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Harrogate Folk Club closing

treewind 13 Dec 05 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Guest; Rockin' Ed 13 Dec 05 - 11:05 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 05 - 07:57 AM
breezy 06 Dec 05 - 05:03 AM
Mary Humphreys 05 Dec 05 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,The Horse's Mouth 05 Dec 05 - 04:15 PM
Lynda Finn 02 Nov 05 - 04:09 PM
The Unicorn Man 02 Nov 05 - 02:51 PM
MoorleyMan 02 Nov 05 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,red max 02 Nov 05 - 05:19 AM
The Unicorn Man 01 Nov 05 - 12:08 PM
MoorleyMan 31 Oct 05 - 02:18 PM
R. Padgett 28 Oct 05 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 27 Oct 05 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,Jon 27 Oct 05 - 07:37 PM
GUEST 27 Oct 05 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,old git 27 Oct 05 - 06:34 PM
John Routledge 27 Oct 05 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,paderevski 27 Oct 05 - 05:26 PM
Magic Gillian 17 Oct 05 - 07:13 AM
treewind 16 Oct 05 - 06:50 PM
andymac 16 Oct 05 - 06:40 PM
MoorleyMan 16 Oct 05 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Rej Bullhorn 16 Oct 05 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,schrodingasCat 16 Oct 05 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,schrodingascat 16 Oct 05 - 09:07 AM
paderevski 16 Oct 05 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,H 16 Oct 05 - 07:12 AM
GUEST 16 Oct 05 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,Am I Bothered 16 Oct 05 - 02:40 AM
GUEST,Hybridpicker 16 Oct 05 - 12:58 AM
GUEST,Ray . 15 Oct 05 - 09:13 PM
stallion 15 Oct 05 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,The Horse's Mouth 14 Oct 05 - 08:41 PM
Singing Referee 14 Oct 05 - 06:53 PM
MoorleyMan 14 Oct 05 - 02:19 PM
Singing Referee 14 Oct 05 - 11:06 AM
HipflaskAndy 14 Oct 05 - 10:03 AM
Nick 14 Oct 05 - 07:47 AM
Singing Referee 14 Oct 05 - 07:19 AM
MoorleyMan 14 Oct 05 - 05:54 AM
Paco Rabanne 14 Oct 05 - 05:28 AM
Dave Hanson 14 Oct 05 - 05:26 AM
Paco Rabanne 14 Oct 05 - 05:21 AM
Dave Hanson 14 Oct 05 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,red max 13 Oct 05 - 01:53 PM
nutty 13 Oct 05 - 01:47 PM
R. Padgett 13 Oct 05 - 11:37 AM
treewind 13 Oct 05 - 10:55 AM
Dave Hanson 13 Oct 05 - 09:45 AM
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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: treewind
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 11:47 AM

"make a semi-pro living" ?
My idea of semi-pro is doing paid gigs, but having a day job to pay the bills. That's what I do, anyway, though I've never seriously applied the "semi-pro" label to myself. I guess you drop the "semi" when you stop doing the day job and do music full time. It's a mistake, unfortunately, to think that you automatically make a living out of it at that point...

Anyway, Ray's back in business with something slightly different, so don't give up forever!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,Guest; Rockin' Ed
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 11:05 AM

I should like to post my vote of thanks to Ray for all his efforts trying to keep Friday 13th going (in hindsight, was this such a wise choice of name?)

I am a performer who is trying to make a semi-pro living (Actually at what point do you stop being semi-pro and become a pro? I have always wondered. Are you semi pro when you get paid for some gigs and not others? Are you a semi pro if you are working paid gigs regularly, say in excess of 50 a year, but have to maintain a regular, non-musical part-time job as well, as there isn't enough money in it to live? Do you only become a pro once you give up all regular non-musical employment and just make music for a living? Is starvation the key?)

I digress. Ray tried his damnedest to get support for booking me at Friday 13th, but to no avail. We tried everything. Seems I was too sing-y for the musicians and too musician-y for the singers and not well enough known for anybody. Hey ho.

Thanks Ray, we've shared some jolly email conversations. I'm sure our paths will cross sooner or later.

Rockin'


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 07:57 AM

It's all down to economics breezy. Travel costs eating in to fees, petrol, food etc. If a big name shares the bill he/she shares the money.It's getting to be worth nobody's while to do a round trip of 300 miles for, let's say £200.00. petrol £30,00. If they have an a agent 15% £30.00 Food and drink £10,00 leaving £130,00 on which they are then taxed by the govt. And don't multiply that by five and say it's a good living. For most club pros you can't even multiply it by two. Cd sales help, but folk club audiences buy the least number on average per audience compared with other venues. I've never understood why a non-folk village hall audience buys more than a folk club audience by three to one!
Anyway, have a nice break and give it another go. The folk club scene is in it's death throes, but don't give up without a fight!


