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A 'no PA' festival

Mr Red 26 Apr 08 - 12:23 PM
nutty 26 Apr 08 - 12:52 PM
Sttaw Legend 26 Apr 08 - 12:53 PM
danensis 26 Apr 08 - 02:46 PM
Big Al Whittle 26 Apr 08 - 06:17 PM
Nick 26 Apr 08 - 06:19 PM
JJ 27 Apr 08 - 08:52 AM
melodeonboy 27 Apr 08 - 09:10 AM
Beer 27 Apr 08 - 09:28 AM
Mo the caller 27 Apr 08 - 09:41 AM
Mr Red 28 Apr 08 - 03:06 AM
melodeonboy 28 Apr 08 - 05:54 AM
Mr Happy 28 Apr 08 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Alan Surtees 28 Apr 08 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 28 Apr 08 - 06:51 AM
Mark Dowding 28 Apr 08 - 06:54 AM
fiddler 28 Apr 08 - 08:48 AM
John Routledge 28 Apr 08 - 09:11 AM
topical tom 28 Apr 08 - 09:26 AM
Mo the caller 28 Apr 08 - 09:33 AM
Harmonium Hero 28 Apr 08 - 12:10 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 08 - 02:20 PM
greg stephens 28 Apr 08 - 02:32 PM
stallion 28 Apr 08 - 03:39 PM
Herga Kitty 28 Apr 08 - 03:57 PM
Mr Red 29 Apr 08 - 02:55 AM
Mr Red 29 Apr 08 - 03:08 AM
Wolfhound person 29 Apr 08 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 29 Apr 08 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 29 Apr 08 - 05:09 AM
John MacKenzie 29 Apr 08 - 05:39 AM
Mr Red 29 Apr 08 - 08:20 AM
John MacKenzie 29 Apr 08 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 29 Apr 08 - 08:36 AM
John MacKenzie 29 Apr 08 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 29 Apr 08 - 09:35 AM
Mr Red 29 Apr 08 - 01:26 PM
the lemonade lady 29 Apr 08 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Tam in Gloucester 29 Apr 08 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 29 Apr 08 - 01:48 PM
the lemonade lady 29 Apr 08 - 03:06 PM
Herga Kitty 29 Apr 08 - 03:24 PM
danensis 29 Apr 08 - 03:25 PM
Herga Kitty 29 Apr 08 - 03:28 PM
Phil Edwards 29 Apr 08 - 03:57 PM
Bob TB 29 Apr 08 - 05:52 PM
greg stephens 29 Apr 08 - 06:11 PM
the lemonade lady 29 Apr 08 - 07:19 PM
Bob TB 30 Apr 08 - 02:29 AM
the lemonade lady 30 Apr 08 - 07:31 AM
John MacKenzie 30 Apr 08 - 07:42 AM
M.Ted 30 Apr 08 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,Sandra 30 Apr 08 - 08:47 AM
greg stephens 30 Apr 08 - 08:48 AM
M.Ted 30 Apr 08 - 09:18 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 30 Apr 08 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Alan Surtees 30 Apr 08 - 09:54 AM
Dave Roberts 30 Apr 08 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Sandra 30 Apr 08 - 10:34 AM
Mr Red 01 May 08 - 01:24 PM
Mr Red 01 May 08 - 01:40 PM
greg stephens 01 May 08 - 05:22 PM
the lemonade lady 06 May 08 - 10:37 AM
mandotim 06 May 08 - 11:31 AM
the lemonade lady 09 May 08 - 08:42 AM
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Subject: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Red
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 12:23 PM

the "Traditions Festival" thread

Angie and Ken say in "Folk West" Magazine just htink - no PAs

And as organisers of the Four Fools Folk Festivals for the last 20 years they know how to run a festival. The line-up looks good web site And a ceilidh on Sat night.

Is this a trend? a backlash? A divide?

I think so.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: nutty
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 12:52 PM

This is a great festival I've already sent for my ticket.

Very similar to the National with small venues allow a really personal view of the artistes,

Good camping facilities as well

And -yes - consessions for pensioners


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 12:53 PM

Where does it say no PA Mr Red?


