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Starting a Folk club

Kosmo 10 Aug 09 - 10:31 AM
GUEST,ploppo 10 Aug 09 - 12:12 PM
SunrayFC 10 Aug 09 - 12:12 PM
Desert Dancer 10 Aug 09 - 12:32 PM
Banjiman 10 Aug 09 - 01:00 PM
Valmai Goodyear 10 Aug 09 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,mg 10 Aug 09 - 02:32 PM
Hamish 10 Aug 09 - 02:34 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Aug 09 - 05:50 AM
Leadfingers 11 Aug 09 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 11 Aug 09 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,MtheGM 11 Aug 09 - 09:37 AM
Will Fly 11 Aug 09 - 11:45 AM
Kosmo 11 Aug 09 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,chris 11 Aug 09 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,John Hartford 11 Aug 09 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,MtheGM 11 Aug 09 - 03:01 PM
Leadfingers 11 Aug 09 - 03:31 PM
Andy Jackson 11 Aug 09 - 03:46 PM
Phil Edwards 11 Aug 09 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,chris 11 Aug 09 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,MtheGM 11 Aug 09 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,MtheGM 11 Aug 09 - 10:45 PM
Kosmo 12 Aug 09 - 09:15 PM
mg 13 Aug 09 - 12:01 AM
Valmai Goodyear 13 Aug 09 - 02:39 AM
Will Fly 13 Aug 09 - 03:42 AM
Valmai Goodyear 13 Aug 09 - 03:54 AM
Valmai Goodyear 13 Aug 09 - 04:16 AM
Kosmo 13 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Rob the Roadie 13 Aug 09 - 10:09 AM
Banjiman 13 Aug 09 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 13 Aug 09 - 11:27 AM
Phil Edwards 13 Aug 09 - 11:37 AM
Tug the Cox 13 Aug 09 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,PeterC 13 Aug 09 - 02:35 PM
Phil Edwards 13 Aug 09 - 03:46 PM
Kosmo 14 Aug 09 - 09:16 PM
Phil Edwards 15 Aug 09 - 04:57 AM
Tim Leaning 15 Aug 09 - 10:58 AM
BB 15 Aug 09 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Jon Boden 15 Aug 09 - 12:21 PM
Kosmo 16 Aug 09 - 07:00 AM
Jack Campin 16 Aug 09 - 07:43 AM
Phil Edwards 16 Aug 09 - 08:01 AM
Nick 16 Aug 09 - 01:44 PM
Nick 16 Aug 09 - 01:49 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Aug 09 - 05:55 PM
Nick 16 Aug 09 - 07:43 PM
Ian Fyvie 16 Aug 09 - 08:57 PM
Kosmo 16 Aug 09 - 09:20 PM
Phil Edwards 17 Aug 09 - 05:29 AM
Leadfingers 17 Aug 09 - 07:59 AM
JemmaGurney 17 Aug 09 - 08:20 AM
Mo the caller 17 Aug 09 - 09:07 AM
Kosmo 18 Aug 09 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Rob the Roadie 19 Aug 09 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Mr Red 20 Aug 09 - 10:35 AM
The Sandman 21 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM
Kosmo 24 Aug 09 - 05:13 PM
Tootler 24 Aug 09 - 06:45 PM
Folknacious 24 Aug 09 - 07:46 PM
stallion 25 Aug 09 - 03:25 AM
Ian Fyvie 25 Aug 09 - 09:37 PM
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Subject: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 10:31 AM

I'm starting a new folk club for the university of Glasgow, hoping for some tips and tricks people are willing to bestow unto me about how to run it, I've run music nights and a few sessions before and I'm a member of a few folk clubs, but any additional info would be ace.

Cheers
x


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,ploppo
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 12:12 PM

Ask yourself:
Is it going to be
A) just a session - no cash needed;
B) with paid guests - membership with subscription? or just a whip-round?;
C) everyone taking a strict turn (1, 2 or 3 songs or tunes per go)? or a free-for-all;
D) once a week/month.......

Good luck
ploppo


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: SunrayFC
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 12:12 PM

Take a deep breath!

and go for it!

You ain't in Dorset so it will be a lot easier than, say the Sunray!