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: breezy
Date: 06 Dec 05 - 05:03 AM

43 years without a sabbatickle !!

Just done 5 as an organiser, its been a hoot.

But its time for a time out

One problem is 'big' names dont want to share the bill.

So I told em otherwise.

Agents dont want money going to pay for support acts, bloody arrogance if you ask me.

Its balancing all 3 aims into one evening is the answer.

to do so weekly is a daunting challenge.


Of gourse not having sufficient coverage on a regular local and national media doesnt help



Dont see any evidence of 'youngsters' organising clubs yet, they are far too full of self interest at the moment trying to get waht they can out of wherever they can..then maybe I've emissed some, though I hear Bodmin have young blood in Steve A. but thats a committee continuation thing.

All the best

breezy from St Albans off on a sabbatickle


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 05:25 PM

Glad to hear that there will still be a regular folk presence at Harrogate and that Ray, who had such an enlightened vision of what a folk club should be has not taken his bat home permanently.
Ray, remember the old saying 'Nil carborundum illegitimi'.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,The Horse's Mouth
Date: 05 Dec 05 - 04:15 PM

The dust is already swirling as the phoenix prepares to rise - Friday 13th Folk Club will transmutate as it rises from the ashes.
    Three members of the club: Edna Barker, Richard Sykes and Roy Hardacre have decided to continue the singers' nights on a monthly basis under a new name. For my part I have found a way to address the problem of giving a platform to lesser-known talent: I aim to put on an occasional concert with a "big-name" headline act, but will feature a paid support by performers of the type I would have liked to give gigs to in the past. To pay the support will bung an extra pound or two onto the ticket price but we have never been expensive enough for this to be so much of a problem anyway.
So - all things to all people eh? No chance; the moaners will soon find fault with some aspect of this, just watch this space.
All the best,
            Ray Black


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Lynda Finn
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 04:09 PM

I have just read this thread with a view to learning by others experiences as I began the Waitakere Folk Club just over a year ago.

We are in the excellent position of not needing to pay for a venue, therefore it doesn't matter a hoot how many people turn up, we don't have costs to cover (and I put on a good feed too!)

If I asked each member of our club what they wanted from it, they would each have a different answer, so we try to cater for everyone by giving them the opportunity to have, or do, what they wish.

Of course if someone were to say, "I want to hear Martin Carthy" I would need to ask that person to finance Martin's fee!!

As for:
"Who wants to go and see some old fart with his or her finger in their ear singing without any instrument accompanying?"

You can reduce anything you don't like with such derogatory terms.

You might equally say: 'Who wants to hear the guy singing the song in its original form?'   "Boring old fart" is a matter of opinion.

The short answer to those queries is 'Me, for starters.'

I love unaccompanied singing, and I forgive those who are out of tune because we're not all Maddy Prior.

Folk songs and performances were, in my humble opinion, never meant to be flash, polished entertainments (good and welcome though these now are) but part of the heart, warp and weft of ordinary society.

That Harrogate is closing is incredibly sad, as indeed it is when any club closes but look what a wonderfully long run it's had, what joy and vibrancy it brought to thousands and thousands of people over the years. Marvellous, well done, thankyou, you're an inspiration.

I take my hat off to the dedicated people who had the vision to start it, maintain it and keep in going - lately in the face of an indifferent public.

I don't suppose our little club here in Waitakere will ever aspire to have top class acts for profit; we're just content at the moment to enjoy the excellent musicians and singers who turn up to be heard and to listen, with pleasure, to others; even the boring old farts with their finger in their ears.

If you are ever out our way and want to join us for a couple of hours of music and good food, details can be had from waitakerefolkclub@yahoo.co.nz

Meantime, thanks to all who made the Harrogate club what it was, you can be tremendously proud of such a legacy.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: The Unicorn Man
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 02:51 PM

Cheers Red Max. I did'nt have my dictionary, I have now lucky for me or I would have spelt it wrong.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 02:07 PM

Some good and valid points well made, Red Max.
(The latter paragraph being one reason why I didn't move to Harrogate when I had the chance some 15 years ago...)


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,red max
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 05:19 AM

According to Chambers it means:

Apathy: noun, lack of interest or enthusiasm

This thread has wandered off into speculation about why folk clubs fail, and some valid points have been made about issues such as an unwelcoming atmosphere, bad floor singers etc. All well and good, but I can assure you that none of these shortcomings could be applied to the Friday 13th Club. The first time I went there I was made to feel very welcome, and after only a couple of visits I felt like an old-timer. The standard of the floor singers is pretty good, and there's certainly no sense of a clique. What exactly was Ray Black doing wrong?