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: danensis
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 02:46 PM

I wish Shrewsbury would take a leaf out of their book!


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 06:17 PM

Why no PA - some of these peoples work is very intricate and subtle and you simply can't hear it properly purely acoustically.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Nick
Date: 26 Apr 08 - 06:19 PM

My dad is unfortunately dead so he couldn't have made it anyway - can I bring me mum?


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: JJ
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 08:52 AM

I thought this was an anti-Pennsylvania thread...


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: melodeonboy
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 09:10 AM

I'm gigging that weekend, and it's quite a way to go from Kent anyway, but the idea of a more intimate non-PA festival sounds very appealing, as does the line-up.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Beer
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 09:28 AM

I think the idea is great and I wish the organizers the best of luck. However no PA tells me it must be a very small festival or all the entertainers have very powerful voices. Further to this I would think that some musician would also refuse to accept to do a set because their voices are not strong enough with no PA. I myself could not do a gig(Celtic Group) without a PA because my voice has gotten weaker with age plus the back up musicians (6) would completely drown out my voice.
But hay!, the idea is still a good one.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Apr 08 - 09:41 AM

I couldn't see anything about 'no PA' on the website, and I can't imagine an unamplified ceilidh, you'd have some confused dancers or a hoarse caller.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Red
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 03:06 AM

Angie and Ken say in "Folk West" Magazine just think - no PAs

Folk West published by Sam Simmons, Malvern. Current issue out last week, The TRADITIONS FESTIVAL [ex Four Fools FF] column. In the paper version only.

That's where.

I did wonder about the ceilidh but I defy anyone to ignore Baz Parks - mic or no mike. And yes I can imagine a ceilidh without PA. Firstly no earplugs. Secondly I don't have to imagine, I remember Bromyard when the power failed (when did it not?). The rest of the band struggled mid set, so the saxophanist stepped forward and blew hard. And we carried-on dancing. I would thank Alistair Gilles (All Blacked-Up), but I can't be sure it was he - though it is the kind of thing he can do. I thank him anyway - ABU are a joy to dance to.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: melodeonboy
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 05:54 AM

I don't wish to sound obtuse, but haven't we had ceilidhs for longer than we've had amplification?


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 06:27 AM

Indeed!


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Alan Surtees
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 06:30 AM

Danesis you are being ridiculous if you honestly believe Shrewsbury could be done without PA. I have some sympathy for the no PA argument but it would have to be a very small festival and even then you will undoubtedly sacrifice balance and subtlety. Sound and consequential noise is Mr Red's hobby horse, but I don't think even he would suggest that we could do Shrewsbury without PA.

Let's get something clear; I will continually strive to provide good quality sound at Shrewsbury. And before you start berating me yet again, please consider that last year we were on a new site with two completely new marquees and one completely new sound system. I do not set out to upset people by providing sound which they are uncomfortable with. Last year 4,997 people went home very happy, 3 had a problem with the sound. Sound and venue positioning will be improved this year as will many other aspects of the festival. There will no increase in audience numbers and more attention paid to improving the overall visitor experience. Criticism is one thing but malicious attacks with the intention of damaging the festival are wrong and definitely not what I expect from people who describe themselves as folkies. It is all too easy to sit in judgment on others, but not so easy to actually get off your backside and make something happen.

Good luck to anyone who organises a folk festival; with or without PA. It is a difficult job, often made harder by the self appointed ones who sit in judgment, turn gossip and supposition into fact, question every motive, exaggerate the truth and set out to rubbish the hard work of others. Most of the people I meet in the folk world are good natured, tolerant, happy and caring. I am astonished that a very few pick a public platform to say absolutely anything they wish about artists and organisers; however hurtful. Mr Red (and to a lesser extent John Rouse - Danesis) have been putting the boot into me for many months, I think it is time to give me a break.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 06:51 AM

Well.
A fine to do, and no mistake.
As a member of Housewives' Choice, who are playing the Fools festival later this summer, the idea of playing without PA is risible.
If you wanted a three hour drum solo, that is what you would get!
With poor old Baz trying to scream over it.
I'm with Alan on this one.
With over 30 years either gigging, or doing sound at dances and festivals, sympathetic PA (or sound re-inforcement) is absolutely essential.
The PA contingent always bear the brunt of the very few unhappy punters.
The stories I could tell.....
Being told off for someone not hearing the melodeon plyer, when said musician was at the bar, the tune being led by soprano sax in Bb (no melodeon needed)....go figure!!

