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Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.

JClapp 02 Sep 08 - 11:53 AM
nutty 02 Sep 08 - 12:11 PM
greg stephens 02 Sep 08 - 12:19 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 02 Sep 08 - 12:20 PM
Northerner 02 Sep 08 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Nicholas Waller 02 Sep 08 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Nicholas Waller 02 Sep 08 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,sarah 02 Sep 08 - 01:08 PM
Waddon Pete 02 Sep 08 - 01:26 PM
Acorn4 02 Sep 08 - 01:58 PM
Leadfingers 02 Sep 08 - 02:22 PM
cptsnapper 02 Sep 08 - 02:27 PM
Jack Campin 02 Sep 08 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Joe G 02 Sep 08 - 02:48 PM
Fidjit 02 Sep 08 - 02:59 PM
Tootler 02 Sep 08 - 04:32 PM
Jack Blandiver 02 Sep 08 - 04:53 PM
Nick 02 Sep 08 - 07:06 PM
TheSnail 02 Sep 08 - 08:25 PM
Lox 02 Sep 08 - 08:28 PM
melodeonboy 03 Sep 08 - 04:04 AM
Jack Campin 03 Sep 08 - 05:27 AM
Terry McDonald 03 Sep 08 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 03 Sep 08 - 06:27 AM
TheSnail 03 Sep 08 - 06:43 AM
melodeonboy 03 Sep 08 - 06:48 AM
melodeonboy 03 Sep 08 - 06:52 AM
nutty 03 Sep 08 - 10:19 AM
greg stephens 03 Sep 08 - 10:23 AM
JClapp 03 Sep 08 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,sarah 03 Sep 08 - 12:25 PM
Leadfingers 03 Sep 08 - 12:28 PM
Simon G 03 Sep 08 - 12:44 PM
JClapp 03 Sep 08 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,PeterC 03 Sep 08 - 02:05 PM
ConcertinaChap 03 Sep 08 - 02:18 PM
Lox 03 Sep 08 - 02:21 PM
Fidjit 03 Sep 08 - 02:30 PM
Jack Campin 03 Sep 08 - 03:18 PM
JClapp 03 Sep 08 - 04:04 PM
JClapp 03 Sep 08 - 04:08 PM
Leadfingers 03 Sep 08 - 04:58 PM
Jack Campin 03 Sep 08 - 05:11 PM
Simon G 04 Sep 08 - 05:23 AM
ConcertinaChap 04 Sep 08 - 05:36 AM
melodeonboy 04 Sep 08 - 06:11 AM
Lowden Jameswright 04 Sep 08 - 06:57 AM
Mr Red 04 Sep 08 - 07:39 AM
ConcertinaChap 04 Sep 08 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,Bonzo 04 Sep 08 - 09:55 AM
ConcertinaChap 04 Sep 08 - 10:35 AM
melodeonboy 04 Sep 08 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Ian 04 Sep 08 - 11:50 AM
JClapp 04 Sep 08 - 11:56 AM
JClapp 04 Sep 08 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Joe G 04 Sep 08 - 12:28 PM
Jack Campin 04 Sep 08 - 08:17 PM
JClapp 04 Sep 08 - 10:34 PM
mandotim 05 Sep 08 - 04:17 AM
Jack Campin 05 Sep 08 - 04:30 AM
Simon G 05 Sep 08 - 04:53 AM
Georgiansilver 05 Sep 08 - 05:59 AM
Lowden Jameswright 05 Sep 08 - 06:06 AM
Lowden Jameswright 05 Sep 08 - 06:21 AM
Lowden Jameswright 05 Sep 08 - 06:33 AM
Black Diamond 05 Sep 08 - 06:46 AM
JClapp 06 Sep 08 - 10:13 PM
Jack Campin 07 Sep 08 - 04:53 AM
Simon G 07 Sep 08 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 07 Sep 08 - 05:46 AM
Marje 07 Sep 08 - 08:09 AM
Fidjit 07 Sep 08 - 06:06 PM
Fidjit 07 Sep 08 - 06:11 PM
JClapp 07 Sep 08 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Aeola 08 Sep 08 - 04:06 PM
Jack Campin 08 Sep 08 - 07:35 PM
Mo the caller 09 Sep 08 - 06:13 AM
Mo the caller 09 Sep 08 - 06:16 AM
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Subject: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 11:53 AM

Hello,

I'm appealing to the many posters here on Mudcat for some information regarding British folk clubs.

I've been a folk fan and amateur musician for a while, but I'm also a student in anthropology here in the US, and have decided to focus my studies on folk music.

Next year at some point I'd like to take an extended trip to the UK to take in music at folk clubs. However, I will only have a certain amount of time, a limited amount of $$, and no car.

So my question is: what area(s) of G.B. would you recommend if I'm looking to attend as many folk nights as possible in a given week? I'm looking to settle in an area that has a few nearby clubs that I can get to relatively easily. Also, I'd like to attend at least 3 or 4 nights per week (if this is possible).

