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Folk Clubs Dying Out

GUEST,Mandoman77 22 Jul 14 - 06:25 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Jul 14 - 06:39 AM
Roger the Skiffler 22 Jul 14 - 06:44 AM
Nick 22 Jul 14 - 06:51 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 14 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 22 Jul 14 - 07:10 AM
GUEST 22 Jul 14 - 07:20 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 14 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,big al whittle 22 Jul 14 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 22 Jul 14 - 08:24 AM
Les in Chorlton 22 Jul 14 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 22 Jul 14 - 08:39 AM
Musket 22 Jul 14 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Peter 22 Jul 14 - 08:50 AM
Nick 22 Jul 14 - 09:08 AM
TheSnail 22 Jul 14 - 09:50 AM
Les in Chorlton 22 Jul 14 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Peter 22 Jul 14 - 11:33 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jul 14 - 11:44 AM
Paul Davenport 22 Jul 14 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Mandoman77 22 Jul 14 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Eric_Sharp 22 Jul 14 - 01:09 PM
Vic Smith 22 Jul 14 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Mandoman77 22 Jul 14 - 02:27 PM
r.padgett 22 Jul 14 - 02:48 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Jul 14 - 03:03 PM
Musket 22 Jul 14 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Mandoman77 22 Jul 14 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,davemc 22 Jul 14 - 04:04 PM
Herga Kitty 22 Jul 14 - 04:04 PM
Herga Kitty 22 Jul 14 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 22 Jul 14 - 04:08 PM
Musket 22 Jul 14 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Roger in Baltimore 22 Jul 14 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,FloraG 23 Jul 14 - 04:31 AM
Paul Davenport 23 Jul 14 - 04:51 AM
The Sandman 23 Jul 14 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,Graham Carter 23 Jul 14 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Mandoman77 23 Jul 14 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,matt milton 23 Jul 14 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,Fyldeplayer 23 Jul 14 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,matt milton 23 Jul 14 - 07:18 AM
GUEST 23 Jul 14 - 07:27 AM
Musket 23 Jul 14 - 07:55 AM
Dave Sutherland 23 Jul 14 - 08:03 AM
Nick 23 Jul 14 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 23 Jul 14 - 08:18 AM
The Sandman 23 Jul 14 - 09:09 AM
Nick 23 Jul 14 - 09:48 AM
TheSnail 23 Jul 14 - 10:03 AM
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Subject: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Mandoman77
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 06:25 AM

Am I imagining it or are Folk Clubs slowly dying out? It seems to me that as the generation who set these clubs up slow drop of the edge, there is nothing to replace them. Open Mic's are popular and these days proliferate so is this the future, if so I fear for Folk Music.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 06:39 AM

There seems to be a bit of an influx of younger acoustic people into some folk clubs and song sessions. I even noticed that Morris dancers are getting younger (or is that me getting older?).


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 06:44 AM

If you think the folk audience is getting old and sparse you should see the jazz clubs!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Nick
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 06:51 AM

You heard it here first


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 07:04 AM

it is up to people particularly young people to support home made acoustic music, they must start running their own clubs , places where people go to listen. I do not fear for folk clubs or folk music. people were saying this in the 1980s, probably before people like Nick were born.
Get off your backsides and start organising,
an excellent role is model woody guthrie


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 07:10 AM

I think we are going to see more Trad. based singers clubs and singing weekends, where nobody gets paid. This is a good thing for all concerned, and I believe it will have a positive effect on clubs and festivals and will regenerate both when the wheels turns again. The interest is there and it will come out sooner or later. I might have a full gig diary by the time I'm 80! or better still some youngsters will have musically matured to take my place. Don't worry Folk Music is safe, it's tougher than all of us put together.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 07:20 AM

Young people seem to prefer festivals. They are more fun than going to a folk club where the grey heads can be pretty serious. People are still singing about coal miners when most young people have never seen a piece of coal!


