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The Recession and Folk Clubs.

Acorn4 15 Dec 08 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 15 Dec 08 - 08:18 AM
RamblinStu 15 Dec 08 - 08:18 AM
Folkiedave 15 Dec 08 - 08:19 AM
Andy Jackson 15 Dec 08 - 03:59 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Dec 08 - 06:15 PM
evansakes 16 Dec 08 - 03:50 AM
Sooz 16 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM
Banjiman 16 Dec 08 - 04:08 AM
Paul Burke 16 Dec 08 - 04:09 AM
LesB 16 Dec 08 - 07:26 AM
BB 16 Dec 08 - 11:38 AM
Andy Jackson 16 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM
Dickmac 16 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Dec 08 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Dec 08 - 12:04 PM
Banjiman 16 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM
GUEST 16 Dec 08 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Dec 08 - 12:45 PM
The Villan 16 Dec 08 - 12:46 PM
LesB 16 Dec 08 - 01:02 PM
evansakes 16 Dec 08 - 01:18 PM
LesB 16 Dec 08 - 01:52 PM
bubblyrat 16 Dec 08 - 02:03 PM
Banjiman 16 Dec 08 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Dec 08 - 02:22 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Dec 08 - 03:49 PM
Tim Leaning 16 Dec 08 - 04:36 PM
Tangledwood 16 Dec 08 - 04:57 PM
The Villan 16 Dec 08 - 05:54 PM
Folkiedave 16 Dec 08 - 06:20 PM
Banjiman 17 Dec 08 - 03:20 AM
theleveller 17 Dec 08 - 03:39 AM
evansakes 17 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM
The Villan 17 Dec 08 - 07:31 AM
Hamish 17 Dec 08 - 07:42 AM
TheSnail 17 Dec 08 - 07:48 AM
theleveller 17 Dec 08 - 07:55 AM
LesB 17 Dec 08 - 08:15 AM
evansakes 17 Dec 08 - 08:21 AM
The Villan 17 Dec 08 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 17 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM
Fidjit 17 Dec 08 - 11:49 AM
LesB 17 Dec 08 - 12:03 PM
LesB 17 Dec 08 - 12:05 PM
Fidjit 17 Dec 08 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 17 Dec 08 - 12:52 PM
LesB 17 Dec 08 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Ian Fyvie 17 Dec 08 - 01:58 PM
Folkiedave 17 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM
Folkiedave 17 Dec 08 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,PeterC 17 Dec 08 - 04:25 PM
The Villan 17 Dec 08 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 17 Dec 08 - 05:03 PM
evansakes 17 Dec 08 - 08:10 PM
TheSnail 17 Dec 08 - 08:42 PM
evansakes 18 Dec 08 - 02:44 AM
Banjiman 18 Dec 08 - 07:11 AM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 07:38 AM
Banjiman 18 Dec 08 - 07:56 AM
TheSnail 18 Dec 08 - 10:30 AM
Backwoodsman 18 Dec 08 - 11:20 AM
Betsy 18 Dec 08 - 11:25 AM
Mr Red 18 Dec 08 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 12:09 PM
evansakes 18 Dec 08 - 12:30 PM
Folkiedave 18 Dec 08 - 12:35 PM
TheSnail 18 Dec 08 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 18 Dec 08 - 01:11 PM
The Sandman 18 Dec 08 - 01:19 PM
evansakes 18 Dec 08 - 01:29 PM
TheSnail 18 Dec 08 - 02:03 PM
Banjiman 18 Dec 08 - 03:03 PM
The Villan 18 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM
Aeola 18 Dec 08 - 03:28 PM
Betsy 18 Dec 08 - 08:21 PM
evansakes 19 Dec 08 - 03:28 AM
Aeola 19 Dec 08 - 06:21 AM
TheSnail 19 Dec 08 - 06:32 AM
John Routledge 19 Dec 08 - 06:46 AM
TheSnail 19 Dec 08 - 07:26 AM
evansakes 19 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM
Aeola 19 Dec 08 - 05:50 PM
TheSnail 19 Dec 08 - 08:00 PM
Hamish 20 Dec 08 - 04:38 AM
TheSnail 20 Dec 08 - 05:21 AM
Spleen Cringe 20 Dec 08 - 08:58 AM
Indrani Ananda 20 Dec 08 - 02:23 PM
Stringsinger 20 Dec 08 - 02:43 PM
Fidjit 25 Jan 09 - 04:36 AM
LesB 25 Jan 09 - 04:54 AM
Ian Fyvie 28 Feb 09 - 11:50 AM
Acorn4 28 Feb 09 - 02:06 PM
Banjiman 01 Mar 09 - 12:02 PM
Girl Friday 01 Mar 09 - 08:01 PM
Tim Leaning 02 Mar 09 - 12:05 PM
The Villan 02 Mar 09 - 12:15 PM
Tim Leaning 02 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,howlinwolf 02 Mar 09 - 12:43 PM
The Villan 02 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 02 Mar 09 - 02:22 PM
Folkiedave 02 Mar 09 - 02:31 PM
The Sandman 02 Mar 09 - 03:11 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 02 Mar 09 - 07:01 PM
Tim Leaning 03 Mar 09 - 04:07 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 04 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM
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Subject: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 07:59 AM

With a longish recession now seemingly looming, will this lead to Folk Clubs, Festivals and venues struggling even more than they seem to be at the moment, according to some threads, or will it lead to people getting a greater grip on what is important, and turning away from celebrity worship to more real forms of music.

I don't know - what do you reckon?


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:18 AM

long dark cold winter nights

garden sheds

parafin heaters and storm lamps

home brew beer and wine kits [cider ???]

bunch of good old mates with guitars and fiddles..



..idealized folky dream ?

or tragic recession nightmare !!!???


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: RamblinStu
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:18 AM

The recession could lead to a reduction of verses per song?.

Good oh, less to remember, every cloud etc?.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 08:19 AM

Judging by the somewhat pejorative nature of the first paragraph I suspect you already know the answer to the second one.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 03:59 PM

£12 in a local Art Centre to see the same guest as the local folk club for £4.
Guess where I went?
Guess who will outride the latest overhiped storm?


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 06:15 PM

Yep - and maybe the £30 for a night out people will come to places where you can have a night out for a tenner (2 quid to get in and 3 pints!)


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:50 AM

Miskin Man said

"£12 in a local Art Centre to see the same guest as the local folk club for £4.Guess where I went? Guess who will outride the latest overhiped storm?"

As you counted the money you'd saved I don't surprise you paused for even a nano-second to ponder whether the folk club was charging a realistic price to see the artist in question?

There's a good possibility that as a result of the low entry charge the guest didn't go away with a good fee that night even if the venue was packed. There is something inherantly wrong there and the end result will be more pressure on worthwhile artists to give up and get a regular job that will pay them more money (eg dustman, labourer etc). From what I can gather many folk clubs have totally unrealistic and amateurish business models and are driven purely by the desire to provide members with entertainment at as low a price as possible and NOT by the obligation to provide a top artist with the sort of return that will help them achieve a living wage.

ALL clubs need to charge a fair price on the door based on the guest's reputation, experience and standing. and people who go to that club need to be prepared to pay it (and without grumbling). To a certain extent a healthy folk scene might actually depend on it.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Sooz
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:05 AM

Good point Twickers.

At Gainsborough Folk Club we always pay the artist the fee they ask for but we also charge a low entrance fee (especially for our members) We subsidise the overall cost from our weekly raffles. We can only fit around 35 people in so we can't offer a percentage deal such as we might do in a concert venue.
However, having done both, I have to say that I have never found it necessary to charge more than £10 on the door and that was when the artists in question asked for that price.
Our local Arts Centre has priced itself out of the market and books so little live music now that it has slipped off the folk audience's radar.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Banjiman
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:08 AM

Gerry,

You make some interesting points.

