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Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club

GUEST,Spleen Cringe 11 Feb 10 - 12:49 PM
mg 11 Feb 10 - 01:00 PM
Dave the Gnome 11 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM
TheSnail 11 Feb 10 - 01:35 PM
Valmai Goodyear 11 Feb 10 - 02:21 PM
Tootler 11 Feb 10 - 02:33 PM
Banjiman 11 Feb 10 - 02:41 PM
Banjiman 11 Feb 10 - 02:44 PM
jennyr 11 Feb 10 - 03:01 PM
Will Fly 11 Feb 10 - 03:30 PM
The Villan 11 Feb 10 - 03:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Feb 10 - 03:55 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 11 Feb 10 - 04:01 PM
Phil Edwards 11 Feb 10 - 04:02 PM
Phil Edwards 11 Feb 10 - 04:03 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 11 Feb 10 - 04:04 PM
The Villan 11 Feb 10 - 04:13 PM
Phil Edwards 11 Feb 10 - 04:46 PM
mg 11 Feb 10 - 05:12 PM
Spleen Cringe 11 Feb 10 - 05:17 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Feb 10 - 05:19 PM
Leadfingers 11 Feb 10 - 07:29 PM
Valmai Goodyear 12 Feb 10 - 03:01 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Feb 10 - 03:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Feb 10 - 04:06 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Feb 10 - 04:23 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Feb 10 - 04:39 AM
TheSnail 12 Feb 10 - 05:05 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Feb 10 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Baz Parkes 12 Feb 10 - 05:53 AM
Valmai Goodyear 12 Feb 10 - 06:11 AM
Flashmeister 12 Feb 10 - 06:14 AM
MikeL2 12 Feb 10 - 06:26 AM
IanC 12 Feb 10 - 06:44 AM
Vic Smith 12 Feb 10 - 07:33 AM
Phil Edwards 12 Feb 10 - 07:35 AM
The Villan 12 Feb 10 - 07:49 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 07:56 AM
Gedi 12 Feb 10 - 08:17 AM
John Routledge 12 Feb 10 - 08:28 AM
TheSnail 12 Feb 10 - 08:35 AM
Valmai Goodyear 12 Feb 10 - 08:46 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 08:59 AM
MikeL2 12 Feb 10 - 10:12 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 10 - 10:18 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Feb 10 - 10:26 AM
Dave Sutherland 12 Feb 10 - 12:31 PM
Tootler 12 Feb 10 - 01:15 PM
Spleen Cringe 12 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Mr Red 13 Feb 10 - 05:12 AM
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Subject: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 12:49 PM

I posted this on another thread, but thought as it was a response to a number of posts that were in itself thread drift, it may warrant a thread of its own.

Please understand that I'm not really interested in this descending into a trad (and in-the-style-of) vs contemporary/singer-songwriter/pop & rock covers slanging match. Or particularly a thread about the possibly variable quality of singing at some clubs.

What I'm interested in is (1) how one develops a model for a club that maintains reasonable standards (read: enjoyment & entertainment value for those who attend either regularly or casually, whether they participate or lurk) without having a policy that sets out to exclude people; and (2) How they maintain a focus on traditional songs/tunes and newer songs/tunes clearly rooted in tradition without developing all kinds of rigid and off-putting rules and prohibitions.

My original post was primarily aimed at The Snail - partly because he felt attacked for citing his club as a positive example of how things could be and partly because The Snail and his co-organisers have developed and maintained a model that maybe some of us would like to replicate elsewhere. However, I'm equally keen to hear from others who have similar positive experiences and examples to The Snail's club in Lewes. So Bryan, sorry to appear somewhat focussed on your expreience and any potential embarrassment this may cause - none intended.

One final plea: let's keep it clean & constructive, guys and gals...