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 07:30 AM

what an uninformed remark from anonymous guest people in folk clubs sing about many things other than coal miners,if young people want to be in their own age group they would in my opinion be well advised start their own folk clubs, why? because clubs are about communities, festivals can tend to be some extent them and us, the stars entertaining the consumers, which smacks of the pop world, the stars sometimes become stars because of clever hype and publicity. in my opinion singers clubs, guestbooking clubs and festivals are all needed, so that ideally there is a graduation and a ladder where performers can move upwards on merit, not suddenly become stars because they have been hyped, those shooting stars disappear the next morning.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 08:21 AM

we'll have to see. those of us who are lucky enough to survive. when i think of some of the crap i've sat through -its amiracle its lasted so long really.

i'm afraid GGS's imploring young peopleto form folk clubsreminds me uneasily of john donne's invitation to young lovers to study the stones in the graveyard - nocturnal on st lucies day. great man though Dick is.

it will be their world - their call. the world we grew up in won't be the one they have to take on. that was our parent's mistake - they thought their knowledge and insights were so substantial that we couldn't do without them.

not only had we to tear the rule book up -we had to endure seeing our government taken over by backward looking reactionary cadres that had to be resisted every inch of the way.

don't let's make the same mistake.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 08:24 AM

Perhaps the vast majority of young people don't want to play or listen to folk music or go to folk clubs? I know I didn't when I was one - too busy soaking up the adrenalin buzz of punk! Round my way there are loads of kids who play instruments, but folk isn't really on their radars, and why should it be? I never used to want to listen to the same stuff as my parents and their friends, and to be frank I still don't...

Having said that, my neighbour took his dad and his teenage son top see Neil Young and Crazy Horse, so there is some stuff that spans the generations... Just not necessarily folk.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 08:33 AM

Hey Mr Cringe we haven't had the pleasure of yourself for time what could possibly be called our 'Folk Club':


Beech Band at The Dulcimer

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 08:39 AM

Dick, you are correct, there are far too many "Vunder-kinder". with little talent apart from a degree in hype. Soon ripe, soon forgotten or was it rotten. Folk Clubs can be in my experience be almost "Care in the Community " depositories. Some are superb well run with singers of immeasurable skill and ability with thoughtful song repertoires. Almost always un-assuming, singing for the sheer love of the music and democratic in the allocation of slots. Singing sessions will survive as will Home based events, who wants to sit in a scruffy pub back room. The worst I remember was, we were told we could sit in the Back Yard. The Gents Urinals had been over-flowing for so long that there was a thick layer of salts and stench all the way to the drain.. It is performers like Dick that we need to survive to form the basis of a skills datum to make sure that younger people can see the road ahead


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Musket
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 08:43 AM

We do seem to call open singarounds folk clubs..

I suppose for me, folk club is a term of nostalgia. I stopped going to any for a few years, what with working away a lot, raising a family and whatnot. When I decided to get back into it, they had gone from an audience and small corner / stage affair to people sat around with pieces of paper in front of them. When you sing a song for them, try not to look at those you think are listening as they are often rummaging through their books to see which 3 chord Tom Paxton they think you will be thrilled to hear next, once this bloke who insists on standing, introducing his songs and playing ones you don't get in "100 Pub Songs for Guitar and Piano" has stopped playing.

Mind you, there is small hope. I once said I was to sing a Child ballad. Afterwards, a bloke corrected me to say it wasn't a Child song at all, as Martin Carthy must have written it as it was on an album of his, his father lent him. But that's Leeds for you...

Sorry, been a long day already....


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 08:50 AM

Perhaps people just aren't looking for the youngsters in the right places.

Some clubs are definitely going to fail in the next 10 or 15 years as their organisers fall of the perch. What is replacing them isn't necessarily in the classic club format of guests and floor spots but does have a lot of younger folk fans.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Nick
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 09:08 AM

Dick you make me feel so young. :)

I used to help a friend in running a folk club back in the 1970's. I didn't start my own one until the 90's though it was more of the communal let's-all-get-stuck-in-and-play-and-sing-together rather than the formal sit in rows and listen sort.

And I never knew Woody Guthrie was a model. Did he do that when he wasn't singing to supplement his income perhaps? A bit like Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 09:50 AM

What is replacing them isn't necessarily in the classic club format of guests and floor spots but does have a lot of younger folk fans.