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 12:32 PM

This thread from 2005 might be of use: Starting a folk club. ;-)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Banjiman
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 01:00 PM

Here's the thread from wharn I started KFFC. Just re-read some of it..... was I nauseatingly enthusiastic or what!

KFFC, New North Yorks Folk Club

Good luck with yours Kosmo, ours is still going strongly. It'll be back in September!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 01:28 PM

Good luck, Kosmo. You'll have a great deal of fun. A word of warning: don't promise to pay anyone money that you haven't got,and don't use your own money for anything other than a float. Can you get some sort of allowance from the University's Students' Union?

It's easy to get enthusiastic and assume that a wonderful performer will bring in a huge audience, but it doesn't always happen, so keep an eye on the funds.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 02:32 PM

If you will be doing most of the work, do it your way, get musicians you like, set up song circles the way you like it. Decide ahead of time if you want good music or pleasant interactions. That will relate to blue book versus not blue book. Start out by thinking in advance what you want and don't want..a specific traditional kind of music...heartfelt people singing yellow submarine (and there is nothing wrong with that)...lots of singer songwriters, lots of sea shanties..very multicultural or very Scottish traditional.

Or it might not matter to you..whatever evolves evolves and that is probably great..But if you have something specific in mind get it right out in the open and put it in writing and talk about it openly. It is your right to set it up as you like. If others are going to be heavily involved, it is their right too. If one group likes blues, another likes hula, another likes Afrocelt, another likes Robert Burns and nothing else..let them take over specific functions on specific nights featuring those types of music. Don't try to be all things to all people. mg


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Hamish
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 02:34 PM

Yep - as per the 2005 thread, try here: myweb.tiscali.co.uk/lombardy/startingafolkclub/index.htm

Enjoy!

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 05:50 AM

1 Make sure you do what it says on the label so the punters know what to expect and will turn up every time - as the man said "Don't try to be all things to all people."
2 A club is only as good as its residents/regular singers - don't rely on guests otherwise it isn't a club, it's a concert.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 07:02 AM

I am ambivalent about being a Dictator , or having a committee - the committe lightens the load, and SOME assistance is mandatory - You CANT Be MC , AND sit at the door taking money
A GOOD Committee , where everyone knows what they are supposed to do AND does it without a reminder every ten minutes is good - A Committee that only want to 'Be On The Committe' is worse than useless .
If its IN the Univesity , parking shouldnt be a problem , and a decent bar is always useful . I personally would rather NOT use P A in a Club , but some artists DO NEED IT _ Mike Silver does an excellent job using effects on his guitar and DOES appreciate Sound levels .
And the VERY best of luck !


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 08:39 AM

If it is a music/singers club
1) start at the appointed hour every time, if there are only a few people in - be the brave one - start. Or people will poke their heads in, hear nothing and assume nothing happens - believe me.
2) smile
3) include everyone, those that don't sing/play talk to them in the break. Particularly new faces.
4) make sure there is someone to run the nights that you can't be there and tell them rule 1 - 4.
5) make it clear if you only run during term time etc.

If you are paying guest performers - there is a lot more to it and the same rules above will get you started. But contact with the guest during the week before to check all is as you expected would save any embarrassment and give you time to deal with eventualities/uncertainties like arrival time and picking-up from the station or navigation instructions etc.

Oh and use your free publicity channels, like posters, students union (flyers work - hand them out personally) , local radio, newspapers, TIC and any websites like mine I may have a link to your area (certainly Scotland).

And come back here and tell us how it is going.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,MtheGM
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 09:37 AM

I would, from my experience of running the Sawston [Cambridgeshire] FC 40 years ago, strongly endorse Mr Red's v valuable point 1 above - & go even further: I always started singing sharp at the appointed time even if nobody had yet turned up & I was just singing to myself & the girl waiting to take the money on the door. Then, when anyone did appear, they would come in & not assume the event was off & go away again, as might well have happened if all they had encountered was silence.

Another piece of advice: pay your guest the agreed amount when he/she arrives - have it ready for them in an envelope & give it to them upfront. Don't ever do what some iniquitous clubs tried on with me & say: 'Sorry, disappointing evening, will you just work for your exes?' - to which my answer was always, 'No, I didn't come all this way for nothing; the attendance at your club is not my problem'. It is a matter of honour and probity to pay what has been agreed.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 11:45 AM

When I started running the old BBC Folk Club (Clanfolk) around 1969, I made on huge error - being very new to it all and not playing professionally myself - but I only made it once.

