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Why folk clubs are dying

GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 05:51 PM
Tim Leaning 18 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Dec 08 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Arran 18 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM
The Villan 18 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 01:39 PM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 01:28 PM
Will Fly 18 Dec 08 - 01:24 PM
VirginiaTam 18 Dec 08 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,arran 18 Dec 08 - 01:05 PM
Spleen Cringe 18 Dec 08 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Dec 08 - 11:53 AM
Musket 18 Dec 08 - 10:44 AM
Chris Green 18 Dec 08 - 10:39 AM
TheSnail 18 Dec 08 - 10:23 AM
VirginiaTam 18 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 08:53 AM
Terry McDonald 18 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 08 - 07:45 AM
Dave Sutherland 18 Dec 08 - 07:44 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM
burntstump 18 Dec 08 - 07:10 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM
mattkeen 18 Dec 08 - 05:50 AM
burntstump 18 Dec 08 - 05:43 AM
The Borchester Echo 18 Dec 08 - 05:41 AM
Andy Jackson 18 Dec 08 - 05:19 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 04:41 AM
Waddon Pete 18 Dec 08 - 04:36 AM
burntstump 18 Dec 08 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 18 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM
Will Fly 18 Dec 08 - 03:57 AM
Dave Sutherland 18 Dec 08 - 03:10 AM
Gervase 18 Dec 08 - 03:04 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 08 - 03:03 AM
The Villan 18 Dec 08 - 02:11 AM
Andy Jackson 18 Dec 08 - 12:45 AM
Maryrrf 17 Dec 08 - 10:37 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 08 - 09:02 PM
Phil Edwards 17 Dec 08 - 07:06 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 08 - 07:02 PM
Betsy 17 Dec 08 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Dec 08 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,Faye Roche 17 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 08 - 06:22 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM
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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:51 PM

The idea was to have a noun which could refer specifically to people who are purchasing entertainment, as opposed to being involved for some other reason.

I recognise that this transaction is not the only reason that clubs exist, and do take pains to remind people of my understanding in almost every post - to the point of tedium, really - because i know if I don't I'll be jumped on (not that it's worked this time, obviously)!

Being a full-time musician is certainly a calling - it involves a great deal of commitment and sacrifice - but it also demands commercial skills too. I am a Schedule D sole trader, a small businessmen with a responsibility to my dependants to do my job professionally and make what money, fairly, that I can. Just like a solicitor, really. Only I'm lucky in that I sell (and so share in the consumption of) joy rather than beans or A levels or suspension bridges.

It saddens me that there is so much ill-will in some sectors of the folk world towards what is really an honest trade.

The music we all enjoy making and sharing, along with the paraphernalia which makes it possible - instruments, CDs, amplifiers, web sites and so on, causes us to dip into our wallets at some point - and it always has done. I don't see why people have a problem with seeing some aspects of the folk world in business terms. Not to do so would be to deny the elephant in the room.

Folk clubs operate along business principles too - not quite those of a profit-making venture, but many of the principles do still apply. And most are very professional in their approach - thank goodness!

No. I may be an artist, but like all artists I'm also an "entertainment industry professional" and proud of it.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:28 PM

"I don't like people using punter. Makes it sound like the audience is not important, when they are"

Here here!
Punters,Mugs?
When you go to Faldingworth live as a member of the audience you are treated as being important and made welcome.
It makes a lot of difference.
That and providing good music is what makes a venues reputation.
Oh and like the good landlord a good organiser is invaluable.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:25 PM

Good heavens, I'm going to have to agree with the Cap'n quite a few posts back.

I now see why Diane does not know what folk is.

But the post that shocks me to my core is: -

"The word 'punter' is widely used in the entertainment business affectionately to mean 'consumer' and has no negative or pejorative connotations whatsoever. I'm genuinely shocked to hear of folkies being offended by it. My apologies to anyone I've upset. I'll try to remember to use 'paying customer' in future."

My GOD Tom don't you hear the sneer as the "entertainment industry professionals" say "punter"? Punters and "paying customers" are there soley for commerce. Absolutely nothing about the integrity of the music at all.

Somewhat like ministry of religion (if you believe in the merits of religion) the making of music and song (and in my view particuarly folk song) is not a trade or profession or business, but a calling.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Arran
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:30 PM

I usallly play at the begining of the night, so how would they like it I came and sang when they performing in the bedroom

Hello Mummy, Daddy can I play at horses as well?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:18 PM

>>I hate when you're up performing these people that just walk by you as if you're busking, why can't they wait until the song/tune is over? <<

Maybe they have bladder problems. After all we ain't getting any younger.