At KFFC we charge £5....... I believe that charging more would put people off coming. We are in the middle of nowhere...... when we started in the village pub (before it closed down) we did the first few nights with no door charge (and the Landlord picked up the artists fees). We had 65 in for the first night. We then slowly increased the price....and numbers went down. Remember, this IS Yorkshire (tee hee!)

The turnout since we moved to the Village Hall has taken another knock. We do have good atttendances for the weekends we run. Money from the weekwnds is used to subsidise any poorly attended club nights. We are averaging only about 30 (over the 4 nights we've run) since we moved to the village hall.

None of this is driven by wanting entertainment on the cheap.....it's about finding a price (and business model) that the market will stand. If we could make more money, I would gladly pay the acts more.

Fot the next weekend we are running in February we will run the bar and provide the food ourselves (previously outsourced) to maximise profits....allowing us to keep going.

Gerry, I think you also tend to book bigger names than we do.... making it easier to charge more, we book a real mix but not usually any of the megastars that grace your stage...... I'm tempted to try one though and see what difference it makes to attendance. BTW this is purely an observation, noy any kind of criticism, I think you have an excellent model!

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Paul Burke
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:09 AM

The way it looks like panning out, I doubt if many will be able to afford the £4 for the folk club.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: LesB
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 07:26 AM

Mr Twick Folk, a fee is a fee. We have guest nights every two weeks & members usually pay £3 or £4, (a couple of £ more for non members). Singers nights subsidise guest nights. I would pay a little more but if the artists are getting their fee & the organiser balances the books what's the problem? By the way the club has been going like this for 43 years, with nationally known artists.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: BB
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:38 AM

LesB, when you say that the artists are getting their fee, what exactly do you mean? Does this mean that you pay the fee that the artists ask for, or do you try to get them to reduce it in order for you to be able to book them with the ticket prices that you charge?

Barbara


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM

Wot Les Sed
'Taint broke don't fix
Don't know don't comment.


Just off for a free singaround/session. Landlady buys first pint. She used to buy them all evening but I told her she couldn'tr afford to keep me!!

Richard B....
DVD in the post.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Dickmac
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:51 AM

I'm a member of Irvine (Scotland)folk club and twice within tne last few years we've had to move venue. The hotels were were based both closed for housing developments. Since September 2007 we've moved, with some trepidation, to a community hall as it was the only venue available.
Numbers have increased following the move, averaging 40 to 50 every second week, and the artists all like the venue.
Entrance is £4 for members and £6 for visitors- there's been no rise in entrance fees for a few years.
The standard of the guest artists is very good.
The club has been running for over forty years so we must be doing something right.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 11:54 AM

MiskinMan - ta! Sounds like a good sinaground. Pick up PM.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 12:04 PM

BB - good questions, but there's a third: Are the artists asking for what they think they're worth, or what they expect the club to be willing/able to pay? T


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Banjiman
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM

"Are the artists asking for what they think they're worth, or what they expect the club to be willing/able to pay?"

Tom, surely "the market" (i.e. the clubs and the audience) dictates what an act is worth..... not the artist? I'm sure most artists think they are worth more than they usually get. (and so they should)

To answer your point on the "dying" thread..... it is clearly the "promoters" responsibility to get people in (though it is very useful if the artist puts in some effort as well). Any organiser/ promoter worth their salt takes it very personally when audience numbers are low.

We're just planning a marketing campaign for the start of next year to our potential "local" non-folky audience..... half price offer for their first visit to the club, a slight re-branding of events...... and reassurance that we have yet to see an Arran jumper or fingered ear from any of our performers..... and that all acts before 10.30 are booked and of professional standard.

We were chatting to one of the locals today who has supported some of our non folk club, folk events in the Village Hall but who assumed he was excluded from the "club" events as he is not a member (we don't actually have a membership scheme)....... bit of a wake up call that one! I really should listen to Les more attentively!

Paul


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 12:32 PM

BB I am sure there is some negotioation but generally I think the artist gets their on or around their 'normal' fee. I think you will find there is always a certain leeway within a stated fee, but it's not usually done on a % basis (unless the artist insists).
I am not involved in negotiation (i'm the webbie), but in the past when I have seen an artist that I reccommend to the organiser & have asked them what their fee is. I have told the organiser & he has said "sounds fair" or "we can't afford" or " we can afford that" or some such comment. Tom would know better, being booked to appear next summer!

"Are the artists asking for what they think they're worth, or what they expect the club to be willing/able to pay?"


Tom I think there is sometimes an element of this.
By the way here is a list of the artist we have seen last winter.

SEPT 9th JOHN DIPPER BAND
23RD CHRIS COE
OCTOBER
7th LAST NIGHT'S FUN
21st STEVE ASHLEY
NOVEMBER
4th GARVA
18thABBIE LATHE AND THE LOVELIES
DECEMBER 2nd PAT RYAN
16th ALISTAIR ANDERSON
2008
JANUARY
13th ROY BAILEY
27th PETE COE
FEBRUARY
10th ALLAN TAYLOR
24th KIMBER'S MEN
MARCH
9th GORDON TYRRALL
30th DOUG EUNSON AND SARAH MATTHEWS

Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 12:45 PM

I suppose I was trying to allude to the difference in potential fees between an arts centre (say £600), a village hall (say £350) and a club (say £150) for EXACTLY the same act (I'm not making those numbers up).

The difference being of course what the booker is prepared to pay based on what they believe punters are prepared to pay for the experience of seeing that act at that venue.

We read above about people preferring the 'more reasonable' door charge of £4 at a club - which is understandable. (For some that'll be all they can afford - though even that's subjective ,according to how keen you are on that artist - plus there's the important proviso that club guests are actually 'guests' - and all that that word implies (understood fully over here, natch).

But there are people out there who are happy to pay £12.

Though they may not be happy to pay £12 for the folk club experience - hence most guests are content to accept the lower fee for a full room. (But then sometimes the regulars don't turn out for the reasons they don't turn out - which is another issue).

Tom


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 12:46 PM

We pay a fixed fee based on what the artist is prepared to accept and then offer the % whichever is greater.

When I put on Two main guests on the same night, I pay each artist the same fixed fee and that is normally a reasonable amount. The artist has the choice to accept or refuse.

What we don't do is argue the toss.

We charge £8 which is what I consider an acceptable charge for a rural village hall and have only one performer where I am charging £10 and that door entrance is dictated by the performer.

We normally get at least 70 people and a lot of the time 90.

Even an akward night of Dec 20th for Steve Tilston, is over 60, and I would hope that would be nearer 80 on the evening.

Haven't noticed the recession yet. We manage to balance the books, with the bar and raffle.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: LesB
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 01:02 PM

Sorry that "Guest" above was me. (On a different Browser, I didn't realise i'd be cookieless)
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 01:18 PM

Barbara and Tom obviously understand what I was getting at re folk club 'pricing'.

Unfortunately my point (and Barbara and Tom's sensible questions) seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the shape of Miskin Man and Les B.

Guess which two are the artists and which two are the organisers?

Facts are that simple economic principles are at work here. In a buyers market the "fee" becomes like a reverse auction. Think of it more as a "tender". The artist wants the gig and is probably asking him/herself how low he/she would have to go to ensure getting it? If a club really cared about the welfare of the artist they would stop thinking in terms of getting the artist on a fixed fee (low enough for them to be able to afford not charging much on the door). It's been proved that if you attach a realistic value to a product people will be more likely to purchase said product. "Reassuringly expensive" as the Stella Artois ad used to claim. A pompous claim and a dodgy marketing device pooh poohed some....yet the sales sky-rocketed because people thought they'd be getting a superior product.

