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Why folk clubs are dying

Backwoodsman 22 Dec 08 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 22 Dec 08 - 09:10 AM
TheSnail 22 Dec 08 - 06:03 AM
Faye Roche 22 Dec 08 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 22 Dec 08 - 05:19 AM
Indrani Ananda 21 Dec 08 - 08:39 PM
Melissa 21 Dec 08 - 06:17 PM
Melissa 21 Dec 08 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,Avatara 21 Dec 08 - 05:21 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 08 - 05:07 PM
Waddon Pete 21 Dec 08 - 05:02 PM
VirginiaTam 21 Dec 08 - 03:27 PM
Ian Fyvie 21 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM
Spleen Cringe 21 Dec 08 - 03:03 PM
Spleen Cringe 21 Dec 08 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Dec 08 - 02:57 PM
The Villan 21 Dec 08 - 02:46 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 08 - 02:04 PM
GUEST 21 Dec 08 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Dec 08 - 09:56 AM
Ian Fyvie 21 Dec 08 - 09:25 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Dec 08 - 08:41 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 08 - 07:51 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM
GUEST 21 Dec 08 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 21 Dec 08 - 06:15 AM
greg stephens 21 Dec 08 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss (wearily) 21 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 08 - 04:17 AM
romany man 21 Dec 08 - 03:32 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Dec 08 - 06:25 PM
Acorn4 20 Dec 08 - 05:53 PM
Spleen Cringe 20 Dec 08 - 04:57 PM
The Borchester Echo 20 Dec 08 - 03:23 PM
Stringsinger 20 Dec 08 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 Dec 08 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 Dec 08 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Avatara 20 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Indrani Ananda 20 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM
Ian Fyvie 20 Dec 08 - 11:04 AM
Acorn4 20 Dec 08 - 10:19 AM
TheSnail 20 Dec 08 - 06:35 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM
Sooz 20 Dec 08 - 05:47 AM
evansakes 20 Dec 08 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,TB 20 Dec 08 - 04:45 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 20 Dec 08 - 04:43 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 Dec 08 - 04:16 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Dec 08 - 09:55 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 08 - 08:56 PM
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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 11:59 AM

I think the prospective paying customers would rather do without tables than be told they couldn't attend because tables were taking up space that their chairs could occupy.

And more attendees means you can keep the price of a ticket down.

It's not Rocket Science.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 09:10 AM

We discussed the layout of the room, and I mentioned that we liked to put tables out and that our max audience would be just over 60.
Vin being a man of business and knowing his trade, just said "If you look down on the floor, over one third of the room will be taken up with tables, when they could be taken up with audience, who you may well have turned away"
I went away thinking about that. From that day, we work on the basis of "if the audience looks as though its going over the 70 mark, then we do not put tables out."

Making the extra cash while you can is fine, but folks may well feel the ambience of the venue is compromised by the absence of tables. One of our local clubs looks about to bite the dust after many successful years, and the demise is more than partly due to the practice of putting high profile guests on in a larger venue and setting out the room like a classroom from the 1950's.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 06:03 AM

Faye Roche

In reply to those who said that I should try running my own club, it hoped that it would be clear that I was not slagging off club organisers, who work hard and invest their own money in getting clube going and keeping them running.

In your original post you said -

FFS- why can't club organisers impose some kind of quality control; ban crap singers from appearing again, or at least only invite known good singers on guest nights?

I answered that question in my post of 15 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Faye Roche
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:22 AM

Must be quick today- loads to do. I don't have time to read all the posts since my last, so sorry if I've overlooked anyone.

Apologies also to those whom I upset by shouting in my original post- I was well p*ssed off at the time. Won't do it again.

In reply to those who said that I should try running my own club, it hoped that it would be clear that I was not slagging off club organisers, who work hard and invest their own money in getting clube going and keeping them running.

Neither was I angry with singers who try hard but are less than perfect. The amateur nature of the club scene is part of its makeup and one expects to hear a mix of abilities.

My ire was directed against those who get up to sing without having bothered to learn or rehearse the song first. It seems from an earlier post that there is at least one club where people cram in to hear crap singing by people who can't be arsed, but this is the sort of thing that sends the good singers and discerning audiences away. It is, really; as I said earlier, the standard of singing in most clubs levels out- it's either mostly good or mostly awful. Yes, the good clubs thrive, but the bad ones are an insult to those who run them as well as those who pay their money to be entertained. (Sorry- there's the e-word again.)

If I ran a club I'd have a sign on the door; underneath the ones about not entering when someone's singing and turning off your mobile I'd have one that said: "Out of respect for the audience and club organisers, please rehearse your material before performing." If that caused a few crappos to slink away muttering about fascist dictatorships, that would be fine by me. Those of us who stayed would enjoy some good music.

Happy Christmas all.

BTW I'm not Faye Rochelle.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 05:19 AM

In the days when I was a regular floor singer, I never had any problems with being asked to give up my slot because "Johnny Famous" has turned up. If a visitor to the area turns up, and particularly if they are known performers, it would be madness to turn them away. I'll be back next week, the visitor won't, so by all means give them a spot.

The clubs which I do have difficulty with are those which seem to be run as an ego-trip by the organisers, who fill up the evening with themselves and their cronies and never give anyone else a chance.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Indrani Ananda
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:39 PM

There's one sort of club Tom Bliss apparently has not discovered - the kind where long supporting "low status" floor singers have to grovel to the organisers in hopeful attempts to bypass the cronies, (aforementioned).

                        Some of us have played in pubs and such like round here for nearly 25 years now, so we're well practised; but with the exception of three clubs, we're not welcome at any of the rest. Consequently after all this time, still no-one's heard of us. we've neither the time nor the money to organise a 'big name' folk concert just so that we can sing three songs to some sort of audience.

