Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment

olddude 09 Mar 09 - 07:16 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 04:09 AM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 09 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 04:59 AM
theleveller 10 Mar 09 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 05:16 AM
Anne Lister 10 Mar 09 - 05:20 AM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 05:21 AM
nager 10 Mar 09 - 05:30 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM
Betsy 10 Mar 09 - 05:35 AM
Will Fly 10 Mar 09 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 05:38 AM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 06:02 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Mar 09 - 06:28 AM
TheSnail 10 Mar 09 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band 10 Mar 09 - 06:57 AM
Dave Sutherland 10 Mar 09 - 07:23 AM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 07:49 AM
GUEST,tom bliss 10 Mar 09 - 08:03 AM
Marje 10 Mar 09 - 08:18 AM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 09 - 08:33 AM
evansakes 10 Mar 09 - 08:50 AM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 08:55 AM
Will Fly 10 Mar 09 - 09:07 AM
Ian Fyvie 10 Mar 09 - 09:22 AM
Gedi 10 Mar 09 - 09:38 AM
Will Fly 10 Mar 09 - 09:43 AM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 09:47 AM
theleveller 10 Mar 09 - 09:51 AM
Banjiman 10 Mar 09 - 09:52 AM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 09:56 AM
Mr Happy 10 Mar 09 - 09:56 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Mar 09 - 09:59 AM
Backwoodsman 10 Mar 09 - 09:59 AM
Will Fly 10 Mar 09 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,chris 10 Mar 09 - 10:12 AM
Nick 10 Mar 09 - 10:48 AM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 09 - 11:14 AM
TheSnail 10 Mar 09 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Jayto 10 Mar 09 - 11:38 AM
Will Fly 10 Mar 09 - 11:56 AM
Will Fly 10 Mar 09 - 12:03 PM
Mr Happy 10 Mar 09 - 12:04 PM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 12:53 PM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 09 - 01:15 PM
Banjiman 10 Mar 09 - 01:43 PM
olddude 10 Mar 09 - 01:58 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 02:10 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 02:12 PM
Banjiman 10 Mar 09 - 02:27 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Mar 09 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 02:42 PM
TheSnail 10 Mar 09 - 03:09 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 03:35 PM
Banjiman 10 Mar 09 - 03:52 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 09 - 04:26 PM
BB 10 Mar 09 - 04:34 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Mar 09 - 04:47 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 05:14 PM
Chris Green 10 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM
The Villan 10 Mar 09 - 06:03 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 06:06 PM
The Sandman 10 Mar 09 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Helen 10 Mar 09 - 07:10 PM
Anne Lister 10 Mar 09 - 07:11 PM
olddude 10 Mar 09 - 07:29 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Mar 09 - 07:44 PM
olddude 10 Mar 09 - 07:52 PM
Gulliver 10 Mar 09 - 10:06 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Mar 09 - 10:15 PM
The Villan 11 Mar 09 - 03:33 AM
Folkiedave 11 Mar 09 - 04:18 AM
AlexB 11 Mar 09 - 07:25 AM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 08:09 AM
Folkiedave 11 Mar 09 - 11:36 AM
Banjiman 11 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 12:46 PM
BB 11 Mar 09 - 04:25 PM
TheSnail 11 Mar 09 - 04:45 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Mar 09 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Jayto 12 Mar 09 - 11:26 AM
M.Ted 13 Mar 09 - 11:07 AM
Faye Roche 16 Mar 09 - 09:37 AM
Faye Roche 16 Mar 09 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 16 Mar 09 - 10:25 AM
Jayto 16 Mar 09 - 11:37 AM
The Villan 16 Mar 09 - 12:23 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: olddude
Date: 09 Mar 09 - 07:16 PM

Not to sound like a broken record, but unless there is some means of attracting the young people into folk music, unless there is a means for young people to hear folk music and fall in love with it as we all have then .. clubs will continue to close, the music will continue to become silent.

At the risk of sounding harse (and I am not), we all, all of us, have treated Folk music as our own special club. I really think we are all guilty to some extent .. unless the music is opened up, it won't be played where young people can hear it. As I mentioned before there are no young people that I know who have ever heard of a Utah Phillips.   
I don't pretend to have the answer, only that getting the music on areas that young people visit, the youtubes, myspace etc .. maybe just maybe that will help.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:09 AM

I think the problem here, is that us older folkies are maybe trying too hard to force what we beleive on to the younger element.
I can well imagine that a Folk Club, full of older people, is not necessarily where youngsters want to be.
Folk Clubs will die as we know them, when the people who run them, get too old and decrepid to carry it on, and where nobody else is prepared to carry it on.

Have a look at the universities. I am sure there is a thriving music circle that us older ones never get the privelage to attend.
Likewise there are many open mike events all over the country in the UK.
I am sure there are many other things going on with the younger people, that we never get to.
Folk Festivals are probably one of the best ways to get the music out there and from what I can understand, brings lots of younger people in.

There will always be a divide between the younger and older poeple. Thats the way of life.

Music is healthy both with the younger element and the older element. More often than not, it is the older people that are not prepared to listen to what the younger ones have to offer.

Just to use 2 bands as an example of younger people doing very well in the UK and I am sure attract the younger element to go and see them.
One is Kerfuffle and the other is Mawkin:Causley. I love what they do.

There are many other examples.

I think what we should be doing is asking our younger mudcatters what they are doing and what makes them enthusiastic about music. Where are the hotspots for younger people. How can we help them to make them the future in the Folk World. They will do it different to us.

It may also help to know how old each mudcatter who is posting on this thread is. I am 63.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:29 AM

I have to disagree, the folk music scene I see is thriving. It is not becoming silent and nor is it failing to attract young people.

Go to any festival and there are lots of young people. Many of them are higly skilled instrumentalists one or two are good singers and getting better.

You doubt me? When I started in folk music, an instrumentalist was rare. Nowadays top-class young fiddle players are legion. One or two people played melodeons - nowadays quality young melodeon players are everywhere. There are far more folk events than there ever were.

I have never seen M;K but I have followed the career of Kerfuffle. They don't particularly attract young people - it is hard to do so. Bellowhead does - depending on your definition of young. So do the Demon Barbers and four years ago there the scream of teeny-boppers was heard as Black Swan Rapper came out to dry ice in the Late Night Extra at Sidmouth.

Go to DERT in Newcastle this coming weekend (google DERT 2009 and see the young rapper dancers.

The argument about folk clubs dying is different to the argument about folk music dying. This is well covered by Tom Bliss here.And Tom may argue that because clubs are not thriving - the whole scene will eventually die. HJe may be right but I see that as a long way off.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:59 AM

Not die, Dave - change and possibly fragment, with a danger of some valuable things being lost in the process.

Without enough guest clubs to keep a team of guests in work, concerts and festivals would have fewer time-served, nationally known, experienced headliners (specially once the current Old Guard retire). (And how would young performers learn how to hold an audience for two hours before stepping onto a big stage?)

And participants would eventually only be able to get new music from recordings, books and distant performers, and without the intimate observation and interaction provided by visiting role models and 'experts' would find it harder to connect to the tradition and develop as singers, players and writers.

Instead of a nice big healthy tree with roots, trunk and branches - and seasonal sap-rising, we'd have something more akin to a snakes and ladders board.

And we might loose some great music along the way too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:11 AM

I wonder if part of the problem is that young people sometimes feel intimidated about getting up and performing, believing that, with the increasing emphasis on professionalism in folk music, they think that they may not have reached a high enough standard and that they should maybe even have a CD to offer. Not wanting to start the GEFF debate again but , when I first started 'performing' at a folk club at the age of 15, people thought that it was great to have a youngster there and, despite that fact that I must have sounded diabolical, they were welcoming, encouraging and more than ready to offer any help and advice they could. Without that, I doubt if I would have had my 45 year love affair with folk music.

Is it the same today or do we expect our young performers to have gone through the learning curve (and maybe fallen by the wayside for lack of guidance) before we allow them so stand up at a singers' night? Or are we just all becoming grumpy old men and women?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:16 AM

No, I don't think it's that at all. Youngsters just tend to feel out of place among their parents and grandparents generations. When a younger person does visit a club they more likely to be overwhelmed by the support and encouragement! They need to find their own places to play (which they have), but with some ways of earning fees (which they haven't much yet)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Anne Lister
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:20 AM

I don't think it's a problem for young people standing up to perform. They do - there are a number of young performers around, and still more if you move off the "folk" scene and look more widely at the "acoustic" scene.
The bigger problem, it seems to me, is that very few young people (performers or others) are actually taking up the organisation or set-up of what we call a folk club. It's been said before, but when I started performing the clubs were run by people who were only slightly older than I was at the time. That seems to be still true, mostly (although there are some organisers who are a decade or so younger than me). And where young people are running a venue, it's not necessarily called (or behaving as)a folk club.
So, taking Tom's comments on board, we've either got to persuade more youngsters to get involved in the running of the folk venues or persuade ourselves to look at a wider definition of what a folk club could be. For example I discovered fairly recently that in Cardiff there are several venues that might well book me, but as a folkie I'd assumed they were venues dealing with a whole different genre of music. (Still haven't secured that booking, btw, but watch this space!)   We may, as performers and lovers of the music, need to adapt to survive - but that's a normal development, isn't it?

