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Where are the youngsters?

GUEST,FloraG 18 Aug 12 - 05:16 AM
GUEST 18 Aug 12 - 05:22 AM
terrier 18 Aug 12 - 05:36 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Aug 12 - 05:53 AM
Ole Juul 18 Aug 12 - 05:59 AM
Marje 18 Aug 12 - 06:29 AM
theleveller 18 Aug 12 - 07:00 AM
Musket 18 Aug 12 - 07:20 AM
Frug 18 Aug 12 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,FloraG 18 Aug 12 - 08:04 AM
GUEST 18 Aug 12 - 08:20 AM
Frug 18 Aug 12 - 08:36 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Aug 12 - 08:47 AM
theleveller 18 Aug 12 - 09:18 AM
Northerner 18 Aug 12 - 01:55 PM
Ebbie 18 Aug 12 - 02:56 PM
selby 18 Aug 12 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,999 18 Aug 12 - 03:03 PM
Elmore 18 Aug 12 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,Mike the Flute 18 Aug 12 - 05:07 PM
selby 18 Aug 12 - 05:24 PM
Frug 18 Aug 12 - 05:44 PM
selby 18 Aug 12 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Ted Crum (Steamchicken) 18 Aug 12 - 06:40 PM
GUEST 18 Aug 12 - 07:11 PM
Rob Naylor 18 Aug 12 - 07:26 PM
Rob Naylor 18 Aug 12 - 07:55 PM
Rob Naylor 18 Aug 12 - 09:17 PM
gnu 18 Aug 12 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,FloraG 19 Aug 12 - 05:16 AM
theleveller 19 Aug 12 - 05:29 AM
Frug 19 Aug 12 - 05:44 AM
selby 19 Aug 12 - 05:55 AM
Frug 19 Aug 12 - 06:20 AM
Northerner 19 Aug 12 - 04:45 PM
Paul Reade 19 Aug 12 - 07:21 PM
Allan Conn 20 Aug 12 - 03:08 AM
theleveller 20 Aug 12 - 03:10 AM
Allan Conn 20 Aug 12 - 03:18 AM
GUEST,FloraG 20 Aug 12 - 04:37 AM
Marje 20 Aug 12 - 05:38 AM
theleveller 20 Aug 12 - 07:23 AM
theleveller 20 Aug 12 - 07:27 AM
Acorn4 20 Aug 12 - 07:38 AM
Allan Conn 20 Aug 12 - 07:54 AM
TheSnail 20 Aug 12 - 08:36 AM
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theleveller 22 Aug 12 - 04:36 AM
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Ole Juul 22 Aug 12 - 05:33 AM
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Musket 22 Aug 12 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Aug 12 - 09:11 AM
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maeve 22 Aug 12 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,matt milton 22 Aug 12 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 22 Aug 12 - 11:46 AM
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selby 22 Aug 12 - 01:56 PM
Vic Smith 22 Aug 12 - 02:14 PM
selby 22 Aug 12 - 02:50 PM
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maeve 22 Aug 12 - 05:40 PM
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GUEST,999 22 Aug 12 - 05:52 PM
maeve 22 Aug 12 - 06:11 PM
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Rob Naylor 22 Aug 12 - 07:16 PM
Ole Juul 22 Aug 12 - 11:02 PM
selby 23 Aug 12 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,matt milton 23 Aug 12 - 05:31 AM
TopcatBanjo 23 Aug 12 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Banjiman 23 Aug 12 - 06:40 AM
TopcatBanjo 23 Aug 12 - 07:07 AM
Jack's Rake 25 Aug 12 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,FloraG 25 Aug 12 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 25 Aug 12 - 06:51 PM
Eric the Viking 25 Aug 12 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 25 Aug 12 - 07:59 PM
Jack Campin 25 Aug 12 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,Tony 25 Aug 12 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,FloraG 26 Aug 12 - 04:04 AM
Jack Campin 26 Aug 12 - 05:57 AM
Jack's Rake 26 Aug 12 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Tony 26 Aug 12 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,FloraG 26 Aug 12 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Tony 26 Aug 12 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,FloraG 26 Aug 12 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Tony 26 Aug 12 - 02:42 PM
GUEST 26 Aug 12 - 05:31 PM
Rob Naylor 26 Aug 12 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,999 26 Aug 12 - 07:38 PM
Allan Conn 27 Aug 12 - 02:29 AM
GUEST,FloraG 27 Aug 12 - 04:21 AM
GUEST 27 Aug 12 - 08:13 AM
TopcatBanjo 27 Aug 12 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Tony 27 Aug 12 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Ripov (not at home) 27 Aug 12 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,tony Rath aka Tonyteach 27 Aug 12 - 01:01 PM
selby 27 Aug 12 - 03:26 PM
Jack Campin 27 Aug 12 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,Ripov (not at home) 27 Aug 12 - 07:25 PM
Rob Naylor 27 Aug 12 - 07:37 PM
Jack Campin 27 Aug 12 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,FloraG 28 Aug 12 - 03:56 AM
theleveller 28 Aug 12 - 04:24 AM
theleveller 28 Aug 12 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach 28 Aug 12 - 05:32 AM
theleveller 28 Aug 12 - 05:59 AM
Musket 28 Aug 12 - 06:25 AM
selby 28 Aug 12 - 08:04 AM
Richard Bridge 28 Aug 12 - 09:14 AM
John P 28 Aug 12 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Julia_Writer 28 Aug 12 - 09:42 AM
theleveller 28 Aug 12 - 10:11 AM
TheSnail 28 Aug 12 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,FloraG 28 Aug 12 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Vincethecat 28 Aug 12 - 11:15 AM
theleveller 28 Aug 12 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,FloraG 28 Aug 12 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Banjiman 28 Aug 12 - 12:46 PM
Allan Conn 28 Aug 12 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,FloraG 28 Aug 12 - 01:15 PM
selby 28 Aug 12 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Banjiman 28 Aug 12 - 02:26 PM
Richard Bridge 28 Aug 12 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,FloraG 29 Aug 12 - 04:19 AM
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Subject: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:16 AM

Popped down to Broadstairs festival yesterday - what joy a bus pass is - amd met a lot of old friends - but where are the youngsters? Its the same people who were there 10 years ago - and some 20 or 30.
Some morris sides have youngsters and some of the paid guests were youngish, but where are the rest?
Should this be of concern?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:22 AM

yes, it should be a concern. The only answer I can think of, is that the general collapse of musical literacy means that they simply aren't there


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: terrier
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:36 AM

Yes, it should be a concern, how us older generation have lost touch with how we you'st to be, how the youngsters now/still are. Maybe the difference is that as youngsters, we were ready to ride on the backs of the older, more experienced musos/singers, whereas now the up and comming players are looking for new avenues to explore and they are doing it in their own way at their own venues.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:53 AM

IMHO most "youngsters" who folk want to participate in music/song and/or undertake energetic dance. Broadstairs is still short of the variety of participation that Sidmouth offers, its pubs (unlike 20 years ago) are full of electric mid-atlantic or worse music.

When I was last there the experience of playing for the morris was unsatisfying (even compared to the norm), with sound overlapping sound, shortage of decent pitches, grockles walking through dances etc.

Of course an alternative explanation is that the "yoof" are avoiding the oldies and are there somewhere pissing themselves with laughter at the oldies trying to connect with the young.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:59 AM

I don't know if there's a collapse of musical literacy as Mrs Guest suggests. Things are certainly different. I think one way to describe the "new world" is that it is extremely passive. Playing an instrument is a lot of work. Singing is tiresome and makes people look at you. Basically anything that us old farts liked to do, now has an average age of participants over 60. Hell, where I live, the average age of farmers is close to 65. Basically, anything that involves work, does not appeal to youngsters.

PS: I promise I'll write something positive next time I post.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Marje
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 06:29 AM

I wouldn't go as far as Ole Juul above, but I do agree that passive consumption of music is more common among younger people, while active participation, especially singing, is something many of them avoid. This means that the more traditional festivals are largely peopled by the over-50s, who are more comfortable in their (wrinkling) skins and more prepared to risk playing or singing or learning a new dance form in front of others.

Live, natural music is unfamiliar to many people now. The raw sound of unprocessed, unplugged, unamplified singing or playing sounds alien to the ear of many youngsters, who think that music must entail a microphone and a sophisticated sound system with backing tracks.

There's also the media-influenced emphasis on fame and commercial success, which encourages many young people to hope that their Youtube video will go viral and get them a recording contract and a concert tour. In a few cases it may do, but the rest will have a hard time in the competitive market of the music business. In time they will perhaps accept that it's still fun to get involved and make music with friends even when you don't get paid or become famous, but they may have to face some disappointment first.

I don't think any of this necessarily means there's a problem. Athough there is a solid core of older folkies who have been on the scene since the 1960s or 70s, many of the current over-50s didn't really get involved in folk music until they were 40 or more. There's no reason to think that younger people won't drift in the direction of more participative involvement as they get older. At least, I hope I'm right.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 07:00 AM

Well I know where one (12-year old) is - she's up in her bedroom and having ditched the cello and violin for guitar and keyboard is inventing her own tunes, chord sequences and shapes, creating amazing sounds and singing at the top of her voice. Despite being brought up in a folk environment, however, that's not her preferred style. She's just finished appearing in a wonderful local production of Les Miserables but isn't interested in performing solo yet.

Let's face it, folk does not, generally, attract - or even welcome - youngsters. Who, at that age, would want to get embroiled in the 'what is folk', accompanied v unaccompanied, trad. v singer/songwriter debacles that tear our potentially wonderful musical scene apart? I'm totally pissed off with it myself and with many of the old farts (I can say that because I'm 63) who thnk they have ownership of it, to the the extent that I rarely go to clubs these days and to only 1 or 2 local festivals. So how can I expect my daughter to want to take part? She's got her own agenda and is loving it.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Musket
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 07:20 AM

Here here leveller.

I found a couple of local places (not far from you either..) that are nice places to go, but let's face it, the "young" people love folk more than ever before. Only thing is. the eternal "what is folk?"

I sang a Seth Lakeman song recently and was asked afterwards if, as I seem to know the folk scene, whether I sang any folk songs........

Yeah, go to Cambridge, Cropedy, pop along to a Kate Rusby concert or Bellowhead. If Carthy & co are doing an Imagined Village concert, buy a ticket.

You will find how folk is a young person's game nowadays.

It's just that sitting in a crummy back room of a pub whilst old Fred gets a folder out and sings about Norfolk reed cutting in a pub near Doncaster isn't the same thing. Fred & co are enjoying themselves and good luck to them. But to expect anybody to buy into it? Perhaps a polite once in a lifetime visit for the novelty, but sadly, folk clubs are missing the point these days, the point of abstract entertainment.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Frug
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 07:47 AM

Ditto that Leveller. My 2 sons are excellent performers in their own right/style, as are several of my nephews and nieces, I am constantly exposed to the younger musical element. Based on my experience the musical future is in good hands.... its dynamic, imaginative and creative and has its own outlets and venues. I don't agree with the slightly disparaging views espoused above. Lets face it you ain't gonna see much basketball played at the old folks home and hence don't expect to see rashes of younger folk at trad fests. However I would encourage folks to go and seek out the local acoustic indie scene, I find lots of it a damn sight more stimulating than the same old same old that festivals churn out. Go see whats happening at local high school and college concerts. A lot of it is stunning..... I do have to laugh when I hear my sons talking about music being old school, hard core, post hard core, non scene, street etc. Not only is the future of music safe, so is the future of debate and controversy. Now then what is folk music?

Frank


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 08:04 AM

Broadstairs has its own agenda - but the problem is not just for Broadstairs.