                        When I say 'low status' I do not mean this in a derogatory way - I mean unsigned and unsung (if you'll pardon the pun) players who are just as good as a lot of well-hyped singers, but still unknown. These are the ones who are competent, but they are used as seat fodder when guests get a poor turnout, and are only welcome when the organiser's chums fail to materialise.

                         Now how many more are there out there like this? We need more new names in festivals instead of the return of the same old names year after year stealing all the spots. Are they trying to save on printing posters, or what?

                         Variety is the spice of folk - fat chance the way things are here! And I've heard from friends who have gone to live elsewhere in the land - it's just the same where they are.

                           Indrani.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:17 PM

(sorry for being off-topic)


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Melissa
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:17 PM

Waddon Pete,
This Folk stuff doesn't happen where I live. Our Music doesn't fit the category and I've been a little bit folk-curious for several years. It seemed to me that it might be something I'd fit in and like. I had been watching around for a chance to give it a whirl.

I was looking for something else when I ran across Mudcat but stayed around to read/learn...and now I would rather bite out my own eyes than put myself in a Folk situation.
Mudcat is my only experience with a group of folkies and having read these threads has put me off entirely.

The nit-picking, sneering, mean-spirited comments here are NOT good advertising. This site pops up in online searches. Strangers come here and look around..some of them are surely curious enough to go ahead and browse the threads while they're here. I'm certain plenty of people have gotten their impression of folkies here.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Avatara
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:21 PM

SpleenCringe is curious, is he - what kind of fantasy games does he think I play in folk clubs? By "slick-Dick" electronica I meant the mind-numbing pop cacophony blasting out from every shop, pub, club and even dentists and doctors' surgeries,   (in some instances!)

                                 People's brains are being addled beyond all hope by this awful din,
i.e. they are being/have been conditioned to crave this noise wherever they go. If they should happen to hear a folk song with a lovely melody, meaningful lyrics, simple guitar playing and a civilized voice singing it, their bass-pounded skulls can't cope with it. So,
comments of "not cool; too laid back; dirgey; wot's this crap?" are forthcoming.

                                 I don't know what the remedy is. It's a sad fact that hearts and minds are being blanked out at an alarming rate by all this button-pressing electronica; by the
X-Factor, or by young people obsessed with singing pop-covers at open mic sessions. Folk singing is being eclipsed by this, and clubs are being decimated because there are not enough of us left either to carry on the tradition or to appreciate those who do.

                                 I've just had a thought! Maybe if we could persuade the managers of supermarkets to play folk music while we shop in there instead of the horrid catawauling scramble of pop we're forced to endure, we might feel less aggressive when we come out!

                                 Just a suggestion,

                                                            AVATARA


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:07 PM

aR! It's those pagan rituals. One catches the lurgy, they all catch the lurgy!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:02 PM

Just a small, last post from me on this subject ad its related threads.

I wonder how many people we drive away from Mudcat by......nah...let's not go there!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 03:27 PM

VT was spectacular on a couple of songs, I have to say

Thank you Richard... err if you really are Richard Bridge (some of us are wondering). That is high praise. Wonder if CAMRA will knock up some posters and coasters with your? pic and the caption... "have you seen this folkie?"

The young one carrying around the guitar did finally play Saturday night. I was gobsmacked. She has only been playing for a week. Ask Steve May? for a report. Amazing for only one week playing. I hope she does not give it up. I think she was there with her parents who were all that showed from the sadly flu infected Wolfshead and Vixen Morris Side.

I echo RB's opinion. If this weekend at the Good Intent is any indication, folk clubs are definitely not dying.

Same goes for the two I attend in and near Chelmsford. Both growing exponetially in membership, though a bit on the aged side.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM

Croneyism - the biggest killer of Folk Clubs (Guest/Pay Clubs) of all time? (re: Indrani 20 Dec).

It's only lightly touched upon - too close to home perhaps for a lot of orgamizers?

It amounts to an elite running things in their own exclusive and perpetuating image. It may work. There may be enough Punters (or their booking policy is effective) - that they pull in enough siimilar people who actually like a good middle class chortle.

The damage is done through those who's faces didn't fit. They may have tried Folk, concluded it was just a bunch of MCWs and joined the anti-folk brigade; purely through a bad experiece - or run of them.

Damage is also done through those quite happy with the Club as Punters, but observe the unfair treatment dished out to floorsingers who have been waiting for their promised spot most of the evening - to find a Chum of the Organizers (Johnny Famous - staying in town a few days with his dead grandmother) waltz in and get that instant spot ("Darling!", "Darling!". Sorry Floorsinger - can't fit you in.")

Yes the club sustains as long as its booking poilicy produces - but the Punter nevertheless talkes down the club from other angles.

Perhaps the successful croney club developed into the local festival....??

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 03:03 PM

Yikes! Wrong thread...


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:59 PM

I really don't understand where this certainty comes from that there's a whole cohort of people out there who want to destroy village greens. I've googled it and can't find any evidence to back the myth up...

Even my little bit of Urban Northern has got one. Right next to where we have our traditional music singaround. People sit on it is summer and drink beer and play music and even juggle. Morris dancers have been spotted on occasion. Can I say that bit again? It's urban. It's northern ... and here it is


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for that Richard. I'd got a totally different impression from your earlier posts, as you may have gathered. (And I hadn't realised you were visiting a festival this weekend - very different kettle of fish in my experience).

Yes Les - Vin talks a lot of sense. Touring with him in the early days gave my the game plan that I've stuck with ever since and has allowed be to survive and thrive this far. Re tables - I do a similar thing in village halls, and always wait until the night to see how many tickets have been pre-sold before deciding if it's rows or tables.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Villan
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:46 PM

Just to add water to the fire.

If it is a singaround folk club, then everybody is entitled to participate. Good or Bad.

If you put a performer on (guest) at a singaround club and charge an entrance fee, I think you owe it to the paying audience to put on the best quality you can. To put somebody on who is poor quality is only going to alieanate people who have paid to see the guest. they have an expectation and they don't want to listen to somebody who obviously cannot sing or play an instrument reasonably well. OK you would not expect them to have the stagecraft that a Guest is expected to have.

