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why well run folk clubs are important

The Sandman 21 Nov 06 - 09:35 AM
Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 06 - 10:12 AM
Bernard 21 Nov 06 - 10:30 AM
skipy 21 Nov 06 - 10:45 AM
LesB 21 Nov 06 - 10:59 AM
Georgiansilver 21 Nov 06 - 11:43 AM
The Sandman 21 Nov 06 - 12:13 PM
breezy 21 Nov 06 - 01:52 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 06 - 02:06 PM
treewind 21 Nov 06 - 02:12 PM
The Borchester Echo 21 Nov 06 - 03:18 PM
Leadfingers 21 Nov 06 - 03:26 PM
Mo the caller 21 Nov 06 - 03:27 PM
Andy Jackson 21 Nov 06 - 03:36 PM
breezy 21 Nov 06 - 03:55 PM
The Sandman 21 Nov 06 - 03:55 PM
GUEST 21 Nov 06 - 04:15 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 06 - 05:05 PM
The Borchester Echo 21 Nov 06 - 05:19 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Nov 06 - 05:34 PM
The Borchester Echo 21 Nov 06 - 05:47 PM
old girl 21 Nov 06 - 05:59 PM
Dame Pattie Smith EPNS 21 Nov 06 - 06:07 PM
old girl 21 Nov 06 - 06:18 PM
Bernard 21 Nov 06 - 08:27 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 06 - 04:01 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 06 - 04:05 AM
julian morbihan 22 Nov 06 - 04:46 AM
Scrump 22 Nov 06 - 04:51 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Nov 06 - 05:03 AM
The Borchester Echo 22 Nov 06 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,DaveS at work 22 Nov 06 - 06:01 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 06 - 06:18 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 06 - 06:20 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 22 Nov 06 - 06:28 AM
The Borchester Echo 22 Nov 06 - 06:34 AM
The Borchester Echo 22 Nov 06 - 06:38 AM
greg stephens 22 Nov 06 - 07:04 AM
Pete_Standing 22 Nov 06 - 07:20 AM
The Borchester Echo 22 Nov 06 - 07:33 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 06 - 07:34 AM
Andy Jackson 22 Nov 06 - 07:44 AM
The Borchester Echo 22 Nov 06 - 07:53 AM
The Sandman 22 Nov 06 - 08:05 AM
Scrump 22 Nov 06 - 08:09 AM
Pete_Standing 22 Nov 06 - 08:10 AM
The Sandman 22 Nov 06 - 08:29 AM
Georgiansilver 22 Nov 06 - 08:31 AM
LesB 22 Nov 06 - 08:32 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Nov 06 - 08:38 AM
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Subject: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 09:35 AM

having just played at swindon folk club, which has been run for 46 years by Ted and Ivy poole and helpers., and had a great night.it occured to me how important good folk clubs are, for several reasons.
   firstly,they provide the oppurtunity for like minded people to get together in their locality, and build a community locally and on a regular basis,.
it gives people a stage, to perform in a semi formal situation ,learning stagecraft etc, from professional perfomers at a cheaper cost than at a festival, and hopefully establishing friendships on a local basis.
    with festivals becoming more commercial, and generally more popfolk orientated, they can provide the chance for audiences to hear more unusual and less commercial performers, while enjoying a social club atmosphere.
three other clubs stand out in my view,Stockton folk club, darlington brittania,Nottingham CARRINGTON,that achieve allthese points.there are probably many others,I apologise if i havent remembered them ,if you know of a good folk club in your area, please mention and tell us all about it, and why you think it is good .Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 10:12 AM

I'd nominate Swinton, Dick but as we crossed wires over when you were booked here I dunno if you'd agree:-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 10:30 AM

I'd nominate the Railway, Heatley, Lymm, but maybe I shouldn't, as I'm one of the organisers...!

