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Why folk clubs are dying

The Sandman 15 Dec 08 - 05:13 PM
Desert Dancer 15 Dec 08 - 05:20 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 05:23 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 05:40 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 05:42 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM
Banjiman 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 05:48 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 06:06 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Dec 08 - 06:08 PM
Stringsinger 15 Dec 08 - 06:13 PM
Gervase 15 Dec 08 - 06:15 PM
TheSnail 15 Dec 08 - 06:31 PM
The Borchester Echo 15 Dec 08 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 15 Dec 08 - 06:39 PM
The Sandman 15 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 15 Dec 08 - 07:05 PM
greg stephens 15 Dec 08 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Ancient Briton 15 Dec 08 - 07:43 PM
Herga Kitty 15 Dec 08 - 07:46 PM
fumblefingers 15 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Dec 08 - 03:42 AM
Andy Jackson 16 Dec 08 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Dec 08 - 03:54 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 08 - 03:55 AM
Folkiedave 16 Dec 08 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 16 Dec 08 - 04:23 AM
goatfell 16 Dec 08 - 04:29 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Dec 08 - 04:42 AM
evansakes 16 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,redmax 16 Dec 08 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM
folkwaller 16 Dec 08 - 06:14 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Dec 08 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,arran 16 Dec 08 - 07:02 AM
The Villan 16 Dec 08 - 07:03 AM
folkwaller 16 Dec 08 - 07:52 AM
Banjiman 16 Dec 08 - 08:02 AM
Acorn4 16 Dec 08 - 08:04 AM
The Villan 16 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM
Ruth Archer 16 Dec 08 - 08:27 AM
Vin2 16 Dec 08 - 09:01 AM
Folkiedave 16 Dec 08 - 09:04 AM
TheSnail 16 Dec 08 - 09:55 AM
Musket 16 Dec 08 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Dec 08 - 10:56 AM
Terry McDonald 16 Dec 08 - 10:57 AM
Leadfingers 16 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM
Leadfingers 16 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM
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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:13 PM

Nick ,I have not changed sides,I believe performers should rehearse before performing in public.
I am pretty tolerant towards other performers,there are only a few floor singers that I thought were so bad they shouldnt have been allowed on.
the secret is for the club to be run well,by that I mean the mc exercises some skill,by knowing who his better performers are,and after a weak performer puts on a better one*
this is the problem,if clubs allow large numbers of extremely bad singers,[tone deaf,unable to hold a key],without offering workshops,the singers will not improve,the club will suffer,and the music will suffer,in as much as it will not be an enticement to listeners because the standard is awful.
if I was running a club,I would allow singers providing their instruments were in tune,they could hold a key for the length of a song,that is a pretty low standard,I do not expect amateurs to be as good as professionals.
I prefer if they didnt use word sheets,particularly on guest nights,a goal for new singers to aim towards,to try and work hard to memorise one song for a guest night,its not asking much is it?
if they dont want to do this then they dont sing on a guest night,people pay more money on guest nights,so its not unreasonable to expect a better standard..
From: Captain Birdseye - PM
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 02:10 PM

But, is Faye, comparing like with like,was she paid to perform her competent pop crap?if she was,she is comparing herself to Amateurs who play/sing for the craic/fun.
ok, so there was an admission charge,but there was presumably a guest /guest band,were they not worth the admission charge,were they incompetent?or were they not to her taste?
how much was the charge?
The strength of the folkscene has always been that it is a place where perfomers learn their trade/
Barbara Dickson,Paul Simon,Long John Baldry,Bob Dylan,Roy Harper all learnt the art of performing on the folk club circuit.
NICK,I dont see where I have contradicted myself.
I do believe there should be standards,my standards are probably more tolerant than some others on this thread,but I do believe that if there are only a few bad singers and there are also good ones thats ok.
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.
organisers , have to use discretion,folk clubs are the learning ground for novice performers,the organiser has to be able to spot people with potential who are likely to improve,and encourage them,he /she also has to note that maybe a mediocre performer,may go down well with the majority of the members because they are popular people,even if the newcomers [faye and friends] dont like the performance.,the whole shebang is a minefield,does the organiser indulge his members who support him every week,or the disenchanted newcomer.
I think he should allow a few of the not so competent regulars on a guest night,providing he has good singers to intersperse,but make it clear that on a guest night no one has a god given right to perform,but are welcome on a singers night,if there are not many good singers on the guest night,have fewer singers.
I have in the past seen ridiculous situations,where the mc has put the guest on so late,because he thought he had to accomodate floor singers ,that people have had to leave to catch last buses and trains,and the guest has had to play to a reduced audience


