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How many wandering musicians can't find a session?

Soldier boy 19 May 11 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 May 11 - 09:35 PM
Soldier boy 20 May 11 - 08:40 AM
John P 20 May 11 - 05:30 PM
Leadfingers 20 May 11 - 07:23 PM
Tootler 20 May 11 - 07:29 PM
Crowhugger 21 May 11 - 10:17 AM
Soldier boy 21 May 11 - 11:42 AM
Bill D 21 May 11 - 12:13 PM
Marje 21 May 11 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,Paul Burke 21 May 11 - 01:00 PM
ripov 21 May 11 - 02:37 PM
Crowhugger 21 May 11 - 09:52 PM
GUEST,Desi C 22 May 11 - 08:32 AM
ripov 23 May 11 - 07:32 PM
DrugCrazed 24 May 11 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,session man 24 May 11 - 04:56 AM
ripov 24 May 11 - 07:12 AM
ripov 24 May 11 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,Jon 24 May 11 - 07:33 AM
Leadfingers 24 May 11 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,Desi C 24 May 11 - 08:14 AM
Tootler 24 May 11 - 07:00 PM
Leadfingers 24 May 11 - 07:18 PM
dick greenhaus 24 May 11 - 07:26 PM
Soldier boy 24 May 11 - 09:31 PM
reggie miles 25 May 11 - 04:23 AM
Marje 25 May 11 - 05:48 AM
GUEST,Jon 25 May 11 - 06:10 AM
Jack Campin 25 May 11 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Session Man 25 May 11 - 07:08 AM
Jack Campin 25 May 11 - 09:50 AM
Jack Campin 25 May 11 - 10:07 AM
ripov 25 May 11 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 25 May 11 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Jon 25 May 11 - 02:44 PM
ripov 25 May 11 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Paul Burke 25 May 11 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 25 May 11 - 06:37 PM
ripov 25 May 11 - 08:51 PM
ripov 25 May 11 - 09:03 PM
Soldier boy 25 May 11 - 09:18 PM
ripov 25 May 11 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Jon 26 May 11 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,LDT 26 May 11 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Jon 26 May 11 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,Neovo 26 May 11 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 26 May 11 - 06:02 AM
Jack Campin 26 May 11 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 26 May 11 - 06:42 AM
reggie miles 26 May 11 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 26 May 11 - 06:32 PM
ripov 26 May 11 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 26 May 11 - 07:31 PM
Leadfingers 26 May 11 - 07:50 PM
Steve Shaw 26 May 11 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 27 May 11 - 01:29 AM
Jack Campin 27 May 11 - 06:38 AM
Steve Shaw 27 May 11 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,LDT 27 May 11 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 27 May 11 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 27 May 11 - 07:32 AM
Steve Shaw 27 May 11 - 09:46 AM
GUEST 27 May 11 - 10:53 AM
ripov 27 May 11 - 11:54 AM
Steve Shaw 27 May 11 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 27 May 11 - 02:47 PM
Steve Shaw 27 May 11 - 08:08 PM
GUEST 28 May 11 - 03:45 AM
Soldier boy 02 Jun 11 - 09:33 AM
LesB 02 Jun 11 - 12:46 PM
Soldier boy 02 Jun 11 - 07:26 PM
Soldier boy 02 Jun 11 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,Ted Crum (Steamchicken) 03 Jun 11 - 07:10 PM
GUEST 03 Jun 11 - 07:44 PM
Steve Shaw 03 Jun 11 - 07:48 PM
Mr Red 04 Jun 11 - 06:43 AM
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Subject: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Soldier boy
Date: 19 May 11 - 08:27 PM

This is a serious question because I love the "fringe" folk scene/ happenings at folk festivals and it seems to me that we are increasingly being crowded out by Open Mic sessions and plugged-in bands in once what used to be our popular venues so we are left to increasingly wander the streets in search of somewhere to find a session where we can gather together and and have a right good do!

What has been your experience and observations?

Am I just a sad folkie "fringer" who continually finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time or is this something that is also of concern to you?

Please discuss.

Chris


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 May 11 - 09:35 PM

We get together once a month at the home of member of the group. Usually my home.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Soldier boy
Date: 20 May 11 - 08:40 AM

That's a very good solution leeneia if it works for you but I was thinking more of the typical 'fringe' folkie who attends many festivals in the UK and who can spend a lot of time wandering the streets looking for a singaround/playaround in a local pub or club.

Chris


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: John P
Date: 20 May 11 - 05:30 PM

I have the same problem here in Seattle, only with buskers. Our big annual festival, The Folklife Festival, used to be a great place to run into old friends and have an impromptu jam. Now there are hundreds of professional buskers using up all the room. Since the only reason the festival exists is because the performers play for free, it's irritating to not be able to play on the grounds because there's a bunch of people who didn't sign up for the festival, but are making lots of money being there.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 May 11 - 07:23 PM

Plenty of 'fringe' at Sidmouth !


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Tootler
Date: 20 May 11 - 07:29 PM

Not usually a problem at Whitby either and Saltburn is also OK.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Crowhugger
Date: 21 May 11 - 10:17 AM

Please excuse if this is a dumb question, but what do you mean when you say 'fringe'? And maybe it's just that I'm west of the pond, but I don't understand the thread title--it begs a verb (although I was half expecting a lightbulb joke variant). Reading the OP explained the topic but it did not explain the title. Just wondered.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Soldier boy
Date: 21 May 11 - 11:42 AM

Sorry Crowhugger, you are right.

The title was supposed to be "How many wandering musicians/singers can't find a session?" But of course I made a mistake because it was just too darned long so it ended up as it is. I've learnt my lesson for next time though. Sorry about that.

Chris


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Bill D
Date: 21 May 11 - 12:13 PM

I'm not sure I understand the problem. Is it not being able to find ANY other musicians...or being excluded when you do?

In the festivals I have been to in the USA, almost any musician is welcome to join a group...unless their 'shtick' is "being the show".

If it is the wandering that is the issue, we now have instant communication with devices that allow planning and arranging meetings.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Marje
Date: 21 May 11 - 12:32 PM

"Fringe" events are the casual or impromptu gatherings created by the festival-goers, as distinct from the main events where you pay to see performers.

The distinction that the OP was making is, I think, that "open Mic" sessions are pushing out the session-players. This is a distinction that may not make much sense in the US, but here in the UK, "Open Mic" events are usually run in a bar where singers/musicians get up one at a time, often with a microphone, to do a couple of songs. Sessions, on the other hand, are musical gatherings where everyone joins in and plays together, at least for most of the time.

And I recognise the problem. It depends a lot on the attitude of the local pubs, and on the festival organisers, who can help by getting someone to set up and run a session. If this isn't done, pubs may decide that what is needed is an "Open Mic" event, which pushes out the session players. Other pubs may be trying to concentrate on serving meals, or giving TV coverage of footbal matches, and it can be quite difficlut to find a pub with space for a session.

That's why musicians at a festival can end up roaming the streets looking for a space to play. It's finding a suitable and welcoming venue that's the problem. At least, I think that's what's being said. Well it is now, 'cos I've said it.

