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Folk Clubs and attracting younger people

The Sandman 09 Dec 14 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Bignige 09 Dec 14 - 01:41 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Dec 14 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,cujimmy 09 Dec 14 - 03:52 PM
Marje 09 Dec 14 - 04:00 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Dec 14 - 04:04 PM
The Sandman 09 Dec 14 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,cujimmy 09 Dec 14 - 04:12 PM
Fossil 09 Dec 14 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,# 09 Dec 14 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,Bignige 09 Dec 14 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Bignige 09 Dec 14 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,cujimmy 09 Dec 14 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,Desi C 10 Dec 14 - 05:11 AM
MartinRyan 10 Dec 14 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,mauvepink 10 Dec 14 - 05:46 AM
Johnny J 10 Dec 14 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 10 Dec 14 - 06:47 AM
Johnny J 10 Dec 14 - 06:51 AM
Vic Smith 10 Dec 14 - 07:04 AM
Johnny J 10 Dec 14 - 07:19 AM
GUEST 10 Dec 14 - 07:48 AM
The Sandman 10 Dec 14 - 07:49 AM
The Sandman 10 Dec 14 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Bignige 10 Dec 14 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,Peter 10 Dec 14 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 10 Dec 14 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 11 Dec 14 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Selby 11 Dec 14 - 04:51 AM
Rob Naylor 11 Dec 14 - 04:54 AM
Will Fly 11 Dec 14 - 05:12 AM
Will Fly 11 Dec 14 - 05:13 AM
GUEST 11 Dec 14 - 05:33 AM
GUEST 11 Dec 14 - 09:00 AM
Will Fly 11 Dec 14 - 09:10 AM
The Sandman 11 Dec 14 - 10:05 AM
Rob Naylor 11 Dec 14 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Bignige 11 Dec 14 - 11:53 AM
Jack Campin 11 Dec 14 - 12:00 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Dec 14 - 01:36 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 14 - 03:42 PM
Vic Smith 11 Dec 14 - 04:05 PM
Vic Smith 11 Dec 14 - 04:13 PM
The Sandman 11 Dec 14 - 04:29 PM
GUEST, topsie 11 Dec 14 - 04:32 PM
Vic Smith 11 Dec 14 - 04:36 PM
Vic Smith 11 Dec 14 - 04:39 PM
The Sandman 11 Dec 14 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 11 Dec 14 - 06:12 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 14 - 06:25 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 14 - 06:49 PM
TheSnail 11 Dec 14 - 07:13 PM
Jack Campin 11 Dec 14 - 07:26 PM
Johnny J 12 Dec 14 - 02:52 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 14 - 04:16 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 14 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 12 Dec 14 - 05:48 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 14 - 07:05 AM
GUEST, topsie 12 Dec 14 - 09:00 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 14 - 09:27 AM
Vic Smith 12 Dec 14 - 09:46 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 14 - 11:58 AM
The Sandman 12 Dec 14 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,CS 12 Dec 14 - 01:49 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 14 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 12 Dec 14 - 02:49 PM
Vic Smith 12 Dec 14 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,punkfolrocker 12 Dec 14 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Bignige 13 Dec 14 - 06:14 AM
Vic Smith 13 Dec 14 - 07:06 AM
GUEST 13 Dec 14 - 11:39 AM
TheSnail 13 Dec 14 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Richard Dalton 13 Dec 14 - 04:00 PM
Charley Noble 13 Dec 14 - 09:31 PM
Vic Smith 16 Dec 14 - 03:33 PM
GUEST, topsie 16 Dec 14 - 06:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Dec 14 - 07:02 PM
GUEST, topsie 17 Dec 14 - 04:32 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 14 - 05:30 AM
The Sandman 17 Dec 14 - 05:33 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 14 - 11:12 PM
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Subject: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 12:39 PM

Folk club audiences seem in my experience to be in their fifties and upwards,is there not more chance of attracting age 35 upwards, rather than the 18 to 25 age group?
in other words the next generation down, how many 18 year olds want to socialise with sixty year olds?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 01:41 PM

No chance at all. Folk Clubs will slowly fade away as the generation that started them fade away.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 01:57 PM

yes without doubt, folk will eventually stop making music without the firm authoritive stewardship of people who know about folk music.

sad, but there it is.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,cujimmy
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 03:52 PM

No I don't agree, it will survive - not to the strength it has enjoyed in the past, but I don't believe there is any reason to feel so much doom and gloom as often expressed in these threads.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Marje
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 04:00 PM