Wnenever this sort of discussion comes up someone always says something like that. So what is it? Where is it? Or is it being kept secret so us oldies don't get to find out about it?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 11:21 AM

"The Gents Urinals had been over-flowing for so long that there was a thick layer of salts and stench all the way to the drain"

We still dream of that


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 11:33 AM

Depends where you are. In London try Softly Softly, Jamboree, Upstairs at The Ritzy, The Glad, The Harrison, Nest Collective, Ceilidh Club and more that I can't remember.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 11:44 AM

So what is it? Where is it? Or is it being kept secret so us oldies don't get to find out about it?
Well, in our area, Brian, they are just venues that put on gigs. The venues do not present "genre-specific" music but folk gigs take their place amongst other types of music.
For example, Tina and I went to an event recently at the Green Door Store under Brighton Station. Main artist was the wonderful Glaswegian singer who we have booked a few times at the Royal Oak, Alasdair Roberts. The support was local singer, Elle Osborne.
The size of audience was about the same as when we booked him but much younger. Alasdair's repertoire and presentation style was no different from the way he put things over in a folk club. We were a good twice older than the next oldest person there. I was amazed to see the attentive young audience hanging on his every word as he sang a string of traditional ballads with no compromise using a small but efficient and not over loud PA. he sang to his own guitar and had an excellent pianist with him.
When we arrived and Tina saw that it was a standing venue, she said, "Oh no! I can't stand all night!", The young doorman told us to hang on and he rushed off and came back with a couple of seats for us. He came up to us to ask if we were all right at the interval and again to check that we had enjoyed the evening at the end. We would not have been made more welcome if we were making a first visit to a folk club.
There are a number of venues that operate like this in Brighton that we have been to, a couple in Hastings and the Underground Theatre in Eastbourne. They don't advertise in THE FOLK DIARY but if you seek them out, their publicity is good and generally they are well run.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 11:48 AM

I suppose it depends on where you are placed geographically. Liz and I have been travelling around recently just for the hell of it and have discovered that folk clubs, far from being a dying phenomenon, seem to be cropping up all over the place. But…they are now more likely to be monthly than weekly events as in the past. They are also less likely to book artists from outside their area. However, the scene is pretty vibrant at the moment. I was at a club last night that I'd never been to before. It's run by people in their 20s and its trad enough to have caused us to review our set list before going on. It was like travelling back in time, one act actually looked like Tim Hart & Maddy Prior as I remembered them from back in 1968! They had a similar repertoire too. A fresh and lovely evening that I shall make sure I repeat.
This is not unusual in our experience and I could also wax lyrical about the Devonshire club that sported a Dylan look and soundalike, so well observed that it was again like time-travel. They're out there folks but perhaps we are actually lamenting the loss of paid gigs rather than the loss of folk clubs per se?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Mandoman77
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 12:42 PM

Virtually all the clubs in our area, "the midlands that is", are being run by the same people who set them up twenty or thirty years ago. All seem to be struggling, with lower audience numbers, higher artists fees, smoking bans, beer prices etc etc. Its unrealistic to expect young people to take on the responsibility of club running. Its true there are just as many people out there who wish to perform, but the Open Mic route is now the preference of many. Where does that leave Folk Clubs?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Eric_Sharp
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 01:09 PM

Any musical format and genre has a lifespan. Folk music as it was, for example Kerns and Ceilidhs, has long ago ceased to be, and we are in the second or third revival depending on your historical perspective. The kids now attend open mics and festivals. But the term 'folk' is hardly used. Perhaps as well, as it came out of a flawed 19th century mystical view. I have been attending folk clubs for 45 years, and I am not sure if they have another generation in them. But live music is alive and well.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 01:49 PM

Its unrealistic to expect young people to take on the responsibility of club running.

Is it? Why is it? I was running my college folk club before I was 20 then started one in south London as soon as I left college.

....being run by the same people who set them up twenty or thirty years ago.

... and how old were they when they started running clubs? How old was Sam Lee when he started his very successful venture?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Mandoman77
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 02:27 PM

It seems to me that your experience Vic does not represent the situation generally. Of course some new clubs will form, but my observation is that the overall situation is one of decline. When you say "how old were they when they started running clubs", thats the point the next generation is not taking up the baton.

I do think it is unrealistic to expect young people to take on the responsibility of running clubs, particularly the financial responsibility. In our day we had full employment, no University Fees to pay back, stable and accessible house prices, and many other things I could mention.

The days of the folk Club are numbered, the Open Mic for all its drawbacks is the future, better get used to it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: r.padgett
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 02:48 PM

I am not infavour of Open Mic sessions these (with pa) and yes you can have an Open Mic without pa only serve to benefit the pa guy who gets paid and the publican who gets clientelle. Singers get what? experience with the pa and that's it

The Wakefield sessions in Fernandes and Bull and Fairhouse are well attended normally with room for audience and friends and give good order for singers and musicians

Barnsley folk club is not a Concert club and this can cause problems as we have DOERS who want to sing/play and some dedicated AUDIENCE ~ like many clubs audiences need to be developed and clubs need to attract people to come and be entertained by a range of singers and musicians. It is no longer the Mission of Folk clubs to provide a living (part time or other) to folk artists, CONCERT CLUBS are another matter!

