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EFDSS and good business practice

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The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 08:36 AM
Howard Jones 24 Aug 10 - 09:18 AM
mattkeen 24 Aug 10 - 09:56 AM
Zen 24 Aug 10 - 10:00 AM
mattkeen 24 Aug 10 - 10:04 AM
The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 11:46 AM
greg stephens 24 Aug 10 - 12:00 PM
johnadams 24 Aug 10 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Aug 10 - 01:03 PM
The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 01:29 PM
The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Aug 10 - 01:41 PM
The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Aug 10 - 01:57 PM
Joe Offer 24 Aug 10 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Ralphie. 24 Aug 10 - 02:19 PM
The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Aug 10 - 04:16 PM
The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 04:30 PM
Dennis the Elder 24 Aug 10 - 05:32 PM
Howard Jones 24 Aug 10 - 05:44 PM
The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 06:07 PM
The Sandman 24 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM
Howard Jones 24 Aug 10 - 06:31 PM
Howard Jones 25 Aug 10 - 03:36 AM
mattkeen 25 Aug 10 - 04:22 AM
mattkeen 25 Aug 10 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,LDT 25 Aug 10 - 04:38 AM
Manitas_at_home 25 Aug 10 - 07:51 AM
The Sandman 25 Aug 10 - 08:06 AM
The Sandman 25 Aug 10 - 08:57 AM
George Papavgeris 25 Aug 10 - 09:16 AM
Vic Smith 25 Aug 10 - 09:18 AM
George Papavgeris 25 Aug 10 - 09:20 AM
Vic Smith 25 Aug 10 - 09:26 AM
Vic Smith 25 Aug 10 - 09:30 AM
Howard Jones 25 Aug 10 - 10:04 AM
The Sandman 25 Aug 10 - 10:04 AM
The Sandman 25 Aug 10 - 11:27 AM
Howard Jones 25 Aug 10 - 12:42 PM
The Sandman 25 Aug 10 - 01:05 PM
Howard Jones 25 Aug 10 - 01:11 PM
The Sandman 25 Aug 10 - 01:12 PM
johnadams 25 Aug 10 - 05:20 PM
Howard Jones 25 Aug 10 - 06:12 PM
johnadams 25 Aug 10 - 07:22 PM
Howard Jones 26 Aug 10 - 03:55 AM
The Sandman 26 Aug 10 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,John Fraser of Carnoustie 26 Aug 10 - 08:10 AM
Howard Jones 26 Aug 10 - 08:20 AM
johnadams 26 Aug 10 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 26 Aug 10 - 11:37 AM
The Sandman 26 Aug 10 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 26 Aug 10 - 12:31 PM
Desert Dancer 26 Aug 10 - 12:33 PM
Desert Dancer 26 Aug 10 - 12:53 PM
The Sandman 26 Aug 10 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 26 Aug 10 - 12:55 PM
The Sandman 26 Aug 10 - 01:08 PM
The Sandman 26 Aug 10 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,ecclescake 26 Aug 10 - 01:28 PM
The Sandman 26 Aug 10 - 02:43 PM
Manitas_at_home 27 Aug 10 - 06:10 AM
Mitch the Bass 27 Aug 10 - 07:18 AM
Bloke from Poole 27 Aug 10 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,LDT 27 Aug 10 - 08:15 AM
Desert Dancer 27 Aug 10 - 10:57 AM
Vic Smith 27 Aug 10 - 10:58 AM
Desert Dancer 27 Aug 10 - 11:14 AM
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Subject: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 08:36 AM

There is a successful organisation[ in a business sense] in Ireland,called Comhaltas.
Comhaltas raise a lot of money through charging competitors, to enter competitions, they also run examinations that provide the organisation with revenue, they also provide tuition on an international basis, and a national basis in England, They organise fleadhs[ festivals]on a regional and national basis, these Fleadhs provide money for Comhaltas, and give the local econonomy a major boost, of course the spin off of the fleadhs particularly the national fleadh, are the thousands of musicians who congregate and share music., all of whom spend money in the fleadh town.
it has been stated that EFDSS do not receive the same amount of funding and that is a valid point.
Comhaltas are clearly an organisation that is run in a business like manner[raisng revenue is a priority], I understand there is much opposition to EFDSS being run in the same business like way as Comhaltas, and to some extent I agree That competitions have a down side.,there appears to be much improvement over the last 5 years at Cecil Sharp house,
however, is not a successful business model such as Comhaltas worth studying, to see if any of its ideas can be used by the EFDSS. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 09:18 AM

There's more to running an organisation than simply raising revenue, and for a non-profit organisation it may not be a priority. What is important is that an organisation makes good use of its resources, accounts for them correctly and follows good business practice. I have simply no idea how good EFDSS is at any of these.

I can't see a need for EFDSS to organise festivals, there are already plenty of festivals throughout the country and throughout the year. Festivals demand a lot of time and effort, represent a massive financial risk, and I suspect most are not hugely profitable. Any profits probably need to be ploughed back into the next year's festival. I'd be very surprised if there would be much surplus for EFDSS to cream off.

I'm not aware of much interest in competitions on the scale that CCE organises, although the occasional competition can be fun.

I the EFDSS wants to boost its revenue it could do more to engage with people active in folk world and encourage them to join. I've been active in folk music for 40 years - I joined EFDSS in the 1970s but let it lapse after a few years because, frankly, I couldn't see the point of it. Out of the people I know, some are members but many are not.

I'm told it has reinvented itself, and there is clearly now more emphasis on song, but I'm still struggling to discover from its website what it actually does. Most of its activities seem to be centred around C# House and it doesn't appear to be doing much in the regions - or if it is, it isn't communicating it very well.

I would expect EFDSS to do more to support grass-roots activities throughout the country. Perhaps not financial support (although that would be welcome - just what are they doing with that Arts Council grant?) but support in terms of guidance, for example on issues such as insurance, health and safety, PRS and child protection.

Until the new government scrapped it (although I think it is actually under review) the proposed Vetting and Barring Scheme might have required anyone performing on school premises to be registered. Was there any mention of this on the EFDSS website? Not even after I informed them of the outcome of my own discussions with the department involved (they agreed that a PTA event would not require registration - but only after some persuasion).