By all means nail every guest down to a low fixed fee if you must but at least have the decency to charge a fair price on the door and offer a percentage of the turnover. A small carrot never did any harm. You might even find you get a better performance out of the artist.

I suppose in the end it all boils down to how much respect you have for professional musicians on the circuit. If your first responsibility is to offer your audience entertainment at the cheapest possible price then I suspect we are all indeed doomed and the trickle of artists giving up (eg Tom Bliss) will become a flood.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: LesB
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 01:52 PM

I suspect that things are a little different in Twickenhaqn than in the frozen North from wence I come.
I am in buisness myself & the thing that I have come to realise over the years is that you can't analize, at the drop of the hat, another buisness. Different overheads, different profit margins etc.
(Not that folk clubs are into proffit margins).
Maybe you are looking at folk clubs as a buisness model?
Most folk clubs do what they need to get by.
If you are implying that you give the artists a better deal than other clubs, you may be right, but there again you may be wrong. The thing is that every club has different criteria.
For instance we don't pay for the venue & the support is provided by our panel of resident artists who give their time for nothing (as we all do)
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: bubblyrat
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 02:03 PM

Well ,it helps if you have a decent bar selling decent beer at sensible prices. On that basis alone, I can't see Chesham Folk Club surviving, as both (beer and prices ) are utterly DIRE !!The hall is OK,and it's a nice little club, but if ever I go again I shall be taking some cans of cider with me,that's for sure !! Like I did at the Fareham & Gosport festival, in the bar "session",and the girl collecting glasses kicked my tin over !! Serves me right, I suppose ! But times are hard for us old Navy pensioners !


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Banjiman
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 02:06 PM

Gerry, Les (Villain),

I'm attracted to your model......but it would take quite a leap of faith to nearly double our prices (the same thing seems to work well at Reeth Village Hall up in the Dales, but John has funding from the District Council which takes away his personal risk).

I also worry about providing a ladder for Artists, you both book established acts (most of the time)..... how do acts make a name for themselves (without Record Company etc backing) if all events were run on the same basis as yours? It is really tough even to break into the pure "club" market (where fees are lower).....hoever good you are.

I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts on this.

Paul


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 02:22 PM

That ladder is essential, Paul - and the fact that we're about to loose the middle section of it worries me considerably.

I don't think doubling the prices is feasible anyway. I've known the old saw about doubling your fees when you're short of work since I was counselling newly-freelance crew when YTV first started chucking them out. But it doesn't work in the folk world (I did try it)!

No - we can't look for a revolutionary approach. A very gradual evolution might be possible, though, and towards that end it's healthy if everyone, guests, bookers and punters thinks about the value/standard equation constructively over a long period.

Changing all the Guest Clubs into concert clubs (if we could, which we can't) would be as disastrous as having them all change into Singaround Clubs (which may be going to happen).

The Guest Club model lies at the very heart of the folk world. Both the other type of clubs are important too, but eventually they could (will?) ossify without the engine that keeps the pro/am /am / pro effect churning.

Tom


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 03:49 PM

I'm neither an organiser nor a performer, but that seemingly rare commodity in the folk world, a paying punter. I thought I'd add my tuppence worth, which I'm sort of loathe to do, as the stock answer is often "If you don't like what you see, try doing it yourself"... which, frankly, I have neither the time nor inclination to do. I also think those who merely pay at the door are entitled to an opinion.

This post is not about purely concert clubs. There aren't any of those near me, more's the pity. As a non-singer and non-player having one around would be a relief.

Reading these parallel threads about folk clubs makes me almost come to the conclusion that the folk club world is not for the likes of me. It seems as if there is a level of resentment to guest performers (either on the lines of "I'm not paying more than three or four quid to see so-and-so" or "we'll stay away tonight, there's a guest in" or "the guest can come on only after Tom, Dick and Harry who come here every week have done their party piece")... and it's the guest performers I'm most interested in.

You see, when you're always in the audience and never on the stage, whoever sings and plays is the entertainment, regardless of whether they are a guest or a floor singer or a resident or whatever. If I have a limited number of nights out (full time job, young kids, other commitments) I want where possible for it to be enjoyable. Taking turn with your folk club pals to sing at each other (regardless of how little time the guest is left with and regardless of whether you're any good) is probably great fun if you're part of it. Not so much fun if you're merely observing. Sometimes you come up trumps. Sometimes it can feel like the longest support act in the world.

It also seems financially as if the folk world exists in a little bubble of unreality. I would never expect only to spend four quid if I was off to a rock or jazz or Americana or world music gig. Hell, even my local nu-folk and acoustic night, Hedge, charges £5 - 10 to get in depending on who's on. And it's always packed. I'd actually prefer to drive fifteen plus miles to Bury Met (the closest art centre venue that puts on folk gigs regularly) and pay a tenner for good acoustics, decent seats, a good view and a nice vibe than any other way of enjoying folk music. I just wish I could do it locally but the folk club mob are too busy celebrating themselves to worry about us folk loving outsiders with a 'rock music' attitude to how we mainline our music.

No wonder I stick with my CD collection most of the time.

Honourable exception is the singaround, which doesn't confuse anyone by trying to be three different, to my mind, incompatible things simultaneously, but simply is what it is.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:36 PM

I dont have the time to research this properly but I had formed the opinion that in a recession Music and entertainment generaly tends to do quite well.
I guess I formed this opinion while listening to radio 4 in my sleep so proving the radio in my works van is working more than I do.
Cheers


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Tangledwood
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 04:57 PM

In a recession spending on "big" items, such as an overseas holiday or new car, is likely to be reduced which then leaves more cash available for relatively inexpensive activities at home than might have been the case previously. This could mean more visits to concerts, or a week at a folk festival instead of a week in Spain. Whether or not this will result in "getting a greater grip on what is important" will still depend on what a venue, concert or club has to offer.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 05:54 PM

>>If a club really cared about the welfare of the artist they would stop thinking in terms of getting the artist on a fixed fee (low enough for them to be able to afford not charging much on the door). <<

How do you know what each club does as a fixed fee? I certainly don't discuss that as an organiser, but I can assure you that the main guest gets a good guarantee or 80% of the door.
I think £8 is reasonable.
One thing I don't do, is sit back and not try and get the audience in.
Thats is more shameful. The artist arrives to find 20 people and the guarantee is maybe a £100 against 80% and the organiser couldn't give a toss/hasn't done any promotion.

Paul, I have spent 7 years organising, starting off in a similar way. Over time we have been able to develope onto a situation where we can pay the fee and charge what we do. I think you need to grow steadily.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Dec 08 - 06:20 PM

The most I have paid to see an artist this year is £29.50 and he filled a 2,000 seater hall. (Christy Moore)

I saw Lau recently at a village hall in the middle of nowhere (look up Thorganby in the East Riding and you will see what I mean), I think they were about £12.00. It was packed and standing room only.

People will pay to see high quality music. They will not pay to see low quality.

Especially in a recession.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Banjiman
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 03:20 AM

Folkiedave..........

I think it is more true to say that people will travel for artists they know. (who are high quality!)

They will not travel for artists they don't know. (High quality or not).

Artists don't appear fully formed.... they need places to play (and people to play to) while learning and improving their craft.

This is true recession or not.

Paul


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: theleveller
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 03:39 AM

"(look up Thorganby in the East Riding and you will see what I mean)"

Do I know you, Dave? Do you go to the monthly sessions at The Ferryman's at Thorganby. We (Pete and Jools Thompson) haven't been for a while but we used to go there, and to First Sunday at Hemingbrough, quite regularly.