Individual folk clubs have their own reason for being and certainly we (THE FOLK CLUBS) should be doing more to encourage all comers whoever and what ever they do which is "folk" ~ don't ask me to define folk though please

Other venues and pubs and halls as alternatives to the folk clubs are coming more into the picture

Everyone is looking for an Audience, and my view is that nothing should be taken for granted and artists have a duty to put back into the clubs their experience, the cheek of some acts to ask for bookings without considering the potential audience available is sometimes baffling

Clubs should not book artists who they do not wish to see and then make excuses when no one turns up!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 03:03 PM

In places where the old guard have allowed things to evolve, like Sheffield, there is a vibrant scene with plenty of mixed generations. In Hull where we didn't see the writing on the wall until it was too late there are massive gaps. The younger generation have largely gone off and done their own thing and they seldom meet together with the old guard despite some attempts to join up the dots. Sad really!

BUT folk music is alive and well in the festivals. What's the problem?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Musket
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 03:04 PM

Yeah but Ray... Go back 35 years when you ran The Wheatsheaf and Mitch, Annie and I ran The Boundary. We both had huge successful clubs that put on paid acts (remember when Stirrings ran a list of those who would come for 75% of door takings?) and floor nights gave the appearance of concert for people getting up?

I don't recall a single reading a country and western song from a book, and I do recall good beer, a good laugh and thoughtful memorable friends.

We can't bring it back but still, those comparing today's night out with a song are comparing chalk & cheese.

Get yer bum over to Epworth one night.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Mandoman77
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 03:39 PM

The problem is Steve how ever popular Festivals are, the Folk Club is in decline. The Festivals grew out from the Clubs, if the Clubs disappear maybe the Festival will follow. I hope not, but I can see a time when festivals will not be supportable on the basis of just one style of music, so multi event festivals may be the future, and perhaps thats not such a bad thing, as all ages and styles will then have to mix in.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,davemc
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 04:04 PM

Hardly ever go to my local folk club, these days. I'd rather see folk acts in arts centres and other comfortable venues where I don't have to humour resident singers who get in the way of the act I've really come to see. The tickets cost much more but the enjoyment, in my view, is usually greater.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 04:04 PM

It's harder for clubs to find venues where people feel comfortable performing and listening - as mentioned above by Mandoman777, you can't expect young people to take on the financial responsibility of paying for a room and paying artists and hoping to get enough bums on seats if it's a concert club, but even finding venues for informal singarounds and open stage clubs without paid guests is tricky, especially if the venue has to be paid for.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 04:07 PM

Davemc - ok you prefer concerts, but where do you think the performers acquired their performance skills in front of audiences...?

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 04:08 PM

I really only started to get an interest in "folk" when I was looking for an open mic, following the closure of another open mic.
the folk club alternated open mic and singaround, with guests also, which it seems were paid largely from raffle proceeds, though I think the landlord also chipped in.
I find that most young people are in the open mic scene , and I have often been encouraged by young interest in my songs.....though admittedly I am not exactly traditional folk. but I have also seen folk acts well received by all ages at open mics.
so it may well be that for interest in folk to stay healthy that the emphasis needs to be on acoustic and open mic, rather than appear specialist.

on the subject of performers using books or sheets, or these days I-pads on music stands, i think it best not to complain, unless you want even less participants. having said that, it is discouraging to see everyone else fussing about what they will do next, and hardly anyone listening.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Musket
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 05:20 PM

That's the problem with the real world.

I endorse everything pete just said.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Roger in Baltimore
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 06:06 PM

I currently live in musically sparse location (if you don't count bluegrass. There are three "folk clubs" within a hundred miles of me. These are church venues who offer folk music on a once a month basis. Before I left Baltimore (which has one club run by the same dedicated people) that presents music a few times each month.

What I still hear a lot about are House Concerts. These are performances in people's home that accept donations. In Washington, D.C. they still exist, and I suspect in Baltimore.

I remember the "'60's" when there were regular places where music was presented on a near daily basis. In Baltimore I attended "The Foghorn" and in D.C. "The Cellar Door". There were more I attended, but my memory does not evoke them.