Yes, of course, bad engineers produce bad sound, but in my experience, PA crews on the folk scene are far more talented and amenable to requirements than thir compatriots on the Rock Scene.

As for a "No PA" fesival...

It would have to be a small one.

And no Drummer!!!!

Regards Ralphie (HWC)


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 06:54 AM

I think the Ceilidh band will have a PA in the main hall out of necessity - certainly for the caller but the venue is at a school and utilises the classrooms which are small enough not to need a PA.

In the past Angie has had Friday night concerts where anybody can arrange with the MC to have a floor spot for two or three songs in between the guests in the large school hall or the gym without PA which to me didn't work as you found that anybody more than 4 rows back couldn't hear properly and you ended up with no voice trying to project yourself far enough. I couldn't see the point of not having a PA for that event but Angie was adamant that it would be purely acoustic. Last year's Fridaynight-athon was split between two smaller rooms and acoustically better without a PA.

The gym was awful as a venue because of the reverberation which mushed everything up. Thankfully that was not used again.

I'll see you there doing some songs about railways with Chris Harvey.

Cheers
Mark


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: fiddler
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 08:48 AM

That is it isn't it, A village Celidh in the past in a small hall or barn - sound carries that far and everyone knew the dances so teh caller had little to do.

Last year I provided PA for an outdoor performance - with a stage - the two morris teams decided they would a) not dance on the stage and B) not use the PA at all. The audience shrunk by 75% at least.

The teams said they really enjoyed it - sadly very few audience got the opportunity!

The clog dancers who used the stage kept the audiences attention and played to a pretty much full house.

BTW it was a free to the Public Event too so not even died in the wood folkies, And they watched and enjoyed English clog dancing and some other step dancing.

Everything has it's place.

Andy


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: John Routledge
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 09:11 AM

The vast majority of venues at the festival are better without PA.

Horses for courses

Looking forward to it immensely.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: topical tom
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 09:26 AM

I have been to a couple of festivals where there was no PA at two of the workshops. One workshop was audible to all but the other, featuring Lou and Peter Berryman , left much to be desired. Words were often garbled and inaudible and ,for someone who is hearing-challenged, would have been been less than enjoyable.I guess it depends on the set-up and size of the audience.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 09:33 AM

Do the singers in the Cause at Chippenham use PA, or do they rely on the Chapel's acoustics?


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 12:10 PM

Alan Surtees: I would dispute the contention that, without PA, it would have to be a very small festival. You just need to organise smaller concerts, or use rooms with good acoustics. And as for losing balance and subtlety, on many occasions, I have found the opposite to be true - that the amplification has completely destroyed both. I'm not blaming the festival organisers for the incompetence of sound engineers, by the way, and would hasten to add that I, as a performer, have been known to thank the sound engineer -from the stage - for the quality of the sound. Some of them do know what they are about.
I would also bet - from personal experience - that there were more than three people who had a problem with the sound. Not everybody who has a problem with amplified sound seeks out an official to complain to; they will, however, retail their experiences to others who weren't there. Not good publicity.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 02:20 PM

"retail their experience"

The money grabbing bastards!


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 02:32 PM

"I couldn't see anything about 'no PA' on the website, and I can't imagine an unamplified ceilidh, you'd have some confused dancers or a hoarse caller"Mo the Caller)

As has already been pointed out, the world that created the tunes we dance to at ceilidhs, and the danciung styles, had no PAs. Of course you can run festivals without PAs. And of course you can run festivals with PAs.What is intriguing is the hosatility that some people display to the concept of a totally acoustic festival. Granted, it wouldn't suit all puinters, or all performers, but it would suit a lot of folks. So why on earth not? It would good if there a few...it might catch on.
   I toured a barn dance/theatre show with Welfare State International once, throughout the northwest of England. While we did have a PA set up, to balance the band with some arrangements of strange instruments, the calling was done by Taffy Thomas, from the floor, no radio mics. Just talking to people, as you do. And the band played quietly. Lovely show.
    My own band, the Boat Band, play loads of totally acoustic gigs. All sorts of festivals.Some people like sitting hearing music acoustically, and I cant say I blame them.
No PA doesn't have to mean "quiet", either. Ever heard a samba band at a carnival?


