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should the BBC folk awards be scrapped

GUEST,THE CLAQUE 25 Feb 09 - 04:50 PM
TheSnail 25 Feb 09 - 03:40 PM
The Sandman 25 Feb 09 - 01:09 PM
Folkiedave 25 Feb 09 - 12:22 PM
Will Fly 25 Feb 09 - 09:13 AM
The Sandman 25 Feb 09 - 08:02 AM
The Sandman 25 Feb 09 - 07:24 AM
TheSnail 25 Feb 09 - 06:45 AM
Folkiedave 25 Feb 09 - 06:31 AM
TheSnail 25 Feb 09 - 05:29 AM
Folkiedave 24 Feb 09 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Smokey 24 Feb 09 - 01:43 PM
The Sandman 24 Feb 09 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 24 Feb 09 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Smokey 19 Feb 09 - 10:19 PM
Folkiedave 19 Feb 09 - 04:12 PM
The Sandman 19 Feb 09 - 03:30 PM
Folknacious 19 Feb 09 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Smokey 19 Feb 09 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Guest 19 Feb 09 - 02:39 PM
The Sandman 19 Feb 09 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 19 Feb 09 - 02:02 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 19 Feb 09 - 01:44 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Feb 09 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Smokey 19 Feb 09 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Liam 19 Feb 09 - 01:19 PM
Folkiedave 19 Feb 09 - 12:56 PM
The Sandman 19 Feb 09 - 12:54 PM
TheSnail 19 Feb 09 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Feb 09 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 19 Feb 09 - 11:47 AM
The Borchester Echo 19 Feb 09 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 19 Feb 09 - 11:12 AM
Folkiedave 19 Feb 09 - 11:00 AM
TheSnail 19 Feb 09 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,THE CLAQUE 19 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Feb 09 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Liam 19 Feb 09 - 10:02 AM
The Borchester Echo 19 Feb 09 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 19 Feb 09 - 09:58 AM
Folkiedave 19 Feb 09 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Feb 09 - 09:14 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 19 Feb 09 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Feb 09 - 08:53 AM
DMcG 19 Feb 09 - 08:52 AM
Folknacious 19 Feb 09 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Feb 09 - 08:49 AM
Faye Roche 19 Feb 09 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 19 Feb 09 - 08:02 AM
The Sandman 19 Feb 09 - 07:53 AM
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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,THE CLAQUE
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 04:50 PM

I'm reluctant to infringe,off-topic,on this thread's origin,but if anyone would like us to come and sing to them at their event,I can be contacted at sean.oshea@hotmail.co.uk.In its own limited way,this thread spreads our name a bit.We don't travel a lot because we don't have a PR stream and because that's not what we want in a big way.We have an album on WILDGOOSE RECORDS that was critically acclaimed on a national level,last year and played on Radio 2 and 3 and across the US and Australia.As a group,in the last two years,we've done WHITBY,CHIPPENHAM,WADEBRIDGE,SIDMOUTH,CHELTENHAM,TENTERDEN festivals as booked guests.

Awards on this scale don't apply to us.It seems to me that these awards celebrate success on a bigger plane than we aim for or would want to achieve and I think that's all right.But there are many working folk artists who underpin and continue to underpin the folk world at a genuine roots level-this is,to my mind,not where many of the award winners are.
It's like two different co-existing strata,one youth-driven,one veteran maintained and it's the former group who would expect the gongs as it stands.Having said that,I think that the veterans who do get the gongs are the ones who have embraced the young thrusters more visibly and ,at times,for non-esoteric motives.How do you,as a veteran,appear cool to the kids?Why,you fawn over them,of course.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 03:40 PM

No Dave, I haven't disagreed with the judges about anything (apart from a slight puzzlement about the Best Original Song). That isn't the issue.

Just to make a couple of things clear -

Nobody has suggested that The Claque should have won the award.

Nobody has suggested that Lau should not have won the award.