Why should it fade away? Even if people don't start coming to folk clubs until their 40s or 50s, clubs will still carry on in much the same way. Many people who participate in folk now didn't do so in their teens and 20s, and possibly not in their 30s or even 40s. People change and want different things as they mature. You don't have to enrol as a youngster for all the hobbies and interests you will pursue throughout your life.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 04:04 PM

I hated folk when I was 20 - even 30. Music was about going out on the pull.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 04:05 PM

"The firm authoritative stewardship" do you mean people like EFDSS?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,cujimmy
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 04:12 PM

The clubs I go to in Leeds and Bradford have been through many periods over 50+ years or so when they have been well attended or not, there have been times when the Grove or the Topic have had lean spells, but they kept going and are both now doing quite well at present. Younger people do come along, not in great numbers, but they understand and enjoy the worth of Folk music just the same.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Fossil
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 04:14 PM

Don't call 'em Folk Nights and don't be purist about what you will and won't allow to be sung.

Call 'em "Open Mic" nights, "Acoustic Nights", "Performance Clinics" or whatever, and watch the young guns (most of whom can play and sing ten times better than you), queuing up to get a slot.

Big Al's riposte to Bignige was perfect. Not many people sing or play folk music (in the purist sense) even in so-called Folk Clubs these days. But if that is your own personal bag, go for it... people will listen to and appreciate almost anything if it is done with conviction.

AND if you don't close your ears and mind, there have been a lot of good songs written since the Child Ballads were collected, a lot of them are being kept alive, yes by young people who like to sing the songs their daddies and mummies sang to them. Stuff like Human League, Police, The Waterboys and the like.

The Music of the People will live on, even if you don't recognise it as such.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,#
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 04:23 PM

http://www.dickmiles.com/2012/07/introduction.html

Something's screwed up with the sound on your site. Two tunes/songs playing at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 05:31 PM

Don't really understand Fossils remark about Big Al's riposte to me?

I'm not suggesting Folk Music will ever die, the Festival Scene is alive and well. The question is whether the Folk Club can survive. The traditional venue for Folk Clubs have always been Pubs, but they are a shrinking facility, those that are left and are live music orientated tend to want Open Mic's, so I don't see how they survive in the formatt we all know. I don;'t like it but as Big Al says "sad, but there it is".


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 05:37 PM

Add to the above;

Price of Beer
Drink driving restrictions (quite rightly may I add)
Smoking ban
Aging audiences
Live Music legislation, particularly when amplified
Possible PRS costs
Insurances


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,cujimmy
Date: 09 Dec 14 - 06:56 PM

yes but people were saying these things 10 - 20 yrs ago, but the tradition and the music survived, and it will in the future as well


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 05:11 AM

I don't think Folk clubs as sch will fade out, in fact the Open Mic type singers night clubs, have been on the increse and with an incease in younger poeople playing. But sad to say the trad guest clubs may die out, because of their over reliance on the same old names allied to a reluctance to book newer younger acts. and an unwelcome attitude toward a wider variety of genres.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 05:23 AM

Last Sunday saw our first visit to The Night before Larry Got Stretched, a monthly traditional singers club in Dublin - run by young people. Good crowd, excellent guest (Barry Gleeson giving a virtuoso performance as ever) and a great atmosphere. Lots of fine singing from the floor. Came away less concerned about the future of this, admittedly rather particular, side of the tradition.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,mauvepink
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 05:46 AM

Arguably "Punk" was on the folk spectrum and there are lots of youngsters involved in that. Rap also has quite rebellious folky streaks in it.

There seems a great amount of acoustic revival being done by youngsters too these days in the clubs. Open mic nights appear to be spring boards where some youngsters mix it vwith the oldsters with good effect.

Folk is aout there and all around us when eyes, ears and minds are open. I know some great young singer songwriters doing folk.

mp


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 06:15 AM

Folk and traditional music will never die. There will always be people who are interested in such things, eg music, song, dance, story telling and other traditions. They will also ensure that these are preserved and continued although some will also try to update and "improve" them!!

There will also be those who write songs about contemporary matters and create more modern music which many will argue is also "folk".

However, I don't necessarily believe that folk clubs as we know them will survive. If they do, I suggest that they would be better to remain as traditional as possible as opposed to trying please everyone. They may become fewer in number and attract smaller audiences but at least people will know to expect when they go there.

Let people have their Open Mic nights if they wish and "Singer Songwriter... "Out of The Bedroom" arrangements too. Some will be very good I'm sure but they don't need to be part of a folk club. I'm happy enough to visit any type of club or musical night if I think I'm likely to enjoy the music. So, it doesn't matter.