The EFDSS should be a source of information about events, but there are very few on its website. Why doesn't it provide a service like Webfeet does for e-ceilidh events? There's not even a link to it.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: mattkeen
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 09:56 AM

THIS IS WHAT IS DOES:
The English's Folk Dance and Song Society exists to raise the national and international profile of the folk arts in England. It is the custodian of our heritage, protecting and developing our rich and diverse traditions and ever-evolving culture. For nearly a century the English Folk Dance and Song Society has been preserving and disseminating our folk heritage.

The Society works to promote the best of the folk arts in a range of mediums including dance, music, song, film, exhibitions, publications and our library collections; engage new generations with the folk arts through workshops, classes and study, and to ensure that the folk arts are a fundamental part of the cultural life of the UK.
Mission Statement

The English Folk Dance and Song Society will develop its resources, namely the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, its professional staff and its members, to:

    * maintain itself as a centre of excellence for the study, practice and dissemination of traditional English folk song, dance and music;
    * provide national and local outreach services that enable and increase access;
    * celebrate diversity and promote equality
THIS IS HOW IT DOES IT:
EFDSS Education runs educational and participatory arts projects, classes, workshops, seminars and other events, for children, young people and adults of all ages and backgrounds.

Drawing from the diverse traditional and folk arts of England and the British Isles, our work encompasses:
* Song * Music * Dance * Singing Games * Storytelling * Drama * Traditions * Visual Arts * and more *

We work in schools and colleges, and informal community settings in London and other parts of England. We also support the continuing professional development of, and exchange between, artists and educators from folk and other arts backgrounds, and provide INSET for teachers and other professional staff.

All EFDSS educational activities are informed by close work with the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML), England’s premier folk arts library and archive.

EFDSS Education works in partnership with a range of organisations fostering links with contemporary, classical, urban and world art forms, as well as across folk traditions, and within other related spheres such as education, sport and health
English Dance & Song is the longest-established magazine devoted to folk music, dance and song in the country. First published in 1936, it has appeared at least four times a year ever since.

English Dance & Song exists to interest, inform and stimulate the membership of the EFDSS, as well as the wider folk music and dance community.

English Dance & Song aims to publish contributions of the highest quality.

The range of interests include traditional song, traditional dance (social, display, ceremonial), traditional music, custom and children's games. The geographical spread is not confined to England, but may also include Scotland, Wales and Ireland; as well as the USA, and other areas of the world which may be appropriate

OBVIOUSLY PLUS THE VWML
oh and the shop.............. and loads of other stuff I haven't got time to itemise inc the activities and concerts and dances at Cecil # Hse itself

Dick - you amaze me


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Zen
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 10:00 AM

Comhaltas itself is not without internal problems and faction fighting. See several previous threads on the organisation.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: mattkeen
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 10:04 AM

Dick

I work in charity best practice development, & grant giving and was a Director of a national music charity and, take it from me, you know nothing about professional practice for music charities. You seem to think that transferring specific activities of one organisation to another is something to do with best practice and being professional. Actually its more to do with being dull, unimaginative and duplicating services


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 11:46 AM

Howard,
as you well know EFDSS used to run festivals, now they dont but other people do and do it PROFITABLY,WHY should EFDSS not run festivals and make money out of them.
MattKeen,you may think it Dull and unimaginative, but Comhaltas makes money out of it.,therfore it is good business practice.
I would suggest you visit the national fleadh sometime it is far from dull and unimaginative ,it is in fact alive with hunrerds of musicians making very good music.
Comhaltas[ not the EFDSS] provide musical tuition,.
quote from Comhaltas website[Classes]

We offer hundreds of classes a week in a variety of traditional instruments, singing and dance. These classes are offered on a term-by-term basis by the local branches of Comhaltas — you might want to find your local branch. Many branches offer instrument rentals or loans if you are just starting out, especially if you want to learn a particularly expensive instrument such as the Uillean Pipes or Harp.
Comhaltas have branches , In the following places glasgow area[3],st albans,bradford ,tyneside, newport wales,liverpool leeds, w london bedford, e london, south luton, preston, manchester, bolton, leicester, s birmingham, leamington spa, coventry.
the one area not well covered is south of london and the south west.
   EFDSS, have no branches, why?

however EFDSS dont receive the same funding, so clearly the areas to concentrate on are those not covered by comhaltas, south of london and south west.
Matt, I do have considerable business experience.
furthermore I am not impressed by your qualifications, running a professional music charity does not require business acumen, it proves you know how to administrate , and probably illustrates that you have a knowledge of how   the grant system is best utilised, that is not the same thing as knowing how to run asuccesful private enterprise.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 12:00 PM

What exactly does "best practice" mean? In my experience, it is used by people to mean "I know how to do this better than you do". Also, in my experience, this is not invariably true.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: johnadams
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 12:52 PM

Howard Jones

I can't see a need for EFDSS to organise festivals, there are already plenty of festivals throughout the country and throughout the year.

The one exception to that might be the revival of 'The National' which ran into problems due to loss of a suitable venue. It would take some money though - and Dick's touching faith that festivals make money is an easy faith to hold if you've never tried running one, especially from a standing start.

The EFDSS should be a source of information about events, but there are very few on its website. Why doesn't it provide a service like Webfeet does for e-ceilidh events? There's not even a link to it.

As an EFDSS volunteer and associate I see a few moves in this direction. The web site revamping is an ongoing operation and there are moves towards an online directory although I understand that the funding didn't come through for that development. It's early days yet and EFDSS seem to be planning carefully and choosing things which are sustainable within their present and projected resources.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 01:03 PM

'What exactly does "best practice" mean?'

I don't know either but Comhaltas wouldn't be the first to come to mind as an example of it.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 01:29 PM

imo,
EFDSS should have one national festival acting as a flagship, and a place for recruiting new members[ this is what used to happen at Sidmouth when EFDSS used to run it]
please tell me how the festivals that EFDSS used to run, whitby, chippenham ,sidmouth,[spring to mind] now survive if they dont make even a small profit, then lets look at some other festivals that have run for years[saltburn, warwick,bromyard,]they would not be still running if they were loss makers., so lets cut this claptrap about festivals being loss makers ,they are only loss makers if they are run by people with no business acumen.
number one mistake that EFDSS made was the dissolution of its branches, this needs to be rectified[imo] as soon as possible, if you cut off all the branches of a tree it will not flourish, that is precisely what EFDSS did when they abdicated from having branches.
there is no denying that Comhaltas with its system of branches, examinations, tuition, competitions and fleadhs brings in massive revenue, and at this stage EFDSS needs revenue, it has got to be run in a business like way, it cannot rely entirely on handouts.
I have massive reservations about the competition system, but it is financially successful, and its spin off is that it does bring many musicians together, and boosts the local economy.
finally, John talks about running a festival from a standing start, that never deterred EFDSS before, they must have started the original Sidmouth festival with help from volunteers,
heres an idea ,if they ever start a festival again , let every EFDSS member in for half price, some of them might chuck their entrance fee back to EFDSS if they care about the Society.I know I would, furthermore if EFDSS start a festival again, even if it is only a one day festival, I promise I will join.
in fact a one day festival might well be the sensible way to start.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 01:36 PM

Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Peter Laban - PM
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 01:03 PM

'What exactly does "best practice" mean?'