Marje


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 21 May 11 - 01:00 PM

almost any musician is welcome to join a group...unless their 'shtick' is "being the show".

I think that's the problem he's talking about. He is looking for informal sessions with give-and-take, some band has occupied the centre of the room and is just doing the band thing. I've seen it a lot. Even if they graciously permit you to strum along with them, they aren't going to let any interlopers change the set, the tunes, the songs, even the order in which they are plaayed. And they usually have a claque with them, which is what they are all about really.

We need to start the Campaign for Real Sessions!


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 21 May 11 - 02:37 PM

Leadfingers, yes there is room, some very welcoming pubs, (especially the Newt) at Sidmouth, but the organisers have never acknowledged us until recently. I've certainly had sarcastic comments there, when I started a tune at what is billed as an english music session run by so and so and friends, that so and so didn't know he had so many friends! So I've learnt not to bother with that one.

Take Middlewich as an example, see http://www.midfest.org/

Look what the "Fringe" is; no room for folk musicians, we're pushed out by paid performers some of whom do, in fairness, play "folk music". Either the organisers want to stay totally in control, they don't want us, or they don't even know we exist. And yet we buy the beer and food, and provide free entertainment, which is greatly appreciated by festivalgoers because we're just ordinary people like them. Should we boycott these "festivals" and let the organisers pay for the lot?


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Crowhugger
Date: 21 May 11 - 09:52 PM

Thanks for the additional information. I'm very glad I asked. Here in Ontario when someone says 'fringe,' more often than not it'll refer to the far end of a continuum that has 'mainstream' at the near end; that continuum exists for music in any genre, theatre, movies, art, poetry, or any other creative expression.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 22 May 11 - 08:32 AM

I think you have a point, but I disagre that the reason is open mic events at the festivals. Like yourself I very much love the 'fringe of festivals. Apart from anything else genuine Folk Fans like me, I run a Folk club, are fast being priced out of the festival scene, where prices are purely tailored to the upper middle class pseudo week end folkies, few who will have seen the inside of a folk club! You can usually identify these types by the new spotlessly clean tennis shoes and the designer jeans.
But what I find is an inceasing lack of open mic events on the fringe of fests, more so inside, I belive because the paid artists are embarrassed by the competition. Maybe we should band together and arrange 'fringe' sessions in pubs near the big fests, which is how the festival thing all began!


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 23 May 11 - 07:32 PM

Not just the audience types!
The way I see it, if the performers don't join in sing-arounds and sessions in pubs/clubs/whatever, they're not folk musicians, just wannabe pop stars. No problem with them making a penny from their abilities, but the important work is done at ground level.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:40 AM

I did my first session at the Red Deer, and the University Open Mic society were doing it on the same night. When the folk guy reminded me it was that day, I said "Wait, isn't there the Open Mic that night?", to which he replied "Is there?". So I spoke to the Open Mic lot (I'm friends with their sound guy), and said "If you're on, aren't the folk singers on as well?", to which he replied "Are they?".

They found out through me 3 days before the event, and so couldn't cancel - they've said they'd have gladly moved it if they'd known beforehand. Essentially, the Landlord didn't remember/thought it would be okay.

There were arguably more people in the pub thanks to the Open Mic, but one might think of the fact the session has been going for about 14 years first...


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,session man
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:56 AM

Just discovered this thread. When talking about fringe events, are the above people festival ticket holders or just 'freebies' looking for a free weekend and hanging on the coat tails of the event. Festivals cost a lot of money to organise and run. I know the 'fringe' can be important in some events, but I would be interested to know who you are. If you haven't paid for a ticket you have no right to moan about not having anywhere to play/sing, or what happens during the festival. I've seen it time and time again. People who expect a weekend's entertainment and enjoyment for nothing. If you want the event to be a success, get involved, offer to organise something you want to see. Then put in the commitment and see if it works. Sadly the number of organisers are getting older and there don't appear to be many people willing to take their place, there are plenty of people who want to 'perform' play/sing, but not many who want to take on the organisation. Don't just moan about it, do something about it.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:12 AM

well session man;
If you're a session musician (of the pub not the studio!) you wouldn't be asking that question. You would know that Sidmouth, for example, started as a gathering of like minded musicians and dancers from the EFDSS, and the "make some money from bums on seats" part of the festival is only a commercial add-on. Not unwelcome, because it helps to "spread the gospel", but not essential.
As I said before, we pay enough for accomodation, food and drink, (and incidentally providing entertainment) without buying tickets to see groups we're not always interested in. If the performers are interesting of course we buy event tickets, but personally I've only found one festival where a season ticket was of any value.
Much more important is meeting and playing with old friends, and learning new tunes to take back home.
I appreciate that organising festivals is hard work, and the often provided facilities for youngsters are wonderful for kids and parents, and there are good (sometimes) workshops, for which we pay the same as everyone else who attends.
If it's a folk festival, shouldn't there be room for folk musicians (of the real sort, not the stage ones).
Of course we musicians are a minority, but there is usually a much larger contingent of Morris Dancers, who also come just for the love of it, provide dance displays over several days, and frequently make tremendous efforts to involve the "audience", which is what "folk" is about. All at no expense of money or effort from the festival organisers.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:21 AM

And forget to mention, a large number of the "volunteers" at festivals are folk musicians.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:33 AM

Only festival I get to is Cromer and that one is pretty much a write off for sessions although the fringe may have a good number of acts around the town.

Twice this year, I got to sessions (which are scheduled on the program with maybe 1 or 2 hour slots) where the previous bands overran and the first of these was abandoned as a possible session venue.

But I don't think that's the biggest problem. The Festival itself simply does not seem to attract session players and most of the time when you do meet a couple of others looking to play, it seems to be either waiting around for others to turn up - and maybe one decides to give up before another turns up and/or tentative playing trying to work out what, eg. a contemporary guitar/singer (who's probably expecting a take it in turns anyway) , an English melodoen player and an Irish mandolin have in common...

I think the only ones (except one where at the last minute I did manage to persuade some from Norwich sessions up for an hour or so) I've been to where some "real" music has happened have been artist led ones but I don't know if it's just me or not but sometimes I think that can feel a bit like "them" plus "others" tagging along.

I did meet a few others living closer to Cromer this year though and I think we agreed that the only method of improving the situation would be to try to get together (even starting a monthly something in Cromer was suggested) and organise something ourselves in advance but whether I or any of the others will actually get round to doing this is another matter...


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:34 AM

White Horse Festival is in fact too small to have a fringe but there are a l,ot of opportunities to play - Informal tunes on Friday evening and a singaround next door , and a singaround Sunday Midday .
      And Re Booked artists being too proud to join in , that DOESNT happen either - T'other year my main problem was convincing a certain excellent booked guest to put whichever of my instrunments he had just borrowed where I could reach it if I wanted to !


