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Folk awards FoI request denied

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EmmaHartley 12 Dec 11 - 08:47 AM
Silas 12 Dec 11 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Shining Wit 12 Dec 11 - 09:08 AM
Silas 12 Dec 11 - 09:25 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Dec 11 - 09:48 AM
Silas 12 Dec 11 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 12 Dec 11 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,999 12 Dec 11 - 10:09 AM
Silas 12 Dec 11 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,999 12 Dec 11 - 10:36 AM
Silas 12 Dec 11 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,999 12 Dec 11 - 10:57 AM
Morris-ey 12 Dec 11 - 11:58 AM
Jack Campin 12 Dec 11 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Shining Wit 12 Dec 11 - 12:12 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Dec 11 - 01:17 PM
Vic Smith 12 Dec 11 - 01:51 PM
Vic Smith 12 Dec 11 - 02:02 PM
Vic Smith 12 Dec 11 - 02:05 PM
Howard Jones 12 Dec 11 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,999 12 Dec 11 - 04:35 PM
Spleen Cringe 12 Dec 11 - 06:01 PM
Bert 12 Dec 11 - 07:41 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Dec 11 - 07:53 PM
Les in Chorlton 13 Dec 11 - 03:58 AM
treewind 13 Dec 11 - 04:30 AM
Geoff the Duck 13 Dec 11 - 06:40 AM
GUEST 13 Dec 11 - 06:45 AM
Nigel Parsons 13 Dec 11 - 06:59 AM
peregrina 13 Dec 11 - 08:26 AM
John MacKenzie 13 Dec 11 - 08:29 AM
peregrina 13 Dec 11 - 08:37 AM
Vic Smith 13 Dec 11 - 08:44 AM
Vic Smith 13 Dec 11 - 09:02 AM
Silas 13 Dec 11 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,999 13 Dec 11 - 10:18 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Dec 11 - 10:46 AM
Silas 13 Dec 11 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Emberto Uco 13 Dec 11 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,Emberto Uco 13 Dec 11 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Folknacious 13 Dec 11 - 11:27 AM
peregrina 13 Dec 11 - 11:31 AM
TheSnail 13 Dec 11 - 01:08 PM
Les in Chorlton 13 Dec 11 - 02:37 PM
Howard Jones 13 Dec 11 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,someone somewhere with a big nose who knows 13 Dec 11 - 03:24 PM
Bounty Hound 13 Dec 11 - 08:07 PM
Howard Jones 14 Dec 11 - 04:05 AM
Banjiman 14 Dec 11 - 04:26 AM
Richard Bridge 14 Dec 11 - 04:28 AM
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Subject: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: EmmaHartley
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 08:47 AM

http://theglamourcave.blogspot.com/2011/12/freedom-of-information-request-for.html

It's all becoming very curious. If you know who the last person to submit this request was, I'd be interested to hear from them.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Silas
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 08:49 AM

Good. Why don't you do us all a favour and just drop it?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 09:08 AM

Agreed. Leave it. Please.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Silas
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 09:25 AM

Impossible to take this person seriously anyway after the 'Gemma Kidney' blog


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 09:48 AM

Seems a perfectly proper request to me - the awards carry commercial significance and if they are bent we should know.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Silas
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 09:53 AM

Oh God, not again.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 09:54 AM

Could not agree more Richard. I have always had my suspicions


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 10:09 AM

And that's the crux, Richard. However, a quick read of that document provided by the op says it will likely be easier to get the list of judges AFTER the awards. If the same FoI request were then submitted by the op or anyone else, I'd find that request to be more than reasonable. Before the event, no!


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Silas
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 10:16 AM

And just what good will having a list of the judges do?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 10:36 AM

If you're addressing me, I didn't suggest having a list of the judges would do any good; equally, after the event, I can't see that having the list of judges would do any bad, either.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Silas
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 10:40 AM

I am not addressing you in particular, just a general enquiry. Why do we need to know who the judges are?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 10:57 AM

Thanks for the clarification, Silas.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Morris-ey
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 11:58 AM

Emma

why not appeal to the Information Commissioner as suggested?

And why do you care anyway?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 12:12 PM

FoI requests are supposed to be directed at agencies of the state, aren't they?

This whole award scheme is run by private companies, so how does FoI come into it?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 12:12 PM

Time to get some perspective. Pick up your instrument, get down the local session, play some tunes, have a few ales and laugh and then it all becomes clear: just take it for what it is.

Far more productive to make a fuss about the Tories royally effing up local radio and the problems that will cause - we don't need to alienate the only national folk show*. No doubt the money will go to the cowin' olympics coverage instead.