;o)


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: skipy
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 10:45 AM

I nominate Splinter Village Folk Club RAF Brize Norton.
Sadly it closed in the 80s!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: LesB
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 10:59 AM

I nominate Bothy Folk Club in Southport, but then I would, as I do the website.
We must be doing something right as we have been going for 42yrs. Unfortunately we are having a change of venue forced upon us, (3rd in 41yrs). Worry not we have found a really good new venue for the new year. ( Had a great night with 'Rattle on the Stovepipe' last sun)
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 11:43 AM

Gainsborough and Market Rasen in Lincolnshire..if you're passing


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 12:13 PM

to dave the gnome,yes I like swinton.DickMiles


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: breezy
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 01:52 PM

for Windward Folk-song club St Albans, references please contact
Andy Irvine
Harvey Andrews
Vin Garbutt
Roy Bailey
Pete Coe
Jeremy Taylor
Coope Boyes and Simpson
Keith Donnelly - no - I've got his in writing
Martin Carthy
Rosemary Tawney
Derek Brimstone
Pete Morton
Dan Mckinnon
Les Barker
Johnny Collins
Lakeman and Roberts

and George Papavgeris, who was our resident singer songwriter but has now taken off and is flying high.
is it a plane? is it a kebab ?

and many others


sadly no cap'n Birdseye, still cant have em all.

this week Sun 26th Nov our Diva resident Christine Connolley will be putting on the style and strutting her stuff and if previous performances are anything to go by will put on a very good show.

Doors open 7.30
At the Comfort Hotel on Holywell Hill, in St Albans

non-smoking-walking-talking-mobile-phone-ringing-see-the-whites-of-their-eyes-folk-club

But I'll let others be the judge


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 02:06 PM

BREEZY , Good list of guests, but is your club a CLUB , in the social sense, do floorsingers get a chance,as you and I once did,or is it a mini concert, Do you still sing at the club yourself .Do you have singers nights.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: treewind
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 02:12 PM

Bideford in North Devon fits well with Dick's original criteria. Terrific sense of community, much more about its members/resident singers than about guests, lovely people all of them.

The Everyman in Saxmundham, Suffolk is an excellent example of a club that gets local non-folkies in for a good night's entertainment once a month, and has a high standard of floor singers and residents.

Pete Coe's Ryburn Club is part of a very strong and active local folk community too, with some well known residents.

Seaford's good too, and free entry even on a guest night, with a collection at half time, but we did all right out of those voluntary contributions last Friday.

The Fo'c'sle at Southampton stands out in recent memory too, where the organisers really know what they are doing and are excellent hosts.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 03:18 PM

Rather predictably, this thread became immediately a 'name your fave club and plug it if you run it'. I'd agree completely with Anahata's list (3 from personal experience and the other two from good reports) and with Breezy (yes, he certainly does sing at his own club). All these locations are, however, comparatively rural.

I would argue that in cities it's quite different (remember I'm generalising hugely) and the 60s-style 'folk club' is way past its sell-by. What people (of all ages) flock to is the venue with all sorts going on at different times, with space to dance, with food and decent drink and with decor and furniture a whole lot more congenial than the average filthy pub back room. And with a clientele significantly different from a crowd of care in the commmunity cases who regard the 'folk club' as their own remedial drop-in centre.

I don't think Dick can have been to a festival since Cambridge was just about the only one. True, there are some that are popfests and devoid of much participation except on the campsites. They're easy to identify and avoid (unless, of course, it's floats your boat to sit on a blanket or camping chairs in front of a stage for a weekend). Otherwise, festivals are THE place to go to workshops and stumble across new musicians you haven't met before or meet up with old friends. And it's where those few club organisers worth their salt talent spot for newer acts and book them before they get too expensive.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 03:26 PM

A Folk Club that is NOT well run , surely WONT run - Or at least , not for long !


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Mo the caller
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 03:27 PM

The club that I went to when i had to stay in Beverley was excellent. Members whose performances were really good and varied, yet not intimidating. And friendly, so that I met people I knew when I went shopping. Good guest nights, even better singers and musicians nights. And Ollie started an early beginner musicians, which has set me off (so if you've suffered my wrong notes you know who to blame.
It met at 'Nellies' (the White Horse) but the licensing act shifted it so now it's
not the White Horse


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 03:36 PM

At last, some well deserved respect for the long struggling folk clubs. I have said many times that without the backbone of the club circuit we would not have the healthy folk scene we have today. Where else would many of our now well established performers have ever got a start.
Yes there is a bit of a variety in the talent in our clubs but there is a wealth of enthusiasm. Luckily of course we all have different tastes not just in our music but in what we want froum OUR club. It will be interesting to watcth this thread develop once it has got away from the "my clubs bes" syndrome. I would be very very interested to hear from some of the regular club circuit performers about what think makes for a good club.