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: stallion
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 03:39 PM

Just done a gig at the NCEM York with the Young Coppers unamplified, had a hundred and fifty or so in and the sound was brill, but then it had acoustic boards and stuff


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 28 Apr 08 - 03:57 PM

Singers in the Cause at Chippenham generally sing acoustically - because the acoustics are wonderful. I'm just trying to remember whether PA has been used for balance. But I spend most of my time at the Cause rather than the Olympiad because I'd rather hear the guests without PA.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 02:55 AM

I wondered how long it would be before the angry mob turned up. Attention seeking? You decide.

Spoil any party they would.

If Angie and Ken want a "no PA" festival good on them. They percieve a market backlash and want to address it. Since when did the Wilsons need a PA? Well - I did pop my head in a sound stage once and the leakage from the main stage was ruining their amplified efforts. The Wilsons out-decibelled! I ask you!
There are places for those that prefer other volumes of entertainment.

Angie & Ken have been seen in non-guest Folk Clubs (Angie invariably performing) for 30 years or more and run festivals for 20 years to my knowledge. They know their market. I am just happy to add to their publicity. They, at least, will show gratitude. I know.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 03:08 AM

a ceilidh without PA?

Greg - surely you haven't forgottent the rather excellent concert in the Prema at Dursley, with the rather excellent Boat Band.

OK Cajun, but enough of a dance floor and plenty of dancers even polkas and schottishes - and a song about a "man in Red". No PA there - so two thankyous at least. Make that three and gold stars.

And Bayou Seco don't need an amplifier for Village Halls. Mamou Mia!
It all depends on the size of the room and the courtesy of the audience. And courtesy is definitely on Angie and Ken's agenda, as I have been reminded by her once or twice!


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 04:01 AM

Whitby Folk festival, early 90s, main Spa ballroom ceilidh.
Morpeth Rant danced by 3-400 people to the unamplified sound of one fiddle, one moothie, one set of Northumbrian pipes. (Will T, Will A, Joe H.)

Admittedly everyone took their shoes off, and was asked to be quiet, but.....

Special!

Paws


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 04:02 AM

I really don't get this argument.

Why is it that some people on here seem to think that, because Festival A operates very nicely with NO PA in small acoustically good venues, that that model needs to be grafted on to the big festivals that patently wouldn't be able to operate without PA.

Surely the broad church that is the folkscene can accomodate both extremes and all points in between.

It's horses for courses. You pays your money and takes your choice.

If you like Angie and Ken's festival, go there. If you don't like Shrewsbury, don't go there.

A very few people may get a nasty shock if they went to the wrong one by mistake, but just look at the Artist list and you can get a pretty good idea of what it's going to be like! For instance, I don't suppose you would see the Peatbog Faeries (or any other noisy Scottish band) at Angie's festival.

As an unashamed sound engineer, I can tell you that one of the most pleasurable experiences to me is to hear the human voice and acoustic instruments in an intimate, acoustically good venue without amplification. But, I also accept that the big venue with the big name artists is going to involve PA.

Mind you, experiencing good sound in those circumstances is not as common as one would like. But that is another debate, which I'm sure Cresby will be only too pleased to pick up on!!


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 05:09 AM

I'm with Graham on this one, horses for courses. And check the artist list before travelling to avoid dissapointment.
Mind you it might be an interesting excercise to see how Cambridge and Cropredy work, without a PA!!
Like Graham, I really enjoy the intimacy of a small venue, where the musicians are playing acoustically, but, for some performers it's just not possible, purely due to the internal dynamics of the participants.
It can be done, Fairport Convention and others have done many gigs in a stripped down version, and I'm sure that the freedom that a show like that gives (No early arrival, No Sound Check, No Mics/Foldback systems) is a breath of fresh air to them.
Just a thought.
Ralphie


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 05:39 AM

Graham, are you still in contact with Derek?