Perhaps it's a facile excuse to blame the apathy of a town's population, and it's easy to opt for vague rantings about the public's descent into indifferent chav-dom, but I maintain that most Harrogate dwellers are decidedly lethargic and complacent. Increasingly it and nearby villages are becoming bases for Leeds commuters. They get a nice house, find a nice school for their kids then buy a nice big TV and spend most of their leisure time planted in front of it. A folk club depends on a vibrant and participative community, and Harrogate has no such thing


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: The Unicorn Man
Date: 01 Nov 05 - 12:08 PM

Sorry to hear this news, usual story, but what does apathy mean?


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 31 Oct 05 - 02:18 PM

Re Guest, Schrodingas Cat - post of 16 October -
The phone number you give to check on the Corner House gathering is no good - the folks on that line have never heard of Ron. Did it get printed right? Or is there anyone else we could check with?


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: R. Padgett
Date: 28 Oct 05 - 11:42 AM

I find it very strange that if youngsters are coming though with musical and a few with singing ability that this does not seem to be reflected in the increase in venues specifically for them

That is the 'open mike' nights alluded to

To my mind the Folk Club scene still affords a place for young and new talent to showcase their abilities

Indeed Folk Clubs still book very many acts all through the Uk and encourage new talent

A move towards positive discrimination for younger performers which has occured is really a curates egg, good in places ~ dont book young uns simply because of that. (i dont want to get into any arguements about positive discrimination here thank you)!

There are still very many excellent musicians and singers who continue to provide the back bone of the very strong Folk Club scene in the UK. Many of these Musicians/singers continue to meet regularly and pass on their expertise to musicians and non musicians alike

Long may it be so

Main point is that no viable alternative vehicle has yet to my mind been set up to challenge the Folk Clubs ~ until there is one why not support your local FC and visit elsewhere occasionally

Ray


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 27 Oct 05 - 07:47 PM

One problem is that there is so much variation in what constitutes a "folk club" that the term does not provide a useful guide to what you will find when you go there.

I have gone to clubs which are pure concerts with a booked guest and booked supprt act and I have gone to clubs which would in American terms be called "song circles" where people really do not want an audience at all.

If any audience drops below a certain critical mass (both in total numbers and in turnover) then the club is on its way out. It may be possible to turn the situation around but that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Usually it is better to recognise that it is time to move on.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 Oct 05 - 07:37 PM

Many clubs close for the summer season

I guess that's a swings and roundabouts one depending where in the UK you are thinking of, Nutty. The clubs I was involved with, Llandudno and potentially Conwy (although in my memory it always kept a good core of regulars) was the winter. The long drag in Llandudno came after Christmas - I think we closed for 2 weeks and didn't book guests for a couple of months. Summer with holiday makers around was easy.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Oct 05 - 07:27 PM

this "death of folk clubs"    "death of folk music" debate seems to come around every 5 years or so...hmmmmmmmm!!!


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,old git
Date: 27 Oct 05 - 06:34 PM

agree with most of what MoorleyMan says but would just like to add for the benefit of Rej Bullhorn that the change from amateur to professional is not necesarily the indication of a higher standard of performance. Some of the best singers/musicians/entertainers I have met and continue to meet in folk clubs and festival singarounds have chosen not to make it their sole source of income...does this make them "inferior" floorsingers....I think not
Whatever age of performer you are and however "fringe" your music may be,come to Grimsby Folk Club. I can asssure you you will be welcomed.
Sorry to hear of the demise of the Harrrogate club


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: John Routledge
Date: 27 Oct 05 - 05:55 PM

Interesting conclusion Guest paderevski.

Worthy of a full debate in it's own right

Some Folk Clubs even give me the creeps even though I was around in the Sixties :0)


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,paderevski
Date: 27 Oct 05 - 05:26 PM

Let's face it - folk clubs are not dead - they are de-composing !!

(F13) Harrogate has done more than any other club I know to encourage young people, with regular extended 'floor spots' and an annual 'youth night'.

My observation of young people and folk clubs is thus :-

A young person will come in, play their 1 or 2 songs and leave (i've also seen an increasing number of adults do this). They are not 'in the club' as such.

One young person told me of his local folk club "I don't go there, it gives me the creeps". He was not talking so much about age difference as 'mind set'.

Folk clubs are seen as a clique. Young People have no affinity with the audience, so they have nothing to give.

