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Poor Performers & What to do?

Ebbie 15 May 13 - 01:55 PM
Richard Bridge 15 May 13 - 01:58 PM
Ebbie 15 May 13 - 02:30 PM
Nick 15 May 13 - 02:45 PM
Ebbie 15 May 13 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Grishka 15 May 13 - 03:37 PM
mg 15 May 13 - 03:38 PM
Ebbie 15 May 13 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Auldtimer 15 May 13 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 15 May 13 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Grishka 15 May 13 - 04:24 PM
Jack Campin 15 May 13 - 04:51 PM
Deckman 15 May 13 - 05:12 PM
Bill D 15 May 13 - 05:23 PM
Leadfingers 15 May 13 - 05:28 PM
Leadfingers 15 May 13 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,leeneia 15 May 13 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 15 May 13 - 06:15 PM
Leadfingers 15 May 13 - 06:28 PM
Richard Bridge 15 May 13 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,Jay 15 May 13 - 07:28 PM
kendall 15 May 13 - 07:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 May 13 - 07:46 PM
Joe_F 15 May 13 - 07:53 PM
Ron Davies 15 May 13 - 08:53 PM
Ebbie 15 May 13 - 09:38 PM
Howard Jones 16 May 13 - 04:09 AM
Roger the Skiffler 16 May 13 - 04:12 AM
Johnny J 16 May 13 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,matt milton 16 May 13 - 05:30 AM
Jim Carroll 16 May 13 - 07:04 AM
Howard Jones 16 May 13 - 07:23 AM
Jack Campin 16 May 13 - 07:56 AM
treewind 16 May 13 - 08:11 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 May 13 - 08:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 May 13 - 08:51 AM
Johnny J 16 May 13 - 10:31 AM
breezy 16 May 13 - 10:40 AM
Ebbie 16 May 13 - 10:44 AM
Harmonium Hero 16 May 13 - 11:01 AM
Ebbie 16 May 13 - 11:11 AM
John P 16 May 13 - 11:23 AM
The Sandman 16 May 13 - 01:00 PM
Harmonium Hero 16 May 13 - 01:15 PM
Bainbo 16 May 13 - 01:30 PM
Harmonium Hero 16 May 13 - 01:51 PM
johncharles 16 May 13 - 02:50 PM
Bill D 16 May 13 - 05:00 PM
Ron Davies 16 May 13 - 06:01 PM
Harmonium Hero 16 May 13 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,Traitor 16 May 13 - 06:55 PM
Harmonium Hero 16 May 13 - 07:59 PM
matt milton 17 May 13 - 01:43 AM
Dave the Gnome 17 May 13 - 03:21 AM
johncharles 17 May 13 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Peter 17 May 13 - 05:39 AM
Johnny J 17 May 13 - 06:08 AM
Ron Davies 17 May 13 - 08:16 AM
Johnny J 17 May 13 - 08:42 AM
Harmonium Hero 17 May 13 - 10:11 AM
GUEST 17 May 13 - 10:42 AM
GUEST 17 May 13 - 10:55 AM
Harmonium Hero 17 May 13 - 11:15 AM
The Sandman 17 May 13 - 11:18 AM
Harmonium Hero 17 May 13 - 11:26 AM
Will Fly 17 May 13 - 11:36 AM
Ebbie 17 May 13 - 02:54 PM
Ron Davies 17 May 13 - 03:43 PM
Elmore 17 May 13 - 04:12 PM
matt milton 17 May 13 - 04:25 PM
Harmonium Hero 17 May 13 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,Traitor 17 May 13 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,DTM 17 May 13 - 08:41 PM
Harmonium Hero 18 May 13 - 10:42 AM
dick greenhaus 18 May 13 - 11:52 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 May 13 - 02:59 AM
GUEST,keith price 19 May 13 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,Breedloveboy 19 May 13 - 05:34 AM
Richard Bridge 19 May 13 - 09:47 AM
Harmonium Hero 19 May 13 - 10:31 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 May 13 - 10:42 AM
The Sandman 19 May 13 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Breedloveboy 19 May 13 - 04:08 PM
Maryrrf 19 May 13 - 05:32 PM
Harmonium Hero 19 May 13 - 07:13 PM
Ron Davies 19 May 13 - 08:00 PM
dick greenhaus 19 May 13 - 08:28 PM
Harmonium Hero 19 May 13 - 08:43 PM
Ebbie 19 May 13 - 09:35 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 20 May 13 - 02:55 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 May 13 - 03:04 AM
Richard Bridge 20 May 13 - 03:14 AM
Dave the Gnome 20 May 13 - 03:22 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 May 13 - 03:23 AM
Jim Carroll 20 May 13 - 03:32 AM
The Sandman 20 May 13 - 03:58 AM
Ebbie 20 May 13 - 10:41 AM
Johnny J 20 May 13 - 12:25 PM
Ron Davies 20 May 13 - 12:35 PM
The Sandman 20 May 13 - 12:50 PM
Megan L 20 May 13 - 01:03 PM
The Sandman 20 May 13 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,mickyp 20 May 13 - 02:05 PM
Ebbie 20 May 13 - 02:08 PM
The Sandman 20 May 13 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,John Foxen 20 May 13 - 02:54 PM
Howard Jones 20 May 13 - 02:55 PM
My guru always said 20 May 13 - 03:02 PM
Ebbie 20 May 13 - 04:00 PM
Jack Campin 20 May 13 - 06:56 PM
Ebbie 20 May 13 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 21 May 13 - 01:42 AM
GUEST,Eddie1 (sans cookie) 21 May 13 - 02:08 AM
TheSnail 21 May 13 - 06:34 AM
The Sandman 21 May 13 - 07:10 AM
Ron Davies 21 May 13 - 01:45 PM
Ebbie 21 May 13 - 02:01 PM
Ron Davies 21 May 13 - 02:01 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 May 13 - 03:32 PM
Ebbie 21 May 13 - 04:13 PM
The Sandman 22 May 13 - 06:49 AM
TheSnail 22 May 13 - 07:46 AM
The Sandman 22 May 13 - 08:35 AM
The Sandman 22 May 13 - 08:41 AM
TheSnail 22 May 13 - 09:31 AM
GUEST 22 May 13 - 10:14 AM
Johnny J 22 May 13 - 10:28 AM
The Sandman 22 May 13 - 11:17 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 May 13 - 01:48 PM
The Sandman 22 May 13 - 01:51 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 May 13 - 03:58 PM
Ron Davies 22 May 13 - 04:41 PM
Ron Davies 22 May 13 - 04:42 PM
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Subject: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 May 13 - 01:55 PM

How do you feel about eager but not-so-good performers? What is one's responsibility to an audience? How many eager but not-so-good performers can one get away with and how often before an audience gives up on the venue?

We hold a wintertime concert series and we are always alert, watching for new performers to come along. We don't audition but word of mouth is usually a good indicator of what to expect. Sometimes, however, the outcome is disappointing and one could wish for the hook of the Gong show. There are people out there who seem to have little insight into their abilities and who have either decided that staying on key ranks low in importance and self-penned songs that express one's angst are what is important; that each song has the same key and ALMOST the same tune is a minor concern.

A good many of the poorer performers are recommended by established, i.e. well-known, performers. I have come to think that frequently good performers promote a poorer one in the interests of not discouraging a new singer/songwriter/instrumentalist, and that quite possibly they have been asked to help the poorer one find a gig. That support, no doubt, is laudable but in reality they are merely passing along a problem they themselves presumably don't know how to address.

A further complication: Quite often the performer will request a return engagement and although I attempt to be diplomatic I'm never sure what one should say. Does one say, "Sure, we'd be happy to have you back"? Or, "You're a crowd pleaser- thanks for asking – but we have the bill already filled for that month." Or, "I can give you the phone number of a venue that is a huge draw for people in your age group." Or…?

Mind you, these are just 20 minute sets, which means that anyone can sit through practically any one of them.

Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 May 13 - 01:58 PM

"Yes, we'll ring you when we have a suitable slot"?


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 May 13 - 02:30 PM

Good one, Richard!


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Nick
Date: 15 May 13 - 02:45 PM

I'd suggest being acquainted with the Dunning Kruger syndrome and its implications


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 May 13 - 03:08 PM

"Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

    tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
    fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
    fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
    recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill."

Well, that may describe it but it's not helpful in how to deal with it.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 15 May 13 - 03:37 PM

You can do it like a Chinese book publisher: "Dear author, your novel is so excellent that in comparison it would make our other authors' talents look small. We cannot take that responsibility, therefore to our regret we must refrain from publishing your work."

More occidental: "For our programming policy of a well-balanced mix, we need something different. Please do not take this as a judgment about the quality of your performance." (— "So what is it that you want? I can write it quickly!" — "We cannot possibly ask you to compromise your artistic integrity." Don't be specific about what you want, to avoid endless arguing.)

Instead of an audition, ask for a short recording, e.g. to be mailed as an MP3 file.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: mg
Date: 15 May 13 - 03:38 PM

I think you should at least know beforehand if they can carry a tune and what their repertoire is more or less..they could sing you a song over the phone..I would not buy a pig in a poke...mg


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 May 13 - 03:45 PM

Good ideas so far. I'm open for more...


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 15 May 13 - 04:01 PM

A couple of weekends ago I sat through a cringe inducing 35 min. set by a two East Europe "performers". A storyteller and a singer who could neither sing or tell a story. It was a waste of time since there were other performers who had their time cut back to make room for them. A poor show and a poor deal at £20 for the Sat. Night concert.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 15 May 13 - 04:17 PM

When these people are on their deathbeds, the fact that you were once brutally honest with them will weigh little. Don't hold back.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 15 May 13 - 04:24 PM

To make another thing clear: not only artists, but also editorial readers, critics, competition jurors etc. can be very incompetent and arrogant in their roles, even if working for a prestigious institution for a good salary.