I don't know either but Comhaltas wouldn't be the first to come to mind as an example of it.
well I heard that the national fleadh was extremely well organised this year, it was in Cavan, Martin O Donoghue was involved andIhave been told he did a good job.
Comhaltas for all their faults[ Ididnt agree with the expulsion of the clontarf branch] are, as regards raising revenue business like, can you prove otherwise PETER lABAN, or are you talking out of your arse in your usual fashion.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 01:41 PM

Dick, you're beyond unpleasant. And you have a strong tendency to ascribe your own faults to others.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 01:47 PM

ok PeTER, back up youtr statement with fact,
yes, and the feeling is mutual I find you beyond unpleasant.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 01:57 PM

Well, that's your prerogative.

I'd appreciate it though if you stop jumping at me on this site and start shouting abuse at me and raving like a lunatic.

Probably too much to ask though.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 02:13 PM

OK, drop the animosity.
Accusing someone of "talking out of his arse," does not constitute civil or intelligent conversation.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Ralphie.
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 02:19 PM

Peter. I'm with you.
Dick Miles has nothing to do with the society. He lives in Ireland. I treat his opinions with the contempt they deserve.
His opinions on the EFDSS have just about as much relevance as mine would have to the EFDSS (Estonian Folk Dance And Song Society)
Dick. Stay in Ireland and carry on bitching about Irish music.
You left England many years ago. Your opinions are worth nothing. Please keep them to yourself.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 03:36 PM

I am not andhave not been bitching about Irish music, I asked Peter, to back up his statement about Comhaltas with fact.
I doubt if he can
Ralphie, I regularly play music in England, in fact I was playing at clubs in England, march 18 /march 19, april 12 13 15, june 7 11 12 and at Scarborough sea fest in july, and I will be playing at Tenterden festival sept 30 oct 1st,
since when have opinions only been of value because someone is resident in the UK.
Peter Laban is not resident in the UK, in fact like me he lives in Ireland, but you say you agree with his opinions ,"Peter I am with you" yet by your logic his opinions should be valueless because he lives in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 04:16 PM

Do you really think approaching people like you do is conductive to continuation of a discussion Dick?

I am out of here.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 04:30 PM

Peter,conducive not conductive
please,prove your point with facts, or dont make comments that you cant back up.,clearly you cant.
you are clearly using my phraseology"talking through etc" as an excuse to evade the question.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 05:32 PM

Not quite sure if this is allowed in this thread, but I would like to say something constructive. I have had cause today to contact EFDSS for the first time. I received an answer from Verity Flecknell, Society & Marketing Administrator regarding a quiery regarding the music of Keith Marsden and received a quick, helpful and efficient answer.
I am not a member, but am certainly considering joining, is this not a good way of raising funds.
Perhaps positive comment and a recruitment drive would be a good way of benefiting all, or is my opinion a little simplistic?
Please follow the advice of Joe Offer, I bruise easily.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 05:44 PM

Dick, firstly do we need any more festivals? There are already more than you can shake a stick at, but some high-profile festivals have had to be cancelled this year. It doesn't appear to be a good time to be getting into the festival business.

Secondly, the festivals you mention succeed because they are run by groups of committed and hard-working volunteers, who have the local contacts to make it work and obtain local sponsorship. I'm not clear what you think EFDSS could bring to the party.

Thirdly, I very much doubt if any of these festivals are massive money-spinners. The financial risks are large, and the benefits small. That's not a "business-like" investment.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 06:07 PM

if EFDSS were to go back in to the festival business[ which they should never have abandoned] The sensible business approach, is as I suggested earlier is to do it by degrees.
start one, one day or possibly two day festival, circulate all their members and offer reductions for members, keep expenses to a minimium,
organise lots of singarounds, and avoid expensive superstar acts[perhaps just have one for a main concert]and one expensive ceilidh band.
I am sure many dance bands, and morris sides would volunteer and many of the singers who are already involved in the society would give their services for nothing.
I certainly would come from Ireland for nothing, apart from accomodation and i dont mean an expensive hotel, I mean a bed and a breakfast in the morning.
this could act as the flagship for the society, but just keep it to one festival, until it has been proven for a number of years.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 06:11 PM

the difference between the EFDSS festival and other festivals would be that it is a specific fund raiser for the EFDSS, this would make it unique.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 06:31 PM

Mattkeen, you quote the EFDSS's objectives, but what I'd like to know is what it's actually doing to achieve them.

Can we take it as read that the VWL is a Good Thing? It was discussed at length only recently, and I'd prefer to focus on EFDSS's other activities.

It's right and proper that EFDSS makes full use of C# House to put on events and courses. However these are of interest only to a small minority who live in reach of Camden Town. The same goes for the shop (I assume you're talking about a physical shop - the online shop doesn't seem to offer much which isn't available from other specialist retailers). What is it doing for the rest of the country? Until it spreads its activities wider, it will find it hard to shake off its image as Camden Town Folk Club, and hard to attract more members.

Many of its reported activities seem to be concerned with establishing links with the contemporary and community dance world. Interesting no doubt, educational certainly, and possibly helpful in bringing folk music into the arts establishment which may lead to further funding. I'm sure such work has its place. However I struggle to see much relevance to the grass-roots activities which most folk enthusiasts are involved in on a day to day basis.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 03:36 AM

Dick, The problem with a low-key festival without top-name (and therefore expensive) guests is that they attract fewer people and can charge less. The financial risk may also be less, but it would still demand an investment of time and resources, probably including paid staff time. Is that a good use of the Society's resources, in return for what would probably be a fairly small profit?

You might get some big-name performers willing to donate their services to a one-off event, but you appear to be arguing for the Society to get back into organising multiple festivals on a long-term basis.