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 24 May 11 - 08:14 AM

To GUEST Session man
Nobody is looking to get in free or for freebies. The Point being made was the lack of fringe events in the neighbourhood of large Folk Festivals. Mostly for those who have been consisrently priced out of these festivals by big business 'event' orgs charging extortionate admission fees to what have become Festivals for the middle and upper classes only. One or two such as Wickham fest I'd excuse by virtue of not being as expensive as most and genuinely having a line up of artists to drool at. And Fringe events do actually benefit many festivals by attracting some very good performers who's faces don't fit at the Official fests, not to mention bring great financial boosts to the local areas. As for inside he fests many don't now provide open mic areas for those who HAVE paid to get in, probably because they have the same prissy superior attitude of Session man. And I would remind him the 90% of these high priced Fests started life as free festivals where genuine Folk Musicians and Fans put in a lot of time and effort, only be be bought out by the 'orgs'


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Tootler
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:00 PM

When talking about fringe events, are the above people festival ticket holders or just 'freebies' looking for a free weekend and hanging on the coat tails of the event.

We're not all freeloaders as you seem to think. I was talking about this to someone this afternoon and for both of us the concerts are not the primary attraction of a festival.

When I go to festivals, and I don't go to many, my main interest is in participatory events. It's not that I am looking for a free weekend, it's more that I want to get involved, to take part and events that cater for that, official or otherwise do tend to be free. If there is a paid event that interests me, I will pay for it and go, but I also want value for money, so I am not going to buy a season ticket for a festival when I am not going to get my money's worth. On the other hand I do feel an obligation to put something in so I will always try to find at least one event to go to that I have to pay for.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:18 PM

To quote the Late Great Jake Thackray , I am a PLAYING Oik not a Listening Oik !


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:26 PM

On thi side of the podn, where festivals tend to be held out-of-doors, the camping area and the parking lot are generally the sites for catch-as-cach-can participation. And yes, participants are usually either paid customers or festival volunteer workers.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Soldier boy
Date: 24 May 11 - 09:31 PM

When I talk about the "fringe" at folk festivals it seems that some people are somewhat confused by this term.

If I have confused you I apologise.

My personal take or definition of this is ardent and true folk followers who support the true traditions of the folk scene with all their hearts.

They may not pay up for a full festival ticket and not wish to spend a whole weekend or a week sat in concert halls but they do add a tremendous amount of character and atmosphere to any festival through their singing and playing to the enjoyment of the whole local community. And the extra revenue in the campsites,local pubs and eateries.

Also in my experience folk 'fringers' don't just spend all their time (when it's possible) gathering in pubs. They also pick and choose and pay to go to some concerts on the menu and workshops and Ceilldihs etc and many I know also volunteer as stewards to assist the organisers at festivals and which allows the less affluent and hard working true folkies access to the odd concert or two.

So we actually contribute a lot, both in terms of financial gain to the festival itself and to the financial and spiritual soul of the local community.

Sp please don't try to type cast the 'fringe' as spongers. As many other very honourable people have said here, the true origins and traditions of the whole folk movement started with us meek and humble people just keeping the folk tradition alive in our homes, pubs and clubs.

The big commercial folk festivals came later on the back of us.
We are not parasites and we should hopefully be able to all live together and accomodate each other in the true spirit of the folk tradition. We are not all that different after all!

Very best regards to you all.

Chris


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: reggie miles
Date: 25 May 11 - 04:23 AM

I have the same problem here in Seattle, only with buskers. Our big annual festival, The Folklife Festival, used to be a great place to run into old friends and have an impromptu jam. Now there are hundreds of professional buskers using up all the room. Since the only reason the festival exists is because the performers play for free, it's irritating to not be able to play on the grounds because there's a bunch of people who didn't sign up for the festival, but are making lots of money being there. (John P)

John P, as I am one of those of whom you are complaining about, a street performer, allow me to speak up on behalf of those who decide to offer their Folk music on the grounds of this public park, during this free event, at this "supposed" Folk festival, on Memorial Day weekend. First, perhaps I should ask if you actually believe in our Constitution and the rights it affords to all of us Americans, like the right to freedom of expression. Because if you don't believe in this principle, that countless thousands of Americans have given their lives to protect, then perhaps you ought to be looking for answers to your particular complaint in a different part of the world. maybe there's a country out there that has a system of individual rights that's more suited to your particular concept of personal freedom.

To be fair, I should point out, that you are not alone in your attitude. In fact, a street performer had to take the City of Seattle and the Seattle Center, to court to fight for his First Amendment right, to freedom of expression, in order to freely perform in public, at this public park, The Seattle Center, where this event happens to take place. He won his case in Superior Court about 9 years ago but that didn't stop the City of Seattle from trying to have the decision overturned. In 2009, 8 of 11 judges in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case and voted, once again, in favor of the street performer, not the City of Seattle! In fact, the court forced the City of Seattle to pay the street performer thousands of dollars.

Allow me to offer you the link to the previously mentioned court case once again, as I did in the thread you started about the 2011 NW Folklife Festival. I'm guessing that you missed my recent post. You seem to genuinely feel anguish about this matter. Perhaps the information, that the judges in this case brought to light in course of making their decision, might open your eyes as to the reasons why our Constitution upholds such freedoms. Here, once again, is that link.

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2009/06/24/05-35752.pdf

Let me add, that this event has lost a great deal of the Folk flavor, that it used to have, a long time ago. Every year, this event moves farther away from what it once was. These days, the organizers of this event are more concerned about the money pouring into their coffers, via the vendors who offer their crafts and food at this event, and pay a bundle of cashola to do so, than they do about those who offer their music and dance for free.

John, come on now, "hundreds of professional buskers"? Please! I've been going to this event for decades and there have never been "hundreds of professional buskers" there. Heck, I've been street performing for decades in the Seattle area and I don't even consider myself a "professional busker", a pre-fessional, yes, but professional, I don't think so.

I rarely hear those two terms "professional" and "busker" used together in the same sentence, much less right next to one another way you have. The concept of a "professional busker" sounds like an oxymoron to me. I think before we go any further, it might be helpful and kind of fun, to understand the meaning of the term you are using here. Having clearer definitions, about what a "professional busker" is, would certainly help me and everyone else understand your point of view.

Let's see what Wikipedia has to say about the term "professional".

A professional is a member of a vocation founded upon specialized educational training...

Let me explain right here, that I have absolutely no specialized educational training having to do with anything that I offer as either a musician, a fingerpickin' bottleneck slide guitarist, a singer, a songwriter, a storyteller, a poet, an entertainer, a comic or an instrument builder.

...The word professional traditionally means a person who has obtained a degree in a professional field...

I have no degree in this particular field of interest but folks have said that I'm outstanding in my field. That's probably because they usually see me... out standing in my field. ;o) (cue rim shot)

...The term professional is used more generally to denote a white collar working person,...

I don't think that anyone would confuse street performing with a white collar endeavor. Though, I do own a few soiled white shirts. ;o)

...or a person who performs commercially in a field typically reserved for hobbyists or amateurs...

This last phrase, "a person who performs commercially in a field typically reserved for hobbyists or amateurs", seems to have some bearing. Though, I would not consider entertainment, musical or otherwise, a field 'typically' reserved for either hobbyists or amateurs. In fact, via my experience as a street performer for more than three decades, I can tell you, that a great many of those who perform on the street are actually amateurs and hobbyists, who have regular jobs and careers, and merely bring their talents out on the street occasionally, when they have the time and/or inclination to do so, like on weekend holidays, such as Memorial Day weekend.