Here's a slightly edited version of my original post:

The Snail is involved in a successful "traditional and written in the tradition" style club and people* are interested in how his club has managed to develope in the way it has, where others (who think they have the same or similar policies) have largely become bastions of singer-songwriting and pop/rock/singer-songwriter cover versions and also maybe have a problem with very quality when it comes to some of the singing on offer.

I believe The Snail and his co-organisers are sitting on some very important knowledge, skills and experience that many of us would benefit from, should any of you wish to share them with us. Personally, I'm interested in how:

1. You have managed to maintain a reasonably good quality of singing and a "traditional/in-the-style-of" focus, whilst at the same time having a positive and welcoming attitude to all-comers;

2. Whether the club started out with the aim of being the sort of club it became (and managed to maintain focus on this aim through thick and thin over the years) or whether it came to its current situation through a long process of trial and error and testing out different models (or indeed whether the club's success happened by other means entirely);

3. The BIG question: what specific advice you might have for club organisers and potential club organisers who wish to replicate the model your club has so successfully developed;

4. If all else fails, what do they put in the beer in Lewes that we're not getting elsewhere?(!).

I'm sure other people* are equally fascinated by how the Lewes folks have managed to make this happen and may have some supplementary questions.

PS: Sorry to put you on the spot, Bryan. If you're minded to respond, feel free to phone a friend or ask the audience...


*myself included


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: mg
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 01:00 PM

Whatever you and the others who will do the work on this, decide what you like and want to have happen. Then put it in writing, make posters, make it clear in radio announcements etc. If you want a particular style, like really old traditional, say so. Define what you want very very clearly, or else, if you want a community sing that welcomes everything, say that too. Don't just hope for the best. Be really really clear and honest and set it from the getgo. mg


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 01:32 PM

One idea I had as to how to keep a club to your own liking was to give preference to the type of material you are aiming at presenting. Say, for instance, you get someone doing a trad song in a singaround and the next person doing a cover of a contemporary song or a self penned in contemporary style. The next time round you miss the second person and give the first two. You would need to be pretty thick skinned I'm afraid and make absolutley sure that everyone knew what you were trying to achieve. Just the first thing that sprang to mind but it may help!

Good luck if you ever do it and I will turn up. If only to do 'The Bold Genadier' on the first round and Wonderwall on the second...

:D


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 01:35 PM

I think I'll restrict myself to Q.4 for the moment - Harvey's.

Off to see Jez Lowe at the Royal Oak soon which, sadly, does not have Harvey's but still seems to manage to thrive.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 02:21 PM

I'll chip in with a few thoughts as I'm on the committee of the Lewes Saturday Folk Club with Bryan and ten other people. The website does mention the sort of music we enjoy best, although we don't know whether anyone looks at that page.

Our guest performers and resident singers are largely traditional, so the tone is set without the need to say anything.

Mudcatters are probably heartily sick of me banging on about our all-day workshops, but as far as I know we were the first folk club to do them and are still the only one doing them at all systematically. We put on 15-18 a year and have done nearly 130 to date. Our tutors are all top performers and they play the club in the evening. Although by no means all of our floor spotters attend the workshops and we couldn't force them to, the existence of the workshops creates a lively atmosphere and perhaps helps us all to remember that there's a possibility of improving and developing.

As well as the workshops we run a free monthly English tunes practice session for all instruments and standards, The Lewes Favourites, and Bryan runs another one specifically for concertinas, Concertinas Anonymous.

We try to put on anyone who wants a floor spot, although not to cut into the guest's allotted time of 2 x 45 minutes. If necessary, the residents step back and let visitors have a go.

We try to create a friendly, encouraging atmosphere in which the less confident will feel relaxed: adding extra anxiety to anyone's stage fright is not the way to help them perform well. However much you practice at home, getting up in front of an audience remains daunting. It's not unlike the difference between doing a fire drill and coping with a real fire.

Most of our audience are people who do at least the occasional floor spot. This is why we find the distinction between audience, performers and organisers artificial and unhelpful.