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:21 AM

Agreed Tom.

Some of us need to think back to our young days. Generally you wouldn't be seen dead with all the old farts. You hung around with your mates.

For those that experienced the folk days of the 60's 70's. How old were you then? Were the people that went to your folk clubs, old or young?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: nager
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:30 AM

Often the younger people are better than some of us staid older generation who have been singing and playing the same old stuff for most of their lives without much, if any, improvement, in some cases. With the easy availability of music choice today via the Internet and the free availability of lyrics, chords, tabs and even note by note guitar lessons etc, the standard of the younger ones who frequent our clubs here in Oz is very high indeed. I don't think they feel intimidated at all by an older generation's skills. Perhaps it is just "not their scene" to see old bushy bearded blokes (and women!!) with a hand over their ear grunting old sea shanties over a few pints in a pub when they know they can do a hell of a lot better themselves. We don't hold our folk club here (Teralba NSW) in a pub, we hire a small community hall and charge just $2.50 (Oz) to come in. It is byo with tea and coffee free. It is a community run gathering, no-one gets paid but we still get very good local and not so local talent coming along. And yes, we have a good representation from the young, not so young and older generations. We are thriving!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:33 AM

In the case of The Bothy FC in Gainsborough Les, they were mostly young back then. Pat Sleight, who ran the club along with Terry Cater and Gwenda, was early twenties (as T&G were). Most of the members were late-teens to maybe late 30s. Most of the performers (and we had all of the big names there) were in their 20s, some maybe 30s) - ask Gwenda about a very young and absolutely terrified Miss B. Dickson who played for fifteen quid and a bed for the night! :-)

I think Anne's made a good point about young people not taking up the responsibilities of running venues, and also (get ready for wailing and gnashing of teeth by The Usual Suspects) look to widening the definition of what a folk club could, or should, be. Adapt or die.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Betsy
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:35 AM

Some of this was foreseen by a number of us , whereby young performers who were coming through , suddenly jumped from being good performers ,to , the concert /festival stage - and duly gave the clubs a wide berth.
In previous "waves", performers were glad to play any and every venue - just to keep playing and , get a night's fee, no matter how large or otherwise. Some performers used to refer to playing at smaller venues for a small fee as "being paid for practising".
At least it turned over some money, and also sold a few records / tapes /or CD's.
Apples will grow , but .....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:36 AM

The music moves where it wants to. I've been at eclectic acoustic sessions recently with very good young players (fiddle, guitar, melodeon) and singers. Pub open mics in this area (Sussex) are mainly people in their 20s and 30s. Some club occasions are predominantly 40/50+ audiences - but at least two clubs I go to are run by people in their 30s and attract a very mixed age group. Some local Irish sessions have young demon fiddlers attending. The scene changes but the music will remain - changing here and there, perhaps.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:38 AM

I'd be happy for them not to use the words 'folk' or 'club' - just as long as RAFT music was encouraged and marketed.

One of the best things about the existing club system is the network. That's lacking in the few new places that Anne refers to, but with time and encouragement it should develop.

That's why I'm asking for a survey (which by pure chance is actually now happening) and a small venues organisation (call it Association of Folk Club Organisers for now - though something more general might be better) to help steer the change through.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:02 AM

John, Gwenda did tell me about Barbara Dickson. :-)

Its very interesting what you say about the Bothy FC. Most people were young then. Nost of those people have stuck together over the years and are very big mates to this day. I think that is really great. That to me is what life is about.

So the young people of today are doing their own thing and hopefully will folow the same route and still be big mates in 40 years time and still seeing each other on a regular basis.

I just love the folk scene for its friendliness and helpfullness. However I don't think it really matters what sort of music people like, as long as they enjoy it and make the friends that you see so often in the folk scene.

Music makes the world go round, and pulls us all together as one great big family. Long may music live.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:28 AM

Amen.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:53 AM

Does any body have statistics on the number of clubs that have closed and the number of new ones that have started over, say, the last year?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,John from Elsie`s Band
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:57 AM

Villan,
       In answer to your question concerning the age group of those that ran and attended folk clubs and the like in the 60`s/70`s, from my experience we were all predominantly youngsters with a few notable exceptions. By that I mean we were all in our late teens to mid twenties. I base my observations on the London and SE areas where clubs existed in just about every borough. If you see the old films taken in places such as Les Cousins, the song sessions with Ewan McColl and Bert Lloyd, and the t.v. audiences when "folk music" was featured I think you`ll see what I mean.

   The pleasing and remarkable thing is that so many of us who were of that era have grown with the movement and are still here to enjoy its attraction.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:23 AM

I started getting around the folk clubs of the North East when I was 17 (pushing 61 now)so naturally there were a lot of people around who were older than me;as well as one or two who were younger! However once that the music and singing started age went out of the window and all people were interested in was the material that you had chosen and how you performed it. The older members were very keen to encourage you if they thought that you were serious about the music and could improve upon your performance and for that I am forever grateful to The Elliotts of Birtley, John Reavey, George Proctor among others. I would like to think that such encouragement was available to today's youngsters - should they require it.
The only time I was excuded because of age was when one of our older residents was about to tell a dirty joke and he reckoned that I was "too young"! It was piss poor and anyway I'd already heard it!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:49 AM

I think that is my point.
We did what we wanted to do when we were young.

Therefore the young ones need to do their thing and we shouldn't be trying to push it down their throats, but be there to help them, if they need it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,tom bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 08:03 AM

I do have reasonably accurate figures, but when I have published them in the past I have been rubbished by people (well, person) who semmed to know far less about it than me. hence why I have called for an accurate survey to producee all the statistics and academic conclusions required.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Marje
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 08:18 AM

Although many of the older folkies have been involved since they were in their teens or twenties, there's a sizeable proportion who haven't. I'm one of many (and I could name dozens) who didn't really have the time or inclination to seek out folk clubs and sessions until the age of about 40. Many people in their 20s and 30s are too busy with careers, families and other aspects of their social lives in their 20s and 30s, and in any case they may prefer not to socialise with their parent's generation. Once they approach middle age, they often become more relaxed about this and may have more time to develop their own musical interests, perhaps taking up a new instrument or singing.

So what I'm saying is that although some of the "original" folkies who were prominent in the revival of the 1960s and 70s are beginning to lose interest/marbles or simply die off, there's also a constant flow of new people into folk clubs, sessions, festivals etc - not necessarily young people, but new recruits of all ages.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 08:33 AM

Tom,

Sorry about that - I did mean precisely what you said. The demise of the club where the pro/semi pro could hone their craft is happening - there is no denying that. And whilst I am not a prophet of gloom and doom - there are a lot of sell-out gigs for all sorts of people - until we get subsidised folk music, it is unlikely it will thrive in the way that many of us would like.

For growth of folk clubs in the 60's if I had time (and I am retired!!) I would want to look at the socio-economic factors prevailing at the time - I doubt we could ignore the influence of what was happening elsewhere (pill, less restrictions, growth of universities, freeing up of attitudes in general etc) in the 60's to the growth of folk clubs at that time.

I would want to look at the influence of folk-rock - for that is when I believe that amplification came in at folk clubs and started to kill the clubs.

I would want to look at the social climate of the Thatcher years for I believe that is when it also helped to end the folk club as it was in the 60's.

I am not sure we are cutting off the roots - but we are cutting off the lower branches maybe.

I don't have any answers to this by the way, I wished I did, and I can (and have) gone endlessly around the houses in discussions about it. But I am anxious to see that the analysis is bang on and I am not sure predictions about the imminent death of folk music are correct. I am reasonably positive about its health - but with the provisos you have noted.

And finally there is no doubt that a huge chunk of the answer is younger organisers.

One thing I can wnoleheartedly agree with - my daughter and her patner both 26 at the time - went to a folk club and halved the average age of audience. They were so overwhelmed with kindness that they left early!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: evansakes
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 08:50 AM

I'd never even heard of a folk club till I left North Wales to go to college in Manchester in the mid 70's. Wandering round the various clubs and society stalls in Freshers Week I succumbed to the temptation and joined the University club. I was curious but felt I had the necessary qualifications....I'd just bought a guitar, could strum a few chords, read the Anthony Scaduto biography of Bob Dylan, owned Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits AND Sweet Baby James.....and had even learnt a couple of Ralph McTell songs that I'd taped off the radio. What more did I need?