If anyone can recommend a good area (and perhaps a good time of year to be there) in order to maximize my available time abroad, I would be extremely grateful. I couldn't think of a better place to ask this information than on this very well-informed forum.

If you'd like to respond here, please do so, but you can also e-mail me at jclapp@sas.upenn.edu. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

All the best,
Justin C.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: nutty
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 12:11 PM

The North East of England - from the Tyne to the Tees is still very rich in folk clubs which would give you an infinite amount of choices. Transport links are also good in/between the inner cities and the cost of living much lower than down south.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 12:19 PM

North Cheshire/south Lancashire would provide the density of clubs you need easily. These are in the northwest of England. Liverpool, Chester and Manchester are the relevant cities, with loads of towns in between. There are also loads of sessions in the same region.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 12:20 PM

Good advice re. the number of clubs available, and the cost factor.

Worth mentioning that many clubs close during the August school summer vacation period, so that is a good time to avoid.

Spring time (say late May to early July) will offer more club choice, and also some of the early festivals.

September and October tend to produce high attendances at clubs after the summer break, so may offer more to listen to within the clubs.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Northerner
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 12:27 PM

I live in the same area as nutty. Agree with her completely - though you may want to order a taxi to get back from a few of them to where you are staying. Bus services tend to stop before the clubs finish. I live in Middlesbrough - you would be welcome at the Stockton Folk Club on a Monday night. We quite often get visitors.
http://www.stocktonfolk.org.uk/

There are two clubs in Guisborough. Area is very active. Even better if you are a musician and go to sessions.

Avoid August - unless you are going to festivals.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Nicholas Waller
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 12:47 PM

You could try Yorkshire, home of the oldest [weekly English-style continuously-operating* pub-based] folk club in the world, The Topic in Bradford. I do the website, and there's a short history (going back to its founding in 1956) and a list of gigs from 1970 to last week on the site.

Not huge distance away are The Grove in Leeds, The Black Swan in York, Otley FC, Skipton Folk Unplugged, Ryburn FC, and BACCApipes in Keighley, all with websites.

Also have a look at the Folk Map http://www.folkmap.co.uk/ for a sense of geodistribution.

*We reckon it has only been closed on about 33 club nights in 52 years, and this year's Xmas Day will be the first dark club night since 2003.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Nicholas Waller
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 12:50 PM

Actually The Topic, pub-based through most of its history, is currently based in the Bradford Irish Club.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,sarah
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 01:08 PM

you could try Newcastle area, very friendly and off the top of my head, The Bridge Folk Club Newcastle upon Tyne, Ashington, Cramlington, South Shields and The Davy Lamp at Washington plus sessions in the Cumberland Arms, The Irish Centre, The Cooperage and theres more...!


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 01:26 PM

Interesting!

Norfolk and Suffolk have lots going on as well!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Acorn4
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 01:58 PM

The East Midlands is excellent - particularly the Leicester area:0


Folk in the East Midlands


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 02:22 PM

Apart from the cost of living , London is a good centre ! A wide variety of clubs and sessions . and the public transport does run a bit later than in some areas .


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: cptsnapper
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 02:27 PM

Plenty going on in the Beds., Bucks., Herts. and Cambridgeshire area. The local magazines are Unicorn & Shire Folk.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 02:36 PM

Or Edinburgh. Edinburgh and Leith folk clubs in the city itself; two or three sessions every night of the week; and within half an hour's travel you've got regular clubs and sessions in Haddington, Newtongrange, Penicuik, Lasswade, Auchendinny, Loanhead, Balerno, Mid Calder, Linlithgow, Dunfermline, Falkirk and Stirling. Plus: accordion and fiddle clubs (Newtongrange and Macmerry); ceilidhs; Scottish country dance; Indian music workshops; international, Playford and Balkan folkdance; classes and groups doing bellydance, samba, salsa, rapper morris, Irish set dance and African gumboot dancing; university groups doing Greek, Arabic and Persian dance; a weekly Shetland fiddling group; bluegrass and old-time sessions; several pub-folk acts every night; Scottish music classes with the Scots Music Group; a huge annual fiddle festival; amateur pipe bands; three or four folk-based choirs; brass bands in several nearby villages...

And we get enough people like you coming to watch that there is probably scope for a weekly anthropologists' and sociologists' session. Persuade a publican that feminist postmodernism will bring in the punters and they'll buy you a round every night you can keep that sociology of tango going.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 02:48 PM

You would certainly be very welcome in West Yorkshire and as a reglar at the Topic I would be only too happy to invite you to the club. As already mentioned there are loads of other clubs in easy reach of Bradford (and you can get great beer and curry here too as well as visiting Saltaire our World Heritage Site and the stunning scenery)

Ok - advert over - As I am originally from Hartleppol I can also wholeheartedly recommend the North East as others have. When I was young it was renowned to have one of the best folk scenes in the country and I gather things are on the up there again.