I went to Gainsborough Folk Club last week to see Hannah James & Sam Sweeney as guest, in what would normally be a singaround folk club. I knew who the 2 support acts were going to be and they would grace any folk club. They got it right. They made the complete evening a great pleasure. Unless you didn't like the style of music, you would have been very hard pushed to make any criticism.

I have been to other guest nights at other singaround folk clubs and wishing I wasn't there, becuase the support spots were pretty poor and soured my experience, to the point that I was finding it hard to enjoy the main guest. That is definately not good practice.

I think I can say the following without making this performer seeming full of their own importance. This man speaks words of wisdom and twice I have changed my approach to putting on Main Guests, becuase of his wise words of experience and my reflection on what he said.
He puts things in a very simple way.

I will mention his name becuase wherever he goes, he sells out. Vin Garbutt.

It was about 4 years ago I tried to book Vin for what is now known as Faldingworth Live. This was about a year before he became very ill.
I told him that I planned to put a support act on and was that OK. he said "People will be coming to see me, not the support act". At the time, I thought "You big headed bugger". However I went away and thought about it and realised that he was right. People who pay good money to see a main Guest are coming primarily to see that act. Anyway he became ill and the gig didn't go ahead.

Finally I managed to book him for Jan 17 2009. This time I asked if it would be alright to put a 30 minute floorspot on a what I considered good quality that would enhance the evening. I sent a song for him to listen to of the act. he approved it.
We discussed the layout of the room, and I mentioned that we liked to put tables out and that our max audience would be just over 60.
Vin being a man of business and knowing his trade, just said "If you look down on the floor, over one third of the room will be taken up with tables, when they could be taken up with audience, who you may well have turned away"
I went away thinking about that. From that day, we work on the basis of "if the audience looks as though its going over the 70 mark, then we do not put tables out."

All I can say is if you want to succeed, have a listen to what Vin says. He talks sense and by god he is right.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:04 PM

The GI was not quite as good today - but not bad. VT was spectacular on a couple of songs, I have to say. There were maybe three real "tingle moments" today alone. Over the two days - there were a number of babies and toddlers seen - some of who seemed surprisingly interested, probably three under 20 present (maybe one was a little over) (none performed but one had guitar, declined invitation to have a go) probably no other under 40, four or five a little under or about 40, most of the rest 50 to 60 and a few who had reached the age of discretion. Over Sweeps festival one can expect up to 20 or 25 around 20s up to 30s in the room as well as us old farts, but it is vertical matchstick packing.


When I have been involved in running folk clubs (ie "clubs") if I have my way then if there are "floor singers" it's anyone who wants to sing goes on the list and if that takes it down to one song each without shortening the guest's slots so be it. I don't think I've ever been unable to get everyone on but if that were the situation I'd say "first come, first served" - but would entrench those I knew had come a particularly long way. I have been known to apply compere's privilege if someone I particularly want to hear turns up, but not regularly. By and large I don't put on people I prefer to hear and bump those I don't want to hear.

If on the other hand it is "booked guest, booked (even if unpaid) support" then there are no "floor spots" so the above rules do not apply.

As far as singarounds go, joining in is (I say) the norm (but I did donate some filthy looks today to a bodhran playen who had not spotted that a particular song was "free" (or as our leader says, in the time signature of "one") and a guitarist who thought that an unaccompanied song was in "B" when it was "Bb". I wasn't the chair of the song, but both stopped. Floor singers I'd expect to need to make it clear if they did NOT want joining in


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 01:53 PM

"...folk clubs are dying" - thank folk I manage to get to the other folk clubs then!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 09:56 AM

Hi Richard,

I've never told people they should not use the word folk for the 56 def. I have merely asked them please not to be nasty about others for using it differently. I've have also suggested that if they could substitute the word trad then the problem would largely evaporate.

If we could reclaim 'folk' for the 56 that would also solve the problem, and maybe we can. But I think it's easier for 'folkies' to go with the flow here, than try to mount a worl-wide PR campaign to people who are not really interested anyway.

I did read your linked post. I know a lot of those folks and I'm sure it was a grand night. But what was the average age of the group? Those of us who are concerned for the long term health of the club movement take this as a primary marker. And was it partially a gig with a main act and a door charge? This is the type of event where people have identified the potential problems being discussed in this thread.

"I still say that it is not my place (or yours) to stop another singing or playing"

I'm with you in spirit Richard, but you haven't answered my question. I do hope you will, because I think your view has much validity (I'm 100% with you in theory), but I'm unclear how it pans out in practice. I assume you'd not suggest that you or I should be allowed to turn up with our guitars at a U2 gig or Royal Philharmonic concert and insist we be allowed to perform. Equally obviously everyone must be allowed to make music in his own home. But in the folk world we have a sliding scale between the two extremes, and club organisers up and down the land struggle (we've seen posts here expressing their difficulties) to know where and how to draw a line.

As someone with passionate views who's not afraid to express them I think your advice on this could be very useful. So I'll repeat:
_____________________________________

You say no-one should be debarred from performing.

I'm curious to know how far you think that should go, because you've not said.

Does it only apply if the word folk is used in the title of the event?

I think you're saying that at a free/cheap-entry folk singaround or folk singers club everyone should be free to have a go, and therefore JIm and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering. (If so you seem to be in a majority here anyway).

I think you're also saying that at any gathering labelled as a folk club, even when there is a booked guest and a door charge, everyone should have a turn that wants one, regardless of ability - because it's a folk club (is that right?). So policies such as booked supports, MC-led quality control or no-cribs rules are morally wrong. Is that right?

Are you also saying that folk concerts should not exist, because there's no participation in the mix? If so, would that apply to Arts Centres, or only to events that had the word folk in the title, namely festivals and clubs? How about places that are included in the folk listings, but avoid the word folk in their titles and use words like 'acoustic' or 'roots' or 'live' instead? Should there be unfettered participation offered in all of these?