The local folk music scene is lively and varied; see the Sussex Folk Guide. This only covers the events for which admission is charged so that there's money for advertising; there are also a lot of free sessions. This means that people can choose something that suits their personal tastes.

If our policy and activities are seen as 'dumbing-down', then I'm proud to be dumbing down.

Valmai (Lewes)

P.S. Coope Boyes & Simpson's vocal harmony workshop on 27th. February is sold out, as is their evening performance. Ben Paley's fiddle workshop on 27th. March is also sold out. We're keeping a waiting list in case of cancellations or returned tickets: email me to go on the list.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 02:33 PM

I have come to the conclusion that it is very much down to the club organiser(s). The the repertoire of the organiser is primarily traditional songs then he/she will tend to attract like minded people and this then provides a core of regulars who sing mainly traditional songs. This will then set the tone for the club and it will gradually get known as one where mainly traditional songs are sung.

This is my observation from the clubs I attend locally both those where I go regularly and those where I go or have gone occasionally.

If you can set the tone in this way, you do not really need to have any formal rules about what is expected in the club.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Banjiman
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 02:41 PM

Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club is a monthly concert club (with 2 weekend mini-festivals a year) in rural North Yorkshire with singaround AFTER the main acts and during the daytime at our mini fests. We started in November 2007 and since that date have booked (as far as I can work out) 110 acts (this includes a number of acts with multiple bookings, each booking counted seperately).

OK, first thing I had to do was work out if we are a trad club or not!

I divided the acts we have booked into 5 categories (I was feeling especially geeky tonight!) and assigned all the acts to a category. So in percentage terms we have booked:

Purely Trad 22.73% (e.g. Brian Peters/ Mawkin:Causley)

Mixed trad and trad styled 41.82 (e.g. Duncan McFarlane / Sara Grey)

Trad styled singer/ songwriter 14.55% (e.g Richard Grainger / Jez Lowe)

Tradish Jazz 0.91% (Dr Butler's Hatstand Medicine Band - they went down brilliantly!)

Other (acoustic rock/pop/ country) 1.82%

You'll have to accept my categorisations but I think this makes us a trad focussed if not purely trad club (Which as the organiser neatly fits my tastes!)

The singarounds are slightly different and harder to analyze but I would say the balance is slightly more towards singer/songwriter, both trad and contemporary in style. This is totally self selecting with no attempt to influence what people sing or play.

Our sell out nights have been provided by 1 trad act, 1 trad styled singer/ songwriter and 1 mixed trad and trad styled. Our leanest nights have been 1 contemporary singer/ songwriter (quite well known) and 1 trad act (not well known). So I'm not sure that any conclusions can be drawn from that.

Best attendances are much more to do with the profile of the act rather than style I think.

Are we succesful? I don't know..... I hope so, we get positive feedback and we are more than solvent. I guess the other question is are we a "folk club".

More later maybe, I need to read the kids a bedtime story!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Banjiman
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 02:44 PM

Oh, I missed contemporary singer/ songwriters from my breakdown-

16.36% (e.g. Roger Davies, Edwina Hayes)


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: jennyr
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 03:01 PM

I'm not involved in the organising side of things, but the most successful sessions I've been to are the ones which are very clear in all their publicity about what their aim is, and have organisers who are happy to explain loudly to anyone who asks (eg people who wander into the pub and ask what's going on) so that everyone is reminded of the 'ethos' on a regular basis. It also makes them more inclusive, to my mind, in that newcomers know more or less what's expected and can feel fairly confident about whether or not their contribution will fit the bill.

Also, they started off with the organisers inviting a core of like-minded friends to join them. If there's not enough interest to achieve that, it's a fairly clear sign that there's not a sufficient gap in the market for your proposed club.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 03:30 PM

Perhaps I might comment on the Lewes Saturday Folk Club from the perspective of an occasional floor performer there.