Folk Music is not as popular as it was back then, but it still exists and it is still presented, just not with as much regularity. There are young people who are presenting and they add their own personalities to the music. There is a thriving system for singersongwriters individually in groups. Much of what I hear is "new music" with is presented acoustically by itinerant musicians. So the music has evolved. We can play traditional or we can play "new music."

Much changes, but there is still much music.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 04:31 AM

I've just come back from Tolpuddle. For those who have not heard of it, its the location of 6 agricultural workers who were sentenced to transportation for union oath swearing. Each year the TUC put on a weekend festival and march the union banners up the high street.
I am always surprised at the number of musicians/singers who go - not just the paid acts. Many write their own songs - often on the protest side.
Artic monkies pay your tax
its our money and we want it back etc.
There is a wide age range.
I do wonder where they go the rest of the year. I certainly have not seen them at my local folk club.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 04:51 AM

Steve Gardham writes; 'In places where the old guard have allowed things to evolve, like Sheffield, there is a vibrant scene with plenty of mixed generations.'
The story there is a salutary one; the old guard didn't 'allow' things to evolve, they created the evolution! Basically two things happened at the same time. Firstly, the South Riding Folk Network was created to 'join up the dots' and secondly the University 'Folk Society' changed its name to the 'Ceilidh Society' or 'CeilidhSoc'. The movers and shakers at the Uni were involved with, and even become officers of, the SRFN and we all played and danced together for a long time. Sheffield's folk life ad the very successful Sheffield Folk Sessions Festival (see; http://www.sheffieldseshfest.org.uk )   
are all the result of a lot of people's hard work and dedication over many years.
By the way, please visit the website and, better still, come and try our festival over next Easter weekend.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 04:53 AM

there are people who state categorically that something is the future [how do they know?]if you can predict the future please tell us all the winning lottery numbers.
one sensible person Vic Smith talks from his own experience [he was welcomed]. open mike is not good it encourages the music to be treated as background music, this music should be shown the same respect as classical music ,the words are important and it needs to be LISTENED too, the sooner open mic goes out of fashion the better in my opinion


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Graham Carter
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 06:41 AM

We started a new Folk Club in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire recently which has proved popular and been well attended by young and old alike. As a performer myself it gradually dawned on me that it's no good moaning about lack of suitable places to play if you aren't prepared to do something about it yourself. Having been a regular attender and performer at Folk Clubs for several years now, I can't speak highly enough of them. If you want to learn about Folk Music and meet people who walk the walk and talk the talk, they are THE place to go. Where else can you meet people who have seen Big Bill Broonzy live!   I hope others take the plunge and get some more new clubs on the go.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Mandoman77
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 06:51 AM

We are all entitled to put our opinions on the future GSS, you should not dismiss them just because you don't agree them. Whilst I understand where you are coming from, things are evolving and its better to along with it, than to keep harking back to a world that no longer exists.

My early contact with Folk Clubs was in the days of the Clancy Bros, Spinners, McCalmans, Corries, Diz Disley, Derek Brimstone, Jasper Carrot etc etc, all of which usually involved singing our heads off by 11pm. However, somewhere along the line something changed and it became an exercise in navel gazing, being thoughtful, being responsible, the agony of the worlds problems and the like. Whilst I would not wish to make light of such things, its not going to form the basis of a good night out. Now I don't know if this has anything to do with the demise of the Folk Club, but it sure can't help.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 07:07 AM

Folk Club according to model of floorsingers and guests, with a trad-only policy etc, yes that'll probably die out within 20 years.

But I don't see why regular acoustic nights that encourage traditional singing, with a mix of singer-songwriter and "Proper Folk" stuff shouldn't continue til the earth becomes uninhabitable.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Fyldeplayer
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 07:08 AM

Having spent a lot of time recently digging the internet for club info in hope of gigs/contact, I find a high percentage of 'folk club' links end at what is clearly a non-guest oriented gathering, fine, I attend similar which is titled Acoustic Club.

I think there is two issues changing 'folk clubs' young musical people generally hanging out 'somewhere??' other than FC's and older people with some dosh prefering the comfort and style of concert venues.

This is however a very localised 'southern' view - I expect a bigger view as described by Paul Davenport would show otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 07:18 AM

There'll always be young people who are interested in folk, but they'll always be small in number and they'll invariably want to sing their own songs that they've written as well as trad ones. That's just how it is.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 07:27 AM

A lot of clubs have "painted themselves into the corner" by developing a demographic where the youngest person in the club is well over 50. You aren't going to get an influx of twenty somethings once a club has reached that position.

