Because people have become deaf ... listening to the rap music in the car at 180 DB

that is my theory. Folk is normally acoustic so no one can hear it anymore


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:52 PM

listening to the rap music in the car at 180 DB

I do that too, travelling to & from singarounds!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:59 PM

Yes, but one sort of gathering feeds the other. The same people who populate our session and singarounds are also those who turn up in clubs - they aren't totally divorced and are part of the same overall scene.

The difference is that at all the sessions I go to - you don't have to pay - she did.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 03:59 PM

I know exactly what you mean, Faye. Trouble is, by posting that you'll probably get umpteen of the usual suspects pitching up to say it ain't so, or that their particular club would never do that, so all's rosy in the garden of folk.

I don't have a particular club - I merely repeat that, in travels around the country over the past 4 weeks or so where I've attended several clubs, singarounds and sessions, there's no sign that anything is dying. But that's just my personal experience. Other posters here will have their own experiences - which might be the same as Faye's or the same as someone else's.

The point is that the name of this thread is "Why folk clubs are dying". But you can't draw a general conclusion from singularity of experience. The only conclusion you can draw, so far, is that some clubs appear to be good and some appear to be crap...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: filidh
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 04:04 PM

the real question is what is folk?

some are looking for something very professional and some want a social atmosphere. and of course some want very traditional music and some see bob dylan as folk.

these debates have gone on for years. i have found folk clubs are cliqueish and often have very set ideas about what is folk--often based on little real knowledge, but then i have also met some of the best musicinas i have ever known at folk clubs.

i wish they were friendlier to new commers and other ethnic groups. and i wish that there were less middle class bigotries and more real rootsy people , and i especially wish there were less selfrighteous amd narrow minded "organizers". those kind of people often set rules that are thinly veiled class and ethnic bigotry. .but lifes tough and i have found lots of good fun and good music at many folk clubs.

much better music than at :professional " gigs. i do both and i see a lot of very good looking and coolly dressed twenty ssomethings sharing gigs(i have often done gigs with several acts) who can barely play an instrument and have a the singing range of the scottish bagpipes.

folkies tend to be older i guess and the young have their own movement. in canada its heavily bluegrass and mountain music that circoles around regular bars and not folk clubs--well i go to those more often than folk clubs .

so what the complaint really is is that there are not enough "folk police" to keep up standards. whewh!! that would be a nightmare


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 04:05 PM

I may be biassed, but I have started various sessions, clubs, events etc over the years, and have also been involved in the running of long-standing clubs which existed before me, and after me. If you go to something, and have a strong feeling it is not entirely to your taste, well there are two sensible options. One, stay, and change it. Two, go and start something new.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 04:18 PM

If you pay to hear a particular group/singer that's one thing. Between you and them. Attending an existing club is quite another. I'm with Folkiedave -- choose a different place to hear your favourite performers.
A club runs itself for itself. It has the right to do that any way it wishes, including asking for payment. Nobody is forced to attend.
I have also played all types of music. I set myself high standards but I don't impose my tastes or standards on others. I choose the places I attend carefully. If our way dies with us old folkies -- well that's sad for us -- but we have the right to be the way we are.

Thing is -- here I go getting all cranky -- We were once young. We remember it well. Young people were never old. You can't possibly understand old.
Cheers, cranky old Joy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 04:50 PM

Soooo -- Here's what I reckon:
If you don't like my peaches don't ya shake my tree.
Grow your own.
Form your own clubs.
Run them as you want.
We did.
We do.
Anyone want to come to Joy's Folkoff Festival?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:01 PM

I would say from a few years experience that the number one problem is that in places like that -- open mikes, etc. -- people are getting up to entertain themselves and not the audience. As soon as your attention shifts to what you think an audience wants to hear, then you are on the way away from carelessness, laziness, and narcissistic introversion.   

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Sarah, Barnsley
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:12 PM

"but it's a fact that in thirty years or so most of them will not be around"

yeah I agree, but look at it this way, Barnsley Folk Club might 'only' have another 20-30 years to go. In the last two years in Barnsley two Acoustic nights have started and disappeared without trace, (and another two started and hopefully going strong).