I have been involved with folk clubs since the late 60's with the Cutty Wren in Southampton and for the last twenty years with Llantrisant Folk Club here in Wales.
I now run the Miskin at Easter festival and care enough about clubs to offer £1-00 cash back on presentation of a valid club card.
Just one down side at the moment is the decline in numbers generally compared to the hey-day 60's and 70's. But perhaps that means we have done our job well. The clubs were artificially providing what the main stream was not. At last our music is creeping into public conciousness more and more, is there a connection?

Long live the clubs,

Andy


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: breezy
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 03:55 PM

I like going to the Llantrisant club, feels good there and Pat is great.

Only been three times mind, the kids have left uni now see

still will be in cardiff on Sun 3rd for a BBC wales show

Countess Richard, ta , but you didnt come to the Windward experience yet

I dont hold 'singer's or come all ye' as they dont 'sell', only do, did, guests.

yes I do have floor spots, but priority is given to regular residents.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 03:55 PM

to countess richard,this year I was booked at lancaster maritime festival,scarborough sea festival,captain cook festival whitby.
I have never been to CAMBRIDGE FESTIVAL,BUT HAVE guested AT THE FOLLOWING FESTIVALS, WHITBY FOLK FESTIVAL[5TIMES]REDCAR[TWICE]SIDMOUTH,CHIPPENHAM[4 TIMES]FOUR FOOLS[3TIMES]Upton on Severn.LANCASTER MARITIME[13 TIMES].KENDALL FOLK FESIVAL,ALLsince 1980, PLUS OTHERS.
So countess richard your a bit off mark.I dont know when cambridge was the only one, about 1956,perhaps, Iwas only five and was not a child prodigy. I know all the advantages[ AND DISADVANTAGES] of festivals, but they cant build a local community feeling in the same way.as a folk club can.
people who have organised clubs for 46 years like the Pooles [ AT SWINDON]And all the other long running club organisers deserve recognition for their hard work .DickMiles


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 04:15 PM

Countess Richard ... I can respect your opinion that, for you, the festivals offer the best opportunities and excitement, but why on earth did you need to be so disparaging to Dick in the process? He is one of the most respected performers around and appears many clubs AND festivals throughout the year, to much acclaim. I also enjoy the buzz of festivals and the variety of outlets in the workshops, sessions and singarounds, but without my local clubs I would have little folk music in the winter (or weekdays, come to that) and I would have missed out on the continuing and growing friendships that I have formed by seeing familiar faces each week.

I think Dick's very pertinent point is that most of today's headliners started out in their clubs, where it was the familiarity of the people and surroundings that fist gave them the courage to begin to perform. (festival workshops give you pointers/tasters but without a local outlet where would be the motivation or opportunity to continue once you returned home?). Todays best clubs still nurture new talent by offering a balanced mix of respected performers from whom they may begin to learn their craft, and supportive settings to 'try their wings' ... and on top of that you get to feel like a valued member of 'the family' - hopefully from your first visit!

I know many of the clubs already mentioned and echo the praises from their various sponsers. Because of hardwork of the network of organisers who run folk clubs for the sheer love of the music, I can visit any part of this country, known to me or not, and find a venue where I will be welcome. We should be proud of that.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 05:05 PM

Thanks Dick - Much appreciated:-)


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 05:19 PM

Guest 04.15

I know perfectly well who Dick Miles is thank you and I was not being 'disparaging' towards him at all. Merely pointing out that he doesn't seem to have the faintest idea of what actually goes on at festivals, probably because he's far too busy on stage.

The day of the revival-style 'folk club' is long since gone (as the 'jazz club' did before). We live differently now. There is a far wider range of musical styles and genres and a need to cater for the interests of people of all ages and different cultures. We made the folk clubs four decades ago when the world was different and we were all young. What was cutting edge then isn't now. Obvious really.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 05:34 PM

If "The day of the revival-style 'folk club' is long since gone" then what are all these clubs being nominated as being well run, Countess? Ours has been going nearly 25 years, there are many that have been going longer and an infinite number that have yet to form. If you don't like them then don't go, but please don't deny our existence. Obvious really:-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 05:47 PM

Being 'well-run' doesn't preclude them from being out of time, Dave. There's one in particular I have in mind that's extremely well run, measured in terms of one person putting in loads of time in administration and seeking out 'affordable' guests. Therein lies the problem. All the club can afford is an extremely tatty pub room where people just don't want to go. And for guests, they rely on old mates from the past doing favours and playing the club at a loss.

