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Vibrant UK folk music scenes

Dave the Gnome 21 Jan 19 - 07:05 AM
Johnny J 21 Jan 19 - 06:55 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 19 - 06:33 AM
Jack Campin 21 Jan 19 - 06:32 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Jan 19 - 06:05 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 19 - 06:01 AM
FreddyHeadey 21 Jan 19 - 06:01 AM
Johnny J 21 Jan 19 - 06:01 AM
Johnny J 21 Jan 19 - 05:44 AM
GUEST 21 Jan 19 - 05:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jan 19 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,Observer 20 Jan 19 - 06:00 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 19 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Peter 20 Jan 19 - 05:01 PM
Noreen 20 Jan 19 - 02:44 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Jan 19 - 01:41 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Jan 19 - 01:32 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Jan 19 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,akenaton 20 Jan 19 - 01:05 PM
Mo the caller 20 Jan 19 - 12:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 20 Jan 19 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Akenaton 20 Jan 19 - 12:11 PM
Leadfingers 20 Jan 19 - 10:14 AM
FreddyHeadey 20 Jan 19 - 09:40 AM
GUEST 20 Jan 19 - 05:36 AM
Mr Red 20 Jan 19 - 04:32 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jan 19 - 03:07 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 19 Jan 19 - 06:54 AM
GUEST 19 Jan 19 - 05:54 AM
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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 07:05 AM

Just make your own mind up, Lyn. You will not be disappointed regardless of what the nay sayers post.

It does make me wonder why people who seem to hate the current folk scene with such passion bother subscribing to a folk music forum. Some sort of masochistic pleasure I suppose:-)


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Johnny J
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 06:55 AM

The Trad organisation of which Jack speaks doesn't, in my opinion, really prepare its students for life in the real traditional music world.

There is also the expectation and a sense of entitlement which many of those who attend the courses seem to have in that they have a right to play, perform, and enter any session or singaround they choose.
Of course, they should be always made welcome within reason but the "old hands" can't be blamed for being a little wary sometimes.

So, often, these "new" musicians will just organise their own arrangements which are sometimes quite far removed from what one would have expected from a traditional style session.... This might be playing tunes from books, singing from song sheets, or groups of 30+ musicians playing the same session standards "ad nauseum".


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 06:33 AM

I wasn't going to get involved here, but since someone has on my behalf... her goes
I tend to agree with Ake here
In my opinion the folk movement's total inability to self-analyse and accept honest criticism has made the club scene a place where you are no longer guaranteed to hear a folk song (of any kind) if you visit a folk club -there are exceptions, of course, but you need to send out a scouting party to find them
The latest re-definition which has widened the goalposts to include material that was never included in the past has only made the situation worse
I have no doubt that this will be greeted with accusations that I no longer visit enough folk clubs to have the right to an opinion, but what I have described above, far from being denied, has been argued for on threads such as this
Until the club scene goes back to realising how unique and important the songs which have been regarded as "folk" for centuries, the scene will continue to slither down the pan and a beautiful and very entertaining and satisfying art form will have been lost
The strength of my Folk Scene lay in its love of the music and a recognition of what it is, rather than the present faffing around of a scene that hasn't even the courage discuss definition without using terms like "purist" and "folk police"
Its other strength is that it didn't have to rely on paid 'names' - it drew its energy from its grass roots based in the clubs rather than the overfull and largely one-off festivals   
The fact that 'What is folk song' is now forbidden territory on a forum that styles itself as being about the traditional arts says everything about what is wrong with the folk music scene today

Many thanks for awaking me from my lethargy Steve - I hope you don't regret doing so - I certainly don't
Jim


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 06:32 AM

Lyn probably could find what she's looking for if she went back to where she came from, or pretty much anywhere in the UK. It isn't something I'd want to look for. I want to be in places where the music is still alive, being passed on and adapting to new conditions. Which often means fitting in with people a lot younger than me. This doesn't always work but I'm finding enough to be satisfied with. Venues for it are very different from those of a generation ago.

Both singarounds and sessions on the old model are often cohort-based, where everybody got into it at the same time and keep doing exactly the same thing with ever-decreasing skill. (There is one trad music organization in Edinburgh with an absolutely catastrophic track record of promoting this trend). If Lyn or Akenaton want the musical world of 40 years ago, no problem, it's still there - personally I run a mile.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 06:05 AM

Aye, well, like I said, my experience of clubs in Scotland is very limited. I have never come across any clubs in England as described and I doubt if anyone has. "Open mic" nights, as the name suggests, does involve amplification but I have only ever been to one of those.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 06:01 AM

". Have you been taking lessons from Jim?"
What kind of spineless behaviour attacks members of this forum when they are not involved in the thread
Has my challenging your pet theories struck home that deeply - leavi it out please - what you are doing is trolling
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 06:01 AM

Though it's a couple of years old now Chris Rust's Folk Music Map might give you an idea of what clubs there are in the UK.
It doesn't list casual Sing-Around sessions though, only happenings which are organised enough to have a web page.
https://folkmusicmap.wordpress.com


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Johnny J
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 06:01 AM

Oh, And I haven't mentioned the "Open Mic" format yet. This is the more official set up as opposed to that mentioned in my last post.