Broadstairs could go a long way to solve the problems by not having the PA from the bandstand so loud. We could hear the din at the ice cream parlour yesterday- about 300 yards away. The morris sides do not have to dance at the most restricted bit of the prom - forcing the people who just want to get to the beach to run the gauntlet of money collectors. Morris and appalachian sides also don't need 3 drums or amplified instuments - drowning out the next performer who is more considerate.

Musket - my concern is that 30 years ago there were people of 30 and under in the sessions. Now we are all 60 there are few people under 40. Are these sessions going to die out? Will it get more difficult to have sessions as the departing are not replaced? The Sidmouth concerts were also predominantly 60+ and the sessions not much better.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 08:20 AM

I did mean it, about the collapse of musical literacy. Not only are youngsters more passive, but the teaching of music on schools is much reduced, and far fewer youngsters have anyone at all in their families who plays an instrument of any kind.

Plus, youngsters will no longer buy into the whole Pete Seeger/New Seekers/Joan Baez thing. The generation who are 60 now, once believed they could change the world. Today's youngsters don't, and point to Seeger's limo by way of illustration.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Frug
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 08:36 AM

Evidence please guest as to the demise of musical literacy, familial musicianship and lack of change philosophy? Why should they buy in to the same influences we did. There are plenty of more contemporary musical role models with a political message. Oh and by the way I still think that there's a change the world movement. Maybe its just not happening within your orbit.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 08:47 AM

I don't think the observation, if intended to be general, that there are no youngsters in sessions is accurate. They are fairly uncommon in singarounds, but at Sweeps the outside session at the Good Intent has a significant representation of younger people.

Music in general has become more something that is consumed than something that is made, and (drifting now off the purely age factor) in my Lower Coke Winter Sings I do hear expressions from villagers about the boldness of those of us who stand up (or stay sitting down) and sing. It is seen as uncommon, yet we do have or have had a number of villagers who play or sing - Chris, the caretaker from the School, Roland and his ex-army songs (restricted mostly to the politer ones), Peter who does Roy Orbison on the karaoke nights but is happy to tear of a Goodnight Irene with the folkies. We even had a classic Romany Rai in who did promise to come back and do some of the old songs - but alas he did not.

The pub booked a 15 year old girl songwriter-guitarist and she went off very well.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 09:18 AM

I suppose it also depends what you mean by 'youngsters'. For me that's anyone under 30 - and there are plenty of brilliant folk performers, both amateur and professional, who fit into that category.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Northerner
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 01:55 PM

It's the same here at Whitby. I was at an excellent concert here in Whitby this afternoon, but I don't think many of the audience were under 60. There are some talented youngsters around. I know of two very talented boys in my area, 13 and 14, doing bookings with their parents, but they are doing American music, not British. Many of the youngsters are only interested in the pop culture. I was at a talent contest in the spring, lots of youngsters, all trying to copy either the latest pop star or street dance troupe. It's great that youngsters are getting down to making music but it seems be only one genre.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Ebbie
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 02:56 PM

In Juneau, Alaska, USA, the annual Alaska Folk Festival seemed to draw few young performers as well as young audiences- for awhile it looked like the average age of a festival goer was over-forty. Now, suddenly it seems, there are scads of the young ones, everything from solo performers to duets to comedy musical acts to highland dancing supported by pipes to you name it. These youngsters range in age from about 7 to 20.

And whenever there is a 'young' act, tons of young folks flood the auditorium. High schoolers are obviously very supportive of their own; it is fun to see.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 02:57 PM

We as parents are slightly to blame we bought all our kids instruments, they went to festival workshops, then we sent them to folkworks. They are all sat in sessions playing music very very competently they are also dancing a lot are doing rapper although I saw a tremendous young cotswold side at Warwick. My eldest son (24) and chums have done Warwick to Sidmouth to Whitby finishing up at Shrewsbury. My youngest son has lead a workshopThey are there but as was stated earlier they go for the likes of Bellowhead Whapweasel I am sure when we where younger people thought the same. But in my opinion folk music is well save
Keith


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 03:03 PM

Some of you may find this interesting/instructive to read.

Scroll down and after the Carthy blurb there are comments from people taht are pertinent to this thread, imo.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Elmore
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 03:40 PM

At the festivals in the U.S. there are a fair amount of young people, at the concerts not so many. I recall a specific concert a few years ago. I said to myself, " look at all these old geezers." Then, to my chagrin I realized the geezers were my age.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Mike the Flute
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:07 PM

I think the issue raised here goes well beyond folk or any other kind of music. I have belonged all my life to various groups, societies and association, musical and otherwise, both in this country and in France - and the question is always the same: "Where are all the young people?" Years ago, in my 40s, I wondered why I was among the youngest members present. Now I am the wrong side of 60, nothing much has changed.

I think the issue is that - to generalise - younger (i.e under 30) people do not wish to be involved in formal groups or organised events. We are now in an age of Facebook, Twitter and the cult of instant gratification, with a lack of inclination to accept ongoing commitments and responsibilities. My own opinion, and that of many of my friends, is that many events and societies will die out with our generation - indeed, as is already seen to be happening. (Why else would the question have been posed?

Mike


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:24 PM

Mike I have to disagree I know from my sons and their friends social networking on the net enhances rather then detracts. they post bands to see, gems they have found on the net and share it with everyone.
Keith


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Frug
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:44 PM

Again in my experience young people are organising, performing and acting as promoters. indeed there are also several young person driven recording facilities locally. Also as Selby indicates the net makes networking a great deal easier these days.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 06:06 PM

I agree totally Frug the young ones are doing as much as we ever did and arguably more.
Keith


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Ted Crum (Steamchicken)
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 06:40 PM

Moor and Coast tent long after the likes of you and me have retired to bed. That's where you'll see the future.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 07:11 PM

Marge: I wouldn't go as far as Ole Juul above, but I do agree that passive consumption of music is more common among younger people, while active participation, especially singing, is something many of them avoid.

I keep seeing this being trotted out on Mudcat, but IMO it's simply not true. There was just as much "passive consumption", manufactured bands and "written to a formula" music back in the 60s and 70s as there is now.

And equally, there are just as many kids now playing, singing and writing songs as there were back then....they're just not doing it where *you* are!

I go to events and sessions locally where I'm often the oldest person there, and the sheer breadth and depth of talent amongst local youngsters is amazing. I can think of 8 or 10 local young vocalists who either sing solo, in duos or front bands who are better than anyone I've heard on any of the TV "talent" shows, and the number of talented young musicians living within a 10 mile radius is astounding. Almost all the youngsters I know play or sing.

There's little crossover, though...I've tried getting some of the "session and singaround attenders" to events at venues the younger people go to, without any interest from them at all. I've had more success getting youngsters along to some of the more "traddy" sessions and singarounds, but they don't stay. Former denizens of the (late lamented) High Brooms Tavern sessions will recall half a dozen or so under 25s who I brought along. They didn't stick....they liked a lot of the music but were put off by some of the interminable unaccompanied ballads and especially by the "music hall" type songs full of casual racism and sexism.

You can't expect them to want to attend the same kinds of events as their parents and grandparents enjoy...in much the same was as, in the early 70s I'd be found in the back rooms of pubs listening to kids my own age, rather than going along with parents to Spen Valley Amateur Operatics or understanding their love of Perry Como.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 07:26 PM

"Guest" above was me with a dead cookie.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 07:55 PM

Oh, and it's not just local to Kent and Sussex: I frequently work in Devon and the Axminster Open Mic nights get some *really* talented youngsters along.

This session *is* actually very mixed, with about the same percentage of under 30s as over 45s....but the younger ones are generally the better musicians

There are several studios around the area, set up and run by some of the youngsters on a shoestring. One duo have had one of their (self-recorded, engineered and mixed) songs featured on the British "Yoof Soap" "Hollyoaks" a couple of times and at least 3 of the other regular young attenders have had their songs "picked up" and recorded by big-name artistes.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 09:17 PM

Mike The Flute: We are now in an age of Facebook, Twitter and the cult of instant gratification, with a lack of inclination to accept ongoing commitments and responsibilities. My own opinion, and that of many of my friends, is that many events and societies will die out with our generation - indeed, as is already seen to be happening.

To an extent, yes, but I disagree that it's a lack of inclination to accept committments. It's preciely the rise of on-line and instant communication that's reducing the *need* for societies and clubs.

For example, the Climbing Club that I'm a member of still operates, but when I first joined, its *focus* was the regular "Home" meet in a pub, with a guest speaker to show some slides and talk about a trip. At those meets the hard-copy newsletters would be given out and plans for weekend and day trips to Scotland, Wales or the Peak District discussed. Pre-arranged meeting points for passenger consolidation into fewer cars were needed.

Now, the club is essentially run on Facebook and its website. There is no longer a newsletter, articles are uploaded to the site and linked to FB. Lift arrangements are made infomally by text. Venues don't have to be pre-planned and rigidly stuck to because you're meeting someone at "X" en-route....if the online weather shows rain in Wales you can switch at the last minute via SMS and FB feeds to the Peak District, for example. There is now a much-reduced need for a committee.

In fact, although nominally still a member, I hardly interact with the local club at all any more, as I have dozens of climbing contacts all over the country on Facebook, and the need to be a "member" of an organisation with "subs" just isn't there. Right now, in the last 20 minutes, I've arranged, from Sakhalin in the Russian Far East, to meet a friend from Glossop, another one from Ft William and 2 more from Aberdeen, on Skye on the 22nd Sept. All done in 10 minutes on FB with shared transport worked out between myself and Glossop Girl and no need for a committee, subs, or any kind of formal organisation at all.

Every year for the last 8 years I've organised over the web, originally on a Forum similar to this but lately over FB, a winter climbing trip for up to 40 people at Roy Bridge in Scotland. Again, all done without any kind of club, organisation or committee. Around 1/2 to 2/3 of the participants are the same every year, so there's long-term committment, and there's a good "churn" too with youngsters coming in and staying, whereas the structure of my formal club, although it's moved with the times and embraced the internet much more than many others, is of an ageing demographic and an apparent lack of interest from new members....the youngsters all being on FB and turning up to informally organised events.

So quite simply, formal clubs just aren't needed in a world of instant communication and 24/7 availability. Stuff can be arranged on the fly but doesn't necessarily imply less committment.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: gnu
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 09:47 PM

Fascinating discussion. So many insightful posts!

I got nuthin to add... no where near what others have posted. Sorry to waste your time jus sayin "thanks", but, thanks.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 05:16 AM

OK - so where do we go from here? Does it worry anybody that most festivals, folk clubs and sessions will end with our generation?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 05:29 AM

Another thing to bear in mind is that they now have to work much harder at school and uni in order to get the necessary qualifications they need, so they have much less free time. Then there's the problem of trying to find a job, trying to keep and succeed in your job when you do - to say nothibg of the usual life-cycle of finding a partner, raising a family etc. Life is certainly much harder for youngsters than it was in my day - watching my son, who has just got a good degree, to find a job is heartbreaking.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Frug
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 05:44 AM

True that Leveller. My youngest has just graduated and works for minimum wage in a milk bar. Paid so badly that he has to work an extraordinary number of hours to pay his bills/debts and this consequently affects the amount of time he has to make music. Ho Hum.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 05:55 AM

in answer to Flora G's question Festivals will continue to thrive with the young ones sessions will continue to thrive with the young ones Folk clubs have been in my opinion in decline since the late 90,s ours folded due to lack of interest that was nothing to do with young people. Sheffield has a thriving folk scene as does leeds and York with young people all over it is just knowing where they are.
Keith


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Frug
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 06:20 AM

In reality Flora its the structures that are changing. My eldest son has recently completed a 6 week tour during which he played at 7 or 8 house parties which from his description appeared to resemble our view of sessions. The whole music scene is changing and may even become more virtual (perish the thought) however clubs/sessions/festivals will still exist. They may just be different........ I discussed this with my two sons ... to paraphrase their response "They are old hat" nuff sed.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Northerner
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 04:45 PM

I am also involved in live literature events in my region; I am a poet as well as singer and storyteller. We have quite a thriving poetry scene and we have people of all ages. We have some who are young. A local librarian recently started an event called Folklines, which is folk or acoustic plus spoken word. Our last event was very successful, and we did have some young people in. It is not a folk club but some folk songs are sung there. Perhaps poetry is more popular at the moment than folk music?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 07:21 PM

Most of these comments seem to be written from a grey-haired, bus-passed perspective – when you go to a folk club / festival now it means singing, playing, listening to the music, relaxing and having a drink and chat with friends.