...In western nations, such as the United States, the term "professional" commonly describes highly educated,...

I do not believe that the vast majority of street performers that I know can be classified as being highly educated. If they were, chances are, they'd be busy using that highly educated status in more fruitful pursuits.

...mostly salaried workers,...

The street performers that I know are not salaried workers.

...who enjoy considerable work autonomy,...

Yes, we, who street perform, generally, do enjoy this self governing state

...a comfortable salary,...

I know of no street performers that receive a salary of any kind in return for their efforts and I seriously doubt that any street performers would agree that what they receive as donations might be classified as being anything close to the adjective 'comfortable'.

...and are commonly engaged in creative and intellectually challenging work...

Yes, I would definitely describe street performing as creative and intellectually challenging

...Less technically, it may also refer to a person having impressive competence in a particular activity...

If their talents are being touted as "having impressive competence", many street performers tend to move away from being purely street performers, to perform in more traditional venues.

Because of the personal and confidential nature of many professional services and thus the necessity to place a great deal of trust in them, most professionals are held up to strict ethical and moral regulations.

I'm not certain if this last bit has any relevance to street performing. It also doesn't seem to apply to many of those in the field of "professional" entertainment, the banking industry, politics, or any number of other "professional" practices that come to mind.

And John, just so you know, I have volunteered my energies and talents to this event for decades. The last time that I applied to perform at this event, in 2009, I was turned down.

I had also hosted an incredibly successful workshop at this event for six consecutive years. I had about 100 attendees show up at my last workshop. Again, in 2009, my efforts to continue to offer my free workshop, at this event, were turned down by those organizing this event. So, please stop painting street performers at this event with the broad brush you are using to demean their presence and activities.

If you want more space to join with your friends in a casual jam, then you should be aiming your negative remarks at those who deserve them, those organizing this event. They could easily turn down the volume of the many stages on the grounds and reduce the over all din that everyone has to face but somehow this simple maneuver, to make the festival more audibly comfortable for everyone, has escaped all notice. Even when the comment arises year after year, they just keep turning a deaf ear to it. Reducing this volume would make it easier for you and your acoustic friends to find places to get together to share some tunes. As it is now, it's just one big audio bleed and cacophony.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Marje
Date: 25 May 11 - 05:48 AM

Session man: I can't apeak for the other posters above, but I generally buy a full ticket for the festivals I'm referring to. That still leaves me time to seek out participatory sessions in the gaps between concerts and workshops, or when I don't particularly want to fill my day with paid-for events. The festival organisers do get my money, and I appreciate it when they take the trouble (as some do) to make sure there is space and time allocated for sessions, possibly even with a professsional musician or two to lead them.

There are people who go to festivals only to attend concerts and to listen passively to whatever else is going on. There are others who only want open sessions and want to pay for as little as possible (and yes, some of them are perhaps freeloading, enjoying the benefits of the presence of musicians would would not be there without the fomal, high-profile conerts etc). But there are also many - perhaps the majority - who pay for their tickets and would like to attend a mixture of formal events and informal sessions. It's not an unreasonable expectation.

Marje


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 11 - 06:10 AM

If I went away to a festival with tickets for individual concerts, I'd probably attend a couple (most likely smaller acts) over a weekend but that's as far as I'd go. With Cromer, as it's only down the road, I just go into town for the times sessions are scheduled.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 May 11 - 07:01 AM

Looking at the Middlewich schedule, the Fringe in particular:

http://www.midfest.org/

I see lunchtime/afternoon sessions at several venues and one venue having a session/singaround in the evening. Is there a demand for more than that? It's quite small, isn't it? (I've never been and am not likely to, since accommodation seems to be nonexistent and public transport not much better).

I was at the Woodbridge festival (now deceased, I think) a few years ago, and that one did have the problem the OP describes: the only suitable pubs were either monopolized by a handful of elderly alcoholics watching Sky Sport or else had a plugged-in Fields of Athenry band nobody was listening to. Fortunately the weather was good and some open-air sessions were possible (on a barge and in a beer garden). You can't count on that though.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Session Man
Date: 25 May 11 - 07:08 AM

Hi Marje and everyone
Just the type of responses I expected. As I made sweeping generalisations with my previous response it did create some feedback. Many thanks for all your comments. All I can ask is that those that do 'freeload' these festivals please stop moaning about the lack of anything. Those who do support the events, and I know that is the greater percentage, please help the organisers by volunteering to run a session, singaround or whatever to take some of the workload from them. I'm sure they would be only to pleased with offers of help. And when you do organise a 'fringe' event and you know there are 'freeloaders' around, always have a charity box with you (the pubs all have them on the counters) and hand round as a 'collection' for non ticket holders etc (just a thought).
Enjoy the festival season everyone, sing and play wherever you are and don't forget, if you do have gripes at a festival this year, please turn them into positive improvements for next year. You can do this.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 May 11 - 09:50 AM

When talking about fringe events, are the above people festival ticket holders or just 'freebies' looking for a free weekend and hanging on the coat tails of the event. Festivals cost a lot of money to organise and run. I know the 'fringe' can be important in some events, but I would be interested to know who you are. If you haven't paid for a ticket you have no right to moan about not having anywhere to play/sing, or what happens during the festival.

I've never been to a festival without paying to go to things, but I wouldn't consider going to a festival that didn't offer me a space to play with other folks. Do you have a problem with that?

In the case of the Woodbridge festival, they could have saved some money by not hiring that godawful pub band and by letting the visiting musicians do their thing in the same space. And most "open mike" events need a hired PA - save money, a session/singaround doesn't need it.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 May 11 - 10:07 AM

Someelf put a <em> at the end of that first paragraph, please.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 25 May 11 - 01:07 PM

I'm not sure how meeting a few musicians that you may or may not know and playing a few tunes with them in a pub or open space, as most of us do every week, whether at a festival or not, you want to class as "freeloading". And it's not the lack of "anything" thats the problem, its the fact that, more and more, at some festivals the organisers seem to fill every "music friendly" pub with an amplified band, so musicians have nowhere to play (nor indeed is there anywhere to go for punters who want to sit and talk over their beers).
Perhaps you (session man) could say whether you're involved as an individual organising a small festival for the love of it, or work for some commercial outfit doing it for the money. If a festival is organised on a commercial basis I don't see that we owe it anything. If the organisers want to pay us (in free tickets if that's the way it's done) that's another matter, but that's nothing to do with the "folk process".


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 25 May 11 - 02:31 PM

I'm not sure it's right to distinguish between small festivals run for the love if and those organised on a commercial basis. Most of the large "commercial" festivals are actually run on a not-for-profit basis, and organised by enthusiasts who also do it for the love of it.

The point is that a festival is the magnet which attracts musicians to come and play in the sessions. If they only come to play, without putting something back in the festival kitty, they're doing that on the back of the festival. In most cases the profit from a festival doesn't go to individuals, it's all ploughed back into the next year's festival. Everyone who takes advantage of the sessions which take place on the fringe of the festival, and which wouldn't be happening without it, and who doesn't make a financial contribution to the festival is putting its future in jeopardy. Some would call that freeloading.