I'll get me Urologist :-)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM

Don't worry, Shimrod. I don't intend to do anything rash...

Yes, VT, it was generic boredom. Or possibly genetic.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 02:35 PM

Errrr ... thank you, Spleen. Ummm ... that's quite nice-ish, really ... possibly ... Have you got a day-job, by any chance? Hope so ...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:39 PM

Yes Diane, that would work. I was thinking something along the lines of "Poor Fellows" from the Transports, so same ballpark.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:28 PM

When A Knight Won His Spurs (used by some for Sweet England) fits as a tune.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:24 PM

Spleen - the tune for the Norfolk Reed-Cutter please? I intend to perform this at the first possible opportunity...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:15 PM

Love it Spleen. Was it the thread that bored you or just generic boredom?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,arran
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:05 PM

I hate when you're up performing these people that just walk by you as if you're busking, why can't they wait until the song/tune is over?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:59 PM

So what is this song about a Norfolk reed cutter? I think we should be told.

I am a reed cutter, I come from the Broads
I chop with me sickle and fence with me sword

I went up to Norwich to sell of my reeds
Spent me takings on pottage and flagons of mead

Oh a reed cutter's life it is simple and hard
As we float on the waters all a-covered in lard

Oh the lard it is slathered all over our thighs
It stops the pike biting as they slither by

For pike and reed cutters they are mortal foes
Each time they meet they must ere come to blows

Reed cutters are bearers of standards of old
While those dastardly pike are all brazen and bold

With their nu-folk and psych-folk and acid-folk slop
The buggers all smoke crack and snort alco-pops

They ate Walter Pardon, they ate Harry Cox
They ate poor Sam Larner right down to his socks

And the reed cutters job is to whup the pikes' asses
And make the Broads safe for the huddled folkie masses

A-roving, reed cutting, bold cutters we came
When the pike are all gone we will start a new game

Singing songs of the old days - we'll nere see the like
When the Broads were a-teeming with crack smoking pike.




Yeah I know it's shit. I was bored


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:53 AM

" ... next time he / she gets up to sing badly about being a Norfolk reed cutter."

So what is this song about a Norfolk reed cutter? I think we should be told.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:44 AM

Obviously, some of the comments here make me think twice about getting back to going to folk clubs. (Got a bit bored years ago, but missing it a bit if truth be known.)

I fear that one person's interpretation is different to another's.

I started going to clubs in the late '70s as a teenager. As I was in a rock band at the time, I enjoyed how playing acoustically improved your levels of instrument and voice, because you don/t have your reverb, wah wah or echo unit to mask your shortcomings.

I have had a good read through this thread and if clubs are as described, and attitudes prevail, then I might think again. I remember a local club I went to once, which failed to have a notice saying Warning - traditional music only, so I got up and sang my latest song, written a few days previously. If that had been my first folk club, it would have been my last. Never went back, and for the sin of singing my own song, I doubt I would have been welcome. A regular there came to another club, saw me and apologised for his mates.

As I said earlier on this forum, if I don't like something, I don't like it. Full stop. However, I will sit there, smile, clap at the end and make a mental note to go for a beer the next time he / she gets up to sing badly about being a Norfolk reed cutter.

Live and let live. Seems fair to me.

If a club has lots of singers and musicians who know their stuff, I might even bring some friends along. If most of the floor singers make me cringe and wish I was somewhere else, I will do just that. But I won't say why. That would be rude.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Chris Green
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:39 AM

Erm, just a nudge to say our first outing is tonight and we still have some tickets left! The guest is the incomparable Keith Donnelly, with other acts Alfresco and Mick Bisiker & Chris Green (me!)

Cheers

Chris

Maudslay Thursday


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:23 AM

Faye Roche

"Faye... if you think you know better, put your time and energy and possibly your own money) where your mouth is and set up a folk club the way you think they should be."

Why the hell should I?


Well, why the hell should I, for that matter? Or any of the hundreds of others who DO put their time and energy and possibly their own money into trying to promote the music they love?

But we do. If you've got anything constructive or positive to offer, we'd be interested to hear from you; if all you can do is tell us we're responsible for the death of folk clubs then please excuse us if we don't pay you a lot of attention.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM

Perhaps part of the problem is that no one can agree what folk clubs are for or how they should be run, so no one is quite sure what to expect when they visit one.