Just think back to the younger you in your late teens / early twenties. Your priority then was meet members of the opposite sex, have a lot to drink, meet more members of the opposite sex and generally have a good time, all to the accompaniment of some good music.

"Youngsters" now are really no different to what we were – would you have wanted to go to the same places as your parents (or grandparents)? If "youngsters" go to a folk club / festival now, the chances of meeting someone of the opposite sex of a similar age are … approximately nil! Perhaps the best way to get young people to get into folk is if we old f***s stop going!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 03:08 AM

Our local club is brimming over with very young people. At the pub session there are various fiddlers, guitarists, singers in their teens or early twenties. At the non-licensed open mic session that precedes it there are also various of school age who get up and play/sing - and write their own stuff. I'm actually really impressed by the standards. We even drafted one school age lad on to the committee to make sure they are well represented. We put on about half a dozen concerts a year and it is harder to get them along to those but it's either not their thing or they haven't yet discovered it could be their thing! However I would strongly refute the idea that they are musically illiterate. They like to perform and see people they know perform.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 03:10 AM

"If "youngsters" go to a folk club / festival now, the chances of meeting someone of the opposite sex of a similar age are … approximately nil!"

You obviously haven't seen what goes on around the duck pond at Cambridge FF ;)


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 03:18 AM

Another point to make, about society in general rather than folk clubs/festivals, is how we discriminate against youngsters financially. Just one example was the recent Border Union Agricultural Show in Kelso. £3 entry for kids under 16; £8 entry for people aged 65 or over no matter what their income is; but the full £15 for school kids aged 16, 17 or 18. Bloody crazy! We complain that they are not a full part of society yet price them out of local events. School kids should all be treaty as the same concession no matter what their age. More often than not they aren't.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 04:37 AM

Allan - how did you get them along in the first place - I should be interested to know.   
You are so right about the cost, but folk is catching up with pop. A friend who helps run a small folk club was quoted £2000 for a scottish duo for a show. Ouch.   Without EMA all students could do with low cost entry.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Marje
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 05:38 AM

That's a very good point, Allan, about entry prices. I am entitled to an "age concession" now but I don't need it. I would rather they gave such concessions to those still in full-time education - although to be fair, folk events sometimes do include the "unwaged" in the concessionary rate, which ought to cover this.

On the other hand, attending a cinema, club, football match or pop concert/festival costs a whole lot more than most folk events. Folk music is a cheap hobby (apart from the beer!).

Another thing that works against any continutity in local sessions etc is the high number of students who leave home and go elsewhere at 18. I've seen young people attend music sessions with great enthusiasm at the age of 16/17 and then vanish from the scene when they go off to study. Presumably the communities with universities may benefit form the extra numbers of young people, but smaller towns and villages often lose a good proportion of their 18-22-year-olds. They may surface again at festivals and big events, but any roots they have in the local fold community are lost.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 07:23 AM

At Loughborough Uni, where my lad has been for 3 years, there's a student population of over 15,000. There's a folk club on campus so I expect it would ge quite vibrant (my boy's not into folk so he never went). I know of several folk groups/duos who got together at uni or college and a couple at least are very popular.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 07:27 AM

Maybe if more small local festivals booked more youg local acts it would help. Moonbeams Wold Top Festival is a good example - a great blend of established artistes and local ones. I've discovered some really fantastic youn musicians there who I otherwise might not have come across. Same goes for support artistes in clubs.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 07:38 AM

Warwick Festival has been very good at booking younger artists over the past few years.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 07:54 AM

"how did you get them along in the first place" There was always a few. Mostly either kids learning the fiddle or children of existing members. My own son started going at about age 14. However it really took off when the centre where he have the open mic at laid on a young person's open mic (on a Wednesday) specifically for teenagers or very young adults. We then encouraged the regulars going to that to come along and try the main open mic on the Friday too. Once there are some going then others follow. The young person's open mic then stopped as the kids were happy playing on the Friday night.

Tying in with Marje's points about price. It is only a £2 entry fee (£1 to the centre for corking charge and £1 for the cost of room etc) but as far as school kids go we let them in free. As far as music goes we welcome every type specifically calling ourselves a Folk & Live Music Club. We let them know they will be welcome even if they don't play what would be regarded as folk or traditional music.

This is an example of one of our young performers. Megan is in my daughter's class so will only be 15 at most. She sang this Trash Can Sinatra's song beautifully at our club then one of the members vidoed her doing it again in the back room afterwards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9eWvvOrbgM


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 08:36 AM

Lewes Folk Festival has a Festival Daance with The New Slide with caller Alex Cumming. A group from the Lewes Old Grammar School are playing support for Les Barker. I'm not sure if The Young Coppers still count as young.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,petecockermouth
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 08:44 AM

the youngsters are in scotland (and ireland apparently) i was at the late night club at celtic connections festival (glasgow) 4/5 years back and saw about 200 young people really going for the wild dancing at a flook gig. i spoke to (the mighty) michael mcgoldrick the following night to say what a great gig etc ...he said 'it were great, i just wanted to put my flute down and sing we are t'champions!' there are many young bands all over the country and a seemingly endless supply of players from a secondary school on the west coast (plockton?) where all pupils are required to learn to play traditional music. as with many things, and particularly the arts, scotland seems a more vibrant, progressive place these days.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 12:51 PM

We're putting together a new festival in Bedale, North Yorkshire (BAMfest - Bedale Acoustic Music Festival 1st May - 2nd June 2013, watch this space!)and will have a whole "thread" running throughout the festival aimed at under 21s and getting them to play "acoustic" music.

This will include concerts by younger artists (who will also feature on the main bill), an acoustic "Battle of the Bands", workshops and open mics. This will all be hosted at "Culture Shack" which is an excellent facility in the grounds of Bedale High School. Their management are fully behind it.

Though the festival is not completely "folk" (or Folk) there will be plenty of traditional and other folk music going on (Acoustic Blues, Bluegrass, Trad Jazz, American Old Time as well as Celtic and English Folk)..... we won't get too precious about what the youngsters play though, as long as it is "real" music on "real acoustic" instruments. Acoustic singer/ songwriter stuff will also be encouraged)

Hopefully some of them will pick up on the folkier music on offer and develop an interest.

It'll be interesting to see if it works.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 01:00 PM

"Hopefully some of them will pick up on the folkier music on offer and develop an interest."

I think that hits the nail on the head. Hopefully once they hear what some of the others are playing they will explore. The vast majority of what is played here is acoustic though there are a couple of electric guitarists too. We did have one lass who played one backing song through her i-pod as she sang. We didn't want to encourage that as it is about live music not karaoke. Nobody said anything at the time and it turned out to be a one off anyway so there was no emerging issue.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 04:48 AM

We have one youngster under 40 who plays in the band. Have not yet come accross a good young caller in the North kent area, but looking.

The local morris side has a youth group and some of them remain with the side.

Sat with a youngster a few weeks ago teaching him Speed the plough on the melodeon.


I am thinking that we could all do a little bit more than we do to pass the tradition on then the concerns would disappear.

My resolution for the next year perhaps?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 05:05 AM

A bus load of 'em kids arrived and said, 'Weve been inspired by Martin Carthy, Nic Jones and Simon Cowell - we do cover versions, and I think we've nailed it!'

I said, 'Bugger off! We don't want any of those goings on round here!'


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 05:30 AM

I think that a few people have hit the nail on the head: If you're not seeing the youngsters, it's just because they are not where you are, they are just somewhere else. But they are out there, doing it. One of the places you could find them would be in the Ben Nevis bar in Glasgow a couple of nights a week.

I was part of a group that staged a couple of testimonial concerts in Glasgow last month. The headline performers were people you could describe as veterans, (Dick Gaughan, Mick West, Sheena Wellington, Arthur Johnstone and the Stars Band). However in both concerts, we had a healthy and vibrant contribution from musicians under 30 years of age (about 50 percent of the performers, I'd estimate). And these performers were chosen, not because we wanted to give them a chance or allow them to showcase their work, but because they would enhance the line up and deliver entertaining contributions to the event.

Some of these "youngsters" - like the Paul McKenna Band - are doing very well, thank you very much, touring in Europe and North America.
My son, who's 24, has come to traditional music via heavy metal, and now plays guitar in a busy ceilidh band, and is learning accordion (though I'm not necessarily saying that's a good thing).

So, at least in this corner of the world, the youngsters are present and participating, and carrying the tradition.

Cheers


Steven


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 07:19 AM

You'll tend not to find 'youngsters' in places where they are referred to as 'youngsters'! When I used to go to gigs as a teenager, we thought it was really weird that there were all the old people in their mid to late twenties there. I doubt this has changed.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 07:41 AM

we won't get too precious about what the youngsters play though, as long as it is "real" music on "real acoustic" instruments.

Sounds pretty precious to me, Paul. What were you doing when you were young I wonder? I'm glad since my Folk Epiphany (aged 11, circa 1973) folk has always been just a wee part of the overall picture - and a good deal less "real" than the other stuff that doesn't use "real acoustic" instruments. Oh for the glory days of the old Harvest Home forum where most weeks you could read posts as to why Laptop Computers were just as valid a Folk Instrument as an Anglo-Concertina, and the real thing for ballads was an electric bass guitar stuffed through a chain of stomp box flangers, distortion, digital delays, harmonisers and cathedral scale reverb - though I do mourn my old Watkins Copycat which finally gave up the ghost around 1988.

Out there in the "real" (i.e. Non-Folk) world, Youngsters are still doing great things in the name of The Living Tradition of Vernacular Popular Music. This has been the case now since Folk was first synthesised in the '50s - so let's celebrate 58 years of glorious rock 'n' roll in its myriad forms past, present and future least we grow weary for the want of life. Most Youngsters I know into Folk take a similarly holistic view of things I'm happy to say...


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: OlgaJ
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 10:04 AM

Its a bit chicken and egg really. We've just got back from Moira Furnace Festival where there were several under 30's playing stage spots and much appreciated by the audiences. All of them very good singers/musicians. Unfortunately if you haven't been seen at a festival its very difficult to persuade festival organisers that they ought to book you, so they tend to keep going back to the tried and tested artists with their feet firmly planted in the 60s (not that there is anything wrong with that). You won't get many young people wanting to come and sit in a concert populated almost entirely by people aged 65+. There were lots of young people involved in music and dance sides so I think there is a future for young people at festivals, and therefore a future for festivals themselves. Perhaps the smaller festivals are the way forward. I don't get to many big ones but suspect that quite a bit of the music actually fits other genres and is included to bring the younger people in. Perhaps once they are in some of them will get hooked on the more traditional songs, music and dance, but be prepared for them to do it in their own way! After all folk (music and dance) is a living breathing experience which must be allowed to develop as it always has. Certainly one organisation we belong to has missed the boat and is despairing at the lack of young families joining them. The warning signs were there twenty years ago but there was a bit of an 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' mentality amongst the older members so what do you expect?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: maeve
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 10:28 AM

The children and young adults of Village Harmony;
They are here, and here , here , also here and here.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 03:14 PM

Blandiver.

The clue is in the name of the festival Bedale ACOUSTIC Music Festival.