I should start by saying that I played in folk clubs from 1965 to around 1980, after which I started to play other kinds of music. I returned to playing in folk clubs, singarounds and sessions about 4 years ago, after 30 years or so of playing other music - principally jazz, rock'n roll and funk. Those 30 years were also spent in absorbing all types of music and, although I didn't actually frequent folk clubs, I still kept in touch with the music and played and sang it at home.

When I returned to the scene, mainly in sessions, and met up with some of the long-standing local performers, it soon became clear that the two Lewes clubs had their roots deep in traditional music. These clubs were the Thursday-night Royal Oak and the Saturday-night (then) Lewes Arms Folk Club - now the Lewes Saturday Folk club. I would say that, on balance, the Saturday Club - run by Bryan and Valmai and others - probably has more guests in the traditional mode than Vic & Tina Smith's club at the Royal Oak. But Bryan, Valmai, Vic & Tina would be the best commentators on this - not me. The point is, I was very aware of the reputations of these clubs: well-run, influential, popular - and central to the folk scene in Sussex.

Now, I'm not a purveyor of traditional English music, although I do have some songs in that genre in my repertoire. I'm extremely fond of a weird mix of music broadly from the period 1900-1930, which encompasses such stuff as music-hall, early American country music, ragtime, blues, early jazz, string bands, jug bands, etc. For that reason, and knowing the reputation of the Lewes clubs, I was very wary of going to either of them to do a floor spot. I still only go occasionally, but this has more to do with playing in a ceilidh band, and other partnerships (for money) which often makes it difficult to get there. When I've played there, whatever I've played, I've been treated very kindly and with enthusiasm, both by the organisers and the regulars in the audiences. I am very conscious, when I play at these clubs, that my material is not in the mainstream of the clubs' music - and only occasionally play the odd vulgar blues song...

The point I'm making - somewhat long-windedly - is that both clubs, through careful management, selection of guests and, in the case of the Saturday club, carefully thought-out workshops and related tunes sessions of various sorts, have a strong and well-known local reputation for a particular genre of music: broadly traditional. Any would-be performers worth their salt, and with a modicum of sense, will realise what environment they will be playing in - and adapt their performance to fit. So in a sense, the reputation becomes the style - and the style of the clubs is almost self-perpetuating.

I'm sure Valmai, Bryan and Vic will have their own opinion on all this - probably far more accurate than mine - but that's my view as an occasional performer.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 03:43 PM

Above all smile and make everybody feel welcome.

I endorse the comments by mg in the second post of this thread.

Very much like Banjiman, we have a varied set of performers and the support acts are always very good and worth listening to.

I really am not interested in what classification anybody falls under, so long as they are good.

Work hard as an organiser and make each night the best you can. Never sit back and think that you have to do nothing and people will come along, otherwise you may get stung in the arse.

Our next 3 events

This Saturday Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies with Stitherum as support - sold out 105 bodies in the room

Sunday March 7th Martyn Wyndam-Read and Iris Bishop with Rebeka Fyndlay as support 71 bodies to date

Saturday March 13th Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher
+ John Conolly & Bill Meek 75 bodies to date.

That is pretty good considering we are in the backwoods of Lincolnshire in a village of 300 people and in a village hall.

I reserve seats and trust people to turn up and pay on the door. It works great for us, but maybe not for everybody.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 03:55 PM

This heading suggested a useful neologism - "Traddishional Music", arising out of "a folk traddishion". For people who are more interested in enjoying music than in sticking it into categoiries.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:01 PM

"From: Valmai Goodyear - PM
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 02:21 PM
Our guest performers and resident singers are largely traditional, so the tone is set without the need to say anything."

"From: Tootler - PM
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 02:33 PM
The the repertoire of the organiser is primarily traditional songs then he/she will tend to attract like minded people and this then provides a core of regulars who sing mainly traditional songs."