Wherever you decide - enjoy.

just remember us Brits have a strange sense of humour! Especially in Hartlepool!


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Fidjit
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 02:59 PM

look at this

Chas


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Tootler
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 04:32 PM

I would go with those who recommend North East England.

A publication called "Folk Roundabout" lists clubs etc. in the region, roughly from York to the Scottish Border. Someone counted 94 entries for folk clubs, sessions and the like in the last edition of Folk Roundabout and that did not include the dance entries of which there are also quite a number.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 04:53 PM

The North-West of England - The Fylde in particular...

Tuesdays: Staining - The Plough; hosted by the entirely sandgrown Penny Black with customary panache & hospitality (yes, yes, I know we've never actually been, but we will, and soon...)

Wednesdays: Blackpool - The Clarence; handbags & gladrags, a fine time assured with the emphasis on top rank guests & local supports, & free admission! Where the who's who of Fylde Folk hang out; the place to be seen...

Thursdays: Fleetwood - The Steamer; hosted by Spitting on a Roast; great music, fine beer & general bonhomie in a heavenly bar down by the docks; anything goes, and very often does...

Fridays: Preston - The Moorbrook; the Holy of Holies - the pure drop & the very best in traditional music & song, with residents Tom Walsh, Neil Brook, Hugh O'Donnel, Rob Mulaney, & Dave Peters in the best pub in Lancashire.

Lots more in striking distance & other attractions too...


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Nick
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 07:06 PM

If you are approaching it as an anthropologist perhaps you ought to spot which monkeys shout loudest and either head towards them or away from them - depends what your hypothesis is

If you are approcahing it as as a folk musicologist or folk music lover then that's different.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 08:25 PM

Let's hear it for the South-East!

Here in Lewes we've got two clubs a hundred yards apart, The Lewes Arms Folk Club (Saturdays) and The Royal Oak (Thursdays).

Loads of other stuff in the region. See the Folk Diary and the Brighton What's On Guide


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Lox
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 08:28 PM

You could even consider extending your trip to take in Ireland and Scotland. After all you've come all the way from America, you may as well go the extra mile.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: melodeonboy
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 04:04 AM

3 to 4 nights a week is certainly possible in Kent, although you'd have to think carefully about where you want to stay, depending on the public transport options. (I can give you info. on this if you want.)

For countrywide info., have a look at the folkorbit website. That'll tell you where the regular clubs and sessions are and give you contact numbers.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 05:27 AM

Folk Orbit is almost entirely Yorkshire and Lancashire, with only one club listed for the whole of Scotland (which, Lox, *is* part of GB). "Countrywide" it is not.

Does anybody know any anthropologists' work songs? Fieldwork hollers or something? And do anthropologists appreciate having a welcoming tune written for them, "The Elgin Fiddle Orchestra's Welcome to the Girl with the Laptop" or something? - it'd be cheaper than killing a pig when they arrive.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 05:31 AM

The 'Sadfolk' and 'Tony and Peter's Folk Diary' web pages will tell you all you need to know about the folk scene in Somerset and Dorset. You could probably find a club or session for every day of your visit, but getting to many of them without your own transport could present problems.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 06:27 AM

Although there is only one folk club in Whitby (on a Thursday) there are sessions in differeent venues on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It is also home to one of the finest festivals of British Traditional Music, song and dance in the land. It is held the week before August Bank Holiday and next year starts on Saturday 22 August


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: TheSnail
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 06:43 AM

This Mudcat thread gathers quite a few useful sites and Folk and traditional music in specific areas of England is good.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: melodeonboy
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 06:48 AM

"Folk Orbit is almost entirely Yorkshire and Lancashire, with only one club listed for the whole of Scotland (which, Lox, *is* part of GB). "Countrywide" it is not."

Check it again, Jack. There are 38 entries just for Kent, so it's not just Yorkshire and Lancashire. And I counted 45 entries for Scotland!


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: melodeonboy
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 06:52 AM

P.S. Look under "local venues", not just the folk club adverts.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: nutty
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 10:19 AM

referring back to my original post re Tyne/Tees area. This info may help............

FOLK CLUBS


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: greg stephens
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 10:23 AM

Who says the club scene is dying, then? Looks to be plenty of choice everywhere.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 12:06 PM

I can't thank you guys enough for all of your responses. There's a ton of information here. I'm a bit overwhelmed at all of the choices! And here I had been under the impression that the folk club, as an institution, was "dying"...

To those who asked, I'm approaching the project as an anthropologist, not as a musicologist. My concern is with how folk music is given meaning and used socially. So my emphasis will be more on talking to people than strictly listening to music (though, of course, I also want to listen to the music). The ideal club(s) would be somewhere where the regulars would be willing to talk to an American interloper about folk music.

It sounds much more plausible than I had originally thought. I'm still worried about transportation, as I'll basically only have my feet and the train (and taxis, if necessary). I guess I'll have to position my location perfectly to make things work out.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,sarah
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 12:25 PM

buses are ok but it means you cant stay out late!