At the rate pubs are clising in the UK, as long as I have somewhere to be a amateur musician in an encouraging, non-judgemental atmosphere and get a decent beer at the same time I won't care whether its a folk club or not. (I'm 35 by the way if that makes any difference)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Rafflesbear
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:17 PM

I find myself split down the middle here

the other day I went to a carol service and because the carols were not all those of my youth I was disappointed

on the other hand with folk music I have a particular interest in one up and coming young professional duo that is blowing the cobwebs off folk music and presenting it in an exciting fashion. They appeared recently at a South-East London folk club and attracted not only folkies visiting the club for the first time but by the end of the evening they had pulled in some very unlikely looking youngsters from the other bar

however they have made approaches to another very well established and 'respected' folk club not a million miles away and have been unable to get even an unpaid floor spot!

I appreciate that any folk club organiser has the right to run their folk club in exactly the way that they wish but I also have the right to reserve my admiration for those who keep their finger on the pulse and see that such a band will broaden the appeal not only of their club but of the whole genre


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:22 PM

I take exception to Folkie Daves comment[well meaning as I am sure it is meant].
he seems to suggest that festivals are more likely to provide a higher standard than folk clubs.
I am not sure that festival singarounds are any higher in quality than singarounds in folk clubs[they are often the same people singing].
Folk clubs are about communities,Festival are about bums on seats[or lack of them in the case of Pickering]and how many people are still owed money by Pickering festival?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 05:57 PM

Oh dear. I'm sure Dave is well able to speak for himself but (looking slightly desperately for a way in here), he said nothing about "better", Dick.

What he meant (or certainly what I mean) is that festivals are usually considerably more accessible for young people. I have my own store of horror stories, many of them peppering this sort of thread, of taking people met at festival ceilidhs to (often but not always) moribund "f*lk" venues to see artists they have glimpsed at said festivals. I'm tired of being embarrassed at cliquey atmospheres and hostile receptions for potential punters. I'm never in the slightest bit surprised when people I have tried to introduce to these "f*lk non-communities" turn round and tell me "well if that's yer fuckin' "f*lk club", fuckin' sod it.

Good grief, we've even been shushed at the Union Chapel when Spiers & Boden and Faustus were onstage. I'd have thought they were noisy enough to overlook a bit of verbal background explanation . . .


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:03 PM

At least you folks in England have enough folk clubs to ask the question... I notice that very few responses are from folks over here from the Far Side.

I wonder why Barber Shop quartet music is no longer popular?

All semi-kidding aside, folk "clubs" are more of an English than an American term. Over here, we have a diminishing number of Coffee Houses, with an atmosphere left over from the 60's. I've loved that atmosphere all of my life, and still do, but the numbers they're a diminishing.

Last night, my wife and I went to a Paton family concert at an area coffee house (area meaning within fifty miles.) It was a wonderful night, with a good turnout. Sandy and Caroline Paton are justly beloved over here, and even though Sandy couldn't come, their two songs David and Robin were a good presence. We haven't been to the Coffee House in five years. The couple that sat with us were old, familiar faces who used to regularly attend the concert series I ran. I hadn't seen them in over ten years. The first couple we met hadn't been to the coffee house in fifteen years. I wonder how many other people who were there came because they love the Patons. And how many won't be back for another ten or fifteen years, if the coffee house survives that long. There is a folk music society that sponsors the concert series, and people do join in order to get a discount at the gate. It's the small band of loyal members who keep the coffee house going. But, if you only come once every five or ten years, a discount at the door isn't much of an enticement. I support the coffee house out of appreciation for the commitment of those who go regularly. If we don't support it with our regular attendance, I can at least help support it a little, financially.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:19 PM

Answering for myself it's a bit of both - he said sitting on the fence a little.

I believe the music is far more accessible to younger people (NB Faye tells us she is 30 so not young)at a festival than at a folk club. I certainly wasn't comparing festival sing-arounds with folk club sing arounds and I am not (as the poster wasn't) looking at sessions and "club nights".

I believe that with reasonable seats, good amplification and a decent audience then the chances are anyone with a passing interest in folk music stands a good chance of being hooked. Couple that with the friendly atmosphere at a festival, the occasional singaround/session in a beer tent and the rest of the whole festival experience - Pickering notwithstanding - and you have converts to folk music. The weather helps of course.