I'm not having a go, I've just seen nothing from you apart from a very genuine championing of freedom of expression, and I'd like to know how far you would take it.

_________________________________________________________________

I once worked with a film editor who genuinely thought the word was 'hang bag' - and why not?!

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 09:25 AM

Tom - I'm winding back to before your recent marathon posting to answer a brief point or two:

*I'm not connected with the Fyvie folk club in any shape of form - i't's my real name!

*Re: your gig at Stonehaven - never been to a Club in Scotland but I heard complimentary comments from Rab about his local Stonehaven Club when Rab visited one of our singarounds several times during 2008. If he's at your gig - my regards!

*I will certainly look at your website when I get a chance. I don't intend to sleight any individual in what I post: so nothing personal when I'm criticising aspects of the Folk Scene that you may recognise. Despite differences in this thread it's obvious everyone (almost everyone perhaps...) is contributing because they care.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 08:41 AM

Isn't ambag the folk process, Richard:-D


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 07:51 AM

PS I will continue to heap opprobrium on those who learned to say "'ambag" in stead of "handbag" at their mother's knee too.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM

I don't see why it is wrong to be right just because others are wrong.

If anti-racist campaigners can reclaim the word "black" and seek to reclaim the word "nigger" and if anti-homophobia campaigners can seek to reclaim the word "queer" I really don't see why those with an interest in folk music and song (and arts, etc) cannot seek to reclaim the word "folk". It's nothing like such a tainted brand as those others once were.

And I still say that it is not my place (or yours) to stop another singing or playing - but right now I'm off to the Good Intent (as linked to above) in the hopes it will be as good as yesterday. I'll probably do two or three contemporary songs (the protest songs we all used to know and love seem to have a new piquancy at present, and anent reclaiming the word "queer" one of the contemporary songs sung yesterday was the very fine "The Gipsy Boy and I") and four or five traditional (or -ish).

Folk music is dead? My Royle family!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:16 AM

sorry 56


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:15 AM

Touché Greg. Yes, it IS being eroded - hence my comment about trenches and the Grammys.

But at least there is still a sort of consensus on trad (though there are conflicting definitions even here).

Most here seem to think 54 folk is a lost cause. I wish there was a better solution. Maybe we'll find one, but trying to cram the genie back into the bottle ain't it. Nor is heaping opprobrium on younger people who learned the Wikipedia definition at their Mother's knees.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 06:05 AM

Tom Bliss, you are making life very complicated for yourself. Your suggestion that the old fogeys should retreat from the outer walls of "folk" and hid in the inner keep of "traditional" makes a sort of sense, but you blow it all by saying, apropos of the word "traditional":
"Yes. That's precisely why we use it. Because unlike 'folk' it's not been eroded. Yet."

Now, maybe I've got a longer memory than you Tom, but I remember well a couple of years back you were definitely a powerful member of the anti-Smoothops brigade, because of the classification of Seth Lakeman's White Hare as a "traditional folk song". And if that isn't an erosion of the word traditional, I don't know what is. The trouble with giving up your frontline and making a tactical retreat is that your new front line can become very shortly just like the old one: breached. Or, as Kipling put it in another way, once you have payed them the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss (wearily)
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 05:53 AM

I'm sorry I'm don't know how to do bold and italic etc here so I'll put * by my replies.

"First: There's really no point in debating this with you Jim because it's obvious that your mind is closed". // Bit of arrogance here Tom - neither of us have given ground on our original stance - doesn't this indicate that if one mind is closed, both are?

* Fair point. Apologies for my arrogance. I was frustrated that this thread had reverted to the old debate and been taken off track by it.

"But I - and most artists, promoters, journalists etc who don't want only to converse with the converted"

* Not arrogance. A turn of phrase intended to suggest the outward-facing stance of those who seek to draw in new converts.

Funny word, 'academic', often used as an insult.

* Not intended as such.

However, the suggestion that it is 'academic to continue to use the term 'folk' in the way that is is used by the researchers, writers and collectors is pretty nonsensical (if a bit of an improvement on your earlier suggestion of 'a thing of the past).

* I meant that it's not a problem for those who wish to use that word in that way to do so (I've never said it was). It's only a problem when they attack innocent parties for using it, correctly, to mean the new definition.

"It also lies fully within the new popular definition, so there is no problem for those who know what they are talking about".

* See above.

So you know what you're talking about - but the rest of us (academics included) don't? - hmmm!)

* That's not what I said. Read my sentence again. The people who 'know what they are talking about' ARE the academics etc.

Perhaps you might be able to tell us who gave us this new "popular definition" - is it still the countless millions you originally cited or is it the "'Grammy' - or maybe 'Young Folk Awards'"

* It arrived slowly by media coverage and popular usage over 40 years, and is accepted in most online dictionaries (I've not bought a paper one for decades).

Wikipedia has: Folk music can have a number of different meanings, including:
        •        Traditional music: The original meaning of the term "folk music" was synonymous with the term "Traditional music", also often including World Music and Roots music; the term "Traditional music" was given its more specific meaning to distinguish it from the other definitions that "Folk music" is now considered to encompass.
        •        Folk music can also describe a particular kind of popular music which is based on traditional music. In contemporary times, this kind of folk music is often performed by professional musicians. Related genres include Folk rock and Progressive folk music.
        •        In American culture, folk music refers to the American folk music revival, music exemplified by such musicians as Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, and Joan Baez, who popularized and encouraged the lyrical style in the 1950s and 1960s.

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

"(Lord, how many times will I have to type these words)?"
Probably about as many times as I have to repeat; THERE IS NO POPULAR DEFINITION OUTSIDE THE GREENHOUSE ENVIRONMENT OF THE FOLK WORLD, at least not a commonly agreed one.