I've no problem with all sorts of music and still listen to plenty of stuff a long way from Folk (and definitely not acoustic). There's good stuff everywhere. I don't necessarily have a problem with folk songs played on electronica or anything else....... as long as it's good (or I like it!).

The ethos of this festival is ACOUSTIC though.

Be odd to include electronic (or even electric) music wouldn't it?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 03:55 PM

Something that nobody's mentioned is how TERRIBLE at publicity most folk festivals are.

I am by no means a youngster (though am often considered one at some folk clubs, where anyone under 40 is spoken of as young!). But there are so many folk festivals in Britain that the only time I ever hear of them is when one's closing!

I mean, that "Wimborne festival ends" post was the first time I ever heard of that festival. Sounded interesting. I might have gone. Oh well.

The fact is, I'd heard of quasi-folk festivals like Green Man, End of the Road, Moseley Folk Festival, getting on for ten years ago, when I wasn't even that interested in folk music.

But now I am, and I regularly look at things like Mudcat, fRoots, EDFSS etc. And I'm STILL only just about getting to hear about most UK folk festivals.

The fact is, the only way you get to hear about all this stuff is if you are really, really, really, deeply, long-term involved in folk music. And most young people aren't.

Folk festivals badly need to reach out, just do a bit more publicity. That doesn't have to cost money: we have Facebook now.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 05:06 PM

Hmmmm - it was the emphasis "real" I was picking up on there, Paul - as if "real music" can only be played on "real acoustic" instruments which are more "real" than the non-acoustic sort.

Anyway, answer me this - is an instrument still acoustic when you put it through a PA? It's a puzzler for sure. And what about when you record it?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 06:03 PM

Ooops, sorry. Came to the thread thinking it was from David Cameron trying to remember which pub he'd been in.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 06:08 PM

"Anyway, answer me this - is an instrument still acoustic when you put it through a PA? It's a puzzler for sure. And what about when you record it?"

Seems to generally be accepted to be the case. I'm not really interested in the semantics Sean.

"Hmmmm - it was the emphasis "real" I was picking up on there, Paul - as if "real music" can only be played on "real acoustic" instruments which are more "real" than the non-acoustic sort."

........ there's plenty of music force fed to the populace that I definitely wouldn't class as "real". I suppose my very rough and not carefully thought through definition is that "real" music in this context is produced for the joy of the thing rather than an attempt to to be rich or famous.

Not trying to suggest that "real" music can only be played on acoustic instruments. But in the context of what we are doing at BAMfest it would need to be. Rightly or wrongly.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: paula t
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 08:41 PM

Ole Juul,
I hope I can reassure you that here are lots of young performers out there. Most of the young people I know sing or play. I teach music at our village primary school and I can assure you that music is very important to us all. We put a great emphasis on the fact that absolutely everyone has a voice and can sing. We also have some super peripatetic teachers who keep our children inspired- which means that many of our children play instruments. We had a mini music festival during the Queen's Jubilee weekend and every single band came from our village.A great time was had by all!Young people also don't seem to have an issue about the type of music they will listen to or find "worthwhile" as many oldies do.My daughters enjoy most types of music and are always open to new sounds.There is hope! xx


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 10:52 PM

Hello Banjiman & Blandiver..

I've been struggling hard not to jump in ...
as it's a forgone conclusion what my opinion would be anyway
regarding the ingrained old folkie prejudice towards electric guitars & amps..

But seeing as Vox have just issued a new line of budget priced
self contained electric guitars with built in amp and speakers.

Might these ruffle a few stiffly starched feathers if bolshy young [& old] upstarts
insist on playing them at 'acoustic' events...????

http://www.voxamps.com/uk/guitars/apache/

Seems every 10 years or so a guitar manufacturer risks having a go
at trying to sell all-in-one electric travel guitars..


Personally I think the concept is ideal.
Be interesting how convincing Vox's new technology emulates a decent tone.
Unfortunately previous attempts have tended to sound like wasps farting through a kazoo...


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 11:10 PM

.. of course the dozy buggers at Vox UK
have only gone and plugged it into an Amp
for the embedded sales demo video at the above link.....???

At least the Far Eastern Vox marketing videos
show more understanding of the actual point
of a battery powered travel guitar...

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=vox+APACHE&oq=vox+APACHE&gs_l=youtube.3..0l3.3624.5107.0.5342.5.5.0.0.0.0.103.387.4j

hmmmm.. only £220... see you at the 'acoustic' sessions...


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 11:25 PM

You are right PFR that AFAIK all previous guitars with built in amplifier and speaker sounded wholly dire. But I love my little Vox DA20 amp so maybe there is hope for the Apache.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 12:55 AM

matt milton: Something that nobody's mentioned is how TERRIBLE at publicity most folk festivals are.

I'll say! And folk musicians too. I offer free on-line advertising for traditional music performers and in two years not one person has taken me up on it. Go figure.

Blandiver: Anyway, answer me this - is an instrument still acoustic when you put it through a PA? It's a puzzler for sure. And what about when you record it?

Of course it isn't. The sound of a cardboard speaker is quite different from a piece of Norwegian Pine, and cramming a 6 foot grand piano through an 8 inch hole is not reality based either. Music is about dreaming. :)

Paula t: Ole Juul,
I hope I can reassure you that here are lots of young performers out there.


You don't need to Paula. :) I am quite aware of the number of talented young musicians around, and I am not really the curmudgeon you saw in that post. What I was eluding to was the popular view that music is about getting famous and not about spending a couple of hours doing scales before you allow yourself the luxury of going out.

Some music is not appreciated as widely as as much as it was at another time, but there will always be someone interested in carrying earlier forms forward. I think too that it is easy to lose perspective in a world of near ubiquitous television which obfuscates reality. There are people doing all kinds of stuff and likely not less of them - it just looks that way.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 02:40 AM

"Youngsters" itself is a pretty old-fashioned word, and the folk world is one of the few places you still hear it!

I'm glad to hear the majority of the posts seem to be supportive of young people, rather than the "they just can't be bothered" type of comments. Young people today (in the UK at least) seem to have the odds stacked against them: University education and associated eye-watering debt seen as entry level for non-existent careers, ridiculously high housing costs, little hope of an enjoyable retirement, and an older generation who seem to have it all while complaining that the "youngsters" can't be bothered! So to the many who do get involved in music ("folk" or otherwise) all power to you.

The acoustic vs. electric/electronic thread drift is interesting. I don't have a problem with running purely acoustic festivals/sessions but would like to find a way of mixing acoustic/electric/electronic instruments in sessions & singarounds - I think I'll start a thread...

I dunno about "real" music but Paul's definition (music produced for the joy of the thing rather than an attempt to to be rich or famous) defines pretty well what I like most.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 02:47 AM

...and I should add on a more positive note, there are many, many young people getting involved in music, in fact I'd argue many more than of my generation (I'm in my 40's). I don't think it's ever been easier - instruments are cheaper in real terms than ever, and the amount of on-line tuition (and inspiration) via Youtube in particular is quite staggering.

So I think despite all the problems faced by young people today music (of any kind including"folk") is in rude health.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 03:46 AM

Most of the musical gatherings I go to consist of just a few old people, and it always looks as though music is dying out and we're the last remnant.

But occasionally I stumble onto a gathering of young folk singers, and then it usually seems like the walls are ready to burst because the room is so full.

Of course, they're probably not conforming to the 1953 (or whatever it is) definition of folk music. They're probably not even aware of it. But they're making music, and writing lots of songs.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 04:36 AM

"answer me this - is an instrument still acoustic when you put it through a PA?"

If I can jump into this thread-creep for a moment - if we're talking about guitars (which, apart from the recemt hybrid, the cittern, is the only one I'm qualified to discuss) it's about two things. The first is technique. Speaking personally, I find it impossible to use the same acoustic techniques on an electric guitar - both right and left hand principles are totally different. The second is tone - acoustic guitar makers put immense skill, effort and money into creating guitars which have a particular sound and the problem then is how to present this at high volumes to large audiences.

In fact, in the end, it's all about volume. If someone could create an acoustic guitar that, unamplified, could fill a big auditorium, they'd have discvered the holy grail.

Unless (like John Martyn) you want to create a particular sound using electronics.......


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 04:55 AM

Seems to generally be accepted to be the case. I'm not really interested in the semantics Sean.

More a matter of physics (acoustics?) really. It's always baffled me why exponents of Acoustic Music are so keen to get behind a microphone, or amplify their instruments even in those situations where amplification is hardly a necessity. I've been roundly abused (by self-styled 'Purists') for employing my electronic shruti box (or else my lightly-amplified Kaossilator) to provide a drone for anotherwise acoustic performance, yet the same individuals saw no harm in the PA system set up for the main act of the evening. But, as you say, it seems to be generally accepted that acoustic music remains acoustic even when its amplified.

I dunno about "real" music but Paul's definition (music produced for the joy of the thing rather than an attempt to to be rich or famous) defines pretty well what I like most.

I think that accounts for all amatuer musical experience in the world on one level or other - from folk to karaoke to kids in their first rock band or the young hip-hop crews we see outside the Arndale Centre in MCR or hymn singers in church or brass bands or university gamelans - etc. etc. - the experience of music (any music) is always just as "real" as any other. As Ole Juule says Music is about dreaming. It's a Folkist tendency (going back to Cecil Charp at least) to assume that some musics are morally superior to others, and to then prescribe accordingly.

Of course the flipside to all this is that music becomes "unreal" is one is lucky enough to become rich & famous. I wouldn't like to think of the music of The Fall, Frank Zappa or Ennio Morricone as being less "real" than any other on account of the celebrity factor. Hell, even folk has its celebs & wannabes - I meet them all the time, even if it's just in their own heads, they're in the Special Zone of the serious artiste whatever their day job might be. In other musics people tend to be less evangelical.

Personally I think the concept is ideal.

Looks cool, PFR - harking back to some lovely old pics I've got someplace of Eastern European electric guitars with clipped on speakers. As a kid I would jam an old square tape-recorder mic in the soundhole of my nylon string guitar and amplify it through my little mono record player just to be loud enough to compete with my friend who had a drum kit. I hope these sound better, though as Richard points out early examples haven't been at all succesful. These days there's dozens of cute little amps out there from just about everyone that sound pretty good - my wife plays a Daisy Rock Purple Heart though a Roland Microcube and it sounds just lovely even at acoustic levels. With some nice amp / FX modelling the Apache could work a treat. I'll be sure to check it out if ever I see one.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 05:01 AM

If someone could create an acoustic guitar that, unamplified, could fill a big auditorium, they'd have discvered the holy grail.

Classical players do this as a matter of course.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 05:33 AM

Why do people insist on playing quiet chamber instruments in an auditorium? Pick a louder instrument which can fill a big room - there are lots. That said, a dedicated microphone can give excellent results and then one can add compression, harmonies, and any number of wonderful effects which come with the conversion to electricity and the digital world. Singers can also benefit from these effects. In fact it's likely that they'd catch the attention of a few "youngsters" if they did that.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 07:29 AM

"I've been struggling hard not to jump in ...
as it's a forgone conclusion what my opinion would be anyway
regarding the ingrained old folkie prejudice towards electric guitars & amps.."

Just to avoid any accusation that I'm any kind of purist, I'm currently awaiting delivery of my brand spanking new handmade Banjocaster. I'm looking forward to the full on distorted sound it can deliver.

It won't see the light of day at Bedale ACOUSTIC music festival (BAMfest) that I am helping to pull together next year though......


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 07:48 AM

"I'm looking forward to the full on distorted sound it can deliver."

Word has it that banjos already do that.



I'm leaving now.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Musket
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 08:00 AM

Leveller - Rainsong guitars may not actually fill an auditorium, but they come pretty bloody close..