As for the mis-guided concept that folk clubs are fullfilling a role by providing a place to 'learn their craft' , a platform for improvement' and a place for 'free expression.

Take a look around your local town. How many venues are offering an 'open mic night' or 'acoustic jam' .

These, along with, schools, colleges, youth clubs etc provide far more young person friendly opportunities.

Folk Music is alive and in good hands

IT'S THE FOLK CLUBS, THAT ARE NOT !


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Magic Gillian
Date: 17 Oct 05 - 07:13 AM

it's always sad when a folk club dies. i did my first floor spot at the marsden inn (south shields) before it fell into the sea. i was rubbish, but everyone encouraged me because i was rubbish and they knew i would get better. happily for everyone else and my parents i did get better. i can't think of another setting where beginners or people who want to air a new number can enjoy an attentive, respectful audience.
i also remember playing at the empress and leaving my teddy bear behind and having to pick him up on the way back from nottingham. he was trolleyed after that weekend. and, by the way, tom bliss was singing in the floor spots so divvent knock it.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: treewind
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 06:50 PM

"Rej", I introduced the term "superstars" as a convenient shorthand for performers who were famous enough to attract a bigger audience, the point being that they are in a minority. I've no idea how well known they are to "non-folkies", but they're probably known to many who wouldn't regularly go to a folk club (which is not quite the same thing), and if they've been on TV then they'll be more widely known.

As for aspiring young performers... what Moorley Man said!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: andymac
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 06:40 PM

Well, first point is that I am sorry to hear of another club closing, although I've never been to Harrogate, I have seen the same thing happen in Glasgow and nearby over the years..

However, there have also been two smaller clubs open in the city in the last few years and to my mind they are closer to what a folk club should be about. ie intimacy and friendliness and welcoming.

I have no problem with artists making a living from folk music, who am I to say someone shouldn't? But to my mind there should be a connection between the artist and the audience. Too many people these days seem too quick to become very commercial and set up barriers between themselves and the audiences.

As an example, I know of one artist who told a "funny" story to her audience about a ballad containing the word "silly" and wondering why.. Now I happened to know why (a rarity) and thought I would pass it on at the end..but got the response of "yeah I know, but I just tell it anyway..."
Disagree if you will, but to me that is just arrogant and patronsisng to the audience and doesn't set the standard of a "professional and high quality performance" mentioned above...and yes, the artist was one of those mentioned...

As for floor singers not being up to scratch, the point of a floor spot, besides entertainment for the audience, is to encourage people to learn new songs/tunes, gain confidence as a singer/musician and perhaps become the booked artists of the future.. Or should we expect them to just appear fully-formed?

I also know clubs can be clique-ish and appear daunting to someone coming along for the first time, and I'm sure many recognise this and will continue to work hard at it, nowhere and no-one's perfect..

And finally, who says "folk music will be safe in their hands"? Who said we have to leave to others to dictate what shape it will be in?Why can't we all have a hand in making it secure and in a safe state?

The alternative is not a "club" but a weekly gig with no sense of ownership by those going along. Lots of (relatively) big names, but no space for those who might fall through the cracks..
Is that really what we want?
Well I know I don't...

Andymac


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 06:30 PM

Rej Bullhorn seems to think he/she knows "what the public wants", yet balances some shrewd comments with what seems rather dangerous assumption.

But he/she evidently has a beef with floor singers that I don't think is entirely justified. On the majority of times I've attended the Friday 13th (Harrogate) folk club over the years the floor singers have been perfectly acceptable, on one recent occasion at least the equal of the booked guest group.
What Rej is forgetting is that everyone has to learn the craft somehow and, however talented they are, performers don't just spring from nowhere fully formed and top-class standard in front of a paying audience, just like that! Think how any of the names mentioned started out - by doing floor spots, you bet!... Limited exposure leads to greater, and confidence and ability grows with greater exposure; I've seen some really talented floor singers/instrumentalists failing to achieve their potential by being denied that crucial exposure - how else can the talent get heard?
Having a healthy variety of decent floor singers is a good indication of the health of a folk club anyway - those who continually churn out the same resident band doing the same old material week upon week (however competently) are doing neither themselves (nor the booked guests, nor their audience come to that) any favours. Not to mention the undesirable element of over-exposure that Rej mentions. Rej also refers to York folk club - now there's one that's noted for its professionalism, high standard of floor singers etc. As is the Ryburn 3Step club, one of the county's best, where every one of the floor singers is good enough to do a full booking!
So c'mon Rej, take those blinkers off!