"From: Will Fly - PM
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 03:30 PM
When I returned to the scene, ... it soon became clear that the two Lewes clubs had their roots deep in traditional music."

Seeing a theme here..


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:02 PM

If nothing else, I've now got the title for my first album - Pip Radish Sings Trad(ish).

Also, they started off with the organisers inviting a core of like-minded friends to join them.

<facepalm>


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:03 PM

Oops, that ended a bit suddenly. But yes, that is going to be the key thing, isn't it? Build it (with your like-minded mates) and they (like-minded people) will come (from further afield).


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:04 PM

I reckon a Manchester located traddishional club in the arty bit of Manchester directed at the new-wave of folk enthusiasts, could work very well at this time.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: The Villan
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:13 PM

Get Wayne Rooney there Crow Sister and you will be full every week.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:46 PM

Well, we're doing very nicely at the Beech, which is in one of the artier bits of Manchester suburbia. But I mistrust the new wave of which you speak. Elsewhere I described one new "folk" act as

pleasant enough in a close-miked, mostly-acoustic, slightly creepy way, like Nico recording demos with James Yorkston. (Or Espers. Actually quite a lot like Espers.) What it's not, of course – and never claims to be – is traditional music in any way, shape or form. It's in the genre of "Seventies pastoral folk", supposedly: it gets the 'folk' label because it sounds a bit like Vashti Bunyan, in other words.

I think any new club would have to build up a solid traddie base before throwing the doors open - otherwise 'trad-ish' could very quickly turn into "sounding a bit like someone who sounds a bit like someone who used to do some trad stuff".


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: mg
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 05:12 PM

Maybe you should throw the doors open and get everyone singing with UK version of blue books and then keep that one for everything but whatever you really really want to do...and then start the one for whatever you really want to do and refer everyone else to the first one. mg


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 05:17 PM

Yeah... just to add this thread is in no way meant to dis the Beech Singaround, which is, of course, often a thing of great splendour and (usually) great traddishness, but more about the folk club rather than singaround/session format.

As to the alt-folk world, in whose camp I have at least one foot, I can go and see that sort of music in plenty of places locally, and very good some of it is too, but not really what I'm thinking about here (though of course, alt-folk folk wanting to come along and sing traditional songs would surely be more than welcome).


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 05:19 PM

THere is no UK blue book. Or is that your point.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 07:29 PM

Spleen - You will be stitched by whatever Singers arrive in the first few weeks ! Not enough Traddish performers and you WILL be a Singer Songwriter / Contemporary covers club , UNLESS you are prepared to be ruthless about who gets to do a floor spot , no matter what your Booked Guests perform !


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 03:01 AM

The discussion here has been about singers so far, but the influence of musicians in setting the tone is very important. Both the excellent Royal Oak club in Lewes on a Thursday night and the Lewes Saturday club begin with a few sets of mainly English dance tunes for anyone with an instrument to join in.

I think this conveys the message that both clubs are primarily for traditional music. Not many singer-guitarists are interested in joining in a tunes session, at least not with their guitars; there are honorable exceptions, such as Mr. Fly.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 03:10 AM

Sorry, a misunderstanding there. By the new wave of folk enthusiasts I wasn't refering to the alt-folk/nu-folk *genre*, I meant the current wave of younger folkies with an interest in traditional music/song. By which I don't mean anything exclusive to bright young things and beautiful people, just a venue that has a bit of livliness to it where the youngerish peeps might themselves feel comfortable going.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 04:06 AM

One thing suggested to me by Jim Carrol some time ago and, much to my shame, I have not managed to do yet:-(

Run 'themed' evenings. Make sure that they are advertised well in advance and make sure the theme covers the type of music you want. How about an evening where the only songs permitted are from Roy Palmers collections? Or Cecil Sharpes! I quite fancy one where only songs that Steeleye Span have done can be performed (Excluding Rave On) and so get an idea what they would be like un-amplified. A Ewan MacColl evening may bridge the gap between trad and contempory quite well.