Sorted....so after persuading a couple of mates to join me and after a few pints to steady the nerves we ventured along the next week with none of us remotely knowing what to expect. We crept into the Solem Bar at the top of the Union building.....stone the crows! The place was packed with people our age! The organisers were students only a year or two older than us. There was no secret handshake or ritual initiation involved (though I think we may have been politely shushed)....we were in!

Oddly enough the first thing we encountered was a strange and mildly eccentric bloke standing onstage with a funny hat, wearing a moth-eaten jumper and with a dog at his feet, reading humourous poems from a little booklet (copies of which he'd recently run off on a typewriter). Dear old Les Barker of course (in his early tentative floor-spotting days). Can't remember who the guest was that night....possibly Joanna Carlin, Telephone Bill & The Smooth Operators, The Watersons or Nic Jones.....we saw them all play there over the next few weeks and months.

My main point however is that this wasn't the only place you could go to hear folk music around the student community...there was also a PostrGraduate Society Folk Club (where I first saw Pete Coe), a Polytechnic Folk Club (ditto Mike Harding), folk evenings at the Institute of Science and Technology and even occasional folk evenings at various Halls of Residence (I saw Bernard Wrigley do one of these somewhere in Rusholme). Everyone was up for it in those days. If you said you were going out to the folk club on a Friday night it barely even raised a giggle....

Are there any college folk clubs left these days? I certainly don't know of any...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 08:55 AM

Bryan, No they do not .most of this thread is guessing.I prefer to guess who will win the 4 .00 at Cheltenham today .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:07 AM

How about the proposition: "Folk clubs may die but, actually, it doesn't matter." Just to be a tad controversial...

Folkiedave - I guess we're about the same age (65 this year for me), and we probably grew up. musically, in the same folk world of the 60s and 70s. However, I suppose I have a different take on the current scene.

I was at a singaround/session last night - monthly session - in the bar of a pub in Surrey. It's a night I wouldn't miss for the world - a gathering of friends to sing and play, under the very loose guidance of one of the company - with wonderful singing, great selection of material old and new, and good fellowship. The bar was full and every performer got to do at least three pieces. Not that it mattered because most of us were encouraged to get in there and join in anyway! We raised the roof and I left at 11.45'ish, on a high. Not a club.

The previous night, I ran my usual monthly Sunday acoustic session in my local pub - in the bar. A small but enthusiastic gathering, with young and old people playing guitars, fiddle, mandolin, flute, whistle.. Once again, a great night - and not a club. I play a lot in my village - occasionally outside my village club on charity events on summer day - acoustic guitar through a PA, and there are a surprising number of young people who come up (probably to humour the old boy) and say how much they enjoyed it.

My point is, as I said earlier, that the music will find it's outlet - regardless. (Please - let it never be subsidised into official "folk clubs"). And either of those sessions would have welcomed a performer wishing to improve their skills - at any level.

As to whether folk rock killed clubs or not, well ... I'm just listening to "Morris On" as I write this. Still a great album and one, I'm sure, that actually encouraged people to go to clubs - as did early Fairport and Steeleye Span recordings.

By all means lets keep the clubs as vibrant as possible, but don't worry if the music meanders off elsewhere as well. I actually can't recall phenomena like singarounds and sessions and open mics being very common in my part of Lancashire in the 60s - but here they are, large as life and going on apace. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:22 AM

Age when I discovered folk clubs? - 25. And so were the the organizers give or take a year or two. Upper age? We had a brilliant singer-songwriter who was a retired civil servant as a regular supporter, who was a great influence on many people with regard to performing/communicating with his audience.

As I travelled around England I found that organizers tended to be my age group too.   I now have a bus pass!   

At our singarpounds today we do have a number of poeple 10-15 years younger than me but when twenty somethings come along they tend to move on to open mic or other sorts of musical events; forming accousitic based bands.

The good thing is that many young visitors are going on to support - even orgainize - accousic music somewhere. More folk influenced songs in the pop charts would be a great help.

But what we must stamp out is the cliquery so dominant in many clubs over the years - which sinply stifled keen new singers.

And this is the mega reason in my view why many clubs are not so healthy - organizers put their egos and class biases before a healthy scene for the future - and NOW they're getting payback!


Ian Fyvie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Gedi
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:38 AM

Obviously different areas of the country will be different but I can tell you that in the South side of Manchester - Sale/Chorlton area, the Folk Scene is thriving.

There is the Chorlton Folk Club which has been going about 6-7 yrs and is very eclectic and has a large number of younger, student types who probably make up about 30% of the audience. This runs weekly.

Then there is The Beech Singaround which is mostly traditional singing with some tunes and is generally older folk who attend. We have just had our 1st Birthday a couple of months ago. This was originally monthly but has now changed to fortnightly.

Also at The Beech is a Beginners Tunes Session each month for budding musicos which is doing very well. Several younger ppl attending there.

And in Sale is the Sale Folk Club, weekly, which has been running for roughly 6 months now and is doing very well. Again mostly middle aged folk there but a few younger ones too.

I have come across several people in middle age who have 'discovered' our folk heritage fairly recently so the point above was well made - its not absolutely necessary to have loads of youngsters coming into the scene since a lot of people come into it a little later in life.

I have also got involved in a Morris side and that is composed of several young women and some older people too. There is also a cross-fertilisation of Morris-Folk going on here.

All in all I would say that the folk scene is far from dead, far from dying. It could use more youngsters for sure but its not by any means a desperate situation.

I myself am in my early fifties by the way, and have come back to the folk clubs after a break of 20 years or so. Perhaps a little more publicity to let people know whats on might help?

Hope that helps.

Ged


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:43 AM

I wonder if there's a correlation between thriving folk scenes and clusters of Mudcatters... The Chorlton/South Manchester area has a number of illustrious 'Catters who feature regularly in these columns - as does the Kent area and the Sussex area...

Or do we all just talk about it more? :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:47 AM

Don't forget Lincolnshire, which whilst being rural, has a very thriving Folk scene.
We porbably have to work harder to achieve success due to the area being very rural and population is not so dense and wages are not that great.
We also have a fair few mudcatters.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: theleveller
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:51 AM

"population is not so dense "

Obviously pretty clever if they enjoy folk music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:52 AM

The really smart ones left Lincolnshire....... only joking!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:56 AM

LOL * and not so densely populated.

Are you going to see Lincoln tonight Paul?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:56 AM

Will Fly

What you describe is very similar to the acoustic scene in my area.

I run a weekly acoustic music & song gathering in Chester which is increasingly well attended by a wide aged range of both participants & audients.

It쳌fs not a 쳌efolk club쳌f & when I initiated the session about 9/10 years ago, I deliberately didn쳌ft include the term 쳌efolk쳌f in its name as I felt it쳌fd put off lots of budding singers/musos, and called it 쳌eMr Happy쳌fs Come All Ye쳌f, giving more an impression of all music types welcome as long as remaining acoustic.

Presently, there쳌fs no Folk Club in Chester, but there쳌fs a thriving folk concert venue in nearby Ellesmere Port.

The last folk club as was has changed venue a lot of late & has run itself more on singaround lines with no paid guests.

The other sessions in the immediate area are all of the Come All Ye type, in the heart of the pub, not an exclusive separate room


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:59 AM

It was good enough for you and yours a few months ago, young sir! :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 09:59 AM

Oops, talking to Paul there, not Mr. H! :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:06 AM

Good on you, Mr. H. Glad to hear that the Chester scene is going well. Many people find playing or performing in an open bar off-putting, which of course it can be if you get a hostile audience, but I think it's good for the soul! If you can capture the attention a crowd of people who may not be particularly interested in what you're doing, or who have just come in for a drink, then you're doing OK. Always helps to learn a little backchat for the odd heckler, of course... toughens you up really!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:12 AM

It costs MONEY and an acceptance of risk to set up any sort of 'club' other than a 'session'/ singers 'club'. 17 years ago the members of our 'club' committee were earning enough money to throw a few quid into the kitty to start off the club (pay the first few guests- I don't book guests unless I can meet contractual obligations) I certainly wouldn't try to start one now!
chris


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Nick
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:48 AM

I keep hearing of new things on pretty much a week by week basis so here is a selection of things within a travelling distance of me that I am willing to go. I'm reaching mid 50s and live in North Yorkshire. Here is my week from last friday with some options that I could have gone to and got involved with - loads more options of open mics/bands on etc:
Friday - night in but could have gone to Tap and Spile in York for a throw yourself in sing and play (lots of young people there and older ones). Or gone to Boroughbridge.
Saturday - friend was playing in local village hall. Audience of about 80 people paying to listen to Jake Thackray songs. Session in Beverley. Previous Saturday played at sing in pub nr Thirsk
Sunday - Boroughbridge sing or further afield to Beverley. Open mic in York till late. Session in York. Pub 3 miles up road looking to start up a new sing or something on Sunday pm
Monday - Gathering near Malton I have yet to try
Tuesday - session in Maltings in York. Bedale folk club. Local event nr Pocklington which is just starting up.
Wedndesday - weekly singaround in Flaxton which we run. Or singaround in York at First Hussar. Will probably go to Pickering folk club for a change. Open mic at Habit in York
Thursday - Black Swan folk club York.
Friday - sing at Bagby nr Thirsk. Or Tap and Spile.
Saturday - playing in local pub for St Patricks

And those are just the ones I'm aware of there are more I'm sure. Another local pub has indicated an interest in music.

