mudcat.org: Why folk clubs are dying
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]


Why folk clubs are dying

Big Al Whittle 30 Jan 09 - 03:11 PM
melodeonboy 30 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Jan 09 - 11:56 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Jim 30 Jan 09 - 11:31 AM
Musket 30 Jan 09 - 11:17 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jan 09 - 09:48 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Jan 09 - 07:56 AM
Musket 30 Jan 09 - 06:59 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Jan 09 - 06:51 AM
Jack Campin 30 Jan 09 - 06:37 AM
Will Fly 30 Jan 09 - 06:32 AM
Jack Blandiver 30 Jan 09 - 06:26 AM
Musket 30 Jan 09 - 06:07 AM
TheSnail 30 Jan 09 - 06:00 AM
GUEST 30 Jan 09 - 05:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jan 09 - 05:42 AM
GUEST 30 Jan 09 - 05:40 AM
Will Fly 30 Jan 09 - 04:38 AM
The Borchester Echo 30 Jan 09 - 04:33 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Jan 09 - 04:08 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jan 09 - 03:50 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jan 09 - 01:02 PM
Folkiedave 29 Jan 09 - 12:32 PM
Backwoodsman 29 Jan 09 - 11:57 AM
Folkiedave 29 Jan 09 - 09:47 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Jan 09 - 09:21 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Jan 09 - 09:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jan 09 - 08:46 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Jan 09 - 08:02 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM
Phil Edwards 29 Jan 09 - 04:39 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Jan 09 - 04:21 AM
The Borchester Echo 29 Jan 09 - 03:57 AM
Folkiedave 29 Jan 09 - 03:35 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jan 09 - 08:00 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jan 09 - 07:00 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Jan 09 - 06:50 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jan 09 - 06:15 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Jan 09 - 05:27 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Jan 09 - 05:18 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Jan 09 - 04:21 PM
Folkiedave 28 Jan 09 - 11:00 AM
The Sandman 28 Jan 09 - 10:39 AM
Faye Roche 28 Jan 09 - 09:22 AM
The Borchester Echo 28 Jan 09 - 08:43 AM
BB 28 Jan 09 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 28 Jan 09 - 05:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jan 09 - 09:43 PM
Ian Fyvie 27 Jan 09 - 08:51 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 03:11 PM

No I don't think they're dying either.

I just think its obvious people go to folk clubs for their own reasons (usually not unrelated to enjoying themselves)- not to pay homage to tradition. and you get weird stuff going on, and i say 'Good - its better than the shite on telly!'

I think the born again traddy is a bit like the born again Christian. they don't really get it. Most christians are Christians because they think it helps them to be nice. Whereas the born again types are in it to praise the lord and reflect his glory.

i suppose arguably they're both right. I wish i could believe in something.

there also seems to be sliding scale for what is acceptable - depending on how far in you are with the'in crowd'. thus it was okay for Bob Davenport to have a bash at Chuck berry and Bob marley - and Martin carthy's individual take on heartbreak Hotel gets the thumbs up - but some some Dim Jim doing his first floorspot gets the thumbs down for slaughtering Buddy Holly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: melodeonboy
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 02:13 PM

Hmm.... By your rather strict (but essentially accurate) definition, Richard, if the numbers going to folk clubs have been "literally decimated", as claimed above, we've still got 90% of the original attendance (whenever that was!). Therefore, folk clubs can't be dying!

Cor, I've just solved this thread!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 11:56 AM

Me, I'm a traditionalist. I like the old definition of "decimate" - to select and kill one in ten of a part of a Roman Legion if that part had failed in its duty. A good traditional punishment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 11:53 AM

there's nothing to attract young people into folk clubs at the moment

Except those folk clubs which are thriving and are attracting young people - which are obviously not folk clubs, because as we all know folk clubs aren't attracting young people and are therefore dying...

The thing is that would put me off folk clubs were I not a folkie would be the type that sit with one finger in their ear and sing harmonies ever so slightly out of tune that it becomes agonising to listen to.

I've seen some pretty bad singers in my time, but I've never seen even one example of that 'type'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 11:31 AM

I think you're right, but I think for a tradition to survive it also needs it's young, and there's nothing to attract young people into folk clubs at the moment.
(Some) festivals tend not to struggle, because festivals have a cooler sort of image, then there's the fun of the stalls, camping, etc.

