The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20692   Message #220188
Posted By: Abby Sale
29-Apr-00 - 09:27 PM
Thread Name: Advice re. House Concerts
Subject: RE: Advice re. House Concerts
Kath: I feel slightly better seeing your 2nd post on attendence. I must say I was shocked & disillusioned by your 1st. That is, only attracting 20-30 bi-monthly people from a mailing of 3000. I've come to think of D.C. as the absolute Mecca of US folk music, others insist this is true. I've been looking forward to that Better Day A-comming when I could hang there a bit. The L of C & more trad folkies per capita than even Edinburgh. I don't doubbt the quality of the meetings but I am surprised at the size

My two cents as to a way to do house concerts. In Orlando we have House Parties. I send the e-mailing to some 350 people with varying interest in music. Word & fliers also go around the various venues & the State folk Soc. book. Attendence averages about 20. 15 to a high if 35. Say 7 times yearly at this point. Club-sponsored format is pot-luck, byo dinner, (soft) drinks, etc supplied but reimbursed by the Club. Fees range from $3 for local featured singers to $8. The featured act works about an hour & sells anything it can. Then chairs are circled for a round-robin sing/jam. (The featured act usually hangs in the outer circle, contributing but not leading a song.) It's my favorite format altogether, provides informal star-in-the-round plus sharing of songs. Trouble is, everyone there but me considers a song to be "old" at 25 years and "very old" at 50 years old. I'm the only one there that has a notion of traditional. All else is acoustic "folk." Well, there's a fair mix of songs-we-learned-in-the-60's, blues & old-timey tunes & the level of artistry is high.

I believe both that 1) the best use of songs is a sharing & swapping in an egalitarian setting (an interactive circle, not a stage with a passive or directed audience) and 2) that professional singers should be properly paid and encouraged. A folk club seems required, to me, to encourage & spread folksinging (whatever that means.)

Well, maybe I'll still pilgrimage to D.C. one day. I know, at least, that there's a lot of good tapes I can listen to in that big library in the sky.