Also, the sound is very clean, being carbon fibre bellied with no bracing, so no distinguishing tone as it were. So amplified, assuming you amplify cleanly with no effects, the amplified result is not any different from the acoustic version. The LR Baggs pickups help..

A microphoned acoustic guitar, assuming the PA is half decent should also carry the flavour and tone of the acoustic.

That said, I do take your point in general. I have always been bemused how you buy, for instance, an expensive Taylor guitar and decide which wood to use, as they can all sound so different. A koa wood has a much different tone to lighter woods etc. But then the manufacturer makes no differentiation in the built in pick ups, so if you normally play plugged in, it is the looks not the tone you have bought. So if that model is great for the action, the handling, the pitch at the nut etc, then buy it in the cheapest belly wood they offer if you are always plugging in...


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 09:11 AM

Until I find a Vox Apache on display in a shop
I can't confirm to my own satisfaction how good they'll sound.
Earlier attempts at producing electric travel guitars in the last 2 or 3 decades
employed basic cheap onboard transistor amps and tiny speakers that sounded nasty, shrill & farty...

My initial concern about the Apache is Vox's reputation
for having a good prototype idea but sabotaging the production model
by stupidly deliberately omitting useful features
potential buyers would require.

Vox and parent company Korg already sell very good & successful affordable valve amp & FX emulation products.
Hopefully that's the technology being used in the Apache...???

However, immediate online guitar forum contentions are the novelty inclusion of digital drum patterns
but no provision for more essential simple onboard FX such as delay, tremelo/vibrato, autowah, etc
which Korg/vox could easily have built in using readily available
cost effective chips & circuits.

Though I guess they'd justify foregoing power hungry digital effects
to extend battery life..?

But applause to Vox for trying at least.
The young learner guitarist marketed Apache will also provide
'Folk' musician's & Blues Slide players with more choice & options,
and there is the potential to mic up the Apache on stage
as if it were a traditional 'acoustic' instrument
and use mixboard FX....

Be interesting to see what the circuit modding and bending boffins
eventually come up with to customise the Apache electronics and extend it's possibilities...????

Be even better if the Apache survives long enough in production
to be upgraded within 18 months into a more versatile version 2....


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 09:15 AM

I'm looking forward to the full on distorted sound it can deliver.

Rachel plays one of those Deering 'Scientology' open-back 5-strings with a 'Pick up the World' pickup. The the signal is pretty pure which is ideal for pushing into the realms of pure noise without losing the notion of it being a banjo. I wish I could say the same for my fiddle pick-up which begins sound like Robert Fripp's Les Paul as soon as I put it through distortion & wah-wah pedal. Nice but not good for drones. Maybe 'Pick up the World' is the way to go - unless they're Scientologists too...


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: maeve
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 09:20 AM

Any more reports of music-making young folks?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 10:28 AM

"Any more reports of music-making young folks?"

I believe there were several young folks in attendance at this years Fire In The Mountain festival, see:

line up of Fire in the Mountain fest

And here's an interview with Joe Buirski, who organised it:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/showbiz-and-lifestyle/arts-in-wales/2012/04/30/the-organiser-of-the-fire-in-the-mountain-festival-t

The second time this fest has taken place. Both years so far I couldn't go. Maybe next year...


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 11:46 AM

well, i thought I saw lots of youngsters at Sidmouth this year, playing, dancing, performing and generally having a good time Perhaps this was an illusion brought on by too much beer and sun!!

Folk has always been a minority music genre - in the 70s when I was growing up 90% percent of pupils in my age group didn't do folk and I only really liked Steeleye Span. I think the scene is looking healthier than I've ever seen it. Perhaps Broadstairs is God's waiting room for old folkies


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: maeve
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 12:08 PM

Guest, matt milton- Thanks for that link! Here are two of the younger musicians mentioned in the line-up:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wdI6_Zeoy4

Dazbo- I'm glad you saw and heard young folks making music at Sidmouth.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 01:56 PM

Just back from Whitby saw plenty of talented young ones playing This morning saw 2 young lads about 11 years old busking with Uilleann pipes very good.
Keith


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 02:14 PM

Selby wrote:-

" This morning saw 2 young lads about 11 years old busking with Uilleann pipes"


I'll bet that they were the two lads that I photographed whilst I was compering the concert at the Arts Centre at last year's Sidmouth Festival. Here's a link to that photo of the pair of them - their names are MIKEY DOYLE AND JOE DOYLE


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 02:50 PM

Thats them they will be awesome in a couple of years time as they get bigger


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,romanyman
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 03:52 PM

Ive been away from mudcat for ages, and just thought id have a look at whats going on with the cat, and lo and behold, the samo old same old.
as ever the where are the youngsters question, well i spent a week at broadstairs folk week and was greatly suprised at the number of pubs that opened to folkies, apart of course from the three at the bottom of town that always do their best to screw the week up. now the same old answer to the question of youngsters , is , and this is what i see and is my interpetation, i used to go to folk clubs, and the ssssshhhhhhhhh brigade ruled, and still rule, many young people who were there, were relegated to outside the area, now if you grew up with this, then surely it would rub off, and anything folk, would result in " i dont belong here " also today there is so much choice in music, sadly folk is a long way down the list with many so called music teachers or school curriculums, my thoughts thats all


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 04:37 PM

I've only skimmed this thread, but the bleedin' obvious answer is "not where there are people who refer to them as 'youngsters'". Sorry if somebody said that already. They tend to be where other people of similar age are, not in rooms full of people of their grandparents' age.

Take Sidmouth: they'll be up at the Bulverton or where Shooting Roots sessions are, not in the Ham Marquee or Bedford or singarounds. Or Towersey - in the Dance House or Hive, not in the concert tent. There are many hundreds of people under 25 or 30 at those festivals, but if you're asking that question, you won't see them where you go.

There are lots and lots and lots . . .

When you were 20, who did you hang out with? And weren't you interested in stripping something more from the opposite sex than a willow?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 05:24 PM

"Where are the youngsters?"

Same places we were as youngsters: out, and trying to prevent their elders from finding what they've been doing.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: maeve
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 05:40 PM

Hi romanyman; nice to see you here.

999- Yes of course...yet the posts that interested me in this thread are those showing a few of the very many fine musicians all over the place right under our folky noses, so to speak. I hear and see them everywhere I go, and have great hope for the future of good music of all kinds.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,siochain
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 05:48 PM

Try this:

http://youthtradsong.org/


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 05:52 PM

Yeah. And having gone to some shows by younger people playing their music, I have heard the opposite question asked (implied): not too many people your age come to hear us. Generation gap? Maybe, and maybe we're just too wrapped up in our old familiar worlds to go find some real talent that is out there. Pardon me for the weak attempt at humour.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: maeve
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 06:11 PM

999- I did smile; couldn't you see me?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 07:12 PM

As a 'youngster' of 15, I would say that in general, Folk is alot harder for us to get into, firstly because a lot of the sessions now take place in pubs. When I have been to a few of these I have always felt unwelcome by the pub (not the players) in the way I can't go buy a lemonade from the bar as for some reason they refuse to serve minors.

Another obstacle I had to overcome is how do you start? Firstly you have to get an instrument from somewhere, and if your trying to buy an instrument on what I would guess of a typical allowance of £20 a month, that's a big investment for something that you may give up in 6 months time.

However I do still enjoy to go and play with the local folk group on a weekly basis so I have managed to get round these 'problems'.

Oh and if you have time, please take a look at my newest website: http://folkforums.com/


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 07:16 PM

Guest999: As I said in my longer post way up thread, I've had much more success getting youngsters to to go along to pub singarounds and sessions than I have in getting any of the older people who inhabit those sessions along to some of the venues and events favoured by "yoof".

I'm often the oldest person at these events. Doesn't seem to bother anyone that I'm there....I'm definitely made welcome and get similar comments about the absence of older people.

In my experience, a lot of older people seem to become so hidebound into "their" era of music that they just won't take the trouble to search out good new stuff.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 11:02 PM

In my experience, a lot of older people seem to become so hidebound into "their" era of music that they just won't take the trouble to search out good new stuff.

New stuff, indeed change, is the very essence of music. Perhaps some of the ossified "music" should be reclassified as "reenactment".


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 04:02 AM

I am ashamed to say that also one possible reason why young people are not seen in sessions with older people is older peoples behaviour 2 examples from a festival I have just returned from.
A group of 4 people young with instruments are in a fringe pub at this festival sat at a table talking apart from them the room is empty a gentleman comes in with Instruments followed by his mate they have an animated conversation at the bar with the landlord, the landlord comes over asks the young people to move because they are sat where these 2 always sit.
A family are sat in another pub with a child unaware that there is a session about to start, they are talking a musician places a chair (for no good reason that I can see apart from being confrontational) as close as possible to these people so that they are hemmed in they are then told to stop talking no one explained to this family what was going on no one was pleasant to them, the vast majority of people in this room where OLD.
I have seen this and feel ashamed, this is how OLD people behave I am pleased that young people like and consider me part of their group and allow me to participate with them


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 05:31 AM

"Another obstacle I had to overcome is how do you start? Firstly you have to get an instrument from somewhere, and if your trying to buy an instrument on what I would guess of a typical allowance of £20 a month, that's a big investment for something that you may give up in 6 months time."

GUEST - do you know the "TAKE IT AWAY" scheme. Worth a google. Used to be open to anyone, now just to the under-25s. Doesn't get you any money off, but does at least make paying for an instrument a bit easier (for you or your parents).

Plus, you can actually get some real bargains on eBay or Gumtree. At the risk of sounding like a proper old codger, it is a hell of a lot cheaper to buy an instrument in 2012 than it was in 1990, when I was a teenager playing in indie bands. A lot of factory-made guitars (whether acoustic or electric) these days are really, really good compared to what was available even only 15 years ago.

(Though I appreciate that it will probably always be expensive to buy an English concertina!)


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: TopcatBanjo
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 06:10 AM

I've come to playing and singing through bluegrass music over the last several years, and whilst the average age of players is in the "older" category (especially banjo - there seems to be a phenomenon of men in their 50s & 60s taking it up) there is a good spread of ages and a distinct and growing number of young people who are actively involved in playing, singing and songwriting.

There's a small but vibrant bluegrass community in the UK which comes together for festivals and the annual Sore Fingers bluegrass camp, among other occasions, and on the whole, young people are very much welcomed and encouraged by seasoned players. For instance, SF gives tuition bursaries to young people for the residential courses. The Williams family at Helsby, Cheshire has also done much both in formal teaching and in providing family friendly opportunities for jamming at their Thursday night sessions, and many talented musicians have emerged from this area, including the wonderful Jaywalkers.

Many of these young UK bands, including Jaywalkers, the Carrivick Sisters and Flats and Sharps are now playing professionally or semi-professionally. Oh, and I come at this as someone in her early 40s who only started playing and singing a few years ago, and has been helped enormously by people both older and younger than me. I now have musical friends in an age range of about 16-75!

Here are a couple of clips:

Jaywalkers (Jay is 19, Michael 23, Lucy late 20s(?))
Jaywalkers at Holmfirth

The very entertaining Flats and Sharps from Cornwall (aged 18-19 I think)
Flats and Sharps


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 06:40 AM

Flats & Sharps are superb.

They may well be at BAMfest (mentioned several times above)...... performing in both the main festival stream and doing some stuff at "Culture Shack" to hopefully inspire other young people.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: TopcatBanjo
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 07:07 AM

Yes, really looking forward to seeing Flats and Sharps playing at Didmarton Bluegrass Festival next weekend (30th Aug-2nd Sep) near Cirencester. Should be a good do!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Jack's Rake
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 06:47 AM

Selby, I wonder if you were at the same festival as me...

