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Folk Clubs Dying Out

The Sandman 23 Jul 14 - 10:56 AM
r.padgett 23 Jul 14 - 11:00 AM
Nick 23 Jul 14 - 11:14 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jul 14 - 12:12 PM
davidharley 23 Jul 14 - 12:13 PM
Vic Smith 23 Jul 14 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,Steve 23 Jul 14 - 12:57 PM
The Sandman 23 Jul 14 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Oggie 23 Jul 14 - 03:27 PM
TheSnail 23 Jul 14 - 04:58 PM
The Sandman 23 Jul 14 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Oggie 23 Jul 14 - 05:46 PM
Vic Smith 23 Jul 14 - 06:50 PM
The Sandman 24 Jul 14 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,FloraG 24 Jul 14 - 04:06 AM
GUEST 24 Jul 14 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 24 Jul 14 - 05:57 AM
GUEST 24 Jul 14 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Brimbacombe 24 Jul 14 - 09:52 AM
The Sandman 24 Jul 14 - 10:16 AM
The Sandman 24 Jul 14 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 24 Jul 14 - 10:53 AM
Jack Campin 24 Jul 14 - 10:53 AM
TheSnail 24 Jul 14 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Desi C 24 Jul 14 - 11:26 AM
Dave Sutherland 24 Jul 14 - 12:25 PM
The Sandman 24 Jul 14 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Ed 24 Jul 14 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,oggie 24 Jul 14 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 24 Jul 14 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,FloraG 24 Jul 14 - 04:20 PM
TheSnail 24 Jul 14 - 06:08 PM
GUEST 24 Jul 14 - 06:12 PM
Jack Campin 24 Jul 14 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,FloraG 25 Jul 14 - 04:21 AM
Tattie Bogle 25 Jul 14 - 06:13 AM
The Sandman 25 Jul 14 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Vic Smith 25 Jul 14 - 06:52 PM
The Sandman 26 Jul 14 - 02:38 AM
TheSnail 26 Jul 14 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,ST 26 Jul 14 - 05:01 AM
GUEST 26 Jul 14 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Mandoman77 26 Jul 14 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,big al whittle 26 Jul 14 - 06:37 AM
Musket 26 Jul 14 - 07:08 AM
The Sandman 26 Jul 14 - 07:33 AM
The Sandman 26 Jul 14 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,raggytash 26 Jul 14 - 09:32 AM
TheSnail 26 Jul 14 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,tony Rath aka Tonyteach 26 Jul 14 - 10:56 AM
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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 10:56 AM

ic, 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?
good points


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: r.padgett
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 11:00 AM

I certainly applaud all the initiatives which have been instigated as well as those in Sheffield which have afforded the necessary exposure to folk song traditional music etc

Sheffield is a two University city and as such has a large catchment of students as well as many other people from other Nations and Irish and Scottish ~ this has helped foster the playing of music in the pubs and of course specific work on Sword dancing by Ron Day and Paul Davenport and continuation of Ceildihs has all contributed to folks future development ~ outside of folk clubs and Concert clubs

Wakefield is a City but devoid of Universities has few folk clubs but similarly has live folk music and traditional song sessions, sadly few youngsters have made it yet, however Sarah Horn has recently graduated with degree in Physics and was encouraged by her school music teacher [Graham] and is now a highly accomplished fiddler. Watch this space ~ I believe she and James Cudworth are at Warwick ff this year

Amy Condrey is an other name to watch, who has been at college in Barnsley

BTW I am more than happy for new initiatives in Barnsley, for example Alan Jones's Celtic session and Flash sessions have all raised the local scene and attracted excellent comments about live music

Takes years to develop musicianship and longer for singers unless naturally gifted
Ray


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Nick
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 11:14 AM

York also benefits from a university and there has always been a fair degree of cross over between the university and the various venues in York itself - for example the Victoria Vaults Friday night session is always generally frequented by a fair number of young players during term time.