Send them to a folk club where people can't sing in key, need a cheat sheet for "The House of the Rising Sun" - and I have seen it - forget words and frankly are not very good - then you put people off folk music?

As Faye seemed to indicate. I know which side I am on.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:30 PM

I'm in Aus. We don't have many choices here either, Jerry. However we moved to a remote area and it's to be expected. We did have coffee houses and folk clubs, both, in Melbourne. They're diminishing now too. We too financially support a club we only attend rarely.

We have the right to form ourselves into groups of special interest while we still have time. The music we love won't die. There are plenty of recordings, books, films. If future generations want to tap into it they'll be able.
Encouraging people by changing something is a weird idea to me. Let he/she who has ears...
Joy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:37 PM

"Good grief, we've even been shushed at the Union Chapel when Spiers & Boden and Faustus were onstage. I'd have thought they were noisy enough to overlook a bit of verbal background explanation . . . "

Hee hee. I was charged recently with taking some new converts to a folk club-ish gig featuring Martin Carthy; one of those at our table was doing this sort of (very quiet) explanation of a particular piece and got sharp looks and shushing from the local worthies. It must have been very galling to the worthies to see Martin come and join us during the interval...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:46 PM

At the risk of offending a lot of my close friends (I'm over 60 and a singer/musician) I much prefer to be at a mixed (song & tune) session than be in a folk club nowadays. Yes, they are mostly full of people my age, so I much prefer the sessions and festivals where there is a healthy mix of all ages.
Also at festivals like Whitby & Sidmouth there is an enormous range of activities to take part in, catering for all ages.

Bugger it! There goes my few meagre bookings for next year.


    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: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:49 PM

yes,Dave,I did state that there was room for improvement in some cases,but there are also folk clubs,where the standard of floor singing is high.
I remember a few months ago on this forum,someone mentioned a folk club was it Ryburn?,and the singers from the floor,were all people who have done guest spots.
I got the impression from our crustaceous friend from Lewes, Bryan Creer,that the standard is high in his club too.
when I last guested at the Wilsons club the standard was high,as it was at Robin hoods bay,and Swinton[floorsingers included Gary and Vera Aspey]
Faye is generalising from the particular,a big mistake.
if every pro folk singer was to do a floor spot once a month the standard would soon go up,its a question of use it or lose it,if we want to keep the venues there for us to perform in,we have to get up and put something back in.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ebor_fiddler
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 06:55 PM

Same experience here. I was with a bunch of sixties folkies at a Waterson-Carthy gig here in York and we were glared at for joining in the chorus (and Norma was waving her arms to encourage us too!) !
Some clubs seem nowadays to be more like mini concerts than what we ran 30 years ago (but the past was always better then the present day - we have Roman and Ancient Greek documents attesting this).


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:25 PM

There seem to be separate planets here. I, of course, am on planet Antedeluvian, but my daughter is not. She went to a stage school where they always wanted her voice for the dramatic musical interventions. Her then band was not wholly comprised of people on the music course (she wasn't, nor was the drummer) - but the course director was heard to say at one sessional concert "At last we have produced a band".

So why do I say this? Well, since then she has had three electric bands, and she knows lots of electric musos. And so far she is a smidgeon over mid-20s.

Never mind whether she likes "folk" (or knows the difference - she does - but then both her parents were skanky hippy old folkies): the point is this.

Not wholly infrequently some of her electric muso friends (google "Redshift" for some, google "Endless Summer" for others, google "Death Cats" for yet more) blow into a folkie song/session - and the pretty universal view (unless she is lying to me) is "Wow! People actually play music together! This is great! Someone does something, another puts a bit in here or there. The massed harmonies!"

It is the musicians supporting the break from the consumer society in which the couch potatoes consume pap.

No, participative music is not dead yet. And Simon Cowell will kill it before we do.   

Yet the "standards" brigade tell us that we are killing the music. I think that planet is on an eccentric orbit.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:26 PM

Is there ANY point me posting anything ?? I thought I had made a sensible comment - 5th post 02.28 pm , and generated not a single response !! If I am posting crap bloody well tell me !!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Captain Swing
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:43 PM

Folk clubs will die because they have no relevance other than as a preservation society of something that has no need to be preserved. Traditional music, by nature, must exist as a contemporary form and flow naturally with contemporary culture.