BTW Phil Beer also played Thorganby Village Hall but we missed him, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 06:56 AM

"How do you know what each club does as a fixed fee? I certainly don't discuss that as an organiser, but I can assure you that the main guest gets a good guarantee or 80% of the door.
I think £8 is reasonable"

Depends who the guest is....for some £8.00 would represent great value for money. Others it would be about right and for plenty of others it would be complete daylight robbery.

The idea of a fixed fee is bad enough (assuming there's no facility built in for a percentage based on door receipts).

But the idea of fixed price admission (regardless of the guest's status) is even more insane to me. Do you go to the supermarket and expect to see Bells whiskey at the same price as Johnny Walker Black Label or 50 year old malt?

As someone said above (spleen cringe?) people will happily pay a decent whack to see proven quality.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:31 AM

Depends where you live Twickfolk and how much money you are earning.
I always agree with the performer what we will charge on the door.

Anyway, its not for you to tell other organisers what to do, just as I wouldn't dream of telling you what to do.

Each organiser (and most do it for nowt) have there own ideas of what they want to do and why.
If they don't get it right, they suffer by the numbers coming through the door.

I always say "If you think you can do a better job, you are very welcome to take over from me".
Guess what, nobody does, becuase its too much work.

So get off your horse about pricing etc, concentrate on keeping your club up and running through the recession, and hopefully you make the right decisions.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Hamish
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:42 AM

Cos at the Arts Centre you (generally) get warmth, comfort, good sight lines, a decent pa, acts that start and end on time, no rubbishy floor spots. That's why "EXACTLY the same act", Tom, costs more and is worth more.

How many folk clubs fall down on one or more (or even all) of those fronts? Hint: too many. By no means all.

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:48 AM

I have frequently seen top name performers get smaller audiences at an Arts centre than they got when we booked them and how much of the ticket price at an Arts centre actually goes to the artist?


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: theleveller
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 07:55 AM

Can someone enlighten me on one point: do groups get paid more than single performers? At my local venue, I paid the same to see Martin Simpson, Show of Hands and Oysterband, so does the venue make less money when groups play and more for single artists? The exception was Under One Sky, but £22 for some many talented people seemed pretty good value to me.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: LesB
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 08:15 AM

My concept of an Art Center gig is that they put on artists that folk clubs can't afford, and as such fulfill a usefull function. But my money is not limitless & increasingly we are seeing artists appearing at such venues that you can see in clubs for a smaller charge.
Maybe this is brought on by the increased hype re certain artists I am not sure, but if I want to see an new artist I would baulk at paying £10 - £12 just to take a chance, esp if I can see the same artist at a club for £5.
One's musical likes & dislikes feature strongly as well. For instance Folkiedave paid £30 to see Christie Moore I wouldn't. In fact I doubt if I would pay more than £20 to see anybody, especially if all you see is a dot on the stage.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 08:21 AM

"I always say "If you think you can do a better job, you are very welcome to take over from me". Guess what, nobody does, because its too much work"

I say the same....and have said it often. And you're right nobody ever does.

I'm not having a pop at you specifically...if you're charging a fixed admission it's certaibly better that it's £8 rather than £4. But I do know from many conversations with artists and agents that there is a good deal of resentment and that artists DO feel undervalued by the pricing structure in many folk clubs up and down the country.

One of them said that he'd be a rich man if he had a pound for every time he'd been told "We have to charge £x at the door because people round here won't pay any more than that".

With the supply and demand issues it seems that artists reimbursements (don't want to use the inflexible word 'fees' here) in general aren't going up enough these days (and haven't been for some years). My fear now in recessionary times is that once again the long-suffering artists will have to take up even more of the slack.

Clubs should start with the premise that they have a responsibility first and foremost to the professional artists on the folk scene rather than the audience. I suspect most of these professionals will be a darn sight worse off than the average punter anyway (and that applies to anywhere in the country).


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 11:14 AM

We can get 90 in our venue

Its pretty easy to work out what an artist who can pull the audience in becuase of their name.

The fixed guarantee from our point of view makes sure that if things went pear shaped, they would still get a decent income.

>>Clubs should start with the premise that they have a responsibility first and foremost to the professional artists on the folk scene rather than the audience.<<

Of course they have a responsibility to the performer. However if you don't look after your audience, it won't be long before the numbers dwindle and you can't afford to book the artists.

Basically, the 2 go hand in hand and are both of utmost importance.

What seriously gets overlooked is the people who work so hard in the background for nowt, who slog their guts out to make these events happen.

So really there are 3 parts to the circle and they are all very very important. If any of those 3 do not play their part, then you can forget it.

People knocking and moaning do nothing to help the Folk cause.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM

LesB - the reason you'll see an artist playing an arts centre for £12 a ticket and also a club for £3 a ticket has nothing to do with hype. It's because there are not enough clubs OR art center gigs to fill his diary, so he has to do both - playing to different markets on different terms, regardless of which environment her prefers. The arts centre prices are set not by folk performers being hypes, but by a host of different types of act, from hypnotists to string quartets to rock n rollers once seen on TOTP. Just as the club price is set by that market and what that market fancies paying.

And as for fee well that's not so simple either. The arts centre may pay out more cash, but also require dozens of glossy A3 posters, hundreds (even thousands) of A5 fliers, adverts in the local press, CDs to local radio - sometimes crew costs too (I always have my bosun at my village hall gigs, for example).

Some acts are more comfortable playing one type of gig or another. But we all have to take what we can get or the house gets repossessed.

The chief problem for people like me is that without some type of leg-up (usually media related) the arts centre are not viable. We can get the gigs but not fill them, because our club fans don't come, and the people on the theatre's mailing list have never heard of us.

But we can't get enough club gigs to survive because there are not enough to go round.

Recession or no, the guys in the muddle - artists (and, by extension, clubs) are in trouble.

Big trouble.

Tom


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 11:49 AM

It's solicitation, like prostitution isn't it?
What do you want. I'm selling, what do you want to pay and where are we going to do it.

I feel the fee is always negotiable and in proportion to the venue.

I have a minimum rule of thumb guide line. It's £10 a song (minimum 5 songs), plus travel expenses and if required somewhere to stay over.
10 songs and talk can take up 30 mins.
2 sets of 10 songs with a break. You do the maths.
PA is also negotiable too. Need it? Or Not?
I don't do pubs any more. Too noisy for what I can do.

Any offers? Negotiable of course.
Ask nicely and I might do it for free.
Better catch me soon. I'm not getting any younger.
Chas
check here


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: LesB
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 12:03 PM

Tom, my comment about hype was aimed at a number of heavily promoted bright young things that seem to be getting booked at art centers.
I fully take your point about taking what's available, I in no way critisise the artist. All Art Centers seen to have different crtieria as to who they put on & whether they need to make money on each concert. Our local Art Center's booking policy seems very biased towards Celtic artists, which isn't my cup of tea, but is very popular. But recently a well know duo were booked & only managed to get around 40 punters, but a couple of weeks later one of the duo pulled in twice that number at the local folk club, it'a strange world.
The point that I have been trying to get across is that if, for instance, an artist tells the organiser that the fee is £*** & the organiser says O.K. that's fine, then surley it doen't matter to the artist what the charges are to get in, (unless it looks like the club is going to make a fortune).Thats down to the individual economics of the club.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: LesB
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 12:05 PM

Chas if it's £10 per song I can see a few big name artists that would starve.
Cheers


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 12:47 PM

LesB I said that's a minimum etc.

