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What a fringe contributes to a festival

GUEST,Sir Roger at work 20 Jun 06 - 03:56 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Jun 06 - 04:17 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 20 Jun 06 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,padgett 20 Jun 06 - 06:09 AM
Liz the Squeak 20 Jun 06 - 06:12 AM
Cllr 20 Jun 06 - 06:31 AM
The Shambles 20 Jun 06 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,MC Fat 20 Jun 06 - 08:27 AM
Essex Girl 20 Jun 06 - 08:44 AM
Vixen 20 Jun 06 - 08:48 AM
fiddler 20 Jun 06 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,skipy 20 Jun 06 - 09:08 AM
breezy 20 Jun 06 - 10:51 AM
Fidjit 20 Jun 06 - 11:07 AM
open mike 20 Jun 06 - 11:39 AM
Dave Roberts 20 Jun 06 - 11:46 AM
Vixen 20 Jun 06 - 01:29 PM
Les from Hull 20 Jun 06 - 02:05 PM
The Shambles 20 Jun 06 - 02:27 PM
Les from Hull 20 Jun 06 - 02:32 PM
oombanjo 20 Jun 06 - 02:50 PM
greg stephens 20 Jun 06 - 02:57 PM
Les from Hull 20 Jun 06 - 04:04 PM
Mrs.Duck 20 Jun 06 - 05:20 PM
Hand-Pulled Boy 20 Jun 06 - 07:25 PM
Dave Roberts 20 Jun 06 - 08:31 PM
Mo the caller 21 Jun 06 - 03:41 AM
Folkiedave 21 Jun 06 - 04:31 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 21 Jun 06 - 05:30 AM
Carol 21 Jun 06 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,Blowz at work 21 Jun 06 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,neovo 21 Jun 06 - 08:23 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jun 06 - 09:12 AM
Snuffy 21 Jun 06 - 09:19 AM
The Barden of England 21 Jun 06 - 09:25 AM
Les from Hull 21 Jun 06 - 10:04 AM
Carol 21 Jun 06 - 10:18 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 21 Jun 06 - 11:53 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 21 Jun 06 - 11:57 AM
The Shambles 21 Jun 06 - 12:45 PM
Carol 21 Jun 06 - 12:59 PM
Blowzabella 21 Jun 06 - 01:32 PM
Sir Roger de Beverley 21 Jun 06 - 01:39 PM
Blowzabella 21 Jun 06 - 02:47 PM
oombanjo 21 Jun 06 - 03:06 PM
BB 21 Jun 06 - 03:55 PM
The Shambles 21 Jun 06 - 04:43 PM
s&r 21 Jun 06 - 04:50 PM
Herga Kitty 21 Jun 06 - 05:20 PM
Blowzabella 21 Jun 06 - 06:17 PM
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Subject: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: GUEST,Sir Roger at work
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 03:56 AM

Having just completed a weekend of compering fringe events at Beverley Festival I have a few personal reflections on what a fringe contributes to a festival:

I had three friends from a different part of the country staying with me for the festival. They came principally to play with me in fringe events but all of them paid entrance into mainstream festival events on an individual basis.

All four of us visited the craft fair and gave our custom to more than one stall. In addition we bought coffees and sandwiches from the food stall at various times over the weekend. My friends also toured Beverley town and bought items from bookshops and market stalls. Whilst taking part in fringe events we all bought drinks and snacks in pubs.

I haven't yet mentioned actually doing any performing but we played, sang and recited for around fifteen hours in various sessions thereby contributing to the overall atmosphere of the festival and the town.

Whilst I am a great fan and supporter of festivals, they can seem specialised and cliquey to the general public and the fringe events are often the only part of the festival that the people of the town get to see and hear (dance teams too of course) – so we are often the public face of the festival. I know for a fact that several of my neighbours and work colleagues (who are not folkies) visited fringe venues and were impressed with the atmosphere and the standard of performers.