The thing is that would put me off folk clubs were I not a folkie would be the type that sit with one finger in their ear and sing harmonies ever so slightly out of tune that it becomes agonising to listen to. I mean, don't get me wrong, that is a crass generalisation and I know that not all club singers are like that. But nonetheless, when this sort of thing is advertised as being 'folk music' it makes young folk enthusiasts run a mile.

Perhaps a more modern approach may boost it's profile in some way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 11:17 AM

Ewan McColl did encourage all.

However, I once did a floor turn at a club he and Peggy Seeger were appearing at and performed a song about a native American having problems living on the streets in an American city.

When they got up, he rattled off his "you should only sing what is indigenous to you" mantra that he (and others) used to come out with.

Not good to be carped by your heros. Especially a hero called Jim from Salford singing Scottish songs...

Elvis Costello always claimed his first time up with a guitar was doing a floor turn when they were on the bill.

Like I said, folk clubs are a broad church....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 09:48 AM

'Yeah, well, come back when you've finished. Don't expect us to listen to your experiments.'

Contrast this Ewan MacColl who threw his home open to young songwriters. All I can say is thank god (and me an atheist!) the people who welcomed me into folk music were not so damn sure they knew everything.

Its not how this movement achieved greatness - but I bet its how it got into the present mess.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 07:56 AM

About a year ago, I found my way from a 'singing horse, all abilities' club to a 'mostly but not exclusively traditional, mostly but not exclusively been doing this for years' club, and rapidly developed a passion for traditional music and the places where it's played. Since then I've been going out more widely, and taking traditional songs into a few other places where the singing horses roam free. Born-again traddie, that's me.

So to some extent I agree with Jim. I only discovered traditional music properly when I went beyond the club I'd been going to for the previous five years, and when I think how much amazing music I could have been hearing and singing in that time I can't help thinking that clubs like that are getting something seriously wrong.

On the other hand, clubs like that are thriving - so it's just not the case that a "sing what you like and don't worry about learning it beforehand" policy drives people away. The club I'm thinking of is packing them in.

So maybe there isn't really a problem: people are flocking to hear variations on a theme of "my girlfriend stood me up" and creative interpretations of Beatles songs; some of those people also like traditional music, and they can find their way to places where it's appreciated. As I did. And they can get some chops singing whatever they feel like singing, so if they do start doing traditional stuff seriously they won't be total beginners. As I did.

Still, back on the first hand - five years does seem like an awful long time to be going to a folk club and not hearing much folk.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:59 AM

Jim, I know of many good 'oles. The reason I was questioning this thread is that as you read down it, you see people compare comments with their ideal form of a folk club.

Just think folk clubs are a broader church than that, that's all.

Will Fly, I am fascinated by the debate, and the views put forward. I am racking my brains to think of a sub thread that could harness a few of the ideas and if anybody reading is attending or running a club that is not well supported, use it to start local debate?

This thread goes off on all sorts of tangents. The awful management speke phrase does however ring true. How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time, the only way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:51 AM

"you can huff and puff, but the buddy holly song book has as much right to be there as anything."
And that, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, concludes the case for the prosecution!
As a long-standing buddy Holly fan - I agree with Jack!
Ian,
If you knows of a better 'ole, go to it.
Fraternally,
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:37 AM

you can huff and puff, but the buddy holly song book has as much right to be there as anything.

Saying you have a "right" to play something is not much of an incentive for getting people to come and listen to it. It's the attitude ot the sort of neighbour who points their loudspeakers out of the window and cranks the amp up to 11.

the public know these songs

They know Buddy Holly's versions of them. Doesn't mean they want to hear you doing them.

and maybe they will use them to make folksongs. doing crap versions is just the start of modifying them.

Yeah, well, come back when you've finished. Don't expect us to listen to your experiments.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:32 AM

Al - I love Buddy Holly songs - and spent 12 years playing them (and other stuff) in a 1950s rock'n roll band. Problem is - as Jim has said on many an occasion - performers in some clubs just don't try to put any passion or feeling or effort into performing. Whether it's Buddy Holly or anyone else - and that's why the evening was piss-poor. It's when you know people can do better, and they don't, that it can be dispiriting.