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 12:28 PM

JClapp - Once you decide which area you are going to use as a base I suggest you start another thread , and ask for localised info , and at the same time put in a plea for any transport assistance .


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Simon G
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 12:44 PM

I suspect you need to home in a little on what sort of folk club you want to study. Club vary tremendously, the intent of the participants even more so. Is it closed sessions, open sessions, singaround style, performance only, accepting all comers, traditionally focused, city centre working class, city centre wine bar, village based, youth orientated, etc, etc

Even within 20 miles of where I am in Wigan (betwixt Liverpool and Manchester) there are examples of all these and more.

Geographically I think there is quite a variation as well.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 01:43 PM

Leadfingers: that's a very good idea, and something I was thinking of doing.

Simon G: this is a process that I'm attempting to do right now. I'm relatively unfamiliar with the different folk club formats, as we're a bit more festival-based over here. I guess I would prefer clubs that are accessible to outsiders and provide a setting that isn't too concert-based to talk to people. Which formats do you think fit these criteria?

Beyond that, I'm not terribly concerned with narrowing down a certain demographic. I'd like to talk to a variety of people and attend a variety of clubs. My study is broad, and I'm not going to be "observing" the workings of a folk club--like the nineteenth-century image of an anthropologist so cleverly invoked by Jack Campin above--as much as just talking to folk fans in various places. I just very much want to include British folk clubs as part of my survey, because we don't really have institutionalized folk venues over here.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 02:05 PM

English folk clubs boil down to two basic formats:
1. Staged performance - ranges from planned concerts to open stage
2. Singaround - ranges from fairly formal around the room sing/play through to open jam session.
Atmosphere and range of particpants will differ between the formats.

Most tend towards a middle aged, middle class demographic.

If you are depending on public transport then London may be your best area as services generally run until after midnight and there are good 24*7 bus services on the major routes. Check out Folk London for a list of clubs.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: ConcertinaChap
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 02:18 PM

> My concern is with how folk music is given meaning and used socially. So my emphasis will be more on talking to people than strictly listening to music (though, of course, I also want to listen to the music). The ideal club(s) would be somewhere where the regulars would be willing to talk to an American interloper about folk music.

It's worth noting, before you arrive, that the English folk scene is structured very differently from the US scene (a caveat here, my American experience is all on the East coast from DC up to Maine, things might be different elsewhere in the the States).

For one thing there is no equivalent of the house concert in the UK. There are a very few large folk clubs that are run like coffee houses, but the majority are smaller and more intimate. Some have guests, who do 2 half hour sets; the rest of the evening is taken up with "floor singers" who do two or three songs each. Singaround clubs, which only have floorsingers are increasingly common. This means the English folk scene is a good deal more egalitarian than the US scene (setting aside such fine institutions as the Washington Folklore Society) so there should be plenty of material for your study.

If you can, try and get to some music sessions, English, Irish and occasionally French. These are a bit harder to find than song clubs, but very social when you do find them.

If your time and budget will stretch to it it would be worth spending a bit of time both up North and down South. If you get to Lewes, watch out for the dwile flonking!

Best of luck,

Chris


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Lox
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 02:21 PM

You can't beat a trad session in a pub in the west of Ireland.

Though it can be hard to find a good one ...


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Fidjit
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 02:30 PM

here's another

Chas


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 03:18 PM

Transport: Edinburgh is unusually good, a night bus service that goes far out into some of the surrounding villages all night. Trains are an option too (I'm going to a session in Linlithgow tomorrow by train, the last one back leaves about midnight).

Class composition varies a lot between venues. The Sandy Bells Sunday session I've been going to for many years is about as varied as it gets - I think last week the occupations represented were bookseller, retired car mechanic, semi-retired corporate accountant, unemployed homeless activist, unemployed single mother, school janitor, bank IT manager, seasonally employed carpenter and potato inspector, full-time professional artist and tenured university academic. It can take years before anybody asks what you work at.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 04:04 PM

Jack:
Edinburgh is particularly appealing to me because I'm already familiar with the city (I lived there for 3-4 months a few years ago). So you go outside of the city to clubs and have no trouble returning at night using public transport?

I have one question vis-a-vis Edinburgh: most of my research has been on folk music in the US and England, since the two nations have been so historically intertwined in regards to almost all types of music. How much of the emphasis in Edinburgh is on uniquely Scottish or Celtic music? If this is the majority of the emphasis, it might throw a wrench into my project, but perhaps I could incorporate it, I don't know.

As for "class", it tends to be something I avoid--not that it doesn't carry weight with people, but it can be a dubious analytical category since, as you say, job and income are only a small (and often inconsequential, depending on the context) part of personhood. The main thing I'm looking for in searching out folk clubs is people that are highly interested in the music, spending a lot of their lives invested in it. If I can judge by myself and others I've met, that investment is characteristic of many (most?) folk fans.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 04:08 PM

ConcertinaChap and PeterC:

Thanks for the info. on club formats. One other question: do most clubs switch between formats regularly, or just stick to one format?