[Sorry folks but he's a guest poster, so I can't PM him.]

G


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 08:20 AM

this thread was started with the express purpose of alerting those that wanted to know about "no PA" festivals. It presupposes no agenda about festivals that require PA, nor festivals that insist on louder than average. This is a "no PA" thread.

So why are we talking about festivals that don't fit the remit? Because it is an open forum and netiquette is in the hands of the loudest.

Small festivals have more than a place, because there the etiquette is as important as the acts. Bigger festivals cannot controlit.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 08:26 AM

Quite right mate, small festivals rule.
As for the PA thing, I heard a concert at Bedworth last year, where some instruments were amplified, and some voices weren't, it was a shambles, and I for one was pissed off, as it was someone I love.


G


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 08:36 AM

JGK
I'd love to know what the instance was at Bedworth, as I had responsibility for some of the Bedworth venues.

Yes, I am still in (occasional) contact with Derek. Can't PM you either, but you can email via website

Cheers.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 09:16 AM

Link won't work Graham. I am in contact with him occasionally too, I just wondered.
The one I refer to was George Papavgeris at the Conservative Club, where he played with Vikki Swann and Johnny Dyer.

G


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 09:35 AM

Well Mr Red.
I'm sorry if you think that I'm having a go.
I'm not.
If you would like to post a list of "No PA" festivals, then I'm sure it would be appreciated, not at least by me!
There are all sorts of events around the country (leaving aside the big Folk/Rock fests) for PA free events.
What's your problem?
It has already been said, that it is up to the organisers to put gigs in suitable venues.
If your town/venue/field will only support Non PA acts, then don't book the noisy ones.
I really appreciate the work that people like Herga Kitty does at places like Sidmouth. I'm not a singer myself, but, I appreciate that there is an appeal for this representation of the tradition.
Not to mention the fine songs and tunes that happen spontaneously in the Volunteer and the Radway at the same festival.
As a performer, some of my best memories are of times spent in these places.
I could mention Dartmoor Fest and Stowmarket too.
PA being a minimum at both events. But used when necessary.


Actually, I'd rather play in a small session anytime.
And normally do.

So, print a list of "NO PA" festivals.

Lets see what you come up with.

Ralph


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 01:26 PM

I started the list -
If it is of interest to others let them add - as they will - providing they can be bothered with all the clutter. You see when you are having a quiet drink in a beautiful pub and the jukebox comes on - or as some people say to me - "the Folk Music Starts" (not everyone likes live folk music), do you stay? Usually NOT.

Well it is no different here. We have an opportunity for quiet discussion, but when people come in and start defending what has not been impuned in a bullish manner it all gets spoiled for those that want that quiet discussion. So they up-sticks and go. And the discussion fails.

You can't reason with unreasonable people. So you don't.

Loud is a relative term but I hear shouting ...............


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 01:40 PM

Actually the same can be said for 'open mics'! I've been to a few in pubs around my neck of the woods and the pubs are empty. Thus no need for a mic at all. Ok so the performer stands in a stage area so that they stand out from the (lack of) crowd, but a mic really isn't necessary. The room is small, and those who don't want to be entertained , and want to natter, can talk to eachother and not shout to be heard. It's not at all educational for those kids who have just 'come out of their bedroom'. They need to learn how to entertain without a mic, as well as with one.

I had the half way slot at a ceilidh t'other night. Sang to over 100 people. I stood in the middle of the hall so that it was a bit like a theatre in the round. No mic. Trouble was the band didn't turn off the caller's radio mic, and being near a radio relay station (field covered with masts and dishes) the mic and equipment picked up what ever it was that was being broadcast. The locals have dreadful problems with their TV's and radios. I had constant wittering in the background. It was quite funny really. The band apologised afterwards. The station used to relay 'Voice of America' to Eastern Europe. I had no problem being heard even though, because I was taught how to project my voice when I was a kid at school. Oh and being a riding instructor (when I was young) taught me a lot too!