I have some sympathy with festivals who want to put on performers in pubs. They may be short of other venues, or it may be a way of getting the festival out into the local community rather than just being something going on in a field on the edge of town. Personally I wouldn't go to a festival which didn't give me the opportunity to play, so if I found one like that I'd give them feedback and probably wouldn't go again. But some festivals are aimed more at listeners and they want to put on as many concerts as possible.

Sometimes the music is organised by the pub landlord who hopes to bring in the festival crowd, rather than the festival itself.

There are still hundreds of festivals all over the country, big and small, cheap or expensive, and they all provide something different. It should be possible to find one with the right balance to suit everyone.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 May 11 - 02:44 PM

Everyone who takes advantage of the sessions which take place on the fringe of the festival, and which wouldn't be happening without it, and who doesn't make a financial contribution to the festival is putting its future in jeopardy.
How?


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 25 May 11 - 03:32 PM

No! The folk festival operates on the back of the musicians who played the music when it was young, and wrote it down (sorry traditionalists!) so that others might enjoy it (yes and to make a few pennies - and I didn't say that commercial was wrong, only that it must pay its own expenses) or maybe still are writing music, and the ones who in the past, and now, endeavour to popularise it and encourage others to join in by learning instruments or singing or whatever, IN THE COMMUNITY.

And the ones who let the festivals down by not supporting them are not visiting musicians, as you must know, but local traders, who get the benefits of extra sales, but often will make no contribution to the festival.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 25 May 11 - 04:40 PM

I see lunchtime/afternoon sessions at several venues and one venue having a session/singaround in the evening. Is there a demand for more than that? (Jack Campin)

That's often the problem. What's advertised as a session (I'm not necessarily talking about Middlewich of which I know nothing) quite often turns out to be a band performance in all but name. A session isn't just playing along with a lead musician; a good session is like a conversation, involving give and take, and does not have a predetermined agenda.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 25 May 11 - 06:37 PM

If you go somewhere a festival is taking place for the purpose of playing in sessions with other musicians who wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the festival then surely you have a moral obligation to make a financial contribution to the festival. Otherwise you might find it won't be there next year. That's what I meant by putting the festival in jeopardy.

There have been a number of festivals which have been cancelled not because they had lost money but because advance ticket sales weren't good enough and the organisers felt they couldn't take the risk.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 25 May 11 - 08:51 PM

We have a moral obligation to contribute to the organisation that provides somewhere for us to play. Normally we play in a pub, and contribute to them by drinking their beer, possibly buying food there, and hopefully attracting an audience of more paying customers.
If the festival organisers don't want us enough to ask around and find where musicians may be welcome, why do we owe them anything?
Do they think that because we ask for nothing (except somewhere to play) we're worth nothing?

Do you think we travel long distances and spend several hundred pounds (check accomodation prices in Sidmouth for festival week) just to go to a session?

Would you say that non-musicians who hear about a festival and drive down for the day, spending it in the pubs listening to music are "freeloaders". Or could they just be a potential paying audience for next year?
You, sessionman, didn't actually use the term "freeloaders", you said "hanging on to the festivals coat tails". Perhaps you couild define this a bit more tightly. Do you mean standing outside the flaps of the big tent trying to hear a bit of a bands' performance? I've done that. Try before you buy! Sometimes you buy, sometimes you think "not for me".
Or do you mean the "travelling people" who invariably appear at festivals. Do you think their busking, or face-painting, provides them with an income adequate to buy festival tickets? Just be pleased that the festival attracts a few more customers for them.
Or what are you on about?

It's always sad that a festival has to be cancelled, but it's a sad fact that nobody can be certain how well off they will be in six months time. Personally I would buy workshop tickets in advance (again for Sidmouth) if they were available, but nothing else.

Regarding "led" sessions, a good leader will let the session run itself, just "lifting" it if it starts to falter. The ones that try to be "in charge" still have a bit to learn; but it's quite possible to have a quiet word with them! Of course if they're being paid by the organisers they may feel they need to show they're earning their money.

Blimming heck, this 'asn't 'alf got me in "grumpy old man" mode!


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 25 May 11 - 09:03 PM

BTW I don't mean to denigrate the people who organise festivals (includes you), they do some amazing work, but it would be really nice if they thought just a little bit about what FOLK music is all about.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: Soldier boy
Date: 25 May 11 - 09:18 PM

Calm down folks. Take a deep breath and let's talk calmly and sensibly. Please.

Chris


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians/singers can
From: ripov
Date: 25 May 11 - 10:15 PM

I've been very calm and sensible. I've edited a lot out!

I suppose, though, despite the wearying trudge from one pub to another, the best sessions nearly always happen accidentally, and we wouldn't really appreciate them being organised for us!

But I do think that as musicians we make a contribution to festivals that is taken for granted or ignored.


Crowhugger, my understanding about what the "fringe" is, is that in earlier times (20 years ago) it meant exactly what we've been discussing, eg the informal gatherings of whatever type of art is represented at a festival, freely provided by people who do it for love of their art (whether or not they make money out of it at other times). We're still discussing that aspect because thats how folk music works, but the financial people have discovered that here is another way to make money (I think Edinborough festival (Drama) was the first to discover this, and is probably the most famous (in the UK)), so they have managed to change the meaning to what you originally understood.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 26 May 11 - 05:01 AM

If you go somewhere a festival is taking place for the purpose of playing in sessions with other musicians who wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the festival then surely you have a moral obligation to make a financial contribution to the festival.

While I'm not saying I would not contribute a little (eg. someone's collecting tin suggestion or maybe an individual concert ticket), I would feel no moral obligation to do so.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 26 May 11 - 05:18 AM

That's often the problem. What's advertised as a session (I'm not necessarily talking about Middlewich of which I know nothing) quite often turns out to be a band performance in all but name. A session isn't just playing along with a lead musician; a good session is like a conversation, involving give and take, and does not have a predetermined agenda.
Sound like the problem is advertising and making what's 'on offer' clear. Session obviously has too many meanings and should erhaps be clarified?

I don't think I've ever been to a session where I haven't paid somewhere along the line (ticket price or popping money in a bucket on way in).

If your looking particularly for sessions....then maybe your looking in the wrong place. If you investigate carefully there are events that have 'sessions' and no 'big name bands' playing on a stage, but they might not be called 'Folk Festivals'.

I have to say when I go to festivals I always pay the ticket fee....then only see a handful of acts coz I'm too busy in the session (and have to admit when I've found the official sessions to fast or hard for me sat down in a quiet spot, started playing and was soon joined by other beginners) or going to the workshops.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 26 May 11 - 05:33 AM

Sound like the problem is advertising and making what's 'on offer' clear. Session obviously has too many meanings and should erhaps be clarified?