That isn't the question. The question is, what did they win the award for? The title says "Best" which suggests that their performance, either on stage or recording, was better than anybody else's. Maybe it was, I don't know, I've never seen them. (I saw The Claque three times last year.) The guidance for voters says "most impact". With your concentration on gig lists and foreign tours, you seem to favour the latter. They aren't the same thing.

Faye's point (excuse me if I've got this wrong) is that "best" is meaningless if you aren't comparing like with like.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 01:09 PM

200.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 12:22 PM

I ain't a judge.

"Best" is a matter of opinion. You disagreed with the judges. So did I.

I can live with it.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 09:13 AM

my comments are not intended as a criticism on any of the winners but more a criticism,of awards,and awards being considered good television/radio

Ah Dick, that's an altogether wider-ranging question. It would seem, from the regular programmes highlighting the Oscars, the BAFTAs, the Grammys, the Emmys - and the whole hoopla - that broadcasters, unfortunately, DO consider them to be "good radio and TV". By which I mean pulling in the listeners and viewers as part of the ratings game. I never listen to or watch any of them myself, but there they are, as large as life, and I can't see them going away! :-)


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 08:02 AM

of course ,because someone,promotes themselves well or is promoted well,it doesnt mean that they are not good .
my comments are not intended as a criticism on any of the winners but more a criticism,of awards,and awards being considered good television/radio .


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 07:24 AM

and anyway all this best stuff is puerile and childish.
less easy to miss ,could be about having good promotion or a good agent or both.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 06:45 AM

The award is not for Easiest Group Not To Miss, it is for BEST Group. The idea that you can judge which group is best without even having heard OF them let alone having heard them does my head in.

Were Lau "better" than Bellowhead, Faustus or Mawkin:Causley or just less easy to miss?


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 06:31 AM

It makes interesting reading. Although some of the awards ask for "best", more common are "most impact" and "significant". This helps make sense of Folkiedave's rather surreal "Take a look at Lau's gig list here compared to the Claques gig list here and ask yourself who is most likely to win an award - assuming you had never heard of either of them.".

Not sure what "rather surreal" means in this context.It is obvious which is the more likely to win an award to me. If that is "rather surreal".............................

But if it helps to make my meaning clear it is hard to miss Lau; it is possible to miss the Claque.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: TheSnail
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 05:29 AM

A few days ago I asked, in all innocence, if there was anywhere we could read the BBC explanation of how the awards actually worked. Judging by Folkiedave's post of 19 Feb 09 - 04:12 PM, this was a naive hope. However, the third message on this thread on the BBC message board claims to give the game away. It's been there since November so the Beeb can't mind.

It makes interesting reading. Although some of the awards ask for "best", more common are "most impact" and "significant". This helps make sense of Folkiedave's rather surreal "Take a look at Lau's gig list here compared to the Claques gig list here and ask yourself who is most likely to win an award - assuming you had never heard of either of them.". It doesn't seem to be a question of whether Lau were "better" than The Claque or, for that matter, Bellowhead, Faustus or Mawkin:Causley. That's not what they were being given the award for.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folkiedave
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 02:44 PM

Hi John and thanks for coming back to the forum.

And I would suggest that you have had more effect on his thinking than a million posts on Mudcat.

Would that everyone did it.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Smokey
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 01:43 PM

people who talk about brand leaders show a mindset that indicates they like commercialism, and that they like competitions.

Eh?


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 12:55 PM

brand leaders,is folk music to be treated like Persil ?.
Peggy Seeger made a point in a recent interview,that her music was not commercially viable,it wasnt meant to be.
it is about time that some of the people leading the English Folk Revival,made it clear that leading the folk revival down a commercial[popular music path]will not benefit the music.
people who talk about brand leaders show a mindset that indicates they like commercialism, and that they like competitions.,it is as silly as the national school league tables.
I repeat vacuous competitions are not the best way of promoting any knid of music on television /radio.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 11:41 AM

Dear Folkiedave,
                As we discussed earlier I e-mailed my suggestions concerning the voting process of the BBC Folk Awards programme and Mr. John Leonard had the good grace to telephone me to discuss the points and explain the regime Smooth Ops. are subject to rather than reply by means of e-mail. By doing so he felt that points arising could be discussed at the time rather than require another e-mail full of questions. Speaking with him, I get the impression that he is also aware of the need for a belief that a popular vote has been met and ways to achieve this is never far from his mimd. It appears, especially since that business of a number of t.v. programmes fiddling with competition results, the BBC, quite rightly, require absolute transparency in anything involving the public.
             Regarding the candidates, John Leonard explained that for the first vote the 170 or more selectors are invited to name ANYBODY they thought were the best in each category for the year with the proviso there was no business, folk circle, social or family interests between them that would influence their choice. They are at liberty to name popular artists, floor talent, long time established performers, new boy/girl on the block, etc. From that vote the top four are put forward for the final choice. Regarding my suggestion of e-mail voting, it is not the logistics of handling or cost but the ability of interested parties such as fan bases or artists touting for support to sway the figures. I feel his explanation goes a long way to satisfy my query and would like to think the programme makers are aware of the public concern in this area among folk music enthusiasts.
I must thank him for taking time out call me to discuss points they regard having much relevance to their output.
                                             All The Best,
                                                 John


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Smokey
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:19 PM

If Irish radio and TV has been playing wall-to-wall Irish folk music all this time, how come Irish folk music seems to have gone completely off the boil in terms of evolution, innovation and as an international brand leader

So who is now perceived as the international brand leader? Whose traditional music has spread, with such recognizable 'purity', further afield?


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 04:12 PM

Quite right. I`m getting writers cramp already.

I think I wrote my first letter to the BBC about folk music (lack thereof) in 1968. Written about ten a year since - minimum. Took them to the Freedom of Information Commissioner last year over the secrecy over the judging of the Folk Awards.(Came second). Currently reviving that one after a test case.

Raises painful head from typewriter.......ouch!!

Don't let the horlicks grind you down.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 03:30 PM

If Irish radio and TV has been playing wall-to-wall Irish folk music all this time, how come Irish folk music seems to have gone completely off the boil in terms of evolution, innovation and as an international brand leader[.quote]
has it?thats your opinion,not mine,and whats this shite about being a brand leader[more competitive crap].
who needs brand leaders,traditional music[imo] is not about being brand leaders,it is about being performed with passion, integrity,and love.
pop music with a folk flavour,is not the real mccoy,its like eating a chocolate eclair made with synthetic cream and baking powder,it looks good,but when you take a bite,you wish you hadnt.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folknacious
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 02:53 PM

If Irish radio and TV has been playing wall-to-wall Irish folk music all this time, how come Irish folk music seems to have gone completely off the boil in terms of evolution, innovation and as an international brand leader. The days when Irish folk groups were looked to as world leaders have long gone, and whilst there are certainly many, many excellent musicians at play, very little has shown up in recent years that isn't an identikit clone of bands from the past. It's in a rut, a popular tradition becalmed. The days when Planxty, the Bothy Band, Altan, Moving Hearts etc blew everybody's minds because they were brilliant and moving things forward have long, long gone. Whereas England, which gets virtually nothing on the radio in real terms, has had an explosion of quality, evolution, youth involvement and real excitement in recent years. Sometimes, things flourish in adversity, with just a few straws (like the Folk Awards?) to grab for. It feels great to be here right now.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Smokey
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 02:42 PM

it is nevertheless,played much more on the Irish television and radio programmes.,without themusic being compromised.

It is indeed, but that's not comparing like with like, either in the case of the music or the audience.

having listened to one of the winners of these BBC AWARDS,I would say that that particular person,has already decided ,to take the commercial pop road.
popular music with a folk flavour ,competently performed,but bland.


I agree with that, and I could grumble for the County about it, but surely it's a matter of subjective taste?


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 02:39 PM

It's not quite that simple. Folk music may well be a minority interest but many of that minority, perhaps a majority in fact, like their 'folk' music to sound like 'pop' music. It's a fact of life. This further muddies the water. I don't understand why 'youth' is the flavour of the month when there are so many older acts out there who have served their time and received no recognition from the media. One has to come to the inescapable conclusion that 'young and pretty' is much more important than 'old and authentic'. The folk scene has pretty much shot itself in the foot on this issue. Already there are young artists on major festival stages announcing, 'I learned this from a Nic Jones album of me dad's'. What happened to learning a song from yer dad?
The BBC similarly, don't understand folk and the need to absorb traditional music rather than 'learn' some songs and tunes, and so follow their 1960s mandate of giving people what they want. The BBC charter actually makes it incumbent on them to 'educate', fat chance of that.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 02:25 PM

If 'folk' music was popular it would be treated and marketed as 'popular music'. The moral being, be careful what you wish for..[quote]
it is nevertheless,played much more on the Irish television and radio programmes.,without themusic being compromised.
having listened to one of the winners of these BBC AWARDS,I would say that that particular person,has already decided ,to take the commercial pop road.
popular music with a folk flavour ,competently performed,but bland.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 02:02 PM

Folkiedave,
          Quite right. I`m getting writers cramp already. I shall pass on the suggestions similar to what I posted previously and let you know the outcome.
                                                 John


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 01:44 PM

"If 'folk' music was popular it would be treated and marketed as 'popular music'"

What a horrible thought. Getting what you wish for indeed!

Entering into 'dialogue with Smooth Ops and the BBC? Let me put it this way, at least if you bang your head against a brick wall you get a headache.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 01:42 PM

Sorry Liam - I've been out singing for my supper. You're right of course.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Smokey
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 01:29 PM

The BBC see folk music as a minority genre, and they have bean counters who allocate funds accordingly. This is a science and not one that can be fudged. (Tom Bliss)

My point exactly.

If 'folk' music was popular it would be treated and marketed as 'popular music'. The moral being, be careful what you wish for..


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Liam
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 01:19 PM

The Nick Barraclough Country Show has been gone for about 2 years. That was when the time of the folk show changed. Mike Harding now has to take the Chris Evans audience and keep them happy until Radcliffe and Maconie arrive. It is actually quite illuminating to see how often Chris Evans does his bit to get people in the right mood with the last track he plays having perhaps a "folk" flavour. He does his bit for "follow through" quite often.

I've never found Leonard at all open to entering into a dialogue with the audience. Like many, he thought that all he had to do was to smarm up to Lesley Douglas and Smooth Ops paycheck was assured. That has all gone back to square one and they now all have to butter up a different controller. You can almost hear the fearful, almost tearful comments of certain producers and presenters in the press and on air that their special relationship with Ms Douglas has gone down the plughole.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 12:56 PM

John,

It is clear from what Tom has said in the past that he has spent time with Smooth Ops trying to help them improve their service to folk music.

But if he is a lone voice then he will get nowhere, no matter how hard he tries. If there are lots of people each writing independently it might make a difference.

Now, write to the BBC, write to Smooth Ops and get organising. If you care about the music you love and you clearly do so as much as I and all the rest of us - get talking to the right people.

Mudcat is notthe right people.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 12:54 PM

ubject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss - PM
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 12:18 PM

There are lots of other ways of skinning this particular cat.

But like it or not it's the only cat in town at the moment, so it would be advisable to skin it without killing it.

The BBC see folk music as a minority genre, and they have bean counters who allocate funds accordingly. This is a science and not one that can be fudged. There might be a better way of spending that money, but we're unlikely to have anyone better placed than John Leonard to fight our corner - which he does well. (There would be no awards at all without his tenacity and vision).

