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Overunning sets/sessions

SPB-Cooperator 23 Jul 12 - 12:31 AM
s&r 23 Jul 12 - 05:29 AM
Will Fly 23 Jul 12 - 05:43 AM
Leadfingers 23 Jul 12 - 05:49 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Jul 12 - 06:21 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Jul 12 - 06:52 AM
OlgaJ 23 Jul 12 - 10:35 AM
Midchuck 23 Jul 12 - 10:46 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 23 Jul 12 - 11:13 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Jul 12 - 11:26 AM
Will Fly 23 Jul 12 - 11:28 AM
Midchuck 23 Jul 12 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Peter 23 Jul 12 - 12:09 PM
GUEST 23 Jul 12 - 01:02 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Jul 12 - 03:39 PM
Phil Cooper 23 Jul 12 - 03:49 PM
Steve Gardham 23 Jul 12 - 05:32 PM
Les from Hull 23 Jul 12 - 05:51 PM
SPB-Cooperator 24 Jul 12 - 02:44 AM
SPB-Cooperator 24 Jul 12 - 02:59 AM
Howard Jones 24 Jul 12 - 03:53 AM
Arthur_itus 24 Jul 12 - 04:46 AM
My guru always said 24 Jul 12 - 05:57 AM
G-Force 24 Jul 12 - 06:44 AM
kendall 24 Jul 12 - 07:08 AM
Joe Nicholson 24 Jul 12 - 12:01 PM
Tattie Bogle 24 Jul 12 - 03:41 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Jul 12 - 04:08 PM
Nick 24 Jul 12 - 06:08 PM
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Subject: Overunning sets/sessions
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 12:31 AM

I'm sure all performers have experienced this at some stage'

For example, a festival is running a 3 hour session with 6 acts (ie 6 x 30 minutes), and no mc - the acts hand over to each other.

Act 1 turns up when they are due to start, spend 20 minutes setting up, and then play for 30 minutes.

Act 2 then overuns their set by 15 minutes.

By now the event is overrunning by 35 minutes:

What should the other 4 acts do?

Option 1 - each of the other acts cut there sets by 10 minutes (which we did last time this happened)?

Option 2 - cut one of the performers?

I'm sure there are even worse horror stories - not just from the perspective of the performers but also audiences who may have come to see a particular act and were short-changed. I've been to some clubs which had a guest booked, the mc got the 2nd half started off late, spent ages trying to get his huitar ion tune, and finished his spot halfway into the guest's time.

So, another question, what should the proper etiquette be for keeping timings on track?


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: s&r
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 05:29 AM

Have an MC

Stu


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 05:43 AM

It's quite simple. You have strict time slots for each act. Within that time slot they set up, play and get off. End of story. If their slot is 30 minutes and they set up in 20, they get 10 minutes to play and get off.

I help to run an annual one day "back garden" festival each year. The rules are simple - 15 minutes or 3 songs -then you're off. We get through the usual 20 acts or so and finish dead on time.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 05:49 AM

Even more to the point , have an MC with sufficient strength of character to 'hook' an act as soon as they start to overrun .
When I was MC ing Uxbridge , we had a ten minute floor spot time . One young trio were about to introduce their fourth song whenI told them NO ! "But we timed four songs as ten minutes!"
"Was that with or without intruductions?"
It is NOT professional to NOT have your act suitably timed !


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 06:21 AM

It is one of the few advantages of having amplification. You can turn it off.

Running over is either incompetent or rude or both.

My daughter's first rock band were LOVED by the pubs they played in because they ALWAYS rehearsed the set with introductions and timed it and the pub could be SURE that they were not going to get legal problems because the music ran on late.

When timing your set in rehearsal, remember that introductions end to get longer in a live setting and also that the songs tend to get played a fraction faster.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 06:52 AM


Even more to the point , have an MC with sufficient strength of character to 'hook' an act as soon as they start to overrun .


I wrote here a while ago about the Dylan Night From Hell, featuring among other things an act that did Percy's Song at a nice steady andante (16 verses) and the guy who did I want you & took the first verse at speaking pace to show off the lyrics... then took the rest of the song at the same pace. Both excellent performances, but they really needed an evening of nice brisk songs to set them off. As the evening wore on, the MC actually asked people to do shorter songs, or cut a few verses out of the longer ones if necessary - "so no Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, no Desolation Row with all the verses, all right?". Two acts later and what did we hear...

They're selling postcards of the hanging
They're painting the passports brown


Every bloody line of every interminable verse of Desolation Pigging Row, taken at the authentic funereal trudge. (I'm a big fan of Dylan generally, but I've never much liked that song.) Unfortunately the MC let the blighter get on with it. There was never a better case for a gong, or a strategically-placed round of applause (I've seen somebody being clapped off stage in mid-song, although in that case it was accidental).