So far, I have not seen the problem put so succinctly as this. Thank you Howard for economising your thoughts and using plain English.

Now I suppose I will amble over to the Standards thread and see what proposals are there.   I don't want to argue anymore. I want to be part of the solution.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:53 AM

My grandfather died in 1959 not knowing what a "f*lk club" was (lucky him). He took me into country pubs because I wanted to try and play along with the big boys (and a few girls). I never consciously entered a "f*lk club" till the early 60s and that was to see Jansch / Renbourn / Graham / Dylan / Simon and that ilk. Playing tunes in the pub was something else, as were dance classes, competitions, the choral society and the orchestra. The "f*lk club" was a phenomemon of its time, as had been the jazz and skiffle club. Today there's a multiplicity of other ways to experience music, many considerably better and preferred by the young people who run them. And good on them for doing it for themselves.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM

All the clubs that I was involved in, from 1963 onwards, were called folk clubs. Strangely, all the clubs I used to go to in the late 50s where jazz was played were called jazz clubs. Seems a simple system to me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:45 AM

If you mean me, no I don't. I was referring to the big boom, the heyday, when I worked on compiling the Folk Directory.
As it goes, I used to get into pubs when well under age, first with my morris musician grandfather and later (secretly) after school orchestra practice to pretend to play in sessions. Only we didn't call them "f*lk clubs. Never heard of the term. It was just what you did. And it's not what we are talking about. quote DianeEasby.
I first went to a folk club in 1965,it was called a folk club,as were all the other folk clubs I went to.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:44 AM

Burntstump - why should I change my views? Since getting actively involved in the music, in the early sixties, I have been part of the organisation of three other clubs all of which ran weekly and, if there were time constraints, both residents and visiting floor singers would be asked to contribute one song/tune etc. I can't remember anyone complaining!
As recently as last Monday night I drove around twenty miles to visit Grand Union Folk, Barrow on Soar, a club I hold in high regard, to see Benny Graham and Bob Fox. I was asked, like the other floor singers, to do one song but it wouldn't have upset me not to have been asked; I had gone to visit the club.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:40 AM

Er.....you started it.

But I am sure no-one will mind if you tell us why you are up-to-date and I am not.

Go on.........................


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:10 AM

I didn't realise this thread was about blowing your own trumpet.

You must be well out of breath!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM

f you think folk clubs only started in the mid 60s no wonder you are so out of touch

And if you mean me - you are simply wrong. I started helping to run a folk club in the mid sixties - I started going to them around 1962. I am well aware of their history.

This year I have been to festivals as far apart as Moniaive in Scotland, Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and Ottawa in Canada. Sessions in Sheffield, and Newcastle. Concerts all over the north of England. Record launches, and special projects.

I have a radio show. It keeps me up-to-date.

Now how come you are so up-to-date and I'm not?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM

If you mean me, no I don't. I was referring to the big boom, the heyday, when I worked on compiling the Folk Directory.
As it goes, I used to get into pubs when well under age, first with my morris musician grandfather and later (secretly) after school orchestra practice to pretend to play in sessions. Only we didn't call them "f*lk clubs. Never heard of the term. It was just what you did. And it's not what we are talking about.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: mattkeen
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:50 AM

I whole heartedly agree with just about everything Faye has said.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:43 AM

If you think folk clubs only started in the mid 60s no wonder you are so out of touch


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:41 AM

Ah, I see Tom has beaten me to it.

"Punters" are paying customers, that is to say those who come along to a venue (possibly for the first time) for a specific purpose (i.e. to see the booked performer), as opposed to the organiser and his / her mates who may or may not have handed over the door fee but, nevertheless, consider it their god-given right to do a floor spot usually without any preparation.

Punters are the very people that an organiser ought to be seeking to impress, provide them with their money's worth and encourage to come again. At a well-run club, that organiser MC is out there talking to faces, especially new ones, seeking feedback and gathering ideas on what else should be done to boost the venue's popularity.

As for the 60s / 70s, yes there was many a venue with headline acts booked each week, with the overflowing diaries of top performers showing over 300 gigs a year. Oddly enough, that same organiser I had in mind in the previous paragraph is the same one who was running a legendary club circa 1972. There's a tiny handful of them left, scattered around the countryside.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:19 AM

You'll have to work harder than that to upset me Tom. I just don't like the term,.
What a fascimnating thread this has been thouigh withsome very erudite chat. Only one outcome of course which we all already knew. Folk Clubs are as different as our definitions of what is Folk Music.