Chas


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 12:52 PM

Hi Les - yes I take your point. The art centres usually only book people who will draw a big crowd, and celtic music does tend to do that. I suspect the reason your duo had that experience is the same reason I cited above. Few club punters go to arts centres (for good reasons) - so having a big club following does nothing to make you attractive to the ACs.

Put bluntly, building up a following in the clubs is a dead end. That sounds harsh and it's not meant to be critical, it's just a fact of life. You need some seismic shift to make the ADs work - usually media 'hype' - which, yes, usually goes to the people who sell magazines (and who also deserve it). Being top of the club tree is no help if you can't get enough club bookings to live on because the number of (very good) acts is increasing while the number of gigs is decreasing.

The point that you have been trying to get across is that if, for instance, an artist tells the organiser that the fee is £150 & the organiser says O.K. that's fine, then surley it doen't matter to the artist what the charges are to get in?

That's very true if £150 is the fair price for that artist in the circumstances of that club.

The point I'm trying to get across is that the artist is often so desperate for the work (tours are a nightmare to organise these days with gigs so hard to come by) that he'll tell the organiser what he things the organiser wants to hear.

Some clubs happily pay me £250. Some can't even manage £100. Whether I accept depends on many other factors, and if given a choice I never know what to ask for anyway, and often fear I've set my price way too low.

I'd much rather work on a percentage, but many clubs won't consider it. And even if they do it's a big risk for me because I'm stuck with the door charge the regulars are trained to, plus I have no way of knowing how many will come.

It's all down to the factors beyond my control.

These include things like the standard of the floor singing (yes, sorry but it can be a factor in some places), the temperature of the room, the lighting, extraneous noise, how much blurb they put on their website about me (often none at all), how skilful the MC is at producing sparkling Parish Notices, who was on last week, what's on telly that night, the weather, how hard the chairs are - loads of things I can't influence.

This is not in any way critical of bookers - I just wanted to explain that it's more complicated than it looks.

Tom


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: LesB
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 12:53 PM

That was said with tongue firmly in cheek.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Ian Fyvie
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 01:58 PM

Quick opinion so far on this thread. Yes - market forces will dictate whether any club (PayClub in this context) surives. Keep booking the names that people's lower income can manage and no problem. That means of cvourse that any artistmust lower prices to accomodate - all other things being equal.

If they're not prepared to, they become a product fewer punters will be prepared to buy. It's also an opportunity for lesser known artists to jump in with a fee the PayClub can afford to take a risk on - provided supporters are prepared to trust the Organisers' judgement; AND provided supporters are aware that there are a lot of lesser known performers as good as or bettter than the Big Names that the Folk Media. wrongly, has trained punters to believe are the best.

As for me - I never pay to see anyone, don't want to either. I can see some excellent singers and songwriters at the singarounds and other free Clubs in my travel-home-same-night area! Don't need the Big Names.

Ian Fyvie


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 03:15 PM

Artists don't appear fully formed.... they need places to play (and people to play to) while learning and improving their craft.

Some do - some don't in fact.

Christy flogged his way around folk clubs for very little in the second half of the 60's and only in the 70's when he released his second record and then Planxty took off, did he later became more of a star.

Kate Rusby did a few folk clubs together with Kathryn Roberts. I am prepared to bet Christy did more folk clubs in some months than Kate has done in her life.

That is not to knock Kate - I think she has a tremendous talent.

Look at the bands and talent coming out of Scotland. There aren't many folk clubs in Scotland yet they have a huge festival, plus a large number of smaller ones. They have meaningful Folk Awards, lots of sponsorship and most important - terrific support from their Arts Council. Take a look at the specialist sscottish records from scottish bands and individuals, many have an acknowledgment to the Scottish Arts Council or similar.

I went to a festival at Moniaive this past year. Top of the bill was Altan and I doubt you get one of the word's biggest pounds for twopence. How did the organiser afford it in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere and a 150 possibly 200 seater tent in the backyard of a hotel? Big subsidy from the local council helped.

I am not knocking anyone but there isn't just one model to success. As Tom says - it is more complicated.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 04:19 PM

That should have read "bands" and not "pounds".

Clearly the wine is kicking in earlier than usual.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 04:25 PM

Pricing is difficult to get right. Too low and people assume that it must be crap as you clearly can't afford to pay anybody decent, too high and they simply can't afford it.

In the 70s I boosted a folk clubs attendance by increasing the pricesby about 50% for guest nights.

People value what they pay for.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Villan
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 04:49 PM

>>I am not knocking anyone but there isn't just one model to success. As Tom says - it is more complicated. <<

Agreed

Now is there a recession - Yes
Will Folk Clubs suffer - probably not
Will pubs close forcing folk clubs to find other venues or stop altogether - Yes
Will people go and watch folk - yes, especially folk junkies
Will non folkies watch folk - Only if good enetertainers are on.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 05:03 PM

"People value what they pay for" - yes and you can work that price-hike trick successfully, and I think morally too (bearing in mind inflation) if your club is more towards the Concert end of the spectrum.

But there are definitely not enough of those to fill a diary, so we need play the Occasional Guest clubs too (not a problem for me personally as these are some of the best nights there are, in terms of welcome and community). But here we are just that, guests. The club exists for the benefit of neither performer nor audience - but for the members, and we're just there for a bit of a change.

No-one in those clubs wants the door price to go up, and if it did the concerts would be empty and would soon cease (as many have). So the door price stays low (there are still plenty only charging £2 for members and £3 for visitors (some even lower, I think), and fees are (usually successfully) subsidised with raffles on non-guest nights.

Again, not a problem in the short term, but over time this brings issues to bear.

As someone said, the typical fee for an act has not kept place with inflation, and fees are sometimes LOWER today than they were in the 1980s.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that - because clubs do not exist for the benefit of performers and they can do exactly as they like - and that's what they like to do. But everyone involved in the folk movement should understand that this approach by some clubs will keep the typical/average club fee across the board down - because working musicians need to work every club they can get into to survive.

Some clubs/venues do charge lots more on the door, and some pay much more money - I've heard of fees over a grand in some 'clubs' - but it's the _average_ that counts, because that's what the full time muso gets. And a big gap is now starting to open up between the average Guest club ticket price, and the arts centre ticket price.

This is what has created the glass ceiling which stops club artists like me working in arts centres and theatres as well - thus putting more pressure on the club system, and making the career of folk-singer no longer viable for new entrants.

Plenty of people would say that the exit of the pro folkie from the club scene would be no loss at all - because such a beast was always a tautology. But having no touring journeymen must impact on the spread of repertoire, the sharing of skills, the attraction of new converts and other harder-to-quantify issues.

As I say - read my article in Living Tradition. The writing IS on the wall (well on the page, actually)!

Tom


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 08:10 PM

Ian Fyvie said...

"As for me - I never pay to see anyone, don't want to either. I can see some excellent singers and songwriters at the singarounds and other free Clubs in my travel-home-same-night area! Don't need the Big Names"

and that attitude in a nutshell sums up why I fear for the long term health of the folk club scene. If enough people out there don't want to see the music they love done well by the best in the business we might as well all pack it in now. I think people tend to embrace mediocrity simply because it makes themselves appear higher in the pecking order.

In my experience the best floor singers are the ones who will be happy to pay out good money to see the top professionals perform in folk clubs. The average/dodgy floor singers are the ones who go missing on guest nights.

Funny that isn't it...


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 08:42 PM

TwickFolk


In my experience the best floor singers are the ones who will be happy to pay out good money to see the top professionals perform in folk clubs. The average/dodgy floor singers are the ones who go missing on guest nights.

Funny that isn't it...


Yes a bit odd considering that the general complaint is about poor floor singers ruining guest nights. Now you say they don't go. Very strange.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 02:44 AM

The Snail....