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:20 PM

Faye sure put the cat among the pigeons -- then took off, never to return...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:23 PM

Mr Snail, I can only conclude that you live inside that parallel universe I mentioned earlier. I have visited many folk clubs. A few are are excellent, many leave something to be desired, and some are simply dire. I do suggest you leave that little bubble of wondrousness in Sussex and walk around a bit.
If you do, I can only infer that you are a pretty undemanding sort of chap with Van Gogh's ear for music.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:40 PM

Captain Birdseye

if clubs allow large numbers of extremely bad singers

WHAAAAT?

Gervase

I have visited many folk clubs. A few are are excellent, many leave something to be desired, and some are simply dire.

So go to the good ones.

I do suggest you leave that little bubble of wondrousness in Sussex

Why? It's nice hear.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:42 PM

So go to the good ones.
I'm buggered if I'm going to give up an evening and drive maybe 50 miles on the off chance of finding a good club!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM

Gervase

I'm buggered if I'm going to give up an evening and drive maybe 50 miles on the off chance of finding a good club!

Move to Sussex.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:47 PM

I'm with Jim, Diane and The Villain on this....... if you are advertising a folk club as professional entertainment and charging people to get in they should get professional standard entertainment.



A singaround or session is a completely different thing....fun but different. Never the twain shall meet......if we want to attract a new "audience" for folk music anyway.

We've taken to having a session/ singaround AFTER the main acts at KFFC. This means on the occaisions that we have had none clubbies in they see the "professional" entertainment (usually a headline act + a good quality support) first and we can explain what happens next..... the audience has had its moneysworth and can decide for themselves if they want to stay for the informal stuff or go home.....

Seems to be working OK.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 05:48 PM

Move to Sussex
You couldn't afford me!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:04 PM

Banjiman

if you are advertising a folk club as professional entertainment

We aren't, we're advertising a folk club which, for as long as I can remember, has meant a mixture of floorspots and a booked guest (who may or may not be a professional).

Seems to be working OK.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:06 PM

Gervase

You couldn't afford me!

I wasn't offering you a booking.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:08 PM

Please VT - don't elevate me to any sort of guru. I just believe that folk music is important and deserves to be researched and replayed and re-arranged and enjoyed - and that we should all do it as well as we can, trying to do better, keeping life in who we are and where we come from. That does not include stopping other people from doing it.

I am deeply saddened to see one who does deserve to be a guru (at least in terms of research and scholarship) want to shut people out.

I am not surprised to see some others pour acid. They do little else.

As to the rest of you - the bulk of you - I remind you of the prayer of the Pharisee. "I thank thee Lord that I am not as others". Get over yourselves. AFAIK Martin Carthy can always find something nice or encouraging to say. 99.99% (or more) of you are not as good as he is. That includes some of you who seem to think you are. Wake up. Smell the coffee. You aren't. What qualifies you to judge others?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Stringsinger
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:13 PM

Jim Carrol,

I think the answer is two-fold. Education is the first one. People who are not exposed to
traditional folk music need to have it explained to them. The environment has to be right.