Ian - I'm sure the thread will end when it ends! It may go on a bit here and there, but it's always fascinating to hear a variety of opinions, however much one might disagree with them. And our minds should be open to other arguments - particularly when many of them are expressed by intelligent and articulate people.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:26 AM

666


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:07 AM

Been away for a bit...

A so called friend using my wifi with his PC came onto the forum wound a few people up and so my IP was blocked for a while.

Anyway, back now.

Actually, I am sad to be back in some ways. This thread will just run and run.

Can't we just say that there are some clubs that see themselves as "pure" in what they do, some that consider themselves an open forum and some that want a beer and a bit of nostalgia to take them away from the troubles of the day?

And perhaps end this thread?

Many good people with good intent are getting irate with each other, and it is rather sad to see.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:00 AM

Jim Carroll

You can no longer go to a club and be guaranteed that you will hear and enjoy an evening of folk songs.

You can if you come to Sussex. Ding! Ding!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 05:43 AM

Bah, post above=matt milton by the way.
(that GUEST/log-in thing again...)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 05:42 AM

Folkmusic hasalways been a funny thing. The claassics worthy of the respect of the highest in the land. Also a major constiuent has been the vapid and transient that people take into their own lives from the music industry - that's the folk. Its the folk process.

In a recent dvd, marin carthy (no less) cites a song about the hats for hats like the Motgolfier bothers balloons - dishonsty's all the rage - I think he said it was, as an example of this.

you can huff and puff, but the buddy holly song book has as much right to be there as anything. the public know these songs and maybe they will use them to make folksongs. doing crap versions is just the start of modifying them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 05:40 AM

Thing is, I just can't relate to this:

"The number of clubs and the size of audiences have been literally decimated over the last twenty odd years.
You can no longer go to a club and be guaranteed that you will hear and enjoy an evening of folk songs.
Whatever you get to hear, you can no longer rely on it being of a standard that you can enjoy (deliberately so, to some arguments).
The loss of direction and the lowering of standards has led to folk music losing (what little) public respect it once had outside the clubs and the present situation more-or-less guarantees that it will never regain that respect.
This isn't evolution - rather it is deterioration to the point of disappearance"

Point-by-point it just doesn't coincide with my experience of going to clubs.

And, while some of the clubs I'm thinking of probably wouldn't fall into some people's category of folk (ie you are not *guaranteed* to hear a song from recognized traditional repertoire at all of them), even at the least "folky" of the clubs I'm thinking of, you will recognizably derived from the folk tradition. I don't wanna dig up that old traditional versus original song chestnut: suffice to say that I still think folk is a useful term. And I will continue to use it to describe music that objectively or intuitively reconnects to trad, Dad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:38 AM

Jim - I respect your position totally and have always been impressed with the quality and passion of your arguments. My main worry - if you can call it that - throughout this convoluted thread, is that it is very difficult to generalise completely on a few examples posted here. The original post described a dire situation at one club. Other commentators have chipped in with their descriptions of the goodness or badness of their local situation.

And, as usual, the whole debate has been muddied by this assertion and that assertion as to what constitutes the music - with little mention of the tunes, as opposed to the songs.

Of course the scene is evolving and changing - as it always did - but to state categorically that folk clubs are dying is to state something that can neither be proved nor disproved from one month to the next. They are simply changing, and whether they are changing for "better" or "worse" depends solely on our individual viewpoints. And, of course, the population of this forum - brilliant observers of the scene, though we may be - does not constitute a total view either.

All we can say is that, depending on where you live, on your own individual experiences, and on your personal view of what constitutes the music, the folk scene is what it is. Here's my own recent experience: I'm currently doing the rounds of local clubs and sessions giving out fliers for a Duck Baker concert I'm promoting - and doing a spot here and there. It's a mixed bag. I've been to one club recently that was, in my view, dire. A tribute evening to Buddy Holly, with piss-poor renditions of the same songs over and over again. I left after a decent interval. Every other session/club I've attended has been excellent - a good emphasis on traditional tunes and some excellent musicianship.

I was at the Royal Oak at Lewes last night, as it happens, and we had Irene Shettle and Ralph Jordan presenting an evening around the life of Lucy Broadwood, with floor singers providing quality support - Dan Quinn, Will Duke and others. Shirley Collins and Martin Wyndham-Read came along to listen, and MW-R was persuaded to sing. It was an evening of excellent musicianship (with several 'Catters in the audience and on the floor). Should I say, from these experiences that clubs are dying or flourishing? All I can say is, that they are as they are - which should not preclude us all from striving to make the quality better.