Long ago I read about someone who had copied passages from extremely successful and highly acclaimed recent novels, changed some names, and sent each to the original publisher, pretending it to be an excerpt from his own new novel. None of the addressees recognized their own publications, and all were quite definite in their negative verdict. (Chinese politeness is rarely deemed necessary nowadays, unless the aspiring artist is a prominent politician or similar.)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 May 13 - 04:51 PM

Where you get a tougher problem is with somebody who was once good and is now losing it for some reason. Okay, with alcohol addiction, "try again when you've dried out" is best all round. With progressive illness of other kinds you're on the spot.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Deckman
Date: 15 May 13 - 05:12 PM

Hi Ebbie ... You ask some tough questions. As someone who has been on stage longer than I've been alive, and who still (stooopid me) produces and selects performers for local concerts, I've been in your shoes many times. I would offer the following thoughts:

Be honest. If they're not "ready for prime time", tell them so. You don't have to be mean about it, but holding back does no one any favors.

If you've the time and inclinations, make some notes on paper, sit them down, and critique their performance. Suggest improvements. Perhaps recommend a local performance coach.

One of these days (daze?) I'd like to get up your way for a festival gig.

Best wishes ... bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 May 13 - 05:23 PM

"You know...we/I feel that you need more work on your delivery and holding a tune." etc... "Have you tried recording yourself and listening as though you didn't know who it was?"

I knew some very nice, sincere people who simply could not carry a tune... and others who simply could not sing without a cheat-sheet.

The point of singing is to happily share music.....but if your audience is not happy, adjustments need to be made- and it can be more cruel to let them 'think' they're doing ok than to gently suggest more work.

(and 20 minutes the first time on stage? Why not 2 song tryouts?)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 May 13 - 05:28 PM

In UK Folk Clubs , rather than 'concerts' the problem is the unpaid floor singer who MAY be a visiting performer looking for a booking , or a local who is a club supporter .
The former will usually be at least competent , and the latter may well bring a number of friends along , but still be dodgy .
Often , unless you have seen the performer , its a chance either way


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 May 13 - 05:35 PM

As far as 'floor singers' go , if someone has travelled a distance to do a short set , I feel it is only polite to give them a try .
With 'locals' you may need the numbers and not want to put off his support IF he brings audience with him


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 15 May 13 - 06:11 PM

Make a rule that you don't book an act until you've heard the person perform. Recordings are easy to make nowadays.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 15 May 13 - 06:15 PM

I've got an idea. If somebody is completely new to you, let them do one number as a tryout before granting a 20 minute act.

Twenty minutes can seem like an eternity.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 May 13 - 06:28 PM

Be wary of booking a group if they send you a recording - Booked a Five Piece on the strength of a cassette once - they turned up as a quartet and only two of them had been in the original group !!


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 May 13 - 07:10 PM

I had a similar experience to that.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Jay
Date: 15 May 13 - 07:28 PM

I booked a group for our club, unfortunately all four of the advertised members turned up. I wish I'd waited a few years as I hear they became a trio. One of the most patronising, unpleasant people I have come across. I hope to book the 'Trio' from Sheffield soon.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: kendall
Date: 15 May 13 - 07:38 PM

I don't understand how a person who really sucks deludes himself into thinking he can sing.
Jack, I was singer but I lost my singing voice, so now I don't even try. I can do a good impression of Mr. Creosote, but that's it. Not a big audience for that.
Someone remarked about ex champion, Joe Frasier, "Who ever told him he could sing"?
Answer, "Who's going to tell him he can't"?


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 May 13 - 07:46 PM

Some of these poor critters have put their stuff on youtube.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Joe_F
Date: 15 May 13 - 07:53 PM

In the Boston (MA) area, at any rate, there are groups that openly advertise that talent is not required. Their members sing for each other & enjoy themselves. I am sorry to have to indulge in Blaming the Victim, but it is stupid to aspire to show business if what you really want is to have fun.

The ability to enjoy oneself at a low level of competence is a precious resource for happiness & should not be sacrificed to the will-o'-the-wisp of Excellence.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 15 May 13 - 08:53 PM

It seems reasonable, as others have noted, that any person who bills himself or herself as a perfomer should be willing to audition for you--or send a recording. You say you don't audition, but you also say word of mouth has not always worked out for you.    20 minutes is in fact too long to sit through a talentless navelgazer. One song--no more-- is about right.

Without some sort of audition--live or recorded (and a recording, as others have observed, may not be an accurate picture of what you will get at your gig)-- there's no solution to your problem. In your position, I'd be willing to gamble if the recording was good.   But an audition of some kind is essential.

Do you pay these performers?


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 May 13 - 09:38 PM

No, we don't pay the performers, Ron. All they get is a CD recording of their set and a chance to sing for an attentive audience (Juneau audiences are great!). We don't take in much money- we charge $5.00 at the door; children are free- the rationale being that we want those same children to be on our stage someday. We pay $100.00 for the rental of the hall. In a pinch we can seat close to 150 people but that would be a rare occasion- most of the time we draw around 75 people. Luckily so, because it is a tight fit for a hundred plus people.

We get a lot of pats on the back for this concert series. We have completed eight seasons (October through March) and our audiences have steadily grown in size. We have introduced a great many performers to the larger community which was our aim in the first place. Most of our performers are local but from time to time we get some from out of town. Several times we have booked a guest and given him/her the gate. A couple of times we have paid airfare into town to a performer who is touring the state.

At the end of the season we donate most of the leftover money to some cause that we, the founders, agree upon, whether that is to a burnt out family or applied to someone's medical bills or given to a private agency. We are pretty laid back. None of the founders take any money so we are not all uptight about the financial end of the thing.

It's just that once in awhile we don't like a particular performer, and in some cases have told each other: Never again. I remember one 60-year old who put on a kittenish act that was about as offputting as one could imagine. *g*


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 May 13 - 04:09 AM

20 minutes for an unknown and unproved act sounds too long. In most UK folk clubs the usual floor spot is two, maybe three songs. Once you've proved yourself you might be asked to do a longer slot, perhaps as support for a booked artist, but you have to earn it.

It's difficult if an event is advertised as an open-mic, as people feel they have a right to perform and the MC loses control. A floor spot should be a privilege, and the MC should decide who gets to play and who doesn't.

Some performers who aren't up to scratch will appreciate honest feedback, others will take offence and not return - but is that any loss?


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 16 May 13 - 04:12 AM

I make it clear I'm always ready to murder a couple of songs if there is a shortage of real talent on the night, but not offended to be left out if there isn't. Usually the threat is enough for someone to get on the 'phone and get some more people along to fill in!

RtS
("Roger don't sing too good, but he sing with feeling" anon of Greece)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Johnny J
Date: 16 May 13 - 04:30 AM

It's unlikely that there will ever be agreement on this one.

One school of thought argues that it is unprofessional for a club to feature floor singers and/or budding performers(s) as a support. After all, people have paid good money to see the guest artist or band.

On the other hand, many argue that folk clubs are failing in their duty if they don't encourage club members and local singers, In some venues, they are even seen as more important.

Edinburgh Folk Club usually has a pre-arranged opening spot and we still welcome floor singers albeit, due to time restrictions, it's always wise to ask in advance before the night starts. There's an impression in some quarters that we don't actively encourage the latter and this may be true but it's usually because there's "always someone there".
Our friends at Leith don't have floor spots at all but do have an opening spot where local acts are encouraged to apply while in many of the rural clubs there are more singers nights than anything else.

Personally, I'd rather things were more black and white.... i.e. either a guest night or a "floor singer, open mic, or whatever night". It's the hybrid scenario which always seems to cause the most contention.
(These are just my own views though)

However, in Edinburgh we are spoiled for choice and there are all manner of sessions, singarounds etc some of which are more organised than others. So, it's possible for the likes of ourselves and Leith to concentrate more on a concert format. Besides, the punters would be unlikely to come along to these clubs just to hear local singers etc when they can just as easily go to the pub.

I do realise that in rural areas and small towns circumstances are a little different. So, I appreciate there's more of a need to cater for the Senga McGlumphers of this world who want to get up there and "do a turn".


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 16 May 13 - 05:30 AM

don't give anyone a platform unless you've heard them on YouTube or reverbnation or bandcamp or myspace or wherever.

If they haven't got any kind of recording or video or anything available, then it's legitimate to ask why they actually want to appear in public...


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 May 13 - 07:04 AM

In the case of non-booked visitors/regulars, most clubs I have been involved with have been able to organise some sort of assistance to singers who wished to work on their singing, and most of them have met with some degree of success.
I have never been convinced about the one-to-one "teaching" of people to sing, but the most successful I've known were those where a group of singers/enthusiasts have met regularly on a formal basis, asked 'wannabes' to bring along a number of songs to be worked on, then worked on them in a chaired discussion around the strengths and weaknesses of the performance, finally making specific suggestions of how to approve the singing – positive and negative suggestions being the rule of the day.
We always avoided telling people "how to sing", but if we were going to put in time and effort to help we did expect the singer/s to show that they had put in the work between meetings.
The democratic nature of this set-up was a two-way street; hopefully the singer/s took away something to work on and the rest, by being put in a situation of having to think about what was happening, picked up tips that they could apply to their own singing.
A bit of a simplistic explanation of the work; some of these 'workshops' took the work much further than ths explanation.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 May 13 - 07:23 AM

I agree with Johnny J, I think there's room for both types of event but problems can arise when there's a mismatch of expectations. I don't think the fact that the audience is paying matters so much as what they think they are paying for. If they are paying to be entertained, then the event has a duty to put on performers who reach at least a minimum standard. However it's different if the audience is paying to participate in an event where everyone is encouraged to perform, where mere participation may be more important than quality.

