I'm starting this thread because I don't want the Getaway Memory thread to be diverted by what I feel is a very worthy and important discussion.
Mudcat and FSGW and other real world organizations or gatherings are different things. One is virtual, somewhat anonymous, and basically egalitarian. The other is part of the real world, sing and play together, share experiences.... bond.... and maybe most important passing on the traditions from masters to apprentices. I'm sure there are similar communities in other parts of the world / USA.
Mudcat is good for FSGW and FSGW is good for Mudcat.
I had been a FSGW member for several years before I became involved in the Mudcat. I went to an occasional concert and/or the Folk and minifest. I always felt that somehow I was invading some private family gathering, and that at some point those there had stopped focusing on today and the future and started reminiscing about the halcyon days of the folk revival. The circle just seemed to be getting smaller and smaller. I also got extremely tired of debates on the "right" version of a song, or it was this way when I heard the original collector sing it, or sitting through the full 40 verses of an obscure ballad sung acappella. I looked elsewhere for my companionship in folk music (the web, the Capital Area Autoharpers, local jams) and had the feeling that the FSGW was a stand offish group that really did not want new members (Note, that I now know that this couldn't be further from the truth!, but it was what I felt at the time). I was intimidated.
This not just an FSGW phenomenae, but I have seen it elsewhere across the country with folk music in general and any other long term organization. Every organization needs a well spring or source of new members, ideas, and enthusiasm. One of these sources for the FSGW is the Mudcat. Through the Mudcat, I got to know other area members and found out that they were really a great group of helpful and encouraging folks. I started to go to their monthly sings and am now starting to volunteer for stuff. Of course, my interests, background, and knowledge are not the same as those that have been in the Folk community and with FSGW since the 1960s. And as I and others become regulars the FSGW will change.
THIS IS GOOD !
On the other hand Mudcat is a virtual world. Through it you can tap into the largest folk knowledge base ever assembled! Yet, people often don't act like people in the threads. You, don't bond the same way. There is no apprenticeship. Often, people just fade away. What has happened to Folk1234, Moon Jen, and others that were regulars of the past. FSGW and other groups provide the places and events where we can become "real" to one another. AND MOST IMPORTANT FOR A MUSIC GROUP WHERE WE CAN SHARE OUR MUSIC WITH OTHERS. Mudcat only offers the introduction and invitation to the ball. It is a communication channel. Never forget,however, that FSGW provides the Ball!
THIS IS GOOD !
Are they different. They shouldn't be. I really saw no differences at the Getaway except maybe where we bunked. They are both extensions of the Folk Community. Also, as time goes on and both evolve the distinction may fade away.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents