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Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate

Ross 01 Mar 09 - 03:45 AM
JohnDun 01 Mar 09 - 07:31 AM
jacqui.c 01 Mar 09 - 09:15 AM
breezy 01 Mar 09 - 02:20 PM
Keith A of Hertford 01 Mar 09 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Condominya 13 Mar 09 - 03:20 PM
Ross 13 Mar 09 - 04:42 PM
Keith A of Hertford 14 Mar 09 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,occastional attendee 14 Mar 09 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,oh, and st. Paddy's 14 Mar 09 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Condominya 17 Mar 09 - 03:56 AM
jacqui.c 17 Mar 09 - 08:25 AM
Keith A of Hertford 17 Mar 09 - 08:30 AM
Ross 17 Mar 09 - 08:50 AM
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Subject: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: Ross
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 03:45 AM

Sorry, I'm just cleaning up the herts & beds thread & wouldn't wish this debate to appear censored - it can continue or die - up to you

Re other threads passim on the demise of folk clubs.

The Great Eastern at Hertford has hosted sessions on and off for a number of years and the latest incarnation has been reasonably successful for a couple of years. The landlady and landlord are friendly and even provide sandwiches gratis. The beer's pretty good, too.

The fame of the session has spread, and attendances have been building this year. On 19th February, the last time we met, the total attendance by the end of the evening was well over 30, which was becoming uncomfortable in a fairly small bar. To add to the problems, some late comers dearly wanted to participate, but were not ready to start when their turn came, and wasted time getting their instruments and songsheets out, tuning up and finding the right song. This meant that some people didn't get a chance to do their bit before our normal finishing time at about 11.15. Those who, like myself, had work to do the next day, left, but there were others who decided to keep playing.

I gather this went on past 12.30, and that the landlord was not best pleased. If we lose the venue or even the goodwill of the establishment because of this over-run, it will be a pity, to say the least. A potential victim of its own success?

Alan Francis

Reply from James


Sorry to hear that the evening at the Great Eastern didn't work out according to your wishes! I must say that it did seem to me that the majority of the 'outsiders' passed on more than one occasion so that the 'locals' could get their turn in before 11.15. So I feel that the comment that some people were unable to do their bit because of the few that took at most 25/30 seconds to find a sheet of music/tune up a bit far fetched! However, I do not think it fair to comment on those that also had work to do the next day (not every musician that stays out late in a pub is unemployed!), obviously those 'outsiders' that stayed a little later to do their bit did so once the locals had left.

Having spoken to the landlord at the end of the night, he certainly didn't seem that upset (especially as the time had not been mentioned once), in fact he even suggested an unplugged night of acoustic blues to embrace the diverse musical talent that had played in the pub that very evening.

In response to the issues you have raised, I can only assure you that I will not be making the trip to Hertford again due to personal circumstances beyond my control, not that that will make a dent in this very popular event.

Again please accept and pass on my apologies to those who didn't make an 80+ mile round-trip (and those that did!) that didn't get to fully do their bit due to the inconsiderate 'outsiders' like myself!

Alan again

I haven't spoken to the landlord myself, I was merely reporting what I had been told and comments that were made to me.

It's impossible for me to identify "GUEST" from his comments, but I do appreciate that visitors (not "outsiders") who make a 40-mile round trip in these straightened times hope to get a spot, and we always try to accommodate them (see earlier comments about this particular session) but I was not alone in feeling that the bar had exceeded its comfortable capacity last week and that visiting was beginning to feel rather like a takeover.

Anyway, I won't be there myself for a couple of months because of gigs and holidays, so that will make room for a few more performers. Keith A will take over the moderation/MC job in my absence.

As to developing into a Folk Club as opposed to a session, unfortunately the bar we use doesn't lend itself to a formal performance, not least because the Ladies loo can only be accessed through the bar itself! Blackmore/Writtle, however is another matter, but not in Herts or Beds, so not relevant here.


