I tend to play mainly in folk clubs, but I have had interesting conversations with friends who have come to see us play who usually only go to "mainstream" festivals, gigs and nightclubs. The conversation usually revolves around their surprise( and enjoyment, mostly) of the participative nature of folk clubs. The fact that anyone can get up and have a go, and will be listened to, is the bit that seems revolutionary to some.
I see this as a related facet of the commercialised music industry having the effect of distancing ordinary folks from the idea that people just like them can and do make music; it is not just for the glamorous celebrity (or the next-generation wanna-bes who are now being mercilessly exploited for live prime time TV).
I think the state of live music varies around the UK. I am lucky to live in the Sheffield area, where there is live music of several genres and standards happening most nights of the week!