8)

Sal


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Tam in Gloucester
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 01:46 PM

Whittlebury
Pennymoor Singaround - probably already sold-out.

If they needed to shout you would have heard of them.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 01:48 PM

Well Mr Red. I've just read your original post again, as well as the replies.
YOu didn't invite anybody to contribute to a list. You were extolling the virtues of No PA festivals, and suggesting that wouldn't it be so much better if they were all like this.

I can't see that anybody has disagreed with you on that one. In fact, even the people who you are accusing of being unreasonable and shouting have agreed with you. We all like acoustic music in its truest sense. That's why we all got involved in the music in the first place.

What we/them do not agree with is that you can force this model onto ALL festivals, and suggest that any that do not comply with your ideal are in some way inferior and to be villified.

It also seems to me that you are only interested in having a 'quiet discussion' with people that agree with you, or possibly just yourself.

I thought the whole point of this forum was that all shades of opinion could be aired in an adult way.

Maybe I was wrong?!


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 03:06 PM

That was a very good contribution, Graham. I liked that.

Sal


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 03:24 PM

Ralphie - thanks for your kind words.

This thread takes me back to the days when I was married to the Vernon half of Hawkes Vernon Sound - motto, "Good sound reinforcement is conspicous by its apparent absence"...!

I'm much happier singing acoustic, because then I don't have to worry about plosives! But it all depends on the venue and the need for balance..... and how good the foldback is for the performers...

Kitty


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: danensis
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 03:25 PM

To Alan Surtees I would just say that I have been doing PA longer than he has been doing festivals.

I would have thought that the most obtuse of organisers would realise that when the audience desert the venue, and sit on the grass outside because its the first place where the sound levels are tolerable, the sound levels are too high.

I go to Shrewsbury because I enjoy the music. However when it is at levels that are likely to damage my hearing, and that of many of the audience, I find an attitude like that of the Surtees incomprehensible. Perhaps if he climbed out of his ivory tower and talked to some of the people in the audience he would realise what was happening. Just because people keep buying tickets (and lining the organiser's pockets) is no reason to be complacent.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 03:28 PM

And don't expect a sensitive balance in a long marquee!

Kitty


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 03:57 PM

I've sung approximately four times into a mic and approximately 100+ times without, and I know which I prefer. The last time I used a PA it was at a singers' club in a pub back room. It was a small space - smaller than the room where I regularly hit the back wall on folk club nights - but they'd laid on not only amplification but stage lighting. The result was that I couldn't see whether anyone was paying attention, and every time I paused for breath I could hear people talking. V. dispiriting.

Going acoustic obviously isn't appropriate for all spaces or all events, but I think more venues could try it. It does mean that the audience has to keep it down - but really, once you're through the door and you've paid your pound, that's not so unreasonable.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Bob TB
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 05:52 PM

Since Kitty mentioned the long forgotten HVS I ought to make one of my rare mudcat appearances.

As many have said it's horses for courses. PA has its place but isn't always appropriate. It depends on the singer, the state of their voice, the room acoustics, the type of event and more. I'm all for acoustic sessions (it's where you will usually find me) but in a large concert (and they have to be large to pay for the big names) I want to hear the performers.

I recall putting a notice backstage at the Tithe Barn in Lacock (those were the days!) saying that the PA was provided for those who wanted to use it but there was no obligation. Only a couple of artists chose to use it - notably Jim Mageean and Johhny Collins whose voices were suffering after a long weekend. No reason that approach shouldn't be used today.

Let's not forget why PA was introduced at festivals. Back in the 70s I stood about 2/3 of the way back in the Neeld Hall at Chippenham - couldn't here a thing! I mentioned it to Dick and got to provide the PA the next year. Many venues had the same problem at that time.

The sound level could be much lower for most PA today though. "Sound reinforcement" is all that is needed. There is still a lot of poor PA around (not Ralphie or Graham of course)

And like Ralphie I could tell stories of the flak we take. Maybe another thread there!