When the guests had finished the evening, I came forward with the club cheque book to pay them. Wrong! They expected cash, and I didn't have cash. Luckily the pub landlord, Danny, put his hand in his back pocket and gave me the cash to pay the act - and I wrote HIM a cheque. Red faced saved, but a lesson leaned.

Circumstances may be different depending on how you do the booking. If you go through an agent, very often the agent pays the performer, and a cheque to the agent is the appropriate thing to do. But, over the years, most club music transactions I've seen or been involved in have involved cash. Whatever you do, make sure the artist understands what the deal is before you shake hands on the deal!


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 12:12 PM

This is all excellent, thanks.

I'm hoping for it to be a club for all kinds of folk as there's already a celtic/gaelic club at glasgow university (I got a rather snooty email off him telling me why it was best just to have that club so I told him that all cultures and countries have folk music not just scotland).

Anyway, thank you so much, I'm going to have a sort of committee (me being high Cheiffess) and then we'll be affiliating with the student unions and the representative council so we can get money, then a venue will be simple to come by.

Kosmo
x


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 02:37 PM

'No, I didn't come all this way for nothing; the attendance at your club is not my problem'
It is if you want a rebooking! performers do have some impact-their own websites (kept up to date and accurate) their own mailing lists. To assume that any poor attendance is the resposibility of the club is somewhat unreasonable. In the current financial situation, surely it is up to everyone who is involved's responsibility to do what is required to maximise audiences.
On a practical note - if Kosmo is booking anyone direct or thru' an agent - get a contract even an email confirmation is better than nothing- handshakes are for afterwards. Get it in writing. If it's a basic fee or a fee against a door % Make sure that you have the minimum amount available before the evening starts (personally I wouldn't pay before the end!)- don't assume that the door take will make up any shortfall in your accounting, because that's the day that only one person will arrive!!
By the way, have you seen your psychiatrist recently LOL
good luck
chris


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,John Hartford
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 02:46 PM

hi

Most of what I would advise has already been said here.

1.I would stress however that if you are not a singer or performer yourself you should have some RELIABLE friends who can carry the load on those nights when singers/performers are scarce.

2. You need also reliable assistance with taking entrance fees etc etc etc.

£. Go to as many other folk clubs as you can and talk to the organisers - most of them are human !!!

Good luck and let us know how you get on

cheers

John


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,MtheGM
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 03:01 PM

Chris: re your reply to my point about attendances not being my problem when offered no pay becoz of disappointing night: I know about current financial climate, and was talking about well in the past when I used to do gigs, 15-30+ years ago: before websites {if an obviously young person like you can believe there ever was such a time!} – I am now 77 and don't get around much any more! But I would still urge Kosmo to pay what has been promised as a matter of honour, and never to make a poor attendance an excuse to attempt not to do so. A club which can only afford the fee agreed if enough people have turned up on that particular evening is a club that is not being efficiently run: that sort of hand-to-mouth·ery is not efficient in any line of biznis.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 03:31 PM

When I was bookig Uxbridge , we always agreed a fee against a percentage of door ! LOTS of bums on seats . LOTS more cash for guest ! And we ran Singers and 'Cheap' locals to start with to make sure we had enough cash to pay our first Major guest even before he arrived !


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 03:46 PM

For my pen'orth, I have always believed a club runs best as a guided dictatorship. The dictator can be a couple of people but no more. If they have the right reasons for running a club in the first place then they should be the driving force. A committee is useful for emergency back up but the club sinks or swims on the personality and drive of the mc and/or the person in contact with the guest and the audience.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 05:16 PM

I think the main thing - apart from echoing all Mr Red's points - is to get a clear picture of what kind of music and what kind of performance you want to put on, and build around that picture. Think what a really good (but achievable) night would be like, and then try and make sure that the first three or four nights are just like that. The message will get out far more effectively that way, both to the actual/potential audience and to actual/potential performers, than it would from any number of posters & emails.