I also realise that there's a lot of "cross over" in music these days too but is a folk club really the place for this? There are plenty of other venues, clubs, and I do see a place for such things at larger folk festivals.

Of course, even traditional folk music shouldn't be restricted to folk clubs either.. As someone once said
"Folk clubs exist so that one day they will no longer need to exist.."


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 06:47 AM

I started going to folk clubs and sessions when I was 19. I dipped in and out of the folk 'scene' in intervening years. I'm now 44 and still going. I think there are more younger people going to folk clubs and sessions now than there was back when I first started going. Folk has had a bit of a resurgence recently, this is partly due to the next generation of folk artists such as Eliza Carthy. Also bands such as Mumford & Sons have made it popular (love them or hate them..) I would say their style is folksy music rather than folk music. But then I'm not going to restart that old argument..there's enough of that on here already ;)
Not to mention the resurgence of beards amongst young men..


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 06:51 AM

Oh, I should also say that traditional music is just as popular(if not more so) among younger people as with some of the "old folkies" who attend folk clubs.
Many of the latter aren't that fussy about it at all and really prefer to listen to "singer/strummers", blues singers, Americana, guitar virtuosos, and ageing song writers from the sixties and seventies. Or in some instance, they are just looking for "a night out".

It is, of course, a minority interest for young people too but this has always been the case. However, a large percentage of singers, musicians, and performers on the scene are now in their twenties and thirties.

As for not wanting to associate with people in their fifties and sixties, I don't think this is that big an issue. If the music and atmosphere is good, young people will attend a gig. I started listening to folk music in my late teens and there have always been audiences of all ages and we've got along fine. These days, I'm less keen on mixing with over sixties but that's just because I'm that age myself. ;-))


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 07:04 AM

Very well argued post by Johnny J.
I think that a lot of the posts in this thread state the position admirably. What the thread lacks so far is the ability to step back from viewing the folk scene and related musical areas in the UK and consider the way that this country has changed since the days when the folk clubs were at their height of popularity.
We are too close, historically, to our current situation to make hard and fast statements about it but it is clear that society and the communities within it are changing in a big way.
Let me argue from an example and then use that example to try and see the bigger picture.

In the town hall in Lewes where I live there is an annual event on an early summer Saturday - the 'Societies Fair'. All the organisations in the town take a stand - and there are very many of then musical, drama, photography, chess, Black History, sports, ecological, enviromental, lots of single cause groups - stamp collecting, and many, many more. Initially you feel good that there is such a vast amount going on in such a small town. I am there with the group that takes a stand each year to promote the various manifestations of folk music. song and dance activities in the town.
Then you look at the ages of the society reps there. They are all in their 50s to 70s. You wander round to talk to them and you hear the same thing time and again:-

"I'm only continuing to run the 'X' society because I can't get anyone else to take it over."
"We are finding it very difficult to attract fresh young blood."
"We have offered free membership to anyone under 30 and still we cannot get them involved."

For reasons that we do not fully understand, changes are going on which mean that long-standing organisations are failing to attract youngsters. Total membership of political parties even allowing for a recent surge by UKIP and the SNP are falling worryingly. Subscriptions to specialist interest magazines have plummeted. Even direct political action and protest does not seem to be as vibrant as in the anti-Thatcher era and God knows; young people have got plenty to complain about from the present lot.
In the folk/acoustic music scene the traditional folk club where you join, make your contribution, listen to the performance of others and book the top talents to learn from seems to be giving way to the open-mic evenings where there is less commitment. Those of us who have been to them will have seen the performer who turns up with a couple of mates, does their spots and then quickly leaves. No commitment to the evening as an entire event.
Now all of us could list a variety of reasons which could explain why this is happening. I could give a number of socio-political reasons myself but I don't think any of us are in a position to give the full answer.
One thing is certain, however. This is a worrying trend in our society.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 07:19 AM

" Those of us who have been to them will have seen the performer who turns up with a couple of mates, does their spots and then quickly leaves. No commitment to the evening as an entire event."

I've even seen this at some folk clubs after a floor or opening spot. They are a minority, thankfully, and most stay to enjoy the main act and even learn something on occasion.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 07:48 AM

I'm young and I love folk. I have gone to lengths to put on a 'folk' listening club where I bring some of my favourite records and play them on an audiophile soundsystem in a very cool east London venue. The music isn't live but it is spreading the message.