Regards,

Will


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:33 AM

With a mere handful of notable exceptions, going to a "club" nowadays is both a risk and a chore. Jim's right. the chances of 'hearing and enjoying an evening of folk songs" is as unlikely as staying in and switching on R2. Though I'd have thought that would make him as determined as I am to ditch the "F" word, so counter-productive and meaningless has it become.

Yes, you might sit with clenched teeth through an evening of dross and hear one jewel that stands out. The same applies to an open mic. There are rubbish venues called "folk clubs" and other rubbish venues which are not. Standards of performance are determined by practice, dedication, research and more practice, not by what you label the product nor how you describe the venue.

Jim's also right about the few "good clubs with dedicated performers and organisers". Those that are not (with heads firmly stuck in sand or elsewhere) are the ones that continue to tarnish and degrade the public image and put off newcomers big time.

What he's most right about, importantly is this: we believe the music to be worth it and would like to see people continue to get the enjoyment out of it that we did. To which end, I'd recommend Edward II & Mawkin Causley @ Cargo next Wednesday. A "folk club" it ain't.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 04:08 AM

"but some die-hard blow-hards would like it to, so that they can crow"
At the time of writing there are 657 hits on this thread.
From the number and the contents of those postings I would have thought it obvious that some people, me included, are not particularly impressed with the direction that the clubs have taken. Can't speak for anybody else, but personally I find the suggestion that any questioning of that direction comes from people who would like to see the clubs die to be deeply insulting and more than a little - what's the word I'm looking for - oh yes, that's it - stupid!
The 'evolving' that has taken place in the clubs is rather like watching a warm comfortable coat turn into an extremely shabby string vest.
I've seen the standard of singing plummet and I've followed arguments (with increasing incredulity) that this isn't just a fact of life, but is necessary, even desirable so as not to frighten away potential club audiences and performers. Admittedly, it has also been suggested that rescue is at hand by the 7th Cavalry in the form of guest nights (as long as you don't embarrass yourselves by rolling out the poor performers on these nights).
I've seen the material presented at clubs change from something that was folk music or identifiably based on folk music, into an indefinable mush that defies all definition.
I've seen it argued that folk music has been re-defined by countless millions who have decided somehow that the old definition is no longer relevant (though this new definition and the countless millions who have arrived at it remain an undisclosed mystery). On the strength of this re-(or non) definition I, and others working in the field of research, have been served with a notice-to-quit the term 'folk' and have had it proposed that we should look for another.
I have read arguments by folkies suggesting that an evening of folk music is 'boring' and that folk song is irrelevant. I constantly read whingeing postings claiming that the songs are 'too long' - this notably from a 'respected club organiser' who proposed a limitation on the length of songs to three minutes, thus wiping out the jewel in the crown of the folk repertoire, the ballads.
As I see it, the situation appears to be this:
The number of clubs and the size of audiences have been literally decimated over the last twenty odd years.
You can no longer go to a club and be guaranteed that you will hear and enjoy an evening of folk songs.
Whatever you get to hear, you can no longer rely on it being of a standard that you can enjoy (deliberately so, to some arguments).
The loss of direction and the lowering of standards has led to folk music losing (what little) public respect it once had outside the clubs and the present situation more-or-less guarantees that it will never regain that respect.
This isn't evolution - rather it is deterioration to the point of disappearance.
This is not to claim that there are no good clubs or no skilful and dedicated performers and organisers - of course there are; it wouldn't be worth putting finger to keyboard if there weren't. But IMO, there are far too few to make a difference at present.
I responded to this thread because the original posting rang bells and coincided with my own experience. I partook of the clips I was directed to and found music that was more akin to poorly executed pop music than folk; confirming my original impression rather than contradicting it.
So why do people find it worthwhile to question the state of things in the clubs; not for any sneaking romanticism or nostalgia for 'halcyon days' as somebody snidely suggested, nor for the smug satisfaction of being 'right'; rather because we believe the music to be worth it and would like to see people continue to get the enjoyment out of it that we did.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:50 PM

Rebelling against the bullshit standards of the music and enterainment industrries and rebelling aginst the fate society has blueprinted out for us of being passive observers. a certain hatred of orthodoxy