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,Rej Bullhorn
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 05:26 PM

Mention is made in previous correspondance of "superstars"; I assume we are referring to performers whose excellence over the years means they have managed to get enough gigs to earn enough to sustain a reasonable standard of living from the folk scene. Thing is, if you mention their names to other than folkies, they haven't a clue who any of them are – hardly "superstar" status then. Why do I get the feeling they are held in some disdain by some people on the folk scene?

Unfortunately, I think the key issue here is that of the "floor singer" or whatever you want to call them. What is the objective here? I would not discourage the concept of people learning acoustic music together from each other, perhaps encouraged by a more experienced person but the difficulty arises when this is combined with the presentation by a professional performer where the audience have paid. If people are paying for a performance then they expect a certain standard; clearly it would appear this is not being achieved by the current participants in Harrogate.

The whole idea that everyone can perform folk music worries me. There are workshops at Festivals and local encouragement to "join in" but, whilst providing plenty of enjoyment, I'm not sure that achieves the desired goal, that of keeping folk music alive. If there is little quality, anyone listening turns off and forms a negative image in there mind. Regretably, I think this is probably the case in the Harrogate area. The idea that you can present sub-standard music and expect money for it just doesn't work.

I would suggest that a monthly gig at the Empress, presenting the best of the folk scene is what the public wants, perhaps it would be advisable to consult with York, Leeds, Pannal, whatever, clubs to ensure the same artists aren't getting over exposed and some artists no work at all, and, indeed, ensuring the longer term future for the clubs and the music. There is obviously a market for professionally presented folk music but it will have to stand on its own two feet. You make ask how the young ones will get to the required standard – I don't know the answer to that but people like Emily Smith, Seth Lakeman, Kate Rusby, Spiers and Boden and other successful younger performers do know. I think they would say that they have aspired to a professional and high quality performance. Folk music will be safe in their hands.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,schrodingasCat
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 09:18 AM

I forgot to say that it is literally the second and last sundays of the month from 9pm till midnight If you want to check whether it is on before travelling, ring Ron via 0113 2688200
Cat


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,schrodingascat
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 09:07 AM

I was there in 1962 at the Harrogate folk club when it was first at the Empress.We (my mate and me) used to go there at first because there was a chance of getting a bewer (Harrogate slang for a young lady) and then decided we liked the music a lot.
My observation is that the clubs which seem to do a bit better are the ones which are not tucked away in an upper room but are part of the pub, in an alcove somewhere. I know it is difficult because of general noise, but its not impossible to have really good nights at this type of venue. Pool immediately springs to mind as well as the Princess at rawdon (which I know closed but this was not really due to lack of support but more problems with new landlords.) The beauty of having the club in an alcove rather than and isolated room is that the other people (non folkies in the pub) hear some of our beloved music and LIKE it and this acts as oxygen to the whole thing. We have a gathering here in Leeds which meets at the Corner House Club on the second and last Sunday of the month and the atmosphere there as well as the quality of the music is great. It is only in its embryo stages really, but people would be welcome to come. It is run by Ron Hartley (doctor Ron) Lancashire folky of great calibre. Some of the regulars are Barbara Kempf (Brilliant guitarist and singer) Seamus Markey that Irish man of note. Raftery the Poet ..well known in leeds for his outstanding performance poetry. Mike Garner brilliant banjo player and guitarist as well as destinctive singer. Peter Taylor ..wonderful interpreter of the English song. Karl Griffin singer of good traditional chorus songs. Russ   brilliant English concertina player and singer of North East traditional stuff. Stuart Regan also North East traditional. Linda Coffey and Geoff her new Hubby who are brilliant together as well as seperately.   Directly opposite St Gemmas on the Harrogate Road. You will be welcome

PS The upper room concept can still be used for the revered guests

CAt


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: paderevski
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 07:38 AM

Have you guys got nothing better to do than bang on about Friday 13th FC etc...........At five past six on a sunday morning !!


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,H
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 07:12 AM

I am bothered.
I must admit to only just going to folk clubs again in the past year, and trying to overcome my nerves to sing again. I was given an enthusiastic ans warm welcome by all the people at the friday 13th folk club. It was a lovely place to sing.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 06:07 AM

Hope it does keep going


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,Am I Bothered
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 02:40 AM

Couldn't agree with you more Hybridpicker.

Who wants to go and see some old fart with his or her finger in their ear singing without any instrument accompanying.

Whats worse, is having to listen to people who think they are gods gift to singing, who are totally out of tune, unable to remember their words etc.

people aren't going to bother.

How many times have I seen new people come into a folk club sit down and wait for an eternity without anybody involving them in conversation and making them feel thoroughly unwelcome, eventually somebody decides it would be a good idea to get started. That person never returns and worse tells everybody else how crap it is. That club is normally the one that bleats on about how friendly they are. Yes they are, if you are in the clique. They are so oblivious of the newcomers.