For example, how much of a really good evening would be traditional? 100%, 90%, 50%, 10%? How much would be singers' own material? Would you be happy if half the night was taken up with Ewan MacColl songs? Or Dylan songs? Or Radiohead songs?

Would a really good evening involve a lot of audience participation? Or would the audience be there to listen attentively and clap at the end?

Would a really good evening involve a lot of virtuosic, professional-quality performances? Or would a really good evening be one where anyone felt they could rock up and have a go? If someone introduced a song by saying they hadn't played it in public before and putting the words on a music stand, would that make it less of a good evening?

Would a series of solo performers with acoustic guitars make for a really good evening? Or not? If every single performer adopted a fake American accent to sing with, would you be pleased/displeased/indifferent?

And so on. You can see the kind of question I'm getting at, and the kind of signals that the first few nights of a new club can send out.

Good luck with it. I think that if you build it they will come: there's real suppressed demand out there for music in performance, including traditional music. But you do need to decide just what it is you're building.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 05:17 PM

{if an obviously young person like you can believe there ever was such a time!}

thank you LOL. I must admit to being a few days short of 63 I guess it's all relative. And yes I do remember the 'good old days' when everything was run on a shoestring (nay a frayed shoestring at that), I remember in my early days of running a folk club that I couldn't pay a group on the night and I promised to send the money on - which I did (my honour was involved). I got a reply that suggested that, at the time, this was promised on a lot of occasions, but rarely happened and the group were very pleased and surprised to get the money even if a bit late. Nowadays I don't book people if I haven't the cash to meet the contract.
chris


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,MtheGM
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 10:43 PM

Yes, all relative indeed , Chris. At 62 I was still doing gigs. Now, at 77. I don't seem to get invited that often! Mind you, I'm not saying I'd refuse if invited -- Where is your club? My e-addie is !


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,MtheGM
Date: 11 Aug 09 - 10:45 PM

mgmyer@keme [dot] co [dot] uk      Don't know why it aborted on last post...


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 12 Aug 09 - 09:15 PM

Thank you all so much. I've been in touch with loads of people since you lot got me started. Already knowing quite a few folk club runners it's not been too hard, my parents are fairly gregarious and I end up knowing far more people than I otherwise would.

We're hopefully going to begin in our union, but it's very biased against folk music, especially anything NON Scottish. So folk from most other cultures is apparantly out.

My mission begins! I'm so excited abouth the folk club, because hopefully I'll be able to recruit freshers! Obviously my goal is to end up with a flourishing folk club which will carry on once I'm no longer at university, but will also set me up for helping to run other clubs and get a list of people to come do gigs.

I'll keep you posted.

Kosmo

xxx


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: mg
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 12:01 AM

Even though I said otherwise..you might want to include some non-Scottish stuff, perhaps separate concerts or evenings or whatever..particularly if you are in a student union in a university if I am understanding you correctly. There are probably a number of people from other cultures who would enjoy hearing the Scottish music, but also would appreciate an opportunity to share their own..perhaps not at the same night but perhaps once a month multicultural night or something. There could also be university rules that would mandate more rather than less inclusiveness etc. mg


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 02:39 AM

It's excellent news that someone's starting up a university folk club again, and I can only hope that they will flourish. Every university had one in the 1970s, and there are far more universities now, so it could attract a lot of new young people to the music and create a really useful touring circuit.

I've long wondered how to get information about traditional music into our local universities (Sussex and Brighton) without success as there isn't an obvious central point to send fliers to either of them.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 03:42 AM

Valmai - if you send fliers to the "VP Ents" (Vice-President Entertainment) at the two universities, somone should deal with them. The UoB address will be:

VP Entertainment
Student Union
University of Brighton
Cockcroft Building
Lewes Road
Brighton BN2 4GJ

I don't know the exact UoS address offhand, but "University of Sussex, Falmer", etc., should get there.

I've not heard of any huge demand for traditional music among the UoB student fraternity, but there might well be several souls who want this stuff but don't know where to go.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 03:54 AM

Many thanks, Will. My main concern has been that any fliers may just get dumped. The best place for them to be displayed would be the students' union coffee bar, if such things still exist.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 04:16 AM

Aha! Googling on 'University of Sussex Students' Union' produced the address of Falmer House, Falmer, East Sussex BN1 9QF. The poor devils are about to be deluged with propaganda decorated with the beautiful chequered elephant of the Lewes Saturday Folk Club.