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 04:58 PM

Not many clubs book a guest EVERY week these days , but have Non Guest evenings , sometimes as a Singers night , sometinmes as a Singaround (ONE song at a time round the room) and occasionally as a Theme night .
Sessions are very different to Folk Club nights , though SOME clubs will have a few tunes before the actual club starts , or in the interval .


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Sep 08 - 05:11 PM

I described the range of genres you get around Edinburgh in my first post in this thread. I mainly play Scottish stuff, with an interest in Middle Eastern and lately Hungarian music, but there are lots of places that do music you could compare with elsewhere. For example, the "folk" sessions around Midlothian are mostly devoted to American-style country-ish singer-songwriter music that excites me as much as watching a plank warp, but it might be exactly what you need (and the people who do it are mostly a friendly and helpful bunch). Edinburgh and Leith Folk Clubs and the Scottish Storytelling Centre present a mix of performers from all over the British Isles and North America (but sadly, just about never anybody non-Anglophone).   And there are the usual Irish-only sessions you get anywhere in Europe. There is no group or venue that specifically does English music, except for a rapper morris side that performs sporadically.

Format: a lot of clubs have a guest night once a month and singarounds the other weeks. Mainly-instrumental sessions don't deliberately vary the format, unless there's an occasion like a festival that means many more or less participants will be there.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Simon G
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 05:23 AM

Justin - I bet your more confused now than when you started. Lets confuse you a bit more.

I suggest the big cities are actually relative deserts in terms of folk music of all kinds. The hearts of folk music in the UK is in smaller cities and for the most part towns and villages. For example if I limit my self to a 3 mile radius, I can go to a folk club 4 nights a week, and on 2 of those I have a choice. That just wouldn't be true in a city.

This will make transport a particular difficulty because music tends to get going around 9pm, peak around 11pm and often finish near 1am. If you want to talk to people you definitely want to be around until the death. Public transport at that time doesn't exist in most locations where there is a folk club.

If I get it right your looking for participation events - sessions and singarounds. Instead of picking a geography and trying to make your project fit the transportation patterns, how about asking if people will volunteer to host you - put you up for a night or two and take you to 2 or 3 local venues. We are a friendly bunch (I hope) and many are used to providing B&B for singers and the like. If you book in advance travelling between locations by rail/bus isn't that expensive so you could pick a few who volunteer and then travel between them.

If your project includes dance you should consider including Morris Sides, they are very social beasts.

Simon


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: ConcertinaChap
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 05:36 AM

That sounds a cracking idea from Simon G, and I'd be happy to volunteer. I'm in Bradford on Avon, near Bath in the West country. PM me sometime in the future if you want to visit.

Chris

PS Serial killers on the forum have been at an all time low since they put Mick the Melodeon Murderer and Ramblin' Jack Strangler behind bars, so you *should* be OK ...


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: melodeonboy
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 06:11 AM

"This will make transport a particular difficulty because music tends to get going around 9pm, peak around 11pm and often finish near 1am."

Blimey, that's late! The (evening) ones I go to finish officially at 11 and nearly always by about 11.15.

Anyway, good idea, Simon. Justin: I live near Sittingbourne in Kent. I could provide you with very basic accommodation and decent grub for a few days, as well as taking you to some clubs/sessions. As above, PM me if you're interested.

Kevin


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 06:57 AM

"I suggest the big cities are actually relative deserts in terms of folk music of all kinds. The hearts of folk music in the UK is in smaller cities and for the most part towns and villages. For example if I limit my self to a 3 mile radius, I can go to a folk club 4 nights a week, and on 2 of those I have a choice. That just wouldn't be true in a city."

Can't believe I've just read this!!

Sheffield must be one of THE largest folk club resources on the planet! If you want choice there can be no better place - EVERY night of the week. If you want the cheapest and best ale; if you want the friendliest of folk (only the North East compares); if you want the variety; if you want Irish too (a very strong Irish music community); if you want villages within a larger Village (Sheffield is a Village); if you want easy travel etc etc

If you want details too detailed to list here, PM me.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 07:39 AM

cresby.com will tell you loads in the area it covers, but watch the datestamp and use the contact numbers provided.

Not all folk clubs are the same. It can be a folk club because you can be a member, pay on the door, or because the organisers prefer that description.

It might be a concert format, floor spot or even just a singaround.

It might be an open mic, open stage.

If it is on my lists webmail me and I will tell you what I know (which is not that comprhensive but it doesn't cost to ask.

And weekends might be a bit lean so consider festivals, and free ones if you are serious about anthropology. Folk and anthropology don't sit well with commercialism. There are a lot of little festivals that carry folk without being overburdened by it. And they don't get too much publicity.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: ConcertinaChap
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 09:09 AM

> And weekends might be a bit lean

Good point, I forgot about that when I was summarising differences between the US and UK scenes. US: mostly weekends, with house concerts during the week. UK: mostly weekdays. This is due to the fact that most folk club venues are pub function rooms, and these are usually booked on weekends for wedding receptions and such.