What is important is to be clear to both audience and would-be performers what sort of event it is, and what is is expected of both of them.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 May 13 - 07:56 AM

I would be surprised if EFC didn't check out demo CDs and web presence for every act they book, and look at reviews and promo, and they've still had a few disasters. Anybody can fall victim to a misleading recording backed by mendacious hype.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: treewind
Date: 16 May 13 - 08:11 AM

"If somebody is completely new to you, let them do one number as a tryout before granting a 20 minute act."

This is standard floor singer policy in some UK folk clubs. Or typically "one song please, and if there's time in the second half you'll get another". Whether there's time for another is, of course, a quality control decision but it doesn't have to be presented as such...


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 May 13 - 08:51 AM

What treewind said! Unfortunately this topic has been done before and I got right going over by some members when I said I would not have poor or unknown floor singers on a guest night when there is a paying audience there to see the paid guest. They are more than welcome on a singers nights which is free for all attending whether performing or not. Seems a pretty fair way of determining who gets a support spot when the audience pays and it is still fair to poor performers who enjoy doing there bit.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 May 13 - 08:51 AM

...or even their bit - just to please the pedants :-)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Johnny J
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:31 AM

As Jack says, we at EFC have had a few disasters but not many. Perhaps, an average of one a year. That's aside from occasions when some acts are a little disappointing or don't always perform at their best but we can't always anticipate when they might have an "off night".
The majority, however, are usually good at what they do even if they don't appeal to everyone's tastes(We cover a wide spectrum).

Unless we already know or have heard the act, we obviously listen to CDs, You Tube clips, and so on as well as take advice from other clubs and concert organisers. However, as Jack observes, this isn't always a true guide.
The best way to judge is by first hand experience but, even then, an act you may have enjoyed elsewhere might let you down or not make a successful transition into your own venue.

As regards Guest Matt's comments, it would be impractical and unfair to check out floor singers and those who offered to do very short spots (A longer support spot, fair enough) in this way. After all, everybody has to start somewhere.
Besides, the facilities to record yourself are relatively recent, In the past, people used to perform live, sometimes for several years, before they would ever dream of recording or be given the opprtunity.
Nowadays, it seems to be the other way around.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: breezy
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:40 AM

let the audience decide, each one has 2 cards. one with a tick ,the other with a cross alternatively one card with a yes ok the other with 'rubbish no more'
have the audience decide and involved then they will have more fun


Audition prior to the concert

never trust word of mouth

Have some standards or else have some kind of fun

This has given me an idea

All the best


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 May 13 - 10:44 AM

This is an interesting conversation and I hope it continues.

However, just to be clear, our series is not 'open mike'. We book five sets for the evening- three before goodies intermission and two after.

We try to place performers strategically for the optimum, i.e. the new/weakest one is usually #2 in the lineup, and the known crowd pleaser usually goes last, in order to hold the crowd. Generally speaking, it works.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 16 May 13 - 11:01 AM

While I can sympathise with the OP, and, as Dave says, this discussion has come up before - seemingly to no avail, there is another side to the problem for performers like me. Some of you know me, and have seen me, either as a booked guest, or doing promotional floor spots. Almost all of my bookings are the result of promo spots. I have done these spots up and down the UK, from Aberdeen to the south coast. So far, about two thirds of the clubs have not been interested. The traveling has cost me more than I have had back in earnings, and I can no longer afford the cost of diesel and insurance. I currently have three dates lined up: Swinton in August, Skipton in October, and Frodsham in May 2014....that's if I'm still on the road. As things stand, it's likely that I won't be able to afford to renew my van insurance next February. Ten or a dozen dates would fix that, but most of the clubs which might be interested are booked further ahead. I have offers of two dates in the south east, but can't afford to do them except as part of a tour. Before some helpful person informs me that the folk scene (hate that term - can we find another?) doesn't owe me a living, I would like to point out that I know; it doesn't owe any of us a living, for that matter, but that is not what this post is about.
I don't imagine myself to be the best singer or performer in the business; I think I have a pretty fair idea of my abilities and shortcomings. I have always been a nervous performer, and lacking in confidence. I am probably my own biggest critic, but I know from past experience, that I would get over the nervousness if I were out performing regularly. What keeps me going is that, from the comments I have had, both in person and on this forum and elsewhere, and from the fact that the clubs that have booked me usually do so again - Swinton, for instance is a fourth date (plus a couple of times at their mini-weekend), Skipton a third date, and Frodsham about the tenth - I believe that I have something to offer that is appreciated by a lot of people. (Please bear with me - this is not a trumpet-blowing excercise). And, as I said, these dates are almost exclusively from turning up, at considerable expense, and performing to their audience. What more can people like me do? Everybody told me I should get a website. I have - harmoniumhero.com if anybody's interested. On it you can hear short clips from about half of the songs on my CDs, and there are now four videos, with more to follow. This has so far got me no bookings. I don't think people visit websites by accident. They have usually heard/of the performer before. I still think that turning up and singing ought to be the way to do things.
So where does this leave me? I was driven out of the game once before for a few years, from disillusionment and frustration, but wasn't happy not singing, and returned to the fray, determined not to be driven out again. But it's happening. I'm not alone in this. There are plenty of people in the same position - frustrated, ignored and bitter.
Sorry this has been so long-winded, and it's not all about me (see previous sentence).

John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 May 13 - 11:11 AM

John Kelly, is there someplace online in the US where I can hear you? I tried 'harmoniumhero.com' and it is all about harmonicas. :)

Are you on YouTube? I didn't find you there.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: John P
Date: 16 May 13 - 11:23 AM

You could have occasional open mic nights where new acts audition for a concert slot. Audiences know what to expect from an open mic. My opinion is that if you are charging people to come and watch a performance, you have a duty to put on competent performers. People who do the booking for venues have to learn to say no.

Ebbie, I don't know if this is true, but your situation may be complicated by the possibility that you are the only place in town to hear or to perform folk music. This may impose a heavier than usual requirement that you engage in artist development -- if there's only one place to play and the booker says no, there's not much option for a beginning performer. As has been suggested, events that are participatory in nature are a good place for people to play music if they aren't ready for more formal performing. I have watched (and encouraged) musicians who regularly attend song circles and open mics go from being pretty bad to being very good. That said, there are also musicians who will never achieve the minimum competence required to perform, and song circles are a great place for them to play and sing in an appropriate setting.

I usually don't tell people what I think of their performance unless they ask me, I think they can hear blunt honesty without damage, and I see the possibility of them actually getting better (I always complement where possible and criticize with a great deal of respect). I am in strong disagreement with the habit that so many folkies seem to have of praising everyone, no matter how bad they are. People who aren't ready to get on stage shouldn't get on stage, and gaining a clear idea of their own level of competence is the only way they are going to get any better, or to figure out that they should stop inflicting themselves on others. Unfortunately, people who can't work that out for themselves before they get on a stage probably won't ever work it out. A well-developed self-critical facility is essential to being a good musician. And the person doing the booking for a venue has to learn to say no.

Praising unpracticed or incompetent musicians and/or giving them a stage is also somewhat insulting to the musicians who have spent the time and dedication acquiring real skills. We really aren't all the same, and artistic achievement isn't a democracy.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 May 13 - 01:00 PM

I have had over 35 years of being a paid performer and have also run folk clubs, I really do not like the tone of this thread at all.
in my experience a well run club can cope with one poor floor singer in an evening, this is where the resident or resident group has to come in and bring the evening up.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 16 May 13 - 01:15 PM

Ebbie: I keep getting that 'harmonica hero' stuff when I try to get on my website, but it usually comes up with the website once I've typed in the whole name. maybe your search engine is putting it further down the list. There is one song (unaccompnied) on Youtube. It was recorded in a folk club for entry to an unaccompanied singing contest. It's "When a Man's in Love". The title, plus my name and 'trad2mad 2012' should find it. I don't get over to the US, but thanks for the interest. Now, if only some of the organisers here would do the same......

John Kelly (ducking for cover)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Bainbo
Date: 16 May 13 - 01:30 PM

Does this link for the Harmonium Hero website work?

Failing that, here are a couple of the videos:
As I Was a-Wandering
Canadee-i-o


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 16 May 13 - 01:51 PM

Bainbo: thanks for that - it works here anyway. I can never get the clicky thing to work, and my son & daughter, who do know how to do it, aren't here.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: johncharles
Date: 16 May 13 - 02:50 PM

The type of night, audience expectations,aims of the performer, combined with subjective views on what is "poor" make this a tricky area.
My personal view
1. club nights where there is no or little charge and people usually do two/three songs "poor" performances make little difference.
2. guest nights where there is a more significant charge then care needs to be taken to ensure any support spots are of a "reasonable" standard, the occasional poor performance will probably be excused if it is relatively short.
3. major concert - get it right both in terms of style and skill of any supports as the audience is usually more varied and has paid good money to be entertained.
Booking anyone is subjective. Professionals usually have recordings,videos reviews etc which can help, others who are semi-professional or amateur can be more of a problem.
I play in a trio, we see this as a hobby and are not chasing money we get club and festival spots usually from people who have seen us play. we take the view that with us what you see is what you get we have a few live recordings which together with actually seeing someone are the best way to decide wether you want to book an act.
amelia earhart's last flight
i guess for many of us,particularly in the folk world where many of the audience are also performers, the judgement of "poor" versus "worth a short spot"versus "worth booking for a full concert", is derived from how we view our own performance standards, and any particular type of music we favour.
Anyone who really wants to sing/play will be able to find a niche it may not meet their aspirations but hey its music.Enjoy.
John


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Bill D
Date: 16 May 13 - 05:00 PM

(side question for john charles... how did you all get that tune for Amelia Earhart? It is quite a ways from what Red River Dave wrote. It is well-performed and would be fine....except for those who are expecting the original)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 16 May 13 - 06:01 PM

John Kelly--

Wow.   That's stunning, especially "As I Was A-Wandering"    Wonderful creation of atmosphere, talent to spare, and respectful serving of the music, rather than the perfomer insisting "Look at me."   The cittern is enchanting.    Wish you could make it to the US.