* Err, see above.

Throughout the time I have been involved with the music I have made a point of discussing it with workmates, family members, drinking companions, whoever.... whenever the opportunity has arisen. For me, your appeal for a survey has always been an essential part of what I do. The over-riding impression I am left with is one of total confusion, general ignorance and above all indifference.

* Have you spent much time around teenagers in a city like Leeds lately?

Where opinions have been offered they have ranged from the Sharp songs taught in schools, the Clancys, Dubliners, Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor and The Spinners of the folk boom and Dylan (before he moved to the fresh fields and pastures new of the Pop world). It seems to me that all of these have far more of a foothold in 'folk' than your arbitrary application of the term to the the singer-songwriters who owe nothing whatever to real folk.

* It is not MY arbitrary application. It is many people's and it's not actually an application. It's an inclusion, along with all those you list, their ilk, and a lot of other stuff. And they're not being included WITHIN the old definition. The tin remains undiluted. The word from the tin has merely been stuck on the larder door.

If you are basing your claim on folk on "common parlance", I'm afraid you are building your house on sand.

* Err, ok. Let's meet in 100 years and see if it's still standing.

" most of us have replaced the academic word 'folk' with the word 'traditional.'"
Is not 'traditional' an 'academically conceived term?

* Yes. That's precisely why we use it. Because unlike 'folk' it's not been eroded. Yet.

"Second: I'm not sure that it's up to me to resolve the "copyright/public domain dilemma"
Didn't suggest it was up to you - Just think that you need to be aware of the financial burden you are imposing on the folk scene by your presenting your self written (and copyrighted - so it can never belong to 'the folk') material to folk clubs, thereby, as I said, opening the door to the PRS jackals.

* Fair enough. I'm sorry you see it that way. I hadn't realised that's what you felt - it does explain a lot. But don't worry, only 6 months to go then I'm a reformed character.

Maybe there is not much that an individual can do, apart from accepting responsibility.

* In that case, I do.

Putting the onus on us is rather like demanding that we wipe up your mess.

* I'm not sure I did that, I didn't mean to. But if you tell me where you keep the mop I'll take care of it at once.

Didn't understand your last point about standards and best practice, though, but then again, a good deal of what YOU say confuses ME.

* I have explained this before, Jim. As a board member of folkWISE I feel I have accepted a responsibility to help protect and develop opportunities for 'folk' musicians in the UK (but without damaging anything else in the process). That means making what contribution I can to debates around topics which impact on potential work for 'folk' musicians. But I also care about this music very much for itself, and, as an individual, would champion many of the values that you hold dear. There are some massive contradictions around, and I'd like to see more consensus and less conflict - which will require debate and open minds. I want to see a healthy 'folk' scene, at all levels, and believe that it operates as a kind of ecosystem, which requires all levels and species within it to be healthy for the system to flourish. Not many working musicians with a national remit feel able to engage publicly about things like fees and floor singers. I don't enjoy it, and frequently scare myself witless, but I believe passionately that our experience and knowledge needs to be in the mix along with that of experts like your good self, because I see some terrifying misconceptions around the very concept of the trade musician, which need to be redressed for the sanity of all. I'm also concerned that we may be about to loose a vital cog in the current system. Not soon, but within the next 15 years - with a major impact on the whole shebang, including the parts you care about. I have therefore spent a fair amount of time talking to people, setting up talking shops and writing, in a specific effort to seek out what works for people up and down the land - so we can maybe share those ideas (or 'best practice') for the potential good of all. That effort is the sole reason I engage in discussions like this. If you want to see one of the results of it, go here (I've posted links to it many many times, as have others - have you seen it?). See also my forthcoming article in Living Tradition.

(end of my bit)

I understand your own standards to be double ones

* I can't think why. I do try to avoid them, but no-one's perfect.

- "Jim and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering."

* Err, actually would you retract that, please, Jim? That's a deliberate misquote. I asked Richard to confirm that he was "saying that at a free/cheap-entry folk singaround or folk singers club everyone should be free to have a go, and therefore JIm and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering. (If so you seem to be in a majority here anyway)." I very carefully did not voice an opinion myself.

I have always believed that standards should apply equally to both guest and residents evenings; otherwise, you have a series of concerts and not a club and you are guilty of passing on shoddy goods to your regulars - always been the principle of the clubs I've been involved with I'm proud to say.

* I don't understand this part, but never mind. You don't like people like me playing in folk clubs, fair enough. I shall desist on the 17th of July at Gainsborough. Can you hold your breath till then?

Sorry to everyone else - but I hope you'll all agree that I did need to address this one.