It might be helpful for other organisers to Google on their local universities and do the same thing, at least when the academic year begins in mid-September.

I remember Ents Committees from my student days. The mental image conjoured up by the name (remember this was in the 1970s) was rather different from the reality.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM

To Mg, the folk club I intend to run won't be purely scottish, I have a very hard time of convincing my lovely scottish friends that there is folk outside of scotland and ireland but I think inviting anyone to play whatever they want (so long as it's acoustic) will really work.

I've been making some mock up night formats, attempting to see which will run best, I'm doing some hotpot nights at mine for the people I already know who want to come and then we'll see how they like it if it's a success I'll carry on with what I'm doing otherwise I can adapt the plan to suit a wider load of people.

I was quite shocked to find no evidence of a Glasgow University folk Club, seeing as the heritage in Scotland for folk is amazing. But hopefully it'll catch on

xxx
kosmo


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,Rob the Roadie
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 10:09 AM

Go along to Celtic Connection The Danny Kyle Open Stage nights and you will see lots of talent on show for free. You might get the odd (???) act to perform for free at your club or at least cheap .

Give Celtic Music Radio a listen >its Glasgows community radio station for what around and about you. They may even give your club a plug!!


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Banjiman
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 11:02 AM

Mrs Banjiman went to Glasgow University, I'll ask her if there was any evidence of folky goings on back in the day.

Will oldsters be allowed to visit? We're still up there fairly often.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 11:27 AM

Establish a relationship with Tom at The Star FC, (making sure you're on a different night) to help to promote each other's nights.

People seem to find this resource all about starting a folk club useful.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 11:37 AM

I think inviting anyone to play whatever they want (so long as it's acoustic) will really work.

I think it probably will - my local FC, which has just this policy, has grown over the years from "six local performers with an average age of 40 do two in the first half and one in the second half" to "20-25 performers, about half of them below the age of 30, get one number each because there's no time for any more". Whether you want to call it a folk club if it's mostly whatever-you-feel-like is another question - if the common denominator is 'acoustic', maybe calling it an acoustic night would be simpler.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 11:48 AM

Anything acoustic works well. If its singers night, make sure you have invited three or four certs to start things off. If its a free night do a raffle for funds. pay guests in advance ( door percentage can work well) take email numbers and send invites/updates. Advertise well.be enthusisatic, friendly and inclusive. No favouritism. Go for it.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 02:35 PM

Don't forget your door crew. These are the people who greet the customers, get feedback from customers, recognise the customers.

Try and keep a regular group "front of house" who will remember who has been there before and will welcome them back.

Pay attention to what your door crew say, they have been talking to the people who provide the money.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Aug 09 - 03:46 PM

Thanks for the link, Tom.

Offtopic PS (can't PM you) - where did you get the Mary Prout story? Someone did the song at the big singaround at Saddleworth - made the hairs stand on end and the flesh creep. (And I used to live near Amroth.)


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 09:16 PM

Of course Banjiman, to affiliate we need 80% of the members to be glasgow university students, but it'd be wonderful to see ex students!!!!

The ways it's turning out we've got lots of people interested. And I'm still very set on calling it a folk club, they have an "acoustic" (mic'd up though ... and people take keyboards and electric guitars) night at the union, not a members only thing, it's a "get up if you're drunk enough" cenario.

The folk thing is so important to me, I'm big on tradition and knowing where we come from, (the song Roots by show of hands I'm sure springws to mind) and I've had such good feedback from everyone regarding roots and folk music that I doubt people will dislike it.

xxx
Kosmo


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 04:57 AM

The folk thing is so important to me

Great! But in that case do think about who's going to be on in the first two or three nights, and make sure there's a decent proportion of no-messing bona-fide trad material. The way it is for the first few nights is likely to be the way it will be in the longer term - and if on the first few nights traditional material is an oddity, or not there at all, you're not likely to draw trad performers later on.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 10:58 AM

So will it be mainly sheep shearing songs?


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: BB
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 11:54 AM

My advice would be not to book guest artists just because they're cheap - make sure that whatever you book is of good quality, and book the best you can afford. If necessary, build up funds before booking - and I agree about having enough in the bank to pay any guests that you've contracted, so that you COULD pay them even if no-one turns up.