Your approach is the opposite of what we are criticizing---our problem is people of marginal talent who feel that their adolescent-style angst should be adored by the rest of the world.

Would there were more like you, and fewer navel-gazers. It ain't so--more's the pity.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 16 May 13 - 06:22 PM

Ron Davies: Thank you for those comments. It seems that what you - and others, judging by other comments I've had - are picking up is just what I intend: that it's not about the singer - it's about the song. In the popular music field, it's the other way around - it's about the singer. It seems to me that too many people here - in the UK - are trying to drag folk music into showbiz. It's not where it belongs. There seems to be too much emphasis on personalities, awards, and 'entertainment'. I always thought, in my naivety, that people went to folk clubs to be entertained by folk music. Silly me!
Thanks again. I just hope that some organisers here pick up on this - not just for my sake; as I said earlier, there are quite a fewof us banging our heads against the same brick wall.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Traitor
Date: 16 May 13 - 06:55 PM

I help run a club. Several of the leading organisers think they are good performers. Their last performance as support to a good performer was dire. Had they not been valued volunteers, we would never let them play again.
Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 16 May 13 - 07:59 PM

Traitor: that's a difficult one. It sounds as though you've got a committee-run club. There are problems with this. It has been suggested on Mudcat before now that the best way to run a club is by benevolent dictatorship - I think that was the expression - and I'm inclined to agree. In the old days - the bad old days, as some would insist - most clubs were run by a resident singer or group, and the club stood or fell by their efforts. If people liked the residents, then there would be a regular audience. If they didn't, there wouldn't be. It's natural selection. What to do in a case like yours, I'm not sure. Is there any way that they could be made aware of adverse comments from the audience, without making it sound as if it's coming from other organisers?
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: matt milton
Date: 17 May 13 - 01:43 AM

@John Kelly: I only just looked at your new website. It's definitely a step in the right direction, much better looking than the slightly apologetic website you had before. But getting a website is only half the game - as you say, people don't come to it by accident. You have to tell them about it. Publicise it (and yourself) a lot.

Make sure you're on Bandcamp too. Send CDs to all the folk radio outlets in the UK and internationally (you can research this on Facebook and Google - maybe it's about time for another Mudcat thread on this...) Send press packs with CD and bio to folk clubs and festivals and magazines. Think laterally: if no-one wants to interview you, interview yourself (hey, it worked for Glenn Gould); if no-one plays you on the radio, start your own podcast... Start videoing yourself on YouTube etc.

Doing all that stuff is more likely to get you gigs these days than driving to folk clubs and doing a floor spot.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 17 May 13 - 03:21 AM

John - Swinton in August, Skipton in October

As an ex-Swintonian and a new Skiptonian (is that right?) that is good news for me. Hopefully see you at at least one of them and hoping you get the breaks you deserve. Shame we don't still have the music halls - you could make up the difference clog dancing :-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: johncharles
Date: 17 May 13 - 05:15 AM

Dear Bill D. I heard someone sing the song years ago. i got the words and fitted the half remembered tune to it. Later I heard the original version by Red River dave but decided to stick with the way I was already performing it. It is not commonly sung in the UK as far as I can tell therfore the expectation of a particular tune may not be so great.
I was singing it in a pub recently and a man form the performing rights society was there taking notes. When he asked who performed it I told him it was Red River Dave the yodelling cowboy; I think he thought I was pulling his leg by the look he gave me. john


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 17 May 13 - 05:39 AM

I have had over 35 years of being a paid performer and have also run folk clubs, I really do not like the tone of this thread at all.
in my experience a well run club can cope with one poor floor singer in an evening, this is where the resident or resident group has to come in and bring the evening up.

While I agree with that comment about floor singers the OP was talking about booked acts doing longer sets.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Johnny J
Date: 17 May 13 - 06:08 AM

There has been a bit of divergence in this thread and floor singers/spots have featured heavily in the discussion.

Yes, the OP is referring to "booked acts" but he or she also states

"Mind you, these are just 20 minute sets, which means that anyone can sit through practically any one of them."

I realise that all clubs are organised differently but, in certain quarters, a 15-20 minute set could also be an extended floor spot.

Certainly, if the artists have been advertised to play at the venue and the punters have bought tickets on the strength of this then the organiser has an extra responsibility to the audience.

However, if the 15-20 minutes set is just a "warm up" for the main act who may be doing something like two 45 minute sets, then this may be seen as less crucial. Of course, as I said earlier, it's not necessarily fair on the audience who have come to see somebody else but once their chosen act gets on the stage most of them will "forget the pain" and generally enjoy the night as a whole unless the support or floor singers have been really bad.

Many clubs may have a succession of floor singers/performers for 20 mins or even longer rather than a "warm up" act before the main guest arrives. At least, this offers some opportunity for variety even if the next singer isn't necessarily any improvement on the previous one!
:-)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 May 13 - 08:16 AM

It seems clear that "warm up" is not the situation for Ebbie.   She appears to be talking about perfomers who themselves are to be the "main act", but are disappointing.

Perhaps it's the difference between the US and UK approaches to folk clubs. I'm aware that in the UK you can have warm-up acts.   In the US we often do not.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Johnny J
Date: 17 May 13 - 08:42 AM

Well, if you are booking an act for only twenty minutes and possibly others on the same evening, I'd imagine that you wouldn't want to spend too much money on each one. Unless it's a very lucrative club, of course, but even then if you are paying out a decent sum you would surely want your money's worth in terms of performance time?

So, to a certain extent, you get what you pay for in these situations.

That's not to say all the acts will be bad nor should they be. It's possible that some will be very good "up and coming" musicians who are happy enough to do a short spot to help promote themselves.
You may also get good local experienced musicians who are happy enough to do a shorter set for the appropriate remuneration because the may be at a "loose end" and they may also be "friends" and supporters of the folk club scene.
On the other hand, there will also be those acts who are still "honing" their craft, "past their best", or just not up to it.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 17 May 13 - 10:11 AM

This thread suggests to me that people in the US are having some of the same problems that we are in UK, although I think the US folk scene is organised a bit differently. There do seem to be a lot of singers about who think they have some divine democratic right to get up and sing. Up to a point, I'd say that, in folk clubs, they do. However, this has to be tempered by the right of paying punters to get what they think they are paying for. If it's a singaround/song circle, then everybody gets a go, but these are usually free, or minimal entry fee, and people know what to expect. The concert platform, with named performers getting an extended spot, and punters paying to get in, is an entirely different thing. The folk club lies somewhere in between. There were always general principles on which folk clubs ran, but no actual rules, so there was always scope for variation and experiment. I think this generally worked satisfactorily, but when people like me have suggested, in previous Mudcat threads, that this was the way to do things, we've been told "no, we can't go back to the old ways". (Is there only me that sees the irony in this?) Some clubs didn't have floor spots on guest nights, and the atmosphere tended to be more formal. I preferred the clubs where there were at least some floor spots on guest nights, and the atmosphere was more relaxed. (It isn't as if you were paying a fortune to get in in those days). I remember once, in the '70s, after the floor spots, the guest (I'm pretty sure it was Nic Jones; my apologies to him if it wasn't) on getting up for his second spot said "the floor spots are always my favourite part of a folk club; you never know whether your singer is going to be brilliant or bloody awful". I agree. I love the element of unpredictability. I also agree with several posters here, that a 20 minute spot, if the performer is not right, can be dire.
I'm waffling again.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 13 - 10:42 AM

dear Harmonium man

i just auditioned you for my club


i clicked on to your canadee i o and was moved to turn it off after 10 seconds

the harmonium drowned your vocal and i could not recognise the song.

i admit to having heard Nic Jones and a woman from a folk club sing it unaccompanied once . i would listen again to them .

Your immediate and the first impression you convey will count heavily for or against you.

Some folk clubs are genuine and they will engage you. you appear a to be an intriguing character , but most i fear will not.

I organise to promote the genre but also to entertain there bums-in-seats is important

where a club has a staunch and loyal following its philosophy will probably be at odds with mine

I shall now give your other song a listen

All the best


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 13 - 10:55 AM

I generally dont care much for Scottish songs having found dialect a major hurdle to my listening ears as they try to follow the lyric
I stayed with that one because I appreciated the cittern playing and you sing in tune and in time.
the melody was soothing.
But
its nice to go travelling and I wish you all the best,
we must never lose the joy we get from singing for singing's sake.
Focus and target festival organisers as opposed to clubs.
redo the one with harmonium and play it quietly so it is under you voice.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 17 May 13 - 11:15 AM

Hi Dave. So, you thought you'd escape me by moving to Skipton? Ha! You can't even escape my dancing, as I'll be there with Seven Stars, for 'Clogfest' in July. As regards dancing in clubs, I used to do it in the '70s, with The Wakes, and have done it an odd time recently, by request of the organiser; as it happened, one of the regulars was able to accompany me. Are you doing Abram this year? Hope to see you at one or other event, anyway.