I may be wrong but I sometimes I think that there is a fair chance it might be be the paid artist(s) role that needs clarifying.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 26 May 11 - 05:34 AM

The young set, I think mostly students on or graduates of the Newcastle folk sausage machine and their chums, are without doubt exceptionally talented musicians and for the most part jolly nice chaps. Let me say that first. BUT common courtesy seems lacking.   When they get together in a session us mere mortals who have been keeping the traditions alive so that they can get degrees out of it and hopefully a career as well, don't have a *** in ***'s chance of slipping in the odd Rakes of Mallow. I was told that at Shepley last weekend the bar man in the beer tent asked them to stop and let somebody else have a chance for once.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 26 May 11 - 06:02 AM

Seems to be a lot of mixed messages going on here.
My two pennies.
1. Session/Singaround. Well, my main experience is Sidmouth. Anchor for songs, Radway for tunes, Bedford for a bit of a mix of both. All three are not lead by anyone, except for the stick tradition for the songs. Which makes sense really, 8 different songs being sung at the same time might start to resemble Stockhausen!
2. Open Mics. Normally half organised, name on a list type of thing, Small PA, bit like a singers night at a folk club.
3. In a town based festival, some pubs may take advantage of all the possible extra clients in town, to put on non folk events if they've got the space, to get local bands to play....(Not organised by the festival)
4. Freeloaders? Well having been booked as a paid artist many times at Sidmouth in the past, I still enjoy going, Pay for my own B&B (Not cheap) and if I fancy a concert, I'll buy a ticket. I go, mainly to see old friends and play with them, I don't think that's freeloading? Surely it all just adds to the general festive mood.
5, Marquee style festivals (Towersey for instance) They have a day ticket policy, You can get on site for a tenner, and enjoy the stalls food, ambience, etc, and normally at some point an impromptu session will kick off in the bar. There was a cracking one last year, went on for about 5 hours, and some pretty well known booked performers popped in for a pint and a tune. Not bad for a tenner.
Obviously all festivals are different, depending on their situation/location. I think it's just a case of doing a bit of research before deciding where to go. As a non singer, I wouldn't expect to go to an all singing festival and start playing lots of tunes would I?


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 May 11 - 06:32 AM

In a town based festival, some pubs may take advantage of all the possible extra clients in town, to put on non folk events if they've got the space, to get local bands to play....(Not organised by the festival)

I think that was a lot of what the OP was complaining about, and what I've found a problem - those local bands are NOT what the people attending the festival for its folk music content want to hear. But a lot of festivals attract locals for the atmosphere, or because the folk festival has been arranged to coincide with an independently organized community festival of some sort. A lot of the younger locals will expect to do some binge drinking as part of this, and the music that pubs will want to encourage that will usually be some local rock band. So you get competition for pub venues, which a session will usually lose, since, busy as it may be, it doesn't have people swilling it down the way the audience for indie-rock do.

There isn't an easy solution for this. You can't very well tell publicans to take measures to sell less booze. Sometimes it just gets to the point where the police or licencing authorities intervene, but they're as likely to simply prevent the festival going ahead at all as to try to socially engineer what happens in town venues.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 26 May 11 - 06:42 AM

Jack. It is certainly an enigma.
My specific example was thinking of the Volunteer in Sidmouth. At lunchtime the bar is full of mainly Trad singers and a sort of house band doing the odd tune. In the evening the other bar does a similar thing. But, in the back garden it's a bit more like a mixture of local bands/open mic thing. All seem to sit happily with each other. And in the Vollys defence, The pub survives the rest of the year on the takings from the Festival. It would have shut years ago without it. And I've never noticed any binge drinking there. As I say, every venue is different.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: reggie miles
Date: 26 May 11 - 12:51 PM

Guest Ralpie, you are correct, there do seem to be a lot of mixed messages going on in this thread. In the case of our local "Folk" festival, the term must be considered in the loosest possible context. Because those who have been charged with the organization of this event have tried their best to feature everything and anything and much of it can hardly be classified as Folk. As such, there are those who still recall the beginnings of this event and yearn for what it used to be.

While the event still clings to the past name rights, that features the word 'Folk' prominently, it is a mere shadow of the event it used to be. It now resembles something more like your standard variety music event, that focuses more on loud electric acts, than it does acoustic based music as it once did. Bluegrass music, and those who love that genre, played a primary role in the beginnings of this event. Of late, each year, the volume levels of the amplified stages and the casual drum circle, which sets up in the very heart of the event, has managed to increase, until those who love the occasional Bluegrass jam can hardly find a quiet moment to share an intimate acoustic tune together on the grounds.

Now compound the volume of the audio cacophony of this phony Folk event with the shamelessly bizarre way it treats actual Folk performance artists, performing acoustically on the grounds as street performers and you might begin to see the twisted and warped creature that this event has become. They not only have unconstitutional rules in place that restrict the actions of those exercising their First Amendment rights to freedom of expression, which is in direct violation of the law, but they also are asking that those who perform on the grounds, and accept donations, offer 15% to the event. Mind you, this is an event that has never offered a single dime to any of the performers who have supported this festival with their talents, freely, for decades. The hypocrisy of this request is beyond my comprehension.

The only reason for it seems to be that the event wants the power to be in control of those who choose to simply offer their acoustic entertainment on the grounds. The love of money, and in this case the lust for power, is the root of all evil actions. They attempt to gain power, over the legal actions of those offering to freely entertain on the grounds, by first painting all of those who choose do so with the broad brush of being 'out of control'. Then they wrangle together what are actually illegal restrictions and use threat of force, and actual force, against those who are acting within the law by labeling them as criminal for doing so.

That's how this event has turned the act of offering Folk music, on public property, into a criminal offense. Fortunately, the courts have ruled just the opposite. Playing Folk music on public property is not a crime!

What is truly bizarre, is why this event feigns ignorance of the law. It is they who are, in fact, out of control and out of line, in their attempts at trying to demonize and criminalize the playing of Folk music or any aspect of freedom of expression.

This event has grown fat via those who have volunteered their time, energy and their music freely and now that it has become bloated with success, they've taken to biting the hand that's been feeding that success.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 26 May 11 - 06:32 PM

Among the mixed messages seems to be a complaint that festivals are failing to provide venues for sessions, even though those sessions may be attended by people who haven't bought a festival ticket.

There are two types of session - those which form part of the festival programme and those on the fringe. The former are usually hosted by festival guests and it's quite possible that they have a different idea of how to run them than your expectations. That's not necessarily their fault, it may be what they've been briefed to do. Some "sessions" are actually intended to be opportunities to meet and play along with well-known musicians.

The other sort just happen. In my experience most festivals do identify which pubs are likely to welcome sessions, but they can't arrange for all pubs to be music-friendly, neither can they dictate to landlords what bands they can put on in their own pub.

If you don't like the way a festival organises its programmed sessions it's up to you to decide to go, or leave if it's not to your liking, just like any other festival event. To complain that they're not organising fringe sessions as well seems unreasonable to me, especially when the festival won't receive any income.