The future lies in professionally managed venues with infinitely better facilities that can pay proper fees + expenses to artists. And punters need to pay the going rate at the door. Those on stage have mortgages too. They also deserve respect and this is perhaps the only way to persuade audiences to give it.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: old girl
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 05:59 PM

Newport folk club S/wales is a great night out,we are there most weeks and quite a few of us go to festivals, Without clubs there would be very few small festival around and some people enjoy these friendly get togethers.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dame Pattie Smith EPNS
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 06:07 PM

I like to think that with 26 years experience of running Llantrisant Folk Club we get quite a few things right.
We have always offered our guests a meal before the club (or after if they prefer). Having spent years "on the road" Calennig discovered the only eating places after the clubs were chinese takeaways or fish and chip shops! Mind you things have changed these days and people are now generally very hospitable.
We always appreciate anything our floor artists have to offer, whatever kind of music they are GOOD at. They will always perform well with things they know and folk clubs exist to encourage people to share their music with others as far as I`m concerned. After all if it wasn`t for Porthcawl Folk Club back in the early seventies I probably wouldn`t be perfoming now!
Lately I`ve introduced Showcase nights where people who would like a bit of exposure or experience with an audience can perform. This works very well at the same price as an open or singers` night.
We even have Discovery sessions for those learning to play an instrument. It runs the same as an ordinary session except we play at about an eighth of the speed.
Our raffle is a unique experience as well involving the entire audience in a chorus but you`d have to witness that yourselves.
Well..........roll on tomorrow night, Julie Felix sold out!


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: old girl
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 06:18 PM

I,m glad you told us that Julie Felix is sold out we were hoping to get there nevermind see you soon rose


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Nov 06 - 08:27 PM

At the Railway (Heatley, Lymm) we run Guest Nights, Singers Nights and 'Big Spots'. Sorry if this comes across as a 'plug'... we don't really need it, we're doing well enough without, thank you!!

A 'Big Spot' is a Singers Night for the first half, with a guest ('showcase' idea as above) for the second half.

We attract in excess of fifty people on a Singers Night, at least half of whom are performers. This means we can only allow one item per person, three items for a band. It's rare that we manage to start a second round, although we may put someone on to close the night if time allows.

Our residents (Stewart Lever, Nelson-Peach, Nick and Lin, Don and Heather, and me) take turns in providing the 'warm-up' on guest nights, which quite often are full houses - in the past few weeks Martin Carthy, Vin Garbutt, Martin Simpson and the John Wright Band have sold out well before the night - Boo Hewardine looks like doing the same, and tickets are going fast for John Kirkpatrick - December 7th.

We are proud of the fact that the pub has resisted change, and isn't 'plastic'. It is CAMRA listed, and offers a range of 'guest beers' which change week by week.

What comes as a surprise to some people is the fact that a musicians' session is usually running in the 'Snug' at the same time as the club is running upstairs - so it's a bit like a festival every week.

Added to that is our fortnightly 'Songs in the Snug' on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month - a sort of traditional 'singaround'. One of our Snug regulars is Ted Edwards...

Interestingly, though, a Singers Night crowd differs significantly from a Guest Night crowd - though there are some 'core regulars' who attend both. It certainly indicates that the folk scene is healthy in Lymm and the surrounding area.

That's why I make the forty mile round trip every week...

People can make all the disparaging remarks that they like, but not everyone likes festivals... I only go to festivals if I'm booked!!

Hint... ;o)


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:01 AM

Big difference between being 'long since gone' and 'out of time' countess. One suggests that they have not existed for a long time the other means they are old fasioned. Which do you mean?

As to the only places worth visiting being those you have to pay loads to get in. Well, where do I start on that one? Maybe you could try telling the bloke that has been on the dole for two years, can only get out once a week for half a mild and a listen to good music for £2.50 that he now has to pay £15? Perhaps the old lady on a fixed pension will be happy going into town, paying £20 to get in the Bridgewater Hall and £10 for a taxi back? Maybe we need to move folk music in the same direction as Opera and Ballet? Huge funding from the arts authorities to keep tickets to an affordable £50 or so?

No thank you. I think I'll keep Swinton as it is.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:05 AM

BTW - I am far from disagreeing that concerts and professional venues are a bad thing - I go to enough of them myself. What I am saying is that there is plenty of room for both. Just because you don't like one of them, don't knock it. Plenty of people still go to the 'long time gone' or 'out of time' clubs.