Matt: Thanks for looking at the new site. The old one wasn't actually mine; it was some spare space Al Whittle had, and he set it up - I had no cotrol. As regards all those internet sites, Iit's not the way for me. My computer skills don't go much beyond swearing at the bloody thing. I haven't even got a computer of my own - can't afford one, and wouldn'e be able to set anything up on it. But even if I did, it would do no good. I'll guarantee that a goodly number of club organisers don't spend a lot of time scouring these websites looking for guests. It's a buyers' market. Too many of us chasing too few bookings. And some organisers have their own fixed ideas about who to book. Others don't trust CDs and publicity handouts. I wouldn't, if I were running a club. As has been suggested on this thread, it's too easy to make a recording, and there's too much scope for sexing up recordings. Same with publicity. I could, as easily as anybody else, send out glossy, professional photographs (which tell you nothing about what I sound like), and a blurb telling you that I am one of the UK's most accomplished singers, a stunning intrumentalist and acclaimed song arranger, blah, blah, blah. Once people have been had by this sort of bilge, and the accompnying slick, over-produced CD (featuring various famous musicians, to make the mediocre singer sound good) they no longer give any credence to such things. If I turn up, by arrangement, at their club, and get up in front of their audience and perform, they know exactly what they would be getting, and can see how their audience reacts to it. I know that many people think I'm crackers, but I believe this is the way to do things. But I've been to clubs where the organiser is simply NOT INTERESTED - have been very off-hand, and simply treated me as any other floor singer, although I've emailed or phoned in advance and explained who I am and that I am Looking for dates. And I've spoken to other singers who have had the same experience with the same organisers. All the internet presence in the world isn't going to impinge on their consciousness. I've also gone down the road of sending out demo CDs to festivals: nothing - zippo - zilch. Some of them didn't even respond to my request for an address to send the demo. I think you said, on another thread a few months ago (my appologies if this wasn't you) in response to somebody looking for advice on getting dates, that it has never been easier to get bookings - you listed all the ways of publicising yourself. I would take issue; it's true that there have never been so many ways to publicise yourself, many of which are free, or inexpensive, but getting dates is another matter. I've been singing in the clubs for 45 years, all but a few years gap, and I'd say it's never been harder. Of course, as evidenced by the experiences recounted on this thread, there will always be those who manage to blag their way in. And while it's difficult to know what's the best way to guard against it, they do tend to have short careers.

Sorry- wittering again. John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 May 13 - 11:18 AM

if the organiser cannot decide what to do for herself then in my opinion she should not be running a folk club.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 17 May 13 - 11:26 AM

Ebbie: Sorry - I seem to be hijacking your thread, which isn't being very helpful, and wasn't my intention. I'm going to go away and saw some wood.
JK


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 May 13 - 11:36 AM

Just to add to the thread hijack, John - loved your videos on Vimeo. The GUEST here who turned one off after 10 seconds was, in my view, mistaken.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 May 13 - 02:54 PM

I don't mind thread hijacking! It's been interesting.

"...the organiser cannot decide what to do for herself then in my opinion she should not be running a folk club." You may note that we don't have a, strictly speaking, folk club. This is a small venue to introduce performers to audiences and to showcase known crowd pleasers.

Ya know, Dick M, I doubt I would go listen to you. I like my performers to be people I care to know.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 May 13 - 03:43 PM

Gee, my computer can't spell "performers". I'm sure it's not the fault of the writer.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Elmore
Date: 17 May 13 - 04:12 PM

Never had this problem. We were one of the few venues to book "traditional" performers,so we had a superabundance of excellent artists and a shortage of dates on which to present them. So, forty years later our performers are aging, and our members are dying.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: matt milton
Date: 17 May 13 - 04:25 PM

sorry, I'm going to perpetuate the 'hijack' for a bit...

John said:
" I think you said, on another thread a few months ago (my appologies if this wasn't you) in response to somebody looking for advice on getting dates, that it has never been easier to get bookings - you listed all the ways of publicising yourself. I would take issue; it's true that there have never been so many ways to publicise yourself, many of which are free, or inexpensive, but getting dates is another matter. I've been singing in the clubs for 45 years, all but a few years gap, and I'd say it's never been harder."

...yes, sounds like me. And I still think it's easy to get gigs, thanks to social networking and the internet, but that might be because perhaps we're spoilt, to an extent, in London. There are a LOT of places to play here and I've never had a problem getting gigs, even though I'm nobody, with very few recordings to show for myself.

I admit, it must be very difficult if you don't even have a computer. And I agree with you, that, in principle, it SHOULD be, in an ideal world, the case that one could just, in an egalitarian way, turn up and do a floor spot, blow everyone away by one's brilliance and be offered back for a headline gig, or a too-notch support slot to Martin Carthy or something.

But, personally, I think you're underestimating people's tolerance for the kind of overproduced, glossy CD, big-package presentation. I think it carries a lot of weight. I've seen a lot of the current, younger folk scene's brightest and best being roundly ignored at folk clubs and singer-songwriter nights over the last 10 years ... until, that is, they got record deals, album reviews ... success breeds success and people tend to hear with their preconceptions, and enjoy things they have been primed to enjoy.

I mean, there's a singer at my local folk club who really struggles with pitch, wandering all over the place, but who everyone else thinks is a-mazing, largely I suspect because she's easy on the eye and her general singing voice is pleasant in that "pretty young girl who sings folk" kind of way. Somehow I don't think she'd be tolerated at all there if she was a podgy, bald, 60something. One strange side-effect of the digital age is that people want to believe their eyes.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 17 May 13 - 07:44 PM

Oh, well.. if Ebbie doesn't mind; it's helping to keep the thread going, anyway.
Anonymous guest: the somgs were recorded on a camera, and the sound is not the best quality. I don't have the money to het a professional video done. If organisers are going to judge my performance on the quality of the recording, they might just as well say they didn't like the colour of my shirt. I'm not trying to sell the videos; they are just to give people a taste of what I do. As regards concentrating on festivals, I'd rather sing in clubs. Festival bookinngs can be very unsatisfactory, and, frankly, a pain in the arse. And they are not interested in people like me anyway.
Hi Mike. Glad you liked the songs. There'll be more soon.
Matt: I can take your point about 'people's tolerance for the kind of overproduced, glossy CD....' etc. It's probably true to some extent. The triumph of style over content (which is peretty much what showbiz is all about; folk music should be more honest - it used to be the antidote to showbiz, but not any more). But I have heard adverse comments about this sort of thing from some organisers, and one lady in Scotlamd said that what I was doing was right; that she had booked a duo on the strength of a great-sounding CD, and was disappointed with the reality - they didn't sound the same on stage.
And you may have a different experience in London. I haven't been much within the M25 yet - I've done floor spots at five clubs around the peripheries, and have been booked twice at Orpington (Change of Horses). But I have found it easier to get dates in the south east generally, than in other areas. Pity it's 200 miles away! I get no support from my local clubs. There are half a dozen clubs around the north west where I get booked over and over, but the ones nearest home just ignore me. It's a closed shop.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Traitor
Date: 17 May 13 - 08:16 PM

Thanks for the reply HH. You divine correctly that we have a committee run club. Your suggestion is a good one. I shall have to.work out a gentle way to avoid a repeat. They are all good friends so I will make sure of a good outcome. As you are aware, a reputation takes time and effort to build but can be destroyed very quickly.
Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 17 May 13 - 08:41 PM

Spot artists should have a reasonable level of competence - that's a no brainer. IMO, sing-a-round sessions should be open to all levels however, having said that, the singer/player should have at least learned the song/tune to some degree before airing their rendition. I cringe at the efforts of some individuals who are consistantly unrehearsed.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 18 May 13 - 10:42 AM

Traitor: Hope it proves helpful. Perhaps you could post the outcome here, as I'm sure quite a few people would be interested. It's always a delicate and worrying position to be in, when somebody needs to be made aware of something which might potentially offend or upset them.

DTM: Wholheartedly agree. I don't much care for singarounds. I'm all in favour of people being allowed to have their chance to get up and sing, but I think the old way of getting up in front of the audience and doing a couple of songs was better. Singarounds seem to be encouraging mediocrity and incompetence, and there seems to be an attitude that someone having the right to have a go is more important than doing the songs any sort of justice, or that what the singer is getting out of the exercise is more important than what the audience is getting. I am of opinion that crib-sheets should be banned - as they have been in some clubs. They simply encourage people not to bother trying to learn the songs. Much better that they make the extra effort to learn songs properly, and then do their floor spot when they have a couple of songs ready to sing to the audience, rather than burying themselves behind a crib-sheet and just going through the motions, This may mean that they won't sing every week, but the audience would get more satisfaction from it , and so - surely - would the singer; is that such a bad thing?
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 May 13 - 11:52 PM

Ebbie-
It's really a matter of to whom you feel responsible ---the peformer or the audience.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 May 13 - 02:59 AM

John Kelly is a remarkable talent. One of the best singers of traditional song that I have ever heard in over forty years going to folk clubs. He's no slouch as a guitarist also and other instruments.

Its been my privilege to be his support act at Loughborough acoustic club.

I met him after seeing him as a floorspot at Mansfield folk Club. I wa immediately struck by the quality and originality of his work. You must understand that cheap cam excerpts on Yourtube in no way represent the talent of this guy. If you like traditional music, you will not be disappointed by John Kelly's work, should you book him for your club or festival.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,keith price
Date: 19 May 13 - 03:55 AM

Well said Big Al I'm with you, book him now while he's still got the van.
Hope to see you soon John.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Breedloveboy
Date: 19 May 13 - 05:34 AM

My personal dislike are people who come onto a stage and immediately start tuning and retuning their guitars. There is no excuse for it, either a their guitar is no good, or they are not hearing correctly. Practice and Tune, in your own time!!