*I'm not an apologist for Smooth Ops (who produce some great programmes) or Mike Harding (whom I like but can't abide the show).


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 01:17 PM

Surely the BBC although a separate corporation incorporated by Royal Charter is an emanation of the state for FoI purposes isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 01:51 PM

Why the secrecy? What have they got to hide? By refusing the request they are making people smell a rat when there may be nothing amiss. What could be revealed? Only that some judges could have vested interests. It is small beer compared with other calls for FOI.

Surely openness in government, broadcasting channels and the companies that supply programmes is to be admired.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 02:02 PM

An article by Colin Irwin in the current bemoans the predictability, the safeness, of being "geared towards the mainstream" etc. etc. of the folk awards.

... and I can't help feeling that he has been reading my widespead objections to the whole process when he writes:-
This wasn't right, said the dissenters. In whichever strange way you choose to define it, they said, folk music shouldn't be about judgement and trophies and music industry garlands, it was about real people making real music in an honest, heartfelt fashion with no relevance to prizegiving ceremonies.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 02:05 PM

Whoops!
"An article by Colin Irwin the the current fRoots.....


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Howard Jones
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 02:20 PM

This FOI request was just a fishing expedition. There's no serious suggestion, let alone evidence, that there's anything fishy about the way acts are nominated. If the final list always seems to contain the usual suspects its because 1) the usual suspects are by definition among the best acts currently around and 2) normal bell-curve distribution.

The BBC has strict rules in place for awards, following some embarrassing fiascos. SmoothOps have stated that they follow the BBC's rules. The BBC's compliance officer has confirmed this. So what's the problem?

Emma seems to believe that because one of her favourite bands didn't get a mention that's evidence of a conspiracy. However an act which barely counts as folk and doesn't performs on the folk circuit is not likely to get onto the radar. It's quite possible that some of the judges may have heard of them, may even have nominated them, but unless the band has established a wide enough profile they're not going to get enough votes.

This of course is what Emma wants. She has made it clear that she wants to publish the names of judges so that bands can lobby them. This means that instead of nominations being based on an act's achievements they will depend on who has the best publicist.   I can't see how this benefits anyone, except perhaps publicists. And of course journalists.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 04:35 PM

I can and do understand the want to know who judged what after the event. However, asking to know beforehand is a bit much. It reeks of "I suspect people I don't know of doing something I don't know about at an unspecified time under conditions of which I'm unaware and since no one has had the smarts to keep me informed all along, well, I'd like to see their bank statements for the last year because I have a right to know because I am me."

Yeah, right!


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 06:01 PM

Emma, you say in your blog: "The thirty per cent correlation - I got around to counting - between Alan Bearman's client list and this year's nominees doesn't look good.

Have you any evidence to substantiate your not-too-subtle insinuations or is this just semi-libellous tittle-tattle designed to stoke up more manufactured controversy? I rather suspect the latter.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Bert
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 07:41 PM

If you are really interested in folk music why the F*** are you bothering with the BBC?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 07:53 PM

Does anybody else find this difficult to understand? What is the glamourcave?

Who is or was Gemma Kidney?

Confused of Dorchester.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 03:58 AM

Gemma Kidney can explain herself here

L in C#
Who swears he will not get involved in this nonsense again


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: treewind
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 04:30 AM

"folk music shouldn't be about judgement and trophies and music industry garlands, it was about real people making real music in an honest, heartfelt fashion with no relevance to prizegiving ceremonies."

Hear, hear!
Thanks for putting my own thoughts about this into words.
(both to Colin Irwin for writing it for a large audience, and to Vic for apparently saying it first and giving Colin the idea, and for being a fine example of exactly what's described above)


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 06:40 AM

I sometimes wonder about Mudcat...

Every day Emma Hartley starts a new thread which consists of "Tabloid Headline - come and click on the Blicky to my blog...". We then hear no more from her on the thread.
In the meanwhile, a bunch of mudcat regulars (are caught in the net and hauled up on deck flapping about like wet fish) spend hours arguing about whatever irrelevance was on the blog.

Personally I think the original daily posts should just be deleted as spam.

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 06:45 AM

If the judges were named - they would be open to all sorts of pressure for them to change their votes.

Just drop the subject and stop moaning


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 06:59 AM

I sometimes wonder about Mudcat...

Every day Emma Hartley starts a new thread which consists of "Tabloid Headline - come and click on the Blicky to my blog...". We then hear no more from her on the thread.
In the meanwhile, a bunch of mudcat regulars (are caught in the net and hauled up on deck flapping about like wet fish) spend hours arguing about whatever irrelevance was on the blog.

Personally I think the original daily posts should just be deleted as spam.