Point two, the best environment is not in a coffee house but in a small living room type
gathering where there is intimacy and NO sound system. A sound system is antithetical
to the experience of folk music. When it is introduced, then it becomes a "performance" and not representative of how folk music has traditionally been transmitted. There is nothing
wrong with this, but it is different than the atmosphere necessary to communicate folk music.

The audience must be intimately part of the experience.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:15 PM

Sorry Brian, I'm afraid that went right over your head.
Anyway, I'm certainly not good enough to warrant a booking, or possibly even a floorspot at your club.
The thing is, you don't have to be a very good musician or singer to know when someone else isn't very good. If I'm going to pay money, I want to see people at least make an effort to be half-decent, and I don't want to pay to support some sort of care-in-the-community hobby convention. I can go to singarounds and sessions for that, and even join in!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:31 PM

Gervase

I'm afraid that went right over your head.

I may not have been paying a lot of attention.

If I'm going to pay money, I want to see people at least make an effort to be half-decent,

Move to Sussex.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:33 PM

Exactly what Gervase said. I'm not nearly as good as Martin Carthy or lots of others for that matter. I realised that a very long time ago and I'm far too lazy to practice much and so it's been a long time since since I got up and did something in public and the gaps are becoming longer. But just because I'm not doing much performing these days does not mean I'm not qualified to know what's good and what's crap. Quite the reverse, actually, having watched and listened intently for so long and in so many places. Alongside writing, managing and promoting I think I can managed to separate wheat from chaff. Now that I've just heard that Davy Graham has left this planet I think I'll just weep into a soundhole while playing to remind myself why I gave up.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:39 PM

There is no reason why a club organiser cannot say nice or encouraging things to a would-be performer while at the same time letting them know that they need to improve to deserve a floor spot on a guest night at the club.

I'm not saying that the floor spots on a guest night need to be of professional standard, and I agree that anyone going to a folk club needs to understand how the format works, and that it may be a bit different from anything else they've experienced. But it's not unreasonable to expect that the floorsingers should reach a certain level of competence. Singers nights are a different matter.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:41 PM

What qualifies you to judge others?[quote Richard Bridge].
nothing, its called subjectivity,it cannot be avoided.
while we may admit certain performers are competent,liking/disliking others[ie making judgements]is often subjective,there are some professional performers who are very competent,but they do nothing for me,thats making a judgement.
the folk club organiser,has every right to decide who he books[thats making ajudgement]and also who he puts on to do a floor spot[thats making a judgement]because he finances the club,he is ultimately responsible for paying the guest.
[As to the rest of you - the bulk of you - I remind you of the prayer of the Pharisee. "I thank thee Lord that I am not as others". Get over yourselves. AFAIK Martin Carthy can always find something nice or encouraging to say. 99.99% (or more) of you are not as good as he is. That includes some of you who seem to think you are. Wake up. Smell the coffee. You aren't. What qualifies you to judge others?]quote Richard Bridge.
sorry, mate, you have just made a judgement yourself.
but thats ok,Richard Bridge is allowed to make judgements, we are not.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:05 PM

I don't think anyone, not even Jim Carroll, is saying that someone should not be allowed to sing at all (although I can think of one or two...)

What I am saying is that there is a time and a place. There are the situations VirginiaTam writes about, where everyone is very friendly and supportive, and the fact that the singers aren't very good, or very talented, or very confident is overlooked. Believe me, I'm not knocking these clubs, they are an important part of what folk music is about. But there is another side, where people visit a folk club expecting to hear good music. If you want to get up and perform in that environment, then you should have a certain amount of ability.