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 May 13 - 09:47 AM

I get really pissed off with people who thing that tuning is "near enough". If the guitar is out - TUNE IT!.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 19 May 13 - 10:31 AM

Al: I thought I was the support act!
Keith: get yerself over to the White Lion in Swinton on 5th August!
Thanks Al and Keith for the supportive comments. It's those that keep me going.
Incidentally, Al is another who is getting ignored by the folk clubs. Writes witty songs, has a very nice guitar style, and a friendly way with an audience. I don't seem to hear Keith's name as much as he deserves either. Singer, multi-instrumentalist and witty entertainer. And of course there's Al's friend and mine, Jack Hudson. One of the Voices of the folk world, writes good songs, one of which I'm thinking about having a go at myself, and almost completely ignored, to the folk world's eternal shame. And there are others. But we just seem to hear the same couple of dozen names ad nauseam.
The point has been made more than once about tuning, and it's a complaint I hear quite frequently. Many folk guitarists, myself included, tend to use a variety of different tunings. For the non-guitarist, I would point out that this is not a cheat, to make things easier. On the contrary; you are effectively having to re-learn the instrument for each tuning. But different tunings give different possibilities and diierent effects. I try to keep the re-tuning to a minimum, by doing a couuple of songs in the same tuning in the first half, and re-tuning in the interval, or having a couple of songs in the same half with perhaps only one string having to be re-tuned. But then I've got the harmonium and other things, so I'm not using the guitar so much. Of course, if the guitar is your only instrument, it's a bit problematical; some guitarists get around this by lugging three guitars around. That's if they can afford three guitars - good guitars ain't cheap, you know! The other problem, which is the curse of the string player generally, is keeping the thing in tune. Sometimes one particular string may be problematical. But often the problem is changes of atmosphere or temperature. Just because you tuned up before you came on stage, it doesn't mean that the instrument will stay in tune while you're there. And that doesn't necessarily mean that the instrument is at fault. It has to be admitted, however, that some guitarists in particular overdo it; whether from nervousness, or it's a delaying tactic while they think what to sing next, or remember how the song starts, or it's just a pose...I dunno. In some cultures, of course, tuning is part of the performance. maybe we're too impatient in the West.
John Kelly


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 May 13 - 10:42 AM

Jack and I have both given up the struggle - don't want to spend any more of our remaining years struggling for recognition. We're both weak physically.

Best of luck John. Theres still great pleasure to be had playing music for yourself and friends.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 May 13 - 11:50 AM

Ebbie,.1. you do not know me. 2. you do not appear to be able to take a criticism of your posting this thread.
3.What make you think I want to play at your venue.
4.
I believe that organisers should have a clear idea how to deal diplomatically with performers,BEFORE they start running any kind of club or event,Ialso think it is the prerogative of organisers if they are financing the club to be able to choose who they want to allow to sing.
5.if you wish to take my remarks as a personal slight, that is your problem not mine


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Breedloveboy
Date: 19 May 13 - 04:08 PM

A bad guitarist will always take longer to tune, because his ear is not developed enough to identify whats wrong and be able to put it right quickly. If you want proof watch Tommy Emmanuel, he tunes whilst playing if he has to.

Come of it Harmonium Hero open tunings are easier to play.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 19 May 13 - 05:32 PM

Another thread hijack - I watched John Kelly's videos and I was deeply impressed. This is someone who knows and understands traditional music and how to let the focus be on the song. I do some booking for a concert series, and I would much rather see videos such as the ones John posted as opposed to something "produced". I have no doubt that, if I were to see John at a folk club (and if I ever have the chance, now that he is on my radar, I will not miss it) what I would get would be very close to what I saw on the video (only much better because it would be live).   John, I also listened to the sound samples on your website and enjoyed them very much, but I wanted to let you know that the titles on the selections don't correspond to what's actually there. For example, I clicked on "Lakes of Ponchartrain" and got a completely different song. Still lovely and I listened to them all, but what you click on is not what you get.

Ebbie, there's probably no good answer for your situation - it's never easy to tell someone they just aren't up to snuff! Tactful but diplomatic - easier said than done!


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 19 May 13 - 07:13 PM

Maryrrf: Thank you for the comments. Glad you enjoyed the songs. The titles are under the sounclips, not above. I don't know where most people would expect them to be, but at least one other person that I know of has expected them to be above. I'll have to re-think that one. Actually, if you click on the title rather than the hairy caterpillar (whatever that thing is called) you'll get the right one. Ponchartrain is one that I've had some very nice commenbts about when I've sung it out. At one singaround, somebody got in first; borrowed a guitar, took out a crib sheet and launched into the song. Absolutely crucified it. Grrr.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 May 13 - 08:00 PM

"personal slight".   Oh c'mon.   Ebbie was just trying to clarify the nature of her venue--which she did in a quite even-tempered way.

It's the poster who needs to cool off a bit, and not feel the need to reach for his sword to defend his sacred honor (honour?) quite so eagerly.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 May 13 - 08:28 PM

"A bad guitarist will always take longer to tune"
I guess that makes Tom Paley a bad guitarist.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 19 May 13 - 08:43 PM

Breedloveboy: "open tunings are easier to play"..
Maybe so, but you still have to learn to find your way around them. And I didn't mention open tunings....And they are not necessarily easier to get properrly tune, either.
John 'near enough for folk' Kelly


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 May 13 - 09:35 PM

Thanks, Ron.

I need to clarify that

1. We do not have a folk club, even though the music is acoustic and we don't usually use a sound system because our acoustics are excellent. We present a wide variety of music- everything from pop to shape note singing to singer/songwriter stuff to traditional folk songs to old standards, and back again. I would most likely draw the line at rap; I don't care for it and most of our audience members would probably not either. In any case I get to make the decision.
2. We charge $5.00 at the door (a 3-hour/5 set event); youngsters free.
3. Nobody gets paid- that includes the performers. The only exceptions we have made was a few occasions when we snagged a performer who was passing through town and who used us as a teaser for a later concert they were putting on.
4. At intermission we serve cookies and coffee/tea. We put out a donations basket since it appears that people don't like to eat for free. But the goody donors don't get that money- it goes into the pot. We do comp anyone who brings goodies.
5. At the end of the season we decide where the excess money should go. For instance, this evening we're making a donation to the hall for their fundraiser. We will still have about a thousand dollars in the kitty; by the time we start the series again this fall that money will have been paid out.
6. I don't like numbered lists, Dick. Incidentally it is true that I don't actually know you but I am aware from your posting history that you are a thin-skinned performer who is probably a talented musician. I wouldn't dream of inviting you to perform in a venue such as mine. Thanks heavens.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:55 AM

"now that the best way to run a club is by benevolent dictatorship" I've heard that one before John but the post by the Guest slightly further down the thread who started off a post by stating "I don't much like Scottish songs" maybe shows the pitfalls there could be with one person holding too much sway :-)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 May 13 - 03:04 AM

"A bad guitarist will always take longer to tune"
I guess that makes Tom Paley a bad guitarist.

And Martin Carthy!

DtG


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 May 13 - 03:14 AM

Actually, I am repeatedly impressed by the speed and accuracy with which Martin Carthy goes from tuning to tuning.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 May 13 - 03:22 AM

He does now, Richard, but I saw three different tunings for three consecutive songs and the 'tuning time' for that is considerable to the waiting audience. In all fairness that was many years ago and more recently I have seen Martin keep re-tunes to a minimum by various means. Thanks for reminding me he has changed though - You are quite right to point out that it is no longer an issue. Funny how first impressions stick with you though isn't it!

DtG


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 May 13 - 03:23 AM

a lot of guitarists aren't interested in guitar construction at all. if you have enough knowledge to get your guitar set up correctly. and a big enough budget change your guitar strings quite often its not really too much of a problem with modern electronic tuners being so affordable.

older guitarists are often resistant to technology and reckon you should have perfect pitch and be able to hear which guitar strings to tighten or loosen.

I personally think it can be tricky.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 May 13 - 03:32 AM

"I guess that makes Tom Paley a bad guitarist."
I saw Tom perform in London a couple of weeks ago and was once again staggered at how much respect and understanding he brings to the songs he sings - enough to spend the time getting them right at least.
Would that......!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 May 13 - 03:58 AM

Ebbie, you dont get it do you, I have no desire to play at your venue.
I think that organisers should have thought THE problem of poor
performers out BEFORE THEY STARTED RUNNING AN EVENT.
since you dont pay anybody what do you expect, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
you charge 5 dollars on the door, you dont pay anybody, and you expect quality, I think you are barmy, it is a little bit like charging someone to come and plaster your house and then expecting a good job and then complaining because the plastering is poor, you want a good job you employ a skilled tradesman and you have to pay him well.
in my opinion
the only good thing about your system of organisation is that you let youngsters in free.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 May 13 - 10:41 AM

Whatever.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Johnny J
Date: 20 May 13 - 12:25 PM

Nothing wrong with doing things your way as such, Ebbie.

However, as I suggested earlier (And more tactfully than GSS), you get what you pay for(or don't)to a certain extent.

Yes, there is no reason why you shouldn't get some good quality performers from time to time. Good "up and coming" acts may wish to find a platform to make themselves better known while you'll also get good local performers or visiting musicians who are content just to enjoy the experience and will support your concept.

However, I don't think this can always be guaranteed and it's probably inevitable that you'll have to take the rough with the smooth from time to time.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 20 May 13 - 12:35 PM

"since you dont (sic) pay anybody (sic) what do you expect (sic)." ( Is grammar anti-folkie?)



It ain't necessarily so.    For instance, there are quite a few talented Mudcatters who are willing to play and sing for the joy of it--and people like to hear them--and participate themselves in the music. Yes, they are not professionals.    This does not mean they are incompetent.   They probably have the luxury of having music as an avocation, a passion--not a job.

It's likely---in fact it's clear--- that there are talented people in Ebbie's area.   All she's trying to do is minimize the number of perfomers at her venue who think they have a lot more talent than they do.