And quite a lot then spill over into playing at festvals etc - eg Blackbeards Tea Party were originally started from university folk though personnel has altered over time.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 12:12 PM

Bryan wrote:-
" I take it they didn't offer you a floor spot. "


None of the venues that I mentioned in my post above are run on folk club lines. Main/support artist is the norm - just as if you were going to a concert at The Dome, The Hawth or wherever in our area, though the numbers at the smaller venue gigs that I mentioned are generally under 100.
They present country, folk, a little jazz, singer/songwriters and rock bands (generally fairly unknown ones that have more intelligent lyrics. The venues are catering for an audience that does not see itself committed exclusively to one genre but will give anything that has a reasonably cerebral approach a listen. I reckon that this is a very common attitude amongst the rising generation of intelligent music enthusiasts.
I am totally committed to traditional music and song, otherwise why would I have been running a weekly folk club for 50 years..... but I don't think that music begins and ends with English folk music.
Yes, I was at the utterly hardcore traditional festival last weekend, but tomorrow I am very excited to be off to four days of lovely music from all over the world at WOMAD. I have been to a jazz event and two concerts by leading African performers during this July. I have also played five gigs this month - all with our dance band and none of them for a folk music crowd. We are playing traditional dance tunes to people who would never otherwise get a chance to hear them. Nearly always there are one or two people who come up to members of the band and ask about the music, its background, the instruments etc.
I think that it would do a lot of folkies good to get out of their ghetto and enjoy a wider range of music. Certainly, in terms of organisation, of the way we present out music, we have lots to learn.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: davidharley
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 12:13 PM

Living for a while in an area of the South that was virtually devoid of folk clubs or even acoustic sessions, I found that open mic audiences didn't necessarily regard a PA as a licence to talk over the performance, and that a very mixed audience was often very receptive to folky material (I mean real traddy stuff, not just acoustic singer-songwriter stuff.) Obviously all open mics are not the same, just as sessions and folk clubs vary widely. But they're not the work of the devil. :)


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 12:22 PM

Would she have got where she is without folk clubs?

One of the most important functions and successes of the folk club movement has been the way that the floor spot system has enabled a wide range of performers to develop their performing skills, their confidence in front of an audience etc....... All true, but we must not run away with the idea that it is the only route to performing success. I have seen great performers in the five countries that I have been in this year and many of them will not even have heard of folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 12:57 PM

To the above list of new London folk "clubs" I'd like to add Woodburner, The Lantern Society, The Folkroom Fortnightly, Tooting Folk. Noticeably none of them call themselves "clubs", which can give outsiders an impression that non-members are not welcome.

There are certainly plenty of talented young folk musicians around today, and looking for places to play. Just look at Folkstock .

Some established folk clubs work very hard to discover and encourage new, young, up-and-coming talent, whereas others simply book known acts that they know will bring in their regular audience. However the support & main act format naturally lends itself to fulfilling both of these needs. I have new discovered many great new artists originally as support acts.

Folk clubs (and folk music) is bound to evolve and change with the generations, particularly now, having skipped the last one or two generations. So there is definitely going to be a bit of a step change.

I think most folk clubs - and festivals too - could do A LOT MORE to really encourage and support new artists. But in many cases they need to discover these new talented artists first. They're all out there with their own websites, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, SoundCloud etc. and presented to you on a plate by songsfromtheshed.com, Ont' Sofa Gibson Sessions, Sofar Sounds, Folkstock etc. etc.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 01:40 PM

Vic,but we are discussing the uk folk clubs.
wht happens elsewhere is not relevant to the discussion, because we do not know if their had been folk clubs in those countries whether more performers would have benefited, we simply do not know.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Oggie
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 03:27 PM

Singers and musicians are getting their experience at open mikes, the unpaid part of the bill at festivals, local music venues, on the streets wherever music is being played.

