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Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds

MBSLynne 12 Feb 14 - 03:52 PM
Leadfingers 12 Feb 14 - 09:15 PM
Richard Bridge 13 Feb 14 - 12:51 AM
MBSLynne 13 Feb 14 - 02:41 AM
WindhoverWeaver 13 Feb 14 - 03:16 AM
My guru always said 13 Feb 14 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 13 Feb 14 - 05:02 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Feb 14 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,Gazza2 13 Feb 14 - 08:29 AM
MBSLynne 13 Feb 14 - 09:26 AM
Leadfingers 13 Feb 14 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 14 Feb 14 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Monologue Man 15 Feb 14 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Robbie 15 Feb 14 - 07:46 PM
Sooz 16 Feb 14 - 04:07 AM
MBSLynne 16 Feb 14 - 12:47 PM
Dave the Gnome 16 Feb 14 - 03:53 PM
OlgaJ 16 Feb 14 - 04:06 PM
MoorleyMan 18 Feb 14 - 03:24 PM
MBSLynne 18 Feb 14 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 19 Feb 14 - 05:29 AM
My guru always said 20 Feb 14 - 04:50 AM
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Subject: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: MBSLynne
Date: 12 Feb 14 - 03:52 PM

Hello. I'm in charge of the Loft singarounds at Moira Furnace Festival. Last year they were not as well attended as they have been n the past but reports say that the singarounds in the Railway were very popular. Can anyone give me any suggestions as to why this might have been? Is there anything we need to do to make the Loft sessions more appealing? What would YOU like to see in the way of singarounds and sessions? Any suggestions gratefully received

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Feb 14 - 09:15 PM

Any session or sing around is wholly dependant on who attends ! Having a small coterie who can play a variety of songs/tunes toy fill gaps DOES help .


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 12:51 AM

I wasn't there but there are certain generalities.



The host personality can make a vital difference between on the one hand a sparkly witty joyous melee all that is kept on the right side of chaos, and on the other hand a leaden procession. Worse yet is the host who just picks out their favourites to sing. Cliques can be a bloody nuisance.

Then there is the balance between song and tune. Banjos, squeezy things, and the fiddleborg need to be welcome, but not allowed to sweep imperiously through an endless panoply of things that all sound the same. Good hosting needed.

Joining in. Many singers will welcome accompaniment and/or additional singing that augments them. Some won't and an impertinent instrumentalist who forces a singer to change key is a real PIA. Some singers need free timing, others don't. Again, host personality vital.

Bodhrans. Great at times, not at others (and likewise djembes, bongos, dumbecs, shaky eggs and triangles. Tactful and forceful hosting needed.

Enough but not too much sushage. Talk at the bar/control of intrusive non-participants.


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: MBSLynne
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 02:41 AM

Thanks for that guys. I don't think the hosting of the Loft sessions can be at fault as it's been more or less the same since the beginning and it's only last year that there was a noticeable drop in attendance.
We don't actually get many instruments in the Loft, though they are welcome. Mostly it's unaccompanied singers or singers with guitars.
I guess what you're saying Terry, is that you need to 'seed' a singaround with a few good people to start with. That's maybe what happened inadvertently in the first couple of festivals because a lot of my personal friends came.
A host who 'picks' people shouldn't be a host. Everyone should get a turn and a hearing. (Even people who are known to be awful!)

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: WindhoverWeaver
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 03:16 AM

Lynne,

I wouldn't worry too much about a one-year change, if it continues then look for reasons. It may have been as much about the program as anything, that is who was on elsewhere at the same time as the singarounds. The one I went to in the loft seemed quite well attended and was very enjoyable--enough people for some good variety but not so many that you only got to sing once.

David


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: My guru always said
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 04:19 AM

Maybe there was a lot going on elsewhere Lynne? I found it difficult last year to get to all the events which were all very popular! We're hoping to come this year but haven't heard back from Colin yet.

Keep up the good work Honey, this is a fabulous festival!


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 05:02 AM

Perhaps the Singaround was not run on Democratic grounds as was the case when I was there. The problem was "Oh here is one of my Mates, they can sing again" even though they had sung less than 10 or 15 minutes before There is nothing like unfair allocation of "Turns" to upset folkies even though they will just chunter into their Beer rather than say anything


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 05:40 AM

I think MGAS has the gist - There is far too much good stuff going on. Particularly for me to go and inflict my poor efforts on an unsuspecting public :-) Seriously though, I went to the Railway 2 years ago to meet some specific people. Didn't go last year. Never been to one at the loft. The singarounds, from my POV, are low on the list of priorities when I can spend all weekend watching brilliant professional acts and drinking great beer :-) Maybe if you advertised that some top names from the guest list were joining in it may encourage others?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: GUEST,Gazza2
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 08:29 AM

I went to both places last year and enjoyed both. I chose the Railway on Saturday night for a number of reasons - I don't like "theme" singarounds, the beer was nearer in the pub as were the loos, the atmosphere was less reverential ( personal choice I know!)and it was possible to chat, swap ideas about tunes and songs and socialise in the pub - but I'm sure there is room for both types of singarounds.