As has been pretty clearly established, in order to deal with the problem, she will have to audition--though that, it seems, has not been the case up to now.   The auditions will have to be in person or by recording (which is taking a chance. Scholars bicker on whether the chance is worth it. I think it is.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 May 13 - 12:50 PM

there may be quite a few talented mudcatters, whether they are prepared to travel miles and can afford to do so is a different matter.
ron davies, you understood perfectly what i was saying, i hope you enjoy scoring points and being pedantic.
Ron, I play music purely for pleasure, which is why I would not travel hundreds of miles to Ebbies club EVEN IF SHE PAID ME, because it would not be pleasurable
Neither I could I afford the travelling cost.,
however I run a singers club in my village and participate and run a weekly trad music session, I also run a folk festival and AM INVOLVED IN RUNNING a jazz festival all of which are unpaid, so dont lecture me about playing or promoting music and receiving no money.
you, like Ebbie do not know me personally, you seem to be prejudging me on a remark I made which was critical of the need for Ebbies post as an organiser., a remark that i stand by, you should have this issue sorted out before you run any event
in plain anglo saxon, Ron, go and play feticules somewhere else


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Megan L
Date: 20 May 13 - 01:03 PM

Unfortunately a lot of people think more of themselves and their abilities than those who have to suffer listening to them or indeed reading their posts do.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:04 PM

Megan L,
I disagree, in my experience, a lot of performers tend to under estimate their abilties, most of them would benefit form the sort of helpful environment and guidance that MacColl and Seeger and the Critics group provided.
my experience has been considerable 40 years ,furthermore there are videos on you tube of me singing and playing.
perhaps you could provide some videos of yourself, since you seem to have an opinion, that appears to denigrate a lot of people, who you seem to think overestimate themselves and their abilities


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,mickyp
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:05 PM

Over the years ive heard alot of the UK artists who have replyed to this thread performing. All i can say is that they have got away with it for so long why cant others. Cheers all !


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:08 PM

One more time, for clarity's sake:

This is a small community, much smaller than our 30,000 in population would indicate. Unlike almost any other town our size 'down south' or in the UK, our town is isolated and remote- our nearest big town is 600 miles away - by air. By road our nearest big town is more than 800 miles away - so we can't draw either performers or audiences from the towns around us. The towns and villages 'close' to us are at least 4 hours away by ferry.

What you see in Juneau is what you get. Fortunately, Juneau has a great many talented people, not least of which is our musical community. I come from Oregon in a town almost identical in size to Juneau but it has nowhere the caliber of talent evident here.

Our working premise- or at least my rationale - is what I said to an acquaintance who had recently relocated to a village and complained that there was no music there: If my new town has 1000 residents, I know that at least 30 of them make music. Of that 30, I know at least 10 would like to make music with other people; I am going to find those 10.

And so we started our series. It is not a club- it has no members, no dues, no costs other than the $5.00 at the door. In return people get to know talented musicians of their community, a low-cost evening out, a goodies intermission with the opportunity to socialize with friends and strangers alike. Many of our performers have become great favo(u)rites in our town.

It is low key and informal, but also reliable and just plain fun. There are not, in my judg(e)ment, many experiences more pleasurable than going home with your head and heart full of music.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:47 PM

". At the end of the season we decide where the excess money should go."
might i suggest with your excess money you provide appropriate workshops, so that some of your performers have a chance of improving, that would be a positive step in attempting to raise standards.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:54 PM

Wow, Ebbie. Is this Juneau, Alaska, we are talking about? Looking at the map I can see your problems but I think you are making great strides to deal with them. More power to your elbow.
There isn't an easy solution to dealing with poor performers. If you have a small catchment area -- and this can happen even in a big town -- then you have to work with what you can get. There isn't an easy way to tell someone that they are not going to get a booking or a repeat booking at your club. The lines you used in your original post are quite reasonable but those who want to take offence will.
There was a post some time ago in which a performer complained he had been told by a club organiser that he was good but wasn't right for the club. He took offence at what I see as a very reasonable comment. There have been performers seeking gigs at the small club on the outskirts of London I help to run who I thought were very good wouldn't have been able to hold our particular audience for a whole evening.
Also there may be performers who are technically impressive yet whose personality would alienate the audience - and they can be far worse than poor but pleasant performers.
You might consider changing the format of your club. Instead of 20 minute slots, you might try allocating short slots of one or two songs to all-comers then giving longer slots to better artists. If someone comes along for a couple of songs and is obviously good then invite them back and increase their time.
To find locally talented people you might try holding singarounds - informal gatherings in a pub or a hall where you go round the room inviting everyone in turn to sing, recite or play. This could encourage people who might be intimidated by the idea of standing up on a stage for the first time.
Best of luck. Foxen would love to play at your venue but sadly I don't think we'll make it the States.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:55 PM

Ebbie, it sounds like the primary purpose of your group is to facilitate music in a small community. It that's the case, then perhaps you have to forget about 'quality control' in the interests of encouraging as many as possible to play.

However as well as satisfying yourself and the performers you also have to satisfy the audience. You have to find a way to explain that philosphy to them. If they buy into it, then you're on a winner. If not, then you may have to be selective and only book performers by invitation after having heard them play.   There's no reason you shouldn't give improvers a chance to do a couple of songs, perhaps even have part of the evening as an open mic. However allowing all-comers a 20 minute slot regardless of their ability risks losing your audience.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: My guru always said
Date: 20 May 13 - 03:02 PM

Ebbie Dear, what Howard said!

You're doing a fantastic job keeping music alive in your Community, keep it up however you can. If you can encourage others to make music along the way that's great. If you can spur people into improving their performance that's even better. But it sounds like your Community appreciates what you're doing and it's wonderful that your excess funds go to a well-deserved recipient!

Personally if I were ever in the area I'd be glad to sing a few songs, I'd even audition *grin*
Hils


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 May 13 - 04:00 PM

Hils, I have already received a glowing report of you AND your musical abilities from a Mudcatter near and dear to both of us. :)

Thanks, guys. You've given me lots to think about and mull over.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 May 13 - 06:56 PM

If there is spare money left over at the end of the year, would it make sense to invest it in some sort of community music venture, like a samba school? A lot of people who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket can make a great contribution to something like that.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 May 13 - 08:40 PM

Jack Campin, that's another good idea! We have discussed stockpiling the excess for the occasional guest artist who may not be available any other way. I'm kind of reluctant to do that, mainly because we have so many great musicians here in town, people that I'd like to see make some money from their art. In other words, I'd like to see them make some of the "hundreds of dollars that can be made" from folk music. :)

There are a good many workshops and music camps and music teachers available in Juneau, mostly for youngsters. What I would like to see is songwriting clubs and workshops, harmony workshops, drop-in jamming places, things along that line. Ideally, we would have/rent/own a public place for all those things plus more - the problem is that we don't want to charge more for these concerts, which means that we won't have enough money any time soon. :)

Once a year, at Alaska Folk Festival time, we have all those things but that week goes by awfully fast.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 21 May 13 - 01:42 AM

If the performance is costing the audience money, then it is up to the organizers to give them the best bang for the buck...and not be so unwilling to draw a line, for those who do not take their craft seriously enough to do their HOMEWORK! To charge admission, and then put up cheesy performers, would, in fact, be arrogant. If someone wants to do the gig, let them know early enough, that you EXPECT a performance, that does not embarrass everyone else involved, because you also have next year. This happens more with 'folk festivals', which more often than not, cater to, and are catered by, people who are more inclined to be 'liberals'....and 'liberals' often have a 'sense of entitlement'...that is 'I play and sing, we agree politically, therefore you owe me the chance to get up, and 'perform'..or you are a 'bad guy' and 'not really as cool as you are supposed to be'....well, you know what?....that's all fine and dandy, but come back when your act is not all about YOU....come back when you care enough about everything, that you do your homework....there are plenty of people who have!
If they are interested, let them know you are 'particular'...on behalf of the show, the audience, and all the other acts!
Don't allow them to throw a 'guilt trip' on you...they either can cut it, or they can't. You can tell them 'No', and they may get pissed off or miffed....BUT, it also may cause them to get off their lazy asses, and come back better, too....in which case, they would thank you, later!

GfS


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST,Eddie1 (sans cookie)
Date: 21 May 13 - 02:08 AM

This is one of these threads that will probably still be running many years from now with contributions into the thousands.
A few things are clear to me so far:
Some of us are not nearly as good as we think we are.
Some of us put a lot of hard work into helping run clubs and without our help the club probably would not exist.
Some of us are really thrilled to get the chance to perform in front of an audience even if we are rubbish.
Some of us would benefit from friendly evaluation of our performance.
Some of us would curl up and die if we were criticised.
Clubs are different, some big and successful, some small and just limping along.
There is room for all kinds.
The audience will decide for themselves what they are prepared to put up with.
Any club that doesn't hold some kind of support/audience will fold.
None of this is any help whatsoever!

Eddie


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: TheSnail
Date: 21 May 13 - 06:34 AM

Some of us put a lot of hard work into helping run clubs and without our help the club probably would not exist.

Thanks, Eddie. This sort of thread always seems to involve a certain amount of organiser bashing. We are all volunteers. We don't get any training. We don't have to pass any exams. We may not be the best we could be but we're the best you've got.

I help organise a club that is run by a committee and while all the residents are fine performers, we are not the main draw and stand back for the guests and floor singers. We have a policy of trying to give a floor spot to ayone who wants one, time permitting. Last Saturday we had to get in extra chairs; we must be getting something right.

With the policy of Ebbie's venue, I think the occasional dud is inevitable. Surely the audience realise this and for $5 I don't think they,ve got much cause for complaint. From one of her posts -

We have completed eight seasons (October through March) and our audiences have steadily grown in size.

What's the problem?


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 13 - 07:10 AM

Ron Davies, I said, the organiser should have thought this out before running an event.
you have subsequently decided to attack me personally with this-"unless anybody has the temerity (look it up) to disagree with you on anything.

Or perhaps you treat your audiences differently and reserve your wonderful tolerance and charm, on display in this thread, for us. Lucky us."
    it seems like you are attempting to stop my right to disagree about something, by suggesting that I do not allow anyone to disagree with me.
To suggest that someone should have thought about this matter before organising an event is not intolerant, it is just good organisation.   
To suggest I do not know the meaning of temerity is    a good example of flaming and trolling.
THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE STANDARDS,is to use excess money to send people to workshops or pay for them to have individual lessons either instrumental or vocal.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 May 13 - 01:45 PM

"thought about this matter"

I assure you the role of Lancelot is not type-casting for me. But the dear poster picked a fight with Ebbie---who had a perfectly reasonable question, and treated all the answers with respect---needlessly.