Bob


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 06:11 PM

Virtually everyone on this thread seems to be saying exactly the same thing: some festivals have PAs, some dont.Nice to have a bit of diversity. Whatever Graham Bradshaw says, I am unable to find any letter, from Mr Red or anyone else, saying no festivals should use PA systems.Thjre has certainly been some hostility to excessively noisy PA systems, and also some hostility to any kind of acoustic music on the grounds that you can't balance it properly, but by and large people seem to agree there's room for both. So where's the argument?


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 29 Apr 08 - 07:19 PM

I thought this was a discussion, a debate, not an arguement.

Does the material that the marquee is made from make a difference? When the walls and ceiling were cotton canvas, the sound was deader. It's now bouncing off the shiny walls and ceiling of the colourful plastic 'cathedral like' marquees that seem to be all the rage these days.

Sal


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Bob TB
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 02:29 AM

The walls will always make a difference. The advantage of the new marquees though is that you can fly the speakers from the aluminium frame and put the sound more where you want it. Should allow lower levels while still getting to the back but somehow Sidmouth Ham is still louder than necessary for "acoustic" acts.

Bob


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 07:31 AM

'Should allow lower levels' so why can we still not hear ourselves think when watching say Peatbog or Oysters?

Sal


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 07:42 AM

Pardon?


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 08:14 AM

We live in a world that is full of ambient noise, and, whatever you may prefer, the audiences prefer that their entertainment be loud enough to carry over it. Eliminating the PA is the best idea yet for killing off folk music for good. Good work, Mr. Red.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Sandra
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 08:47 AM

Danensis

'To Alan Surtees I would just say that I have been doing PA longer than he has been doing festivals'.

This might be the case but Alan has been going to folk festivals for more than 30 years and has never seen you doing a PA.

'I would have thought that the most obtuse of organisers would realise that when the audience desert the venue, and sit on the grass outside because its the first place where the sound levels are tolerable, the sound levels are too high'.

The marquee was almost always full – if you mean when Paul Brady was performing then I can tell you that people left the marquee because they didn't like him not because of the volume. The loudest performers where the Peatbog Faeries and Bellowhead - the marquee was completely full when they were performing and we had to turn people away.

'I go to Shrewsbury because I enjoy the music. However when it is at levels that are likely to damage my hearing, and that of many of the audience, I find an attitude like that of the Surtees incomprehensible. Perhaps if he climbed out of his ivory tower and talked to some of the people in the audience he would realise what was happening. Just because people keep buying tickets (and lining the organiser's pockets) is no reason to be complacent'.

Our volume levels have never exceeded limits set by Environmental Health. In fact our sound levels could be much higher – we are always well under the limit. As for ivory tower (what a joke) perhaps you should check out wikipedia for the meaning. And as for lining the organisers pocket let me tell you that Alan Surtees has always been an unpaid volunteer and in the past has put his own money into the event (not to mention blood, sweat and tears). I am the only paid administrator. I (in my opinion) am not paid nearly enough for the hours I do (it is more than full time). As I am Alan's wife some would say he benefits financially but if you add up all the hours that Alan and I do together then it's a bloody pittance.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: greg stephens
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 08:48 AM

MTed suggests that not using a PA system will kill off folk music.Now, a lot of these discussions are based on hypotheses and guess-work. But on this topic, at least, we have incontrovertible evidence. All documented cultures up to 1900AD had their own folk music. Therefore, not having a PA does not kill off folk music. Sorry, M Ted, you are 100% totally wrong on this point.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 09:18 AM

I had forgotten that fact, Mr. Stephens, and I thank you for setting me right on it. And though you are right about all the documented cultures up to 1900AD having their own folk music, many of the undocumented cultures simply nicked the folk music of others, and got by with it because they were "off the books". A sad fact.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 09:37 AM

The Florida Folk Festival, which has been going on since 1951, has always had a mix of amplified and unamplified stages. They currently have 14 stages, about half of which are unamplified. Though it's primarilly an outdoor festival, there are many buildings on the grounds and the unamplified stages are mainly situated indoors. The performers at the unamplified stages are mainly unpaid amateurs, while the paid professionals play at the amplified stages.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Alan Surtees
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 09:54 AM

This thread is now going round in circles. I rather admire Mr Reds mischeivous start:

is this a trend, a backlash, a divide?