Blackbeard's Tea Party was mentioned, they are long time buskers on the streets of York where their ability to hold an audience and perform was measured by the takings in the melodeon case.

Most of the singaround clubs I've been to recently certainly won't teach anyone how to perform or put a set together with a format of one tune/song around the room.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 04:58 PM

I'm still at a bit of a loss to know what folk clubs can do to bring younger people in. The answers I seem to be getting are for folk clubs to stop being folk clubs and for organisers to stop being old.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 05:22 PM

old people must not enjoy themselves they must die disgracefullyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NOZH0y7VxE andWhen you walk along the street
How often times you'll meet
Some poor old man who's getting old and grey
His age is feeble spent
In his pockets not a cent
And for shelter he has nowhere to go
His relations by the score
They'll turn him from the door
They'll meet him on a street, they'll pass him by
If you ask them why they do
They'll answer you and say,
"He is poor, he's old, he's only in the way"

Now let us cheer them all
For they won't be with us long
Don't point at them because they're old and grey
For remember while you're young
Old age to you will come
And you'll be old and grey and only in the way

There was a time, I hear
When young was not so queer
But since that time there's been an awful change
Young men with strength and might
To the parents they would strike
Yes, it happens every day, that's nothing strange
They strike for fear of toil
Whose children they would spoil
And sure for death ofttimes they do pray
For himself and faithful wife been toiling all their lives
To find they're old and only in the way
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT1TRFrIeXI not bad for an old one, when you young whippersnappers can do better, put it up if you cant shut up


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Oggie
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 05:46 PM

Dick, what is happening around the world and in the UK is very relevant. The unpalatable (to some) truth appears to be that Folk Clubs (as in booking guests on a regular basis so that said guests can earn a living) are dying out. That doesn't mean that the music is dying, that young people aren't making it, they (and a large band of older ex-folk attendees) are doing it outside the traditional Folk Club circuit.

There are notable exceptions, they're noticeable because they are the exceptions, but I have been to too many truly lousy gigs in traditional Folk Clubs in the past decade for me to make a point of visiting one. Given a choice between a concert style gig and a folk club I'll now take the former anytime even when it's in a non traditional (often standing) venue.

I'm also finding that a lot of folk clubs (for understandable reasons) play it very safe. The same guests seem to come round on a two or three yearly cycle. Is that helping young talent along?

There are exceptions, but many of these are the ones that break the mold, concerts on a Sunday afternoon, guests and promotions aimed at a festival event later in the year etc. I regretfully think that the fact that Vic couldn't find someone to take over a good folk club on his retirement says a lot about the way folk clubs are perceived and going.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 06:50 PM

"Vic,but we are discussing the uk folk clubs. wht happens elsewhere is not relevant to the discussion,"

Without getting bogged down in an argument which I won't do on Mudcat, let's consider someone that I have mentioned previously - Alasdair Roberts. I became aware of him through receiving review copies of his albums and playing them on the radio. It was clear to me right from the start that here was a major talent with a precise knowledge of the Scots tradition and who had a totally engaging way of performing Scots songs and ballads. He is a fascinating, interesting man to talk to with a deep understanding of the tradition. The first four times that I saw him was in concerts. I urged him to try to get bookings in folk clubs and he told me that he had just signed for one of the leading folk music agencies in the hope that this would happen. We booked him for our club in Lewes and he was very well received - but he has not become a folk club fixture. Look at his website; you will see that he has a full diary of dates but not one of them is to at a specialist folk music venue.
By not taking him up - and by not taking up others new names , all very talented performers of traditional material, the folk clubs have done themselves a great disservice.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 03:57 AM