More info : Here


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 07:49 AM

"One thing is certain, however. This is a worrying trend in our society."
yes, i would call it passivism, in my opinion folk clubs or any kind of music clubs should be about home made music[this was partly what skiffle was about]
but wht is needed in my opinion is more young people startin to organise events, festivals clubs etc,some young people need to be dragged away from isolationist pursuits like play stations and get out and socialise and do something creative


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 07:57 AM

sorry, guest, i did not see your post.
In my opinion the establishment and consumer society wants passive consumers, rather than people who attempt to make home made music and do something creative and do it purely for enjoyment.
of course there has always been a certain amount of passive consumerism, and there have been movements in the past that have attempteed to reverse this, for example people like Wiliiam Morris


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 01:05 PM

Thats the problem Good Soldier Schweik, it isn't happening.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 06:04 PM

"For reasons that we do not fully understand, changes are going on which mean that long-standing organisations are failing to attract youngsters. "

Of all organisations the WI are bucking the trend but not by bringing youngsters into existing groups, rather new groups are forming which often aren't run in the same way as the "old school" ones.

Individual folk clubs may fail as their members age but new outlets for folk music come along. The format may not always be to my liking but if they get an audience then its working for them.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Dec 14 - 06:46 PM

Nothing lasts forever, everything perishes eventually....

Why should folk clubs be any more impervious to redundancy than any other ephemeral cultural activity...???

As it happens, there is a potentially much more advanced and inclusive 'folk club' evolving,
which mudcat is already a part of - the internet.....

Get your desk mics and web cams at the ready.... but please do try to keep some clothes on...😉


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:08 AM

I am on the committee of a mountaineering club, and we face much the same problem. When I began climbing 40 years ago the natural way into it was through a club - it was the best way to meet other climbers, it was sociable, and you would benefit from climbing with a mix of backgrounds and experience. Now the youngsters prefer to meet up at climbing walls or through the internet, and many appear to be deeply suspicious of formal clubs which they see as hidebound by too many rules, and full of old farts. After some years of soul-searching how to attract younger members we've realised we're wasting our time.

My impression is that young people are still getting involved with folk music, they are just doing it their own way and don't want to be involved with the old-established folk clubs. As I recall, my own generation's attitude was much the same, which led to these clubs forming in the first place. Things move on.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Selby
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:51 AM

We went to a folk club with our 2 kids a fine fiddler and a fine melodeon player, the artist on, was known to us and has done loads of work getting kids and young adults involved with folk music, whilst the room was filling up the three of them started playing a lady on guitar joined them and the audience was enraptured. After a while the organiser stood up at the front, clapped her hands like a school mistress, informed us we had come to a folk club and could we please start, to loud groans from the audience everything died down and she proceeded to sing a long mournfull ballad. At the interval she came and told us if we where to come again could we not bring the children as folk music was for adults. As we are from Yorkshire and this was in the South West it was not a problem.Our kids are still involved in folk music but remember this instance and they are not lovers of folk clubs if we tell them we are going to a folk club they laugh like mad and tell us not to take any children.
Keith


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:54 AM

PFR/ Howard Jones....I tried to post something similar yesterday, but it disappeared into the ether.

I too see the same thing....loads of youngsters about, in both music and mountaineering, but increasingly using social media for arranging events, get-togethers and meetings.

My mountaineering club struggles to attact young members too, but I have no trouble filling, every year, 24 spaces in accommodation in Scotland for a Facebook-based winter climbing trip. It's noticeble that a high proportion of attendees at that one are in their 20s and 30s, whereas it's rare for any attendees at our "formal club" meets to be under 50. I'll be doing an internet-organised Alps trip next summer where again many participants will be in their 20s and 30s whereas for the last 2 years our club has had to cancel its Alps trip due to lack of take-up.

Howard's point re "hidebound by too many rules" is exactly right....the idea of constitutions, club officers, subs etc is totally baffling to many youngsters, who prefer to do things more informally, and who now have the means to do it via smartphones, internet and social media.

Vic/GSS:
"One thing is certain, however. This is a worrying trend in our society."
yes, i would call it passivism, in my opinion folk clubs or any kind of music clubs should be about home made music


Nothing could be further from the truth, IMO. I'm as old as many here, but what I see is a vibrant and very NON-passive youth doing its own thing, but doing it in very different ways to how it was done in our own youth, reflecting the changes in communications and connectedness.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 05:12 AM

It's interesting to read this and think back to when I first started playing the guitar (1864) and playing in folk clubs (1965) in the north of England. My local club in Lancaster was the 'Lancaster Folk Stir', which had been running for a few years in various back and upstairs rooms in pubs. Its main organiser was a matronly lady called Mrs. Parkinson and one of the main helpers was a well-known GP, Frank Rickards. The organisers were mainly in their 50s, which reflected the club's origins as a folk dance society. The sorts of acts booked were the Spinners, Jackie & Bridie, etc., and we youngsters thought they were a bit old hat at the time.