Yes, they don't go....UNLESS of course they're given the opportunity to play/sing (which at our place they're not likely to).

My point was that in general the floor singers who exhibit the greatest talent will attend REGARDLESS of whether they get that opportunity. The difference is that these folks tend not to have chips on their shoulders nor deluded views of their own abilities.

The strange thing is that over a period of time the good ones get better (as they observe people who are even better still). The bad ones who's pride and ego have ben bruised and therefore gone missing on guest nights tend to get worse.

As I said....funny that isn't it.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Banjiman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:11 AM

"Look at the bands and talent coming out of Scotland. There aren't many folk clubs in Scotland "

Dave, intersting that you don't think there are many folk clubs in Scotland........ we seem to be finding plenty. ....and they seem more likely to book relative newcomers (I'm talking about my other half of course!) and the fees they are prepared to offer are also better. I don't know yet if they are better attended.

Maybe this also contributes to the depth of talent coming out of Scotland?

Paul


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:38 AM

I reckon around 40+.

They range from concert clubs to sing arounds and everything in between. They range from seven nights per week to once a month. They range from posh hotels to the most unreconstructed scottish pub I have ever been in.

But I suspect you missed the main point of what I said. It comes after there.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Banjiman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 07:56 AM

Folkiedave,

Yes, I probably should have said that I agree with your other points.

However I wanted to make the point that our experience is that the Scottish clubs (on the whole) seem more outward looking and prepared to trust their own judgement on who to book..... rather than just the tried and tested.

This may well also be supporting the development of talent in Scotland...... i.e. giving newer acts somewhere to hone their talent.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 10:30 AM

TwickFolk

The strange thing is that over a period of time the good ones get better (as they observe people who are even better still). The bad ones who's pride and ego have ben bruised and therefore gone missing on guest nights tend to get worse.

As I said....funny that isn't it.


Ah, that explains it. Since we wouldn't dream of telling anyone they weren't good enough to do a floor spot on a guest night we don't see this. In fact, I've noticed that on a guest night the weaker performers really seem to rise to the occasion and can astonish you.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:20 AM

"10 songs and talk can take up 30 mins."

They must be very short songs, and not much between-songs patter either. 10 songs and talk would be more likely to take up an hour, in my experience, which halves the hourly rate you'd be paying the artiste. Not a good deal.

Villan's right, it's a three-way deal - organiser/promoter, artiste and audience - all want a fair slice of the cake and the trick's in finding the best compromise to mutually benefit all three sides. It's taken several years of trial and error at Faldingworth (and experience gained during its earlier incarnations in Market Rasen and Walesby, I'd guess), but it's evolved into a Great Deal for all concerned - everyone's a happy bunny.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Betsy
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:25 AM

This thread is mostly about Pricing and performers.The recession is starting but is nowhere near being in full swing.Let's raise this discussion at Easter and see if we're coming from the same angle.
It's a conundrum, but it will get very messy a month after Christmas - when the credit cards need paying and the job losses start to mount. The equation keeps changing - a few months ago Tom Bliss and others were (quite rightly) on another thread bemoaning the price of car fuel for performer and audience . THAT element has suddenly taken a change for the better and long may it last, but,it forms part of the aforementioned equation. Sorry to be so gloomy but "There may be troubles ahead , but while there's music etc etc......."


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:36 AM

My feeling is that big festivals will feel the pinch, particularly the ones with aspirations eg fast, aggressive growth. Small festivals will spring-up and probably more of them that recently, but they will not all survive, much as before.

Folk Clubs may verywell see stasis or growth. Nearby and cheap (relatively) should get those that are reigning-in their spending. But I fear there will be a shift to the London effect.
As they sit there saying "entertain me".

Sessions and singers clubs - it rather depends on "the pub" surviving (as we know it).

But hey - if I really knew I would not be telling you - I would be betting on the cert.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:09 PM

Hi Betsy - yes the fuel price was the final nail which made me make my decision.

Now, ironically things are better re fuel (and actually my own audiences have been the best ever this autumn too - though not as reliable as I need) and if it does turn out that clubs gain because they are cheaper than other types of entertainment through the recession that'll be wonderful.

I did think about rescinding my decision, but these things don't change the ratio of performers to gigs, or the average fee. I need 100+ club gigs a year to survive. That means playing half the mid-range clubs in the land every year (can't do the big ones as they won't have me, and the small ones don't have anyone), or all of them biennially. I've survived so far with on kind of Ponzi scam, but I've run out of first times. I'm fortunate that most clubs do seem to want me back, but very few want me that often because there are so many excellent acts around.

The recession may deliver swings and roundabouts which may hasten or delay the long term trend, but it wont change the final outcome. Only a concerted (concert-ed?) and unified effort can do that.

Tom


.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:30 PM

Snail said "Since we wouldn't dream of telling anyone they weren't good enough to do a floor spot on a guest night we don't see this. In fact, I've noticed that on a guest night the weaker performers really seem to rise to the occasion and can astonish you"

I was confused for a minute....thought I was on the "Why folk club's are dying" thread.

Obviously a magic potion exists for improving weak performers on a big stage to the point where their contributions become listenable to the majority of the audience...have you ever thought about marketing it and selling it to other clubs? Judging by the comments on that thread from disgruntled visitors to various clubs, you might even find you're onto a winner....


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:35 PM

In peace....

seem more outward looking and prepared to trust their own judgement on who to book..... rather than just the tried and tested.

I am not sure of the difference.

Having been in that position - I reckon with a club you generally only book the people you like. What is necessary and I think this is where some people fall down is as an organiser you really do need to get around the festivals, sessions, and other clubs, and that is not easy from N. Yorks I agree.

You also need to talk to loads of people - and that makes a huge difference - find someone whose opinion you can trust and go along with them when it comes to people of whom you have only heard a demo. Ask an artist who send a demo where they can be seen and make an effort to get there.

When you book an artist, quiz them, see who they have seen recently and who they think is up and coming. They are generally very accurate within their own field. Ask them to be honest. Keep their opinions confidential at all times.

As an artist - do the opposite of all these!!







When you get to the bigger festivals there is a case for widening your own taste to that of what you think the audience might like. I did it once and spent the next four months sweating I had got it right.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 12:45 PM

I haven't insulted your club, Twickfolk. Please have the courtesy not to insult The Lewes Arms Folk Club (soon to be some selection from The Lewes Saturday Elephant and Castle Folk Music and Song Club).


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:11 PM

Oh bother.

This was being a useful thread.

Bye!


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:19 PM

when I come to the uk,to play, Ibook my rail tickets in advance by credit card,that way Ican travel cheaper.
In my experience the best floor singers are the ones who will be happy to pay out good money to see the top professionals perform in folk clubs. The average/dodgy floor singers are the ones who go missing on guest nights.[quote twick folk]
spot on,my friend,and if every professional did one floor spot a month,the whole standard of floor singing would soon pick up.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 01:29 PM

I didn't mean to offend and sorry if you took my light-hearted remark as an insult..

For the record I care passionately about this music, many of the artists that perform it and also the venues where it's played. I despair when venues put on great artists and few people turn up.

I'm as interested as anyone why this is and trying to be constructive in working on solutions.

From other discussions elsewhere on Mudcat it seems clear that one of the main reasons why a lot of people are put off from going to see folk music in 'clubs' is because of the poor standard of floor singing on guest nights. At Twickenham we've put quite a bit of thought into trying to devise ways that people who come for the first time will want to come back again and again and maybe bring others too. One thing quickly became clear....you have to assert some quality control somewhere along the line. Your particular club may be one of those where quality control is not needed. If that's the case, bravo. But in many other places audiences are clearly being alienated by mediocre and amareurish performances....and that bothers me. That's all.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 02:03 PM

Thanks, TwickFolk but having spent a lot of time being told our policy is crass and that we are guilty of promoting crap standards and dumbing down, I'm a bit sensitve to these things.