Yes, you can make a case for an open vote (the MH request shows are not far from what you're suggesting - albeit filtered through the bbc brief) - but if you're planning to use the MH show as a conduit, bear in mind that this has instructions to keep its audience from the NB country show before it (if it doesn't, it'll lose its contract, and there will be NO folk on R2 at all), so you'll probably get more 'acoustic/country' folk winners than '58 folk' winners. I doubt that's what many want. You can fling the door open and have a full public vote - but this has been ruled out in the past on the basis that the people with the biggest PR machine would definitely win every time.

Alternatively you could change to a Mercury committee system - and this has merit, but doesn't appeal to JL, and he has his reasons.

I've suggested a bigger panel (more democracy), but through a vetting committee with editorial clout (more accountability/common sense/room for outsiders).

But all the changes I've suggested are merely to reduce the bickering and improve the PR, not to change the outcome.

Tom
alternatively Smooth operations come up with a non competitive,programme of folk music .


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 12:20 PM

Is there anywhere we can read the BBC explanation of how the awards actually work? I suspect, from something said on the BBC board, that the way they are named may be slightly misleading with respect to the actual criteria.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 12:18 PM

There are lots of other ways of skinning this particular cat.

But like it or not it's the only cat in town at the moment, so it would be advisable to skin it without killing it.

The BBC see folk music as a minority genre, and they have bean counters who allocate funds accordingly. This is a science and not one that can be fudged. There might be a better way of spending that money, but we're unlikely to have anyone better placed than John Leonard to fight our corner - which he does well. (There would be no awards at all without his tenacity and vision).

Yes, you can make a case for an open vote (the MH request shows are not far from what you're suggesting - albeit filtered through the bbc brief) - but if you're planning to use the MH show as a conduit, bear in mind that this has instructions to keep its audience from the NB country show before it (if it doesn't, it'll lose its contract, and there will be NO folk on R2 at all), so you'll probably get more 'acoustic/country' folk winners than '58 folk' winners. I doubt that's what many want. You can fling the door open and have a full public vote - but this has been ruled out in the past on the basis that the people with the biggest PR machine would definitely win every time.

Alternatively you could change to a Mercury committee system - and this has merit, but doesn't appeal to JL, and he has his reasons.

I've suggested a bigger panel (more democracy), but through a vetting committee with editorial clout (more accountability/common sense/room for outsiders).

But all the changes I've suggested are merely to reduce the bickering and improve the PR, not to change the outcome.

Tom


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:47 AM

Since they would be seeking information from those who listen to a particular, minority radio programme the responses would be limited.

There is no need to go and record them, all that is required are the peoples selections. Once this has been settled offer the "winners" the opportunity of recording for the programme if it is necessary.

The people who listen to the programme are those that will be interested the results and what the "winners" have to offer.

Everyman/woman and his or her dog ARE the people who support the artists therefore their opinions must be considered paramount.

Regarding budget, if the BBC can vote £18m over three years for a not particularly engaging talking head then surely it could find enough money for a company like Smooth Operations, or any other company, if they don`t fancy it, to come up trumps.

I expected a great deal of objections. Now then, don`t tell me the problems, brainstorm and tell me how you think it COULD work.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:29 AM

For a start, R2 outsources programme-making in this area to Smooth Operations which employs a mere handful of people. Where, exactly, will the resources come from to sift through responses from Every Man / Woman and his or her dog about this or that floor performer? Who's going to go out and record them? And who will want to hear them anyway? And what would it be for? The Smoothies wouldn't do it

(a) because they couldn't and
(b) it would lose them their contract in record time.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:12 AM

Tom,
    I wonder what the BBC Radio Two programmers` response would be to this suggestion, bearing in mind there are still many active "folk clubs" in these islands.
1) Advise, through the medium of the highest profile
   folk/roots/accoustic music programme they put out that there
   is to be the annual recognition of performers in the above
   genres with awards to be given.
2) Invite all interested parties to respond by e-mail giving the
   details, in their opinion, of who should be recognised as the
   preferred performers, that year, for the various categories as
   decided by the programmers.
3) Set the "Answers In By Date"
4) Monitor the results and present a programme based on those
   results.