The few club organisers who are under 40 need to be aware of how that problem developed and work continuously on keeping a demographic spread and not letting the club develop into a group of mates who all left school within a few years of each other.

I agree with GSS (which makes a change) on the value of the club format in developing not only performers but also the appreciation of the music by the audience. However it certainly isn't my place to tell others that their chosen way of experiencing music is wrong and mine is right.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Musket
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 07:55 AM

Two variables;

Folk versus what the hell is folk anyway?

Singaround versus audience


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 08:03 AM

"Folk Club according to model of floorsingers and guests, with a trad-only policy etc, yes that'll probably die out within 20 years."
I seem to remember that being said back in 1991 when we started up Traditions at the Tiger/Tigerfolk.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Nick
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 08:17 AM

I can predict the future. These are all the winning lottery numbers for ALL the forthcoming weeks -
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49
All you have to do is pick out a few each week...

We have a very well known and supported Folk Club in the Black Swan in York (mostly a concert venue with a singers night once a month) but Roland has his hands full each year - and a measure of risk - in choosing a diverse range of acts across a year that will attract bums onto seats and keep the clubs finances on an even keel. He manages it very well but he can't really predict what works and what doesn't even with his (good) judgement based on years of doing it.

It ranges from unaccompanied singers (Hissyfit were well received and supported recently) to bands either at the pub or at a larger concert venue.

There are buckets of people though who come to something like Steve Knightley playing in our local village hall (I know a fair number of people but recognised perhaps a tenth of the audience). There are a whole other group of people who go to festivals and pubs and see a band like this - Holy Moly and the Crackers who you would not see at a folk club. And you probably wouldn't see the (young) people in the band at a folk club even if their roots are (self professed) in folk amongst other genres. I pick them because I know some of them through my son and have enjoyed a sing with them in the past in a local pub and at a party in their house; they are typical of many similar groups of people appealing to people of a range of ages.

I think this discussion has been had many times on here.

Folk clubs have this weird personality disorder. To those who don't go to them they have an image of jumpers, beards, fingers in ears and long unaccompanied dirges with lots of death; they aren't. To those who used to go but don't so much they are places that have become divorced from their roots of proper folk music because its purity has been tainted over time; they probably aren't this either. To those who go they are curious mix of wannabe players who may either be good or not supporting artists who will put bums on seats and be something linked to a broad definition of folk.

I'm sure that the ones that do well are the ones who have a very clear idea of what they are doing and delivering to a known (and hopefully evolving) audience, and have a clear idea of market they are in without a need to compromise their vision. Whatever that vision is.

I haven't been to Lewes but, from the outside, am pretty sure that they will survive and grow as they seem very clear on what they do. The Black Swan will keep going for as long as Roland and his team of helpers and supporters choose. Somewhere like Wigan folk club (which I haven't been to for a long time) was a very well supported but very different sort of place. Swinton was another that comes to mind.

My personal experience has been that it is difficult to maintain something that is relatively broad church. There seems a constant pressure for factions to convert a club/gathering into their particular narrower passion. Depending on how popular that particular interest is to other listeners is where it either succeeds or falls on its ass.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 08:18 AM

unfortunately, good soldier, s, I find that going to a folk club is not always a guarantee that everyone listens, but thankfully on the other hand sometimes most people at an open mic might mostly listen.
wishing open mics away might not benefit folk by disappearing. folkies at open mics, might even broaden musical interests.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 09:09 AM

i am entitled to dismiss opinions on the future, because the future is unpredictable


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Nick
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 09:48 AM

The one certainty about the future is that it is unpredictable.

Or is it?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 10:03 AM

GUEST,Peter
In London try Softly Softly, Jamboree, Upstairs at The Ritzy, The Glad, The Harrison, Nest Collective, Ceilidh Club and more that I can't remember.

Thanks, Peter. That tells me some of the "where" but I'm not sure it helps with the "what". Apart from the excellent Nest Collective which few of us can hope to emulate it seems to be a rag bag of sessions and events barely distinguishable from folk clubs. Perhaps the critical factor is selected acts and "No Bloody Floor Singers".

Vic, the Alasdair Roberts, Elle Osborne event sounds great but I take it they didn't offer you a floor spot. Two well established professionals providing quality entertainment but how did they get there? I first remember Elle as a teenager doing floor spots at the Royal Oak. Would she have got where she is without folk clubs?


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