Ralphie mentioned the Radway. Great English music sessions, and for me one of the main reasons to go to Sidmouth. However they wouldn't happen without the festival. To go to Sidmouth and sit in the Radway all week without making any financial contribution to the festival seems to me mean-spirited. In reality, most people do make a contribution, whether its buying a full season ticket or just tickets to individual events.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: ripov
Date: 26 May 11 - 06:44 PM

1. the Radway sessions over what was the August Bank Holiday were going on courtesey of EFDSS long before there was a festival.
2. The Radway had to be shamed into making a contribution to Sidmouth Festival. When the music ians discovered the pub was putting nothing back in they changed venue, with the result that the pub is now a sponsor of the festival.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 26 May 11 - 07:31 PM

I wrote a book about the Sidmouth Festival.
It started in 1955, organised by EFDSS.
There were no "sessions" in the Radway before that - i doubt if the session concept in modern-day understanding had been invented then! :-) From 1949, the EFDSS organised Whit tours of Devon - morris and country dance displays - and Sidmouth was included, and by 1951 the displays were in the Connaught gardens! Early festivals saw a bit of informal music in the marine, and perhaps the Volunteer, but nothing reported in the Radway.
Incidentally, the radway is not a current Festival sponsor.
Derek Schofield


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 May 11 - 07:50 PM

The New Tavern Session in Sidmouth (Overflow bar for Carinas Nightclub) has ALWAYS been a 'Fringe' event despite the fact that for several years it has been listed on the Sidmouth Programme as Gerry Milne and Friends . AND on the Festival Map too !
Its completely free , except that we DO have an Official Festival collecting tin which Gerry rattles fairly regularly .
Sidmouth is fortunate in that it has a number of pubs where all sorts of things happen during the Festival week , including quiet boozing and socialising .
Sadly , some towns and small villages DONT have spare Bar space for informal sessions , which is NOT the fault of the Festival Organisers
And IF a Landlord decides to book a Rock Band to try to attract drinkers to his pub , thats not the Festivals fault either !
Lets try and be reasonable - As I said earlier in this thread , I am NOT a Listening Oik , but DO like to have a sing/play with other like minded people , so DONT just slag a Festival off if the local pubs dont want the 'Hairy Arsed Folkie Crowd' clurttering up their space !!


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 May 11 - 08:18 PM

Sidmouth is a town during Sidmouth week, just like it's a town at any other time. In this great nation of ours we do not have laws that either ban or criticise people for going to a town, for whatever legal reason, just because a folk festival happens to be on. If I go to Sidmouth during Sidmouth week and do not buy a ticket (I do buy one sometimes as it happens) I am no more a freeloader than if I go to Sidmouth at any other time of the year. Actually, I go to Sidmouth pretty frequently as I happen to have relatives who live in Sidmouth and in nearby East Budleigh and Exmouth. 'Tis pleasant to stroll along the prom on a fine day at any time of the year. When I go to Sidmouth I buy stuff in shops, go to tea rooms, have the odd pint and pay good money to park me car. If I happen along to Sidmouth during Sidmouth week, do some or all of these things, bring along my harmonicas and have a tune or ten wherever I can find an opportunity, I am not a freeloader. It so happens that I am there on a day when there is no band I wish to see, that's all. And I will not buy a season ticket because Sidmouth, like all such events, is, except to hard-core aficionados of the genre, a crock of shite (with occasional gleaming diamonds embedded) when it comes to stuff you have to pay for to get into. This is a free country, and I can go into towns if I want at any time and I do not wish to be called a freeloader for so doing, thanks! And, let's face it, if the sun is out and you want a tune, you can always sit on the sea front and play. Plenty of room.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 27 May 11 - 01:29 AM

Although agreeing broadly with Mr Shaw, re Sidmouth being just a town, that week and indeed for the rest of the year, I feel I must pull him up on the "Crock Of Shite" comment. maybe it would be better to say, "Some of the artists are not to my taste" A view with which I would agree. For example, as a non singer, I never go to the Anchor, as a non dancer, I avoid dance workshops, though I do go to ceilidhs when there's musicians playing that I enjoy. As for the "Fringe/Session" scene. Sidmouth is indeed lucky to have venues that allow things to happen, a lot of town festivals don't. All of which adds to the general bonhomie of the week. I know some people (who wouldn't know a folk song if it slapped them in the face) who go on holiday in Sidmouth week, just to soak up the ambience. They don't buy tickets for events, mainly because it's expensive enough for accomodation anyway, and they probably haven't heard of any of the artists too! But, they can wander into various pubs, hear singing, tunes, whatever...Various ad-hoc dance displays in the town centre and elsewhere, and have a jolly good time.
What's not to like about that?
On the whole, I think that Sidmouth gets the balance right. Well, it must be, It's been going for 56 years! (same age as me, so, I didn't get to the first one!)
Every festival here in the UK has to juggle their desires within a difficult economic framework, some have gone to the wall, which is sad. But, some continue to survive. I'm just grateful that a lot of unsung heroes carry on carrying on.
See some of you in August!


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 May 11 - 06:38 AM

And IF a Landlord decides to book a Rock Band to try to attract drinkers to his pub , thats not the Festivals fault either ! [...] DONT just slag a Festival off if the local pubs dont want the 'Hairy Arsed Folkie Crowd' cluttering up their space !!

It may not be the festival's fault, but if they can't do something about it I'm not going. I've got better things to do with my time than alternate between listening to concerts and hanging around pubs that have deservedly unknown local covers bands making both music and speech impossible. And there are enough people who think the same way as I do that a festival that ignores the problem is set for terminal decline.

Whitby gets this right. Woodbridge got it about as wrong as it is possible to be. Auchtermuchty got it wrong once and dealt with the problem.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 May 11 - 06:45 AM

OK Ralphie, I was a bit harsh there I admit. But to me it is a crock of shite with occasional gleaming diamonds because, for my sins, my tastes in traditional music are somewhat restricted. My problem. What I was trying to say was that me being who I am, not being prepared to fork out hundreds for a season ticket, and even daring to turn up on days when there is no act I wish to pay for and see, does not make me a freeloader. Sidmouth folk festival is not entitled to tell me that I am somehow less welcome to hang around as much as I want to in Sidmouth during that week just because I don't want to pay money to see stuff I'd rather not bother with. As I said, I have paid to get into a number of events over the years, which neither makes me better nor worse than anyone else hanging out in Sidmouth that week, doing whatever legal and free things are available. And call me Steve. If I'm there I'll be that hairy-faced bugger playing Irish tunes on my blues harps. On the prom tiddley-om-pom-pom.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 27 May 11 - 07:02 AM

*sigh* Why must every thread mentioning festivals turn into a 'Sidmouth Bashing' thread?
I was finding it an interesting topic....till the Sidmouth word was mentioned. I don't understand why people who hate something so much go every year it seems?

*Puts tin helmet on and ducks below parapet*


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 27 May 11 - 07:12 AM

LDT. Don't worry yourself. There are lots of people with anti Sidmouth agendas out there. It's normally around this time of year that they start bleating. I'm not sure what thir agenda might be, but it means nothing really, the festival still continues anyway! As you say, If you don't like it, don't go! (Or indeed find your own seaside town and start your own festival)


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 27 May 11 - 07:32 AM

Steve. I am now confused? Who on earth is telling you to buy a season ticket? Who is telling you that you must attend a concert/workshop/whatever?
If you want to spend a week in Sidmouth ....Fine
If you want to attend events.....Fine
If you want to sit on the Prom playing tunes.....Fine
Who exactly is telling you that you can't do what you want to do?
To my knowledge, the people I know turn up Sidmouth to say hello to old mates, hopefully make new ones, play tunes, sing songs, see some top name artists, whilst having a holiday in a very pretty town. What's your problem with that?
I'll repeat myself. If you don't approve, go somewhere else. There are thousands of people who will turn up, as they do every year. Your abscence won't be missed.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 May 11 - 09:46 AM

Well, Ralphie, there have been posts here... moral obligations and all that. For the record, in answer to the bloke above you, I'm pro-Sidmouth and have no reason to bash the festival. It's grand. It's the attitude expressed by some persons here that somehow I'm not doing my bit if I show up and don't spend dosh on the actual festival that I'm not keen on. That's all. I have shown up on a number of occasions, spent dosh and had a rattling good time. I did once go and not spend dosh, which is fine too, eh?