I know, I know, of course there will be attempts to rig, just like many elections but it would not take rocket science and it would certainly not be beyond the wit of the programmers to filter out the dross. This is just for starters and I`m sure a deal of polishing would be necessary but I would love to see it tried.
I fear though if such a proposal or suggestion was put to Radio Two it would fall on stony ground.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 11:00 AM

What I find interesting about the people who seem to be complaiing about the awards are arguing with people who like Tom have been saying there are things wrong and things that need changing for years and have said so to the people who have power to change things.

Please - instead of arguing on here - lovely and opinionated as it is (!!) can I suggest you only do so once you have actually complained to the BBC and to its agent in these things Smooth Operations? Once you have woven your way through the labyrinth that is the BBC's complaints procedure and had a reply from Smooth Ops come back on here and tell us what they said in answer to the points you have made.

As for

Also whether or not someone opts to drive around the country all the time has nothing to do with it. It is what they offer to the listener and viewer that counts.

The fact is that if you don't drive around the country you are limiting yourself to your local area and thus what you offer goes no further than your local catchment area. Musicians tour - it is how they make their livelihood. I have never met a professional musician who didn't tour - of any genre.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:53 AM

Don't worry Sean. Diane lives north of the Thames. They've never heard of you up there.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,THE CLAQUE
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM

May I comment on the spurious suggestion that THE CLAQUE are all old blokes.
Only three of them are old blokes.I'm the one who isn't.While the rest of the group receive a share in the fee for booked appearances,I take no share as I claim carer's allowance.
I hope this touchy and embarassing aspect of the forum can now be put to bed.

Sean O'Shea


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:29 AM

I prefer to make my point on this on the BBC board as that seem to be a more appropriate place for this debate. But yes, Liam the ratio of artists to the number on the panel with four choices each does deliver low numbers at the nomination stage. I think this is a weakness and have said so to John Leonard. There are ways of improving the ratio for the benefit of all - but i don't the results would be very different. But this is a far cry from the horrid huddle of hoary hacks that many imply.

I don;t follow you John, when you say:

"Surely votes by "informed" people should not be the criteria by which awards are given. Better it would be if judgement was made on the results of what a group of enthusiasts of all ilk found pleasing to the ear, enhancing the "genre", recognising virtuosity, informative and entertaining."

The 'informed' people ARE "a group of enthusiasts of all ilk." I've suggested that a bigger panel would be better - and this year they did ask (admittedly not very loudly) for new volunteers (most people qualify by one means or another). Artists are still debarred, but agents are now banned from voting for their own acts (an improvement though not watertight yet). Both these developments have a lot to do with the very good results this year (not that they were bad before - just less robust).

Take the trouble to find out exactly how the awards work, then make polite suggestions to the right people and you may just get results.

Tom


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Liam
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:02 AM

"with 170 people all voting in isolation"

I wonder how isolated some of them are, especially on the first round where just a few concerted votes can secure a nomination in several of the categories. Collusion on Round 2 needs a lot more people to "agree" and should be much more detectable, assuming processes to detect it and keep the vote tally secure are in place.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 10:00 AM

Somebody asked if I was being ageist when I described The Claque as "four old blokes". Not at all. It's what they are.

There's nothing at all wrong with what The Claque do.
They look and sound like a dozen other a capella bloke harmony combos, largely because, individually, they've been a part of one or the other over the years.
They do what they do competently. No surprises. No excitement in the sense that it's predictable. It's what many people like. Allegedly.

It always makes me feel more than slightly nauseous when expressions like "well connected", "the folk circuit / scene" and "networking / backscratching" arise along with a strong whiff of sour grapes. This is not a "scene" I've ever had, or wanted to have, anything to do with. It seems to involve never actually attending any event but hanging out in adjacent pubs or beer tens that don't charge entrance, making a GEFF-like noise and slagging off any artist who works hard on musicianship, arrangement and presentation, who tours indefatigably and produces a recorded output.