If you want a sinaround, great - but don't whinge and moan if you don't get an audience.

The Folk world is in general a minority interest and will remain so until younger blood takes over and runs it their way.

Move over you old fogies and let the youngsters run it.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,Hybridpicker
Date: 16 Oct 05 - 12:58 AM

I think virtually all folkclubs - of the Harrogate type - in England will be gone in 10 years - if only for the fact that the majority of the residents/audience will just be too old to bother! I've stopped going to my local club because it's just so boring! They've had the same bunch of residents for years, singing the same songs. Even if the residents were all fanastic performers, after so many years a change would be needed.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,Ray .
Date: 15 Oct 05 - 09:13 PM

I remember the folk club in Harrogate from years ago, sorry to hear of it's demise, but the same story is true of many folk clubs in the area.
I met my wife in the old days of the folk clubs, when we were all students, we went along every Monday because the place was packed with young girls wholoved what was going on, not so these days.
Slowly but surely the English folkscene is dying, and English folkies are to blame for this, with their accent upon tradidion,Irish and Scottish thrives because it is engrained into the lives of those who play it.
Good luck to those who think otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: stallion
Date: 15 Oct 05 - 11:02 AM

Sad ray, the club came highly recommended by Ben & Emily but we won't get to sing for you. I think you were spot on with your observations, people seem to want to be "entertained" not have a rollicking good sing, why is that?
Peter
2BS&S


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,The Horse's Mouth
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 08:41 PM

Well I never! I was told this evening of a thread about Friday 13th Folk Club. How heartening it was to read such supportive stuff, incidentally who re-named it Harrogate Folk Club? It was fun reading people asking questions and others answering on my behalf. They could have asked me and saved a lot of time, but I thank the ones who understand the situation and spelt it out clearly enough. However I will just say two things.
    One is the mildly obsessive "apathy" strand. I did not use this word, one which seems to have hijacked the thread somewhat. So you know what was actually said I will copy the contents of my "Obituary" mailshot at the end of this outpouring. If it seems very first person that is because I effectively do all the behind-the-scenes work. Roy won't mind me saying this as he is the first to admit that his main contribution to the club is in an "on-the-night" capacity.
    I realise that we are not alone and that folk club interest is waning in other places. I have a few theories about why this is the case and what follows is only one part of it.
    This second point is my own obsessive thread. It links a well known national folk magazine editor with a well known witch. I believe the simultaneous rise of folk festival support and decline of folk club support both received a tremendous boost from the editor of a so called folk magazine. One which only noticed that Britain had a tradition of its own after The Living Tradition sprang up as an antidote to this trend driven organ. Issue after issue would bang on about how folk clubs were no longer one of those trends and how it was time to move on and let them die. If a lot of people read a magazine it is fair to assume that a large number of them will respect its editor's views. It will therefore follow that his words will have much influence. If you think this is to accord him too much power I will make the following analogy: I for one believed the Sun's crowing headline (It was the Sun wot won it) when they claimed to have elected Margaret Thatcher. I hate to credit this vile publication with anything, but their readership is probably the biggest single block vote in Britain. Mention of this lady brings me to the link I referred to at the beginning of this paragraph. When she kept banging on about there being no such thing as society, and pouring scorn on anyone who begged to differ, she, like magazine editors, had enough of a following to ensure that her assertion came to be widely accepted.
    I think I'd better stop here, those of you who receive The Ramblings of an Old Codger will think I am trying to compete!
All the best,
             Ray Black

FRIDAY 13th FOLK CLUB OBITUARY NOTICE

Hi All,
       Friday 13th Folk Club will cease to exist after Christmas. I worked as hard as I could to create what I envisaged a good club to be and achieved only a third of that ideal.
    My feelings about a good folk club is that it should serve three basic functions, all of which we seemed to manage at one time, but not any more. They are:

1. PARTICIPATORY: The Performers' and Listeners' evenings should give a chance for people to share songs and banter with an audience and with each other. As these have not been very well attended I assume my opinions are not generally held ones.
2. PROVIDING A PLATFORM FOR LESSER KNOWN TALENT: Giving gigs to talented, but not-yet-famous artists should be a very strong feature of any folk club. Every time we try this we lose a lot of money by failing to get a decent sized audience. These performers are stuck in the world's smallest vicious circle: They can't get a gig 'til they get a name, and they can't get a name 'til they get a gig.
3. BRINGING "BIG NAMES" TO TOWN: This works a treat, we are already more than half sold-out for Vin Garbutt in December and well on the way to being completely sold-out for Spiers and Boden in November.