Of course, Mudcat features quite well on Google.
Finding excuses to put links from the 'Cat to ones own website may just be a form of self-publicity.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: peregrina
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 08:26 AM

And why shouldn't someone, anyone, post a link to well-written and thoughtful folk blog?

Or is this community that supposedly values free dialogue and inclusiveness merely another spot where the division between us and them, those in the club and out, results in a culture where posts from those perceived as outsiders are not given a civil welcome?


Where is the Mudcat welcome mat?

The original posts are certainly not spam, nor is the blog.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 08:29 AM

Every post on any, and all, public web sites, is an ego trip.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: peregrina
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 08:37 AM

what if the ego is in the eye of the beholder? What strikes one person as the poster's ego trip might be just what another was looking for. Or... getting philosophical, maybe all self expression is an assertion of ego?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 08:44 AM

"Every post on any, and all, public web sites, is an ego trip."
Nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 09:02 AM

Roy Greenslade at Guardian On-Line - Why won't the BBC reveal the names of its folk awards judges?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Silas
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 09:19 AM

No, I agree, some blogs are not just an ego trip, some are just shit stirring self promoting ego trips


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 10:18 AM

Well, Ms Hartley is entitled to appeal to the information commissioner's office which I expect she will do. Problem solved.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 10:46 AM

So have I got it right?

The BBC gives awards.

The judges names are not revealed.

Some people want the judges names to be revealed.

Some don't.

Emma Hartley (is she famous?) has said the names should be available under the freedom of information act.

Some people think that the judges would be pressurised and terrorised and bullied, if their names were revealed.

Very sad if that's true, but have I got the gist of it?


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Silas
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 10:53 AM

Yep.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,Emberto Uco
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 10:57 AM

In the spirit of open transparent freedom of information
I hereby declare that I am a very important secret Folk Awards Judge.

Give me a short while to set up temporary offshore money receiving accounts
then I'll give full details how artists agents and managers may contact me prior to any final awards decisions.

Thank you in anticipation of a very merry xmas..


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,Emberto Uco
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 11:04 AM

oh, btw,..

any new young artists without formal representation;

free CDs, DVDs, Tee Shirts would be a nice gesture.

Or maybe if you are a fit attractive female singer, a dinner date and weekend at a nice little B&B
just convenient for Kings Cross Station ???


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 11:27 AM

Peregrina wrote And why shouldn't someone, anyone, post a link to well-written and thoughtful folk blog?

Hi Emma


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: peregrina
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 11:31 AM

Folknacious, I am not Emma.

I am a member here who is sometimes dismayed by cliquishness and an insider-outside attitude to those who are not regulars. Folk Music is a small world-it's sad if people with common interests can't agree, disagree, and welcome newcomers without creating this sort of in group out group dynamic.

I note that you are posting as a guest--I would have preferred to send this by PM if you had been logged in.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 01:08 PM

I think for most of us at the grass roots level of folk music, things like the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards are mildly diverting but largely irrelevant to life as we know it. We at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club have booked quite a few of the nominees and winners but long before they appeared there. Some since they were teenagers. Some we gave their first folk club bookings to.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 02:37 PM

"things like the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards are mildly diverting but largely irrelevant to life as we know it. "

Spot Ms/Mr Snail. Folk Life what ever that is goes on. As do the BBC Awards. I think we can get along and trust each other

L in C#


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Howard Jones
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 02:54 PM

I rather like Emma's blog as a rule, and most of the time I think she writes entertainingly about folk. But as I've said on other threads, I think she's wrong about this, and it's starting to look self-publicising. I'm not entirely clear how knowing the identity of the judges will make the voting process more transparent.

Let's consider some of the issues:

1) The BBC's head of compliance - who is the one in the firing line if there's another scandal - is satisfied that the Folk Awards comply with the Beeb's rules.

2) Smoothops have given a justifiable reason for not releasing the names. You may not agree with it, you may put forward alternative arguments, but the reason they give is plausible. And the names aren't secret - Smoothops won't release them but there's no gagging order on the judges to silence them.

3) It's a small world, and it's possible to make a guess at the sort of people who might be judges. I find it hard to believe that any performer who is sufficiently active and prominent on the folk scene to be in the running isn't already in contact with, or at least on the radar of, the majority of judges.

4) There are only a few folk agents. If one of them has a high proportion of the best-known and most active performers on his books, it seems unsurprising that a large number of them will be represented at the awards

5) the same goes for record labels

6) whilst we could all suggest alternative names, no one has suggested that any of the performers on the shortlist don't deserve to be there

7) The BBC has stated that the information sought by Emma's FOI request is outside the scope of the Act. The Information Commissione apparently agrees with this view. Is the Commissioner part of a conspiracy too?