James Again

Apologies for that Alan, for some reason my work computer keeps logging me out! Obviously not wanting to hide behind the anonymity of the 'GUEST' tag, It was me!! (not that this tag is any more revealing!)

As an outsider to the Folk music scene, and a visitor to the Great Eastern, I just thought I would add my $0.02 to the comments you made, as there were others that had spoken to me about your comment (must be the confrontational streak in me! I really shouldn't listen to the voices in my head) . Please do not take them personally as I agree with the uncomfortably crowded issue, felt most welcomed by the crowd, and thoroughly enjoyed my evening.

New – John Dun

Hi Alan

You appear to be 'gathering' misinformation...

I was back at the Great Eastern the night after the session to collect some belongings a colleague had left behind and spent about half an hour chatting to the Landlord (Kevin).   He commented to me on the numbers in the room and how pleased he was with the evening.   He also asked me why it finished at 11:15 when he is open to 12:30.   I told him it was probably due to people wanting an early night before working next day.   

By the way, I did stay to the end and as usual last orders were called at 12:00 and time at 12:30.   There was no over-run...   but as you know, the landlord is a big Rhythm and Blues fan and he did spend an extra 10 mins discussing the possibility of organising an acoustic blues session with a couple of people.

With regard to the evenings 'problems'...      I have been attending the Great Eastern fairly regularly for several months now and witnessed performer numbers between 6 and 20+.   The last session was the busiest yet and I agree was becoming a bit uncomfortable re - numbers/size of room.   What do you do?   -   You may be back to 6 next month but if another 20+ arrive you deal with it using the experience of the last one.   

Even the professionals seem to spend long times tuning and announcing songs.   In the same way amateurs want to do their best.   Yes, the room temperature created some tuning problems and one young lady spent a short time looking for lyrics but as you said after hearing her sing "it was worth the wait".   Keith A has commented on my powers of observation in the past but even these didn't detect anyone being missed out, however, I did see 5 visitors 'pass' their turn and perform later.   It is worth adding most performers go to sessions to listen as well as sing and I for one would rather 'pass' and listen to somebody I haven't heard before.

Re other threads passim on the demise of folk clubs.   -   A potential victim of its own success?

Having spoken to the landlord your concern about his goodwill and/or loss of venue appears to be doubtful,   what publican in his right mind is going to get rid of a bar full of drinkers in the present economic climate?   What will make him think twice is if new customers stop arriving and numbers dwindle away...   promote the positives and deal with the negatives.

John Dun

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: JohnDun
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 07:31 AM

Thanks for that Ross

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: jacqui.c
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 09:15 AM

I am so glad to see that the Hertford folk sessions are doing so well. As one of the co-founders of this particular series, which has moved about a bit since we started it up back in 2004, it is gratifying to know that it is successful.

The person most responsible for keeping it going nowadays is the co-founder, Carole, who arranges the dates and gets publicity out. She was the one who, when the last venue didn't work out, approached the landlord of the Great Eastern with the idea of using the pub as a base. she's the one most likely to troubleshoot any problems as well.

Keep up the good work, anyway. It's nice to have somewhere to come and join in in Hertford when I make my Blighty trips.

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: breezy
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 02:20 PM

In order not to be miss lead, is it possible to amend the thread title to 'session' rather than 'club' so as not to confuse those potential performers seeking gigs.

as jacqui c mentions - and how are things over there ? - she calls it the Hertford folk session

I havent seen Carole shopping lately !

hi Keith how are you ?

Dear Alan , have you got the Bob Dylan tribute up and running ?

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 02:57 PM

I'm well Breezy. Thanks for asking.
Carole has certainly been the organising strength in establishing the session, but Alan's guitar work and song and MC-ing has been its mainstay.

We had 40 people in the little bar last time, and I welcome it.
A little discomfort was small price to pay for the variety and originality of performance.
I did not miss any turns, but only got 2 all night because it was such a big circle.
That is how I like it.
So please all, do join us again and I reckon we could squeeze in a few more.
I will check before hand that more of the windows are openable in future.