I would also advise - and I know that not everyone agrees with this - that EVERYONE should pay on a guest night; just because they do a floor spot or MC or take the money on gthe door, they shouldn't get in free - they're still going to hear an hour and a half, or whatever, of a high-class professional performer (I would hope!).

I do wonder about Scots audiences - there seems to be a misconception that there is no such thing as English folk music - perhaps you can help to show them the error of their thoughts!

Lots of luck - the more venues for the music, the better!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,Jon Boden
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 12:21 PM

We've recently started a new club that's been going very well. It's quite a different structure so might be of interest... www.royaltraditions.co.uk

The main differences are that 1) it's in a public bar (with pre-booked seats and a hat for walk up) and 2) we put the act on first and have a session afterwards (from 10pm onwards).

(.. and we've also established a small set repertoire of songs to encourage communal singing throughout the evening.)

It does limit the types of guests you can book (i.e. nobody too quiet) and have potential issues of some audience not contributing to the hat. On the other hand you get a much less sterile atmosphere than is sometimes the case in function-room based clubs, which might help to bring in a student audience?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 07:00 AM

Sheep shearing songs? What?

I'm not going to prevent anyone from playing what the want, and I probably won't have any guests or bands on till we've a venue full time and established members as support.

Thanks jon though, that advice is really good.

xxx
Kosmo


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 07:43 AM

It would be a good idea to have somebody around who can make an impact at the Fresher's Week societies fair - most university societies pick up most of their members at the start of the year. Get something planned that will make you visible, and make sure you have enough good-looking and articulate people to run the stall for the whole time it's open. Make as much noise with a CD player and live performance as you can get away with.

The people who used to run the Folk Revolution shop off Byres Road might be worth contacting. Dunno what they're doing now, but they may have resources you can use.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 08:01 AM

I'm not going to prevent anyone from playing what the want

Wasn't suggesting you should - just that you should make sure there's a reasonable number (more than 1) of people who want to play trad stuff on the first couple of nights. Otherwise it's likely to turn into just another acoustic night.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Nick
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 01:44 PM

Not sure if McEwans are still involved with music in Scotland. When I was in Arran last they were still sponsoring sessions where they would seed a certain amount of money to the organiser and players. I don't know any further details but I got a free pint when I played as did all the other singers and musicians!

McEwans Sessions

Perhaps we could get Sam Smiths to do something similar in England (ho ho)

Agree with pretty much everything said here. We have been running something (I don't think it's a folk club) which meets every week for the last 6 years and still has the same basic principals and principles as it started with.

Clarity of vision - whatever that vision is - is the key I think because it makes it very easy for people to know what they are coming to. I rarely publicise what we do apart from word of mouth because it is usually busy enough (apart from summer when a lot of people are away when there may only be 20 or 25 people there). We operate a mixed session / singaround where we go round the room and everyone has the option to contribute or not, and people either sing alone or join in together. We have a core of local people who come most of the time (and so there are always enough to make it enjoyable) plus a large number of people who come sometimes. We have had perhaps half a dozen booked acts over time (Last Nights Fun twice, Marie Little, Jacqueline McDonald, Kieran Halpin, Hissyfit) but it is principally a place to come and join in. We are quite eclectic so you are as likely to hear traditional songs, guitar songs, fiddle tunes or even the odd poem - there are examples here but as I said it's not a folk club as such.

Up the road from us in York there is the Black Swan Folk club which was Radio 2 folk club of the year - perhaps Roland would give you some advice if you asked him, he's very approachable and been doing something right for a long time (Black Swan Folk Club )


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Nick
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 01:49 PM

I had another look at the link and realise McEwans may no longer be involved but the same idea seems to still exist in 2009.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 05:55 PM

Nick - your club sounds great! #2 is this one.

If that's what you mean by eclectic, then eclectic is good - but I think there's a big difference between 'eclectic' and 'open door'. In particular, I do think (I'll try not to keep saying this!) that trad performers won't automatically turn up, and if they don't you'll end up with an eclectic mix of everything but traditional music.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Nick
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 07:43 PM

Pip

I can only give you my own experience. The various different strands can exist and not exclude traditional song it just needs lightly managing.