So, in the mid-60s, lots of young, rebellious bloods like me turned up, infused with stuff from the likes of Bob Dylan and Davy Graham, playing - or ineptly trying to play - stuff that we thought was different and "modern" and cool. And, I suppose, trying to shock the older ones a bit. After all, what is youth for but to kick against the older generations and épater les bourgeuois? And, of course, we were tolerated with gently amused smiles, and welcomed back - and then shown how it should be done by the likes of local entertainer Sam Sherry with his years of experience on the stage...

So, for a solo beginner, clubs like that were a place to bud and grow and find your feet, and I'm grateful to them, though I didn't play much folk music in them and rarely sang any traditional songs! And it's what you could do if you didn't go the electric route (that came later) and form a band with your mates. I suppose the nearest modern equivalents are the open mics and the sessions, where I see many young players cutting their teeth just as I did 50 years ago. Sessions, in particular - at least, the ones I go to - I've found to be as informal and welcoming as the old club scene I remember in Lancaster. And that club has long gone. As Howard says, things move on.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 05:13 AM

Bugger! Did I really start playing the guitar in 1864? Mmm... feels like it...


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 05:33 AM

I think folk clubs are evolving into something else. Not sure what it is or what it is called yet! While it may be true that a folk club of the old style may not attract younger people, this new mutation is attracting them in droves. Trouble is, with me being an old doderer, I do not know where it is... :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 09:00 AM

This may be of interest?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 09:10 AM

It is - but Ian also makes the mistake of assuming that all session players ignore "civilians", as he calls them, and he wasn't so snarky about folk clubs when I used to book him for the BBC Folk Club ("Clanfolk") back in the late '60s... :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 10:05 AM

Rob, but in my opinion it is a small minority who are organising festivals or folk events., that indicates to me that they do not understand that without them organising events be they folk clubs or festivals the scene will disappeear.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 11:03 AM

GSS....it may well disappear, or at least atrophy to a small "stump", but I'm not necessarily too worried about that.

I remember in the 60s a lot of pubs had pianos in them and quite often you'd hear impromptu singing sessions as someone started bashing the keys. They disappeared by the early 70s, and I suspect a lot of the older folk here were in the "young guard" then who were actively trying to do something different to gathering around a piano singing "my old man said follow the van", and the nascent folk club members of the period weren't too worried about bar pianos gradually dying out.

What I was taking issue with was the idea that young people these days are "passive consumers" rather than active participants when what I see around me is something very different, with as many young people as ever making and enjoying live music.

Folk clubs as such, and even most folk festivals, may eventually be subsumed into different ways of live music being propagated, and may even become a sub-genre of "something else"....but that's change for you!


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 11:53 AM

I would agree that young people are as keen as ever to make music. This may be a little controversial but whatever you may think about Simon Cowell and his X Factor and BGT, it has fired an interest in all people, particularly young people to perform. The problem is where do Folk Clubs fit into that? they should benefit, but it seems they don't. Why is that?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 12:00 PM

The Ian Anderson Froots editorial that GUEST linked to is a bit weird. What is wrong with the guy that he can't write an appreciative review without starting it with a sideswipe at Mudcat?

I wouldn't have considered doing the same about Froots, but mainly because I thought they'd vanished up their own arse years ago. There are really enough Madagascan music fans in Islington to keep them going?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 01:36 PM

Agreed with Jack!


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 03:42 PM

QUOTE
There are really enough Madagascan music fans in Islington to keep them going?
/QUOTE

It's Anderson's day job so there are enough punters buying the magazine. Probably a bloody sight more than look at this site.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:05 PM

Jack Campin -
"What is wrong with the guy that he can't write an appreciative review without starting it with a sideswipe at Mudcat?"


I'd imagine that he is rightly and fairly fed up with Mudcat, Jack, for the huge number of occasions that his name is slagged off and dragged through the mud of Mudcat, often very unfairly. People seem to object to his taking a broad view of folk, traditional and roots music but the quality of design and writing is far superior to anything else in this field and he is enormously encouraging to emerging young talent.
Think of the all the outstanding talents in the folk and traditional scene in the UK and then check here to see if they have been covered in fRoots. The chances are that they will have been.
All you mention from that article was "a sideswipe at Mudcat"; what about the fact that he had stumbled on a different way of presenting traditional music and was enthused by it and wanted to share it with people.
What struck me when I read that editorial in the magazine was when he wrote "There was a remarkable age range, from 20-somethings to 70-somethings, and they seemed to enjoy dancing ? or sitting ? with each other." and I thought, "I wish I had been there!"