Tom Bliss


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 04:17 AM

Tom
"First: There's really no point in debating this with you Jim because it's obvious that your mind is closed". "But I - and most artists, promoters, journalists etc who don't want only to converse with the converted"
Bit of arrogance here Tom - neither of us have given ground on our original stance - doesn't this indicate that if one mind is closed, both are?
"academic...."
Funny word, 'academic', often used as an insult. For me, as a non-academic, it has always implied somebody who is prepared to lift the corner to see what's underneath - not sufficient in itself, but certainly has made an enormous contribution to my understanding of the music - (Bert Lloyd, Cecil Sharp, Francis Child, Vic Gammon, Bob Thomson, Hugh Shields, Hamish Henderson.....). Most of the 'academics' I know have risen through the ranks and have just as much, if not more experience as I have as singers and club organisers.
However, the suggestion that it is 'academic to continue to use the term 'folk' in the way that is is used by the researchers, writers and collectors is pretty nonsensical (if a bit of an improvement on your earlier suggestion of 'a thing of the past).
"It also lies fully within the new popular definition, so there is no problem for those who know what they are talking about".
So you know what you're talking about - but the rest of us (academics included) don't? - hmmm!)
Perhaps you might be able to tell us who gave us this new "popular definition" - is it still the countless millions you originally cited or is it the "'Grammy' - or maybe 'Young Folk Awards'"
"(Lord, how many times will I have to type these words)?"
Probably about as many times as I have to repeat; THERE IS NO POPULAR DEFINITION OUTSIDE THE GREENHOUSE ENVIRONMENT OF THE FOLK WORLD, at least not a commonly agreed one.
Throughout the time I have been involved with the music I have made a point of discussing it with workmates, family members, drinking companions, whoever.... whenever the opportunity has arisen. For me, your appeal for a survey has always been an essential part of what I do. The over-riding impression I am left with is one of total confusion, general ignorance and above all indifference. Where opinions have been offered they have ranged from the Sharp songs taught in schools, the Clancys, Dubliners, Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor and The Spinners of the folk boom and Dylan (before he moved to the fresh fields and pastures new of the Pop world). It seems to me that all of these have far more of a foothold in 'folk' than your arbitrary application of the term to the the singer-songwriters who owe nothing whatever to real folk.
If you are basing your claim on folk on "common parlance", I'm afraid you are building your house on sand.
" most of us have replaced the academic word 'folk' with the word 'traditional.'"
Is not 'traditional' an 'academically conceived term?
"Second: I'm not sure that it's up to me to resolve the "copyright/public domain dilemma"
Didn't suggest it was up to you - Just think that you need to be aware of the financial burden you are imposing on the folk scene by your presenting your self written (and copyrighted - so it can never belong to 'the folk') material to folk clubs, thereby, as I said, opening the door to the PRS jackals. Maybe there is not much that an individual can do, apart from accepting responsibility. Putting the onus on us is rather like demanding that we wipe up your mess.
Didn't understand your last point about standards and best practice, though, but then again, a good deal of what YOU say confuses ME.
I understand your own standards to be double ones - "Jim and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering."
I have always believed that standards should apply equally to both guest and residents evenings; otherwise, you have a series of concerts and not a club and you are guilty of passing on shoddy goods to your regulars - always been the principle of the clubs I've been involved with I'm proud to say.
"Goodnight from Leeds."
And good morning from Miltown Malbay
Jim Carroll   




Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: romany man
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 03:32 AM

at the end of the day and cutting all the pompous sanctimonious crap on this thread, face it, the general public is not harming folk, most love it, as the festivals etc show, ie broadstairs, witby and others. folkies are killing it . face it.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:25 PM

I have today concluded that the music is not dying.

See my very recent post here


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:53 PM

I think a lot of the problem is caused by people of (holding my hand up here!)my generation, who, when their careers are winding down, decide to relive their youth or even live a youth that never actually existed. Instead of wrapping ourselves around a tree on a powerful motorbike, we take the safer route of becoming "born again folkies" - although some of us can be actually quite good, it leads to a glut of "menopausal men with expensive guitars".

Young intense singer/songwriters tend to get discouraged relatively quickly if they are not up to scratch and only the good determined ones can survive the slings and arrows. A glut of bland mediocre performances of Neil Young songs, or self penned numbers which are derivative and cliche ridden, can have a more stultifying effect than a bad singer, who at least gives a performance with character.

Too many of this kind of performance of this kind can be a bit of a turn -off for the uncommitted neutral.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:57 PM

"slick-Dick" electronica

Not entirely sure what a slick Dick is (or even if it's safe to try to find out), but hey! Sign me up... I'll try anything, me.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 03:23 PM

A somewhat more sustainable sort of venue with some connection to reality is that run on village halls lines, whether or not in an actual building constructed for this purpose. From Dingles in Central London in the early 70s to Ryburn 3-Step in West Yorkshire today (there are others but I'm not intending to make lists but merely point to examples), "the community" has been drawn into dance, song and tunes as relatively normal activities.

Those artists who embark on village hall tours in rural areas encounter the real deal: actual ordinary people going out to the one place of entertainment in their vicinity. If these artists are lucky there's not a "f*lkie" in sight but an audience open-minded, curious and interested in where they can see and hear more of often multimedia productions that the average stick-in-the-mud "f*lk club organiser" balks at and won't book.

This, in conjunction with the ceilidh circuit, is popular culture and of infinitely greater relevance than gangs of old blokes huddled in some pub back room, probably with "Private Keep Out" on the door. I've really no idea if such places exist or if Stringsinger made it up or if he hasn't a clue what actually happens in England, but for chrissake, what's the bleedin' point of that scenario?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 01:34 PM

The fact that folk music in UK clubs is not part of the popular culture doesn't concern me
because I think that the future of folk music is in communities that support it, not in it's efficacy in general show business. The popular culture suffers from a kind of one-size-fits-all and a traditional orientation in folk singing is a pleasant departure.

Listening to traditional singers require developing a kind of ear for it. It requires slowing down the attention span to appreciate the value of a narrative story-song with merits such
as specific images, references to past times, and a chanting style that conveys this hypnotically through a serviceable and sometimes plain melody. Vocal ornaments also
adorn this style in the manner of the Irish Sean Nos (old style).

There are some instances in which this approach can be very stage-worthy by performers
who have a sense of theater (not in the sense of Las Vegas) but have a commanding
presence that can convey this type of performance. I think that when a smaller group of
people hear this type of performance, they rally to it and encourage it.

I don't think folk clubs in this sense will really die. They may become smaller groups
but still a focal point for this type of performance.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 01:09 PM

PS Sorry about the advert(s), but there's nothing worse than people potentially getting the wrong idea of what you do from someone else's post!


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:41 PM

Have you seen me play Ian? Or maybe visited my website? If so you may only know about some of what I do - which varies a lot according to circumstance.

There is usually some humour - but I'm certainly not a comedian (except when specifically asked to try to be). I don't think my shows have any more humour than most other touring types, there's usually as many tears and thought-provokers as guffaws. And a fair bit of background (which is universally popular), not to hide tuning (though they do provide time to get the metal to relax when necessary) but because they're a key part of the stories. I also do gigs that are mainly trad (specially when I'm with Tom - that can be 90% trad including 50% tunes). If you've visited my site don't confuse the Village Hall show (Tales of Time and Tide) with what I do in clubs - that's a specific show designed for a different market. I go to sessions and singarounds too by the way.