If you multiply my personal experience by those of other fringe performers you can see that we:
·        Boost the income of festival events
·        Support the ancillary services such as food concessions and craft stalls
·        Increase the revenue for businesses in the town
·        Contribute to the overall festival ambience and
·        Act as goodwill ambassadors to the town residents

So, I think that the festival proper and the fringe are mutually supportive and together make up what is regarded as a great, friendly festival that is an asset to the town.

Roger


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 04:17 AM

I agree


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 06:01 AM

Yep, that just about says it all.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 06:09 AM

Few events which include consumption of alcohol are as trouble free as UK folk festivals!


Fringe events which are held in and around pubs in towns like Beverley and Holmfirth are highly popular and long may they be so

My comments are curtailed there!


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 06:12 AM

So why do certain festival organisers seem so intent on destroying the fringe events in a bid to make more money at the main festival (MF)?

I have attended many festivals where it's only been the fringe events (FEs) that I could a) afford to visit, not wanting to pay multiple £s for the pleasure of walking through a quagmire to see yet another rainbow windchime or rude native carving; or b) take a small child because the MF has no facilites for an active child with the attention span of a gnat. Most FEs seem to be in pubs where there is a much more relaxed atmosphere and usually a pub garden/play area. MFs are getting better at entertaining little children but now mine is at the difficult age where most Childrens' events are too young for her and the Youth activities too old. The FEs have always been, and probably always will be the thing that attracts me personally, to a festival.

LTS


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Cllr
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 06:31 AM

IMHO
1)fringe cant happen (by definition) without main festival occuring. -it it does, it then becomes the main festival.

2) festival organisers have to consider the finacial viabilty of the festival (unless they are very lucky)

3) to book in advance the usual, acts, toilets and other associated facilities an orgainser must know what his income streams are.

4) a lot of the wonderful benefits that FE bring to a festival are not directly financially obvious to the organiser as they are in general more qualitative than quantative.

if people go to fringe rather than mainstream this actually decreases the revenue an organiser may expect ( with the exception of thse who wouldnt go at all with out fringe events)

Roger makes a succint point say they are mutaully supportive which is as it should be but it should not be forgotten that the main festival is the environment which allows the fringe event to happen.
Cllr


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 06:57 AM

Yes but a Mohican haircut contributes a lot more.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: GUEST,MC Fat
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 08:27 AM

One point a fringe can happen without a main festival, we actually did that with the People's Voice a few year's ago and that became the blueprint for the 'official' festival taking the fringe seriously. As an organiser and a performer I see the value of a fringe. At Whitby Folk Week I can count on the finger of one hand how many official events i've attended in 10 years !!! However i sing every day at the 'fringe'. At Sheffield Folk Festival the fringe is an important part of the whole event it provides the pubs who support us with income and entertainment and provides a platform for the wide ranges and tastes in folk music. There are also people who don't want to pay for or sit in concerts they just want to perform


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Essex Girl
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 08:44 AM

For many years I took my son to festivals, both with a ticket or just for the fringe. Broadstairs, Warwick & Whitby have terrific clubs and workshops for kids, & also have the added bonus of the beach (Whitby & Broadstairs) and the swimming pool at Warwick. I rarely spent much time in the concert venue at Broadstairs as it was totally unsuitable for children and was very claustrophobic. Alas by the time he was 12 he had grown out of kids events and there was not a lot for him so now he stays at home and I spend more time on the fringe or at performer orientated events without him. At least your daughter is musical Liz, she could get involved in workshops.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Vixen
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 08:48 AM

Last summer Reynaud and I attended Middlewich. We saw some Main Festival acts and bought food and souvenirs--terrific. The fringe, however, was an utterly new phenomenon in our experience, and was wonderful. The closest thing we could compare it to is the "after-hours" jamming that occurs at most US festivals. We left Middlewich with the impression that the whole town became the festival, all day, every day. We've been wondering if any festivals over here have managed to create a "fringe" in their communities. The festivals we go to tend to be geographically contained on the site where they are held--you pay to get in, and you're there for the duration.

If I were an organizer of such things, I'd want a fringe, and I'd go out of my way to encourage any and all businesses in the town to participate in the festival. I'd structure my income stream to reflect not just the main gate, but the income from the entire event.