Besides, is raising revenue the main issue? Of course, additional funds are always welcome, but according to the January 2010 Board Minutes the "EFDSS had a healthy cash position in line with budget". To me, the more interesting question is what its doing with the resources it already has, which include a substantial grant from the Arts Council.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: mattkeen
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 04:22 AM

Online shop


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: mattkeen
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 04:28 AM

I thought the charity experience might be relevant Dick as the EFDSS is a charity!
But there you go, silly me


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 04:38 AM

Sorry to interrupt your argument. I'll probably get ignored but wanted to say something....practical.

For me it take a rather expensive train journey to get to Csharp house plus I work weekdays and I don't fancy travelling late in the evening in london on my own.
I did try going to a gig there (coz I desperately wanted to see an act on but very nearly missed the last train home coz of the time it took to get across london).
So I'd love it if they did some saturday afternoon gigs or more all day events.

Oh and some Melodeon/concertina workshops would be nice. ;)

Kind Regards,
a 'young' person


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 07:51 AM

Dick,

Does best practice include the 'Gay marriage' and 'Battle of Clontarf' scandals discussed in earlier threads? I'm pretty sure that EFDSS shouldn't be emulating Comhaltas here.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 08:06 AM

Howard, I suggested that EFDSS tried running one festival again, this would be the way[imo] to begin.
possibly a one day festival, possibly two, I disagree with you about a low key festival not appealing.
if it was marketed as a fundraiser for EFDSS, I guess 80 percent of members would attend, then try and appeal to dancers as well as singers, and then to those singers who like to participate in singarounds, with perhaps one major concert, plus all day workshops.
there are a number of towns that have good track records of hosting festivals and have suitable infrastructure,some of these were originally EFDSS festivals and might be worth considering at a different time of year.
Whitby,Norwich[UEA]? , Broadstairs, Lancaster[ Formerly Maritime festival] the former Four Fools Venue, all have suitable venues, and some of those have schools which might be available during holiday time[easter, half term or summer holidays.
but there are many other possible venues other than those I have mentioned , Which already have a festival and might be happy to accomodate a festival at Easter or some other quiet[festival wise] time , there only seems to be one[gosport] festival at easter at the present time .


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 08:57 AM

no, manitas, it does not .
furthermore o murchu[gay marriages] was speaking in a private capacity as a TD not in his role of DIRECTOR GENERAL of comhaltas, quite unfair AND INAPPROPRIATE to drag in his opinions, on a matter unrelated to COMHALTAS.
Best practice is providing international music tuition, running festivals, having branches, providing workshops, providing seisuins in the winter and summer, loaning out instruments, running music examinations , a lot of the things that the EFDSS used to do, but now do not.
EFDSS do not have branches ,they do not run festivals they do not run competitions[apart from one songwriting competition]they do n0t run musical exams, THEY DO NOT PROVIDE National TUITION, Comhaltas does all these things


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 09:16 AM

Dick, I am not so sure about your suggestion that EFDSS try running a festival again. First, I would question your guess that 80% of members would attend, as there are a number of factors involved in deciding whether to go to a festival or not: time of year in combination with own holiday and other plans / cost / one's own opinion of the advertised lineup / plus some people simply don't like going to festivals, preferring smaller events, sessions etc.

Second, the organisation of a festival requires a number of non-musical / non-folk-related skills to do with organisation, management of artists and stewards and punters, security, health & safety, financial, promotional etc, most of which may well not exist within the EFDSS today - there is no reason why they should.

Third, most of the festivals I know are running pretty much hand-to-mouth and so the idea would be very risky as a fundraiser. Some of the larger festivals might break even or better (I personally doubt it), but small-to-midsize ones are certainly suffering. Brampton Live had to be cancelled this year, Wheaton-Aston are no more, Banbury was in the red for a period, even Sidmouth had to draw in its horns a few years back.

If the EFDSS wanted some involvement with the festival world, it should be for reasons other than fundraising, and it would probably best done through sponsorship (general or a specific concert), or maintaining a "club tent" as happens in other countries (thinking of Australia here) and so on.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 09:18 AM

One thing is certain.... Complaining about the policy of the EFDSS on Mudcat will not make one iota of difference. To influence that organisation join would need to:
*


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 09:20 AM

You "read" like Obi Wan Kenobi in your last sentence, Vic! :-)


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 09:26 AM

One thing is certain.... Complaining about the policies and activities of the EFDSS on Mudcat will not make one iota of difference. To influence that organisation, you would need to:-
* Join it
* Contact those in authority at the EFDSS to make your opinions known and to justify those opinions
* Become an active participant in their activities.
* ... And when your activities becomes noticed, put yourself up for election for a position on their board in the hope that you will be elected.

Then you can start to promulgate your ideas and have a chance of influencing things there.
Everything else, I'm afraid, is just so much hot air.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 09:30 AM

George said

"You "read" like Obi Wan Kenobi in your last sentence, Vic! :-) "


I'd like to put it down as a pause for thought, but actually it was a slip of the finger!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 10:04 AM

Dick, I don't think those are examples of "best practice". Best practice is not so much what you do as how you do it.

I agree these are all things EFDSS could do. Whether they should is another matter. Whether they could is questionable. Comhaltas works in a very different environment where there is considerably more interest in traditional culture than there is in England, and is funded accordingly.

The question is, what could EFDSS be doing to improve folk music in England? In my view, with its national remit it should be doing those things which other organisations and individuals are unable to do.

Festivals: leaving aside the separate question of whether a festival would be a good fundraiser, there's no shortage of festivals, so there's no need for the EFDSS to step in.

Sessions: these are thriving in most areas, probably more so than folk clubs. Again, no need for the EFDSS.

Tuition, competitions, workshops and instrument hire would probably depend on having local branches, possibly with their own premises, to run them. Perhaps that would be a good thing, but does the EFDSS have the resources to run a branch network again? I thought you had been rather critical in the past of the standardisation imposed by Comhaltas' regime of tuition and competition, so I am puzzled that you are advocating these so strongly. Perhaps what EFDSS could do is provide a register of those individuals and organisations who do provide tuition.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 10:04 AM

good points Vic, but even if i was elected I doubt I would be able to do a good job, mainly because of my distant geographical location.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 11:27 AM

i am only advocating them strongly because it is a good way of raising revenue, therefore it is good business sense, i do have reservations about competitions and homeogeonisation of style.
tuition can be handled differently from the comhaltas model, but can still be useful.
examinations raise revenue, and they can be handled differently, by excluding marks for style.
styles are something people shouldbe exposed to through listening ,perhapsas part of tuition then they should be allowed to make up their own minds, how they wish to play., not be encouraged to play a certain way through a biased marking system


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 12:42 PM

There are two sides to a business model: revenue and cost. You keep focussing on revenue but ignore the cost side. How much would it cost to set up the infrastructure to provide tuition, hold examinations and run competitions on a nationwide basis?