Perhaps that is the added spice of a new Club to visit. I don't suppose the music is very different in Discos around the country, or even Jazz clubs come to that. I consider us very lucky to have such a wide spectrum of interests and yes, talents.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 05:14 AM

Getting back to basics, when the folk clubs first started you were lucky to get a paid preformer twice a year.

Err........not where I was in the mid sixties.

We had an artist each week, singers club once a month.

Singers included Ian Manuel (Two records for Topic); Jim Eldon (who still has his own apppreciation society; John O'Hagan (Cockersdale and still singing floor spots as well as with Cockersdale). There were plenty of artists to go around. Many are still active if they are still alive.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 04:41 AM

The word 'punter' is widely used in the entertainment business affectionately to mean 'consumer' and has no negative or pejorative connotations whatsoever.

I'm genuinely shocked to hear of folkies being offended by it.

My apologies to anyone I've upset. I'll try to remember to use 'paying customer' in future.

Tom Bliss


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 04:36 AM

Well said, gentleman from Miskin!

IMHO if you refer to the people you are hoping to play to as "punters" this shows disrespect for them. (Could be that's why they are subjected to some questionable performances?)

Howard...quite right!

Let's have a thread defining......nah..let's not go there!


Best wishes,
Peter


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: burntstump
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 04:28 AM

In response to the couple of comments made from my previous posting, a club that only opens once a month is somewhat different to a weekly venue, most clubs open every week and only have a guest on once a month so there is a need for floor singers. I tend to agree with weelittledrummer as much as the word entertainer should be considered.
If you can get away with only giving good floor singers just one song that's great, but open every week and I think your views would change. I for one would not travel 20 miles to perform one song.



The Woodlark at Lambley,I have been told is well worth a visit, I used to run the original folk club in Lambley back in the 70s.
I agree there are still some very talented professional folk acts and if you want to pay a lot of money to see them that's fine.
But please remember I am reflecting on the folk schene of the 70s and 80s, 99% of the so called professional artistes lasted no longer than an icicle in the Arabian desert.

Getting back to basics, when the folk clubs first started you were lucky to get a paid preformer twice a year.




A well run club must appeal to both the audience and the performers alike, if there is no audience you may as well stay at home and sing, likewise if there are no performers there isn't an audience anyway.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 04:24 AM

Perhaps part of the problem is that no one can agree what folk clubs are for or how they should be run, so no one is quite sure what to expect when they visit one.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:57 AM

Punters go to betting shops and frequent ladies of the night don't they?

Well, as often as I can, which isn't much these days...

Gervase, I can understand and accept your point of view about where you think clubs are or aren't, but you can't simply just pre-empt any ripostes to that viewpoint by saying things like Cue 30 posts from outraged club organisers insisting that their club is near perfection.... This doesn't bolster your argument.

The fact is that many clubs are doing OK, and you've had plenty of statements from posters to this thread who are saying just that - and I don't see any sense of outrage, just plain statements of fact. What seems to be emerging from this thread is that the state of folk clubs, in terms of vibrancy, simply varies from place to place. In some areas, for whatever reason, they appear to be doing well; in others, for whatever reason, they appear to be crap. I said early on in this thread that I'd recently been to clubs in Cheshire, Surrey and Sussex and that, without exception, they'd been very good experiences (and I'm not an uncritical person). Well - all I can do is pass comment on my experience, and I'm sorry if it buggers up part of your thesis - but there it is.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:10 AM

40 years ago we on the committee of South Tyne Folk and Blues agreed not to use the word "punter" in relation to our audience. It sounded like they were gullible people ready to be ripped off!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:04 AM

I'm completely with Faye. There seems to be an element of complacency from the club regulars that borders on the bizarre. It does, however, sum up why you rarely get new 'converts' at folk clubs and why few people do bring their friends.
(Cue 30 posts from outraged club organisers insisting that their club is near perfection and that there are a dozen new faces every week at their club, and anyway, how dare anyone criticise the folk club scene if they haven't paid their dues and served a decade as a floorsinger, and it's not for the public anyway so no-one has a right to criticise, and everyone has a right to perform, and it doesn't matter if people, sorry, punters, are paying to hear stuff, cos the material's not as important as the fragile ego of the fledgeling performer, and...)
Zzzzzzz.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:03 AM