if young people only want to go to folk clubs that have people of a certain age,their own, that shows that primarily they want to be in the company of their own age group, I dont accept that all young people are concerned about primarily mixing with their own age group., it may be a factor, but it is not always more important than the music
here is one way that folk clubs can increase audiences regardless of age, keep a data base of all visitors ,exchange info with other club organisers, organise a club swap with one of the clubs mentioned that has a predominantly young audience, that is one way to break down age barriers, each club has to make the different age group welcome.
    Vic, has just given his subjective opinion about a performer he thinks is talented, undoubtedly he is, but he cannot expect another organiser to have exactly the same booking policy as him, here is an example I have been booked 25 times in fifty years at Stockton folk club, 10 times in 35 years at Faversham folk club, 3 OR 4 TIMES AT LEWES SATURDAY CLUB and once at Vic Smiths old Lewes club, would it be correct for the other organisers to suggest to Vic that he should be booking me more often, in my opinion it would not., because the organiser is the one who carries the financial burden , he therefore has the right to make his own decisions based on his knowledge of his audiences preferences it is unfortunately not just about talent.
Vic if you bring up an issue and make this statement," All true, but we must not run away with the idea that it is the only route to performing success. I have seen great performers in the five countries that I have been in this year and many of them will not even have heard of folk clubs." you must expect it to be answered.
I will continue to point out that your comment is weak, because we do not know whether there would have been more great performers if there was a folk club floor spot system in those countries.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 04:06 AM

I think I might be to blame for the decline in folk clubs.
There was one on last night with a guest. A good folk club - and we are members. I usually help with the chairs at the end and play support if asked. I thought - OK, the guest is not totally my cup of tea - but add entrance fee £8 each, rounds of drinks at nearly £8 a go, petrol - its a bit of a distance and of course the raffle, and decided I did not rate the guest that much.
Is going to a folk club a habit that we have grown out of - less of a club and more like choice of entertainment for the night - as it is now not an inexpensive mid week option.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 04:39 AM

Audiences need to have more say in who gets booked?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 05:57 AM

I think Vic's example of Alasdair Roberts is a good one.

Though Ali has early grounding in folk music, in so far as his Dad was a folk musician, he didn't arrive as a performer via the usual 'new generation of folksingers' route. He first came to music fans' attention via his experimental indie/folk band, Appendix Out, who were far removed from the folk scene in terms of the venues and events they played, the range of music they played andf the fact they released their albums on the US indie label Drag City. They built a small but loyal fanbase completely outside of and independently of the folk scene.

When he released his first solo album of traditional songs, 'The Crook of my Arm', this was seen at the time as a brave move - the scene he played to was largely made up of people with little interest in or knowledge of traditional songs and ballads, so in a way he was sticking his neck out by nailing his colours to that particular mast. Since then he has continued to release both traditional albums and albums of his own songwriting - influenced by folksong but, lyrically especially, taking in a broad range of influences. Even when he has done versions of traditional songs, he has made few concessions to the expectations and norms of the folk scene. In fact, it can be argued that he aleady had a fine track record as a folksinger before the vast majority of people in the folk scene had even heard of him, and I'd wager he is still a mystery to many.

The point of this is to say that the folk club scene is only one aspect of how folk music gets out into the world. Historically, it was an important one in the UK context, without a doubt, but is far from the only model for the future. Like Vic, I listen to a lot of folk/traditional influenced music from other parts of the world, which has survived and thrived without the benefits of a folk club scene. I'm firmly of the opinion that the particular cultural and sociological phenomenon of the folk club, which undoubtedly had its heyday in previous decades and is now possibly entering its dotage, served a fantastic purpose, and for a relatively small number of people still does, but rather than mourn its passing or try to maintain it by means of a variety of life support machines of varying effectiveness, we should celebrate what it has given us and meanwhile let the young people do as they see fit. If some of them learn from, replicate or adapt the model, all well and good, but if they don't, it takes nothing away from what came before. Times change, nothing lasts forever. Those who want to play folk music will do so.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 08:19 AM

"Audiences need to have more say in who gets booked? "
Unless the organiser is funding the club as a vanity project the audience has the ultimate say. If a guest can't bring in enough punters to cover the fee then they don't get booked again. That's how the market works.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Brimbacombe
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 09:52 AM

As a semi-lapsed folkie (as far as attendance goes) still desperately clinging on to the last flushes of youth, I have had some unusual experiences of folk clubs. Being steeped in folk tradition, I generally love them for what they are. But I always find it interesting when someone asks me to introduce them to a folk club.