If you recognise yourself as one of the first category, carry on. There's no-one exhorting you to try and emulate the second. But if you want to BE among the second and even become eligible for one of those awards, you'll need to work at it. Hard.

It's what Jackie Oates (to single out just one artists, I hope not inappropriately or unfairly) has long been doing. Someone seems to think she has sprung from nowhere. Absolutely not true. She's been at Sidmouth I think every year since birth but I came across her perhaps 6 or 7 years ago (many have known her work longer). I can also recall a very small Eliza Carthy squabbling with an equally miniature Benji Kirkpatrick and a pre-duo Chris Wood and Andy Cutting just hanging out and looking for people to play with on the promenade.

Those who have been winning Awards over the past decade do so because of the tremendous amount of work they have put in. You may not like the system. I don't. Other "awards" are available. But the fact remains that they are the only industry benchmarks that exist currently.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 09:58 AM

Tom Bliss,
          Surely votes by "informed" people should not be the criteria by which awards are given. Better it would be if judgement was made on the results of what a group of enthusiasts of all ilk found pleasing to the ear, enhancing the "genre", recognising virtuosity, informative and entertaining. I am not saying the results would be any different but they would reflect the democracy we live in, as you say.
Also whether or not someone opts to drive around the country all the time has nothing to do with it. It is what they offer to the listener and viewer that counts.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 09:55 AM

Take a look at Lau's gig list here compared to the Claques gig list here and ask yourself who is most likely to win an award - assuming you had never heard of either of them.

The first time I saw them they were phenomenal and they were finishing a forty day tour - with about two one day breaks in all of that.

They go to Japan and Canada to play. They rehearse and all work with other artists and they have solo projects.

I have interviewed a number of professional singers and musicians over the years including most of the award winners.

In the last two weeks I have spoken to three people who as professional musicians practice four hours a day. A well-known singer and guitar player - right at the top of his tree when gigging NB tries to do three hours a day.

That's how they get to the top.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 09:14 AM

A thought has just struck me.

So many people seem to think that the panel somehow colludes as if it was a committee of a dozen people in a smoke-filled room.

Are these people unaware of what actually happens?

The voting all takes place by email, and with 170 people all voting in isolation there is amost no opportunity for a fix at that stage.

Technically it would be possible for the vetting committee to ignore the nominations and votes of the panellists and announce different results, but there is no evidence for this.

Please understand that this is an open vote by a lot of informed people. It's NOT juke box jury, and it's NOT the x factor. It's something else, which it does work pretty well.

If you want a more informed debate on the real issues, see the BBC's own thread on the topic.

Tom Bliss


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 09:05 AM

I sympathise with Catters who regret that the R2 Folk Awards give a fairly limited (perhaps even distorted?) picture of the current folk scene.   But (as Mr Bliss pointed out) Radio 2 is Show Business. It aims to attract (and hold) mass audiences by offering them lots of easy listening. (Challenging the audience's prejudices and expectations is the job of Radio 3.)

And if mass audiences are what you're after, then competitions - whether genuinely competitive, or stage-managed and scripted – have a proven record. If properly run, they generate a spectacle which appeals to people way beyond the circle of enthusiasts who know (or care) about whatever the competitors are doing.   Some of us may not like the results, but if your job security depends on your channel's audience figures, that's the way to go.

For all that, some of the real stuff still manages to slip past the market-conscious mandarins who dictate the BBC's play-lists, and a lot more is available elsewhere, if you look for it under the radar. The liveliness of this thread makes that point clearly enough.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:53 AM

Thank you Folknacious. I'm off to bash seven shades out of my mandocello! T


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: DMcG
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:52 AM

Isn't that what we pay our BBC license fee for?
Only if you grant equal status to stamp collectors, train spotters, model gamers, chess players, bridge and whist players, ...

(I agree I am inconsistant enough that I'd like to get privileged status for folk music though!)


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Folknacious
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:50 AM

Wouldn't it be good if you could listen to the radio and discover some hitherto unknown artist who was absolutely wonderful? Wouldn't that be good for up-and-coming artists as well?

