Just a thought.... I can remember bein taught folk songs in the music class at our secondary modern in Middleton, lancs (Bishop Marshall) like Bony was a warrior, the Campbells are coming (ho-ho, ho-ho), Dirty Old Town (not really a folk song but hey?!) Jimmy Crack-corn etc. But it was a few years after that i got interested in 'folk music' by listening to a Bert Jansch and Alex Campbell record of me bruvs and seein the Spinners and then goin to MSG.
I think folk music is and always will be around. It may just need reviving occasionally as in the sixties. But i do agree with the last paragraph of guest jonm about national identity etc. Vin Garbutt recently said (and others have also observed similarly) how when he goes north of the border or to ireland, traditional music can always be found on the radio, whereas here its classed as a very minority interest. Shame! Governmets won't do much but the media could given the will. But the festivals do ok, and a lot (maybe not enough) of clubs and sessions do well so.....that's my pennerth!
Sorry that was a long thought!