It is not good business sense to invest resources in activities which will not generate a good return. Ideally, the return should not just be financial but should advance the objectives of the organisation.

Even if they could be run on a cost-effective basis, what would the musical benefits be? You seem to be putting these ideas forwards as fundraising exercises for the EFDSS rather because they would benefit folk music. You admit to having reservations about them from a musical perspective.

I'm sure the EFDSS could do with more money, but it is apparently not in financial difficulties. Wouldn't it be more helpful to focus on what it could do to promote its objectives?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 01:05 PM

Howard, the benefits, would be this.
1. running a one day festival, publicity and revenue for EFDSS, Plus an opportunity to recruit new members, EFDSS used to use Sidmouth as an opportunity to recruit new members[ do you not remember?]
2 . musical benefits, many more people playing the music, standards of competence rising considerably[ this has been the case in Ireland as a result of Comhaltas methods]
The EFDSS may not be in financial difficulties at the moment ,it still needs every penny it can get and cannot rely upon handouts for ever, it needs to expand its library[which it cannot do in its present situation] this will require additional money either to purchase a property near to its existing one or somewhere else, that only one reason why the EFDSS needs every good business role model it can find.
the objectives of the society are to promote and encourage folk song and dance, I believe having one festival as a flagship for EFDSS would promote their objectives.
tell me where would we be now if EFDSS hadnt started running Sidmouth in 1955 and which they managed to do for 33 years
the EFDSS also suffers at the moment from being seen as london centric[which it is]and this needs to be rectified


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 01:11 PM

Vic, I have some reservations about the ethics of joining an organisation with the intention of changing it from what it is into something I would like it to be. I would rather join an organisation which, in broad terms, already matches my values and provides me with what I require. Otherwise, I am reminded of those people who move to the country and then try to stop the bells ringing and the cocks crowing.

I wonder what the Society intends to do to make more attractive to all those people active in the folk world who aren't currently members. Perhaps it should run a survey to discover how it is perceived and what people would like to see it do. It can then (if it wishes) make the changes from within.

As for becoming an active participant in its activities, since these all appear to revolve around C# House, how can someone do that if they don't live within convenient reach of London?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 01:12 PM

the first Sidmouth festival was a FOLK dance festival, that might be another option, start an EFDSS festival, that is initially a Folk dance festival, and use the previous development of Sidmouth[ which later included song and crafts] as a role model, if the first year is successful.
nothing ventured nothing gained.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: johnadams
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 05:20 PM

Howard said:

I wonder what the Society intends to do to make more attractive to all those people active in the folk world who aren't currently members. Perhaps it should run a survey to discover how it is perceived and what people would like to see it do. It can then (if it wishes) make the changes from within.

The recently departed and much discussed Nick Hallam did just that and you obviously missed it. I don't know how widely it travelled but I heard that the response was enough to be helpful.

I'm very much in agreement with your views about the society connecting with the grass roots and until recently there were some very encouraging signs, mostly from he who may not be discussed.

As to changing the society from within into something one would like it to be, that's exactly what I tried to do in the decade I spent on the council. Reasons?

a) There was no other organisation which was anywhere near what I thought should be supporting the folk arts except perhaps Folk Arts England and I didn't think that they were headed in quite the right direction, having quite a strong commercial side but no academic dimension and no publishing.

b) It had a library, a journal, a stagnant but potentially good publishing house and was vaguely perceived amongst the arts hierarchy, including the DCMS, that it was a lead body for folk academia (even though they never thought of funding it).

c) It had a history (somewhat chequered in recent decades) which could be built on.

I'm a society supporter but I still have some concerns about the way things are being organised. Yes, C#H needs to be a thriving centre and a showcase, especially for the young folk acts, but in a way that makes it something more than a North London Folk Arts Centre. I can't get there much myself, living in West Yorkshire, but then I can't get into the West End much or to the National Theatre, etc.

There does need to be a regional dimension. Dick keeps going on about branches and although he's not wrong, it's too late now. There'll be no EFDSS branch in our neck of the woods because we've done everything needed already with our own Ryburn 3 Step. Nick Hallam had some great ideas but he's gone so we must wait and see what, if anything, wings its way from the House in the near future.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 06:12 PM

Johnny, I missed the survey. Where was it publicised? Still, at least it's a step in the right direction.

My impression of EFDSS from nearly 200 miles away is that it is doing for London what Ryburn 3 Step is doing in Yorkshire, and what other organisations such as East Anglian Music Trust are doing their own regions. Which would be fine, except that EFDSS is supposed to be the national body.

I would go further and say that the regional organisations have stepped into the shoes I would have expected EFDSS to fill. The problem is that not all parts of the country have such an organisation, and the scope of their activities, their resources and perhaps their skills are very variable.

I agree that EFDSS is the organisation best placed to be taken seriously as the national representative of folk arts. I really do wish it well, which is why I participate in discussion like these. I would like to see it doing more (actually, doing anything would be a start) to support the activities I'm involved in.

Even if I were inclined to join, how could I participate when everything seems to be centred on C# House?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: johnadams
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 07:22 PM

Howard wrote:

Johnny, I missed the survey. Where was it publicised? Still, at least it's a step in the right direction.

It will be if the info is used. With the departure of NH I'm not sure who is going to pick up the baton.

My impression of EFDSS from nearly 200 miles away is that it is doing for London what Ryburn 3 Step is doing in Yorkshire, and what other organisations such as East Anglian Music Trust are doing their own regions. Which would be fine, except that EFDSS is supposed to be the national body.

I would go further and say that the regional organisations have stepped into the shoes I would have expected EFDSS to fill. The problem is that not all parts of the country have such an organisation, and the scope of their activities, their resources and perhaps their skills are very variable.


For the EFDSS to do what EATMT or R3S or WREN etc. are doing while based in London would be very costly and not very efficient. What would you expect the society to do regionally and how would they be expected to fund it? Given that there are no longer any branches they have to find another role in regional support. Perhaps identifying best practice and helping areas who have no development group would be a way forward, but it needs funding - either by ACE funding or by membership subs.