With enough notice, even the most hardened cover artist or self penned seeker of lost loves would be able to learn at least one or two Child balads:-) And they may start to enjoy them!

Once again - Good luck

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 04:23 AM

I think that Steeleye, under the nickname of "the Bunch" have also recorded "Willie and the Hand Jive".


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 04:39 AM

Willie and the Hand Jive

Must be a euphemism for something but just can't think what...

:D


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 05:05 AM

Jez Lowe was excellent of course.

Getting back to Spleeny's other questions,

1. I'm not really sure but I think mg and Tootler have it. We know what we want to do and do it to the best of our abilities. Tell the world that's what you are doing. "Build it and they will come."

2. I wasn't there at the start so I can't be sure but, knowing the people who were, it probably never occurred to them to make that decision. They just did what they did and that was largely traditional although the main man (now gone to that great singaround in the sky) had a liking for Paul Robeson. The one still active Founding Mother is probably the main driving force behind the welcoming attitude to all-comers. She wants everybody to share her joy in singing and joy it is; she is seventy this year and looks about fourteen when she sings.

3. More or less covered by Q.1, I think, although I don't think it's up to any club to hand out advice. All we can do is say "This is what we do and it works for us". Unfortunately, we are unlikely to get reports of what doesn't work. Remember that you are doing it for the love of it; if you stop loving it, stop doing it. I rather like mg's second post. We don't have the Blue Book problem; the divide is between Traddishionalists (like it!) and Contemporaryists (?). If your club gets taken over, get it well established then move on and leave them to it, probably followed by some disgruntled companions. The more clubs and the more varied in style and content, the better.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 05:35 AM

I suspect one important factor is to see what ever 'trad' is as a collection of things: songs, tunes, mumming, concerts, social dance, morris, sword, clogging, stories, -------- walking and making home brewed beer? Then to try to do as many as is reasonable.

Another is that most people don't want to do folkie things every week and few of us have enough songs to be interesting and fresh every week.

And, although it's obvious it isn't always attended to, these are social events where people should enjoy each others company

Cheers

L in C
Who must leave for Portugal where the weather is wetter than Manchester.

Plug, plug The Beech, Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester, Wednesday 17 Feb. Songs and a few tunes, mosstly but not exclusively traditional


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: GUEST,Baz Parkes
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 05:53 AM

There's some surprisingly pertinent ideas from the fifties revival over at the Froots forum.

It follows a request for identifying people in a photo.

Sorry, don't do likes, but it's worth seeking out for historical interest as much as anything else :-)


Baz


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 06:11 AM

Les - bang on. The social aspect is essential, for us at least. We have no stage, no microphones and no spotlights - the only special lighting effects we use are candles and the open log fire at Halloween, Christmas and Twelfth Night. This means that most of the time everyone can see everyone else and the listeners aren't hidden in a black pit. Coments from the listeners feel like conversation, not heckling.

I would say that the local folk enthusiasts have grown into a community of sorts: our interest and concern for each other goes beyond the music, and there are plenty of examples of people being given help in times of illness or other crises through that community.

Every so often we have a theme night, usually without a guest performer, when people are encouraged to bring songs and tunes on the theme. Where appropriate we make and serve food associated with it: home-made harvest loaves, Maids of Honour(May), Soul Cakes, Twelfth Cake and so on. Sometimes we ask people to reserve their songs for a theme night in advance so that, for example, we don't get three versions of Faithful Johnny at Halloween and everyone knows they'll be able to do the song or tune they've practised. Email makes this very easy.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Flashmeister
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 06:14 AM