I believe it's funded by Rupert Murdoch. It's called MySpace. I'm sure that many more people listen to that than the BBC channels where they play the most folk & acoustic music (Radio 3, Radio 4 . . ., BBC 4 TV)

When people then get better known, the radar picks them up and they get things called "gigs", even put out things called "records" if they're actually seeking a career in music (many people don't). Then more radar picks them up and one day they get nominated for these things called "Folk Awards". I believe that topical man called Darwin called it "natural selection". Certainly beats conspiracy theories anyway.


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:49 AM

Faye - please go and read the BBC explanation of how the awards actually work.

Your sentence "Wouldn't that be a better situation all round; where performers are judged on talent, not on how famous they've become?" takes my breath away.

No-one is judged as you suggest. Fame and success are the twin babies of talent and hard work. If an artist is talented and works hard (and gets lucky) there is bound to be a correlation between an artist's public profile and his odds on a nomination - that's life. (And you can't do anything about the 'lucky' bit - that's life too).

Ok, folk music is not supposed to be about showbiz - but it is and always was about entertainment with a small 'e.' Cap that and you cap the urge to improve, and deny the reward of recognition. Showbiz is the natural end result of effort and talent, and it was always thus even in the days of yore. And that is right and proper.

The winners list is restricted because of cost, and because awards must be restricted by definition.

Yes, you could pick talented unknown artists from the ether and hold them up to the light for a brief moment of fame. But that would not be an efficient use of the value system of the award phenomenon to other unknowns (the awards would loose impact), and it wouldn't do all that much good to those artists careers either.

We do have such awards - the BBC Young Folk Awards for a start, and there are others, but these do not do the job of the R2 awards - which, on the whole, offer excellent value for money to the business end of folk music - (which exists because a LOT of people want it to, and we live in a democracy).

Tom


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: Faye Roche
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:34 AM

The Snail- thank you, that was exactly the point that I was making.

I'd hate the folk scene to become like the showbiz world in which "celebrity" is valued more highly than talent. And before I start another argument, let me say that I'm emphatically NOT criticising any of the award winners. Please read that last sentence again- I don't want another accusation of trolling people I don't like! Isn't it true that the same names crop up again and again: Bellowhead, Eliza, the Unthank/Oates tribe, etc. There is far more to folk music than this very restricted list.

Even if the ballot is made in secret, I'm sure that the judges are privately thinking the thoughts that I expressed earlier- "Hmmm, I must at least nominate Eliza even if she doesn't win this time" etc.

Somone asked how a programme that incorporated all corners of the folk field- stars and unknowns alike, could be funded. Isn't that what we pay our BBC license fee for? Wouldn't it be good if you could listen to the radio and discover some hitherto unknown artist who was absolutely wonderful? Wouldn't that be good for up-and-coming artists as well? Wouldn't that be a better situation all round; where performers are judged on talent, not on how famous theyve become? (Again- NO CRITICISM INTENDED!!!)


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:02 AM

They do - Dick. On BBC 4.

And as I understand it, they do this on BBC 4 because the execs were made aware of the value and interest in folk music by the awards process.

Your idea os introducing adverts is far to big for this debate. It IS a topic worthy of a debate, but to change it for the sake of this music would be to have the tail wagging the whole husky team.

The awards are what they are. See them as a rocket sent high into the night sky. They get people's attention. They're pretty and they go bang. And they light up, briefly, the scene below - including where us poor swimmers are fighting the tide.

By all means agitate for better coverage of folk music on the BBC. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and alienate both suits and stars.

Caviar may be delicious or horrid according to taste. But it's existence doesn't stop you enjoying fish and chips


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Subject: RE: should the BBC folk awards be scrapped
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 07:53 AM

Irish televison are showing a programme ,Friday night, rte2,that is archive material.
Nicolas O Carolan is the presenter.
there is no reason why the BBC ,can not provide something similiar,Programmes like this are generally low budget.
it is not as if archive material is not available .


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