I agree that EFDSS is the organisation best placed to be taken seriously as the national representative of folk arts. I really do wish it well, which is why I participate in discussion like these. I would like to see it doing more (actually, doing anything would be a start) to support the activities I'm involved in.

I think "doing anything" is a bit harsh. Those of us who have been paying our subs, putting in volunteer hours, etc. have kept an important archive and library resource supported and, more importantly, in this country. I know of one American academic who reputedly had a blank institutional cheque in his possession just waiting to buy up the VWML and ship it to America. We have also underwritten the publishing of a number of books of songs, tunes, research and educational material. There's been a thriving education department. Although I wasn't hugely impressed with its approach during my tenure, it was there and seems to be improving under the new education director (thanks to a bit of funding at last!).

Even if I were inclined to join, how could I participate when everything seems to be centred on C# House?

Aren't you looking only at the events? It would be strange if there were no events at the House but the activities of the society are wider than just events. I live farther than you from Camden Town but I'm still contributing in small ways to the work of the society and seeing it get stronger. I'm not uncritical of the society but I'm not expecting miracles or instant gratification - just hoping that it will all come together in good time. I would encourage anybody who has a far sighted view of the folk arts to support the society. If it's good enough for Steve Heap to recommend that Folk Arts England ACE funding be diverted to it, then it's good enough for me.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 03:55 AM

I'm not suggesting that EFDSS should try to replace what Ryburn, EATMT and similar organisations are doing in the regions.   It could be offering more support to organisations trying to run folk events. I don't necessarily mean financial support, but by providing guidance on best practice, licensing law, PRS, etc.

I'm President of a mountaineering club. The British Mountaineering Council provides lots of support for clubs, including guidance on liability and insurance, draft club constitution, child protection issues and lots more, all available from its website. It organises workshops for clubs to discuss these things in more detail. It even provides funding, with the help of a grant from the Sports Council - my own club has received a grant to help it redesign its website, and grants for training days with professional instructors. These are the sorts of things that EFDSS could be doing.

For the purposes of this discussion I'd like to take it as read that the Library is a Good Thing and focus on the Society's other activities.

I have no complaints about events taking place at the House, as you say it would be extraordinary if there weren't. However these are the only activities which seem to get publicised, apart from a few arts collaborations or educational projects which are also London-based. I'm afraid I'm rather cynical about those.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 07:55 AM

For the purposes of this discussion I'd like to take it as read that the Library is a Good Thing and focus on the Society's other activities.
yes, but to remain a good thing, it needs to expand,and possibly include modern folk songs, it caanot do that at the moment without repairing its present premises or partly relocating[which requires finance]


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,John Fraser of Carnoustie
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 08:10 AM

GSS - What do you take to mean 'modern folk songs'? Do you mean that they simply buy up the Bob Dylan / Waterboys etc songbooks from their local Waterstones, or do something else? Should they go out 'collecting'? Who from?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 08:20 AM

OK Dick, I know your views on this, but we had this discussion about the Library only last month. I'm just trying to stop going over old ground.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: johnadams
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 10:42 AM

Hi Howard,

The British Mountaineering Council is an interesting comparison. They obviously have a large membership base with subscriptions totalling well over £1 million last year. Add into that the quarter million pound grant from the Sports Council and you can see why they operate with a surplus each year and presently have £2 million cash in hand. Well supported and well managed - to the extent that they can get on with the work of the council.


I think the EFDSS should aim towards being in a similar position so that it could get on with the work of becoming the lead body for the country's folk arts, but it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation really. You want to see results before you join, and the income from the present membership is not, on its own, enough to finance achieving all those results. True, ACE funding has arrived but it was only announced in the Spring and who knows if it's actually arrived yet. If it has arrived, it will have a number of outcomes attached and we have yet to see if those outcomes match yours and my expectations of what the society should be doing. I hope they will.

But... who knows where the ACE cuts will strike in the next round. Will folk music stand a good chance of not being in the firing line? I'd recommend that the society puts a hard hat on :-) or at least be careful not to over reach, just in case.

It appears to me that the steps the society are taking are steady and confident ones and are in the areas of education and library web resources, two areas that have featured ad nauseum in Mudcat posts over the years. Given that they have made these strides I am feeling more and more that they are getting enough strength to deliver on other fronts but it won't happen overnight with the wave of a magic wand.

I also think that the society has a little way to go before it sets itself up as some sort of expert consultancy. Most of the knowledge and expertise on the folk scene exists outside the society and the main way that the EFDSS can assist people is via networking. I'm assuming and hoping that this will come as part of the adoption of the roles of Folk Arts England but again, not overnight and not without some support, particularly from people like you and me. It's heartening to see the young folkies joining up and getting involved.

I think the society is at a pivotal point right now and has the best chance to prove its worth than it has had for a long time. I'm praying it doesn't cock it up and so far the signs are good. If a bunch of people lend some support now by joining, buying stuff, supporting wherever possible then ultimately we'll all get something out of it, even those of us four hours drive north of the Camden Town Folk Arts Centre.

These days I'm not at the centre of EFDSS business, being more on the edge looking in, so I've probably not dealt with all of the points you've raised in this thread but right now I'm quite busy on archive work and can't spare too much time to think it all through.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 11:37 AM

I'll give it another go, hopefully without being shouted down.

If you at the Irish situation for comparison I would suggest to have a look Na Piobairi Uilleann instead of Comhaltas.

Na Piobairi Uilleann was formed in 1968 to promote the Irish Pipes, deliberately separate from Comhaltas (for all intrigue and turf wars released on them by the bigger organisation I suggest you look elsewhere). Under the chairmanship and guidance of Breandán Breatnach work was set in motion and eventually a headquarters was obtained in Henrietta st in Dublin.

Now, I won't run through the entire history of the organisation but can summarise that for a long time they struggled to get adequate funding and the headquarters, which the organisation set out to restore and make fit for their aims, weighed the organisation down financially and organisationally for a long time.

They were often referred to as 'the Dublin Pipers' (with a heavy emphasis on 'Dublin') because they were simply unable, for financial and organisational reasons, to cover the whole country.

Now, sometime during the late eighties (if I recall correctly, maybe early nineties) a decision was put to the membership to transform the organisation and incorporate it. This idea was embraced.