I think that pubs are increasingly entertaining the thought of having music presumably as a potentially cheap way of having bodies in the pub. A few years ago when Sam Smiths bunged us out of the Blacksmiths in Farlington it was INCREDIBLY hard to find practically any pub that would consider it. Food was the thing and every square inch of a pub that could be filled with folk slinging cheap boil in a bag pub crap down there necks was utilised. Now they are looking at ways of adding value or offering different stuff and it's no bad time to go and make oneself known.

Is it worthwhile for the pub even with driving etc? Where we are I reckon yes. The pub we go to on a Wednesday which normally would have 2 to 5 people in has somewhere between 20 and 40 (usually 30+) people in week in week out which is as good as a couple of darts teams who never play away matches.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 11:14 AM

Folkiedave - I guess we're about the same age (65 this year for me), and we probably grew up. musically, in the same folk world of the 60s and 70s. However, I suppose I have a different take on the current scene

I doubt it and we are the same age!! I go to events such as you describe - one already this week, could have been another and I shall be at one tomorrow night. I can go to a session most nights of the week - even one called "Raise the Roof!".

This is why I wanted to contradict the original poster that folk music would die if it didn't attract young people. I think it is attracting young people - but not through and into the traditional style folk club. That leads into Tom's problem.

And just to make it clear - the argument isn't that folk rock killed folk clubs - but that it made amplification much more common and it was THAT that didn't help.

I am not sure what you have against subsidy - many Scottish CD's I get sent have "Scottish Arts Council" on them and the Irish government have pumped squillions into traditional music. It doesn't have seemed to have done young people much harm over there....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 11:19 AM

Folkiedave

The demise of the club where the pro/semi pro could hone their craft is happening - there is no denying that.

No, I can't deny it because I simply don't know. It would be nice to have some actual information. Everybody seems to be offering solutions when we don't actually know what the problem is.

How many clubs are closing?
Why are they closing? Senility of organisers? Personal bankruptcy of organisers? Loss of venue? Loss of audience?
How many new ones are being set up? Who is starting them?
What sort of clubs have closed - singaround/guest/concert?
How many have changed category?
Where is this happening? Is it regional or nationwide?

Around here (Sussex) I know of one club that started and didn't last very long a couple of years ago. Don't know why. Two new ones have started up in Hove fairly recently (unfortunately monthly on the same night, not sure what's going on there). Otherwise, things seem fairly stable. Several new sessions have started up (Thank you Mr Fly).

Can we have some facts? Even if the statistics aren't there, a few anecdotes would help.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Jayto
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 11:38 AM

After reading this thread I think we are going to have to go back and delete alot of other threads. Up until now all I have read was how the scene was dying, clubs closing, and on and on. Upon reading this the whole scene is thriving and growing like mad. Wow! Everything pointed before to gloom and doom and now it's hot and boom. Hmm.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 11:56 AM

Jayto, the tone of this thread - and others before it - really depends on the perspective of the poster, as I'm sure you can tell. And it may, to some extent, depend on the part of the UK the poster comes from - strange, you might think, for a country which is relatively tiny when compared with the US!

I don't think there is a definitive answer to any of these threads. All each one of us can do is to say how we see it from our particular vantage point. For myself, I would say that 90% of the clubs, sessions and singarounds I've been to in the UK - some in the south, some in the midlands - have been lively, good fun, in good shape, successful. That's just me experience - but it sounds as though some others have experienced likewise. Good.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:03 PM

I am not sure what you have against subsidy - many Scottish CD's I get sent have "Scottish Arts Council" on them and the Irish government have pumped squillions into traditional music. It doesn't have seemed to have done young people much harm over there....

Oh - I suppose it's just an old-fashioned suspicion of the tentacles of government. Look at Arts Council funding - they subsidise a project for a number of years and then, with little warning, there's a change of policy and the bottom drops out. I prefer the RNLI model - they exist successfully on their own efforts and refuse government intervention.

Did I ever tell you about my days in the Judean People's Liberation Front... :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:04 PM

Given current trends, I think the outlets for live acoustic music & song gatherings are evolving from the formal stage & audience set up of the folk clubs to the more informal [& less artificial] settings of the come all ye type.

This type of setting gives better opportunity for onlookers [onlistners?] to experience the music as its inclusive, rather than the sometimes exclusiveness of fc's


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM

Can we have some facts? Even if the statistics aren't there, a few anecdotes would help.

My comments directly arose from the OP's comments that folk music would die if we failed to atract young people - it's at the top of this thread.

I wanted to contradict that by saying that it isn't true - folk music isn't dying but the folk club paying the semi- and full-time pro seems to be/is and I can refer you to the word of Tom Bliss a full time professional singer who has a thread about it here; and a long article about it in the latest edition of "Living Tradition" magazine.

Now why not write to the that thread and to Pete Heywood with a reply if you think it isn't true?

You'll make your point in LT to a lot more people than you will on here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 12:53 PM

Hello Dick - yes, we're all just guessing, but I hope you'll allow that those of us who have spent the last 9 years keeping an up-to-date nation-wide database of clubs (i.e. spending 15-20 hours a week on the phone and internet finding new clubs, and ringing and emailing organisers new and old up and down the land, on an almost daily basis), plus who talk frequently and at length to club organisers and other touring pros about trends in the folk club movement because their livelihood depends on it are at least making educated guesses.

There's a wealth of information on forums like this too, most if it directly quoted personal experiences by well-informed, erudite individuals, but unfortunately some people have some need to dismiss this as gossip or worse if it doesn't concur with their own beliefs or agenda.

This is why we need a proper academic study - which even if dismissed by some, will provide the information that the movers and shakers need (thank goodness there are some) to press forward on the business/funding/licensing side of things.

By chance (I wrote my article before Christmas), this is now happening. Philip Butterworth from the Arts Council is conducting a survey in the English Folk scene to establish the best way forward for Arts Council funding through 2009, 2010 and into 2011. I'd rather it was commissioned by a folk club organisers group, and carried out by an independent academic, but this is a start.

Certainly funding would make a huge difference, and could do so without impacting on the rebellious, independent-minded spirit that pervades the folk world. We pay the taxes, lets get some baxes. (Plus Arts funding is a great anti-Depressant).

Threads like this are usually well-supplied with stories of new and blossoming participation events, often presented as evidence that clubs are not closing. But, as is so often the case, different people have different definitions of the word 'club.'

No-one I know is saying that the folk scene is in trouble - quite the opposite. But the evidence I have is that guest clubs ARE dwindling, and - because support for guests is also diminishing, are likely to dwindle further. And if they drop below a viable number, we will lose something valuable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:15 PM

Oh - I suppose it's just an old-fashioned suspicion of the tentacles of government. Look at Arts Council funding - they subsidise a project for a number of years and then, with little warning, there's a change of policy and the bottom drops out.

That is what happens - but how much time does the RNLI spend fund raising? I used to visit my inlaws' house in Scotland and the local RNLI there had many more members that the local folk club. And probably put on more events!!

But there are Arts Council grants out there and other arts organisations don't seem quite so reluctant to take the money.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:43 PM

Backwoodsman (going back several hundred postings)..... I can say these things, I'm from Lincolnshire!

and Les, no, I'm spending my time constructively rather than watching this seasons shower of has beens and yet to bes and going to Bedale Folk Club!

Retuirning to the thread. I live in the middle of rural North Yorks, there are at least 5 folk gatherings within 10 or so miles of where I live (including 2 guest clubs- monthly). If I widen this out to 25 miles I lose count....... Yes the avergae age is fairly high, but probably more or less matches the demographic of the local population.