Can't speak for anyone else, but I get three out of three. I liked the thread where somebody said they wondered if we'd be hearing "Hallelujah" more often around the clubs now, and two or three people immediately chimed in & said we'd be hearing it less.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 01:02 PM

I think theres still a certain bit of the rebel about folk club goers. Rebelling against the bullshit standards of the music and enterainment industrries and rebelling aginst the fate society has blueprinted out for us of being passive observers. a certain hatred of orthodoxy....

would you agree?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 12:32 PM

And I do have to tell you, combined with folk clubs and moving out of home - there was a lot of it going on - so people tell me.......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 11:57 AM

I believe I do Dave. Shame.
But there ya go.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 09:47 AM

Now you know why we moved out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 09:21 AM

"Hey, I reckon there's a song in there somewhere!"

But would it be folk? :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 09:19 AM

I must have been from a different mould Al, I lived with my old mum and dad until I was 25 and got married to the first Mrs. Fenswoman. I loved the home life, good food, clean clothes ironed by mum (even my socks!), no cleaning, and all for twenty-five bob a week lodge. No appeal to me whatsoever in the idea of living on baked beans in a grotty flat, sleeping in bedclothes that you could stand up against the wall for the muck, and turning my underpants inside-out every day for a fortnight! :-) :-)

Mind you, I might have got a shag more frequently if I'd moved out earlier! Hey, I reckon there's a song in there somewhere! LOL!

All the best,
J


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:46 AM

yeh everythings changing john - you're right there. theres a lot more nice instruments around than there used to be. you can access more music easier. Those two factors alone would change everything.

people are educated differently from how we were. the dynamics of the family have changed. our generation couldn't wait to leave home - even if involved living in squallor - we rejected our parents values. most kids these days virtuaslly have to be ordered to fly the nest.

how could things stay the same?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:02 AM

Absolutely, Pip.
I don't believe anything is dying, but some die-hard blow-hards would like it to, so that they can crow "There you go, what did I tell you, everyone's out of step except me!".
Dying? Nope.
Evolving? Yup.
Good, innit?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:46 AM

maybe because "it" no longer fits into their personal (and IMHO, sometimes blinkered) view of what folk music is/should be

The "unaccompanied vocal renditions of traditional English material" scene in South Manchester is buzzing, actually. The "I've got a guitar and I've learnt some words and what is 'folk music' anyway?" scene is buzzing even more, but it's all good - there are connecting doors.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:39 AM

I've said it before (probably on this thread) and I dare say I'll say it again (ditto), but if folk clubs round here are 'dying' it's strictly in the "nobody goes there any more, it's too busy" sense.

True story, lightly edited. As the towels were going on the taps after a recent musical swarrey, the conversation among the hard core of pint-nursing traddies turned to Those Other Clubs...

"ClubOnMonday's good."
"Yes, I used to go there a lot. It's a nice setup. Very mixed, though, the kind of stuff you hear there."
"Yes, that's why I don't go to ClubOnTuesday so often."
"Really? I thought you were a regular."
"No, I go now and again. It's quite mixed, though."
"If you want mixed, you should try ClubOnThursday."
"Is it still...? I thought it had improved a bit."
"The thing with ClubOnThursday, it's so busy - you only get one number."
"And it's mostly..."
"Yeah. Some good stuff in there, though."
"Still, thank God for ClubMonthlyOne and ClubMonthlyTwo, eh?"
"And ClubFortnightly, don't forget that."
"Yes, I really must get down there some time."
"When you think about it, there's quite a lot going on, isn't there?"

[I'd like to apologise on behalf of the group to ClubOnFriday and OtherClubOnTuesday, which nobody mentioned, and which are also very good. Quite mixed, though.]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:21 AM

"Music ebbs and flows on the surface but is always there and changing, whether statutory bodies are or not."

You're spot on there, Diane, and I think that's WLD's point too. And changing is surely the operative word. I don't believe anything's dying at all, it's changing, and that's what some contributors to this thread seem unwilling, or unable, to accept - maybe because "it" no longer fits into their personal (and IMHO, sometimes blinkered) view of what folk music is/should be. There, I bravely said the F-word - please don't hit me! LOL!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:57 AM

At that point - what point?