The Fringe Festival adds so much to the experience!

Just my $0.02...fwiw

V


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: fiddler
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 08:58 AM

Symbiosis!

The Fringe without the Main Festival is not a fringe it is the main festival.

A Main Festival without a fringe can become soulless.

Each must recognise the benefits of each to the other but the fringe by its very nature is generally is smaller and less formal.

That said what happens at most festivals as fringe is incorporated in to some festivals as part of the main event.

There is no answer other than don't over or underestimate the importance of either.

Teh festivla format the integration in to the town there are many factors - take one element out and the recipe may fail!

My twopence.

Andy


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: GUEST,skipy
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 09:08 AM

I have just measured my head from the back hair line over the crown to the lower edge of my pupils, distance is 18", the distance from my brow hairline to the lower edge of my pupils is 4" there is therefor a ratio of 4.5 : 1.
As an organised when the fringe reaches or exceeds this ratio I cannot see what is going on at the festival & thus we are all in danger.
Skipy


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: breezy
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 10:51 AM

If fringe events occur whilst main events are taking place then you can understand organisers regarding the fringe events as being counter productive to the festival

perhaps the fringe events are taking more than they think they are actually contributing, though contribute they can.

introducing Jo public to 'folk' is an argument but sometimes the quality can be off putting too.

It is an interesting balance, but by not actually contributing to the financial well being of the festival is not one being selfish ? and if audience is drawn away from paying events, well that will surely rankle organisers.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Fidjit
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:07 AM

The so called "Big" Festivals are becoming out of reach, pocketwise. Therefore the "Fringe" is fine. You can take part and you feel as if you are part of it, so to speak.

Chas


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: open mike
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:39 AM

give me a surrey with a fringe on top

it sounds like you are talking about an event
where you have to pay to get in

surrounded by other smaller events/venues
that are free?

The thing that comes to mind is the Folk Alliance Conference
where many bands are show cased and many available venues
become the performance area. The conference is an opportunity
for artists, recording labels, venues and organizers have the
chance to meet, greet and plan.

the other event i can think of is the South By South West
http://2006.sxsw.com/ where bands, films and web sites are
featured....
both of these events are centered around entertainment, but
are expos and workshops and more focussed on promoting and
the business aspects of the arts. Do we have "fringe" events
here in U.S.?


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 11:46 AM

Vixen,

What is not, I think, generally known is that Middlewich's 'fringe' events are actually part of the main festival i.e. acts are booked by the Folk & Boat Festival itself and terms negotiated with the fringe venues - mostly pubs - in the town to help pay for them. Thus, it might be argued, Middlewich's fringe is not really a 'fringe' at all as there are no 'unofficial' events in Middlewich over the festival weekend.
This can, not unnaturally, lead to confusion. People often look at me askance when, if asked for information on 'fringe' events, I refer them back to the main festival organising committee.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Vixen
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 01:29 PM

AHA!!! Thanks for the info, Dave!

Middlewich, then, (seems to me), could be an example of how to make a fringe and main festival work to each others' advantage successfully. If "the usual" fringe is not so well integrated, I can see where there would be opportunities for conflict.

Middlewich was simply fabulous--we bought individual tickets for the main festival acts we wanted to see, and went to fringe things for everything else. Interspersed in partaking of the fringe was all the wandering round the streets of Middlewich from venue to venue, following the sounds of music.

Probably the closest thing to a Middlewich-type event over here is "first night" celebrations at New Year's where all the businesses in a town collaborate to stay open and chip in toward entertainment all over the place--some musicians in venues, street entertainers, etc. You pay for a pass and get free admission to all the events all night long. They're lots of fun if you get a mild evening (say, just around freezing). Otherwise, people tend to get into one place and stay there, out of the cold.

Just $0.02 more...

V


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Les from Hull
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 02:05 PM

Festival ticket holders probably include more 'listeners', and will use their tickets to listen to quality professional artists booked by the festival. People who attend fringe events do so because they sing and/or play and are happy to do just that in the company of like-minded others.