I witnessed a girl of around 18 being shouted at, very publicly, by a much older man for singing more loudly along to her friend's song (to which she obviously knew the words) than the song sung by someone else immediately before.

Still, some level of inclusivity was demonstrated because I (definitely not a "youngster"), too, was slated (slightly less publicly, granted) by a gentleman who, while he was singing a loud, joiny-in song, took umbrage at my replying to a "youngster" quietly telling me the key of some tunes she was about to play.


Having said that, this festival was crawling with youngsters both taking part and listening and the vast majority of the oldsters were not at all like the two mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 12:51 PM

Glad weve got back to the theme.
When I started this I was thinking of youngsters as under 40.
I was at Sidmouth too and there were very few youngsters at the concerts even when it was a young performer. I managed a few sessions and much the same story - although I did not manage all of them. The fringe festival had more youngsters.

I know there are some good youngsters playing proffessionally- but I still sense a lack of the joiners inners who play/sing for the fun of it.

The fact that people can name some of the thriving sessions full of youngsters sugests they are few and far between. My pessimism remains.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 06:51 PM

I've just got home from Whitby. We had to sit out several dances because we were being crowded off the Pavillion floor by yougnsters in loose groups away from parental control. Great!
I did a long-sword workshop taught by the Goathland Pough Stots and the demo side I danced with was led by a youngsler of about 12, who was definitely in charge! He knew it all (in a nice way!)and kept us oldies respectfully in our place. and they were excellent
There were 2 Northumbrian pipers busking by the swing bridge, in the centre of town, who couldn't have been over thirteen and they were excellent. They did not just play tunes, but did harmonies as well and were not afraid to experiment with unusual chording.
The youngsters are around, it's noticing them that's not always easy!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:04 PM

Up in Scotland, at least the area I live in and certainly on Orkney there are loads of talented young musicians playing folk/traditional music. At the local folk club we get young people from age 16 upwards, they sit and play/sing with us old and middle aged folkies.Some sing traddional Scottish/Folk others blues/slide guitar/banjo, mandolin etc. Some write great songs. Some cover songs from Neil young to John Martyn. Orkney has a huge number of young players and singers who spend Saturdays at the Orkney tradditional music project in Kirkwall. The Wrigley sisters teach several instruments. Douglas Montgomery runs a band of extremely talented young players called Hadhirgaan from Kirkwall Grammar school.At least in Scotland, folk/tradditional music seems to be alive as much as heavy rock and every other genre.

By the way Selby's lads are really great musicians...Hi Keith !!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 07:59 PM

'Youngsters under 40.' There's your problem, encapsulated in that phrase. Personally, I find, as do others up the thread, the word 'youngsters' as patronising. Similarly, for me, words like 'folkie.' Maybe that's why a band has to call themselves 'The Young 'Uns,' which is cringemaking, in an attempt to fit in with the old folks? Or just clumsy. I'll be in London tomorrow, well tonight now, at a jazz gig, Cafe Oto in Dalston, which puts on an amazing variety of cutting edge musics. For me, best venue in town. Audience - a hell of a lot younger than me in the main, as they always are at this venue. Oh, 'youngsters.' Going to see Wadada Leo Smith, great American musician, supported by John Edwards on bass among others. He probably just fits into the straitjacket of 'youngster.' And is one of the best bass players in the world... As for improvised music/jazz, so for 'folk.' Plenty going on - if you're on the radar...


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 08:40 PM

If you're not seeing the youngsters, it's just because they are not where you are, they are just somewhere else. But they are out there, doing it. One of the places you could find them would be in the Ben Nevis bar in Glasgow a couple of nights a week.

I am a little sceptical of that one. From what I've seen of it, the Ben Nevis is mostly used by students from the RSAMD/Royal Conservatore of Scotland or whatever it's calling itself this week. They see themselves as being on a career track involving traditional music and figure that showing off as much technical flash as possible in a venue frequented by media people can't do them any harm. There is an organization in Glasgow which tries to help get a wider range of people playing - the Glasgow Fiddle Workshop - but it mostly reaches a much older clientele, as does the Scots Music Group in Edinburgh. The RSAMD is about professionalization and developing traditional music as a revenue stream within the music industry, it's not about keeping the music central in the wider culture.

The Feis movement in northern Scotland may still be doing a bit better - I don't know much about it. But I don't think there is still much community initiative in the major cities to provide younger people with a grounding in traditional music and to build a social network for them to use it. Even less so with singing than with instrumental music.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 08:56 PM

quote: There's your problem, encapsulated in that phrase. Personally, I find, as do others up the thread, the word 'youngsters' as patronising.

I apologize on behalf of the old-timers for the patronizing term "youngster." I don't use it, but I can see why someone my age wouldn't realize that it's patronizing. I'm sure they wouldn't say it with any intent to belittle younger people, but rather with a kind of apology and remorse for not being able to feel included in that group. Young means beautiful, healthy, strong, hopeful, energetic, popular, useful, etc. It's all the good things whose loss we feel every day and feel a bit embarassed about.

Similarly, there's probably no ill intent on the part of strangers who address me as "old-timer." They probably mean it as a term of respect, but still it doesn't feel good, and I can see how "youngster" could work the same way, by making the person called that feel they're being excluded and perhaps labelled as lacking something.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 04:04 AM

I think were diverting again into trivia - I don't mind what you think of the word youngsters - its a factual description of people who are under a certain age but older than the group collective children. There is no value judgement implied.

I was in Orkney last year and what an excelent day we had - the local fiddle group played in the Cathedral on the saturday morning. Very good it was too. It gave them a chance to perform before an audience and it gave us as tourists a chance to hear the local music and see the inside of the cathedral. I wish a few more churches could invite the local music school to do the same. I know there is a concern in some of the islands that free music tuition is being stopped.

I'm really pleased to hear about all the youngsters in Whitby. In Kent we have a thriving morris side that has a section for under 16's and some of them stay with the side despite peer pressure and home work. The kent music school also now gets involved with Broadstairs festival.

However, pleased as I am to be able to talk and hear about these exceptions I still hold concerns about the aging demographic. Look around at the events you go to and be realistic.

Question yourself
Do we mind that we are mostly collections of left over bus pass users - the last one putting out the lights?
Are there things we have done ( and do) that inhibit the youngsters?
Are there things we should be doing?

Me - I played for many years for the childrens morris side and taught them the sword dances. One of our musical yougsters went on to the Menhuin school after being with us for a year. I have one person under 40 in the barn dance band. Its not much - but little bits add up I think.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 05:57 AM

I witnessed a girl of around 18 being shouted at, very publicly, by a much older man for singing more loudly along to her friend's song (to which she obviously knew the words) than the song sung by someone else immediately before.

Thanks for the explanation. I was a few feet away and thought the guy was just nuts. I guess if he'd been the same age as the people he was shouting abuse at, he'd have been rapidly shouldered out the door and left to cool off in the street.

Those young singers were really powerful. I haven't heard a large group of people that age singing like that in Britain before. Where are they from?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Jack's Rake
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 07:18 AM

Hiya Jack.

Sorry, I don't know who they were; it was the first and only time I've seen them, I think.

Agreed regarding the age of, and response toward, the shouter. That's probably another factor contributing towards the low proportion of young people in such places. Whitby excepted, of course.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 10:49 AM

quote: I think were diverting again into trivia - I don't mind what you think of the word youngsters - its a factual description of people who are under a certain age but older than the group collective children. There is no value judgement implied.

This is perhaps the worst part of being old – being stuck in the company of other old people, who figured everything out a long time ago and don't need to pay attention to new opinions.

They know that the term "nigger," though used freely by their parents' generation, is really not just a factual description of people of a certain race or skin color, and so they assume that they themselves can't be guilty of offensive labelling.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 12:17 PM

We are all guilty of offensive labeling - just about every label will offend someone, but I don't think youngsters is in the same leage as your example Tony.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 12:25 PM

No, of course it's not in the same league. But after trying subtler ways to make the same point, and getting nowhere, I resorted to something easier to understand.

Look, Flora, you asked why you don't see many young people at music gatherings, and some young people answered you, and then you characterized their response as trivial and told them you aren't interested in their opinion. Can't you see anything wrong with this picture?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 01:50 PM

Tony - its not their opinion that is trivial - but the debate about words that deflect from the issue. To my way of thinking its the sort of thing that lawers do. The thread also nearly developed into - acoustic or electric - a debate in its own right but not the main content of this one. I do note that it is not - as far as I can make out - anybody in the category that has complained about the appelation. Apologies if I'm wrong.

There have been some interesting and thoughtful answers to an observation made initialy at Broadstairs, that I think has wider relevance to a lot of folk activity. The same issues might be raised about jazz, or voluntary work for a trade union, and other things I can't think of at the moment.

I am still more of a pessimist than an optimist on the issue of the future of folk because of the lack of ------- ( whatever people under 40 like to be called ).
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 02:42 PM

Flora: The debate about a word doesn't deflect from the issue; it is the issue, or a specific instance of the issue, which stated more generally is exclusionary language and attitudes. That kind of talk tends to alienate or embarass young people. You may not have heard complaints about it from them, but have you asked them how they feel about the word youngsters? Have you heard them referring to themselves in that way? What about whipper-snappers? How did you feel about that when you were young? (Or was that just in the US?)


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 05:31 PM

As a youngster, may I say that the term youngster really doesn't bother me one iota.
That is all.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 07:30 PM

Well the "youngsters" in the Tunbridge Wells area are largely playing at the "Local & Live" event this weekend....it's a free event held on the Pantiles over the weekend with around 100 bands or solo artistes on 2 stages (1 electric, 1 acoustic). Not for profit, and all the bands and artistes are local, almost all living within a 15 mile radius of Tunbridge Wells.

Just looking at the lineups for the acoustic stage should give an inkling that young acoustic musicianship is alive and well (if not exactly beating down the doors to the more "traddy" venues in town). Remember, all these people are from the immediate area around the town. A lot of them are excellent, too, it's not just an "anyone who turns up can play" event. Paul holds fairly rigorous auditions and most of the acts appearing play regularly at one of the local venues (the venues I mentioned way up-thread that I can't seem to get the older people interested in).

L & L Acoustic Stage Saturday

Acoustic Stage L & L Sunday

Acoustic Stage L & L Monday

There'll be upwards of 20,000 visitors to the event over the weekend.

The electric stage tends to have more bands than solo artistes, but a lot of these also have "folky" influences:

Main Stage L & L Breretons

So yes, "yoof" musician ship is alive and well as I said above...they just don't hang around in the same places as we old gits, most of the time.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 07:38 PM

That is wonderful, Rob.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 02:29 AM

"You may not have heard complaints about it from them, but have you asked them how they feel about the word youngsters? Have you heard them referring to themselves in that way?"

I'm baffled by the way this thread is going. I've never heard anyone young being offended by being called a youngster, or even heard it suggested before that it may be an offensive term. As to the use of the term then yes they call themselves that - though here it tends to be "young yins" that is used. Try and encourage someone young along to the open mic and the likely response will be "is there ony ither young yins there". It's purely descriptive without any connotations.

As far as I can see we seem to be worrying about a term being possibly derogatory without any clear evidence that anyone regards it as so. Certainly here anyway! I know there are many seemingly innocent terms that some see as derogatory or some dislike (eg British Isles, Scotch, Sassenach etc etc) but I've just never heard of young or youngster being in this group!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 04:21 AM

Robb - You have cheered me up. Is the event run by ------ or by us bus passers?
Tony - the answer is yes. There are a lot of words used on this site that are unneccessary and inappropriate - silly little boy talk from grown ups, that you would correct if from your own children. I found this site when looking for comments/photos of a music event and was distressed to find verbal bulying of me and members of the morris side I had been in. I was surprised that inappropriate language is not commented on every time it is used as it detracts from what mostly is a very good site. I'm not convinced that the word ----- is one of these but I shall ask once the term starts.
It would be nice ( not a word approved by the literacy hour but one I like ) if we could move on to more successful methods/ schemes / examples of where the young have been engaged in the tradition. They have not been where I have been this summer - except for the Sidmouth fringe.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 08:13 AM

I think that "GUEST: Tony" is being very aggressive and confrontational in his posts aimed at Flora and that this is unnecessary. It's unfortunate that the very loose moderation of this site means that someone can make these posts without being warned about their behaviour.