I must admit that I do tend to try to steer them more towards a day at a folk festival as an introduction. The variety and freedom on offer means, I think, that they're more likely to return/explore further. However, the handful who have said 'no, I'd like to try a folk club' have generally not enjoyed it I'm afraid to say. Each time I've tried to take them to see a headline act that I think will entertain a newcomer (based on many factors including mid-song conversation, liveliness of songs, etc…) they've generally already made their mind up by the time the feature act has got started as they've sat through floor singers of, let's say, variable quality. On more than one occasion the length of time the floor singers have taken up has eaten into the time the main act had.

This isn't an anti-floor singer tirade, however. I have nothing but admiration for anyone who has the bravery to stand up in front of a group of people and sing unaccompanied, and I have seen plenty of very good floor singers in my time. But the thread is based around what folk clubs can do to increase their chances of survival/attract new attendees. Based on my admittedly limited experiences on this score, if folk clubs want to attract more 'passing trade' (and that's a big if - of course folk clubs shouldn't change everything that their regulars hold dear in the hope of attracting a handful of newcomers who may or may not stick around) then this is something that a good many could better address.

Poor-quality acts hogging the limelight isn't going to pack in the punters. The better/more established clubs are probably aware of that and have ways of limiting it when they have featured acts on, perhaps by giving these singers more time on open-floor nights. But for all but one of the half-dozen people I've taken to folk clubs, their first time was also their last, I'm sad to say.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 10:16 AM

if folk clubs need reviving, then revive them, people like Vic who have organised clubs for many years should perhaps advise
in the meantime i will repeat my suggestions, folk clubs should try and do a club swap with places like sam lees nest collective, to bring down the age barrier, then try this... reduce prices [and publicise that] for students and people below the age of thirty,and for young unemployed people.
explain to older people why you are doing this.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 10:18 AM

if you are competing with open mics, promote the club, explain the advantages of the folk club, market the club, keep a data base, be positive.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 10:53 AM

Maybe you'd attract more youngsters if you stopped calling them Folk Clubs.
A whole bunch of us 17 year olds went to the dark haired Vic Smith's Folk Club in Lewes back in the late 60s; for some unaccountable reason it was deemed kind of cool...and some lovely girls used to attend too. Mind you, Lewes always had a political edge with the influx of academics based at Sussex University, which seemed to go very much hand in glove with folk music. I was introduced to the Lewes Arms by a school friend whose professor dad would play us Woodie Guthrie, Seeger plus Django...no escape really.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 10:53 AM

My pet hate in folk clubs is the raffle. The whole ceremony makes me cringe and it must totally alienate anybody under 60. It makes the event feel like bingo night in a care home.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 11:24 AM

In these hard times, foreign travel has been a bit limited lately. Been to Whitby a few times and did get an overseas booking a few years ago on The Isle of Wight.

Booking policy has been a bit reactive of late. I get flooded with requests from a wide range of artists from the wonderful to the bizarre. I'm sure Vic had the same. The job is mainly selecting the best and finding polite ways of saying no to the ones who do look as if they have at least taken the effort to look at our website. Alasdair Roberts is indeed excellent but we haven't been approached. Perhaps he should get a better agent or perhaps the agent thinks we're too down market. If we did book him, of course we would have to drop someone else. I'm not sure if the implication is that, if we booked him, the audience from the Green Door Store would turn out in droves to see him. I doubt it. If they did, would they come along to the Come-All-Ye the next week?

The only alternatives that I have seen so far seem to work on a main act with selected support basis with no clue as to how you get to be selected unless it's videoing yourself in your garden shed and sticking it up on YouTwitFace.