Season ticket holders may pop into fringe events at the times when there's no main festival event to go to. Fringe events also provide a useful role in providing a bit of entertainment for festival stewards and dance team members in between duties.

Fringe people will sometimes go to individual events (workshops and concerts mainly) but usually they will be out of the way in pubs singins and playing. We shouldn't underestimate the role they have in providing free entertainment for local residents who may not want to pay for main festival events. Many festivals are partly sponsored by Local Authorities, say this is quite an important issue too.

The festivals that I've had experience of don't suffer financially in any way by having a strong fringe, quite the opposite, in fact.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 02:27 PM

Whether I pay to attend any of the official events - I always make a point of supporting the festival in all the ways I can - like always buying the programme etc. As mainly an active participant in fringe activities - it is not very pleasing to see some of the attitudes shown towards fringe events, as if the relationship was a parasitic one which in some will threaten the host. I suggest the aim should always to obtain a symbotic one, where both parties benefit.

The best attitude is one where the official organisers recognise that a healthly fringe is likely to result in a healthy event. And the result of those organisers who seem to see it as a battle with fringe events - is a festival that will turn out to be a unhealthy and doomed one.

So perhaps it is better to think of any official events adding to and supporting the 'fringe' merry-making rather than the other way around?


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Les from Hull
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 02:32 PM

And at Beverley last weekend by buying your programme you would have seen the page that the main festival includes that identifies all the fringe events.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: oombanjo
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 02:50 PM

All the point raised above have value and must be considered. At Beverley we have the Main festival, the P.V.Festival was only brought into being when the main festival had a problem, and could not happen. A small group of people (some of those above) stepped in and offered to assist in the birthing of a holding fest, PVF. The result of this was widely accepted to be a success, with artists such as John Harrison ex Waterson giving time freely, (he will not be forgotten.) and the rest being hosted in the local pubs and the main dance night at the local hall sponcered by the local council, the sponcership money for this we then give year on year to the main festival, The result of this was that lots of local people found an interest in the music which carries on to this day. The local council were so impressed that they gave the Fringe 24 spaces for all future festivals, these spaces were for those artists like Roger and Jim (You were missed) that spend 15 to 30 hours hosting and keeping order in the sessions. Over the following years it was obvious that although it was a bonus to have these spaces it was at the expense of the festival proper, and we cut these down to 14. 7 pubs with 2 hosts/ pub thus giving each other a break. Not one of these host spaces gets free access into any of the Main events but the majority will pay to see at least one act and support the final night. The comment as to whether the fringe becomes the main, if the main does not exist I agree it does, the only consideration on this is that with PVF it was free to and for all, and if ever called on again, my hope is that it will continue to be so. cheers Oombanjo


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 02:57 PM

Middlewich fringe came into its own in thew foot and mouth year when the main festival cancelled(2001). A lot of people(myself included) thought we'd have a festival anyway(the foot and mouth had finished by festival time). So we went ahead and it was great. Loads of people came, the pubs were full of music as usaul, there just wasnt any festival in the middle. Not a model that could be followed indefinitely, but it was a very interesting experience for all.
    Middlewich is being held up as a model for fringes here. My personal impression is that the fringe is now becoming too orgainised, in that there are more and more amplified acts filling the pubs that once had acoustic sessions in. So, yesy you can walk about town and find music evertwhere, but I think it is perhaps becoming marginally harder to find a good session easily near the middle of things. Which, in the long run, will hurt the festival: not next year maybe, but soon.
    Bromyard used to have a fantastic fringe scene. There were half a dozen sessions in the pubs in town, and I've down there for a weekend a time or two to play with friens, and never been near the main festival site. It may be still like that, I dont know, I've not been for quite a while.
It's worth remembering, in these days of expensive season tickets, that a lot of festivals started off as free get-togethers. And were great!