Apart from that, I don't agree with the premise - all the evidence available to me suggests that folk clubs aren't dying.
yes, thats my exprience too,I can rember people coming up with this line,25 years ago,and folk clubs are still here,furthermore when I was last on tour in England all the folk clubs I played at were, well attended,and had a high standard of floor singers.
here is why Fayes original post is an over simplification,if folk clubs are dying,there are several[not just one] contributory factors.
I.economic recession.
2,drink drive laws,and lack of available public transport[particularly in rural areas].
3.cost of travelling.
4.cost of entry
I agree that it is a good idea to try and raise standards of floor singing,but this is the prerogative of the folk club organiser[not us].
one way this can be done,is through workshops[ clubs like Lewes Elephant do this already]
he/she finances the club, he/she has the final say in who appears as a guest and as a floor singer,if an organiser wishes to let anyone sing or not sing regardless of standard that is his/ her right.
if people like faye dont like a particular club,they dont have to go.
Faye,I was playing this music professionally, before you were born,when you try to say I have no respect for the music,you are just showing how unknowing you are.I suggest you visit my myspace site,and visiut my you tube videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcBocS_x_M


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 02:11 AM

I agree with you Miskin.
I don't like people using punter. Makes it sound like the audience is not important, when they are.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:45 AM

Just a mild observation in the middle of an insomniac night.....
Is it just me that's almost allergic to the term "Punter". I'm afraid that any post refering to my friends and I as such, gets my hackles rising. Punters go to betting shops and frequent ladies of the night don't they?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Maryrrf
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 10:37 PM

I'm in the US, but visit folk clubs in Britain whenever I get the chance. So I'll throw in my two cents.

I can understand what Faye is talking about having seen some people who really didn't have any redeeming qualities about their singing do floorspots in folk clubs. I didn't enjoy it and I doubt if anyone did, and I agree that people who want to do floor spots ought to rehearse till they can sing the song competently if they want to perform in public. If I were a club organizer I'd try not to put known poor singers on when there was a guest night which would presumably attract people who were not members. It's a valid opinion. But I was very put off by haughty and imperious all caps YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME AND MY MONEY! GET IT RIGHT OR STAY IN THE AUDIENCE! Was that necessary?

If you are at all acquainted with the folk club scene, you know that, before the main act and during intermission there will be floor singers, most likely residents of the club, and that they're not professional performers. If you came to see the main performer, and had to sit through a couple of less than acceptable floor spots, you still got what you paid for, which was the booked act. There is rarely more than 15 or 20 minutes of floor singing in the beginning, and another 15 to 20 minutes at intermission - at least that was the case in the folk clubs I attended.

A folk club is a very particular type of venue. It's open to the public and there is a charge that is slightly more for non members. But it is still a club that is run for its members, and not a commercial venue. There is a sense of cameraderie and community among folk club regulars, and if the members choose to support and encourage somebody who is not a good singer/performer - that really is the club's decision.

Incidentally, a quick search revealed a "Faye Rochelle" on myspace described as Alternative/Acoustic/Folk. Might that be you?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 09:02 PM

My last posting was hastily submitted whilst getting ready to go to a singaround.

Interesting comment from a couple of supporters who arrived a bit later was that they'd been around the city and passed many pubs with about one drinker - that included an open mic session with about one singer; and a supposedly rival session (cooler than ours? - the place to be?) - where NO singer/musician was in evidence - again just a solitary drinker and his dog!

So they ended up at our albeit small gathering and shared a few songs.

Being realistic, this is the run up to Christmas - things go a bit unpredicable this time of year; AND the recession is affecting numbers who go out to pubs at the moment - that's clearly coming back to us from all over.

But I repeat my original point - we now have a brilliant opportunity for folkies to get into the media - and tell people there is a whole world of low cost entertainment out there in folk clubs (singaround and guest clubs; free and PayClubs) where people can enjoy live British* based musical culture in an intimate atmosphere.

*if in Britain -I'm talking in a British context - but the point is the same wherever you live in the world.