Does your moniker mean you're involved with the Fyvie club? If so - come to Stonehaven on June 19 and you'll see what I mean.

If we're categosising clubs I'd have four:

1) Concert club (no participation, selected supports, maybe a committee but few members)

2) Guest club A (Guest artists with selected supports - usually singers nights on other occasions).

3) Guest club B (Guest artists with floors spots - frequent singers nights which are club's primary activity)

4) Singers club (No guests).

There are more, but most would fall into those four. I separate them because there are key differences in terms of prognosis. There seems to be a trend for the 3s to become 4s, and that may have know-on effects for 1 2 and 4, but the reasons are complex.

Tom

Richard, are you there?


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Avatara
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM

Scroll back to somewhere around th 14th, and you will read a paragraph in which
Gervase has slagged off train spotters as "a socially inept kind of hobby," or such like.
Well, maybe the proverbial nail has been hit on the head here. It seems that some kinds of
activities are held in contempt by society - e.g. Ufology, Sci-fi conventions, Morris dancing,
yes, and even going to Church! Sadly, I have found that Folk music is too.

                   Maybe this is why clubs founder. We can't compete with all the "slick-Dick"
electronica that passes for music in every nook and cranny we pass. Tell someone you sing
folk music - and watch their dead-pan expression!

                   Sorry, but I write this from experience.

                                                                            AVATARA


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Indrani Ananda
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM

Hi,Folkies, I am from another planet - the name is Originality; where I write my own songs. The rest of my repertoire is traditional.
            
             How does one define what is "good", "dire", "mediocre", or just played out hackneyed rubbish? It's a subjective thing. I've lost count of the number of times I've
played in clubs and been told to "liven it up a bit" after singing a song like The Dowie Dens
of Yarrow; yet if I bash and bellow in a raucous way it is seen to "go down well!" Go down well is what they like.
   
             The fistfulls of bluesey notes cascading from the Gibsons of overhyped guests at
most clubs are enough to put even the most competent floor singer off after they see how
the audience is primed into that kind of mood. If I go to a club I want to do my own thing
along with like-minded people with a genuine interest in real folk music - not be expected
to entertain punters conditioned by Radio 2. There's too much entertainment and not enough culture in most clubs - hence those tone-lowering piss artists so favoured by the
organisers.

             All clubs have organisers, but too many organisers have cronies. Indeed, many
are the times I've been to folk clubs, well rehearsed and waiting to go on, only to be
confronted by the "can't fit you in" syndrome which occurs when the cliquey friends of the
organisers turn up and are put straight on at the expense of floor singers who were there
early. That's not a warm welcome, is it.

             I seem to have perpetrated an overlap of two threads here - folk club manners and dying clubs - could one be causing the other by any chance?

             Indrani.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 11:04 AM

Tom - we're stuck with a thread which includes the words 'Folk Clubs' and 'dying'.

Despite welcome qualifications on what is meant by 'folk club' here, i'ts good to remind contributors who may have dropped in after only a brief look at what's gone before (It's a Long Thread now!) that there are various sorts of club.   As you infer, Singers' Clubs are not vulnerable in the same way as concert clubs during this time of slashed incomes and surging unemployment. Much of what's being said has, indeed, less weight in the Singers' Club context. Nevertheless many contibutors are taking the Thread title to mean all Folk Clubs and much of what is being said does relate to all Folk.

Because of the terminology problem above I've always tried to use different terms for the Concert Club and the Singers' Club. The problem is that the thread title here does not.

On your own style - if you have support and a full gig list for a comedy + folk type performance, if that's what you do - fine. But it's not my cup of tea - I prefer songs at a folk club rather than a comedy show with songs combined. I've seen too much of that.

And..... I'll add here I am easily bored by amazing musicianship for the sake of it (ie. it's used as the virtue of the performer rather than as the tool to convey folk songs). I see an here an advantage of a Singers' Club/Song Club - you don't generally get the flash musicians ego tripping with their microsecond fingers. The top quality musicians who come along are also mature artists who are with us to entain with folksong rather than Wow us with technical skill.   

I must add here the last guests we booked; for they match my expectation of folk club performers perfectly.

They went from one song to the next very professionally with a brief but nevertheless interesting introduction. They put a lot of skill and energy into their performance and they obviously enjoyed every song they sang. They were almost totally vocal: no tiresome tuning as a background to a comedy routine; and they had intellgent, original arrangements of both traditional and newer "Folk genre" songs. Perhaps more artists like our recent guests and less folk comedians might help stop Concert/guest clubs dying!

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 10:19 AM

There's also the point that floor spots don't only have a duty to keep the audience engaged, but also have a function as a warm-up for the guest slot. Most guests appreciate a good warm-up rather than having to dig things out of a trough.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:35 AM

While I am grateful for the kind words that have been said about the workshops we have been running at the Lewes Arms (and will be running at the Elephant and Castle) I must make it clear that these are not aimed at the poor performers who (allegedly) are driving audiences away from the folk clubs. There are far too few of them to make it a viable market and it would be a waste of a professional performers time.

I would not want our potential customers to think that our workshops are full of people who can't sing in tune, tune their instruments or learn their words. The standard of the participants generally varies from competent to brilliant. Even the best want to get better.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 06:12 AM

Interesting posts from two very different clubs who in my opinion both get it bang on, but with quite different solutions.