I realise I am slipping into the trap of thinking, along with others, that the purpose of folk clubs or even singarounds is to promote the careers of aspiring professionals. Folk clubs and singarounds and tune sessions exist as an end in themselves. They need no other justification. Oggie says "Most of the singaround clubs I've been to recently certainly won't teach anyone how to perform or put a set together with a format of one tune/song around the room.". No, that's not what they are for. The are for like minded people to get together and enjoy their own and each other's singing. If someone chooses to use it as a way of honing their skills in the hopes of moving to higher things, fine.

Oggie also says (sorry, but you keep coming out with useful quotes) - "The unpalatable (to some) truth appears to be that Folk Clubs (as in booking guests on a regular basis so that said guests can earn a living) are dying out.". No, they book guests on a regular basis to provide entertainment for the people who have laid down good money on the door. Some of those guests maybe be doing it to earn a living but I suspect the majority have day jobs.

Let's not forget that this is Folk Music and, whatever it's dubious origins, folk is a folksie sort of word for people. It's about people making music together.

(That'll learn me. Just had a general circular from Alasdair Roberts agent. I withdraw my crack about getting a better agent, one of the best in the business. Of the four acts being specifically plugged, one we booked quite recently and another turned up at the Lewes Arms quite some years ago, did a floor spot and was offered a booking there and then.)


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 11:26 AM

From a conference I attended a few years back, the Folk scene was on a par with the 60's folk revival! And attendancs were up. However the Guest Booking clubs were certainly in decline. I believe due to too many same old faces, unfriendly atttitude to anyone not playing English Trad, and the usual reluctance of Folk Clubs to organise and work together i.e Rock clubs would never survive if they took the same attitude. There is an Org Folk21 currently working to address the problem.
As for open Mic clubs, they have very much increased, because unlike the trad clubs they welcome young people and a wide variety of genres. I hear traditionalists say they don't regard this as 'Folk' I say Folk is music from numerous countries and people and the more the merrier


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 12:25 PM

When did "Trad" clubs stop welcoming young people???
Ours certainly doesn't and hopefully our booking policy which has included the majority of youngsters playing folk music today would confirm this.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 12:53 PM

well said, Dave.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 01:37 PM

When did "Trad" clubs stop welcoming young people???

I don't believe that they ever have.

However, young and indeed older people find concerts and festivals far more appealing entertainment than the tedious drivel that many floor singers and club residents offer.

I think it's as simple as that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,oggie
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 02:51 PM

My comment about learning how to put a set together was actually in response to an earlier comment about where will people learn if there aren't folk clubs.

I also agree that the function of a club is to provide entertainment to a paying audience. I fear some have forgotten that.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 03:47 PM

That is....assuming it is a paying audience. The ones I go to, I never pay, other than a raffle ticket and a drink. I get to play a few songs, and listen to others, and give support even if I think sometimes it could have been better. It just depends what you want out of a club.   And for me, it is not listening to one or two acts all evening, and not being able to sing myself.   Seems to me that such a scenario is a poor description of a club.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 04:20 PM

Surely the function of a club - if it has a function - is to please the committee and mebers.
If by having a headline act you make enough to pay for the loss on the next few nights - then so be it. Sometimes its the other way round - the singers night subsidise having a paid guest. As long as the members liked the evenings then purpose satisfied.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: TheSnail
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 06:08 PM

Sorry Oggie but, as I said, you provide useful quotes. Without a context, I have to take what you say at face value.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 06:12 PM

"Surely the function of a club - if it has a function - is to please the committee and mebers."
That's the problem. Once the committee is pandering to the old guard in the membership the club becomes inward looking and unwelcoming and decline is inevitable.

A significant proportion of clubs run by people who came into folk music in the 60s are in this condition. Younger people and those new to the scene start or go to new events and don't participate in the information exchange circuits of the classic folk scene such as local magazines (or Mudcat).