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:13 PM

There are really enough Madagascan music fans in Islington to keep them going?

So you know that fRoots is full of articles about Madagascar, do you. Jack? I read it every month but there hasn't been an article on the fascinating music of that island for a long, long time.
Ask yourself if that comment is a] informed and b] fair.
.....and why Islington?


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:29 PM

Vic,
he is rarely discussed on mudcat,because like Pooter in The Diary of a Nobody, he is inconsequential and of little interest. I mean just look at these stupid generalisations, i quote
"I found myself wondering why this is so unusual, in this country anyway, and wishing that there were lots more of these. Not a 'session' where the players play for themselves and ignore civilians. Not a folk club where you have to sit in rows and people 'Shhhh' if you dare talk. Not a ceilidh where you're often made to feel like an outcast if you don't want to dance but just enjoy the music. Not a gig where as a performer you feel duty bound to entertain."
I mean whats this crap about ignoring "civilians" he is very cleverly trying to insinuate that people who enjoy playing music in sessions are somehow part of an army, and then we have shite about performers feeling duty bound to entertain, good performers enjoy entertaining, that is what performance is about., and then this crap generalising about folk clubs.
Vic, you ran a folk club for many years do you think this anti folk club generalised drivel is a correct description? please answer honestly,
   in my opinion folk clubs are places where people go to listen specifically to a certain kind of music, they do not go there to treat it as wallpaper music or inconsequential background music, to treat lyrics as inconsequential background drivel shows a lack of respect.,
you see Anderson contradicts himself, on the one hand he appears to not like the fact that presumably he went to a session and got no attention and went unrecognised[ IAN.. fame is ephemeral] and that the musicians were according to him ignoring the civilans and not entertaining, on the other hand he complains about gigs where people entertain, it seems like Ian Anderson is difficult to please.
Could it be that he has the misfortune to come from Weston Super Mare


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:32 PM

My reaction when I read Ian Anderson's piece was very much like Vic Smith's. I have always liked Ian's enthusiasm and openness to new and interesting musical experiences.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:36 PM

It's Anderson's day job so there are enough punters buying the magazine. Probably a bloody sight more than look at this site.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 04:39 PM

I have always liked Ian's enthusiasm and openness to new and interesting musical experiences.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 05:12 PM

Vic, you have not answered the question, you ran a folk club for over forty years, did you ssh people?Is Ians description a truth or an exaggerated generalisation, please answer.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 06:12 PM

"exaggerated generalisation" !!!!!??????

So what's so misfortunate about Weston Super Mare,
above and beyond any other Tory dominated provincial shithole in the United Kingdom....

It might be the arse end of the west country, but despite or because of all the social problems
it's a very actively musical town...

Admittedly, I don't like most of the x factor style of music the current generation make there..
but that's beside the point...

Back in my day it was well prominent on the punk and heavy metal map..

And an obscure folk reissue CD lable "Wooden Hill Recordings" apparently used to be based in the town centre..


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 06:25 PM

Folk clubs are very popular and plentiful where I live, and they're usually packed, mostly with fairly young people. But they don't call it a folk club. They call it karaoke night.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 06:49 PM

I am far less prescriptive about what constitutes a "proper" folk club than a lot of people here but I would draw the line at including karaoke.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 07:13 PM

But they don't call it a folk club. They call it karaoke night.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Dec 14 - 07:26 PM

I'd imagine that he is rightly and fairly fed up with Mudcat, Jack, for the huge number of occasions that his name is slagged off and dragged through the mud of Mudcat, often very unfairly.

More unfairly than his comment about you, me and everybody else here in that review? I don't think so.


People seem to object to his taking a broad view of folk, traditional and roots music but the quality of design and writing is far superior to anything else in this field

I would agree about the writing - the design is nothing special (or wasn't when I last saw a copy). But I detest the narrowness of his perspective - the only stuff he cares about is what you can buy as a commodity.


Think of the all the outstanding talents in the folk and traditional scene in the UK and then check here to see if they have been covered in fRoots. The chances are that they will have been.

I just checked Jimmy McHugh, probably the most influential musician ever in the Irish music scene in Scotland, but who never made any recordings. Not a mention. If you're not a product (and hence a source of advertising revenue) you don't count for Froots.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Johnny J
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 02:52 AM

I've not subscribed to folk magazines for a few years now although I bought A "Living Tradition" yesterday as there was a particular article I wished to read.