I'm 44 and a guest club organiser, not exactly young but quite a long way off my pension. Most of our attendees are 50s/ 60s but we do have a healthy number of 20's, 30's and 40's. We can struggle for numbers on some club nights...... but our 2 weekend events a year do very well indeed. We do attract people in from a fair distance too.

Having been to young for the halycon folk club days of the 60s & 70s I can't really comment on any demise.... you just accept todays conditions and get on with it. We only started the club in October 2007 and though it would be nice to have 50 people here every club night (we don't) the bank balance is healthy and attendances are just about viable. If we only booked big names we could get a lot more audience..... but what's the fun in that!

We do work pretty hard on it though.......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: olddude
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 01:58 PM

Here is a case in point and i mean this in the most respectable manner and not as any critism for I am also guilty of it. Lately I have been seeking out young folk artists on youtube to hear their music and post comments. there are some wonderful musicians. Yet I see the number of views and they are typically 10 or 8 or some very low number yet the music is wonderful. I posted a thread about a young lady named Wil Maring. Now she doesn't need any approval from us, she is selling records and recording but not one of us on the cat listened or commented because it was not a name we recognized. See we all , myself included need to give encouragement to any young performer who is writing folk and performing. It is the only way I think to keep the music alive. It is up to us to open ourselves up to new music created by the young people and not just focus on the names we know and love. We can do both, love the names we have known for so many years and yet take the time to hear a young performer do their original work. There are many great young writers and performers but I don't think they get the chance i clubs or otherwise . In my humble opinion


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:10 PM

>>If we only booked big names we could get a lot more audience..... but what's the fun in that!
<<

Depends which side of the fence you are looking from Paul.

In other words from a performer/organiser point of view

or

from and audience/organiser point of view.

I fall into the second category and see it from a person in the audience point of view. That upsets some performers, but you win some lose some. As they say, you can't please everybody.

At the end of the day, its about covering your costs, whichever route you take.

Like you we have a group of people that work very hard to provide what we hope is a very good quality of entertainment for our audience.
At this moment in time, our core audience keeps coming back (which we do not take for granted) and that is great. As its a concert style venue, then if the audience dropped below what would be our breakeven point and that became a regular thing, then we would have to stop.

Its totally different to a singaround, but we have several of very good ones in the area that cover that side. Gainsborough being my favourite, as well as Louth.

There are also quite a few sessions in the area. As I am not a musician, then it is not my style. However, I do sometimes put the occasional session on, and faldingworth Live pay for that.

The great thing is that we can all survive together and try to help each other. None of us want to lose money.

At the end of the day, you sets your stall out and do your very best to make it work. Nobody can ask more from you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:12 PM

Tom,I have spent much time over the last few years,and I have no statistical evidence to suggest that there are more clubs closing than new ones opening ,have you ?,if you have let us have the facts.
my livelihood depends on the folk club scene too .,but ever since 1976 I have heard this crap about the declining folk club scene,it is so f###### tedious.
on the subject of guessing,I guessed the winner of the 4 oclock at cheltenham,now thats the sort of guessing I like.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:27 PM

"Depends which side of the fence you are looking from Paul.

In other words from a performer/organiser point of view

or

from and audience/organiser point of view."

Les,

No criticism intended of Faldingworth, I've been and I like it!..... remember though, I am audient as well as an organiser and musician (well banjo player anyway).

Why would an audience not like acts without a big name?..... you seem to be equating being a big name with talent and quality..... there are plenty of unknowns out there who just need a chance to show what they can do, they have talent, quality and stagecraft by the bucketfull.... but they need introducing to audiences. That is (hopefully) where a club like out ours can play an important role.

Once they are famous they can go on to play clubs like yours!

But please don't imply that because someone hasn't won the publicity game yet that it means that they are not as good as those who have.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:39 PM

"See we all , myself included need to give encouragement to any young performer who is writing folk and performing. It is the only way I think to keep the music alive. It is up to us to open ourselves up to new music created by the young people and not just focus on the names we know and love. We can do both, love the names we have known for so many years and yet take the time to hear a young performer do their original work. There are many great young writers and performers but I don't think they get the chance i clubs or otherwise ."

Well said!   

The complaints I hear, from either side of the pond, are about young people not wanting to participate in folk clubs - yet I see an equal problem with older generations not wishing to listen to the original music being made by younger musicians. Even for traditional music, younger performers tend to get overlooked.

No one can expect a younger generation to participate in the same fashion that we participated when we were that younger generation. We carved our own path back then, and the younger artists of today are doing the same. Either path can be a pleasant journey if you have the right mindset.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 02:42 PM

But, Dick, to what extent are you playing clubs which have always booked you in the past, and to what extent are you looking for new places to play in the UK? Perhaps the clubs that book you happen to be the strong ones. I bow to your greater experience, but there's a big difference between someone like you who made his career in the days when the club scene was strong, and someone like me who only tried recently. You're not a member of Britfolk, are you? I think others here who are will confirm that the view among most pros seems to be that there are indeed massively fewer guest clubs today than there were 20-30 years ago. I myself have counted the numbers that have closed and opened since 2000. My article was privately vetted by a small groups of friends who happen to be some of the bigger names on the folk scene. They agreed with the main thrust of my argument.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:09 PM

Folkidave

Now why not write to the that thread and to Pete Heywood with a reply if you think it isn't true?

I haven't said anything is true or not, I'm only asking for some facts to clarify just what the problem we are tackling is. Surely it makes sense to analyse the situation thoroughly before trying to come up with solutions.

I think the OP may live in America so his situation may be different from the UK.

Who's Pete Heywood?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:35 PM

>> there are plenty of unknowns out there who just need a chance to show what they can do, they have talent, quality and stagecraft by the bucketfull.... but they need introducing to audiences. That is (hopefully) where a club like out ours can play an important role.
<<
Agree with you entirely.

Thats how I used to work when I first started Market Rasen Folk Club. I have to say that i loved it, but my health and lack of people wanting to help made me stop. Have a look at Yellowbellies 1 and 2 CD's to see the variety of very good local performers in Lincolnshire. Those Cd's went on to make over £2500 for charity.

I started Faldingworth live in Concert, because i had promises that I would get a lot of help. Those people have kept their promise and Faldingworth would not be there, if it wasn't for them.

So I wasn't knocking you, but merely pointing something out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 03:52 PM

Hi Les,

I didn't feel knocked. I did however feel that you were implying that audiences would only enjoy the bigger names...... I think you probably didn't mean quite that (having discussed many things with you in the past) but that is how your post read. Just thought it needed some clarification, which you duly gave.

Key thing is that we do what we can to provide platforms for quality "real" music. Without becoming bankrupt in the process.

I enjoyed the Yellowbellies CD that we got from you.

Cheers

Paul


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:26 PM

My unstatistical impression of clubs (NOT sessions) is that the number of clubs is pretty well unchanged since I came into the scene 40 years ago but now with fewer nationally known guests being booked and far more singers nights / singarounds. Paticipation seems to be much higher but overall attendance seems lower.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: BB
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:34 PM

olddude said:"See we all , myself included need to give encouragement to any young performer who is writing folk and performing... There are many great young writers and performers but I don't think they get the chance i clubs or otherwise."

There are lots of young performers who are given lots of chances in the clubs - if the clubs can afford to book them! But that's another subject perhaps.

Personally, I have listened to plenty of young performers that ask me for bookings, but the vast majority are singer-songwriters who, to me, all sound much the same - and bore me silly! I'm looking for good musicians and singers that are capable of *entertaining* my audience, and if those good musicians and singers are young, that's even better! It seems that many song writers, particularly the young ones, are what we always called 'navel gazers' - they're not interested in interacting and engaging their audiences, And if they're not, audiences aren't going to be interested in listening to them. There are exceptions amongst the writers, of course, but they seem to be few and far between.

Tom B., tell us more about this Arts Council survey - how do we know they're asking the 'right' people? It has long been a concern that all the funding seemed to be going through only two organisations, and no-one else seemed to be getting a look in, particularly since funding was withdrawn from all but one of the folk development agencies.

Bryan, shame on you - have you never read 'Living Tradition'? - Pete Heywood's the editor.

Barbara


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:46 PM

"I have listened to plenty of young performers that ask me for bookings, but the vast majority are singer-songwriters who, to me, all sound much the same - and bore me silly! I'm looking for good musicians and singers that are capable of *entertaining* my audience, and if those good musicians and singers are young, that's even better! "

In that case, you cannot complain about diminishing attendance.

If you are booking based on your own tastes, hopefully you have an audience that agrees with you and your shows are heavily attended. If you have no worries, then proceed without a second thought.

