I wonder if anyone here has some suggestions on how to solve a dodgy situation which has arisen at our local session.
Our village session was started up and run by a group of local musicians who helped each other out in ceilidh bands. Over the last five years it has gone from strength to strength and attracted anything from 10 to 40 musicians. It is fairly open-minded in that you could find English, Irish, French and other traditions all represented in the music and people were'nt averse to singing when the spirit moved them.
Several months ago the session was given some publicity in the local newspaper and some unfamiliar faces turned up. From day one it seemed they were determined to make their mark, joining in with enthusiasm and starting tunes on their own. Fair enough. However, as the months have gone on these visitors have made the session their own in every sense. Before, everyone was encouraged to do their little bit in starting tunes, playing sets etc. Now it is almost impossible for anyone else to get a bow, key or whistle in edgeways as the visitors play almost non stop their own repertoire. They play boxes very loudly, mostly without taking into account what anyone else is doing, and they virtually never talk to anyone but themselves. They certainly don't listen to anyone else – they even start tunes when one is already well in progress.
They seem entirely intent on listening to themselves and making us listen to them. Unfortunately, they are not particularly good musicians – when they make a mistake, they will go back and do that bit again, regardless of where other people are in the tune.
What is worse, its being reported that they have been making snide remarks about some of the other sessioners, particularly the women. The result of all this is that a lot of erstwhile regulars have given up attending altogether. Most people have remarked at some stage how disaffected they are becoming with it and it looks like we are in serious danger of losing the heart of the session. What is worse is that they have found out about another session locally and have started attending that – it looks as if we have no escape.
We don't want to be a clique, we want to be friendly and encouraging, but this feels too much like a takeover for comfort. None of us want to have a confrontation or any kind of nastiness – but what on earth do we do?