(I did Hard Rain the year before. Three minutes flat. Stormed it.)


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: OlgaJ
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 10:35 AM

Agree with the get an MC bit but make sure the MC isn't going to take up too much of the allocated time him/herself. Had experience of this recently when we were playing a ceilidh with a half hour break. The MC was a brilliant solo performer in his own right but managed to stretch the break to 45 minutes with not just one but two very long monologues of his own as well as introducing a couple of very good acts who would have filled the half hour on their own. We had to make sure we were back on stage the minute the last act finished just in case he started up again. It probably seemed a bit rude but it was the only way we could think of to retain the dancers.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Midchuck
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 10:46 AM

Dylan enthusiasts, Sensitive Singer-Songwriters, Traditional ballad singers, and old-timey or Celtic instrumental groups, are all serious threats to scheduling. All performers should be told outright that they have X minutes of stage time, however they use it. And that doesn't mean they can start a 3- or 4-minute (or more) song if they have a minute left, and be upset if they aren't allowed to finish. A mean MC with a hook is usually a necessity.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 11:13 AM

We once drove half the length of the country to do an hour's set in an arts centre that HAD to close at a certain time in the evening. The MC - who was supposed to just do a couple of warm-up numbers and then introduce us - performed for a full hour (I timed it). This left us exactly 20 minutes, for an audience who had paid to see us (the presenter was local, so pretty visible already in that area).

Hogging (and that's what it is) more than your fair share of stage time, whether you're a guest or the MC, is unforgivable. I always have a small portable clock with me so I can monitor the time because I know how distorted it can get in your perceptions when you're concentrating on your artistic material. Anyone with an ounce of professionalism or even just plain experience will have already learned how misleading this can be.

I think organisers either investing in or borrowing a large, easily-visible plastic battery-driven wall clock, placed where it can be easily seen from the performing area, is the way to go. You don't need a wall to hang them on: they balance against the back of a chair just fine. It will get rid of the old I-didn't-know-what-the-time-was getout.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 11:26 AM

Look, I can do Sir Patrick Spens in under 5 minutes.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 11:28 AM

In the days of music-hall, many acts might be told at the very last minute exactly how long their spot was going to be - particularly if they were not top-of-the-bill. "We've changed the order tonight - you're number two, second half - six minutes exactly".

Not an unusual request from a theatre manager, which meant that you had to be completely at home with your material - so much so that you could do your spot to the second without looking at your watch. Seems it's a dying art these days. I pride myself on not pissing about on stage - tune up beforehand with just perhaps a minor tweak between numbers; just a little pre-song chat to break the ice - no more than 30 seconds if possible - and get off (hopefully to monstrous applause) when done. People may or may not like what I do, but they can't say I've over-run or hogged the limelight.

At my monthly pub session, which I host, I ensure that everyone gets their turn to start a tune or song off in strict order - no jumping in on the spur of the moment from anyone. This rule runs from 8pm to 10.30pm (Sunday) when I abdicate the throne, grab another large glass of merlot and let the free-for-all begin - and it generally ends around midnight or so... long after I've gone home!


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Midchuck
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 11:50 AM

Look, I can do Sir Patrick Spens in under 5 minutes.

But only if he'll hold still.

P.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 12:09 PM

A club that I used to go to had the MC from hell. The floor singers would be overrunning and a couple of his mates would walk in at 10:30 so he would still give them a floor spot, ending up with the paid guest playing for about 15 minutes.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 01:02 PM

I am old enough to have done Music Hall or a version with Horace Mashford at the Ally Pally in the 70 and at Battersea Town Hall. No messing you did your spot and that was it otherwise not paid or booked again

One act used backing tapes which did not work - as they stood there the curtain was brought down and the next act wheeled in. You need an MC is who not going to hog the spotlight themselves Still its all part of the shambolic charm of folk music


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 03:39 PM

Midchuck - that takes the fun out of it. You must know the verse - "Where can I find a little cabin boy/to take my helm in hand..."


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 03:49 PM

I agree, if running on time is important, than there should be an MC.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 05:32 PM

Paid professionals should be able to organise their time correctly full stop. If like many events on the folk scene you have amateurs performing and timing is important then it needs policing. A firm but fair MC is vital. MCs are undervalued IMHO. They can make or break a good concert. Without making it obvious to the audience they have to police the programme effectively whilst at the same time keeping a calm jolly atmosphere going. Being a schizo sometimes helps.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Les from Hull
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 05:51 PM

I don't go to many concerts at festivals, but I'm always pleased to see an experienced MC running the concert. So, organisers, please employ these people if you want to make the most of your event. And they are often experienced performers themselves able to fill in in cases of emergency.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 02:44 AM

The scenario I originally mentioned was at a festival session - no mc - the acts were expected to go on, do their set and hand over to the next act.

