I'm 23 and have a passion for folk music. I particularly enjoy singing traditional English music, and the appeal is not so much about performing but listening and learning about the music. I also love going to traditional jamming sessions (although I don't play), and I have even fuelled my dads interest in it. I'd label myself a folkie, although many of my age group would be surprised to hear this. I think many of them imagine folkies to be dressed in tie-dye, cardigans and sandals! They'd certainly not expect someone who also likes Drum and Base, House (yes those 'repetitive beats'!) and the odd bit of pop music to be into folk music. On the one hand I've had my peers look at me with disgust when they hear I like folk, but on the other -I know of many young folkies and the number of them is gradually rising.
I think in attracting younger folkies into the scene it's important to be positive about the music - not dwell on the fact there aren't so many of our age group. There is nothing better than hearing what inspires people about the music and it's origins. Also I believe that you can't be too purist about the folk music scene. There are definitely sessions that benefit from being purely traditional, but gigs and festivals that includes more modern twists to the genre play there part. I have many friends that have been to a good Roots gig with bands like Shooglenifty and Rory Mcloud (apologies to name only a couple) and have been persuaded to branch into the more traditional side of things. This is the way many revivals have started!