Through the 50s and 60s, extensive field recording was taking place in Birmingham (as elsewhere) by the BBC and EFDSS. Most well-known would probably be the songs of Cecilia Costello which eventually became available commercially from Leader in the mid-70s. Ian Campbell was indeed still working in Birmingham but would shortly be in London to work on the start of breakfast television. Two of his sons were in UB40 (in fact I think three are at the moment) - a multi-racial "f*lk" band if ever I heard one), while another son David has only last year stopped being organiser at Islington Folk Club.

As for the Ian Campbell Group, Dave Swarbrick and Dave Pegg had long been in and out of Fairport and Gordon McCulloch had long departed for the Exiles. And the Boggery had been there since at least 1969. I recall Jasper Carrott sending me a pic of the back of his head for the Folk Directory (really helpful). Fine revival singers to come out of Birmingham (and thereabouts) at the end of the 60s included Chris Richards/Coe and June Tabor.

Music ebbs and flows on the surface but is always there and changing, whether statutory bodies are or not. But the EFDSS was there and had a regional office and from my recollection, were very active, especially on the dance side.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 03:35 AM

The person we dealt with as EFDSS rep unpaid was Kathy Mithcell. A stalwart as ever there was. Encouraging and helpful and with hubby John a great addition to any folk scene. However like many from the society (and I am talking early to mid sixties rather than when you are talking Al, she was from the "dance" side of things.

However there is no point there is no point in judging the society by what it did, the society seems to have learnt a lot from its past and is definitely moving forward.

But again whatever the state of folk clubs - there is tons more fgolk music around (however defined) than there ever was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 08:00 PM

the point I have repeatedly tried to make on mudcat is that folkmusic is out there - it can do no other.

At that point, it was still fairly homogenous;-

1) ian campbell was still trying to hold together his band, and the jug of punch club - although his kids had decided to go into reggae.

2) charles parker was still somewhere in the background at the grey cock.

3)the old crown digbeth was the oldest folk clubin England - they claimed

4) New kids on the block were the Boggery, the Bell and Pump, Jim McPhee and John Mitchell's various ventures. All attracting huge working class audiences.

5) all the Irish music - of which there was a hell of a lot.

It was basically all white.

If you were to start putting a view of folk music now - you would need take into account the cultural diversity of our cities - in fact our whole country.

The EfDSS weren't willing to shift its perspective then - thirty years ago. What chance now when the task is so much more confusing. I wouldn't know where to start looking. I damn sure they are still missing the motherload. Its not just a few old gypsies and agricultural workers who can tell England's story.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 07:00 PM

Yes, surely not Sybil Clark who was charming and interested in everything . . .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 06:50 PM

All depends on who you dealt with, I guess.   Not everyone was like that -


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 06:15 PM

You know this is a bit naughty. Its a very selective account of history.

During the 1970's I worked at Holt School in Birmingham. I remeber reading in folk review - Fred Woods magazine - that EFDSS had an office in the next tower block to the school in Newtown. I made a couple of phone calls and an even on one occasion visited the office and every time I was rebuffed.

Now at the time I lived and breathed folk music. i was at different folk clubs every night of the week. I ran two folk clubs. The city was teeming with folkmusic activity and I wanted the EFDSS to at least look at what we were doing.

i was told that they had no time attend folk clubs and no interest in them.

in short, they were already embarked on the disastrous course which they have now succeded in persuading so many English folk music fans in following. they were and are committed to supporting the view of various vaguely eccentric 19th century intellectuals - there is a tradition, and it has nothing to do with the living and breathing people in the next tower block.

it is arts and crafts, neo georgian, ante bellum (Ist world war), pedagoguic and paternalistic.

okay if you can walk the walk. some of us can't.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 05:27 PM

I even had a member write to me publicly in ED&S - and challenge me to reply in print - about their brilliant suggestion that EFDSS "should put out an index of folk clubs".

Admirably deleting all expletives (instead of making poor old Tony Wales do it) I sweetly pointed out that we already had one. It was called The Folk Directory.

News to him, I gather.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 05:18 PM

I second what Diane says above about the Folk Directory - a lot of people never took the tiny amount of effort it required to contact us (by phone if posting was too much hassle) and give us their info, even though club listings were free. Packie and I were gigging around at the time and I included every one I could think of.