The whole thing seems to be founded on the (mistaken) belief by a friend of Emma that he was not allowed to reveal that he was a judge, and that a band she likes may not have been considered, although they don't perform on the folk scene. It's starting to look like a journalist in search of a story. It might be raising Emma's profile as a journalist (now she's the subject of a Guardian article, not bad for someone no one had heard of a few months ago) but she's in danger of losing credibility in the world she writes about. But maybe she just sees this a stepping stone to bigger things. We'll see.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: GUEST,someone somewhere with a big nose who knows
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 03:24 PM

Further to what Howard writes (and which I agree with), I'd suggest that the names of judges aren't 'secret' so much as they don't want to hand them over to someone who has proved that a) she enjoys pestering people who have a different viewpoint to her own, b) has an amazing knack for getting the wrong end of the stick (and making howling errors) and c) will use any moment as a 'victory' to publicise her blog.

If she really wants to be an influential figure - and lets face it, this is what this is all about one way or another - then she could apply to be a judge. But somehow I suspect she may have burnt any bridges there. This is not the right way to affect change, unless the change she wants is to destroy the awards once and for all. And, whatever faults they have, that's surely not helpful.

Seemingly, you can take the writer out of the horrible-bullying-end-of-fleet-street, but you can't take the horrible-bullying-end-of-fleet-street out of the writer...


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 08:07 PM

Again to follow on from Howard's post above, most of which makes perfect sense, but to pick up on a couple of points, Smooth Operations reason for not making the judges public is to protect them from canvassing, however, in many other awards, including other music genres the judges are public knowledge, and presumably deal successfully with canvassing in other ways, so this does not seem to me to be a valid argument.

On the statement about folk Agents, a quick search of the AFO membership list reveals 22 AFO members listed as Agents, and this does not include Alan Bearman or Adastra, and a google search brings up many others, so there may be more than you think Howard.

Overall, anything that raises the profile of folk music must surely be something we all support, but the problem I see with the Folk Awards is that the public perception is that it is a select few judging the select few, and therefore not representative. The reality is that this is probably the case with most awards. The real shame of it is that the media, festival organisers etc, put so much store by awards, but I guess that is merely symptomatic of our celebrity obsessed culture.

One other thing I did note in the BBC's reply to Emma Hartley is the statement that none of the 'Voting panel' are performers themselves, I'm fairly confident that this is not a true statement, but I have absolutely no reason to question the judgement or integrity of anyone on that panel.

John


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Howard Jones
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 04:05 AM

Bounty Hound, I disagree - I think Smoothops' justification is a valid argument. You may disagree with it, you may put forward equally valid counter-arguments (as you have), perhaps better ones, but that doesn't make it any less valid. My point is that their position is not in itself unreasonable.

I hadn't checked the number of folk agents, so there may well be more than I'd realised. However my point stands - when you look at Alan Bearman's client list, it's unsurprising that a good number of them are in the running.

I doubt the general public gives a second thought to who is judging whom. And with the exception of some the lifetime awards which have clearly been made for PR purposes, is it true that the nominations are not representative?

Awards are good publicity and a huge confidence boost to performers and I don't begrudge them (perhaps I'm biased as my good friends Pilgrims' Way are up for an award this year). The nominees will get festival bookings anyway because they're good, not necessarily because they've won awards. Festival programmes are full of names who haven't won awards so you can hardly say they're preventing others from getting work.

I agree the final statement is surprising, however that's because of the nature of the folk world where so many people perform at one level or another. Perhaps what they mean is that none of the panel are primarily performers - Ian Anderson for example (assuming he is one) would be there because he is editor of fRoots, not because he is a performer.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Banjiman
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 04:26 AM

I can confirm that I have had correspondence with one of the judges...... and as well as being a manager of one of the nominated acts he is also a performer himself (arguably primarily).

No, I'm not naming names but it does make you stop and think.

......... I do think the awards are a good thing but I would like to see more transparency.


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Subject: RE: Folk awards FoI request denied
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Dec 11 - 04:28 AM

I think there may be something more sinister - the suspicion surely is that judges are skewed towards some types of performers - and possibly towards some performers who may have certain connections.

That is an issue that ought to be investigated and disposed of, one way or another.

It is important, not only that justice is done but also that justice is seen to be done, and at present we cannot be clear that the judges are not SmoothiChops cronies with an agenda.

This is more important given that there have been some strange awards in the past - for example giving the "traditional" award to a composed song - indeed a song the melody for which and most of the words for which were written within the previous year. It was a good song, and it was a good performance (if you like that type of very electric drum and bass driven performance) but it was not "traditional".

Some light needs to be shone into this murky corner.


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