Participants "put their name down" and get their ten minutes of fame performing to the poor hapless audience members. Mind you, most of these are waiting to do their turn and are not particularly interested in listening, anyway.

Usually performers will present their own compositions which will tend to be tuneless dirges, depressing poetry (often intended to be humorous but NOT) and so on. Once they've done their spot, the performers usually have to head away somewhere else as they've got "Something else on".

Many people enjoy this sort of thing but I prefer to share music. i.e. play and sing with people rather than AT them.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Johnny J
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 05:44 AM

There are, unfortunately, many places in Scotland such as Akenaton describes. Even at some so called folk festival sessions.

The microphone dangling over the table or being passed around the room is an instant deterrent to participation as far as I'm concerned and this practice is quite prevalent in many venues and festivals.

Also the "free for all " backing you sometimes get is also very "off putting" whether you are a singer, player, or even just a listener.

The good news is though that there are still places where you can encounter a good session or singaround. It's just a case of finding them. Generally, it's best to avoid pubs which cater for tourists and punters in general whether they be in city centres or rural tourist traps. Also, many so called "organised" gatherings at festivals can also be disappointing.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jan 19 - 05:19 AM

In my experience, Scotland can be excellent but very localised- the East Sussex, West Kent & Surrey area has lots of clubs & sessions maybe partly due to the high population but the congestion there means it's not a place I'd like to live


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 07:24 PM

i suppose it depends where you live in Scotland. you can go for miles without seeing anyone.

wouldn't surprise if the first bloke you met had a drum kit.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 06:00 PM

Hi Lyn,

Are you intending to move back to the North East of England or are your plans basically a blank page? If based around Durham I think that you will find a fairly active "folk" scene still exists although as others have warned, it has changed a great deal since you were last here. FreddyHeady has provided a link to some venues.

Good luck with your search and best wishes.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 05:01 PM

>>>>>>A movement which encompasses the whole swathe of society like it did in the sixties and seventies<<<<<.
Poppycock! Folk music has never encompassed whole swathes of society even in previous centuries. It's always been very much a minority interest. We revelled in it in the 60s and 70s as it was a breath of fresh air, largely rejected the rampant commercialism of other musics, but it was always largely off the radar and you had to go and seek it just as you have to today. There were more folk clubs but not as many singarounds and sessions and festivals. Of course there is a popular folk movement even in areas like where I live where it has lain dormant for a while. Morris teams run their course but new ones spring up in their place.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 05:01 PM

The trouble is that every club and session has its own character. You can't generalise about the English folk scene.

Chorus singing - still active in most of the clubs that I have been to in the past year. Then again I mostly go to clubs that are heavy on trad. The ones that are dominated by guitarists singing contemporary material don't seem to have the idea, but then there were clubs like that back in the 60s too.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Noreen
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 02:44 PM

Hi Lyn!
Sheffield certainly has a great folk scene and I'd love to live closer.

However there is still plenty of traditional music in the Birmingham area.
My favourite club for a good traditional sing is the Black Diamond Folk Club founded 1964, now (after several moves) at The Lamp Tavern.

The Red Lion is still going, too :)

Make sure you get to Warwick festival in the summer, as well as Whitby

Send me a PM if I can help further.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 01:41 PM

BTW Morris dance practice was good as well. We can at least agree on that :-)


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 01:32 PM

The only folk based pub i have been to in Scotland is Sandy Ball's in Edinborough. That was a wonderful session and nothing like as described. Both folk clubs I have been to this week were joyful and, again, nothing like as described. In all my days of travelling round England for work, I never found a club as described.

There are festivals and concerts that are amplified as required and some bands use percussion. Last year I saw both Steeleye Span and Blackbeards Tea Party in concert. Both are loud and use drum and bass to great effect but they have as much to do with folk clubs as Ian McKellen has to do with the local amdram group.

Once again I say take no notice of the above and listen to the advice of those who actually go to and run folk clubs and events like those who posted earlier.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 01:23 PM

That's just not true, Aken. Have you been taking lessons from Jim?
My own area (Hull) is no longer renowned as a hotbed of folk music, but I can go to regular joyful singarounds, music sessions, concerts and be well entertained, and I'm sure the other places mentioned above have plenty of the same. Shame on you!