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jul 14 - 07:48 PM

I doubt if many people under 40 have any experience of participating in organizations led by committees. They'll react to that sort of institution in the same way that most folks would to the priesthood of an alien religion. The more visible the committee is, the more it'll repel newcomers.

For any other genre of music, you can go to a concert without having to sit quiet for ten minutes at the interval while some Voodoo Hoodoo priest does an incomprehensible ritual with with slips of paper and a hat.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 25 Jul 14 - 04:21 AM

A club can be inward looking - it depends on how it recruits new people.
Its my experince for things to happen you need some sort of organisation. It can be formal/ informal. Both can work. If you are dealing with a lot of money you need account records. Young people are not inexperienced in team work - most jobs demand it.
The idea of doing things without pay for the benefit of yourself and others is coming back. Just look at the Glasgow games. The Thatcher erea has passed.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Jul 14 - 06:13 AM

Living in Central Scotland, we are spoilt for choice of both clubs and sessions (not open mikes), some of which are weekly, some monthly. Sure there are some nights when the audience is thin on the ground, sometimes unexpectedly - "thought more of you would come out for XXX" - but as far as I know all the clubs I attend are not in danger of going under. I am treasurer of one very small one, which would possibly be hovering on the brink if it were not that we get the use of the back room of a pub for free, and only run 3 guest nights per year: people therefore pay a very small sum for attending the session nights in between, which helps to pay for the guests, and oh yes, we have a raffle!
Raffle income is important to clubs, tho' I agree it can go on too long in certain venues: one group I know just dispenses with all the "fun" and running about, and just publishes a very large print list of winning numbers for people to check on their way out. This gives us a lot more playing/singing time!
As for audiences having a say in who appears, most clubs I attend either ask for suggestions at their AGMs or have suggestions boxes in which you can post any ideas.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Jul 14 - 06:29 AM

so my suggestions are this in order to encourage all acoustic music venues that require people to listen and participate.
I. if you live in the north east encourage graduates and students from the folk degree course to visit by charging reduced admission for them, occasionally book students from the degree course[ i believe some clubs do this already.
2. initiate club swaps if you are in the home counties with sam lees nest collective.
3. reduce the price drastically[ and use this as a selling point and promote this] for under 30s.
4. keep a data base of all visitors.
5. exchange info with other folk club organisers.
6. make everyone welcome particularly young people.
7. run workshops and make them cheaper for young people.
8.if you are near a college promote the club with the college aloow their young students, to come in cheap
9, possibly, occasionally have an under 30s perfomers night only, with a young guest performer, flexibilty required here, older resident singers may be required, if the initial turn out is poor, this could be tried every 3 months or so.
just some ideas, that may or may not be worth trying


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Vic Smith
Date: 25 Jul 14 - 06:52 PM

I've found them! Thousands of them! Young People all enjoying traditional and folk music. ! They are all at WOMAD this weekend. Not much British stuff but some fantastic music.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 02:38 AM

ok vic, but how does that relate to the comment are folk cubs dying out, you have had years of experience of successful organising, do you think there is any merit in my suggestions, do you have any suggesions yourself


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 04:59 AM

Excellent news, Vic. I hope you're telling them all about the delights of folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,ST
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 05:01 AM

Why should it be a problem if folk clubs are dying out? As far as I know they were an artefact of my generation, getting going in the 1950s and gradually suffering from a variety of age-related ailments now. Or is it the lack of a training ground for professional folk club singers/musicians that is being lamented? Again, are these professional club performers (as opposed to concert artists) not a product of the very same, probably passing, phase/generation? Folk song and music was going long before folk clubs and it's still going but now, as people here have mentioned, at festivals (some "folk", some not), concerts, sessions and singarounds. The latter (which are plentiful if you know where to look but often not well publicised) seem to cater for what were the floor singers (and do a better job of it in my opinion) and the former for the "professionals". Their apprenticeship route may be different now but there are plenty of new, young performers at festivals and in concerts who have made it without apparently visiting many folk clubs.
It may well be that the Mudcat generation would like to see the clubs continue after them, in which case follow some of the suggestions below, but perhaps the folk clubs were just for a generation: folk music goes on even without them and that is surely what matters.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 05:59 AM

