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organising folk /acoustic clubs or event

The Sandman 22 May 13 - 08:04 AM
GUEST 22 May 13 - 10:23 AM
Johnny J 22 May 13 - 10:29 AM
Crane Driver 22 May 13 - 10:37 AM
Johnny J 22 May 13 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Peter 22 May 13 - 01:12 PM
GUEST 22 May 13 - 07:23 PM
Leadfingers 22 May 13 - 08:12 PM
Johnny J 23 May 13 - 03:41 AM
The Sandman 23 May 13 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,FloraG 23 May 13 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Peter 23 May 13 - 06:14 AM
Elmore 23 May 13 - 06:46 AM
Arthur_itus 23 May 13 - 07:54 AM
Arthur_itus 23 May 13 - 07:57 AM
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Subject: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 13 - 08:04 AM

Here are some suggestions which people who are intending to run an event either an acoustic of folk music club might find useful.
1. have a clearly defined booking policy,if booking guests. and a clearly defined music policy
2,
If concerned about improving the standard of floor singers or non paid performers, have a policy in situ before event is promoted or organised, this might be using excess money to send people to workshops, or paying for them to have individual lessons.
or it might be only allowing, one song from a poor performer., to be followed by a resident or strong performer.
It is in my opinion quite reasonable if an organiser is funding a club to have the final say in who performs and who does not.
3, give serious thought to publicity, use as much free publicity that is available.
4. give serious consideration to admission prices, some clubs charge different amounts for performers some charge the same regardless of performers costs, there are pros and cons to both systems. in my opinion the locality of a club and its relative unemployment etc might dictate admission prices.
5 give serious consideration to venue, a small venue that always appears packed will in my opinion always attract people, does the he venue have an alcohol licence , does it sell good quality beer
This might seem obvious to those who have been running clubs for many years, but for a new kid on the block these comments might be useful.
I welcome any other ideas or suggestions, there are a number of very experienced organisers who contribute to this forum such as Vic Smith, Bryan Creer, Swindon Folk Club,Southport folk club, Aallof whom are clubs that have been suucessful for many years , their input would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: GUEST
Date: 22 May 13 - 10:23 AM

Ideally too, if you can find a venue with minimum overheads, that makes a make difference.
Preferably one which is free or, even better, will actually pay the club something for organising events there(It does happen).

Also,if you have a committee member who can "do the sound" for you that's an added bonus.

You can still manage to run a club with these extra costs but this will certainly have an affect on such matters re admission charges and the range of acts which you can book.


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: Johnny J
Date: 22 May 13 - 10:29 AM

Last post was from Johnny J


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: Crane Driver
Date: 22 May 13 - 10:37 AM

Good starting point for a discussion, Dick. I look forward to hearing from other organisers.

'Guest', I think Dick is referring primarily to 'acoustic' - that is, unamplified - music clubs, so a PA and someone to 'do the sound' aren't required. Certainly when I started in folk music, no-one would expect a PA in a folk club (a concert is a different matter). I still prefer non-amplified music except in special circumstances.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: Johnny J
Date: 22 May 13 - 10:52 AM

It depends on the size of the venue and the type of guest artist you book.

In our area, Edinburgh , Leith, Balerno, and Nitten(usually but not always on guest nights) have some kind of PA system as does Kirkcaldy. Slightly further afield, so does The Star in Glasgow. I'm not sure about Stirling or Falkirk.

There are other smaller clubs e.g. Dunfermline, The Wee Folk Club in Edinburgh, Nitten(On singers night) and so on which do not but these are smaller rooms and, usually, solo guest artists or those who would be able to manage without PA.

In a larger room, it is necessary (I'd suggest) although there are some occasions we could manage without it. However, many touring acts expect this and will often insist on a particular "spec".
Obviously, it also useful if you have a band and require to "balance" instruments e.g. bagpipes, fiddle, guitar and so on.

We're not talking about a giant rig, of course. Just something to balance and slightly enhance the natural acoustic performance.


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 22 May 13 - 01:12 PM

Its not really something to be done solo. A couple of enthusiastic non singers looking after the door and dealing with some of the admin can take alot of the load.

Be sure that you have some committed residents apart from yourself. You don't want to be standing there at 8pm with a room full of paying punters and no floor singers.

If you can guarantee support you don't end up closing the club if there is a night when you can't get there.

On Dick's points:
Prices - don't undersell the club. If prices are pitched too low newcomers will assume that the act isn't worth the effort of going out.

Publicity - isn't difficult but does take a lot of leg work. You won't succeed of you just look to poach people from other clubs, you need to build your own audience with a good proportion of newcomers to the folk scene.


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: GUEST
Date: 22 May 13 - 07:23 PM

dont book the traddies they'll kill yer club


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 May 13 - 08:12 PM

That's all you need ! A Biased viewpoint this early in the thread


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: Johnny J
Date: 23 May 13 - 03:41 AM

"Guest" has unwittingly reminded me of another point...