The folk scene is an antidote to a parade of hyped "Stars" who are obviously competent but generally unremarkable - for which you may pay bloated amounts of Pounds/Dollars. And at most Folk Clubs/sessions I've been to it is not long before you see singers/performers/songwriters BETTER than than the so called Stars which you've been told are the best since... [add name as applicable]. It's purely a case of persuading people to recognise the multidollar hype for what it is and realise that good can be "local" - and people who live locally can be just as good as someone who's just "flown in".

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:06 PM

I'd rather hear her music (or anything else) done well than folk music (or anything else) done badly

When I go to a folk club, I want to hear something new, something different, something surprising, something that doesn't sound just like everything else. Failing that, I want to hear folk music done well in unsurprising ways. But failing that, I want to hear folk music done not particularly well - even if it's a lousy performance, I might hear a new song or get a new angle on a familiar one. When I go to a folk club, I don't want to hear the same old pop music, however well it's done.

Back to the top:

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.

No, they don't. They pay to be a part of it, week in and week out, and they pay a bit more on guest nights.

I work hard on my own performances, try not to do anything everyone knows already and always try to make sure I know the words, start on the right note, etc. I put the effort in because I think it matters - and if I could wave a wand and make every floor singer perform to my exalted(!) standard, I would. I do think organisers can do a lot to encourage preparation and discourage p***-taking, but at the end of the day you've got to remember that a folk club isn't just an entertainment venue - it's a *club*, it's the sum of the regulars who turn out week in, week out. If some of those regulars have a burning desire to have a go, despite not really being up to it, the chances are they're going to have a go - and the chances are a lot of the other regulars will support them, because of who they are. And that's a feature, not a bug. (Keeping them away from the paying punters on a guest night might be a kindness all round, though.)

Apart from that, I don't agree with the premise - all the evidence available to me suggests that folk clubs aren't dying.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:02 PM

Faye ,if you read my posts properly ,you could have avoided all that.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Betsy
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:57 PM

I don't think all the above subscribers would fit nicely into the same sort of Folk event - apart from a Good Festival.
We all seem to have different needs and levels of expectancy from a Folk club night, so,given that most of us have lots of experience in more than one club - can't we understand that someone visiting for the very first time and being asked to pay good money, and gets served up a load of tosh, surely this action contributes to the perceived "dying" process.
I'll go to see someone that I know , but, if I decide to drift along without knowing - I wouldn't dream of taking someone along who didn't know what might be served up - which is a sad thing to say.
Twickfolk seems to have thought this whole thing through and I congratulate him /her.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:44 PM

Faye,

As someone who's been going to folk clubs for over 40 years now, I have to agree with everything you say - there is too much crap around these days. Poor, unrehearsed, lazy singers clog up too many evenings, take up time which could be devoted to better, more enjoyable singers and alienate audiences.

As 'Marje' said above: "A club policy of uncritical "inclusiveness" does mean that the regulars may hesitate to bring friends along, and casual visitors are unlikely to come back, which is undeniably one of the reasons why some clubs are struggling."

"Inclusiveness" is another one of those good ideas, like political correctness, which has been turned into an unthinking dogma and ends up doing more harm than good. It has been assumed that everyone has a 'right' to sing but I maintain that that right should be accompanied by a RESPONSIBILITY to sing well and to do the material justice.

At this point someone will bang on about different abilities, "what about beginners?" etc., etc., etc. Well, frankly, if you don't think that you can sing well or do the material justice or are not prepared to put the work in then just shut up and stop wasting my time and everyone else's time!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Faye Roche
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM

And you have more than some cheek, Captain to swear at me.

Despite what I said about half and hour ago I stayed up to read the other posts in this thread. I think that it's all been said. Some of you, (Diane, Marje, Tom, and others) got my point.

I wonder how many other newcomers the folk world has lost this week?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:22 PM

Faye Roche,you have some cheek to say I dont respect this music.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:16 PM

It should have been clear from my last post that I am concerned with form AND content- that's why I respect this music so much. You obviously don't respect it- that's why you're happy to listen to crap singers.
for fuck sake read some of my posts,
I have never said I am happy to listen to crap singers,I said:[it is really up to organisers to sort this out,and to give some thought to their presentation of floor singers,however I would still prefer a night of badly performed folk songs to an evening of competent Britney Spears imitators[or whatever FAYE used to imitate],I am not overkeen on either,but one is marginally preferable to the other,its a bit like a choice beteen cold tapioca and cold semolina].
I AM NOT OVERKEEN ON EITHER,cant you read.
Diane,I dont care who covers Britney Spears music,I think it is crap.


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