Dick, at the moment I am still recovering from the fact that no-one wanted to take over the successful club that we had been running for decades and that has influenced my opinion on the future of clubs. As has been pointed out many times on this thread, there are other ways that the music will survive.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,Mandoman77
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 06:02 AM

I'm sure music played in informal settings will always survive, its one of the things humans do when they get together. The problem occurs when you try to fomalise, catagorise, sectionalise, start inventing rules and regulations, putting labels on things etc. For me thats the problem, there should be no such thing as Folk, its just music, enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,big al whittle
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 06:37 AM

whilst I agree with Dave Sutherland that his club has been welcoming, and maybe in the last few years trad clubs have been welcoming - a by product of the bbc young tradition - and raised consciousnesses - there was a long long period when this was not the case.

I can remember Downes and Beer never getting a gig at the jolly porter in Exeter, ian Campbell's kids being disenchanted with the brum trad scene. and indeed my own lukewarm and sometimes hostile reception in trad clubs like the grey cock, the prince of wales, the star. different interpretations of the tradition were certainly not welcomed.

many of the present young acts that I see nowadays would have been given very short shrift.
the folk clubs I don't will ever die out. and the reason for this is simply that modern culture - as presented by television is so awful. macdonald hobley and lady Isabel Barnett drove the masses out of their homes in the fifties, Rolf Harris and Val Doonican did in the 60's. Chris Evans and a host of other talented celebrities are carrying on this good work

how ever horrid the trad folk clubs used to be -sometimes they were the only game in town. and I think that's how things will continue. i'd rather have the dowie dens of yarrow intoned lifelessly to me from a ringbinder than sit through the x factor.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: Musket
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 07:08 AM

There's a huge resurgence of interest in what we could call folk music, and by young people.

But what is of interest to them , sat round in a noisy pub whilst an old man with a beard gets a three chord book out and strums an old country and western song whilst other old men are leafing through their similar books?

There are some folk clubs out there still. When I find them, I also find a large younger audience.

Nothing wrong with old men and books, just don't expect anybody under 65 to say wow...


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 07:33 AM

vic, fair enough i understand how you must feel , i am just trying to be positive


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 09:21 AM

my point is that if we can get young people into more clubs, either by club exchanges as i suggested earlier, or by reduced admission, one might hope they would take over the running of clubs eventually in situations such as LEWES THURSDAY WOULD BE AVOIDED.
if i lived near LEWES, I would attempt to run it in the meantime.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,raggytash
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 09:32 AM

Yes they are, they've been doing it since I first went in one in about 1969!


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: TheSnail
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 10:26 AM

Could I just point out that folk music in Lewes is alive and well at Lewes Saturday Folk Club.

Sorry to hear that things are so bad at the folk club you play at Musket. Perhaps you should get Big Al in to liven things up.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs Dying Out
From: GUEST,tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 26 Jul 14 - 10:56 AM

I have heard this story so many times. The magazine Banjo Mandolin and Guitar in the mid 60s anounced that it was JUST possible to make a living as a folk performer if you slept on the floor and could scrape by on £20 a week which was an existing wage then. Most gigging musicians do not make much money unless you are doing covers or in a function band. You make work a lot indeed but the outgoings outway the incomings.

The decline in the pub market has also had an impact and the Kim Howell legislation put a lot of publicans off live music. in our part of London there is a vibrant acoustic music scene but it is not trad folk Young people go to blues and acoustic clubs where younger people play

Folkies tending to be older do not
Hence the old joke Whats 50 yards long has five teeth and smells of piddle. The front row at a Willie Nelson concert


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