They are different sides of the same coin, but they are different. The problem with some folk clubs is that too many people want to carry the attitude of the first sort of club into the environment of the second sort. It's this which results in floor singers thinking they have a God-given right to perform, and organisers thinking they have to get through all the floor spots before they can put on the guest who people have paid good money to see. It's this which results in the situation the OP complained of, where someone who's gone to listen to good music has to sit through a load of crap.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:18 PM

I sense (as usual) that this thread is a bit of a troll wind-up situation. Faye Roche, the instigator and keeper-going, is a professional folk singer apparently, acording to herself. A litle more information please?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Ancient Briton
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:43 PM

I always thought that most folk clubs were comfort zones where music came second to folk, but I would be sad to see them go as they offer an accessible platform for new talent to perform in a programmed entertainment in front of a wholly attentive audience - something not possible at a session.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:46 PM

Lewes is amazing, because it's not a very big town and it has 2 folk clubs, but it's benefited from a long heritage of local singers and musicians (eg the Copper family). One reason folk clubs are dying is because the rooms they met in are being turned into restaurants, (including the Lewes Arms).

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: fumblefingers
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:56 PM

Leadfingers: "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 !!"

Terry,
I read every word and agree with everything you said. Most people, even rednecks like me, are too polite to tell someone they ought to hock the guitar and take up hog calling.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:42 AM

I can't believe people still don't get it.

The judgment that is impermissible is denying people the liberty to play/sing.

Tell me I'm crap if you want to.

Don't say I'm not allowed to play/sing.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:44 AM

Your Crap, and you're on next. Oh can you do four, the artist hasn't turned up.

Cheers mate,

Andy


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:54 AM

Richard, I can't believe that you don't get it.

A folk club which puts on guests is, like it or not, a commercial enterprise. Someone, an individual or small group of people, is risking their own money to hire a room, advertise it, and pay a guest. In most cases they do so not in the hope of making a profit but because they love the music.

What gives you the right to demand that they let you sing?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:55 AM

I find all this discussion on how to improve the clubs extremely encouraging - but I do wish we could lose this 'two-tier system' mentality
The punter deserving of your best evenings is the one who drags him/herself out in the pissing rain when there ISN'T a guest on - that's when a club becomes a club (and not a concert) and that, as far as I'm concerned, is where the future of the music lies.
I have NEVER at any time advocated excluding anybody from performing; I simply ask that they have enough respect for me (the audience), their fellow performers, the music and themselves to put in enough work beforehand so as not to send me home embarrassed on their behalf. If they are not prepared to do that they have taken the decision to exclude themselves - just as they would have done in any other public-performance based activity.
Virginia - perhaps you might explain why I should have to to be patient and tolerate of bad singing when it lies well within the abilities of most people to become good ones - or don't you believe that to be the case?
By turning clubs into places where people go to practice you are in fact putting the music into the hands of concert organisers - shame on you.
Ruth;
The Critics were working just on their own singing - they never advocated or suggested anything for other singers or clubs (a weakness as far as I'm concerned), but they did pass on as many ideas and experiences to anybody who showed an interest. I set up a workshop in Manchester on the basis of recordings of Critics Group meetings and I know there were others who were assisted to do the same.
In the end, all this boils down to whether you consider the music worth putting in the time and effort to perform it well - some people do, many don't, and some people obviously don't even like it and consider it outdated and irrelevant and use the term 'folk' as a cultural dustbin to bung whatever their own flavour-of-the- month might be. To this latter group - I do wish they'd go away and practice their George Michael/Amy Winehouse impressions and leave the rest of us to get on with it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:16 AM

Richard - you are allowed to play and sing as much as you like.

But once in a club I do not have the right not to listen. So I would want the standard to be reasonable - in tune and words remembered and preferably not a crib sheet.