In the session I run (around the room not floor spots) the one big comment we always get is that people do enjoy the diversity of it.
I am the only singer/songwriter (i really do dislike that moniker) there most weeks and the session is primary a folk session with the odd person doing something different, I'd say it's pretty much 80% folk on average.
Before I took it on it was run by a chap who did blugrass and all and sundry assumed it was a bluegrass session as he would bring his band down and do three songs in a row leaving the rest of us round the room shuddering under this 15 minute saturation of bluegrass every few goes. As a result attendance dropped off and folk performers were put off coming to the session as they didn't view it as a place where they could listen to, play and learn new songs or varients of songs in the folk tradition.
So, when i took the session over I made the point of going to other sessions and talking to people, making the folk contingent feel welcome, getting unaccompanied singers into the room and encouraging good chorus songs and people who had previously left the session to return.
As an acoustic singer/songwriter (urrgh) in the, i guess neo-folk, alt-folk genre (labels, labels...)it is often quite daunting performing in more trad based sessions that are 'unfriendly' to musicians like me as I feel people who are writing in the tradition but in a contemporary way are often ignored or dismissed as the generic singer/songwriter and some very good music can go unheard because of this sort of attitude. I do also perform trad songs, arrange some to my own interpretation and collaborate both musically and vocally in the old school sense of trad which I view as just as relevant and exciting to perform as anything I do in the contemporary self-penned sense, often moreso because, for want of sounding hackneyed and cliched, it is breathing a new burst of life into a song again and perpetuating that music and the history contained within it. Indeed, I often have weeks where I'm just doing trad or just doing unaccompanied singing.
My point is I feel that my session succeeds because I welcome all people, want everyone, even the listeners, to get involved in the music and the fantastic goose-bump lifting atmosphere created by a whole packed room of people doing chorus on a shanty or the like and don't make people like myself feel unwelcome because they happen to want to play a song they have written in a session. You never know, they may find some inspiration like I did in the folk music they hear and turn up next week working steadily from Child #1 upwards.

One more point (forgive the lengthy post) remember to talk to newcomers, ask their name, make sure they have an oppertunity to play and hopefully they will feel welcome enough to return to the fold.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: MikeL2
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 06:26 AM

hi

< "Get Wayne Rooney there Crow Sister and you will be full every week.">

NO NO NO....Wayne Rooney is definately NOT trad or even traddish.ot neotrad or......you get my drift...

cheers

Mikel2


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: IanC
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 06:44 AM

I was thinking that you could do worse than to follow George Fox's approach ...

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone ...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 07:33 AM

As far as the Royal Oak in Lewes is concerned, I think I'd rather show what we do rather than write what I claim that we do - so have a look at:-

Chris Foster sings "Geordie" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWtRpESIv30

Martyn Wyndham-Read sings Old Whitby Harbour at the Royal Oak, Lewes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va2HbFirCTQ

Gulls' Eye - Jez Lowe at the Royal Oak - Lewes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z82alyso41o

A Champion Life - Jez Lowe at the Royal Oak - Lewes, on Feb 11th
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-ZfACvlWlg

We'll Hunt Him Down - Jez Lowe at the Royal Oak - Lewes, on Feb. 11th
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp0OICrp7M0

Davis, Locker & Winquist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFOLsnHW__0


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 07:35 AM

Wayne Rooney is definately NOT trad or even traddish

Stanley Accrington wrote a shanty about him - does that count?

Ingerland, oh Ingerland,
Waving flags like loonies-O!
All over your house, all over your car,
Singing for Wayne Rooney-O!


Featured the line "He scored three goals against Fenerbahce", as I recall.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: The Villan
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 07:49 AM

Nice one Pip


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 07:56 AM

Indeed ~ found myself singing it to tune of Santayana/Plains·Of·Mexico ~ was that the tune intended?


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Gedi
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 08:17 AM

I think Valmai made an excellent point above regarding having a few traditional dance tunes to start off with. This is something we do at The Beech Singaround and I have to say I never really thought much about the impact it has on other people (speaking as someone who joins in the playing). I guess it must help to set the tone for the evening and its interesting that other clubs do the same thing.