IF you are seeing your audience age and attendance shriveling, perhaps you need to step back and reconsider. Your tastes are part of your generation and the style you are accustomed to - and there is nothing wrong with that. However, you may want to consider the fact that there could be an audience for those "boring" singer-songwriters and maybe mixing things up a bit might bring a boost and some faces that have not been around the block so many times.

There is no right or wrong - there only "is".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 04:47 PM

"My unstatistical impression of clubs (NOT sessions) is that the number of clubs is pretty well unchanged since I came into the scene 40 years ago but now with fewer nationally known guests being booked and far more singers nights / singarounds. Paticipation seems to be much higher but overall attendance seems lower."

Yes, as i keep saying - it's not so much clubs closing (though that's happening) but fewer guest nights, and very poor turnouts by regulars for guests. So if the guest doesn't have a big following the club may loose money.

That's the problem.

Tom

That's about all I know Barbara, though I believe they're looking for input from the likes of us. Agree 100% with what you say - hence why we desperately need a body to represent the club/small gig sector, and one that doesn't bicker :-) !!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:14 PM

>>Personally, I have listened to plenty of young performers that ask me for bookings, but the vast majority are singer-songwriters who, to me, all sound much the same - and bore me silly! I'm looking for good) musicians and singers that are capable of *entertaining* my audience, and if those good musicians and singers are young, that's even better! It seems that many song writers, particularly the young ones, are what we always called 'navel gazers' - they're not interested in interacting and engaging their audiences, And if they're not, audiences aren't going to be interested in listening to them. There are exceptions amongst the writers, of course, but they seem to be few and far between.
<<

Barbara, very well put.I couldn't agree more. The following may get me in a load of bubble and squeek, but I am trying to say it how I see it, no punches held.

Put in a different way. How many songwriters are there in the Folk World who can honestly say that they have written 10 very good songs, that will stand the test of time with the audience (and I mean very good)?
Not many I think.
However, many singer/songwriters keep on writing songs, that sound very similar and sing them in front of an audience, and they bore the pants off the audience. They get on stage and do the songs as though they are saying to the audience "look at me , aren't I great, I have written a song and another and another, (totally oblivious of the fact that the songs are just not good enough). you must like them".
All of them are very good singing and playing their instruments, but its all about "ME".

I have heard many singers who do cover songs that suit their style and they just WOW me, but when they do song after song of their own, they lose the plot.

I remember once getting a phone call from an agency, trying to get me to book a particular act. I said that I had seen them live and the only songs I enjoyed were the ones they hadn't written. I said I wouldn't dream of booking them.
The agent was very angry with me and literally implied that I was talking a load of bollocks. I disgreed and put the phone down.

Having said all of that, if anybody takes humbrage, then stop, count to 10 and genuinly ask yourself if your songs you have written, are that good, enough for people to really love. Then have a real go at me, if you so wish.

Just to mention, I have put lots of singer/songwriters on at Faldingworth. I have never regretted it.

I have also refused many a very good top performer, because they do not suit the style of Faldingworth. They know who they are, but I can't put them on if I do not think they suit the style of what I am trying to put on.

There you go, I have bared all and if anybody wants to have a go at me, feel free.

Another organiser who works for nowt :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Chris Green
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 05:57 PM

On a (hopefully) more positive note, myself and a couple of colleagues have started running a new venue in Coventry. We had our first concert last week (Phil Beer guesting) and got around 80 people through the door. Tickets are already selling briskly for Vin Garbutt on April 9th (no surprise there!)

I'm 31 and the other two who run it with me are 32 and 24 respectively. The emphasis is on putting on quality music in a pleasant environment.

No axe to grind - I just thought it might be nice to post something about a club opening rather than closing!

Cheers

Chris

Maudslay Thursday


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:03 PM

Congratulations Chris.

I wish you much success.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:06 PM

Why should Bryan have heard of Peter Heywood ,he is involved in running a successful folk club.
in these days of mass communication via the computer ,magazines such as Living Tradition and Folk roots ,are not as important as regards publicising ones club as they were twenty years ago , it is even debatable whether they were ever of any importance .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 06:12 PM

Villan,I agree.
I reckon I have written three maybe four good songs ,and cannot think of a songwriter that has written 10 good songs,of course others might think I havent written any,that is why I perform a lot of traditional material as well as contemporary songs .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Helen
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:10 PM

Obvioulsy there is the Magpies Nest as counter example to the Folk Club = Old assumption. Also, I am 26 and me and my friend Katie (23) have just started a folk club in Deptford. The first one was last month. We got a really mixed crowd (just what we wanted) but a seriously healthy turn out of our peers who - as we suspected they might - absolutely went wild for Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham's shanties and Toby Bennet's clog dancing. It was *brilliant*! We caught the yooofs attention by also booking a lady from popular indie outfit Bat for Lashes ( Caroline Weeks who has done a stunning album of settings of the poems of Edna St Vincent Millay). We kept it cheap (£3 for students) enough that people would be willing to have a punt. There was a real sense of excitment and discovery... next up The Boat Band and Yo Zushi.... I think young people do like traditional music clubs --- they just haven't realised it yet!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Anne Lister
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:11 PM

Blimey! Well, after just putting out my eighth album of original songs of course I'm going to disagree about the ten good songs - I don't generally plan to put out rubbish songs when I record. I'm fairly sure I could list quite a few other songwriters who have written more than ten (Jez Lowe, Pete Morton, Jim Woodland, Leon Rosselson, Robb Johnson, Mike O'Connor, James Keelaghan ...that's just off the top of my head).

Let's not go overboard with the generalisations!

I'm not having a go at Les (and I'm looking forward to playing Faldingworth Live! later this year), or Barbara, or Dick. However, as the acoustic open mic clubs appear to be thriving (and, as I said above, there are several in Cardiff where folk club activity is thin on the ground) it can't be a universal problem of the young singer-songwriter failing to pull the crowds in.

Anne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: olddude
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:29 PM

I tell you what Les
if the songs you booked are those folks on the CD's you sent me , you can count me in anytime my friend. They were all 10 out of 10 and I have worn em out for sure, just beautiful stuff

Dan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:44 PM

"How many songwriters are there in the Folk World who can honestly say that they have written 10 very good songs, that will stand the test of time with the audience (and I mean very good)?
Not many I think."

So??? What is the point?   You won't listen to a song because it won't be remembered 200 years from now? Holy crap!!

Live for today. Songs have relevance to the time they are created. We fondly remember folk songs, but many do not have much relevance in our daily lives. Sorry, but that is true.

Artists create for the here and now. Some of us many enjoy living in the past, but the last time I looked folk music was still a living tradition. You may choose to ignore the present, that is your choice, but saying a song won't stand the test of time is one of the most absurd statements I've heard in years. If any of us had a crystal ball, the economy would be in much better shape - and the coffeehouses would still be in business.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: olddude
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 07:52 PM

I have written music that would bring a tear to your eye. Not because they are so heartfelt but because they are soooo bad. I have a closet full of them. However, people can't get better if they are not given the chance and the guidance. There are just so many good young people doing some really great music and some really bad music like all of us. But if they love music and are given a chance, the music grows and becomes strong. I just think we have to break out of -this is the way the music is mode - and open up to younger people and really listen instead of discounting. I know I will never embrace rap ... it is not my genre ... but boy there are a lot of young folk people out there doing very good stuff. search around youtube with the word original song .. you will see what I mean and they deserve to be heard I think and for the sake of the music we all love that is disappearing it is important to hear the younger crowd


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Gulliver
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:06 PM

The very fact that this is being discussed here in this intensity suggests to me that folk clubs are over the hill, as far as young people are concerned. My last visit to one was in 1974 (and it was great THEN).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Mar 09 - 10:15 PM

It does sound like more a problem in the UK then here. We have our own issues but I think our "club" scene is very healthy - probably more active than at any other time except for the Folk Error, I mean Era. There could always be more opportunities, but I do not see any danger of the "folk" scene drying up - it just continues to evolve.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 03:33 AM

>>I tell you what Les
if the songs you booked are those folks on the CD's you sent me , you can count me in anytime my friend. They were all 10 out of 10 and I have worn em out for sure, just beautiful stuff

Dan <<

Hi Dan
Their does seem to be a lot of good songwriters in Lincolnshire and most of them, have been on at Faldingworth Live (or Market Rasen Folk Club as it used to be called). In fact quite a few were dissapointed, as I was not able to put everybody on the CD's.
Really glad you like the Lincolnshire Singers, Songwriters and Musicians. They know who they are and quite a few are mudcatters.
Lincolnshire is blessed.
Cheers
Les


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:18 AM

The emphasis is on putting on quality music in a pleasant environment.

