The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #92147   Message #1759618
Posted By: greg stephens
14-Jun-06 - 07:42 AM
Thread Name: English Dance & Song Mag
Subject: RE: English Dance & Song Mag
Interesting thread, and great to see so many interested parties adding their opinions. Ihavent seen the new issue so I wont comment on that specifically. But the general problem seems to be the same as most magazines have: "who is the magazine for?"
    The Paul Davenport view seems to be that you should attract more readers by making it less academic. That seems to me to be a superficially attractive and democratic view, but it ultimately takes you down a total cul-de-sac. It's the same as saying as that all TV programmes should be like Big Brother or the World Cup, because those attract the biggest audiences? Well, so what, folk music is a specialist interest. Dumbing down to reach a wider audience will do you no good whatsoever, if you lose your core audience in the process, and that might happen.
   EDS has a big problem, with basically a potential readership from three rather different groups, who are not really compatible; though it is perfectly possible for one person to fit into more than one of the groups. All these groups are well represented in this discussion.
There is the "folk scene" group. They want to read about up-and-coming performers using folk-related or derived material, who play at Cambridge or Towersey or whatever. They use folk material, but do not come from the class who created it.
Then there are the EFDSS types themselves( it is their mag after all). They come from a different world from the folk scene types(though the worlds overlap). The EFDSS membership still has some of the style left over from the pre-l1950's revival. Again, a group of people interested in folk material, but not from the class that created it. This revival contained people like Sharp, Vaughan Williams, Britten etc, and a lot of worthies following the ethos that "folk dance is good for you". This readership will still want to read the obituaries of the Nibs Matthews of the world, society stalwarts but not necessarily of interest to the folk-scene types. Then, of course, there are those who are interested in English Dance and Song(as in "Traditional dance and song"), which is after all the name of the magazine. This readership will be interested in thoughtful articles about morris dancing in Swwindon in the 1800's, or reviews of CDs of source singers, but they won't necessarily be thrilled to read about the life of the lady who was treasurer of the Much Binding in the Marsh EFDSS local chaper. Neither will they wish to read screeds about students who have simultaneously discovered the delights of sampling and "Searching for Lambs".

So, which one of these groups are you are going to please? Or, the big question, is there going to be a format that will please all three? Not to mention Paul Davenports mythical huge readership, the great unwashed who can't read very well and dont understand the "meaning of folk", but might possibly read an EDS magazine if it had lots of colour pictures and bits about the sex lives of famous folkies.
    Now, this winning formula could amke money. But alas, I've read all the posts and nobody seems to have found it yet. My own view would be, you can't please everybody. So pick your constituency and make a very good magazine for that group. If others want to come aboard, great. As to cover pictures: I think, back in the 60's. I'd always have gone for Anne Briggs rather than Bert Lloyd. Nothing to do with music, just the sort of pictures I like looking at.