Of course, as has been said before, a singaround is not the same as a Folk Club, but I reckon it could achieve the same effect in that setting.

cheers
Ged


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: John Routledge
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 08:28 AM

How about creating a singaround with variations.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 08:35 AM

The great thing about tunes at the beginning is that they get things started on time. I've seen clubs (a long time ago) slip into the trap that nobody turns up at eight so it's not fair to put a singer on to an empty room which means there is nothing going on so nobody turns up at eight.... Get a few musicians together and they'll play for their own amusement whether anybody is listening or not.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 08:46 AM

Could you elaborate on that, John Routledge?

The clips Vic has posted are very enjoyable. As well as listening to the music, look at the posters behind the performers for the forthcoming guests at the Royal Oak. It's an unbeatable list.

As well as setting the tone, join-in tunes at the start of an evening provide something to do or listen to and give non-players the chance to talk a bit if they want to.

Valmai


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 08:59 AM

One of the resident singers should start singing sharp at the opening time, even if to an empty room. I always did when I ran a folk club. Then anyone approaching the door would hear that something was happening and come in. If otoh all they find is an empty silent room, of course they will turn around and go away again. Anyhow, there was always an audience of one at least ~ the person on the door waiting to take the money!


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: MikeL2
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 10:12 AM

Hi

I agree with MtheGM on the resident(s) starting the evening at the correct time.

I took one club over from someone that had let things slip and sometimes the evenwould not start until an hour or more after the advertised time.

The first night I sang there was no-one except me and the doorman in the room. We sang together in the corner and one by one people began to drift in.

I advised during the evening that in future the music would start prompt at 7.30. At I never varied from that by more than a minute or two.

I encouraged floor singers to come early if they wanted to get a spot and from there we had no more problems with lateness.

We had many in the audience that appreciated what we were doing as many had things like baby-sitters etc and welcomed the "timetable".

Cheers

MikeL2

T


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 10:18 AM

the tradition is for friends to meet and make music. If you put the word "trad" in the title it will appear traditional. If you are snotty about singer-wrongciters and modern material they will drift away and your nights will have a truly traditional feel, and be a museum piece. If you accept modernity the proceedings will live. As Martin Carthy (fawn, fawn) said. You can do anything, anything at all to folk music, and it will live. Except ignore it!

The trad songs you sing are older than your memory, and could be far more recent than you realised, but in the traditional vein. Was Dylan trad, trad evolution, rip-off, or an originator? tick all of the above.

Chorus songs help BTW.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 10:26 AM

Surely Mr Rude Whiney is not trad but neanderthal


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 12:31 PM

We have just celebrated our 19th Birthday at Traditions at the Tiger, Long Eaton - hopefully the clue is in our title.
Should you wish to view our web site please visit www.tigerfolk.com


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 01:15 PM

From: Gedi - PM
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 08:17 AM

"Of course, as has been said before, a singaround is not the same as a Folk Club, but I reckon it could achieve the same effect in that setting."

As has been said elsewhere, folk clubs vary widely in their format from those that are almost entirely singarounds to those which are basically concert venues. Those I go to mainly are based on singarounds with periodic guest nights. My observations were based on this.


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM

Thanks for all the helpful comments on this thread... Keep 'em coming!


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Subject: RE: Review: How to Run a Successful Trad(dish) Club
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 13 Feb 10 - 05:12 AM

There is a tradition of talking to new faces. Imparting information about how to find other things in the area, generally being chatty etc.

My first foray in the recent phase, I was approached by 3 members separeately and asked if I wanted to sing. Or read poetry etc. When divorce was finally revealed to me and I had the house and my free time to use as I wished, I went straight down to the Somers FC (now in Worcester Fri, the Albion) and found a cohort of friends I never knew existed. And a few nice ladies but that is another story (and a tradition). But a hint as to the way people use these events. Don't ignore it.


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