Then I reckon it's got a good chance of survival. (I'd book Tom Bliss whilst I had chance!!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: AlexB
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 07:25 AM

I like folk clubs. I also have no problem with spending time with people a lot older than myself. I grew up doing so, and that wasn't in the folk scene. I'm in my early twenties.

Something I do take umbrage at is people treating young people as something "other". I find it patronising. We all have our own separate tastes, mine probably lie in areas similar to that which people here are talking about trying to preserve, others may not. Strangely enough there are older people who want folk to go in all new directions and think that folk as many people here want to keep it to be stuffy, just the same as some young'uns. Not much difference between the age groups there!

So stop all the "us" and "them"ing. Let every folk enthusiast take folk in his or her own direction. It is a living tradition and if certain aspects can no longer hold out on their own, then rather than keep them on life support you should let them go naturally. Write a biography, maybe in the future some enterprising individual shall read it and that aspect will undergo a rebirth. That said, I don't think that is the case at all - there may be a lull but I'm not convinced of any deaths right now.

As for Folkiedave's subsidies... that is a certain way to get me to leave the scene. I think the government has it's fingers in too many pies already and should be cut down significantly. I don't think tax payers should be forced to fund other people's interests and I don't like the way people go begging to increase the size of the state. The bigger it is, the more power it exerts and the more everybody has to pay just for more red tape and less freedom to do things the way they want. Not to mention the very idea of folk needing a subsidy makes it less of the people. It has survived so far through the efforts of private individuals (Sharp, Vaughan Williams, Baring Gould et al) as well as communities. Admittedly there is the odd bit of government funding here and there, there is with a lot of arts stuff. But the people kept it alive, even if at points it was only a handful of them, it still endured. The moment you get serious state intervention, it changes into something else.

So, again, let people take it where they will. It might not be the folk you knew when you were young, but then I highly doubt you, as an organic individual, are who you were back then either. You grew in years and experience, and took on board other influences to make you who you are today. In a few years time you won't be as you are now. At the core you are the same individual, but you have been shaped by many hands and events. So folk music has been shaped since before you were born, and will likely continue to do so after we have gone. It may branch into something we are not interested in... but like a tree there is nothing to stop us continuing our own branch, and for others to branch it still further. I don't think the roots are in any danger.

Just my ten pence worth (because these days tuppence just doesn't go far enough).

Alex


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 08:09 AM

BB

Bryan, shame on you - have you never read 'Living Tradition'?

Sorry Barbara, not very often and not for a long time. What has Pete Heywood said that I should tell him isn't true?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 11:36 AM

Forget it Bryan -I've been wound up by experts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Banjiman
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:26 PM

"Personally, I have listened to plenty of young performers that ask me for bookings, but the vast majority are singer-songwriters who, to me, all sound much the same - and bore me silly! I'm looking for good musicians and singers that are capable of *entertaining* my audience, and if those good musicians and singers are young, that's even better! It seems that many song writers, particularly the young ones, are what we always called 'navel gazers' - they're not interested in interacting and engaging their audiences, And if they're not, audiences aren't going to be interested in listening to them. There are exceptions amongst the writers, of course, but they seem to be few and far between."

Barbara, I've heard you previously state that there are also very few female performers who can *entertain* an audience as well. Does that mean you only book wrinkly men? In which case can I have a gig..... bet you don't book banjo players either! LoL

We had a virtually all female line up (and some of them were young!) at our last weekend bash..... virtually a sell out and very positive feedback. (Balanced by some wrinkly old men at points during the weekend, but not many).

We are having a Disgustingly Talented Young Persons day at our next weekend bash in November..... Mawkin:Causley, Kat Davidson & Dan Walsh & OK Brandy . They all write some songs & tunes, plus some covers plus some trads..... not a navel gazer amongst them though. I would imagine it will be a highly entertaining evening having been previously wowed by them all.

I'm pretty sure that our November weekend will help keep our club open as well.... hopefully bring in a few more youngsters (i.e. younger than me). Again there'll be plenty of variety including older acts at other points during the weekend.

We'll probably have a beard themed weekend at some point in the future.... just to balance things up.

I think as organisers we have to be very careful about our own prejudices or we risk alienating potential audience.... if that matters to more established, older style clubs?

Paul


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 12:46 PM

Folkiedave

Forget it Bryan -I've been wound up by experts.

If you'd like to address yourself to things I've actually said rather than what you think I've said, I'd be less inclined to take the piss and we might be able to have a constructive discussion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: BB
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:25 PM

Ron, the club I'm involved in running is not in any danger of dying, thank goodness, so I'm probably booking the right people for the audience. I book a wide range of styles, ages, instrumentation (including banjo, Paul!), etc., etc. (and both male and female, Paul - I was going to say "and sexes", but on second thoughts...:-)) - my only problem is with a certain type of singer-songwriter, and it just seems that it's mostly they who are asking me for bookings. Also, Ron, I don't disagree with you about songs relevant to today, and there are singer-songwriters, such as Jez Lowe or the late lamented Keith Marsden or Duncan MacFarlane and a few others who *reach out* to the audience with their songs and their presentation of them - I do not include them in the 'navel-gazers'. And I do not only book things that I personally like - I get the views of other members of the club's committee and members of the audience, but when we get people of a certain musical style drop in, it's not difficult to see when the audience is bored. Have a look at our guest list on our website here if you think I'm too hidebound in what I book - it may surprise you.

Dick, it's not about advertising in the likes of 'Living Tradition': it's about keeping abreast of what's going on in the scene that we inhabit, and as club organisers, I do think it's important to be aware of what's going on outside our own immediate area, either geographically or musically.

Bryan, I'm sorry, I should have put a smiley in my comment to you - and the bit about what Pete Heywood has said that you might disagree with - I don't know - 'twasn't me that said that.

Olddude, I'm happy to listen to anything that anyone sends me, and I do listen to these S-S's MySpace contributions when they ask me to. I then have to make a considered decision about what will appeal at our club - if I make wrong decisions, the club will go down, and it doesn't take many wrong decisions for that to happen. I've seen it happen in the past.

It's great that there are a *few* clubs - and I mean folk clubs - that are being run by a younger generation than those of us who have been involved for twenty-plus years, but it needs many more if the folk *club* scene is going to survive for much longer. There are just too many of us that are going to run out of steam over the next ten years or so in terms of organising things. And I still believe that the folk club scene has much to offer, in giving a platform for up-and-coming musicians and singers to perform, for somewhere to share this wealth of music and song, and not least, for friendship.

Barbara


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Mar 09 - 04:45 PM

BB

Bryan, I'm sorry, I should have put a smiley in my comment to you - and the bit about what Pete Heywood has said that you might disagree with - I don't know - 'twasn't me that said that.

It's all right Barbara; taken in jest. Folkiedave rightly recognised that the dig was at him. He did, for a change, read and understand one of my posts.

I've given in and subscribed to Living Tradition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 10:21 AM

" I don't disagree with you about songs relevant to today, and there are singer-songwriters, such as Jez Lowe or the late lamented Keith Marsden or Duncan MacFarlane and a few others who *reach out* to the audience with their songs and their presentation of them - I do not include them in the 'navel-gazers'. "

BB - You have created a sterotype of "navel-gazers".   Trust me, I did the same thing at one point - I lumped them all together in a catagory that I called "singer-songwhiners".   What I discovered was that by creating that stereotype, I shut the door to some singer-songwriters who were creating powerful and important songs.

If you look at some traditional songs you will find 492 verses of whiny laments over some long-lost love that ended up with flowery allegories or comparisons to plants and barnyard animals that if written today would be considered self-indulgent therapy sessions. I'm sure at the time they were written they served a purpose.