It is plainly none of those things. Some people love events without PA and some love like them with. PA's have been in use for decades, it is the accepted way to provide balanced sound in big venues. There's nothing new and if you don't like amplification no one is forcing you to attend an event where it is used. It's your choice, but it will restrict the number of events you attend. I enjoy both and so I'm happy in either environment. The two most vehement PA protestors on this thread will obviously avoid festivals using PA. I will miss Mr Red at Warwick and Bromyard. Graham Bradshaw provides the PA at both of these festivals, as he does for Shrewsbury. Graham will testify that I have never asked him to turn the wick up at Shrewsbury. I leave the sound to one of the best engineers in the folk world.

So lets drop this subject and get on with enjoying what we choose to enjoy without subjecting those who have different views to insult and derision.

I hope Danensis found his "Alternative to Shrewsbury" he is going to need it.

All the Best

Alan


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 09:56 AM

Graham Bradshaw, of course, is a consummate professional and knows what he's talking about. He's done the sound for Middlewich for years and it's never less than excellent.

I think the old Crewe & Nantwich Festival had it right. There was usually a note in their festival programme to the effect that PA systems were used for the purposes of sound enhancement rather than amplification and they urged people to keep quiet during performances (incidentally, just why do people pay good money to hear a performance and then talk right through it? One of life's mysteries, I suppose).

A good PA operator can work wonders in terms of balancing instruments and voices against each other. A bad PA operator can ruin everything.
That said, if an act can be heard clearly without PA and the acoustics are right, why not?

But I don't think that not using PA is somehow 'better' than using it.
It's a tool of the trade, pure and simple, and should be used where appropriate.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: GUEST,Sandra
Date: 30 Apr 08 - 10:34 AM

Just to set the record right - there are 6 venues without PA at Shrewsbury and 4 with.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 May 08 - 01:24 PM

Graham Bradshaw - it is there for all to check against your assertion:
You were extolling the virtues of No PA festivals, and suggesting that wouldn't it be so much better if they were all like this.

The original post says nothing for or against PA, let alone any opinion on all festivals. Read again.

It more than suggests that the organisers want a "no PA festival" & quotes them, it says they are (IMHO) more than capable of presenting same.
It also suggests there are punters who want it, alludes to those who feel otherwise, and opines that this is a trend.

But as we have found on various threads. It is easy to assume what people have written (especially if you have an agenda) and criticise them for your assumptions but your argument can fall down very publically under inspection.

Had I been indistinct or not thought about how I worded the post there would be a case for culpability but I submit not. I know why I posted. It was to give publicity to a festival and is talking to those that are interested. No points scored, no evidence thereof, not in my original post. Plenty thereafter from all agendas.

Graham - it is unworthy of you to be so hasty, your normal gravitas has ebbed away temporarilly.

But then, closed minds ......................


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 May 08 - 01:40 PM

Ooer Mischief. Is it mischief to publicise a festival? I think not. Dogs with bones was ever appropriate. The evidence is above.

We have enough threads on Festivals run by very active posters this was one on behalf of the quiet people. And look what happened.


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 May 08 - 05:22 PM

Well, we've had punters' views of Shrewsbury, and the organisers'. So if I remember, I will return to this later in the year and give the performer's view as well.I am playing at Shrewsbury, and I gather I will be playing in a big marquee with PA, and in a little one without.So I should be able to give a nicely balanced view.
   I have every confidence that both occasions will be equally goodfun!


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 06 May 08 - 10:37 AM

So did anyone have ringing ears from the concerts at Upton Fest?

Sal


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: mandotim
Date: 06 May 08 - 11:31 AM

Don't know about Upton, but thanks to Graham, Laurence and Alistair for some great PA work at Moor and Coast. Clear, distinct sound, no excessive volume and unobtrusive work switching the stage over between acts. Well done guys!
Tim


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Subject: RE: A 'no PA' festival
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 09 May 08 - 08:42 AM

More more!

Sal


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