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Les from Hull
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 04:04 PM

Good point about amplified acts in pubs. My own view is that the heart of a good fringe is the opportunity to join in singing and playing, the way we seem to be able to at Beverley and the Whitby festivals (to mention but three) with an active fringe that has been well-established over very many years.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 05:20 PM

The cost of main festival tickets has risen sharply over the last few years and as we, like Liz, have children who do not always allow us to watch a whole event we often find the fringe events to be far more suited to our tastes. We are also in the position of having little income at present but still want to be part of the folk scene. At sometime in the future when the kids are older and we have jobs (hopefully) we will probably start buying more tickets but for now the fringe is our only way of keeping going.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 07:25 PM

Beverley town was the overall winner last weekend unlike my fringe which I lost years ago.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 20 Jun 06 - 08:31 PM

Greg,

My explanation of how the so-called Middlewich Festival 'fringe' works was not intended as an endorsement.
I would never hold up Middlewich as a 'model' for how festival fringes 'should' work. The very opposite in fact.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Mo the caller
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 03:41 AM

We were at the Middlewich fringe too. Yes, there were a lot of amplified events in pubs. Once we had worked out where to get a programme (the one we bought from the news-agent didn't include fringe events, but then we found the main site) we found there we 3 'official' sessions/ day. At least one of the musicians we spoke to would have liked the sessions to more specific. They were all of the 'see who turns up and sings/plays/recites' type not the 'English tunes in the Rose & Crown' / 'Irish in the Angel' / 'French in a secret location that few know about' type (well, maybe there was a secret session somewhere)
Colin Matthews , Helen and friends did an excellent job keeping a good balance in the Golden Lion in the first Sunday session.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Folkiedave
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 04:31 AM

Some festivals are very succesful (in terms of ticket sales/artistic merit)with no fringe whatsoever. There seems to be little fringe at Warwick and Bromyard for example and they have been great festivals when I have been to them. Brampton Live! has had terrific artists over the years, reduced prices for kids and youths with activities for them, etc. Sells out each year. No fringe at all when I went a couple of years ago. And it was hardly a sterile event.

The fact is that there is rarely a festival fringe (F and M years excepted) without a festival. And Cllr makes all the correct points that someone has to buy a season ticket and visit concerts etc. otherwise festival do not happen. Some festivals pay people (if only in kind with a season ticket for example) to ensure sessions happen in particular pubs and are organised.

Many festivals do supply Children´s entertainment within a ticket and many also have workshops for the slightly older child escaping from parents. These have got bigger and better over the years at many festivals and introduced many a young person to folk music.

There are people who love to see the great acts of the folk world live and on stage - Vin Garbutt being a great example of that sort of thing - as folk clubs seem to be replaced by sessions. But my own tastes also include Susanna Seivane and Kepa Junkera for example, I am unlikley to be able to see them anywhere except at major festivals.

Can I just go back to the orginal poster who said he had been "compering fringe events". I am wondering (having not been to Beverley for a number of years) how come fringe events need compering? I can understand people organising sing arounds to enasure people get a chance to perform - but "compering?" and "fringe" are not normally words I would associate together.

As for festivals appearing cliquey to people, of course they are. But so long as complaints are few/non existent, does it matter? I´ll be going to Bradfield Traditional Music Festival in August. (Blatant plug). To my own tastes it is superb. Just the kind of music I like. How do you make that particular festival non-cliquey? And would you want to?


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 05:30 AM

"Can I just go back to the orginal poster who said he had been "compering fringe events". I am wondering (having not been to Beverley for a number of years) how come fringe events need compering? I can understand people organising sing arounds to enasure people get a chance to perform - but "compering?" and "fringe" are not normally words I would associate together."

I think the answer to this is that in a situation where there are many wanting to perform, some degree of very low key guidance may be useful in ensuring that the session is not taken over by a few more forceful contributors, to the detriment of those who are somewhat diffident about putting themselves forward to perform.

The best example of this is the Bedford sessions at Sidmouth, led by John Barden (The Barden of England). You hardly know he's there until someone tries to hog the session, but when that happens you quickly become aware of who is in charge. The balance of his sessions is a delight, with even the most timid performer getting a fair share.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Carol
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 06:20 AM

Don't know about Sidmouth being so good, the last time I went there was 1991 and remember going into a pub on a lunchtime session, people either side of me (who came in after me)were asked to sing and after about 2 hours I left without getting to sing.
Yes, Bradfield weekend sounds good and I've printed the booking form for this year, must get it sent off.
However although I do agree that the term compering in a singaround is a bit over the top when you are in a 'public' room/bar or even garden of a pub you do need someone to 'keep things going'. Including keeping the audience quiet as they probably don't realise they're the audience!
I have great memories of singarounds at Warwick, even started one up myself many years ago in a pub garden.
Another gripe that I have is that festival organisers schedule a singaround on the Friday evening and then you don't get another one in the programme until the Sunday.
I do object to people saying they are working when they run singarounds - it's something you enjoy doing - not work!!! And to be honest if you don't enjoy doing it then give someone else a chance! I only look for singaround type festivals these days and manage to spend quite a few weekends away during a year. I think I'd better finish now!!!!


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: GUEST,Blowz at work
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 08:04 AM

I think there's a bit of confusion still here about what is meant by a 'fringe' event.

Most people's concept of a fringe is 'low key events, which have sprung up spontaneously around the main festival'. I suppose, by definition, these are usually singarounds or sessions - or mixed ad hoc performances by members of the public / festivalgoers plus the odd performer who is passing by, possibly. My thoughts would be that these wouldn't normally be MCd - but might end up being 'run' by someone, who looks to make sure anyone who wants to becomes involed.

As has been mentioned above, the 'fringe' at Middlwich isn't really the same beast - from what I can glean, it is only a 'fringe' in that the events are free of charge and not full formal concerts - they are, however, semi-formal. It is organised by the same people who put the 'main' festival together and consists of particular performers (some, if not all, being paid) being on at a certain venue for a certain duration - not like a singaround or session. Part of the afternoon / evening may involve ad hoc performances from the floor, or these may continue once the programmed acts have finished.

I visited Middlewich for the first time on Sunday, primarily to pick up some boxes of promo material from a mate of mine, who was performing there. Because of the nature of my visit, I didn't have a festival ticket, but was more than pleasantly surprised at what was available without one. Having the likes of Tom Lewis and Tim Laycock along with many others, as 'fringe' performers, seemed a bit of a mis-nomer, but it was very enjoyable and, after all, what's in a name? I suppose, in discussions such as this, definitions can be confusing.   

I will certainly seriously consider making a weekend of Middlewich next year - if I can figure out how to make it viable for my young, enthusiastic border collie - who likes lots of exercise and doesn't really like crowds very much (sensitive, nervy creature that he is!)


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: GUEST,neovo
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 08:23 AM

As a regular Bromyarder I'm surprised at Folkiedave's suggestion that there's not much in the way of a fringe. If you take fringe to mean spontaneous events not officially organised by the festival there's plenty. There's nearly always something happening at the Rose and Lion, both in the back bar and outside (morris dancers permitting). The Bay Horse is usually inhabited by the bluegrass crowd (and very good they are too)and the Crown and Sceptre is usually packed with singers and musicians. The other pubs move in and out of favour but there's always somewhere to start something if what is happening elsewhere is not to your musical tastes.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 09:12 AM

Can never understand festival booking policies.

For example Weymouth doesn't book the Yetties - but a lot people really identify Dorset Folk Music with Bonny and the lads. In fact I feel a bit cheated if I go down all that way south without seeing them.

Similarly Jack Hudson never plays the local festivals here in Derby and Notts - despite there beng people who obviously associate him with this part of the world

the fringe things like the workshops are the best bit - you meet people you've really admired and get a chance to ask them questions. with the big events you have another factor come into it - namely the sound man. I've got nothing against these people (the PA man at The Vernon Arms, Keith is a good bloke), but even their greatest fans would admit they are of variable quality.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Snuffy
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 09:19 AM

Always plenty going on in the Bromyard pubs and it all appears to be spontaneous. Upton and Alcester have a similarly lively pub scene but with a bit of "behind the scenes" help from the main festival to ensure that the fringe does take place.