Cres's advice about festivals is good; you can see a lot of folk in action if you avoid the concert festivals like Cambridge and go to a couple of smaller festivals.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Bonzo
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 09:55 AM

Sadly only about 2% of British clubs are any good; the general standard of local talent is very poor; many clubs are like special needs groups.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: ConcertinaChap
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 10:35 AM

Got your asbestos underwear on? You're going to need them. I will just say that is an incorrect statement.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: melodeonboy
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 10:36 AM

Ah! That must be the 2% that I go to!!


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 11:50 AM

If you are relying on public transport, trains, although they can be expensive the return tickets used to be valid for any time within a month and they allow you on the return journey to get off and on numerous times for days at a time. Combine this with the local bus service which go to most small towns and some of the villages - although getting the exact information can be a pain most local tourist offices especially in the county towns which are probably accessable on the internet. You could also probably get a tourist ticket for a fixed duration - you might find this helpful, the English tourist board would be the people to ask.

I don't know if you've been to the UK before just remember it is more densly populated than the US and so you might find concentrating on one or two areas might be more useful - it also means distances between places are shorter. Good Luck


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 11:56 AM

Thanks a lot for your continued advice. Simon G, you have successfully confused me further! Am I deluded to think that I can find an area with a number of good and devoted folk clubs that I can get around to via public transport? When you say that cities are "deserts" in terms of folk music, do you refer to the quality of the music or the level of dedication of those who regularly attend (if people regularly attend)?

I thank you all for your offers of hospitality. Right now I'm a little too mind-boggled to respond specifically to any of them, since my trip is still pretty far off. But I will definitely keep them in mind. (You guys are very kind to offer an anthropologist help, since we have a less savory reputation than musicians, who at least entertain you!)

I worry a bit that not having a "home base" might be problematic, since I'll be over there for at least a couple months. Perhaps the ideal situation would be to find a place where I can attend clubs locally and get to know people there, and then also go visit some other more far-ranging places periodically while over there.

Lowden: I have heard good things about Sheffield and the surrounding region. I will have to look into the area more.

Justin


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 12:06 PM

PS: Mr Red and ConcertinaChap, thanks for the tip about weekends. I'd like to get to some festivals while over there if possible. I might do a mix of small and large festivals, because commercialism is actually part of my project, so it would be interesting to compare the dynamics.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 12:28 PM

Sheffield and West Yorkshire are pretty close so it would be possible to visit both (and fit in a trip to the North East too). The music I have been hearing coming out of Sheffield at the moment is tremendous - Skyhook, Crucible and Glorystrokes to mention only 3. Plus the area is home to some of the icons of English song performers - Coope Boyes & Simpson and John Tams


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 08:17 PM

This is beginning to sound like a school for the blind offering a research degree in elephantology. I presume JClapp knows what kind of folk scene he/she is after, but there are a hell of a lot of them to choose from.

I suppose another way to do it would be to become a volunteer roadie for a group that played the folk club circuit. That way you'd get to see their audiences in a lot of different places. The tastes of the people you'd find would then be much the same (or else why would they all be going to hear the same group?) and the variable would be the geography.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 04 Sep 08 - 10:34 PM

Jack:

I don't presume that there is any unified 'folk scene'. Variability would not be a problem for me, but would provide a point of comparison about how different people attach different values to the same or similar cultural forms. You, for example, have a much different view of what 'folk' should comprise than the bluegrass-oriented singer-songwriter crowd that is so prevalent in the States and in some places in Britain. Or at least I presume so.

Some of the most interesting discussions on this forum occur around the issue of "what is folk music?" Yes, they get tedious, but they obviously have some sort of importance, or else people wouldn't get so inflamed about the topic.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: mandotim
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 04:17 AM

Just a quick recommendation for North Staffordshire. As you can see from the Folk Diary here , there is a lot going on in a relatively small area, with good public transport links. I'd be prepared to help getting you to venues. There is a wide variety on show, from 'concert' clubs, formal gigs in large halls,singers/players nights, sessions, festivals and informal gatherings. I also travel to Sheffield most days.
Let me know if this meets your needs; I'm an academic, and I'm always keen to promote interesting research!
Tim


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 04:30 AM

Two suggestions about professionalism:

It's an ongoing topic on the Footstompin list, as applied to the Scottish context - a particular sore point being the way the Scottish Executive is funnelling money towards musical enterprises that aim to turn a profit and away from community-based projects. This can get acrimonious, only toned down by the moderator's ban on outright obscenity.

Jacey Bedford runs a forum for professional folkies in the UK. It's a closed list (I've never considered that the income I've had from music would be enough to qualify me to get on it) but it might be worth asking her if she could relay relevant queries, if you want the pro's view of professionalism.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Simon G
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 04:53 AM

Apologies to Sheffield for my cities are deserts comment. There are some cities that think of themselves as slightly larger villages and the folk music is great -- Sheffield is one of them. That is the trouble when you generalise. I still think most cities are deserts.