D.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: julian morbihan
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:46 AM

Dick, thanks for the recognition of Ted and Ivy's hard work and dedication at the Swindon Folksingers Club.

The name Folksingers sums up their attitude to the club. It is a club for people who want to sing. Anybody of any capability with any repertoire can sing. It usually goes round with just one song each. If it's a singers night, it may get round twice if you're lucky.

Guests are booked to please the people who go to sing as well as listen.

Thanks should also go to the dedicated team who are taking over the mantle of running the club.

As far as the comments on festivals are concerned, they are completely different to clubs, of course. They both operate in the "folk" world. Just as many clubs work in different ways, singaround, guest only, floor singers, resident group, so festivals are each different in their own way, song, dance, display, ceilidh, international, traditional...

You choose whatever suits you.

But whatever it is (club or festival) it needs to be well managed with a dedicated people to ensure it continues through the bad times as well as the good.

To those dedicated few who run clubs and festivals, I take may hat off to them all and wish them well for the future and for their past efforts.

And one last thought on this subject, that many favourite guests at festivals would not be there without the folk clubs they started from. And going back to the wonderful work of Ted & Ivy Poole, two who began their singing at the Swindon club are Mick Ryan and Dave Webber. The world would be a far worse place without the talent of those two great singers, so yet another reason for a big thank you to Ted and Ivy.

If anyone from EFDSS is reading this message, how about a Gold badge for them?

Cheers

Julian


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 04:51 AM

My 5p's worth: I agree that there is room for both types of club - the 'concert' type venue, and the more (can I use this word without starting an argument?!) 'traditional' club where floor singers and residents are encouraged (by traditional I mean they are more like the clubs of yesteryear, not that they are exclusively for traditional music - however you define that!).

I go to both types of club regularly, and there are advantages to both:

- the concert type venue is able to book the 'big name' artists and not make a loss (well not often anyway, I hope), by providing an environment where these artists can perform, usually supported by other professional artists (or occasionally by high-quality resident acts), at a reasonable cost for the punters. I go to these clubs to see artists I like without paying through the nose, in a more friendly and intimate venue than a theatre, etc., where these artists would otherwise have to perform all the time.

- the traditional club encourages residents and floor singers, not all necessarily of a high standard, as well as having the occasional or regular guests, possibly alternating with sessions or singarounds where anyone can have a go, regardless of standard of performance - beginners are just as welcome as long-time residents. IMO these clubs are still essential, because if all clubs were 'concert' types it would be a Catch-22 situation for newcomers, who would not be able to get the experience they need to break into the concert club circuit (if there is such a thing - but I hope you know what I mean). I go to these clubs because (a) it gives me a chance to perform myself; (b) I get to see (hopefully) the top artists of the future as they learn their craft; and (c) I still get to see the occasional top artists in an even more friendly and intimate venue (there are some top artists who like to perform in these venues as well as the huge theatres).

As for festivals, again they seem to be two basic types, similar in a way to the clubs above: there are the large festivals such as Cropredy or Cambridge, where again big names perform for the fans; and the type such as Broadstairs, where there is a much greater range of artists, and lesser known acts can perform in a variety of venues, with more sessions and singarounds where anyone can have a go.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 05:03 AM

All folk clubs are important - badly run or well run, or indifferently run.

I've spent evenings of my life in places that I wouldn't wish upon Adolf Hitler, but they seem to have satisfied the residents. I would imagine we all have. If you haven't, you simply haven't been to many folk clubs.

The point is - they are an important part of the culture of our country. Even if the organiser would have problems with the logistics of a piss up in a brewery - they represent creative effort, and as such they should be applauded above people who are just negative.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 05:33 AM

I'm far from arguing 'concerts against clubs' in the present old-style, stale format. I can't abide these setups that still call themselves 'clubs' yet book MOR 'stars' for whom you can only book on Ticketmaster and treat them like VIPs and don't let anyone else on except, possibly, themselves. Not have I time for the ramshackle cliquey gang of old pals who have the same old same old all the time and don't really want anyone else there anyway and send them scattering if they do venture in because of such an unfriendly, unprofessional, out-of-tune attitudes and renditions.

I'm for hastening a total rethink, for advocating the new-style venues; the arts and leisure centres and well-run night clubs where artists actually get paid the going rate with proper contracts and punters pay little more than they do for a night out from hell at the Rat & Cockroach. And where a vast variety of stuff is going on, where ceilidhs can be held and sessions held not in direct competition with the widescreen television and jukebox.