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 01:05 PM

"Clubs" are as numerous as hens teeth in Scotland. Most clubs were held in large pubs or Hotels.....Folk music of the amateur variety is no longer encouraged, as most pubs and hotels cater for the "meals trade"......scruffy, bearded personages encumbered by various pipes wooden boxes and other paraphernalia.....are not made welcome.
From what I have seen on youtube, the Australian folk scene has similarities to the Scottish folk culture of forty years ago.
The good old days indeed.
The English club scene appears to be a joyless, soulless abyss, only the Morris dancers providing any light relief.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Mo the caller
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 12:54 PM

True there are some Folk Festivals who do book the 'big names' - artists who play really good music if only they didn't deafen us with amplified stamping (is it called a stompbox?)
But luckily there are Festivals like Whitby that books traditional singers and players, and runs lots of workshops where we can learn and participate. The booked artist are so generous with their knowledge - even though some of us are beginners or once a year learners.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 12:34 PM

Take no notice, Trimdon Lass. The folk music scene is nothing like as described above. I have been to 2 local (North/West Yorkshire) folk clubs this week and there was plenty chorus singing and not a drum kit in sight. I am sure all the contributors from other regions will confirm that their clubs are the same.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: GUEST,Akenaton
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 12:11 PM

If you have been living in Australia for some time you will find the folk scene in the UK changed beyond recognition. Chorus singing is no longer appreciated, backing is usually composed of half an orchestra.
There is quite a lot of loud banging from the drum kits and the ability to jump up and down amidst the cacophony has been honed into a fine art.......Don't even consider coming to Scotland, though I believe there are still small pockets of the tradition surviving in rural Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 10:14 AM

I am in West London , and having a Red Ken Freedom pass giving free public transport and can visit Live Folk nearly every day of the week on Public Transport . There are several Open Mic evenings as well ad Clubs of all sorts , some being Concert types , others having regular guests as well as floor singers , and still quite a few purely 'singaround' format .


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 09:40 AM

"NorthumbriaFolk" has a page listing local and regional diaries
http://northumbriafolk.org.uk/otherdiaries.html


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 05:36 AM

I've always found the Teesside/North Yorkshire quite a lively folk area- Guisboro', Saltburn, Redcar, Stockton etc - get a paper copy of the NE England quarterly magazine 'Folk Roundabout'- 60 plus pages about clubs, sessions, singarounds from Berwick to Leeds.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Mr Red
Date: 20 Jan 19 - 04:32 AM

My thought was Sheffield.
But have a look at mister.red for the Mid West of England (& de Dwyrain Cymru).

If you prefer something more rural I can recommend Stroud. There are 3 Irish sessions a month one very Irish, a singaround that meets 3 times/mth, a weekly (& a monthly) folk club, a Ceilidh series (but we don't know what is happening next season), a monthly French Dance and a circle dance probably twice a month and depending how far you travel there are things in Gloucester, Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean. A Wassail in January, and a Folk Weekend in September. And the town is a nice size, for me anyway. It has a thriving Green Party and a reputation for being alternative. Two Saturday markets, one a renowned Farmers Market (one on Friday). A multiplex Cinema and a well presented Theatre run by the local amateur group that hosts touring productions, and two performance venues, Lansdown Hall and the Sub Rooms. Worth a recce before you make any decisions. We are friendly.

According to Wiki - Stroud the crime stats are good (all relative). And is on the main line to Lundun (innit?) something like an hourly service (2 hourly direct). And being on the edge of the Costwolds has some exceedingly pretty villages nearby.


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Subject: RE: Vibrant UK folk music scenes
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jan 19 - 03:07 PM

Okay,
I would certainly recommend Sheffield which has a vibrant scene. I think the scene around Tyneside is also quite vibrant but I don't know quite so much about it nowadays, so if you moved back to Co. Durham you could sample both of these areas. I think there is more integration in these areas than say in London which has lots of separate pockets. When I say integration I'm referring to a solid core of enthusiasts who go around to many venues and support all sorts of folk activities, dance, tunes, song etc. I'm not from either of these 2 areas by the way. If you are a mainly festival-goer then Whitby seems to be the place nowadays.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat FAQ - Newcomer's Guide
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 19 Jan 19 - 06:54 AM

Hi Lyn - welcome back, and welcome aboard

It might be an idea to join Mudcat, and then start a new thread with a clear idea of your question in the title, which is more likely to spark some response. The problem with asking it here is that a lot of the regulars, not being newcomers or needing a guide to the site, simply won't see it.

You don't have to post under your own name if you don't feel like it, just use a consistent identity so people will be able to recognise you. (I think "Trimdon Lass" is lovely!)

Having said all that, I'm afraid I can't help with any suggestions, because I'm a long time out of the UK myself, living in Ireland now. I have such golden memories of the clubs & fests, but don't know what's around these days. I hope you find what you're looking for.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Mudcat FAQ - Newcomer's Guide
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jan 19 - 05:54 AM

Hi Everyone

After a long time living in Australia, I'm returning to the UK and I'd like to move to an area that is creative with lots of folk clubs nearby. Hopefully this site will reconnect me with folkie friends of long ago. My name is Lyn Briggs and I'm originally from Trimdon Village, Co Durham then I moved to Birmingham where I sang at the Bell and Pump, Red Lion and Birmingham Traditional Music Club to name but a few. I'd be interested to find out where the most vibrant folk music scene is in the UK.

Trimdon Lass


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