To further complicate matters there is in many places a parallel young acoustic scene, they tend not to call themselves clubs, but are. They have a lot in common with the folk revival of the '50s and '60s in a social sense. Our local alt-folk hang out is Imploding Acoustic Inevitable

> Sadly only about 2% of British clubs are any good; the general standard of local talent is very poor; many clubs are like special needs groups.

Bonzo completely fails to understand what singaround/sessions folk clubs are mostly about. The clubs I go to are egalitarian rather than elitist, I'm rather pleased Bonzo who is clearly elitist doesn't like us and won't turn up. Its all about giving people an opportunity to develop however undeveloped there skills are, however meagre their talent is, however little time they have to practice. It is wonderful when someone with incredible talent turns up and performs to their best, but it is equally wonderful when the guy who struggles to sing each week sings better than he has every done before. So 98% of clubs are brilliant, 2% are elitist and to be avoided at all costs. In fact musing on it now my fondest memories of 5 years in folk clubs are to do with people struggling to overcome adversity, not prestigious talent. The MS sufferer who plucked up the courage to play the guitar. A guy with Parkinsons singing with amazing passion. The woman who never sings suddenly deciding to sing the night there are only four people there. People singing songs they've written that help them explore situations in their own lives. etc, etc.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 05:59 AM

Surely the best advice for you here would be to """Pick an area of the UK you would like to visit""" and whichever area you will be in I guess there will be live Folk music and if people know you are visiting, I am sure you will not have to rely on public transport as there will be lovely Folk minded people who will take you to and return you from Folk Clubs. A bit of good forward planning never went amiss.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:06 AM

Justin - re Sheffield:

FACT - more University students coming to study in Sheffield end up staying for life than any other city in the UK....

It's the place to be; trust me...


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:21 AM

....and for "Bonzo" read "Bozo"


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:33 AM

"The music I have been hearing coming out of Sheffield at the moment is tremendous - Skyhook, Crucible and Glorystrokes to mention only 3. Plus the area is home to some of the icons of English song performers - Coope Boyes & Simpson and John Tams"

.... Dave Burland, Julie Matthews, Chris While, Martin Simpson, Kate Rusby, Roy Bailey, Gordon Tyrrall, Robin Garside etc etc etc


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Black Diamond
Date: 05 Sep 08 - 06:46 AM

Might I suggest that Sheffield be your choice of home base. Sheffield is geographically "central", but also "folk music enriched" . From there you could pop up north to the north east, the north west, and Yorkshire,-------- then pop south to the Cotswolds, Devon , Gloucestershire etc,- "south" should by the way include East Anglia, as the region where traditional english box playing and stepping has continued without break since time immemorable(and hasnt been mentioned yet)

I also wholeheartedly support The suggestion to contact Morris sides (and no Im not prejudiced just because Im a morris person!!! ha ha )
Lin


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 06 Sep 08 - 10:13 PM

Lots of votes for Sheffield. I've been to Liverpool and Leeds but never got over to Sheffield. It sounds like a hotbed--I will research it more. Lowden: depending on the results of our upcoming presidential election, I may very well flee the country anyway, so who knows.

Simon G: Your point about the "parallel young acoustic scene" is very interesting to me. I'd like to check out this vein of folk. Do you think most English cities/towns have some outlet for this scene? Do they directly reference the '50s-60s revival, or are they just similar in ideals?

Jack: The issue of professionalism (and its connotations of commercialism, profit, etc.) may end up being part of my research. What's the "Footstompin list"? I'd like to see the arguments.

Tim: You guys certainly have a packed local schedule. Thanks very much for the offer to help me get around. Yours will be another area I will do some more research on it.

Justin


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 04:53 AM

www.footstompin.com - it's a small Scottish music distributor. Look for the Forum part of the site.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Simon G
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 05:17 AM

Justin

I am no expert on anything musical, particularly about the young acoustic scene. The similarity to the folk revivals of the 50s and 60s is that it is owned and dominated by young people. I think if you search for "alt folk" you'll get some leads.

The local young acoustic scene seems to have some psychedelic influences, dress and graphics is somewhere between 60s folk and 70s psychedelic rock. Their DJs play vinyl from the 60s and 70s - broad range of music. Performance music is clearly of the 00s but has links to folk (the traditionalist will put a fatwa on me now). The common theme with the folk revival is they are doing something new but are firmly anchored in the past.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 05:46 AM

With regards to travelling about, theres this young chap who sings and plays guitar a bit.
Think his name is Martin Carthy, or something?
He travels virtually exclusively on Public Transport, and seems to be doing alright!
Mind you I understand that it's something of a military excersise to achieve.

I met him a month ago at a festival in Preston Lancs, and he'd just played Glastonstbury festival the night before.