The point I am making is based on the premise of this thread. No one is forcing anyone to like something that doesn't appeal to them. Times and tastes do change, and while I am glad BB's club is doing well, if others are finding themselves with dwindling attendance and a dearth of new performers - perhaps it is a time for the organizers to do some navel-gazing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Jayto
Date: 12 Mar 09 - 11:26 AM

Here is Western Kentucky and Northern Tennessee younger people are heavily into folk. Well heavily as compared to alot of places I have been. It is not what a bunch of people on this board would consider folk though. It seems through the years they have taken what they have heard and fused it with what they know. By that I mean listening to old folk songs they have searched out as what they have heard. What they know is what they have grown up listening to (pre folk) and life experiences of growing up in modern times. They have fused it and I really like it. The old guard around here are not that welcome to these new bands and artists so they have forged their own scene. I just think it is a loss for both the old guard and the new artists to not be opened minded enough to include each other. It is not the younger ones that have a problem with it. They really admire what the older artists have done and in their own way are trying to mimic their styles (even down to the way they dress). It is the old artists and musicians that scorn them for not being traditional enough or for mixing musical styles. It really makes me upset and in the end it is going to be the older artists that suffer from this mind set. Younger musicians are not going to quit because the older set doesnt approve of their interpretation of what they consider their music. I know I am a prime example. They will continue to do their own thing pushing it further down whatever path they can. If the older musicians were more open to them the music would still evolve but the old traditional style would still be played and known by the younger generations. The younger cats are not going to see the older ones because of the attitude they encounter. I have heard that more times than I can count. The older musicians won't go see the younger musicians because they "are not playing folk. It is rock played on folk instruments." I have heard that said tons of times as well. I have also been accused of that more times than I care to think. The older ones will (without fail and around here not fussing at anyone here) pick one or two younger ones to carry their songs on. The problem is the young ones never seem to care about the torch bearers. They always seem to pick someone that is as disconnected with the younger generations as they are. Thus the younger generations don't take to them so the traditional stuff is dying out. There is an extreme amount of talent in the young cats around here. It is insane the amount of talent that is running around these hills. Folk is going to carry on with or without older artists approval. It is just a shame that most of them refuse to participate and help or teach the younger ones. Most of the younger ones that are new folkies are a pretty rebellious breed. Just by choosing to play folk and folk base they are going against the norm of modern society. Everyday they are bombarded by TV,Radio,friends ..etc that shove pop,modern country, metal, rap...etc down their throats and claim that is cool and folk is not. So I truly admire the way they have created their own thing and scene. THe way they have stood up to the peer pressure urging them to play anything but folk, blues, jazz, bluegrass, whatever. I think the older cats should show them some respect as well. I also think it is the job of older artists to help preserve the music. By not passing it on (except for to goody goody ass kissers) they are letting down generations of musicians before them. History and a record of musicians before us that could easily just disappear lay in the hands of the older musicians. If they fail to pass it own then it will be gone. Instead of complaining how the younger don't do it right they should show them. There will come a day they wont be around to show them and the supposed wrong way will be all that exists. It is a heavy load folk musicians carry and alot of them fail to see that.
cya
JT


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Mar 09 - 11:07 AM

Jayto- I grew up in a rust-belt city with lots of auto plants and also a major university. During the sixties, there were lots of folkies in and around the University, and a lot of pickers, particularly from Kentucky and Tennessee, working in and around the auto plants.

The thing was, there was no contact--kids desperate to learn banjo, Travis-picking, fiddle, steel guitar etc on one hand, and guys that had been doing just that for forty years on the other, and they avoided each other like the plague. I feel real pain thinking about all that could have been passed on, but never was--


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Where are folk clubs going?
From: Faye Roche
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 09:37 AM

First let me say that I'm not implying any criticisms of the different ways that clubs are run. I'm interested in how people view the future of folk clubs.

I've made the point before that the old-school clubs are bound to die out eventually, if only by virtue of the fact that most of their audiences are aged around 50+ and there are few younger people coming into them. Please don't argue that your particular club is thriving- we've been there and I agree that there are many good clubs that have a full attendance every night. But it can only be a matter of 30 or so years before all the members have passed on. Where does that leave these clubs?

I've recently moved to live and work near London and have visited some London clubs. There is a phenomena in London that I haven't seen elsewhere. I went to a club called the Magpie's Nest in Islington and, whereas it was good in every other respect (nice room, good guest, good floor singers, good pa, etc.) the evening was marred by the behaviour of the audience, who spent the evening chatting and making and receiving mobile phone calls while the musicians were performing. I left before the end as the volume of the audience was louder than the band on stage.

The audience were all at the other end of the age spectrum- around 25 to 30-ish. It's obviously a successful club as it was packed out, and I see that the organisers have now opened two new venues, presumably (correct me if I'm wrong) on the same lines.

OK- first I'll let you know where I stand. If I go to a bar or restaurant I like to hear live music played as background. I can enjoy an informal pub session. But- if I pay to go to any kind of concert, whatever the music is, I like to be able to listen to it properly.

I can accept that in a club situation there may be a bit of background noise from people buying drinks, etc., but imo a noisy bar is not the environment for folk music- you can't appreciate the subtleties of a singer if someone is barking down a phone three feet away.

So this kind of club is not for me. Just my opinion- no offence intended. But what do the rest of us think? As it's dragging in an audience in large numbers, is it the way forward for UK folk music? What's the view of performers at this kind of venue?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Faye Roche
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:12 AM

BTW I'm 30.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 10:25 AM

This is why I've not played at the Nest myself - well, Sam and Joe (who say they love my stuff) rightly refused to book me on the grounds that they knew I'd hate it, as I agreed I would once they explained.

This is the big challenge. You're right about the age issue Faye, (though I'd put the national average at over 60 not 50 and give it 10 years not 30), and yes there are some great folk-ish events being started up by youngsters. But only a very few that pay artists for a proper set, though with luck this number will grow once they realise that the existing clubs will soon no longer be there to support younger artists.

The issue of audience behaviour is more difficult. These people see no reason why they should sit quietly, and indeed view those of us who do as odd, and I can see why.

But without that silent attention, a whole load of things can't happen: The run of emotion round a room as the audience feels the turn of the story, the slim metaphor which melts every heart, the subtle joke which doesn't bear a laugh but which gladdens the soul and is missed if you're not playing full attention - never mind many musical shades and details.

Once these guy experience a good quiet concert they'll probably want it always to be like that. But how are they going to, when they've never been to one, and are never going to find out at a club full of Grans and Gamps?

That's what I want to know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: Jayto
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 11:37 AM

M.Ted I hate to inform you but it was passed down. It seems even worse listening to older players tell stories. I started hanging out with old cats when I was real young. Well more than anyone else my age around here. I loved to hear stories. I would go and listen to different old men around town before or after I met up with my buddies. I found out I loved storytelling from an old man that sold hunting license in my hometown. The older men would gather at his place and sit and tell stories for hours on end. Through this they got used to me being around from the time I could walk. When I decided to play music they were already used to me and opened up to me. I was one of the few lucky ones though. My brother and my cousin are really the only other 2 that I know of. They turned on me quick though (and the other 2) when we decided to play all styles of music. They treated us like traitors to be truthful. We were lucky that they spent as much time with us in the beginning but it didn't last long a few yrs at best. It was a few yrs most of the younger musicians didn't get though and really shaped our playing. All 3 of us went on to win national and international contests and 2 out of 3 have had major label deals. There is alot to be learned from these guys but for some reason they just don't want to show it. Now they are starting to pass on. The last yr some have been weighing on us about being the torch bearers but up until now we were the traitors lol. I am happy they decided to show us I just wish they would have taken the time for others as well. Like I said in that one post there were some they showed but they were not that good, plus none of them were accepted by the younger crowd. The initial 3 were and are accepted. I don't mean to sound arrogant by this but we were deemed cool because we played and loved all kinds of music. They enjoy and enjoyed hanging out with us because we were fun. We would have been part of the scene if we didn't play at all. Not just locally in Ky in Nashville and all surrounding states. The guys they picked (I tried to like man I swear I did) were odd. They were not sociable and BORING. Never had a girlfriend, never had an adrenaline rush, never had fun types. The kind that thier parents picked them up and dropped them off everywhere they went. (No offense) Couldn't stay out late Saturday because they had church Sunday. Nothing wrong if that's what anyone is into but when it comes to appealing to the younger folk musicians in the Ky/Tn scene not somone they are going to take to. Basically the things that made the older guys mad at us 3 were what drew the younger cats to us. We were all so stubborn none of the 3 of us changed. We remained who we were and took our exile from the older musicians. To this day though I hate that it happened. I also hate that it is fading away like it is. I am sure there are parts of this that might rile some feathers. It really was not intended just an observation of the local scene.
cya
JT


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folk Clubs, Closing, General Comment
From: The Villan
Date: 16 Mar 09 - 12:23 PM

>>OK- first I'll let you know where I stand. If I go to a bar or restaurant I like to hear live music played as background. I can enjoy an informal pub session. But- if I pay to go to any kind of concert, whatever the music is, I like to be able to listen to it properly.

I can accept that in a club situation there may be a bit of background noise from people buying drinks, etc., but imo a noisy bar is not the environment for folk music- you can't appreciate the subtleties of a singer if someone is barking down a phone three feet away.<<

Well I hold the same views Faye, but I am 63.

What we do at Faldingworth Live, is to close the bar, when an artist is performing.
Fortunately, we have an audience that comes to listen and enjoy (hopefully) the acts that are on.

I can see why Tom would not want to play in that environment. Thats a compliment Tom.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 July 4:29 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.