I've lifted this from a posting I made elsewhere
....but there are two issues here which I am not alone in thinking are important:-
1. The earning potential and survival of professional artists.
2. The credibility of the BBC R2 Folk Awards, the voters and Smooth Operations, who are responsible for the awards, the radio programme and the web site.
Here is a quote from someone who has benefited from the awards:-
"Make no mistake I'm as ambivalent about awards as anyone else. But I know too that winning Folk Awards can make a big difference to your career and profile. Winning three Folk Awards was the difference between selling 2-3000 albums or 20,000 and the difference between constructing month long English tours rather than slogging several hundred miles for a one off gig for no money."
Someone at the PRS (who administers royalties in the UK) has expressed surprise that given the circumstances of the song that it qualifies as a trad song. Their interpretaion of trad is not as rigid as mine (or others) but they would consider that the person(s) that wrote the majority of the tune and melody would have had to have been dead for 70 years. When a dispute arises, a dedicated panel would listen to the material before making a judgement.
I have no doubt that Seth is hard working, sincere and serious about his work and there is no denying that he has attracted people to folk and acoustic music which must be a good thing. He has, quite rightly, won many awards and will win many more, but the White Hare is more appropriate for an award of "Best Original Song" and not "Best Traditional" song. If we are to have categories, then surely scrutiny needs to be applied for the validity of a nomination. The livelihoods of many people in folk music rests on a thin and unknown future. That fifth entry could gain its performer some welcome opportunities either through being nominated or by winning the category.
I thought the "trickle down" as advocated by the Thatcher era has since been discredited. But in any case, there is so little money washing around in folk music there would be precious little trickling down anyway. I know this because of my involvement with a club and festival. One of the most highly regarded musicians on the English scene once remarked that he could make more money as a postman - still it might have been nice to hear some traditional songs and tunes coming along the street in the morning.
It is not Seth that is denying another person the opportunity afforded by a mention or an award at the coming beanfest, it is Smooth Ops, the Beeb and a seemingly clueless panel.