Going back a bit -

Obviously a magic potion exists for improving weak performers on a big stage to the point where their contributions become listenable to the majority of the audience...have you ever thought about marketing it and selling it to other clubs?

There's nothing magic about it. It just involves treating people with respect and giving them encouragement. As you said "The strange thing is that over a period of time the good ones get better (as they observe people who are even better still).. So will the not so good if you put them in an environment where people obviously care about the quality of what they do rather than saying "Go away, you're rubbish."

Judging by the comments on that thread from disgruntled visitors to various clubs, you might even find you're onto a winner....

Yes, I think we are.

From other discussions elsewhere on Mudcat...

from all the usual suspects including several of the "I haven't been to a folk club for years because I know they're rubbish" brigade. Like Greg, I have my doubts about the authenticity of Faye Roche.

But in many other places audiences are clearly being alienated by mediocre and amareurish performances....and that bothers me.

Really? What real world evidence do you have for that? I wouldn't recommend basing your policy on what you read in Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Banjiman
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:03 PM

"and that is not easy from N. Yorks I agree. "

The A1 helps though..........and we've got trains and everything!

Sorry Dave, I hadn't realised we were at war!


"Having been in that position - I reckon with a club you generally only book the people you like" . I agree with that, it is always the starting point.


"But in many other places audiences are clearly being alienated by mediocre and amareurish performances....and that bothers me."

I agree with this staement wholeheartedly.......in the early days I put someone on out of sentiment (in my heart of hearts knowing they weren't good enough) and had complaints from quite a lot of the audience.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Villan
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:16 PM

Well I am pleased that we have 71 attending Faldingworth live on Saturday (probably a very diificult night considering its the last Saturday before Xmas) to see Steve Tilston. Got 19 tickets left, but will be happy with 71 :-)
It hasn't hit yet at the backwoods of Faldingworth, Lincolnshire.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Aeola
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 03:28 PM

re- but in many other places audiences are clearly being alienated ..........................' I agree with The Snail! Where is all this evidence? I do visit a number of different clubs in the area and they are all doing ok. They do have ups and downs however but generally no problems. There does seem to be a lot of emphasis on clubs being true to the artist etc,. but, I'm sure you would agree that the customer is always right!!If your product is ok then you will sell it, provided the price is right. A paid performer must do his sums and decide what his minimum fee/rate should be and if work doesn't come his way then maybe he should take stock and look at his publicity plan. The recession will have different effects on all aspects of life, some good some not so good but at the end of day people will look for reasonable entertainment.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Betsy
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:21 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7790161.stm

This how diverse the crunch will become - hopefully it won't affect us simple folkies.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 03:28 AM

I didn't think I was providing evidence on oath in a court of law here. You don't need empirical evidence that audiences are being aliienated. You can see it with your own eyes.

Go to a folk club other than your own once in a while, stand at the back and observe the audience's behaviour when the first dodgy performer cranks into gear. Listen politely while they tell you their life story before they begin to sing (yes...overlong introductions by floorspotters are almost as bad as mediocre performance in my book).

See how quickly many disappear to the bar/pop to the loo. I've done it myself many times (and seen plenty of others do the same). By all means gaze out of the window and admire all the lovely roses in your garden and applaud uproariouslly as the floorspotter finally leaves the stage. The regulars will of course join you in this exercise and dutifully keep coming back again for more of the same (especially if they're performers in their own right).

But it's not them you should be watching. Look out for the strangers who come for the first time, slip quietly out and never return.

THAT'S where the problem lies.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Aeola
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:21 AM

Hmm1 Maybe that's my problem, I don't go to watch the audience!


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:32 AM

TwickFolk

I didn't think I was providing evidence on oath in a court of law here.

Well if your going to make sweeping statements about what's wrong with folk clubs I think you need a bit more to go on than what a few sad cynics say on Mudcat. Now you are asking me to use my experience to justify your claims. Sorry but I do go to other folk clubs and I don't see what you describe. Audience numbers are not always what we would like them to be but I see no evidence that this is due to the occasional poor floor singer. I think they are being used as a scapegoat.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: John Routledge
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 06:46 AM

Snail - your cause is not helped by describing as "sad cynics" those who who have genuine concerns about the standard of some habitual singers.

I note that you believe nothing anyone else says in this matter. Why should anyone believe you


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 07:26 AM

Correct John. I don't believe that the bloke who sings about the Norfolk reed cutter really exists.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: evansakes
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 11:39 AM

John Routledge, well said. You took the words right out of my mouth in fact.

Aeoloa said "Maybe that's my problem, I don't go to watch the audience!"

I'm as transfixed as anyone when there's someone onstage exhibiting true artistry. In fact the building could be burning down and I doubt I'd notice. Sad to say, try as I may (and I do) I'm unable to fake it when confronted with abject mediocrity. At times like these (if I can stand to stay in the room) I observe the reactions of others around me. It's a failing I admit and I WILL try to be more enthusiastic and attentive if ever I happen to be in the vicinity of another dire floor spotter. Promise.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Aeola
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:50 PM

TwickFolk;-- Good man, merry xmas!


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:00 PM

John Routledge

I note that you believe nothing anyone else says in this matter.

Sorry about the quick and flippant earlier post but I was just off to a band practice and then on to see the excellent Twagger Band at Seaford Folk Club.

What is there to believe or disbelieve? Nobody has produced any actual examples of the existence of significant numbers of poor floor singers. They just make sweeping generalised statements with no apparent basis in the real world. Either that or they take what other people have said on Mudcat as evidence.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Hamish
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:38 AM

A certain club - which is usually great fun when I can occasionally get to it - which I went to recently was so off the pace that the organiser apologised to me afterwards. "Too many bad singers" was the observation. Does that constitute "significant numbers of poor floor singers", Snail?

Although I love the place, if it had been my first visit I doubt I'd be hurrying back.

Now I think of it, at the same club, three or four years ago... I'd cajoled a bunch of folks from the main bar to come and try it out. They arrived when a very dodgy rendition of "A Knapsac on my back" (fer goodness' sake) was going on. I can still remember them standing dumbstruck in the doorway. They didn't even wait for a second song. Bad timing, but four potential converts gone. Forever, probably.

It's hard (otherwise opinion wouldn't be so divided as this thread has shown) but to encourage the not-so-goods has to be balanced against driving away the not-so-sures.

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 05:21 AM

OK, Hamish, that's one incident in a club "which is usually great fun" which you occasionally get to and was considered so unusual as to be worth an apology from the organiser. Did the club close as a result?

What about the clubs you get to regularly? How commonplace is this experience?

Any more from anyone? I'll keep a list.

I must admit that the "A Knapsac on my back" incident strikes me as bizarre. You don't say whether it was sung well or badly. Will people believe that, in going on forty years in folk clubs, I have never known this to happen.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 08:58 AM

I had a sudden moment of blinding clarity. My last word on this before I take the vow of partial silence and join IB's new cult: one person's crap floor singer is another person's godlike genius! The magic folk singer! All things to all people! Kumbaya, my brethen! Happy yule! All problems solved! Now and ever more!

Oh. Okay then...


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Indrani Ananda
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 02:23 PM

Bad singers majoring on yet another thread?

Could be that (100% accurate Snail!) they are the standard scapegoat for other things seriously wrong with certain clubs, for example, a domineering clique at the helm.