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: MBSLynne
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 09:26 AM

Thank you all. This is very helpful and just wat I was hoping for. Thanks for the complimentary comments too!

OldNic Kilby, I agree totally and, as far as I'm aware all singarounds in the Loft have been run on a 'one song each around the room' basis. I will check with my session runners to make sure but knowing them I don't imagine there was any sort of favouritism. I don't know how the pub ones are run but I think it's in much the same way. I shall make it my business to check it out next festival.

Dave the Gnome I understand what you are saying but didn't want to lose the informal set up of the singarounds by having big names do organized spots. At th moment some of the big names do come in to the Loft when they aren't in concert. I'm not sure if singaround people really want th top names to be taking singing spots when they can go and see them in cincert if tyhey want to.

I did think myself that perhaps the festival is trying too hard to put lots on for everyone so that there is almost too much to choose from and I see that a couple of people think so too. It was mentioned in the dicussion on the subject at the AGM.

Thanks again for your help

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 10:08 AM

Gerry Milne and I have 'run' the Newt sessions at Sidmouth together since the sad demise of Bill Eddy - That has meant if no other performers were there , we 'entertained' any punters who were in for a drink and a listen . And it certainly was NOT a 'Here's a mate of mine again' sort of session . ALL sorts of songs and tunes , all sorts of instruments welcome , though I DID ask a lad with a saxophone to NOT join in if he didnt know the tune on one occasion !
Not a 'seeded' session , but we were there to make sure there WAS something happening when it was supposed to.


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 14 Feb 14 - 05:23 AM

Lynne, There are other factors influencing this venue. Access is not that good, we are not getting any younger.Toilets are absent, there is no Bar and it is a bit difficult to find. There is also the problem that there is the conflict of perhaps 2 singarounds at the same time. Good Luck with Moira, I sent out well over 1500 Fliers , with our Mail Orders, for Dave went he started M F F F


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: GUEST,Monologue Man
Date: 15 Feb 14 - 02:58 PM

Do any of you just go to the Loft singarounds? What are your reasons?

Do any of you just go to The Railway singarounds? What are your reasons?


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: GUEST,Robbie
Date: 15 Feb 14 - 07:46 PM

Lynne,
I went to a couple of the loft singaronds and while they were not mobbed there were always enough people there to make it enjoyable. I can't say I noticed any problem with the hosting.

I tend to agree that themed singarounds put me off, but I didn't feel this was intrusive in the sessions I went to.

It may be an idea to consider having a continuous singaround venue, obviously with a rota of hosts, so that people can go and have a sing as and when they feel like it. I always feel that the stop start slot thing is a bit of a dead hand on atmosphere.

Robbie
( I realised I was not signed in after I had written this)


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: Sooz
Date: 16 Feb 14 - 04:07 AM

I think we only managed to get across to the loft once last year as we were busy doing other things. Perhaps other people were the same(We didn't go to singarounds in the Railway at all as it is too far to carry guitars!)
The loft is a very quirky space and not the easiest place to have a singaround, especially if it is full. Perhaps previous experience is beginning to put people off.


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: MBSLynne
Date: 16 Feb 14 - 12:47 PM

The lack of loo and bar has always been a problem but I see no way of solving either.

There are only two themed singarounds, Saturday evening and the shanty session. Perhaps I should drop them?

The singarounds in the Loft are nearly continuous but I found the first couple of years that if I didn't leave a break for, say, lunchtime, nobody came at that time. The other trouble with continuous singarounds of course, is getting enough people to run them.

Thanks everyone for your input

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Feb 14 - 03:53 PM

The lack of loo and bar has always been a problem but I see no way of solving either.

Don't have them in a venue without either facility then! Not being facetious here, just saying that if the venue is the issue then maybe it is time to drop it?

When I was involved with running a festival (Swinton, 25+ years), for the first few years we found that 80% of the effort went into events that only generated 20% of the interest. So we dropped the 20% and concentrated on the festival mainstays. Result - 20% of the people were a little miffed. 80% of the people were happier. As organisers it became less of a chore and we could concentrate our efforts where they were needed most. Simple maths really. The festival is now 'under new management', by choice, so it could change again yet and I am really looking forward to the next few to see how it pans out.

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: OlgaJ
Date: 16 Feb 14 - 04:06 PM

We don't normally get a chance to do the Song Loft due to other commitments but do remember when it moved to the tent for the 'Survivor's Session' one year when we did get put off because we were told in no uncertain terms to be quiet (we were outside the tent at the time and expecting survivor's to be a bit more partyish like it is everywhere else and usually is at Moira), so we decided to go to the Railway instead and had a brilliant night. OK you couldn't do deep and meaningful songs in there unless you were loud enough to carry them off but you could discuss each others performances and play whatever instrument you had brought with you. To be fair it doesn't only happen at Moira but its very off-putting when you get looked at daggers if you walk into a 'song' session with instruments. Gainsborough (singaround upstairs in the pub a few years ago) and Doncaster Folk Festival upstairs afternoon sing-around a couple of years ago were the only two places we have actually felt uncomfortable. Luckily the rest of the weekend in both cases didn't put us off going back and it hasn't happened to us anywhere else. You can't blame the organisers for how the hosts run sessions. At least at Moira there is always a choice as to what sort of session you want to be involved with so people vote with their feet.