Clearly Tony feels that "youngsters" is a derogatory term and that "young people" is the correct and desirable term that should be used, but concentrating on this (in a very aggressive manner) to the exclusion of the actual debate is unfortunate and unhelpful. I also doubt very much that young people would be seriously offended by the term youngsters to the extent that that it would deter them from participating in the music. They might think it a bit naff and old-fashioned, but to compare it to the N-word is ludicrous and in itself offensive.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: TopcatBanjo
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 08:18 AM

Apologies - that was me above - so to avoid confusion let me repeat my opinion:

I think that "GUEST: Tony" is being very aggressive and confrontational in his posts aimed at Flora and that this is unnecessary. It's unfortunate that the very loose moderation of this site means that someone can make these posts without being warned about their behaviour.

Clearly Tony feels that "youngsters" is a derogatory term and that "young people" is the correct and desirable term that should be used, but concentrating on this (in a very aggressive manner) to the exclusion of the actual debate is unfortunate and unhelpful. I also doubt very much that young people would be seriously offended by the term youngsters to the extent that that it would deter them from participating in the music. They might think it a bit naff and old-fashioned, but to compare it to the N-word is ludicrous and in itself offensive.

I rarely get involved in these Mudcat spats but feel that Flora G (who I do not know at all!) is being unfairly maligned in this conversation.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 10:16 AM

quote: I think that "GUEST: Tony" is being very aggressive and confrontational in his posts aimed at Flora and that this is unnecessary.

I joined the discussion about the word "youngster" only because someone had said he personally felt patronized by it, and also said that several other people had already said the same thing. And I did so in mild terms not offensive toward anyone, and only to apologize to them for what I said was surely an unintended slight. The comment wasn't addressed to Flora and wasn't pejorative toward her. There was no need for her to answer it and to call the issue trivial and to say she didn't care what anyone thought of the word.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Ripov (not at home)
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 10:16 AM

I am totally offended that I am excluded from being a "youngster" because I have exceeded an arbitrary lifespan!

But, to the thread - (and to mention only "folk" here is a bit myopic).
There are pubs and clubs where you will find Sinatra/Elvis imitators, with an appreciative audience of a certain age.
And there are pubs and clubs where you will find McColl/Dylan imitators, with an appreciative audience of a certain age.
And there are pubs and clubs where you will find young people playing or singing new, or reworked music, with a young audience.
Was it ever any different ?

And why are musicians who have spent years learning their trade so looked down on by some "folkies"? Would you sooner your builder had "picked it up from his mates", or your doctor? Or dentist?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 01:01 PM

I agree with the last poster - there is a vibrant musical scene in London and H counties at least which has separate circuits from the Folk club listings. There are blues and country music clubs - jazz and swing - acoustic and world music clubs where younger age ranges foregather and play

Also a lot more is done online and via social networking

I am old - so I am not going to get involved in making judgements about younger people but I am involved in flamenco - jazz - blues - folk - classical and acoustic music
Also in my part of London there are lots of gospel and soul related choirs with lots of young people actively involved


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 03:26 PM

Hi Eric I am fine and hope you are well (thread creep)

Just got back from Shrewsbury and whatever you call them younger than me, there was loads of them playing,, singing dancing in teams, Ceildh dancing, getting P****d not getting P*****d and general couldn't care less what we call them Interestingly talking to people as old as me or older with a lot of sense and interest in all things folkie. Hope I haven't patronised anyone


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:07 PM

there is a vibrant musical scene in London and H counties at least which has separate circuits from the Folk club listings. There are blues and country music clubs - jazz and swing - acoustic and world music clubs where younger age ranges foregather and play

But absolutely zero interest in British traditional music?

That's what many of us posting in this thread care about. I have some involvement with genres classed as "world music" but I don't give a flying fuck whether country and "acoustic" music in the UK curls up and dies, it's completely alien to me.

Listing a bunch of genres that somebody with a love and knowledge of British trad could not possibly contribute anything to is missing the point. We have something we value. We thing more younger people would value it too, if there was some way they could find out about it. How do we get that through, in an industrialized mass culture like the one we live in?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Ripov (not at home)
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:25 PM

Hey there Jack you're way out of line there. Many of us musicians who love "traditional English" music are also involved in other genres. Most of my musical time is spent playing English folk, but I play jazz, early, classical, Irish, Swedish, and anything else that turns up, although probably not so well. And so I find out about the connections, both musical and historical between them. Not to mention getting involved in discussions about pitch, temperament, scordatura tunings and interpretation. And of course heated arguments over what constitutes "folk/traditional" music. The musical community is MUCH bigger than English folk. Get out there and join in!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 07:37 PM

FloraG: Robb - You have cheered me up. Is the event run by ------ or by us bus passers?

It was started about 7 years ago by a local musician called Paul Dunton. He's in his late 30s now, so was in his early 30s when he started it.

All the organising's done by the musicians themselves, with volunteer helpers.

And (to counter Jack Campin's carping a bit) if you look at the influences the kids on the Acoustic stage cite, a lot of them reach back into British traditional and roots music...admittedly often by way of Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy etc. They value their heritage, but they're not hidebound by it and they certainly don't want to scrunch up in the corner of a pub listening to bitter oldtsers moaning about how young people "would love this if they only gave it a chance"....they take what they value from the past and bring it into their own present, with (largely) their own peer group....plus a few people like me who are actually prepared to go along to *their* venues rather than assuming that *they* ought to want to come along to "ours"!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Aug 12 - 08:09 PM

Tony seemed to be implying there was no problem about the survival of traditional music because there were lots of venues for younger people in his neighbourhood where people played music that had nothing to do with it. If someone like Jim Moray (who undoubtedly does understand and use trad material) ever got a gig in those places, Tony didn't see fit to mention it. What he was describing was wall-to-wall Mumford and Sons.

I am well aware that some players do trad and other genres. But if their work in those other genres is all that's getting a hearing, there's a problem.

if you look at the influences the kids on the Acoustic stage cite, a lot of them reach back into British traditional and roots music...admittedly often by way of Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy etc. They value their heritage, but they're not hidebound by it

Never mind what they cite, what do they actually sound like? I don't hear any noticeable change in the "acoustic" idiom over the last generation.

Where Richard Thompson fits in I can't imagine. As far as I know he's never performed anything in a traditional idiom, or even claimed to have done. And people who claim to have been influenced by Carthy usually ignore his melodies, texts and vocal style (which are indeed traditional, going back a very long way) and focus entirely on his late-20th-century my-tuning-is-stranger-than-yours guitar style, which has no traditional antecedent at all.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 03:56 AM

Selby - you are right. We did Shrewsbury last year and parked in the noisy area. I had to complain to the youngsters (oops ) camped next to us that they were not noisy enough. Could not match the time we were at an Irish festival with a hurling match at 3 am and sessions that started at midnight. I think having the 2 areas to camp might be one way to attract the youngsters. They tend to be more nocturnal.

What else do you think Shrewsbury is getting right? I was more impressed with the line up than most festivals last year. It would be interesting to have your thoughts?

We went to the dartmoor festival imediately after sidmouth and there were more youngsters there. Mr and Mrs Lakeman, guests at the festival, suggested that they should emulate the activities going on, in their area on the other side of dartmoor, having seen the number of youngsters involved in the South Zeal area. That should be interesting.

Jack - I personally have a problem with singer songwriters who witter on about teenage angst issues - even when some of them are older than that, but for them its a start. Most of us were lucky enough to be able to try out our 2 chords on skiffle tunes. Some of us even managed 3. There is nothing equivalent to that at the moment.

Rob - post about the festival earlier next year + details about where to park. It sounds well worth going to.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 04:24 AM

Personally, I think one of the most inspiring people on the folk scene for the younger generation (now that Eliza Carthy probably wouldn't consider herself a youngster :0 ) is Lucy Ward. Not only does she look cool, she has a wonderfully appealing mixture of traditional material, superb self-penned songs and a great stage presence - plus, of course, the most amazing voice.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 04:36 AM

"That's what many of us posting in this thread care about. I have some involvement with genres classed as "world music" but I don't give a flying fuck whether country and "acoustic" music in the UK curls up and dies, it's completely alien to me.
"

I think that this is exactly the attitude which puts off so many people, young and old, from wanting to get involved in folk. It's certainly one of the reasons I've become less and less interested in going to folk clubs etc. Much too fundamentalist for me!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 05:32 AM

This is precisely the kind of narrow minded attitude that puts people off. I have sat through too many so called "folk " perfomances over the years which were traditional and quite frankly boring and rubbish


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 05:59 AM

Thinking back across the mists of time to when I first became interested in folk music at the age of 16 in the mid-60s, it was EXCITING! My local influences were The Watersons and Robin and Barry Dransfield. The music they produced was amazing - full of energy and passion, humour and horror and unlike anything I'd ever heard before. But more than that, they were lovely people (in fact the whole scene was), and they were always more than generous with information, advice, instruction and encouragement. It was a far cry from some groaning. prune-faced greybeard with a pot belly droning out yet another uninspired rendition of John Barleycord or a band of Captain Birdseye impersonators bawling raucous and interminable shanties.

Sorry, peeps - but it's just no FUN any more.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Musket
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 06:25 AM

No Fun was an excellent song written in the "70s by Iggy Pop.

Now.. Never thought I would apply the philosophy to the folk circuit, but yeah, listen to the words some time. (The Sex Pistols did a good cover version of it on the B side to Pretty Vacant.)

I really like the few local clubs I go to, nice people and a good night. I tend to be a bit slow at searching out other nights though, and as has been noted above, perhaps the answer for those not seeking a night of personal nostalgia, the venues considering themselves as acoustic roots are the answer?

I started going to a local folk club as a teenager many years ago and was the youngest there by far. Now, more years on than I can care to think about, I was invited to a party that a friend from there hosted, and was asked to bring a guitar. All the old mate were there, singing the same songs and I had a lovely night.

But I was still the youngest bugger to get up and give 'em a song...

Folk clubs have already altered, and sadly, the term folk club as we In The UK know it will be something to do with either those that evolve themselves, or the very few who will survive through critical mass and reputation. The rest? The folk world I entered was very different to what I see now. the funny thing is though, many think it hasn't changed.....


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 08:04 AM

What else do you think Shrewsbury is getting right? I was more impressed with the line up than most festivals last year. It would be interesting to have your thoughts?

Frankly everything I think that when we talk of youngsters and where they are if you have a town based festival they find their haunts and go there, a greenfield site is INCLUSIVE, my youngest was playing with people of all ages, abilities, colour, creed and whatever other pigeon hole you may wish to add. The line up was fantastic I really feel for the organisers as they have to top this year with next years what a brilliant problem to have. Silent Ceilidh fantastic, not really my cup of tea but loved the Sweetback Sisters. The Swedish band Baskery brilliant the Galician piper brilliant so many high spots. The icing on the cake was the Global Dance Project organised by a young person Hannah James brilliant fantastic etc etc. plus Dervish.
Can you tell I am still Buzzzzzzzing


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 09:14 AM

It's quite amazing how many people here think that they are better than everyone else in some way.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: John P
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 09:40 AM

When I was young I wasn't into folk music. Like everyone else I knew, I grew up on rock and blues. To me, folk music was Cat Stevens. Maybe some younger folks just haven't gotten there yet.

