The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109916   Message #2301452
Posted By: Melissa
30-Mar-08 - 05:49 PM
Thread Name: Our ghastly folk tradition
Subject: RE: Our ghastly folk tradition
Ok Gene, I'll bite.

There's nothing in my home area for me to base an opinion on The Folk Scene. Mudcat is the only example of Folk Gathering available to me. Initially, I was excited at the prospect of having found the opportunity to sort of 'hang out' with musicians. I figured the conversations would be informative, friendly and a nice way to fill time with a music community without having to put on shoes and go somewhere.
I will apparently always be an outsider here, and that's ok. The outer edge is a decent place to be, and I learn a lot by reading. Some of the stuff I learn is lovely and I can learn to be content out here rattling the shrubbery.

One thing I have noticed is that there are plenty of posts saying "gosh, where are the young/new people?! Why aren't they interested in this brilliant thing we call Folk?" Threads with those posts usually also include self-congratulatory "we're such a nice, welcoming type..nobody's friendlier than a Folkie" (remember, this is an observation, NOT a criticism. I understand I have no Rights of Criticism.) I wouldn't disagree. Musicians do have a natural tendency toward wanting the next generation to admire and emulate them.
In contrast, threads open frequently where someone who is obviously new to mudcat, maybe new to music altogether, sometimes clueless and occasionally their requests for help are phrased in a way that doesn't look polite. Those threads are often allowed to dwindle to the bottom and off the list for lack of response. Those posts are made by the young/new people who are supposedly non-existent. There's nothing here for them and they don't have a reason to come back.

If someone is curious about what 'folk' means (maybe a folk club/show/gathering in their area and they're curious, wanting to find out whether they're interested in going to see the thing?) Mudcat is going to show up on their online search.
They're going to come, read some threads, maybe make the error of opening an old thread (responses to old threads being opened is mixed, but it's not consistently pleasant) or asking a question about something that's been beaten to death already (where they are likely to be told something that sounds suspiciously like "hey dummy, why don't you use the damn mcsearch thing and find it yourself and quit bugging us--we're talking about something Important here!")

If mudcat is representative of the Folk Scene, I would say there's possibly a fairly strong argument for the idea of "Exclusivity" being a problem and source of shrinking interest.

It's sort of like burying a treasure and refusing to make a map. After we're gone, the hoard is lost.