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 03:24 PM

Have only just come onto this thread, been away for a few days.
I've been helping Lynne out with running singarounds at Moira for the past three years, and have found attendances variable and unpredictable, ranging from packed to sparser, notwithstanding quality of singing. But this variability has been the case at almost every festival I've attended over this time, especially over the past three or four years in fact I'd say, and certainly not confined to Moira by any means. However, relative proximity of venues is one factor that is important, and in the case of Moira the Railway is just too far away from the main site to be anything other than a "we'll stay in the one place, too much hassle moving about" situation - ditto the main site, in terms of the competing concerts (very attractive indeed) not all that close to the Loft especially in inclement weather, so that may have something to do with it. And of course the point about loos and beer is one that matters more to some than others, but an important one nevertheless, especially as none of us are getting younger or fitter!! Having said that, I've stayed with the Loft sings as much as possible myself, and found that 2012 was sparser attended generally than 2013. In 2013, the sessions were generally well supported by a smallish but pretty loyal crowd who, once they enjoyed one session would say so and were keen to return.
My good friend OldNicKilby is right of course, in that how a singaround is hosted can make a big difference, but I didn't hear any complaints about any of my fellow-hosts at Moira. But I totally agree with him that there are some hosts at other festivals who will either just put their mates on or else brown-nose any booked artist who shows their face - which puts me off right away... I must say that I received a number of compliments about how fairly I run things, both at Moira and elsewhere - and I'm sure both Lynne and OldNic will be able to vouch for that .
At Moira, I can't comment on the Survivors' Session or the Railway, since I've always been "working" elsewhere at those times.
In 2012, on the Saturday early evening, one of the folk club singaround sessions that I was rostered to host was a non-starter, in effect due to the unavoidable overrunning of the afternoon concert, but the equivalent session in 2013 was well-supported, more so than the themed session which followed it in fact. The latter was surprisingly poorly attended in both 2012 and 2013, but I gathered that this was almost entirely due to the evening concerts being so attractive and competitive.   
Lynne is right by the way - the introduction of organised "guest spots" within a planned singaround (however informal) is a guarantee to turn away prospective attendees, who get little enough chance to "sing out". If folks want to see a booked guest, then they will go to the concert for that artist's slot. That may in some cases mean missing a portion of a singaround, of course... In my experience, I have more time for the booked guest who IMHO takes the right attitude and turns up at a singaround prepared to take their turn with everyone else and not court favouritism or grandstand. I could name two booked artists who won fans at Moira by taking this stance, while on the other hand I could also name one artist who regularly alienates folks by habitually doing the very opposite at other festivals.
I - and the bulk of singaround-singers, I understand - actually prefer the balance of formal (arranged) and informal (friendly) that a good singaround provides, one that's well-run and welcoming. That's what it should be about, and that's what any festival organiser should aim to continue to provide alongside the other conventional structured events, concerts, workshops etc.
Hope this is useful, Lynne... You're doing a grand job, and I'm looking forward to helping out again this year.


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: MBSLynne
Date: 18 Feb 14 - 04:13 PM

Thanks again guys.

MoorleyMan it's really useful to hear all this from the point of view of a singaround host.

DavetheGnome the Loft is really the only place apart from a marquee to have a singaround on site and I feel is better in many ways than a marquee, despite the loo and bar problem. For one thing it does have very good accoustics.

Olga, the Loft singarounds welcome instruments and anyone is welcome to do whatever they like, sing, play, recite.. Perhaps this needs to be made clear somewhere in the programme?

From all the responses I've had, I think the best thing to do in 2014 is continue the Loft sessions, making sure they are well signposted and programmed and see how we get on. Someone said early on in the thread that one year isn't really anything to go on, so let's see how it is this year.

Thanks again everyone

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 19 Feb 14 - 05:29 AM

Lynne
Many years ago I remember doing a Gig for Maggie(?) in a wonderful place at the Furnace. The accoustics were to die for with a high brick vaulted roof. Perhaps you could relocate the Singing Sessions there.
Keep on trying to make it better as it is well worth the effort Good Luck


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Subject: RE: Feedback needed on MFFF singarounds
From: My guru always said
Date: 20 Feb 14 - 04:50 AM

Looks like you've had some excellent feedback regarding the Sings in the Loft, Lynne. I've always enjoyed the times I've managed to get to those Sings, great singers & acoustics! It is a shame about no loo or bar, but worth it if you can make the trek. A nice touch having the way lit at night too!

Just wanted to make a positive comment about the Railway Sessions and MudGathers. It may be a bit of a walk, especially with instruments, but this is such a friendly pub with a great Landlady who is always so pleased to see us. She often makes sandwiches for us if there's a decent session happening and the locals are friendly too.

The MudGathers in the upstairs room are always well attended, despite clashing with so many other great events.

Good luck with your planning Lynne!


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