I find that I can keep myself up to date online these days and even read much of the magazine contents up there.

As an example of what is considered good "product" in Froots, here's a link to their charts for this week...

http://www.frootsmag.com/content/issue/charts/

There are one or two interesting things there but the bulk of it has nothing much to do with folk or traditional music as I know it or even "world music". Some of the albums are several years old too.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 04:16 AM

"So what's so misfortunate about Weston Super Mare".
weston super mud, a great place for mud music and mud roots music no doubt.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 04:40 AM

Maybe the phrase should be "They don't call it a singers night. They call it Karaoke". Singers night is generally a misnomer as most people at most singers nights I have been to also play an instrument. Most often the guitar. At a Karaoke night the performers are just singers! OK, they are accompanied by an electronic soundtrack but they are still purely singers rather than singer/instrumentalists and at least they are not usually intent on a 10 minute intro to a five minute song or giving the audience the benefit of their innermost feelings. I have never done Karaoke but I find it pretty absurd and elitist the way that those who do are sneered at by the 'real' singers :-(


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 05:48 AM

It strikes me that Mudcat can get pretty bonkers at times, which perhaps is part of its charm although it can get frustrating at times.

More to the point, the venue Ian describes in his fRoots editorial sounds much like many of the folk clubs I used to attend - far more than the 'sit in rows and shut up' type.

I'm not sure I understand his comment "Not a gig where as a performer you feel duty bound to entertain". I sure Topette were very conscious of their obligation to entertain, but are skilled enough to do this in a relaxed and informal way which helped to create the ambience he enthuses about.

The question is why these venues no longer exist. In my limited experience the clubs seem to have evolved into singarounds of variable quality or mini-concerts which don't involve the audience, and where you are made to sit in rows and shut up. Neither greatly appeal to me.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 07:05 AM

"I found myself wondering why this is so unusual, in this country anyway, and wishing that there were lots more of these. Not a 'session' where the players play for themselves and ignore civilians. Not a folk club where you have to sit in rows and people 'Shhhh' if you dare talk. Not a ceilidh where you're often made to feel like an outcast if you don't want to dance but just enjoy the music. Not a gig where as a performer you feel duty bound to entertain."
lets deal with the three points, one, ceildhs, this is complete nonsenseat most ceilidhs you can enjoy the music without dancing, you can sit or stand at the bar listen to the music without danicning and without being made to fell an outcast .
2, Sessions, you can attend sessions and enjoy the music without being ignored people are busy playing music,the non musicians are sitting listening,no audience member goes to a session to ask the musicians about their lives they go there to hear music being played with commitment, so another inaccurate statment from Anderson.
3. Folk clubs, it is very rare fror people to sshh other audience members because most folk club audiences know the folk club protocol , another inaccurate staement from Anderson, in fact a triple whammy of codswallop


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 09:00 AM

I have been to plenty of ceilidhs where non-dancers were harried and bullied into making up a set, while the other dancers had to wait in their already formed sets until enough unwilling participants were dragged onto the floor to make up the required number - and sometimes too many would eventually volunteer so that yet another incomplete set formed, and the painful process had to be gone through yet again.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 09:27 AM

I can't think of a single regular ceilidh within reach of me where you can listen to the music in the bar. All the venues have separate catering areas with at least one set of doors between them and the hall.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 09:46 AM

Once again, Jack, I find that I cannot agree with comments that you make about fRoots so without getting into a slanging match with you which I won't do, could I make some points about your last post?
You seem to find his description of the Mudcat community insulting when you write:-

More unfairly than his comment about you, me and everybody else here in that review? I don't think so.
I must ask you not to include me in the list of those who feel that they are being treated unfairly by that review and I think that you ought to let others in the Mudcat community speak for themselves, Some at least seem to recognise Ian's description. Howard Jones just above talks about clubs where "you are made to sit in rows and shut up." Overall, I would say that there are many clubs that bear a resemblance to this.

I would agree about the writing?.
Good. A point of agreement.

?..the design is nothing special?..
Well, yes; again, I'd agree, but let's compare it with its direct competitor Songlines. Flashy garish and eye-catching design but the standard of writing is pretty abysmal. Short pieces that read like puffs written by a publicist which seem to centre on the meeting between writer and artist with little analysis of the music.

?? (or wasn't when I last saw a copy)??
Well, I'm afraid that you are giving yourself away here, Jack. I did suspect this with your comments in a previous post about Madagascar. How often and how regularly do you read fRoots carefully, Jack? Could it be that you are expressing opinions on something that you don't know well (says a man that has all 380 copies stored in boxes on shelves by his computer and finds then a hugely useful reference source.)