At Warwick free participatory singarounds and sessions are programmed by the festival for those pubs which support the festival, whereas at Bridgnorth the "fringe" seemed to be amplified booked artists performing in pubs.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: The Barden of England
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 09:25 AM

Thanks for the comliment Don, it's appreciated as is your help when I'm refreshing. As Carol mentioned it's not 'work' is it, it's fun and you do get to hear some brilliant playing and singing as a bonus.
John Barden


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Les from Hull
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 10:04 AM

I think that the best main festival/fringe arrangement happens at Whitby Moor and Coast Festival and at Hull Shanty Festival where the main festival not only provides an 'organiser' for a free pub singaround, but also sends the booked festival guests in to do 10-15 minute spots every 30 minutes or so. So not only do us impecunious fringe singers get to have a go ourselves but we get to hear quality stuff from 'proper' artists. Hopefully the artists get to sell a few extra CDs and listeners who want to hear more from particular artists may fork out for a concert featuring them.

Does this happen anywhere else?


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Carol
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 10:18 AM

Hi Les
10 - 15 minutes every 30 minutes or so? Doesn't leave much time for the poor floor singer who's been sat there for for a couple of hours!
Seriously I much prefer that if an artist wants to come into a SAR then they get their turn the same as everyone else perfect example was Si Khan the other evening. I usually manage to avoid the type with pre-booked guests spots, to be honest that's not why I go to SARs it's to listen to everyone and to join in myself.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 11:53 AM

Since my original post where I used the word "compering" I have been thinking that it wasn't the right word for what we do. Perhaps "hosting" would fit the bill better

R


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 11:57 AM

Speaking of which:

I will be hosting our regular Sunday session the The Sun this Sunday from 4pm

R


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 12:45 PM

This has moved to one of my pet subjects. The use of pubs for perfomances by booked festival acts. There are better venues for such things that do not affect informal music making.

For pubs are the ideal place for informal music making at festivals but where an official festival act is using these - informal festival music making is inhibited and prevented in the limited number of suitable venues available.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Carol
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 12:59 PM

Sorry to miss your Sunday session Roger but will be at the Four Fools festival this weeekend.
Couldn't agree more with The Shambles comments - I was a bit wary of remarking about festival organisers sending 'artists' out to SARs to give them something to do but sometimes that does seem to be the case.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Blowzabella
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 01:32 PM

Roger - you say that there are better venues than pubs for booked acts. What do you suggest these are?

If a festival wants to have a range of different venues - from large, formal concerts, to smaller, more intimate sets, pubs are ideal. Furthermore, the building is already there and, often th elandlord will contribute to the festival budget by chipping in some dosh. Much better than having to hire a marquee and security!

I do know where you are 'coming from' but surely a pub can be 'shared' - the informal music making can either be in a different pub, or can take place at different times to the (only slightly) more formal events.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 01:39 PM

Not me - I didn't say that - you have confused postings

R


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Blowzabella
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 02:47 PM

Sorry Roger de beverley - I dodn't mean you, I meant Shambles - another Roger, I believe - apologies for confusion


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: oombanjo
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 03:06 PM

How much do you get out of a session / sing around. We all hear and learn new tunes and songs from other areas that we may never visit. At the fringe we have the chance to talk about these, and find the history, this may lead into friendships that may never have occurred. One of the things that I found touching at Beverley fringe this year was to see Si Khan and his wife sitting through the sing around he was not bothered that he was not called on to sing, he said that he listened to the new songs and loved the harmonies, especially Linda and Hazel "Hissyfit" and took their Cd home with him and when he was asked to sing was amazed when the whole session joined in on the chorus. To me these things are contributions not comparisons, as the thread seems to have developed into.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: BB
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 03:55 PM

If one is booked at a festival and part of what you are asked to do is to run a singaround or session, it is not unreasonable to refer to it as 'work', especially if you are a full-time pro. artist. That doesn't mean that you don't find it enjoyable - none of us would be pro. artists if we didn't find what we do to earn our living anything but enjoyable. There are easier ways to make enough money to live on, believe me!