    Unfortunately "big" gigs are only one aspect of the club and not enough for me to go on giving up so much of my time for. I do not make any money from the club, I do it for love. Put in maudlin terms, I feel as if my "lover" has let me down.

    The Tuesday session at the Tap and Spile will continue, if interested there is a CD of one of our session for sale in the pub, price - £3.50.

    We will be recording one of some of our regular local performers which will be available in the future.

    On Monday we are involved in the Charm acoustic evening at The Blues Bar. It would be good if we could pack the place so full of non-smokers that the usual "puffers" can't fit in. Admission is free and we will start playing at 8.15, if you get in early we can beat the "foggies" to it.

    Don't forget the other gigs we have on between now and Christmas, come while you still can and help us to have a really good final season.
All the best,
                Ray


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Singing Referee
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 06:53 PM

Fairenuff!

I'll be up at Otley on 2nd of November. Be delighted to continue debate then over a pint with anyone who can be bothered ;<). If not I'll just enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 02:19 PM

Yes, folk club fortunes have a habit of being cyclic. I can think of one local club where singers' nights and guest nights alike now attract a turnout of 60+ (and I don't mean the average age of the folks!), where not all that long ago it struggled to reach 20 on some nights. There are other local clubs which have an equally vibrant atmosphere etc but never seem to get much beyond double-figures even when they put on a "name" guest - go figure! But do give Ray his due, for he's stuck in there longer than most and kept the club going whatever. Catchment area, accessibility, competition, all these can be important factors in a club's fortunes, but in Harrogate's case the club's decline (in terms of patronage)has not been Ray's fault in any way. The guy deserves a medal!

As for the apathy issue, well you make some fair points, Ref. Keep on singing!
Apathy is indeed a strange beast, and takes many forms - and it's often not even a conscious state, it just happens, creeps up, but
oh sod it, I just can't be bothered to think about why ....


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Singing Referee
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 11:06 AM

Never meant to impune the efforts of anyone enthusiastic enough to run a folk club. I have undying admiration for anyone so brave.

Funny word 'apathy' though. It tries to define something that does not exist!

An absence of emotion or enthusiasm

A state of not caring; not wanting to know; complacency; indifference

You could say that most people are 'apathetic' towards something that does not appeal to them. So why does something that obviously used to appeal, no longer do so?

All I'm saying is you can't just put it down to 'apathy'.

There has to be an underlying reason why the club is no longer well enough supported. If you like; something caused the 'apathy'.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 10:03 AM

Ayup yon Vocalisin' Match Official,
I can assure you there's no 'easy get out' excuse in the case of these two hard working enthusiasts.
They've tried everything over many years! Bless 'em.

Roy and Ray have been tireless and peerless workers for folk in the area
(even tho' one of them might occasionally try to knock out the odd artist, eh, Ray?).
The loss of Harrogate's Friday the Thirteenth Folk Club is a very great shame indeed.
Long live the Tuesday sessions then.
Thanks for your efforts lads - all the very best - Duncan McFarlane


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Nick
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 07:47 AM

The last newsletter I got from the Black Swan in York suggests that Harrogate's problems are not unique - it's a circulated newsletter so I'm sure Roland won't mind me quoting it -

*********

3.    SAD NEWS FROM DRIFFIELD. Word reaches us that Driffield Live has had to halt operations "due to disappointing turnouts for recent concerts". In its heyday, not so very long ago, Driffield was a flourishing venue for folk music, but it seems audiences can be fickle. Although it met on Thursdays and could have been seen as competition for the Black Swan, I never viewed things that way. The more live music the better, I say, and it is a huge pity when any venue has to close.

4.    THE BLACK SWAN NOT IMMUNE.   Let's have no complacency here. The Black Swan FC has had a poor summer itself, with audience numbers often in teens and twenties (even in single figures one week) when they should have been in the thirties or forties. Even well-attended nights have often failed to reach completely full house level. With the high standard of the acts we've had on offer, this is very dispiriting. So far this year, the average paying audience is 4 down per week, compared with the year before, which was in turn down on the year before that.

The upshot is that we have been loosing money and eating into our modest cash reserves. Over the summer quarter (June, July, August), we were down almost £600! Losses would be even worse had not some guests kindly offered to waive a part of their agreed fee. We cannot afford to go on for long at this rate of loss, nor can we assume that surpluses on the NCEM concert programme will save the day.

Club fortunes are normally cyclical and I am ever optimistic that things will pick up. However, as a precaution I am not making any more bookings beyond June next year, though I will fill the gaps in the diary between now and then.   There are 450 of you on the e-mail list: just one more club visit each per year would make all the difference! Support your local folk club or lose it!