The perfect floor singer would take regard of what has just gone before and thus would want a decent repertoire.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:23 AM

A club which has a good average standard of singing can probably accommodate one or two poorer singers. The clubs I started going to in the 1960s were all like that. It's when you get a whole evening of mediocrity or worse that it gets depressing. Furthermore, when those singers are being congratulated and applauded simply for getting up, they won't feel any need to improve, and won't have any standard to aim for.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: goatfell
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:29 AM

I love it when these people come up to me and tell me that it wrong to have the words to a song in front of me, and then they go up and make a pigs arse of the song/tune, and i'm the one that did all right. and the ones that don't believe in using a song sheet, make an arse of the song by forgetting the words or the tune, and yet I'm the one in the wrong. I mean you have orchestras that have music stands and yet people don't mind that and they get paid for playing music, and opera singers as well sometimes have song sheets along with choirs, then why can't we.

People the object to this are prudes, and think that they are better than the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:42 AM

"People the object to this are prudes, and think that they are better than the rest of us."
No we're not - we just think you are better than that - and so is the music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: evansakes
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:12 AM

I organise a (reasonably) successful club and having trawled through most of the above would just like to acknowledge some excellent contributions above from Howard Jones. As far as I'm concerned his analysis is spot on (especially in his posting of 15th Dec at 7-05pm)

The only thing I'd like to add is that it doesn't have to be seen in such black and white terms (ie singers night vs guest night). There can be many shades of grey between two different extremes. At TwickFolk we like to put on many different types of night and no-one who wants to perform is ever excluded from doing so.

At our place these various forms can include (and in the last few months HAVE included) all of these levels below

a. a very basic and totally informal 'singaround' where anything goes (and cribsheets aren't frowned on),

b. a 'singers night' without amplification...again informal but you have a 10 minute slot of your own to "perform"

c. a singers night WITH amplification....a small but not insignificant step-up for inexperienced performers who suddenly have to confront how to operate with a microphone. Entry level performers might struggle to get onstage on these nights.

d. a low-key guest night (by talented club resident or other locally based act) which may not be very well attended. Usually 3 or 4 floor spots in total (sometimes in cluding one or two beteen the guest sets) but only poing to performers of known abilities

e. a medium guest night featuring a nationally known up-and-comer with professionally made CDs/merchandise and where an average/good attendance is expected. Usually floor spots are pre-arranged and by invitation only.

f. a well-known, well-established, highly respected guest who get their music released on established labels, reviewed in the magazines and played on the radio. Floor spots DEFINITELY invitation only and of high standard.

g. a semi-legendary artist who's won a few awards and gets booked at the top festivals. Here floor spots are replaced by a booked support of good standard and who will be paid (doing one 25-30 minute set). Sometimes the support will come from people who headline in categories 'd' or 'e' above.

h. a bona fide legend who is known worldwide and who headlines the best festivals and wins all the top awards (including Grammy etc). Tickets cost £15 or more and the paid support is sometimes a well know professional too. Occasionally on these nights there won't even be any kind of support spot (especially if the artist wants to (and merits) performing for two hours plus.

They simply have to be realistic and self-aware enough to know on what type of evening they will get their chance. If they aren't aware of the level at which they're capable of performing they to be gently told (and perhaps occasionally bluntly so if they get above their station). Performing at everything above entry level is not a right...it's a privilege.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:15 AM

I speak only from limited experience, but when go to local clubs and singarounds I'm almost always the youngest person there, and I'm no youth at 38. I've found the standard of singing to be fairly poor overall, forgetting words seems to be the norm rather than the exception, but the spirit is usually positive and friendly. It's the singers who only seem to know 3 or 4 songs that put me off, they sing the same bloody songs week in week out.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:18 AM

Wise words Gerry - as ever. Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: folkwaller
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 06:14 AM

Some excellent points in this threadand and here are a couple of mine. How many folk club organisers go out of their way to attract young performers eg making the local college/upper school aware of the existance of the folk club and taking folk music into these establishments. Not all youngsters can get to clubs held in the evenings, for many reasons, especially in rural locations. As for forgetting words, some of the most famous international folk singers have stumbled when performing at our club in Bury St Edmunds, it is their experience that enables them to overcome their mind blank. Floor singers can only aquire this experience by performing and learning to cover their mistakes. Lets have some tollerance.

