I don't agree with the "education-thing", with regard to folk music, because I know some overly educated fans of bluegrass, however I won't deny folk musics' ties to the college audiences from the days of the "folk scare"...I also don't agree with the reference to bluegrass with dance...you can't dance to bluegrass, although it does have a beat. There is rhythm in bluegrass, but it is too "flat" to be danceable, IMHO.
I don't know why I'm so disagreeable this morning. Maybe I should eat some prunes.
I do agree with your first-hand observation that generally speaking, bluegrass and folk crowds don't mix, although there are some folks who strive to stay right between the two genres...David Bromberg comes to mind.
There are too many gross generalizations in this thread that make me uncomfortable. Here's another: I have a book from 1968 by Milton Okun entitled "Something to Sing About -- The Personal Choices of America's Folk Singers" and of course it is a wonderful book, but it is very interesting who the author considers "Folk Singers"...there are a bunch of African Americans included:
Mississippi John Hurt
Reverend Gary Davis
I think with our "2006-rose colored glasses" many of these folks would not be considered folk singers today, but it is interesting that back in the 60s, someone reasonably important did.
I'm not sure what my point is here, but I think the prunes are kicking in...