Sue's club in Gainsborough, maybe because of where it is, and its history (never underestimate the history of a club in projecting its future), works very well indeed with the standard FC format. I'm not bullshitting here, it's honestly one of the very best in the land. But that hasn't happened by accident. They've done some very clever things like providing cushions for everyone (that is SUCH an important problem solved), but mostly the success is down to Sue and Mike (and the other's) personalities and fighting spirit. Sue said (was it here or in one of the other threads, Sue) that they did have a problem getting people to turn out on guest nights, and solved it by having half and half nights so the regulars could sample the standard of guest that Sue was presenting. They soon came to trust that judgement (a factor seemingly missing at many clubs) and now they come for everyone even if they've not done a half and half, and even though Sue does ration the supports. (That correct Sue)? With great singers nights too (and very generous fees found though sound commercial practice which are, yes frequently topped up - thanks darling mwah) Result all round.

Likewise Gerry's club has a fantastic model - that model being flexibility. Again, I think location is a factor. Twickenham is basically London, with all the competition that implies. The normal FC model is less unlikely to be so successful there, so, as Gerry has explained they run almost every different kind of night at Twickenham, matching the method to the level of the guest. But with a good sprinkle of bigger names, a nice large room, with stage and backdrop etc (and comfy chairs I think!) - I'd put TwickFolk further towards the concert end of the spectrum than Gainsborough, and as such yes, Gerry I'd tend to take it that way myself if you feel the clubby element is not working so well in Town (can't remember all the spotters when i came, but one woman was stunning IIRC)!

That said, TwickFolk is a brilliant name and you've been building a good brand there. I can't think of anything better right now, so no I wouldn't change it unless i could think of something equally snappy, that still told everyone what you do.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Sooz
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:47 AM

Last night we had Hannah James and Sam Sweeney as our guests. They were absolutely superb and supported by two carefully chosen floor spots so that they could have a fair whack of the time. We could perhaps have squeezed half a dozen more people in (sadly a few of our regulars are struggling with really serious illness) but it would have been tight.
We did have a raffle, well supported with ticket buyers and prize donors and it was a good laugh - not a laughing stock. The takings help us to pay the artists what they ask for every time we have a guest. As we are a club and charge a low entry fee to members, those who can well afford it buy more tickets. It works for us.
I do worry that artists do not always ask for a sensible fee and we have been known to add a top up at the end of the evening!
We are a folk club and you get what it says on the tin, with a warm and friendly atmosphere to go with it.
I wouldn't want it any other way.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: evansakes
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:36 AM

Tom asked

"How about places that are included in the folk listings, but avoid the word folk in their titles and use words like 'acoustic' or 'roots' or 'live' instead?"

In many ways it saddens me to say this, Tom, but after reading many of the postings in this thread (and other similar ones) I'm fast coming to the conclusion that the only way forward for small venues who like to put on quality professional acts, charge accordingly and assert quality control of the 'opening acts' is to completely drop both the words 'folk' and 'club' from the name.

At our place we've already long since stopped actively using the word "club" anyway. It might be still there in the website but that'll most likely change soon. The main catalyst for this was so many people phoning and emailing asking if the events were exclusively restricted to members only. We decided the best way to avoid any confusion (and potential lost audience) was to ditch it. Round the same time we also ditched the raffle which had become a farce and laughing stock anyway. So Twickenham Folk Club became TwickFolk...

Now, after reading all this squabbling and pontificating over ownership of the F word I think the only way to move forward while maintaining a degree of self-respect is to disassociate ourselves completely from any connection with the formal 'folk' scene. As we've seen the word itself carries a huge ammount of emotive and negative baggage in the minds of many people who have had bad experiences attending folk clubs and wouldn't dream of asking their friends to go with them.

Is this an over-reaction? Is there another way? As an articulate and reasonable man, Tom, I'd value your honest opinion on this...

Thanks, Gerry


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,TB
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:45 AM

Sorry - missed that bit at the bottom, ignore.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:43 AM

Richard, can I just clarify something?

You say no-one should be debarred from performing.

I'm curious to know how far you think that should go, because you've not said.

Does it only apply if the word folk is used in the title of the event?

I think you're saying that at a free/cheap-entry folk singaround or folk singers club everyone should be free to have a go, and therefore JIm and others are wrong to seek to apply any kind of quality threshold in this type of gathering. (If so you seem to be in a majority here anyway).

I think you're also saying that at any gathering labelled as a folk club, even when there is a booked guest and a door charge, everyone should have a turn that wants one, regardless of ability - because it's a folk club (is that right?). So policies such as booked supports, MC-led quality control or no-cribs rules are morally wrong. Is that right?

Are you also saying that folk concerts should not exist, because there's no participation in the mix? If so, would that apply to Arts Centres, or only to events that had the word folk in the title, namely festivals and clubs? How about places that are included in the folk listings, but avoid the word folk in their titles and use words like 'acoustic' or 'roots' or 'live' instead? Should there be unfettered participation offered in all of these?

I'm not having a go, I've just seen nothing from you apart from a very genuine championing of freedom of expression, and I'd like to know how far you would take it.

Thanks

Tom


Would you actually seek to enforce that at Concert Clubs (i.e. do away with


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:16 AM

I fully believe that I would be prevented from participating in a concert that people have paid £5 each to watch. Yet I am striving to be better. Those people that are preventing me from performing are absolute bastards aren't they? I have the right to sing whenever and wherever I want! I am glad you support that view Richard. You are a lawyer aren't you? Will you represent me when I am up before the magistrate on civil disturbance charges?:-P

DeG


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 09:55 PM

The alleged "singer/songwriter" sang a song by "The Kings of Leon". We must infer that he was then more singer than songwriter. Was it then a "cover", a "version" or an "arrangment"?

99/change hands.

There is a difference between saying that we should all strive, in every day, in every way, to become better and better, and saying that those who don't should be prevented from participating.


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Subject: RE: Why folk clubs are dying
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:56 PM

Diane Easby,the audience were supporting the singer,who was struggling,that suggests interaction,a spirit of camaraderie and friendliness,which to me indicates people enjoying themselves.
when people are not enjoying themselves,they often sit pofacedly,not making contact with others.,not interacting with other people.


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