I used to come home from festivals laden with minuscule hand-scribbled scraps of paper, often barely legible, or money for people's adverts & pre-orders, usually in coins of the smallest denomination that was still legal.

Even so, the listings weren't comprehensive, hard as we tried to make them so. Much easier now in these paperless days of email and virtual cut-&-paste instead of the scissors-and-eyestrain variety. Now that there are far fewer to deal with. What I wouldn't give to have the old multitudes back!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 04:21 PM

Why folk clubs are dying.....?

'Them as die will be the lucky ones......!'

trad. attributed to the Long John Siver Family


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 11:00 AM

You aren't comparing like with like and therefore the figures would be meaningless IMHO.

In the "glory days" when I was involved in running a club the pubs opened at 7.00 pm and there would be a queue outside for popular guests.

It held about 100. There were loads of clubs like that. Thre were two in that pub for example.

The law was different indeed as someone has pointed out - it is where the name folk club came from - you needed to be a "club". I have not been to a folk club with an attendance around 100 in years and I go to a lot of folk clubs.

What would be more meaningful would be the number of people who have atteneded folk "events" - clubs, sessions, festivals etc.

And you would find a vast expansion in numbers. (There were no sessions and apart from Sidmouth and Keele hardly any festivals in 1966.) Loads of folk clubs though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 10:39 AM

thanks ,I wish you every success your new job


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Faye Roche
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 09:22 AM

Dick Miles- you asked me for an apology some time ago and here it is: Sorry.

I was very wound up on the day that I made my original post and got a bit heated. If you did not respect this music you would not be here.

There are singers who show no respect for either the music, their audiences and themselves, and it was they who got me going.

Sorry that the apology has been so long in coming- I've just moved house and started a new job so have not had time to visit here.

BTW, to answer another question, the guest Faye Roche was me, but I was using someone else's computer and could not log on for some reason.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 08:43 AM

I used to compile the Folk Directory in the early 70s and Bonnie Shaljean did it after me. All they consisted of were listings of those who bothered to reply and verify their entry. I also travelled about (as I'm sure Bonnie did too) and added some that way but, nevertheless, the published version was far from an accurate record of what was actually occurring on the ground. You just need to glance at Mrs Casey's much more recent Direct Roots to see how quickly it's gone out of date.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: BB
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 05:51 AM

Probably be able to get a fair idea from old Folk Directories, which I assume EFDSS have kept, but it hasn't been put out for quite a long time now, so it wouldn't be easy to find the information in more recent years.

Barbara


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 05:50 AM

I do have quite a bit of data on this Ian, but it's not academic, just collated to help me find gigs. I used to spend huge amounts of time researching - I had to - but I stopped last spring, when I decided to retire (I had enough info to see me through the last year or so). So my data is already out of date, though I do update when I can (eg the London clubs above) for future reference.

folkWISE (with whom I'm now no longer involved, again because of my imminent departure) has a very good database, but it's not available to the public, and in fact I've never seen it because I didn't need to (my own database is comprehensive and designed to suit my personal working methods).

I have in fact presented my estimates on the trends re numbers and types of clubs from 8-9 years ago (when I started) to today, plus opinions gathered from longer-serving pro friends about longer term trends, here on Mudcat. But for unknown reasons this triggered unexpected unpleasantness from certain quarters, so I'd rather not do so again.

I do think an expert independent survey and report (to which I'd be happy to contribute) on Folk Clubs is now overdue, and do suggest this in my Living Tradition article. With luck it would be accepted by all 'sides' and would form a basis for future plans at all levels - as the Folk Festival report did for festivals

Tom

PS Living Tradition 82 has been put on hold, for various complex reasons, so the article will not appear until March.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 09:43 PM

The EFDSS - don't mess with the mafia.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 08:51 PM

One question before this interesting thread expires - has anyone got any figures for how many clubs there are now comparede with 1year ago? 5years? 10? 15? 20?

Any info about hundreds of clubs in an area once upon a time but where there is now a folk desert?

There's plenty of folk activity in Sussex (English South Coast - the stretch directly below London ) but Surrey (on the South West border of London) is relatively dead as I understand it - with thriving clubs in Byfleet and Staines but not a lot more?

Can EFDSS give us some data? Has anyone done a study for their Uni work?

Ian Fyvie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 5 June 1:07 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.