OK I know that this is going to be a bit contentious, but here goes.
Most of the clubs that I've frequented, since I became interested in this music two years or so ago, have been populated by people aged from about 50 upwards. I'm not being ageist or morbid, but it's a fact that in thirty years or so most of them will not be around.
I'm 30 and my friends are all about my age, so we are, are we not, exactly the sort of new blood that the folk world needs if it's going to survive. So why aren't we going to folk clubs?
Here's a possible explanation:
I took a group of friends with me to a club not very far from where I live, but not in my home town (no names, no clues, no accusations of trolling please.) The guests were a band that I wanted to hear and my friends were keen to hear what I've been up to since I started singing this stuff.
The band were disappointing, but no more of that; it was not them that made my friends vow never to grace a folk club again. It was the rest of the evening.
First a selection of floor singers ambled on and after the usual false starts ("oops- a bit high; I'll try that again", etc.- haven't these people ever heard of pitch pipes?) a singer came on who stumbled to the end of the first verse of her chosen song, then forgot the rest and had to be helped through it by members of the audience. As she sat down, to cries of "Well done" and "We got there in the end", one of my friends whispered to me "People actually PAY to listen to this???" in astonishment.
I was so angry that, like my friends, I almost vowed to give up folk music and do something else. Why is it that this sort of thing is tolerated in folk clubs when in any other music venue the performer would be taken off?
So, four people who may have been converted to this music have now decided to steer clear of it. And people come on this message board and debate about where the deckchairs whould be while the ship sinks lower and lower in the water.
Sorry about the rant- it's most unlike me, but I couldn't contain it. FFS- why can't club organisers impose some kind of quality control; ban crap singers from appearing again, or at least only invite known good singers on guest nights?
I'll close with a personal message to any singer who thinks that it's OK to stand up in public and hack his/her way through a song without learning and rehearsing it properly first: YOU'RE WASTING MY TIME AND MY MONEY! GET IT RIGHT OR STAY IN THE AUDIENCE!
Before I took up folk music I sang with a pop covers band. Yes, you may laugh (justifiably so) at this kind of outfit, but I've never seen a band of this type stop halfway through "Dancing Queen" and ask the audience how the next verse goes.