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: GUEST,Condominya
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 03:20 PM

I really enjoy the sessions at the Great Eastern - when I can attend. My only criticism is that there should be more opportunities for everyone to join in. For me, the highlight of the last session was two guys playing "Do you want to dance" and everyone joined in with gusto. Such a change from what could be a round of dreary self-indulgent dirges. God Bless y'all

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: Ross
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 04:42 PM

Sorry - I should have included these massages (swedish)

From: Cathie - PM
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 04:15 AM

Thanks to all at the Great Eastern Pub in Hertford for a warm reception and a great evening. A diversity of songs from an abundance of folkies.

I have met the Micca of so many threads and wonder how many other mudcatters were there?

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From: GUEST,M.G.B - PM
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 07:54 PM

What a great night at The Great Eastern!
A very enjoyable evening,definitely worth a shout and seeing a few of the crowd...

Something else worth of note (not music) but McMullens yum!!

Yep give it a try next time round.

Cheers to all,

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 07:24 AM

Please come again condominya.
Both my songs were choruses. Leaving of Liverool stopped the coversation in the other bar!
Plenty more from me if I get the chance, and plenty of other chorus singers among the regulars.

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: GUEST,occastional attendee
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 04:05 PM

I just wanted to say that I think the Hertford session is a great idea and very enjoyable. I wasn't there when it got crowded but am a bit worried about folk saying there were too many people there who weren't regulars. Surely it's the music that's important, and the more people who can enjoy it the better. The only problem is the size of the room, but as someone mentioned, no landlord will complain about having paying customers.

One idea could be that if there gets to be a lot of people maybe people could play together, as in many a session I have attented up north or in London, so it becomes a collective session. This seems to keep the musicians and the spectators happy, and can be a great way to get people playing together.

It would be a great shame if the Hertford session faltered, there's is not enough live music (session wise) in Hertford, we should be encouraging more pubs in Hertford to do what the GE does, upstairs at the White Horse? the patio of the Old Cross? The Ram? Other sessions at different times would be brilliant.

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: GUEST,oh, and st. Paddy's
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 04:07 PM

And if anyone knows of session on St. Paddy's night in Hertford, please post.

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: GUEST,Condominya
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 03:56 AM

Re: St Paddy's night. Try the George pub in Watton at Stone tonite.

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: jacqui.c
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 08:25 AM

It has been hard going keeping this session open for the past five years at different venues. There used to be a session upstairs in the White Horse on a Sunday afternoon but it was poorly attended.

I first went to a weekly folk session in the bar of the White Horse, back in 1999, but the landlord decided that he didn't want us there anymore. Various venues were tried but all fell through and this one is the only survivor of FOLK music in Hertford.

There may be one or two open mic type sessions in the town, from what I have been told - it depends on what your taste in music is.

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 08:30 AM

It would help if you could be bothered to attend more often Jacqui!

The session has a new lease of life at the moment. The Eastern may need to have an extension built.

Regards to K.
He must be very worried about things just now.

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Subject: RE: Great Eastern Hertford Folk Club Debate
From: Ross
Date: 17 Mar 09 - 08:50 AM

And of course JD's last input

From: JohnDun - PM
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 10:09 AM

As a result of the ongoing success of the folk sessions at the Great Eastern at Hertford the Landlord would dearly like to put on an acoustic blues night.   I just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time and now have the pleasure of trying to organise it.

SO !!

In a few months time we hope to have a fantastic SUNDAY night of acoustic Rhythm and Blues, initially as a one-off and see where it takes us.   Although I say acoustic, Electrics+Amps/multi-input amps would be most welcome to blend in.   We probably need Harps, Percussion and a Bass player to complete the sound.   AND   If anyone has organised something like this before please PM me as I haven't and my backside is playing up. (sorry, too much info)

The landlord has some local players interested and I have a few I can bring over from Beds.   My thoughts are to do several standard 'jams' mixed with solo spots from individuals or small groups.

PLEASE PM me if you or any friends are interested.

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