If I look at the core of people who come to us there are four or five whose tastes are primarily pretty traditional (but accept other things), some instrumentalists who enjoy a range of tunes (but have enough manners to leave the unaccompanied song alone), some who will sing modern and popular guitar led songs, a Jake Thackray performer, Bob Dylan fan, the odd singer songwriter, and some of us who like a bit of everything and will sing unaccompanied/Joni Mitchell/blues/jazz/country even.

There is a definite tension sometimes if the balance tilts too far too often in favour of one group or the other but it pretty much self regulates itself. Occasionally it has needed a little intervention but pretty little. It's a fascinating example of a socially dynamic group in action - as well as being fun musically. Fundamentally it is a bunch of people who want it to continue so they make sure it works and survives.

We once had a very traditional soul come and visit who told us we were doing everything wrong - singing the wrong songs / using crib sheets / pretty much everything / probably drinking the wrong beer out of the wrong sort of mug. The sort of narrow minded wanker you don't want back and luckily he never has been. :) It's the joy of having a strong and easily understood group ethic.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 08:57 PM

Just stumbled across this thread and I admit I've only skimmed earlier comments (so apols for inevitable duplications).

First - advertise you club for a good trial run - eg. two/three months if its weekly.

Second - make sure you start at the advertised time - on the dot! (A common stupidity is to wait till 'enough people' have arrived before you you start.)

Three - you can have an excellent Club without any money changing hands (beyond a bit for folk diary advertising or a bit of leafleting which needs the odd hat collection).

Four - grab all the free advertising available - there's plenty of it - even more so around a University campus.

Five - nurture talent. The Folk Snobs have driven away 1000s of potentially decent performers from the folk scene over the years because they don't fit in some way (eg they've never been to teecha training college....). Avoid the Folk Snobs.

Best wishes

Ian Fyvie - Folk Club Organiser for nearly 30 years.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 09:20 PM

I've never come across a folk club that wasn't what it said on the tin, i.e a majority of people playing music in the traditional way. My boyfriend, his best friend, my two flatmates and myself are all huge fans of traditional msuic and we all play so there'll be us at least!

It's well under way now, and I'm doing some trial runs, we need the money so that we can organise party nights (it's terrible being a poor student during the recession ...) I'll be creating a newsletter and also making notes of the setlist so people can remember wehat they played - having turned up and been told "you played that last week!" once, and then restarted a different tune!

Thanks again. xxx

Kosmo


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 05:29 AM

I've never come across a folk club that wasn't what it said on the tin, i.e a majority of people playing music in the traditional way

I must be moving in the wrong circles! The other night at Chorlton FC I only heard one actual traditional song all night, and I was singing it.

You're obviously well organised, anyway. Sounds like it's going to be brilliant, and I hope it is.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 07:59 AM

Sounds like an excellent basis ! Shame Glasgow is such a long walk !!


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: JemmaGurney
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 08:20 AM

Hi kosmo

I don't anything about running folk clubs, but I know a bit about university folk societies, advertising in a uni environment etc - having run Sheffield University Ceilidh Society a few years back (it runs a weekly session (plus a weekly beginners music workshop) as well as ceilidhs). A long shot, I know, but if you happen to be coming down for towersey festival we could get together for a beer or two? Else, I'll try and put my thoughts together and post them when I'm not at work...

Also (kinda related) have you heard of this student festival: ivfdf It's mostly folk dance lead, but there has been a push to make the emphasis a bit more equal on the folk music side too. Next february it is in durham (so rather nearer to glasgow than exeter (where it was last feb!)

Jems


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Mo the caller
Date: 17 Aug 09 - 09:07 AM

Good luck. Sounds like you've got a good start with the 5 of you all playing, and already being friends. You'll be able to get together and plan what you each are playing on the first few nights, to give a good idea of the mix that you are hoping for.
I used to go to Nellie's in Beverley, occasionally. It was mainly a round the room club, some songs some tunes. In the interval a group of musicians pulled their seats into a circle at the front and played tunes together.All acoustic and unamplified, mostly loosely traditional but with oddities thrown in. Very talented members. And a really friendly welcoming place even to 'audience'. They also booked some good guests once or twice a month, but it's the members nights that stick in the memory.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 18 Aug 09 - 10:03 PM

I've just got back a few hours ago from the folk club in Sale that I go too, an interesting mix of music, but on the whole very well run, a nice friendly unassuming atmosphere and a quiet respectfull audience.