Indrani


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 02:43 PM

The 1930's Depression in America spawned many groups of jazz, swing and folk music
performers. The Left-Wing music of the 40's were a result of the development of folk music performers such as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, the Weavers, Josh White Richard Dyer-Bennet and Big Bill Broonzy. It may be that the Recession will be a good thing for the arts. People will look judiciously for music that moves them rather than is sold to them
like gas-guzzling cars.

Recession and folk clubs? Could be good for the clubs.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Fidjit
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 04:36 AM

From: LesB - PM
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 12:05 PM

Chas if it's £10 per song I can see a few big name artists that would starve.
Cheers

Yes Les I'm starving.

Just did some sums on the back of an old envelope of what I lay out per year to keep me up to scratch.

Diverse membership fees to music associations £130
Guitar strings                               £160
Pr promotion (brochures, posters and flyer's) £132
Workshop attendance (to keep abreast)         £ 35
Telephone                                     £ 45
Transport (to suss out possible gig)          £ 45
                                              -----
                                              £547

At £100 a gig the first 5&1/2 are for free.
I actually ask for more than that.
As I now only do about one paid gig a month, well.
Sod the recession my fees are going up

Chas


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: LesB
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 04:54 AM

Chas, no insult intended but I did say 'big artists', In particular I had in mind when Dick Gaughan played our club somebody kept count & he sang 7 songs in 2 45min sets. Also the comment was meant light heartedly.
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 11:50 AM

A couple of months on from this thread being created... how are things now?

Over Christmas and during te cold spell many people were staying away - now things locally are almost back to pre recession levels of support. Indeed one of our local singaround nights had two really brilliant weeks in a row during February.

So who'se got some encouraging stories to add now we're into 'normal' 2009?

Ian Fyvie

PS Tempted to revisit some other themes from December in this thread - but I'm an optimist!


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Acorn4
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 02:06 PM

Nearly all the venues we've been to this month have been packed out -these have all been singaround type nights.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 12:02 PM

KFFC did very well at the Winter Warmer Weekend last weekend..... mix of singaround & booked acts. Kept prices low..... £20 for the weekend, which represented excellent value given the calibre of the acts we had on.

We are in North Yorks and had people from as far away as Brighton, Suffolk and London.

Paul


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Girl Friday
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 08:01 PM

Too many posts to go through at one a m so if this has been said before...? The clubs that are going to suffer are those charging over £8.00 to see a guest. I'd set this lower if it weren't for the phenomenal attendance every time I've been to Dartford. Don't think they'll lose out, but other clubs with smaller audiences who charge higher admission will be most likely to suffer. I'm keep ing Friday Folk's down to £4.00/£5.00 on guest nights, and free on singers nights with a collection.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 12:05 PM

"10 songs and talk can take up 30 mins."
No COmment MR BWM
Five or six, with not much chattering is easily a half hour.
Though if daft enough to let me do that many it will seeeem much much longer for us all.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 12:15 PM

Quote BWM
They must be very short songs, and not much between-songs patter either. 10 songs and talk would be more likely to take up an hour, in my experience
End of quote

Agreed there. I would generally expect about 15 to 18 songs in 2 x 45 minutes.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM

ooops sorry.
I dunno what Villan pays,but we went to see Vin Garbut and Pete Coe,at his club, fairly recently.
Seemed to be a good turn out to me.
Could the middle ground for those performers less swamped with meeja hype, be as support to the mega stars?
I think there could be a lot of deffinitions re Clubs,customers,performers and their resaons and agenda for being at any venue at any given time.
Maybe you are not really comparing like with like,enough?
In most of the Grimsby music venues there are lots of wanna be's whoare not very deffinate what it is they wanna be if you venture to ask them.
Mostly they say they just love music ,performing etc.
and they all tend to flock together to see each other all the time too.
Maybe that is why they get bookings,built in audience potential?


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: GUEST,howlinwolf
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 12:43 PM

If you are wonderin where your next bit of cash is gonna come from try uploading your music to
www.thelisteningzone.com , you will be amongst people like johnny winters and the like. Let us know at this forum, you never know, we might even buy a track or two. They give 70% of the sale to the artist!


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM

We keep our door price to as low as we can Tim. We have ups and downs, but tend to break even or make a small profit.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 02:22 PM

""One of them said that he'd be a rich man if he had a pound for every time he'd been told "We have to charge £x at the door because people round here won't pay any more than that".""


Perhaps I don't know much about running folk clubs, having only been a performer and organiser for 47 years, but has it ever occurred to those who pontificate about pricing from the lofty heights of their "business model" based on affluent suburban areas, that those who say their club will not survive high pricing might actually know what they are talking about FROM BITTER AND OFTEN SALUTORY EXPERIENCE?

In the whole of my time organising folk clubs I have always charged the maximum that the local market would bear, and over many years I have found out what that limit was by overstepping and having to supplement agreed fees from my own pocket, followed by a rapid reduction to a proper balance for the area and the venue.

Having said that, every guest I ever booked left the venue with the fee he/she asked for, or such lesser fee as he/she had been willing to negotiate. Never did I ask a prospective guest to accept a reduction, preferring to simply state "I am very sorry but we cannot afford your fee". Only those who volunteered a reduction were booked, and any who asked for a percentage deal got one, usually 100% of the door, with the club keeping the proceeds of the raffle.

My qualification to have an opinion on this?

47 years during which I have run purely singers clubs, singers clubs with periodic guests, and a purely concert club which ran every Saturday from June 1976 to August 1983, with a guest EVERY week.

Artists like Martin Carthy, Jake Thackray, Eddy Walker, Del Brimstone, and many , many more.

My "earnings" from this?.......Well I made a lot of friends, and can still call on some big names when I need to, but I estimate that I have paid out upwards of £10,000 of my own money in that time, and Goddam happy to do so. It's been a blast!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 02:31 PM

I appreciate Don's experience and I doubt there is anyone in this music who hasn't paid out in one way or another and like Don dleighted to have done so.

But I went to a gig a week last Friday with around 600 people at £15.00.

Hard core English music and in a student's union. It was Bellowhead of course. And damn good luck to them.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 03:11 PM

Yes,I played Don Ts clubs many times ,he always paid my fee,I always had a good night .
Don T,is a sound man .http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 07:01 PM

Thank you Dick. I remember those many nights with considerable pleasure, as I do the bookings of many other fine, outstanding, performers.

As the organiser of a number of clubs, over the years, my SINGLE regret is the fact that market limits prevented my booking many others whose fees WERE beyond what I was able to manage.

DonT.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 04:07 PM

Seems that the cursed market forces are the stumbling block to a lot of clubs and venues.
Another is that there are so many people tallented enough to play a reasonable set down the pub(well I stand to be corrected by those who know).
The artiste is probably local,gets a crowd of his mates to turn up,maybe doesnt need to earn his living doing this and the audience is getting a free show.
I heard a local singer of the louder electrified type of music recently lamenting that idiots were playing in the local pubs for £40-£60.
I dunno if that is cheap or not,but luggin all the PA etc,petrol,and other stuff must mean you need to be local to do that.
I think he was talking 3 or 4 peice cover band type things.


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Subject: RE: The Recession and Folk Clubs.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM

You've got a point there, Tim. I have run across this when looking for gigs. There are a number of places managing to find bands and solo artists who are willing to play for silly money, and the worst of that is that some of those gigs are well attended.

I think it would never work in the folk scene because there seems to be a feeling that cheap acts are poor quality acts (possibly true). The reason it happens in pubs is the fact that the patrons don't know what the band is charging, and without the clue of an admission fee, it becomes a "suck it and see situation".

Certainly, I have never offered local acts a fee below the local going rate, nor booked an act without hearing what they do first. I view with suspicion anyone prepared to price cut to that extent.

Don T.


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