I'm so glad to know he does know the meaning of temerity.

It's also good to see he has discovered the joys of grammar--for somebody who actually wants to communicate.    Unless of course one of the goals is to protest the bourgeois restrictions of good English. Perhaps that's part of being a good soldier.

The overwhelming majority of us have provided calm constructive advice, without casting aspersions on Ebbie, who is only trying to do her best in her role in the venue she describes. It seems a reasonable request--and most of us have managed it.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 May 13 - 02:01 PM

"...people who are more inclined to be 'liberals'....and 'liberals' often have a 'sense of entitlement'...that is 'I play and sing, we agree politically, therefore you owe me the chance to get up, and 'perform'..or you are a 'bad guy' and 'not really as cool as you are supposed to be'."

GfS, that takes the cake! Wherever did you come up with this 'truism'? lol

To theSnail, what brought up this subject to my mind is that I got a communication from someone we used last year saying s/he was available again this year and looking forward to it. Well, we don't really want him/her again in the foreseeable future. In my response to the person I suggested a local commercial gig, with the implication that that place draws many people of her/his age. 'Bout the best I could do...


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 May 13 - 02:01 PM

"should have thought this out".   Don't want to misquote the illustrious poster.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 May 13 - 03:32 PM

Does poor performance include guests who do not turn up when they are supposed to?

DtG


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 May 13 - 04:13 PM

To me it definitely would, DtG. We haven't had that happen. Yet. :)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 13 - 06:49 AM

"thought about this matter"

I assure you the role of Lancelot is not type-casting for me. But the dear poster picked a fight with Ebbie---who had a perfectly reasonable question, and treated all the answers with respect---needlessly.

I'm so glad to know he does know the meaning of temerity.

It's also good to see he has discovered the joys of grammar--for somebody who actually wants to communicate.    Unless of course one of the goals is to protest the bourgeois restrictions of good English. Perhaps that's part of being a good soldier.

The overwhelming majority of us have provided calm constructive advice, without casting aspersions on Ebbie, who is only trying to do her best in her role in the venue she describes. It seems a reasonable request--and most of us have managed it."
i have provided calm constructive advice, namely to run workshops with excess money, I also suggested that this is the sort of thing that should be sorted out before an organiser starts an event, quite a sensible suggestion,I am not picking a fight with anyone, I believe this shouldbe thought about before anyone starts organising anything.
you on the other hand have decided to pick a fight with me one of your posts is a good example of trolling and flaming, the post above is a second example of flaming, Ron your sarcastic tone is unecessary, give it a break, please


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 May 13 - 07:46 AM

Ebbie

I got a communication from someone we used last year saying s/he was available again this year and looking forward to it. Well, we don't really want him/her again in the foreseeable future.

Yes, it is dificult. The trouble is, we're all terribly nice and don't want to say "No we don't want to book you because you're crap.". Our set up is rather different from yours. We book a guest for two 45 minute slots and fill the rest of the time with residents and floor spots, usually only for one somg per head. The main guest will be someone we have experience of, either directly or by trusted friends, so we rarely get a dud. We never book on the basis of CDs or Soundcloud or YouTube. If we've booked someone several times and they consistently fail to pull an audience, it can be difficult. Fobbing them off with an excuse can backfire as I've discovered to my cost.

We get far more requests for bookings than we can possibly accommodate so "I'm sorry we haven't got an available slot" is no more or less than the truth. As has been pointed out, there are a lot of artists chasing a finite supply of bookings. I hope that most of them realise that we do have to make choices.

Perhaps some of the professional performers on here would like to tell us how they would like to be given the thumbs down.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 13 - 08:35 AM

Bryan, I had a very enjoyable gig at your club, a couple of months ago, and you were very kindly paid me a compliment about my singing and concertina playing and my professionalism., you said and I hope you dont mind me quoting you, " that i was a very good singer and concertina player"
so I will attempt to answer that question,
I am perfectly prepared to be told no, your style of music does not fit in with our booking policy, something I might expect lets say from Hitchin folk club,
I am also prepared to accept no, I do not like you, I would think that rather sad, because there may be some people who would like to see me despite the organisers dislike, but it just has to be accepted.
however I regard it as swings and roundabouts, for everyone who doesnt like you there will be one who does, for example I have been booked 25 times in the last 50 years at Stockton folk club, and was given a stockton 50 year sold t shirt to prove it [howmany of my detractors on this thread who do not know me personally can say that?.I regularly get booked at The Wilsons Folk Club, they are fine singers them selves so I regard that as a compliment
I am also prepared to accept sorry you did not draw a crowd[ there may be reasons such as poor publicity on the organisers part or a that is not popular venue or any number of reasons a football match world cup on the same night guest not being popular in the immediate vicinty[ that can happen to evryone] in the end the organiser whio is funding it has the final decision is to who they book, musicians have to accept that.
my visit to your club was poorly attended, however the night before i had a very good attendance at Swindon folk club, I do not know the reason for the poor attendance at your club, but I do appreciate the way you treated me, and I would fully understand if you felt unable to book me again, its one of those things, I had good attendances at Deal folk club, Stamford folk club and Faversham, not very far from you. all clubs in southe east kent or sussex.
if anyone is silly enough to make judgements on a performer on the basis of an internet discussion forum, well that would be a very sad indictment of why we are all trying enjoy and to play this music. Organisers should be straight forward, that does not mean they should say "we dont book any old tom dick or harry here" this actually happened to one highly respected concertina player and singer from the north of England.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 13 - 08:41 AM

So to put it Succintly, Honesty is what is required, but also good manners.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 May 13 - 09:31 AM

Dick, you did indeed give us an excellent and professional performance at your last booking. I'm sorry you didn't get the attendance you deserved but it was neither our fault nor yours. Long after we had arranged the booking someone else arranged a private event on the same evening which drew away a large part of the potential audience. These things happen. Mumford and Sons are taking over the town for a weekend in a couple of months. I'm not sure how that will affect us.

there may be reasons such as poor publicity on the organisers part or a that is not popular venue

No. Poor attendance is relative to the norm. The case I had in mind consistently brought in single figures. I think the previous booking secretary had fobbed them off but I was a bit more honest and got cries of "unfair". They started lobbying the rest of the committee. They didn't get the booking.

The main point that I'm trying to make is that those looking for bookings need to have realistic expectations of organisers. We aren't professionals. We aren't getting paid. We are doing it for the love of it. We have some right to please ourselves how we do it.

Earlier someone said "the Guest slightly further down the thread who started off a post by stating "I don't much like Scottish songs" maybe shows the pitfalls there could be with one person holding too much sway". (With a smiley I grant you.) Er sorry? Why should someone put time and effort for free into organising an event they wouldn't enjoy?


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 May 13 - 10:14 AM

At our club(We certainly don't always get things right), we have to turn people down for a variety or reasons. In many cases, some of the acts are really good and we might even enjoy them ourselves under other circumstances.

We are fortunate enough to have a very good venue but, therein, lies other issues. It holds a maximum of roughly 150 people which is great when we wish to book the Carthys, Simpsons, Gaughans of this world. However, the lay out of the room ensures that it's still a nice atmosphere with between 50-70 people and so we don't necessarily have to have the place "packed to the gunnels" every week.

However, when we get much below 50 or so people, it can start to look a little more spacious and if we only bring in around 20-30 it can sometimes feel a wee bit depressing. Also, it even influence the actual performance although guests are expected to be professional... Usually, a nice "buzz" about the place rubs off on the main guest and the perfromance does gain an extra edge.

It's also the case, that unlike many other clubs, our overheads are quite high and we would normally require to have an audience of 50+ to break even on most nights.

As it is, some of our nights don't always break even(For various reasons) although it *usually* balances out over the year. However, when booking acts we have to do so on the basis that they have at least a "fighting chance" of paying their way. Of course, not all of them will do this no matter how well we plan for the situation.

So, that leaves lots of good performers many of whom are quality acts whom we have to disappoint not because of their musical (in)ability but because they wont "suit" our venue. However, for a smaller club with few overheads, such acts are ideal.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Johnny J
Date: 22 May 13 - 10:28 AM

Oops, last post was from me... Johnny J (I lost my cookies)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 13 - 11:17 AM

good points bryan, and that is why the organiser chooses who sings at the club, its bad point is that audiences in acertain area can be deprived of seeing a certain performer, answer to that is for someone to start a different club preferably not on the same day


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 May 13 - 01:48 PM

To set the record straight when I mentioned people not turning up it was no-one on here. It was someone I really wanted to see and I was disappointed when they didn't arrive. Out of respect for the artist and because I would not malign anyone I will never name them. If anyone on here did not turn up at any gigs, sorry, but I didn't notice.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 13 - 01:51 PM

DAVE THE GNOME, had any good rides on the metro of late


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 May 13 - 03:58 PM

Oh, I see! Hahahaha. Metro, Gnome! I get it! Never heard that before...

:D (tG)


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 May 13 - 04:41 PM

"also good manners". Precisely.

I was not the one who needlessly picked a fight with Ebbie, whose question, you may recall, is the subject of the thread.

Physician, heal thyself.

It's also interesting, that, if in the poster's considered opinion, I am trolling, the esteemed poster appears ignorant of the first rule of dealing with trolling: don't respond.


She is happy-- for excellent reasons-- that the poster will not be performing for her.   We can only hope that the poster himself is as happy.

Then everybody will be happy.


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Subject: RE: Poor Performers & What to do?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 May 13 - 04:42 PM

Though I would say that the poster owes Ebbie an apology.   Not that she is likely to get it.


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