The other reason for referring to it as 'work' is your attitude towards the responsibility involved in running a good singaround. To my mind, it requires constant concentration, and the odd appropriate comment to keep the momentum going, or to lighten things when they get too doomy, or keep things positive when a performer is not too good for whatever reason - all sorts of things, but if you let your concentration slacken, it can mean the difference between everyone feeling they've had a good time, or - not! And as the host of a singaround, that's what my job is.

Personally, much as I love doing it, after a solid three and a half hours, I am pretty exhausted - and Carol and John, I'm really sorry if your work isn't as enjoyable and fun as mine is!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 04:43 PM

I do know where you are 'coming from' but surely a pub can be 'shared' - the informal music making can either be in a different pub, or can take place at different times to the (only slightly) more formal events.

There are church halls, town halls, arts centres, schools, marquees etc, where conventional festival performance is best suited and can take place without affecting informal pub sessions etc.

Pubs can be shared as you suggest but as so few people really understand the subtle differences between performance and social music making - the former is seen as more important and will always tend to take-over. Not because it is more important but because this is better understood, especially by organisers, licensees and other customers.

Some of my most frustrating festival experiences have been wandering about with lots of fellow musicians and singers who are more than willing to play, trying to find a pub where they can. When there was no shortage of pubs but all the suitable ones were already being used as venues for official festival performances. Or of having a really good informal pub gathering stopped or it nature altered to enable a scheduled performance to start.

There is room for all kinds of festival events I just think that wherever possible - organisers should try to ensure that one form is never prevented or inhibited to enable another. That enough suitable venues are found. And where these are limited and pubs are used for festival performances, that some are set aside to enable informal musical gatherings to take place.


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: s&r
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 04:50 PM

At Fylde we include the fringe as part of the Festival, and include hosts to run singarounds etc. Many booked artists will appear in free sessions: our hope is that people are encouraged to buy tickets. Where the Festival provides the nucleus for a fringe event there is a collecting tin to help Festival funds, but no pressure. Alan has always regarded the mission of the Festival to take music to the people.

Stu


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 05:20 PM

I reckon that fringe events are ones you can get into without buying a ticket - except that there is an overlap with programmed and hosted events where there is a collecting tin that you can contribute to if you want to (like the singarounds I run with Tim Edwards in the Theatre Bar at Sidmouth). Some of the best ones are the ones (like the Theatre Bar and the Anchor Middle Bar) where the booked guests drop in and sing just because they feel like it.

I am booked at Sidmouth and Chippenham to run singarounds and I agree with Barbara that it's work in the sense that you are responsible for making it work. I also get one or two booked artists programmed in to my Chippenham singarounds and they are generally great about being flexible about how much time they have so that everyone who wants to sing gets a chance to.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: What a fringe contributes to a festival
From: Blowzabella
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 06:17 PM

I understand what you are saying, Shambles, but I do still believe that some kinds of performance are more suited to a quiet, well-managed pub than anywhere else - I much prefer to sit in a small room , with a pint, and enjoy what is a rare experience these days - the opportunity to see a professional performer - one who has honed skills in presentation, who tells me about the background to the song or tune I am about to hear - who has the panache to know how to handle an audience etc - and to hear that in a small, relaxed environment, without PA or theatre style seating.

Why? For the same reasons that you would prefer your sessions to be held there rather than in some soul-less room in a school or village hall (equally appropriate for sessions, as for informal concerts i would submit). It is a relaxed, comfortable environment.

Middlewich are fortunate in having the Boar's Head - a large Victorian, towncentre pub, with several rooms. At the weekend they were having a session in the bar, and two function rooms were hosting different types of informal concerts - one more raucous than the other. They all managed to co-exist, except for one spot where (if one was at the bar waiting to be served) two songs / tunes met, somewhat discordantly. With a bit of proper planning, they could have managed to get both rooms doing the same tune in the same key! (Joke)


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