Original folk/rock seems to be one of the most popular types of music for the young people around here. There are hints of roots music here and there through it, but mostly it's people playing modern-sounding original songs on acoustic instruments, or bands with an acoustic guitar as the main chordal instrument, backed up by electric bass and drums. Violins and cellos abound. It pushes the limits of my definition of folk music both lyrically and melodically, but they call it folk and the really big point is that they are playing it, all the time, everywhere they can.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Julia_Writer
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 09:42 AM

Well I'm definitely not better than everyone else. I am 34 and have only just started learning the guitar. I tell myself I do it to test my teacher's claim to be patient (he is, I'm still alive).

I have always loved folk music but have had singing lessons for 10 years, focussing on classical - apart from the unaccompanied folk section in the exam - because it's in the syllabus. Only when I failed grade 6 (down to tuning but, probably best not to walk 3 miles to a singing exam)my teacher suddenly said "Oh but you sing folk very well". Hoorah! Great, so what do I do...? How do you study folk singing? The syllabuses are aimed at classical and jazz. Even at singing festivals the folk section is one class and has a certain...academic whiff about it. I've just signing up to the Saturday course at EDFSS and once I've sorted out moving house I will be looking out the folk clubs though I doubt I will be brave enough to sing in front of all those experienced knowledgeable people. I've got a weird kind of stage fright. I've done stand up comedy and yet my voice goes up at least an octave when singing in front of other people. :)

I was at a John Tams gig at The Maltings in Farnham a few years ago and he was, as usual, brilliant. But what I really loved is that he said to the audience "If you want to get up and go to the bar, go ahead. This isn't a recital". That's a good outlook I think.

I've been running a very small theatre company for the last couple of years and have to say that the hire charges of rooms in pubs, certainly in London, are really very high (even before the issue of who pays for the PRS licence rears its ugly head). I ended up rehearsing in my kitchen (very understanding housemates).

Younger people wanting to set up a club independently of the older, more established groups are really up against it on that point.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 10:11 AM

Richard, it's not a case of better or worse - it's about whether you enjoy listening to someone and whether they enjoy listening to you, preferably without stupid comments about snigger/snogwiters. If the answer to both is 'no', what's the point?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 10:36 AM

theleveller

"It was a far cry from some groaning. prune-faced greybeard with a pot belly droning out yet another uninspired rendition of John Barleycord or a band of Captain Birdseye impersonators bawling raucous and interminable shanties."

"preferably without stupid comments about snigger/snogwiters."


Compare and contrast.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 11:01 AM

Boys please - stop the point scoring - and get back to what for me and obviously a lot of other people is a serious issue.

Julia - the joy of folk music is its variation. Find an easy song and you really only need to know the first 4 bars - you will find lots of others singing along, and pleased that you had a go.

Leveller - did Lucy come with her own youn adience? At Broadstairs despite having young guests there who were very good there were few in the audience under 40.

John P. Which area do you live in. What do you put the success down to?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Vincethecat
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 11:15 AM

Having come back from a folk festival recently feeling slightly depressed, I thought I would share my thoughts. I'm talking mainly about English Folk here, as I get the impression that the relationship with folk music is very different in Ireland and Scotland.

I'm in my early 30s, my girlfriend is in her mid-20s, and we felt the odd ones out a lot of the time. Firstly- age wise there is undeniably a big dip in the 20-40 age group at most events (20-50 is probably more like it) - the exception being the Ceilidhs.

Secondly (and I don't think this issue is discussed enough); neither of us come from "folkie" backgrounds but have discovered and come to love the music independently as young adults. I know a lot of people, including some of the most influential performers, came to traditional music this way in the 60-70s but in my experience it is very rare now. It seems to me that the majority of younger people who are around at the festivals (including as performers) have been raised in folk families and grown up with it- a look at a cross section of the younger performers shows this is overwhelmingly the case. It's good that they are carrying on with it, but if English traditional music can't engage a wider audience then it's doomed to a slow decline.

I think one of the issues here is that because there was such a huge revival of interest in traditional music in the 60s it has to some extent become attached to a particular generation. That generation are on the whole still the ones running folk clubs, festivals etc. Given that they are often old enough to be their parents or even grandparents, it's not surprising that they struggle to attract people in their 20s, and as many of the clubs and festivals have an audience that goes back year after year, they really have little incentive to do so.

I think the established "folk scene" has a role to play and can help by sharing knowledge, by being welcoming, non-judgemental and open to people dipping their toes in the water (ie not scoffing at people just for having learnt a song from Leige and Leif). Ultimately though I think it's up to younger people to discover the music for themselves and make their own scene and events, I doubt if Trad Folk will ever have another revival as big as it the 60s, but there is hope.

On the positive side, I know of a number of younger people (not all from "folk" backgrounds) that are interested in and out performing traditional music; friends of mine who aren't big folk fans are intrigued when I sing a traditional song or play a tune. I also think there is a genuine interest in "Folk" amongst young people (and the wider population as a whole) but an ignorance of what it actually is, or how to go about finding out. I'd also like to say I've met some wonderfully welcoming and helpful older people around folk music who have done much to nurture my interest.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: theleveller
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 11:20 AM

"Leveller - did Lucy come with her own youn adience?"

Whenever I see Lucy the audience seems to be a wide range of ages - she has a very broad appeal. I first came across her when she was, I think, just 17 and brought a totally fresh approach to songs ranging from The Recruited Collier to Lilac Wine. Few people can bring me out in goose bumps like her voice does.


Flora, I was making a serious point about the style, attitudes and arrogance of some of our older folk establishment that put off so many people. Here's one example: mrsleveller and I were at an informal pub singaround which had been organised by a friend for his birthday. He asked us start things off and requested a couple of our songs. After we'd finished, one of the previously mentioned raucous Captain Birdseye impersonators stood up and, filled with his usual self-importance, announced, "Well, so much for the warm-up act, now it's time for the real pro." mrsleveller had to be physically restrained from punching his lights out and now refuses to be in the same room as him. 'nuff said!


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 12:37 PM

leveller - it was the language it was deteriorating into that made me make the comment. I do know exactly what you mean. At the Broadstairs sing around pub you don't get asked to sing by one of the two orgasnisers unless your face fits. ( The other one sidles around and listens to people and is more democratic who he asks to sing - well, he asks us anyway so perhaps I'm biased) At one of the two folk clubs I go to they had one of the best melodeon players in kent turn up - and he wasn't asked to perform - so we had to hear the residents yet again.

My own personal little gripe is that if we turn up together as we usually do - we get asked to do one song. If my husband does an unaccompaied song then I get ignored and the same the other way around. Bless the Wimbourne club - Oh no - you must do 2 as there are 2 of you.


My friend had Lucy perform at the Cambridge folk club and said she held the audience well. I just wondered if she uses face book etc to attract her own audience as I know some performers have e mail lists that they use extensively.

Vince the cat - I'm glad to hear you have mostly been been welcomed and helped. Most folk performers do it for the joy of the music, not any personal gain. Are there things that you would alter with the organisation of festivals that would encourage more people of your age to turn up? ( remembering that most of the work is voluntary).
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 12:46 PM

Lucy's Dad is often with her ....... and he's younger than a lot of the audience at some folk clubs:-) Fine fellow he is as well.

Does that count?


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 01:11 PM

I've not visited many folks but as we were having a week down in north Wales we decided to try out Conwy Folk Club. It was very well organised and friendly. As soon as I was in the door several people came up enquiring as to who I was and did I want to perform etc. They lady who was in charge that evening, they take turns, explained that I'd be on fifth and that there was a maximum of two songs. Later on in the evening it transpired that their numbers were shorter than normal and as I was a guest from afar they asked me to do another two songs! The majority of the people there were older but there was no grumpiness etc. A really nice bunch of people.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 01:15 PM

I think we could start another thread here - the most welcoming folk club.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: selby
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 02:01 PM

FloraG does not the Folk Awards give an award to the best folk club which takes issues like welcoming into account :-))))))


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 02:26 PM

They quietly dropped that one a couple of years ago Selby. Shame.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Aug 12 - 03:15 PM

I don't go to Broadstairs much any more as I like singarounds and sessions but my experience of the past is that Flora's accusation is baseless. Tom and Barbara's singarounds in the sailing club are run on a strict rotation of the room (on polar co-ordinates) without any preferences. My only gripe with them is that they are too full and joining in is frowned on (and once someone turned up with recorded backing tracks).

The other pub (the Wrotham Arms)has Kenwood mixer sessions and my experience is that the organisation is scrupulous to give all a fair crack of the whip without even a hint of exclusion of those whom the organisers might not wish to hear - although it seemed to be on a sort of "Lazy-Z" sweep. My only moan there is that they are also rammed and I find it inconvenient to stick to the "easy key, easy rhythm" requirement.   

I infer that Flora did not intend to refer to Neptune's Hall - not a "pub" as such).   If she wants to have a pop at Bob and Kath perhaps she should openly stick her head above the parapet.


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 04:19 AM

No pops. Its just a statement of fact. The sailing club is not a pub and Bobs session is mostly music. Not them then. Anyone who works in/for a festival - mostly without pay - can run things the way they like. If you don't like it you have the choice to get involved and take on a lot of work - or not go.
The radio 2 best folk club award was based on views of visiting artists. This meant that clubs that had the most artists tended to get voted for most. Nothing wrong with that as I don't think it affected the way the best folk clubs run.   eg The cambridge folk club has a mix of open stage, the best of whom are asked to showcase, and some paid guest nights with invited ( usually local ) support. This model is more work than just having guests, but it encourages new groups/ solo performers to hone their skills with good PA provided, and means a lot more variety for the audience. I'm not sure there would be an easy way to vote democratically about this. The Conway sounds delightful.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Where are the youngsters?
From: GUEST,Vincethecat
Date: 29 Aug 12 - 07:43 AM

FloraG- I appreciate your point re performers- actually I think one of the most wonderful and special things in the Folk world is an informal, friendly singaround/music session, give me one of those any day over a "Folk Club" where everyone sits in rows facing the stage waiting to do their floor-spot. That Folk Club format is stiff, dated and unwelcoming and I'm sure puts many younger people off. On the other hand there are amateur musicians in many genres who do it largely for the love of it so I don't think Folk is unique in that regard.

What I feel is that traditional songs and sounds have an eternal appeal- there is a large group of younger people drawn to things folky, rootsy, "authentic", old-and-strange probably for similar reasons to the folk-fans of their parents or grand-parents' generation; from the "Alt-Psych-Folk" Green Man festival sort of stuff, to the Wicker man soundtrack (yes it's still a major way that people get interested in traditional music), to Sea-Sick Steve and even the dire M*****d & S*ns. But this group and the established Traditional Folk Music scene are on the whole completely disconnected, which is a shame. I think it would be wonderful to bring these two groups of people closer together as they have a lot to gain from each other.

Acts like Bellowhead and the Unthanks probably help bridge the gap to some extent; and while I'm neither are exactly to my personal taste I think they both show that traditional music can still reach a wider audience by fusing with other genres, just as it did with Folk-Rock in the 60s and 70s. What I really think would bring more young people into traditional music is more genuine fusion of traditional music and other genres, as opposed to the likes of M & S; "Rootless Folk-Pop" as one reviewer recently aptly described them. We have to be secure and open minded to encourage this kind of experimentation, in the knowledge that it doesn't detract from the original source material but ensures its continued relevance and gives it a wider audience.

On a practical leveI, I think the best thing that the established festivals can do (and I know this has been done to some extent) would be to give new Folk promoters a window to take on one of the usual tents/venues, ideally this would be for the duration of the event, and to give them as much free reign as possible in terms of marketing, booking artists etc. This would allow a space for more experimental and younger orientated "folk", but in an environment where it could remain genuinely connected to and inspired by genuine traditional music.


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