He got up only 1 hour late, and if you know how rubbish the West Line rail service is on a Sunday, I'd call it a fairly major miracle!

Good Luck with the project

Ralph


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Marje
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 08:09 AM

Just a few more points, Justin, in response ot what's been said:

Public transport may work for you, particularly in cities, but it may be more difficult to get home late at night. However, as people have said, folkies are generaly a sociable bunch amd someone would probably be able to give you a lift back to your base if you were stuck.

Cities a desert? You may find that the urban folk scene is a bit different from what you find in smaller towns and villages. I can suggest two reasons for this (you might like to research it further and see if I'm right!). I'm speaking about England only - Scotland may well be different.

First, city pubs are competing for trade and need to attract the wider public. They may be more inclined to book a folk band rather than let an open session take over one of their bars. There has been a tendency for city pubs to knock down walls and become more open-plan (not all of them, thank goodness) and such pubs may not be suitable for a folk session or a club - song clubs tend to prefer closed-off bars or upstairs rooms, which may simply not be available in many city pubs.

Also the age of the local population may affect the type of music played in sessions. Village pub-based sessions tend to attract older (say over-40) players, which may reflect the age balance in the surrounding area. Cities have a higher proportion of young people, ofen including students, who will, on the whole, not favour song-clubs (unless they're "acoustic" clubs with a stage and a PA system) and will often prefer Irish music to the traditional English stuff you get in smaller towns and villages.

I'm generalising very broadly above, and I know other people will now provide loads of examples to prove I'm wrong, but I think what I've said may help you make sense of some of what you find.

Most folkies are only to keen to talk to people about the music and how it fits into their lives. As you suggest, a more informal context such as an open session at a pub may give you more opportunity to chat. If you go to a folk-song club where people pay to go in, both the singers and the audience may be understandably irritated by background chatter.

And yes, a festival would be great if you want to meet a cross-section of the folk world - paid performers, listeners, musicians, singers, dancers, etc, and there would be loads of opportunity to chat to people with some time to spare. Try to take in a festival or two if you possibly can.

Let us know how it goes, we'd love to hear the results of your quest!
Marje


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Fidjit
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 06:06 PM

and another area guide

Chas


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Fidjit
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 06:11 PM

then theres this map

Chas


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: JClapp
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 10:15 PM

Chas: Thanks for all of the internet resources--I appreciate it. I'm bookmarking all of them for future reference.

Marje: What you say about the practicalities of cities vrs. towns/etc. makes quite a bit of sense. And you're right, I guess I'll learn more about the situation when I'm over there! And it seems as if open sessions will certainly provide a more amenable format for me. The youth folk movement will provide an interesting aspect to study, but I don't think, as a whole, that the folk scene in some of the larger cities is rich enough to offset the higher cost of living it would require for me to be there (which I have to very much take into account).


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: GUEST,Aeola
Date: 08 Sep 08 - 04:06 PM

Try Merseyside. There are clubs and sessions nearly every week with a bit of Irish/Scots thrown in. It is also the city of culture with a lot gong on.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Sep 08 - 07:35 PM

: I don't think, as a whole, that the folk scene in some of the larger
: cities is rich enough to offset the higher cost of living

Factor in transport, and a village doesn't end up any cheaper. Particularly since even the deadest large city will have more folk events than even the liveliest village. The village I live in (Newtongrange, in Midlothian just outside Edinburgh) has folk-related events about three times a week during the winter, which is unusually good for a place of its size - but Edinburgh itself has more than ten times that, and makes a far better hub for getting to villages in the Lothians by public transport. Bus routes tend to be radial; it's much easier for me to get to something in Edinburgh than to another part of Midlothian, and easier for somebody in Edinburgh to get to something in Tranent or Loanhead than it is for me, even though I live nearer both of them.

If doing an intensive study of the people who go to a local event once weekly (at the most) is what you're after, then settling in a village would be fine. Very few villages have more than that, and public transport in the UK is of wildly uneven coverage (good here in the Lothians, poor in Fife and the Borders, all but nonexistent around Bristol and Norfolk) so in much of the country the village you were living in would be the only one you'd get to research.


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 06:13 AM

Are you including "sessions" and "folk dance clubs" in your study? The dance clubs are a little world of their own with some members who never go to other folk events. And the age range is not the 'middle aged up' as described above, more the 'retired'. We've been the 'young folk' at our club for 20 years. They get new members, but not young members.

One thing about sessions. We sometimes get people who happen to be in the pub getting really enthusiastic about how good the music is. So much so that they spend all the time talking to us about it and we can't listen or participate properly.
So if you want to talk to people in a sensible way you might do better to arrange to meet up with someone before or after the club, and just enjoy the music while it's on. If you fix this up in advance you may sort out the transport problems too. (Sorry if this is too obvious, I'm sure you've thought about this already.)


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Subject: RE: Advice needed: folk clubs in G.B.
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 06:16 AM

How long are you thinking of staying? You have enough scope in this thread for some while. It could be a lifetime's study.


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