Approaching the aims of the organisation as a business (while still registered as charity for tax/donation purposes and no doubt helped greatly by the economic boom and rising interest in the pipes in the wake of Riverdance) has given the organisation a tremendous boost.

Full time staff is now able to provide support for pipers all over the world, a large number of publications have been produced, recordings have been put on the market, a shop with relevant materials to serve the membership is operated via the web, musical events get organised, the Piperlink tour is travelling the world (please google that yourself). All generating income for the organisation (sponsorships and Arts Council funding are ongoing sources of funding as well).

At the same time the Georgian building in Henrietta st has been restored to the highest standard and I think there's talk of expanding to premises next door. A library and archive have been established, series of high profile lectures are being run.

It is a definite story of success and expansion. In my opinion a far better model for how things can work for an organisation involved in (the promotion and preservation of)traditional music than the one Comhaltas can provide.

Na Piobairi Uillean website


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 12:24 PM

Peter ,why should I shout that down, na piobari uillean is a perfectly good business model, they do an excellent job.
unlike you I also believe that Comhaltas are run in a business like manner.
I think it perfectly reasonable to ask you to provide facts to prove your assertion that Comhaltas are not an example of good business practice.
there are a number of things i dislike about Comhaltas and their director general, but being unbusiness like is not something Iwould accuse them of, can you please back up your comments.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 12:31 PM

I don't think there's a problem with you asking clarification but there is with you behaving like a foul-mouthed bully. And not for the first time I may add.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 12:33 PM

When you're making a link, you have to put the "http://" in the url...

Na Piobairi Uillean website

----

The Country Dance and Song Society in the U.S., has had some parallel struggles: they've been around a long time and some folks judge them on their past, not their present. They're based in the northeast and run a series of dance and music camps in Massachusetts, which are as out of reach to many here as London may seem to many of you. For for some they have been associated mainly with old fogeys doing boring English country dancing.

But, they've done some good work in recent years to overcome this image and be more broadly useful:

- they are probably the best resource (most comprehensive and helpful) for purchasing books and recordings on American and English country dance in the U.S.

- they provide small grants (often matching grants) and loans to organizations and individuals for projects like publications, event startups, etc.

- they provide networking through their member directory (this may be becoming less needed since the boom of the web), and can always be contacted directly for this sort of info, too. Their online listing of "group affiliates" is a good one.

- group affiliates (member organizations) can receive assistance with attaining non-profit (tax-exempt) corporate status

- individual members have access to Callerlab resources (including individual insurance) through the CDSS affiliation with that organization

- membership in CDSS by groups is one of the best ways to get access to group liability insurance for dances and other events

- they have facilitated/assisted with regional networking/information conferences, such as the upcoming Southeast Dance Leadership Conference (there have been two or three of these previously in other locations around the country). I would not be surprised to find that CDSS is providing some of the funding for the small scholarships available to attend the SE conference.

- they consciously work to include a reasonably geographically diverse group in their board membership (a challenge, since board members have to commit to getting themselves (at least) to the northeast for the annual meeting -- some financial assistance is available for this

- in recent years they have had a great initiative to promote country dance and song among young people. They have hired a youth intern who, among other things, is a great face for the organization on Facebook, and they've had one or two networking/informational conferences on the topic (conferences for young people, not just about them).

- they're turning their web site into a really useful portal to a lot of information and resources

I think that the key role of a nationally central organization like CDSS or EFDSS is to be useful to the local individuals and organizations in doing what they do, not to do it for them.

CDSS does this with no grant or government funding, just the proceeds of their camps and individual donations. They have a staff of 12 now, of which maybe a little more than half are employed full time (the camps do take the work of one dedicated full-time staff member, as well the work of parts of several others).

~ Becky in Tucson
disclaimer: former CDSS board member


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 12:53 PM

also should have added -- I'm an EFDSS member

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 12:54 PM

Peter, just clarify your comments giving facts and statistics etc.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 12:55 PM

Having any central organisation will bring the danger of it being perceived as only serving the area near it's headquarters or being 'some of it's members' rather than 'the sum of it's members'.

I think NPU in my example has made a fair go at putting that perception to rest. As much as they can anyway.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 01:08 PM

Peter, when are you going to prove Comhaltas are unbusiness like with details?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 01:10 PM

I am sure that EFDSS could run a dance festival at little cost and make a profit for the society,[which was how Sidmouth originated]at present there is only one Folk dance festival, Eastbourne.
That would seem to me like a good business proposition.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,ecclescake
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 01:28 PM

What is it about Dick Miles and the EFDSS? Did a descendant of Cecil's once tread on his corns? For feck's sake, Dick, give it a rest and get a bloody life!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 02:43 PM

guest Eccles cake, be kind enough to let those who wish to discuss it do so.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 06:10 AM

You're not discussing anything - you're repeating a mantra!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Mitch the Bass
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 07:18 AM

Good Soldier Schweik said "...at present there is only one Folk dance festival, Eastbourne."

Not Southam or Lichfield or Countesthorpe or Purbeck or Ipswich?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Bloke from Poole
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 08:00 AM

Don't know about the others, the Purbeck Festival isn't a dance festival. There is a dance weekend for country dance, but I wouldn't describe it as a festival.

Coming from the dark dance side I have wondered about joining the EFDSS and haven't found enough there to interest me. Some might find some irony there... C# house is too far, I'd be a regular if it weren't.

There is a bunch of organisations, at least in the west, covering different aspects - Halsway Manor, Wren, Devon Squeezebox (LDT - are you in the west?), and while I'm pretty sure they all talk to each other, I'm not aware of an umbrella organisation.

EFDSS sounds like it should fit that position, but doesn't.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 08:15 AM

No I'm in the South East on the 'coast', in a cultural cul-de-sac.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 10:57 AM

Here is how the EFDSS summarizes their activities as background to a current position opening (link to pdf; there's a copy online at fRoots). One reason for joining, among others, is to support those activitites.

~ Becky in Tucson

The EFDSS is a national folk arts development organisation. It is multi-faceted being a membership society with nearly 4000 members, an arts venue (Cecil Sharp House), an education, training and development agency, a publisher, an advocate and lobbyist, and the custodian of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, which is the only dedicated folk arts library and archive in the UK.

The Society is going through a major period of change. It was reviewed and restructured in 2007 with the objective of re-positioning itself as the leading folk arts agency in England.