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 May 11 - 10:53 AM

For the record (and it's not the first time I've said it) the festival management really values the fringe. As you may know, the festival receives local government support and sponsorship from local businesses. This is in part because of what's known as the "Sidmouth Spike" - an estimated £1.5m of extra revenue which comes into the town during folkweek. If you come, eat, drink, stay locally - you are contributing to the perceived benefit to the town of having the festival there. Of course, the festival is also very grateful for the money contributed to the collecting tins, which helps to pay for some of the provision such as bands and ceilidhs at the Anchor (which are free entry) and street theatre in the town. And people who buy tickets are absolutely essential to the festival's viability. But we have no gripe with those who don't.

I would also add that we publicise fringe venues in the festival programme.


Joan Crump
Artistic Director
Sidmouth FolkWeek


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: ripov
Date: 27 May 11 - 11:54 AM

Mr Schofield, I stand corrected re the Radway. I must buy your book. Although by "session" I meant the meeting of musicians dancers and singers which I had understood were centred around the Radway originally, and at which I have no doubt music was played. I was not suggesting that any sort of music was played in the local pubs before that time, although most pubs in that era had pianos, which might presuppose that there were reasonably competent pianists in the community, if not other instrumentalists, and who played fairly frequently.

I would take issue with you over the history of sessions (but not here), but certainly the festival session where musicians play frantically for several hours until they are exhausted, and are then replaced with fresh blood, the process repeating until the publican wishes to retire, are a modern phenomenon.(although it sounds a bit like a pagan religious rite!)

If local traders profit from the festival (and they may not all do so - I don't see many saucepans bought in that marvellous shop in the middle of Sidmouth) it is only fair that they support the festival either financially or in kind. Name and shame them. If the Radway doesn't support the festival, I for one will neither play nor drink there, regardless of how good the musicians may be.

******

With a couple of exceptions I don't think there has been any "festival bashing".Sidmouth especially has provided examples, because many of us are familiar with it. I referred to the Middlewich programme beacause there was no mention of sessions, but I see on the current pages there are several listed under "Fringe".

The Sidmouth programme also has listed "fringe" session venues recently, and apparently will this year, but there is no mention of this on the (very attractive, but I hope not very expensive) website, nor any mention of workshops or tickets for them. Worrying.

*******

I am upset and annoyed that musicians playing in sessions at festivals are regarded as parasites by some people. They might reflect that the festival is to celebrate the music that we and our predecessors, and our counterparts in other countries, have played through the centuries, whether or not in uninterrupted sequence.

Joan, you know I've said before that we folkies are quite capable of having our own festival without an outside organisation to run it. But I, and all those I know, really do appreciate the effort you put in that we couldn't, most especially the facilities for children to become familiar with music while their parents have the chance to go off and dance and play, and for the more mature young musicians to learn more about the music they play. (for "music" read "almost all art forms!").   Thanks to you all.


See you in Sidmouth! I intend to enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 May 11 - 01:07 PM

I might be there too, but that Ralphie guy sounds a bit scary... ;-)


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 27 May 11 - 02:47 PM

Steve...Scary I'm not! Lol!
Ripov....a parasite?....Mmmmm sounds tasty.
Actually, this year, I will be part of the various sound crews inhabiting the Bedford and Manor Pavilion. (No Fee) At other times I'll be playing tunes in the Radway. Do come and say hello.
Regards


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 May 11 - 08:08 PM

Glad to hear it. At six foot nowt I'm only little...


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 May 11 - 03:45 AM

Ripov, you will be pleased to hear that the new website was not at all expensive as these things go. The design was created for us by Jude Abbot of Chumbawamba (a collective not really known for their capitalist greed) - when she's not making music, she's a web designer. The artwork was created by Bryan Ledgard, as part of his wider brief as designer for the festival. So very cost-efficient.

We only sell advance tickets for some events, so these are the ones currently advertised on the website. When the full programme is on sale next month it will, as always, be downloadable from the website, and all information about workshops and fringe venues (and many other events) will be there.

Joan Crump


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 09:33 AM

Much of what you say makes a lot of sense ripov. How was Sidmouth?

Chris


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: LesB
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 12:46 PM

Why has this thread become 'another Sidmouth thread'? The world doesn't start & and at Sidmouth. There are plenty of other festivals out there.
For my tu pence worth. If we are talking about sessions (singing or playing) at festivals, then the money spent on food/drink/accomadation, goes into the local economy. Not the festival bank account.
I feel that if sessions are held at a festival then it is beholding of the participants to contribute something financially to the festival (even if only passing a collecting tin around). Otherwise there won't be a festival & it'll just be a bunch of people meeting in a pub (although there is now't wrong with that).
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 07:26 PM

We ARE talking about BOTH singing or playing sessions at festivals Les.

Clumsily I entered a thread title that was far too long ("How many wandering musicians/singers can't find a session?")but because it was far too long it came out as "How many wandering musicians/singers can" (see start of this thread)!

So I contacted Joe Offer to see if he could help me out so it made more sense and Joe very kindly reduced the typo as much as possible but it wasn't possible to include the "/singers" as well.

Joe did a great job and I am very grateful for his interjection and it was my silly fault for not thinking when I posted the thread in the first place. Doh!

So please do take into account that we are looking at the needs of BOTH musicians AND singers here and not just musicians.

Hope that makes some sense and clears up any confusion.

Many thanks.

Chris


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Jun 11 - 07:50 PM

Oh dear. Unless my eyes deceive me I've just realised that ALL the typo here on Mudcat has got smaller! Better go to Specsavers!

Hope I aren't to blame and all other typo size was changed to come into line so folk can post longer titles like mine. If so, I apologise in advance if you don't like it.

Chris


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST,Ted Crum (Steamchicken)
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 07:10 PM

Try the Moor and Coast tent. Almost always a nexus of music after the pubs shut.


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 07:44 PM

Howya Ted. My chrom playing has improved no end... ;-)

Steve (Martin's mate...)


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 07:48 PM

I am that guest. Flippin' BT fon or whatever it calls itself...


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Subject: RE: How many wandering musicians can't find a session?
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Jun 11 - 06:43 AM

well in the UK (Mid West parts thereof) you could try cresby.com and if my lists are not enough try the numerous links I provide to other information junkies. Both around my area and further a-field. I even have links to Scandinavia and parts of North America.

And if you want to find all that I list within a radius of a chosen town try my "found here" page and choose a town/village.


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