*******

Sad to see so many places struggling.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Singing Referee
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 07:19 AM

Sorry to be controversial here, but as much as I agree it's sad to see a club go under, especially for the few (as it always is) who put in the effort, but apathy? That's life I'm afraid! If people don't come it's either because they don't know about it, or they're not enjoying what they're being offered enough to make the effort. There will always be a small core who will turn up regardless, but the majority want to be entertained. Unfortnately we seem to have to offer something extra special these days to entice people away from 'the box'. There are all sorts of reasons, financial, social and political, why live music is suffering at the moment, but just putting it down to 'apathy' is too easy a get out IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 05:54 AM

Let's not divert from the true thread here please, eh?
I too am really sorry to see this obituary - yet another club run by folks who really care about the music, but falling victim to the apathy brigade. Ray did his very best to attract punters, that I know, and he tried all sorts of gambits including full punter consultation and change of venue, and a good publicity machine spreading the news far and wide, but the potentially fatal combination of gig clashes, Friday night slump and general apathy is enough to finish even the staunchest club. Whatever night a club runs can present problems and has pros and cons. Ray's musicians' sessions are to continue at the Tap & Spile on Tuesdays, so at least the tunesmiths will still be catered for, but where will the singers go? We can't all afford to travel far and wide can we?
But the bottom line of this post is to thank Ray for all his perseverance and hard work and for keeping things going so long when fainter hearts would've thrown in the towel long ago. That alone proves the quality of his commitment and integrity - good on yer, Ray!


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 05:28 AM

Yo eric,
       Not on a wednesday, it's a bloody long way from Hull!! But we will be there next friday if you are in the parish, I might even buy you a small sherry!


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 05:26 AM

I play there nearly every Wednesday ted, do you go there ?

eric


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 05:21 AM

yo eric,
       get yourself to Stubbing Wharf pub at Hebden Bridge next friday for our monthly flamenco bash, it's fab.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 05:07 AM

It puzzles me that the town where I live, Halifax, obviously like Harrogate is apathetic about most things but particularly folk music and hasn't had a folk club for many years, but a village like Ripponden which is a few miles away supports a very good folk club.

It would be even better if you could get there on the bus.

eric


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: GUEST,red max
Date: 13 Oct 05 - 01:53 PM

Treewind, I can confirm that if if the Apathy Olympics are ever staged then Harrogate would be an ideal host. Perhaps it's typical of well-to-do towns. People feels it's a "nice place to live", yet spend most of their spare time closeted at home watching their gargantuan plasma screen TVs

We have a half-decent football team, just below league status, yet they struggle to pull crowds in excess of 400. I go to see them just like I go to the Friday 13th Club, but struggle to persuade friends to attend either. I'm sorry to see the club go, and am grateful for Ray's efforts. Thanks to him I've seen artists like Treewind and Mary just five minutes up the road from my house


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: nutty
Date: 13 Oct 05 - 01:47 PM

This is a problem that many clubs suffer from particularly in the summer and particularly those who run on a Friday night.

Many clubs close for the summer season but this doesn't really help the Friday clubs who can loose punters to festivals for more than half a year.

I'm sad at the news as I thought the recent venue was a very good move . I do hope someone can step into the breach.


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: R. Padgett
Date: 13 Oct 05 - 11:37 AM

Sorry to learn of this

Last I heard was that a committee was to be put in place

Roy and Ray have always been keen to play instruments and encourage others, both singing and playing

Club policy regarding Aims may be at the root of this but usually clubs closing leads to others taking up the reigns

Lots of keen grass roots folkies around the area, I hope something emerges soon

I remember the forerunner was at Knaresbrough
Ray


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: treewind
Date: 13 Oct 05 - 10:55 AM

Not enough support from the punters for anything except top-line artists.
Ray has always deliberately run the club with three aims:
  1. to encourage local singers and musicians (floor spots, singers nights)
  2. to offer gig opportunities to new performers who aren't necessarily famous (I'm personally grateful to him for this!)
  3. to put on occasional concerts by really well known top line artists.
He could put on Vin Garbutt, sell out and make a profit, but he really didn't want to run a club only for punters who came to see superstars. There was just not enough support for the other (1 & 2) types of evenings.

I've read suggestions that the population of Harrogate is apathetic. I don't know if it's that, or whether Ray has missed out on some promotional angle or way of changing the club that would build up a bigger core of regulars. I do know (don't we all) that running a club anywhere presents similar problems.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Harrogate Folk Club closing
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 13 Oct 05 - 09:45 AM

It's always sad when a folk music venue closes, but why is it closing Greycap ?

eric


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