The room was set up in a round and I really like that, like sitting round a camp fire, but there were a few who got up to sing in the middle.

Joining in (singing/playing along) is usually welcome.

This is actually my favourite of the folk clubs I attend, and I really hope to follow the trend - obviously not copy by the letter! But something similar at any rate.

They have two people running it on a sort of rotation, and they start the night with the welcomes, and also take naems of players and what each person/band performed - for instance tonight my mum and my dad and myself all played: young billy brown/captain pugwash, seven days are in the week and harvest in (drink good ale)together, but not all in one go, we did one song to start, then when our turn came around we played again. But this all got written down for the website, which - say you heard something, really liked it, but could remember the name - it's all there for everyone to see.

Also the two people running it choose a sort of running order, i.e they say who goes next and how many tunes, the banter is fab though and everyone gets a turn, if not two - and tonight we filled every seat!

There was an interval raffle, and paying £1 on the door, this pays for the private room, which is a decent size. The people that go are old hacks from the Railway Folk club in lymm (which no longer exists and is just the lymm folk club) and some others from the cheshire area.

So we did know each other fairly well but there are many new faces, however I still find it sad that whenever I go back I'm still the youngest person there, by quite a way.

xxx
Kosmo


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,Rob the Roadie
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 01:09 PM

Oh yes almost forgot why not go to the Songwriters Festival at the Taybank Hotel, Dunkeld on Saturday Sept 5th. Several of those appearing come from near Glasgow and are certainly worth booking. The festival is free and starts at 11.00am and finishes at 11.00pm with acts doing a half hour stint. so lots to chose from.Even if you dont book anyone its a good day out!


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 10:35 AM

On repertoire - make it as eclectic as you dare, if the folk police are testing your Scottishness - try subterfuge.
Eric Bogle songs for instance. Consult the history of folk and link any to Scotland via the findings of researchers (eg Child Ballads) and you could even play tricks on the incredulous like linking "Molly Malone" to the first known publishing of that song and accreditation to a Scot in Edinburgh (search the 'Cat - it is here because I asked the question years ago). If you have a co-operative audience of uni students they will relish the game.

At the Somers (Malvern/Worcester) we had nights like that, tenuous or genuine connections to a given theme. It livens the proceedings and gives it a certain piquance.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM

you will need a good nucleus of singers and or musicians.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Kosmo
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 05:13 PM

I personally don't care what other people think so long as the people that matter (i.e the members of the folk club) enjoy themselves. Long live eclecticism!!!

xxx
Kosmo


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 06:45 PM

People enjoy themselves at a Folk Club? Shock, Horror :-)

Seriously, your attitude is spot on. Good luck to you and I hope your club is a success.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Folknacious
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 07:46 PM

Kosmo: Glasgow/ eclecticism . . . makes me wonder if you are you in touch with Alex Nielson and Trembling Bells - Alasdair Roberts connections I believe. Listen to Carbeth on their MySpace page.


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: stallion
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 03:25 AM

Try getting yourself to the Tap & Spile in York, you will not be the youngest there! Friday night "free for all" you need to be tough but you should get plenty of support!


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Subject: RE: Starting a Folk club
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 09:37 PM

On the 'sorts' of folksong, you'll never please everyone. Some people will always want mainly or exclusively traditional folk. And I've been to clubs in the distant past where virtually every performer - as well as the guest - is a singer songwriter.

I started a new folk club two and a half years ago based on my ideal club model (inevitably
it's your first club!) I invited the people who sing/play the types of folk I like AND who I thought would contribute to the sort of easy going atmosphere I sought. I advertised the club to a totally new audience - the local community by door-to-door leaflets; with a run of dates for three months at twice a month. After three meets it was obvious we could sustain a club every week - and it's run as such ever since (Brighton Cellarfolk - just got back from the latest meet - come and see us!).

I has evolved - there was a filtering process. But if you can please enough people to get the club established, it will find its own character and mix of styles people will support.

Ian Fyvie


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