Dave, Sheffield: I speak only of what I know - but there are dozens of young people playing folk music and dancing and singing wherever I go - festivals all over, and Sheffield area.
This is akin to the "death of folk clubs - which simply ignored the mass of non-folk club music and proposed folk music was dying.
Agree entirely....the young people are out there, playing for the love of the music....just mostly not at "traditional folk clubs" (unless, as in the case of a few, as booked guests).
Jim Carroll: I suggest you go count the number of folk clubs that have disappeared over the decades.......My last few visits to Britain have proved somewhat of a folk disaster - the few we found were dominated by poor to indifferent singing, ego-tripping joiners inners on solo performances, crib sheets (and their counterparts - mobile phones) and hardly any identifiable folk songs.
I can agree that this may be the case in some (possibly a lot of) areas of the UK (as I don't try and seek out folk clubs wherever I go, so can't speak for most of the country). There are some areas (eg Sussex/ Kent) where clubs are healthy, with a good standard of singing and musicianship. Yes, a lot of folk clubs have disappeared, and others are attended by an older and older demographic, but as I said way up-thread, young people are playing and singing folk songs and tunes at other venues: open mics, house-gatherings or just getting together with some mates of a similar age. I'm going to a "house gathering" on Saturday where I'll be the oldest there by far. Most will be in their 20s-30s and although the music won't be exclusively folk, it'll make up a fair percentage.