Good manners suggests that each act should take responsibility for there timing. Where a festival organiser does not provide someone to keep control, then should the acts 'elect' an mc for the session?


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 02:59 AM

even their timing......

When we used to do sets, we had a book with all the song timings and we allowed five minutes for the mc's intro, and even the possibility we might occasionally get applause!!!

If we were doing a short spot, we also had stock medleys. There were, however, occassions when one of our number would deliver a lecture rather than a song intro I think we cut our set from 8 to 3 songs.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 03:53 AM

I agree entirely, but some festivals give no thought to allowing time for the artists to get between performances. A certain festival is notorious for programming events which allow a band about half an hour to pack everything up after one performance, load the cars, get across a busy town to the next venue, unload, find somewhere to park, set up the PA and sound chsck.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 04:46 AM

I have seen this happen before and it is not acceptable.
I always allow 15 minutes in between each set. That gives time for the next act to be up and running and gives peopel a chance to go for a pee or drink etc.
Having an MC who controls the timing is so important.
I provide a printout of the timings for each artist to see, which shows clearly what time they are on etc etc.
It's not rocket science, just needs good preparation.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: My guru always said
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 05:57 AM

A festival programming a 'session' with scheduled performers with no MC? A recipe for disaster! Agree with all comments regarding competent MC's, they're wonderful and I rely on them as a performer.

As I don't wear a watch I make a point of asking the MC to ensure they clearly give me the sign for 1 or 2 songs, whichever their usual method is. I arrange my unaccompanied sets so that there are always 1 or 2 songs that I could drop before my final song if needs be. I've got a pretty good idea of timing, but sometimes song introductions need to be longer if the audience are feeling chatty.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: G-Force
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 06:44 AM

One problem is when an act does so well that the audience demand an encore, and the MC has to disappoint no just the act but the audience too. I have seen MC's put in an impossible position, but fortunately in each case the next act got on, and were clever enough to get the crowd on their side quite quickly.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: kendall
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 07:08 AM

Definition of manners: Making others feel comfortable. Running over your time does just the opposite.
I always wore a watch with the face turned under so I could keep track of the time without being obvious about it.

Amateurs and egotists tend to run over, so an MC is necessary.

One time at Fox Hollow a certain singer went over her time and the boss told her that her time was up. She protested, "I'm not finished", and he said "Yes you are" and pulled her mike.

Before I went on he put his arm around my shoulder and in a very patronizing way reminded me that I had so much time and no more. I didn't mind the reminder because I never ran over when I performed, but the arm on the shoulder put him on my shit list.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Joe Nicholson
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 12:01 PM

It sounds like a complete lack of communication. There should be an MC who should attend sound checks, talk to the performers, ask them if they will time there own performance or need a prompt. and ask them not to over-run. That way they will understand that timing is important. Anything less is just messing about.

Joe Nicholson


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 03:41 PM

I agree with Arthur itis about preparation being the key. At our Festival we run a couple of stages of shortish slots. I get tech requirements from all performers in advance and pass these to the sound engineers well in advance of the day. All performers get a timetable emailed to them, and printed copies are on site, so they should know exactly when they are due on (and to arrive before appointed time). They are advised that the MC will give them a signal for "just one more". Our MCs are Committee members and volunteers and not paid professionals but they do a grand job: i provide them with very brief notes about each performer or group in case they don't already know them. If there is a slight hiatus while the next performers are setting up, they are perfectly capable of "winging it": either by singing a song or telling a joke. And I take my hat off to our tech men for their very rapid changeovers. I can't say hand on heart that we've NEVER over-run, but we usually keep pretty close to the tight schedule.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 04:08 PM

Life may get sabotaged by big name performers who can take an hour (I am not joking) to soundcheck one mic, plus one guitar, and one banjo through his own onstage gadget - and then a soundman apparently more akin with reggae bands who could not handle the input impedance requirements of a different act's guitar with an onboard preamp that works fine with everyone else's rig!

It was not however in any sense a session.


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Subject: RE: Overunning sets/sessions
From: Nick
Date: 24 Jul 12 - 06:08 PM

>>Look, I can do Sir Patrick Spens in under 5 minutes.

It seemed shorter even when I was waiting to play :)


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