And I'm also calling for proper funding tor the traditional arts as I always have done, though not with a faux-inverted snobbish putdown of opera and ballet.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: GUEST,DaveS at work
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 06:01 AM

When people tell me that I run an old fashioned folk club it is when they are paying me a compliment.
PS We sold out for Martin Carthy last Sunday.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 06:18 AM

Maybe with a non-inverted snobbish putdown of all the good folk clubs held in pubs though? ;-)

I agree wholeheartedly with your first paragraph, countess. Where I do disagree though is the suggestion that if it is not at an 'Arts Centre' (Whatever one of them may be) or a 'New Venue' (ditto) it belongs in one of the categories you describe in your first paragraph. That is simply not true. There are dozens and dozens of folk clubs all over the country who provide good entertainment at a reasonable cost in clean surroundings. They, like us, utilise the good quality local artists that abound and, where possible, book top name nationals. Often we subsidise the cost of the 'big names' with funds accumulated from singers nights, raffles and fundraisers.

To describe traditional folk clubs, traditionaly run that is, not dedicated to traditional music, in the way you do is both very unjust and mainly untrue in my experience. Perhaps you have had bad experiences in the clubs you have frequented in which case I offer my condolonces on your bad luck. I think I could safely assure you though, and the number of clubs highlighted here so for seems to back this up, that many folk clubs are not like your description at all.

Hope you continue enjoying your choice of venue as much as I enjoy mine.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 06:20 AM

BTW again - no faux-inverted snobbery from me. I just don't like ballet and opera and begrudge the money that leaves my pocket to subsidise art forms I have nothing in common with.

D.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 06:28 AM

>> yet another reason for a big thank you to Ted and Ivy. If anyone from EFDSS is reading this message, how about a Gold badge for them? <<

Seconded! As are the other posts praising folk clubs. The format may need to evolve (a number of clubs have had to find venues other than pubs over the last few years, and prospered as a result) and to co-exist with other types of presentation, but a good folk club is still a musical event like no other.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 06:34 AM

Then campaign for parity in arts funding. Just because you don't personally like a particular genre shouldn't mean starving it of funding, as happens with tradarts now. FWIW, I think Ryburn is one of the best-run venues there is. Haven't been to yours so cannot say but I'm sure it's fine. But there are far too many which are definitely not, thus exacerbating the negative image 'f*lk' (whatever that is) has with the general public.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 06:38 AM

My post above was addressed to DtG, not Brian Peters with whom I do not disagree but I'm significantly less optimistic about the percentage of 'f*lk clubs' that are operating in either a realistic or relevant format.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 07:04 AM

Countess Richard seems to have a bit of a down on some old-fashioned, unreconstructed stuck-in-the-6o's revival clubs, and sge clearer likes the brave new world of the Arts Centres with lots of different stuff going on. Now, I am all in favour of both. particularly apposite to this discussion is Leadfingers comment early. that if a club is running at all it must be well-run, otherwise it would have packed up.
   I find Countess Richard's angry hostility to some venues puzzling. Surely if a few grizzled old folkies want to hang out in the back rooms of pubs singing Copper family songs, what harm I they doing to the world?
   She is right about good fees for performers, of course. I know from my Boat Band experience that an Arts Centre gig will make us more money than a little folk club, because they are geared up for it. They can advertise to a wide clientele, and that clientele is, if not rich, atleast used to shelling out the £10-15 ticket prices common in arts centres, but rare in folk clubs. And she is also quite right that people have very different perceptions of Arts Centres and Folk Clubs. I know that if the Boat Band went and played Yourtown Arts Centre, we would draw a crowd of typically 100 people at £8-10. If, however, we were booked by Yourtown Folk Club, we would probably only pull 30-50 people at maybe £5. That is a fact of life, and absolutely to do with perception. Same town, same band, different type of audience for different type of venue. You might think that for a professional in those circumstances, playing the club instead of the arts centre was a stupid thing to do. This would not necessarily be true. For example, you might have more fun in the club. I just played at Swinton Folk Club, and it was tiny, and we didn't make all that much in the spondulicks line. But I had a friendly night, played acoustically, and the informality meant we could play any song or tune that came to mind or was requested. It is difficult to retain this amount of informality at an Arts Centre or big festival stage(though we do try!).
    All in all, I reckon there is room for all. No one kind of venue is better than another. There are good and bad within each genre. Some arts centres, and some festivals can be dire. Naturally. And what is good for one person can be awful for another. Suck it and see.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 07:20 AM