This Friday, 19th, in Bury St Edmunds I am starting an afternoon folk drop in session in a cafe. This will be available for players and listeners alike and is aimed at youngsters, the unemployed, mums with babies et al. I may even play myself, mistakes and all.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 06:43 AM

"How many folk club organisers go out of their way to attract young performers eg making the local college/upper school aware of the existance of the folk club and taking folk music into these establishments. Not all youngsters can get to clubs held in the evenings, for many reasons"

And for most folk club organisers, who do this as a hobby rather than as a career (and who are probably managing day jobs as well), this would be a lovely idea if only they had the time and the resources to do it.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,arran
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 07:02 AM

I total agree with Goatfell, because these people are prudes and the do think that they are better than people like me and goatfell.

but their heads are so far up their their own backside that they can't see or realize what they are I just wish that they would just leave people like me and goatfell, and as they say memeory is short is it.
they tend to forget that they must practise as well with songbooks/songsheets, but myself and goatfell and people are the same as us can't.

they still think that they are better than us.

and there are they are just the same as us but a frightend to show that there are leraners the same as me and goatfell


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 07:03 AM

I phoned up our local school to see if they might be interested in having the Demon Barber road show at their school working with some of the pupils for a week with a show for the school and a show in the evening, If I got a grant.

Their comment was something like this "You will be lucky to get approval for one day"

So that was it. Why should I waste my time, when it was obvious they weren't interested.

Good point from Ruth.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: folkwaller
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 07:52 AM

First, the Demon Barber RoadShow is the most fantastic outfit and I am certain that if the person who showed no interest from your phone call was given a complimentary ticket to see them they would have a change of mind. I am assuming it was only that one person who was not interested.
I am fully aware that time is precious but one phone call seems to me a little lacking in commitment. How about approaching the education authority or going to the school in person.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Banjiman
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 08:02 AM

Audience at last KFFC night:

0-10 yrs 2
11-20 yrs 2
21-30 2
31-40 3
41-50 7
51-60 4
60 + 4

Not the best attended night we've ever had (2nd worst actually!) but fairly representative from an age point of view........ I don't call that dying!

Under 16s free, we've also organised for touring artists to run workshops in the village school. They really liked Jeff Warner!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 08:04 AM

I think it may well be that it is not the fact that the school is not interested, but that everything is so high octane these days due to innumerable pressure - with a primary school, the time in May after SATs are finished could well be the best time to approach the scholl as the Year Six are in no-man's land a bit before they go on to secondary.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 08:17 AM

It was a secondary modern school and I was talking to a key player/decision maker of the school


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 08:27 AM

Paul: well done.

When we started the Demon Barbers project in Loughborough, I invited all of the schools in the LEA to a meeting. 9 schools turned up; all 9 got some sort of folk activity in their school, and several got more than one bite of the cherry in the first year of funding.

But I wasn't running a folk club; I was the programmer at a subsidised arts venue, and did this as part of my day job. It's much easier to do this stuff when you're gretting paid to.

In terms of getting schools interested, there are a few ways in - Extended Schools and after-school activity is one, and you may find there's funding for it in your area. Avoid times of year or year groups who may be in preparation for SATS, etc; Acorn4's suggestions here are good, unless you're in an area where year 6 does the 11-plus(as they do where I live). You just need to be aware of these things. Overall, I find that the schools who are interested will be VERY interested, and will offer you the cooperation and support you need. Focus on them.

By the way, part of my (relatively new) freelance portfolio is being the outreach coordinator for the Demon Barbers. So hopefully we'll continue to be able to bring them into schools in many places.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Vin2
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 09:01 AM

This debate, interesting tho it is, will go on for ever. Nowt wrong wi that tho.

I have some sympathy with your mates in a way Faye, with their first encounter of a folk club.

Remember someone once saying that the first time you go fishing, if you don't catch a wopper and instead catch nowt (especially if it's raining) you probably won't go agin.

