music performance is taking a huge huge hit from karioke, canned music, dj's every other computer generated crap that replaces musicians. When I was young back in the 60's I could count on gigging every weekend with someone, either a rock group, or playing the VFW dance of a trio in a nice resturant bar. THis was in small town Ohio. LIve music was pretty much a given. Acts would come through every town of 20,000 people through booking agents and you could go out locally and hear fantastic musicians that just hadn't made the big time yet. Many of them did later on. Any more, you go to the same places and see everything BUT live performances. I have no idea what has happened to the culture that has simply allowed this to happen. This phenomena is in all genre not just Folk. My folk group gets few gigs from time to time, but most places want it either free or for so little money it is a joke.
I have a do wop group, 4 vocalists four part harmony, piano guitar bass drums and just added a horn man that plays everything. ALso a female vocalist. We get some jobs but again, I can hardly get enough money to play my instrumentalists. The rest of us do it purely for the passion. Some times after I get the fee, count the tip jar, I have to reach in my own pocket for some extra to finish paying my guys. It is a tragedy!
My horn man played professionally in LA for 40 years. He practices 8 hours every day. He is the complete musician. He is a perfectionist. He plays by ear or charts. He plays in every key. He plays all saxes, trumpet, flute, piccolo. He moved back home because there are NO JOBS for guys like him. It breaks my heart to see how hard some musicians work to make it only to be left high and dry. We do, however reward every athlete with millions when there relative skill level is certainly no better than many out of work musicians. I know I am rambling but this is a subject that just pisses me off.