It is the informality and intimacy that is not evident at arts centres and the like that keeps top performers such as Martin Carthy and Nancy Kerr and James Fagan doing the upstairs in the pub type folk clubs. These artists also realise that without these venues that the opportunities for the new artists of tomorrow to develop their stagecraft will be much harder. We should avoid the baby and bathwater approach, both types of venues have their place and their value.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 07:33 AM

Yes, Pete, but these are the very artists at the top of their game who can afford to do the odd gig at a loss. How many gigs can your bands do when you are in effect actually paying to play?

As for the supposed lack of intimacy at arts centres, I've seen Chris Wood & Hugh Lupton at several such venues (one on your doorstep) transfix audiences of all ages and provenances (and not a tie-died 'f*lky' in sight). At one there was a kids heavy metal disco going on in the next room and a whole lot of them drifted in and were equally mesmerised. They didn't know they were listening to 'f*lk' and surely wouldn't have put their heads round the door had anyone told them that was what it was. But everyone was introduced to something new that day.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 07:34 AM

I am campaigning for parity in arts funding - Give everyone the same as Folk clubs get. Somewhere in between F-all and not a lot. Lets see if they all stand on their own two feet as well as we do:-)

Perhaps your concept of 'far to many which are definitely not' says much more about your high standards than it does about the folk clubs? Maybe my expectations, and those of the thousands of people who attend folk clubs every week, are not as high as yours? I just don't know you well enough to comment. What I do know however is that by saying the 'average filthy back room' and classing those that attend as ' a crowd of care in the community cases' you are allienating a huge section of the folk community and unfairly branding folk clubs in general as something bad.

As I said, stick to your type of venue and I will stick to mine. As long as you continue to throw out casual insults to the many well run, clean and popular clubs however you must expect some contrary responses.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 07:44 AM

Hmmmm...Don't think I like countess Richard much.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 07:53 AM

Don't you? Your choice, though I don't believe we've met.

I'm for the highest performance standards in trad music and totally opposed to the 'good enough for f*lk'/'why bother to tune' school of old blokes who perpetuate a negative image. And for a proper deal for performers rather than be content to let them struggle well below the minimum wage. I think it's very selfish and counter-productive to perpetuate this sort of thing. I'll know what to think about those continue to consider it OK just because it enables them to keep their wallets shut.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 08:05 AM

The difference between, well run folksong clubs and events at art centres is this.
A weekly [and to a lesser extent fortnightly and monthly] folk club, is a club[ aplace where people meet and socialise very regularly ], people meet others from their local community who share some musical tastes, and build up friendships,this happens less at an arts centre [perhaps booking a folk artist every six weeks].
In my opinion folk song clubs,are more particapatory,than arts centre venues, are also more affordable for students and old age    pensioners[and other less well off members of society]
While arts centres may have their place, they cant replace folk clubs,and if they did would make the music elitist and only for those with plenty of money.
I too believe the Pooles deserve a gold badge from the EFDSS.
   finally COUNTESS RICHARD you really are delightfully wacky, of course I know what goes on at festivals, singarounds, sessions, workshops,I frequently enjoy them,    when I am a booked guest,.   

But I still maintain that the semi formal atmosphere of the folk club[ can not be matched anywhere else]and is a wonderful place to learn stagecraft and therefore, has a vital role FOR folk music, and the art of learning performing skills.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 08:09 AM

Aye, aye, Captain, well said. And IME most Arts Centres and the like only usually have keg beer, unlike most proper folk clubs in pubs where they serve real ale (and if you're lucky, real cider too!)


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 08:10 AM

It's hard to convey tone with the written word (either on paper or cyberspace) and misunderstanding can easily occur, there isn't that immediacy of being able to restate or to develop arguments in real time. I dare say if you met the Countess, as I have, you might find that you could spend some time amicably agreeing or disagreeing over a pint or two!