To meet the aim of reviving the Society we are increasing and diversifying our activities to bring the folk arts to a wider public. During the past two years the Society has:-

• Received a grant of £154k from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a major archiving and national education project using six of the song collections in our archive (Take Six project).
• Introduced its own regular programme of events at Cecil Sharp House including The Irrepressible Tradition music season, showcasing the best new talent on the folk music circuit.
• Worked with partners to produce events e.g. Mary Neal Project, National Gallery, Sadler's Wells, BFI, Miles of Smiles, The Local, The London Gypsy Orchestra.
• 'EFDSS on the Move' – supporting programmes at the Cambridge, Sidmouth and Furness Folk Festivals, summer 2009.
• Introduced a Family Friendly programme of events.
• Invited external programmers such as BBC 3 broadcaster Verity Sharp, who curated 'Apple Day' in October 2009.
• Developed a visual arts programme.
• Developed a professional development programme including the appointment of an artist-in-residence post (visual artist) and run a choreographic project for professional choreographers on morris and contemporary dance forms.
• Expanded our education programme into new contexts and areas and is developing opportunities for training teachers in the folk arts.

Over the next 5 years EFDSS will continue to develop -
• Cecil Sharp House as the folk arts centre in London.
• Outreach and education programmes to impact on the national curriculum and the training of music and dance artists and teachers.
• Advocacy and lobbying on behalf of the folk arts working in association with other folk arts agencies and organisations.
• Develop partnerships with a broad range of organisations to attract new audiences and to widen the profile of the Society.
• Prepare for a major capital project to provide the library with increased and climatically suitable space for its ever growing collections.

In October 2009 EFDSS became a Regularly Funded Organisation of Arts Council England's Music Department. The Society is now looking to a whole new area of development as the Folk Development Agency for England and as part of this process is developing the Marketing Department to communicate the aims of the Society and to market the EFDSS programme of events and activities; both at Cecil Sharp House and beyond, to both a folk and a non-folk audience.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Vic Smith
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 10:58 AM

Here is a press release /job advert circular from the EFDSS. I reproduce it in full below. I posted it on the Nick Hallam thread but it would seem to have equal relevance here as the majority of it states what the EFDSS itself considers that it is up to at the moment and as no-one employed by the EFDSS (as far as I know) has taken part in this discussion, it would seem to have a good use here:-

The EFDSS have announced a vacancy for a temporary marketing assistant.

See http://www.efdss.org/front/vacancies/vacancies/214217


ENGLISH FOLK DANCE AND SONG SOCIETY
TEMPORARY MARKETING ASSISTANT
(2-3 DAYS PER WEEK, DEPENDING ON WORKLOAD)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The EFDSS is a national folk arts development organisation. It is multi-faceted being a membership society with nearly 4000 members, an arts venue (Cecil Sharp House), an education, training and development agency, a publisher, an advocate and lobbyist, and the custodian of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, which is the only dedicated folk arts library and archive in the UK.

The Society is going through a major period of change. It was reviewed and restructured in 2007 with the objective of re-positioning itself as the leading folk arts agency in England.

To meet the aim of reviving the Society we are increasing and diversifying our activities to bring the folk arts to a wider public. During the past two years the Society has:-

• Received a grant of £154k from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a major archiving and national education project using six of the song collections in our archive (Take Six project).
• Introduced its own regular programme of events at Cecil Sharp House including The Irrepressible Tradition music season, showcasing the best new talent on the folk music circuit.
• Worked with partners to produce events e.g. Mary Neal Project, National Gallery, Sadler's Wells, BFI, Miles of Smiles, The Local, The London Gypsy Orchestra.
• 'EFDSS on the Move' – supporting programmes at the Cambridge, Sidmouth and Furness Folk Festivals, summer 2009.
• Introduced a Family Friendly programme of events.
• Invited external programmers such as BBC 3 broadcaster Verity Sharp, who curated 'Apple Day' in October 2009.
• Developed a visual arts programme.
• Developed a professional development programme including the appointment of an artist-in-residence post (visual artist) and run a choreographic project for professional choreographers on morris and contemporary dance forms.
• Expanded our education programme into new contexts and areas and is developing opportunities for training teachers in the folk arts.

Over the next 5 years EFDSS will continue to develop -
• Cecil Sharp House as the folk arts centre in London.
• Outreach and education programmes to impact on the national curriculum and the training of music and dance artists and teachers.
• Advocacy and lobbying on behalf of the folk arts working in association with other folk arts agencies and organisations.
• Develop partnerships with a broad range of organisations to attract new audiences and to widen the profile of the Society.
• Prepare for a major capital project to provide the library with increased and climatically suitable space for its ever growing collections.

In October 2009 EFDSS became a Regularly Funded Organisation of Arts Council England's Music Department. The Society is now looking to a whole new area of development as the Folk Development Agency for England and as part of this process is developing the Marketing Department to communicate the aims of the Society and to market the EFDSS programme of events and activities; both at Cecil Sharp House and beyond, to both a folk and a non-folk audience.


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 11:14 AM

snap!


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Old Vermin
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 02:23 PM

Trying not to be too picky, but the first thing to leap out was that Verity Sharp presents on Radio 3, a BBC channel, not on BBC3 which is a 'yoof' television channel.

Always easier to spot other people's minor errors than one's own, of course.

Interesting bit, for me, is "choreographic project for professional choreographers on morris and contemporary dance forms." Now why I have I immediately thought of Laurel Swift and Morris Offspring? I did of course manage to miss the project itself when it was going on in 2009.

Someone recently suggested doing eceilidh dance as a display.Anyone already done so?

Does the advocacy and lobbying include encouraging reform of the Public Entertainment Licensing nonsense, perchance?


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: Vic Smith
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 05:27 AM

Mr Vermin wrote:-

"Trying not to be too picky, but the first thing to leap out was that Verity Sharp presents on Radio 3, a BBC channel, not on BBC3 which is a 'yoof' television channel."


Certainly, a sad slip.... and anyway, if I wanted to describe Verity in a nutshell I would have gone for her excellent work as presenter of "The Culture Show" on BBC's 1 and 2 television. That is what she is best known for to the general public.

One reason for the mistake could be.... I heard somewhere on the grapevine.... that the EFDSS are without a publicity officer at the moment....


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Subject: RE: EFDSS and good business practice
From: johnadams
Date: 28 Aug 10 - 06:18 AM

They do have a most excellent marketing manager, even though she doesn't presently have a marketing director above her in the management chain.


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