I'm 57 and have bin to all kinds of gigs (even saw Hendrix in Manchester on the same bill as the Floyd and Nice) but usually when i've bin to folk club night where there's a booked guest on, the organiser will start off with a couple of 'residents' who they know to be quite good and leave poeple, like meself, for the singarounds which i think is probably fair. A lot of now famous acts on the scene started at 'singarounds'.

I really feel that a first 'bad' experience shouldn't stop em going agin tho; maybe try a few different clubs. They're not all the same.

At the end of the day, i think it's about taste and tolerance.

Went to the 'Frost & Fire' Waterson/Carthy gig in Bury last week and as experienced as they are they still fluffed a couple of things, got a bit out of sync with each other at times and used reminder sheets on music stands but the evening was still fantastic !!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 09:04 AM

I saw the result of the Demon Barbers project at Gate to Southwell Festival. All those young people on the stage, parents were gobsmacked.

Dave - who once booked a steelpan band for a folk festival. But then I am a purist.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 09:55 AM

Folkiedave

The perfect floor singer would take regard of what has just gone before and thus would want a decent repertoire.

The BBC Radio 2 Perfect Floor Singer Award. Now there's an idea.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Musket
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 10:22 AM

So, there you have it in a nutshell.

Folk clubs are dying because the average age keeps tabs with the calendar, as I said above.

HOWEVER, I did then pose the question that if that is so, why do we have the likes of Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy, Spiers & Bowden etc? Surely something must be right?

So the thread continues mentioning Long John Baldry, Bob Dylan, Barbara Dickson.... No wonder younger people feel they are intruding on other's nostalgia. The above were long past folk clubs as a career move when I started going as a teenager in the late '70s.

(Our local bits included Barbara Dickson used to play here. See him over there? He refused Paul Simon a gig in 1964 etc etc etc etc.)

I love folk clubs for the inclusive and spontaneous singers nights, for the platform they provide for emerging talent still awaiting that big contract in mainstream circles, for the many mates over the years; but please don't expect me to actually enjoy a sandalled weirdbeard sticking his finger in his ear, crooning through every key known and then some, about the hardships of being a Norfolk reed cutter.

Mind you, I will applause politely, make a mental note to have an empty glass ready the next time he gets up and tell all the others at the bar why I still have an infinite capacity for turning up.

I watch football, but don't expect the manager to throw me a shirt, (although this season....) but folk clubs aren't like that. I never saw them as a spectator sport. Far more inclusive than that.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 10:56 AM

"why do we have the likes of Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy, Spiers & Bowden etc? Surely something must be right?"

These oft-mentioned 'Young Tiurks' did get a start in the clubs - when they were more numerous and healier than they are today, along with some other very talented youngsters. The J's do still do clubs, but not Kate and seldom I think Eliza. Certainly none of them could sustain a living worth having if they relied too much on club work.

There are usually some younger artists working the clubs - usually with a bit of media backing generated by one award or some other achievement, but you may notice that not many of them do so, exclusively, for long. Because there is not enough work available. A few do manage to heft up the ladder to the theatre circuit, a majority go back to the day job and merely do occasional gigs and trips - and festivals, of course.

There are almost no new 'older youngsters' entering the job - for reasons I could write a book about.

The end result is that there are very few new people becoming career club performers - developing the skills and profile that only full commitment to the circuit can generate. (There are quite a few new retired performers, but that's a different thing again, involving a different type of commitment and different implications for the industry).

So the average age of the full-time guests is keeping tabs with the calendar too.

You can plot the long term projections for yourselves.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 10:57 AM

I've just recorded a CD entitled 'The Secret Diary of a Floor Singer' - perhaps I should start lobbying the BBC now for them to consider me as one of the nominees for this new award!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM

The Clubs are dying in the same way that WE are all dying !


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:42 AM

And 200


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