Countess, your points are valid. The problem is that there isn't very much money sloshing around in the traditional arts of the UK and I don't see the situation improving. From the point of introducing new people to folk music, a "nicer" or more familiar environment could help. Nevertheless, clubs and sessions play an important part in the development of careers and also making folk music inclusive, giving people the opportunity to not just be a spectator, but to participate. You don't develop stagecraft just by going to a festival workshop and then playing to your bedroom mirror. Even the new wave of artists such as Spiers and Boden have needed the sweaty joints to develop into the great artists that they have become.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 08:29 AM

while I agree about performers being paid well,. I frequently sing play, just because I enjoy it[I helped to run a session here in ireland] no money involved I did it because I chose to.
I too have run clubs and would like to point out that 99 percant of club organisers do it for no financial return[occasionally subsidising the club through a bad patch].while art centres may have a part to play,if they become the be all and end all,the music will no longer be of the people but just for the well heeled.
personally I enjoy both venues[ But prefer a good folk club to ahalf empty art centre.
I feel rich spiritually because I enjoy the music I play,Iknew when Ibecame a folk musician that Iwould not earn as much as I could have done in the rock world[and yes Countess I have a good enough voice to have done that] or AS a shopkeeper.that was my choice,and again iwould like to thank allthe club organisers who have supported me over the years.DickMiles


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 08:31 AM

To those on this thread who consider a certain standard should be expected in the Folk scene...please do not forget how Folk get togethers originated in the UK....the men and women who gathered to sup ale in a barn and sing and dance when the harvest was over....the men on ships who sung to keep spirits high as they worked in adverse conditions. Almost everyone sung or performed, whether talented or not and were encouraged to by their peers. I believe that allcomers should be encouraged to sing and be praised or applauded just for the effort...as they were in Victorian times and before. They were not paid for doing it other than the ale and fare given by the farmer as goodwill when the harvest was safely in.
Please people...Folkies...don't get so important to yourselves that the average Joe doesn't cut it with you....everyone has a part to play in this life in spite of you. If you are proud of your club because you have a lot of wonderful performers....maybe you are keeping someone or several others down in favour of your quality....is that right or wrong eh?
If you feel offended by what I have said then please ask yourself why.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: LesB
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 08:32 AM

Our club (the Bothy) has been going for 42yrs & until 3yrs ago were in the same venue (upstairs room of a pub). The pub had gone down & down & we were forced to make the decision to move as the situation was becoming untenable.
We found a hotel in the town center where we could use the function room at no cost, they had cask beer & the arrangment suited both sides well. Unfortunately the hotel is closing, to be converted into flats. We have just found a new venue (a small local golf club) which is comfortable, quiet & fits our requirements.
Upon asking regulars we realised that we did not want to go back to a grotty room over a grotty pub, but had to search long & hard to find a viable alternative.
The local Art Center was suggested, as were a few local Hotels, none of which were suitable owing to cost. The Art Center whilst able to put on concerts were unable to offer a club venue. To open the building would reqire x amount of staff ( due to regulations) and be ridiculously expensive. (We are a "traditional" type of club, as decribed above, not a concert club).
So either Countess Richard lives in a different world from me or I live in a deprived area because there is no such thing as "Arts" for the peoples use. (The Art Center bar does'nt even open unless there is a performance going on), & as for Leisure Centers I know of none that are not commercial fitness clubs.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: why well run folk clubs are important
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Nov 06 - 08:38 AM

I'm for the highest performance standards in trad music and totally opposed to the 'good enough for f*lk'/'why bother to tune'

Funny thing is, countess, so am I. Which is certainly part of the reason I have run a folk club AND a folk festival for twenty five years. Not just showcasing traditional English music either. We have had dancers from the Ukraine, a storyteller from Ghana, Blues nights, Jazz gutarists, Christmas pantomimes, Easter pace egg plays and a whole gammut of things for all ages and tastes. The only difference between us seems to be in our approach.

Just because I don't like something, and I have already said what I don't like, I would not dream of insulting those that do. Your final point about enabling people to keep their wallets shut is a particularly nasty one. You have no idea at all about how much time, effort, energy and money I have spent supporting local folk clubs yet for some reason you suggest that I am some sort of miser? Even at the club I organise I still often pay my door charge, buy raffle tickets and spend £10-£15 on a CD from the artist.

I attend a few folk festivals and buy tickets for concerts as well. Not just for me. I have a family and think nothing of buying 4 tickets at £25 a piece to see a band or act that we all want to watch. Yet for soem reason you chose to make the comment those continue to consider it OK just because it enables them to keep their wallets shut.

For the last time, I hope, stick to the venues you like and I will stick to mine. Just please stop casting aspersions on the characters of people you know nothing about.

Cheers

DtG


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