The folk club has little to do with traditional music and even less to do with contemporary culture. Music that is truly traditional will also be contemporary.

Try playing your new found music to a live audience at a pub gig. Your expertise as a performer will ensure that you communicate it well and you may be surprised at how well it is received.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Amos
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:55 PM

Terry:

Why are you being so cranky?

Would you care to survey the number of well-reasoned, germane, articulate posts on this forum which go by completely unacknowledged and unaddressed because of the chimes of others with different tacks of their own invention they want to pursue? You'd run out of numbers, I bet.

Did you think it was about you, then? Silly man!!!

A


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM

Leadfingers - your point, exactly?

Captain Swing - what you say seems (if the first two paragraphs have any meaning, which I rather doubt) incompatible with your name. I say burn the ricks.

If you are who I think you are, shall I play the drum some more?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Nick
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 07:58 PM

>>Is there ANY point me posting anything ??

There, there. People are probably still pondering it's inner depth. Sorry couldn't help it.

It's a nice thought but I have recently been through an exercise like that following similar advice on standards in Folk Club Manners thread etc and doubt I'll go through it again. In the context of a singaround- session perhaps it's inappropriate.

I thought I would try and 'help' by making some comment. It's driven two people away who now think that I'm a complete pillock. The other two it has made not a happorth of difference to (the hide on one of them is of the proportion of several rhinoceroses). So I won't be doing it again as it hasn't improved standards at all and just served to piss a few people off.

Still it'll save on Xmas cards this year so it can't be all bad


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 09:19 PM

why are folk clubs dying - probably cos they didn't book me. serves the bastards right


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Dec 08 - 09:54 PM

'Tis sad if it is the reality now. I've nothing else to add.

Art


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: romany man
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:39 AM

I vowed many years ago never to attend a folk club again, after almost a year of going to different clubs both near and far, in each and every one, the whole scene was based on, come in give us your money sit down and shut up, you are not here to enjoy yourself but to sit in silence and listen to some demigod of dubious standing, you go to the loo at your peril, if someone is singing or at best making the effort, you go to the bar if you dare, then at the end you go home, what a difference at the various festivals, where the pubs are packed and noisy, singers and players seem to be better, audience noise is great, people come and go, not a shh or tut tut to be heard, is it that folkies are killing the clubs if that is your view, or is it that folkies are so bloody vain in a club context that they are demanding silence and reverance, that wont work in the outside world, this weekend i went to a real romany get together, with real romany singers and players, bum notes, out of tune singing, real good time had by all, none of the rules and regulations of folk clubs, it ws cold wet, and a bloody good time !


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:49 AM

No one has stated the obvious, which is that folk music is dead. The taproot is long withered, and so it is of necessity either a museum culture, or people are playing new musics. So clubs are -- and were -- a weird hybrid already.

(I know, I know, folk music is whatever folk are playing, blah, blah, I never heard no horse playing music, blah, blah).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:56 AM

"A folk club now is just that....a "club" for people.."
And who knows - one of these days they may even become venues where one can go along and listen to folk music - that we should all live so long!!
Dave,
If we have to go to festivals to hear the music well performed - isn't it time we swiched off the life-support machine?
Have to say that Faye Roche's experience mirrors my own exactly.
What we appear to be getting here is a list of reasons why we should just lay back and accept the crap we are being dished out.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:13 AM

Switching off the life support machine on the term is well overdue. Crunch it in the secure trash and begin describing music by its origins, influences, arrangements and instrumentation.
Obviously, festivals are a good place for hearing music well-performed and there are even a handful of well-run clubs (someone cited the Ryburn 3-Step as a shining example).
It's the smug "I know what's good for my audience" MOR crap-peddling organisers with tone-deaf, floor-singing mates you need to wield the barge-pole against.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 04:22 AM

The problem with switching the life support machine off is that there are some good folk clubs still in existence and they have been quoted on this page. But generally speaking I am with Jim and Diane on this one.

I am looking for the young organisers - we seemed to have trained the melodeon and fiddler players etc etc. We have a number of good singers emerging. But where are the young organisers?

Part of the problem (explained to me) was that there is a lot more bureacracy than there was, and frankly landlords are greedy when it comes to room hire.

I suspect there is a window of opportunity with the recession to get rooms for nowt.


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