Know your audience or potential regular audience and, within reason, cater for their tastes and wishes.

If all your regulars are budding singer songwriters or fans of this type of thing, you may indeed "kill the club" if you book the traddies. Of course, the opposite scenario could equally apply.

Likewise some people enjoy or prefer singing(Even eschewing any form of accompaniment) while others prefer instrumental music or a mixture of the two.
In some clubs, it might be more of a social night out with "locals" rather than "folkies" and they just want to be entertained.
In certain areas, "Americana Music" seems to rule and some clubs will always prefer to book visit American acts before anything from these islands.

Of course, it's up to the organisers of the club to decide on the music programme but, ideally, there should be a demand for what they are doing. Or the potential to create a demand....

Our own folk club (EFC) has a much wider variety of music than most others in the area but we get away with this because we are in a large catchment area. We do actually have a large membership too but, unlike some of the smaller rural clubs, they don't all come every week.
So, while we have fewer *regular* attendees than some other clubs, there is usually the option to attract visiting punters as long as its somebody (or group) they really wish to see.


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 13 - 04:21 AM

If all your regulars are budding singer songwriters or fans of this type of thing, you may indeed "kill the club" if you book the traddies. Of course, the opposite scenario could equally apply"
   very true, it is also possible to notice a particular trend [lets say hypothetically for example singer song writers], and then deliberately encourage this niche by promoting extra curricular song writing workshops etc.
one thing that is sometimes overlooked by folk club organisers is that it is a CLUB,and that activities such as club holidays [canal trips, but not visits to brothels,]can help to build up a strong membership.
ron davies do you know what hypothetically means.


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 23 May 13 - 05:16 AM

Faversham club have changed to starting at 8 and finishing at 10.30. I wasn't sure about this to start with but it means there is less rush to drink up, return glasses to the bar and time to socialise at the end of the evening.
In the past they have hired a youth hostel for a winter weekend. They did self catering and had social/ musical evenings. That worked well.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 23 May 13 - 06:14 AM

In England and Wales a published finish before 11 is usually desirable as most venues music is not licensed any later so a finish at, say, 10:45 gives you a margin for late running and encores.

With regard to "club activities" these need to be carefully planned and managed to avoid building up an "inner circle" that excludes newcomers. Building a closed group may seem very nice and friendly to the participants but when people move on it can kill the club.

I didn't mention the trad/contemporary arguement before as I thought that it was covered in point 1 of the OP. You do need to determine at the beginning exactly what the object of the club is.

a. Provide a place where people can sing or play together (singaround / session)
b. Provide a place where people can perform to an audience (open mic / singers night)
c. Provide a place where people can be entertained by folk performers (classic guest booking club / concert)

Each have different criteria for success. In reality this is a continuum not three rigid classifications but customer expectations change along that continuum and the way that you run and publicise the club must match.


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: Elmore
Date: 23 May 13 - 06:46 AM

Booked traddies for over 50 years. Hasn't killed us yet.

b


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 23 May 13 - 07:54 AM

Re Guest Peter "c. Provide a place where people can be entertained by folk performers (classic guest booking club / concert)
"

That is what Faldingworth Live is, which is the Folk Concert venue I organise. It doesn't have a committee, which means decisions can be made quickly, without all the flapping around that committee meetings create.

We have a max of 100 people and manage to get up to 100 on a regular basis.

We have a seperate page on the website for Artist Bookings, that explains exactly how we operate. Artist Bookings

This is the website http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk/

It doesn't matter who an organiser books, it still requires lots of publicity Newspapers/radio/websites/Facebook/Twitter/Posters/Handout dairy at each concert/word of mouth/Artists letting their fans know.

We have a bar and sell good bottled ale at reasonable prices.

We do a raffle and always put 6 prizes in it, wine, chocolates etc.

We allocate parking space for peopel with Blue Badges and have fkat entrance and a disbilkty toilet that caters for people in wheelchairs.

We reserve tickets for people and they pay on the door. Many places don't like doing this, but it is one of the successes of running FL.

We ensure that larger groups are kept together and try to ensure people get to sit where they would like in relation to the stage.

We have a resident Sound Engineers & MC, Bar Staff, People setting chairs/stage etc out, who do this voluntary and all of them know what they have to do and we all strive to make our concerts as pleasurable as possible for our audience.

Hope that helps for anybody thinking of dipping their toes into the concert venue concept.

Most good venues do very much what we do (obviously in different ways to suit their way of working.)


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Subject: RE: organising folk /acoustic clubs or event
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 23 May 13 - 07:57 AM

* We allocate parking space for people with Blue Badges and have flat entrance and a disability toilet that caters for people in wheelchairs.


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