But I detest the narrowness of his perspective - the only stuff he cares about is what you can buy as a commodity?? I just checked Jimmy McHugh, probably the most influential musician ever in the Irish music scene in Scotland, but who never made any recordings. Not a mention. If you're not a product (and hence a source of advertising revenue) you don't count for Froots.
By amazing co-incidence the Jan/Feb 2015 issue just dropped through the letter box as I am typing this, so let's test the validity of these statements with reference to what this new issue contains -
?        Cover article is on the 40th anniversary of a wonderful dance band, The Old Swan Band ? This is supported by a 1/2 page advert for all recent Wildgoose releases but this is not special to this issue. Doug Bailey feels the need to advertise his releases on a regular basis.
?         Centenary of the birth of Bob Copper ? no supporting advert.
?        Ibibo Sound System from Nigeria ? no supporting advert.
?        Sam Sweeney & Andy Cutting's new outfit Leverett ? no supporting advert.
?        Pete Coe & Alice Jones ? no supporting advert.
?        Profile on folk/rock producer Sandy Roberton ? no supporting advert.
?        Smaller features on Norwegian festival, new librarian at Cecil Sharp House, traditional band from Co. Clare, Joe Boyd on Copyright ? you've guessed it - no supporting adverts.
?        And finally the current cover on a new South London traditional folk band, Stick The Wheel, who are excellent and if the world is fair should make a big name for themselves. They haven't even got and album out to advertise.
fRoots is not perfect. Ask Ian Anderson how quick I am to bend his ear if there is something I don't like or if there is a mistake or if I feel standards are falling, but overall I feel that over 35 years the man has produced an amazing variety of high quality articles and photo features and has never once missed a deadline. We should be falling over ourselves in praise of him for what he has achieved.
Let me mention also, Jack, how articles in fRoots come about; I have written quite a lot for them so I should know. The editor is not in a position to commission articles. He has to wait until his writers contact him and give a yea or nay to their suggestions. In my case he rarely says no and if he does, it is always for a good reason. So if there is nothing about Jimmy McHugh (lovely musician, in my opinion, though its years since I heard him) it's because no-one has suggested the name to him. Tell you what, Jack, contact Ian and say that you would like to write something on Jimmy McHugh. That's what I do when I hear someone that I think is worth hearing more about.
?.. and I'm still confused about Islington.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 11:58 AM

"We should be falling over ourselves in praise of him for what he has achieved."

Vic, you still don't understand the basic ethos of Mudcat. My making a living from folk music Anderson must be the spawn of the Devil!


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 12:37 PM

Iplay in folk clubs fairly regularly, my experience is that is rare for people to be made to shut up ,most people that go enjoy listening to the performer are respectful of the music and do not need to be told to shut up.
Vic, how many times have you told people to sssh in your folk club over the last 40 years, please answerr , if you do not I will assume you have never had to.
most of the ceilidhs i have been to, have been in the proximity of a bar., however i live in ireland, the polace where ceilidhs originate, ceili or ceildh is a gaelic word


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 01:49 PM

I too am unsure why the editor of Froots feels the need to bash bonkers old Mudcat. As a marginally 'younger' person (or at least I was when I first arrived here...) I've enjoyed this place pretty much FOR it's bonkersness and tended to avoid the rather more sterile atmosphere of Froots. If I wanted to know serious stuff about folk music without the aggro, I'd probably head over to a more academic forum, such as the Tradsong forum that led me here in the first place.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 02:43 PM

CS, I think I can give you the answer to that, he wants to publicise his site.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 02:49 PM

.. one more vote for Bedlam and gawping at the bonkers folk for perverse entertainment value...✔😏

... that Ian bloke needs to shake some of that metropolitan sophisticate snootiness off
and come back here from time to time for a good robust earthy laugh
and a bit of mudddy rough and tumble amongst the gibbering foaming at the mouth hideous wretches...😜


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 02:55 PM

...that Ian bloke needs to shake some of that metropolitan sophisticate snootiness off

Funnily enough, that's more or less what he said of himself when he moved back to Brissle (as he seems to insist on calling it) about four years ago.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,punkfolrocker
Date: 12 Dec 14 - 03:11 PM

.. then he should definitely nip back to Weston for a few ciders in "The Workies" on a weekend..

That'd give him a back to his roots reality check sense of a proper job informal community focused venue...

They get top agency acts too.. the 'Billy Fury' was at least as the good
as the one you'd pay 20 quid to see at the posh Playhouse...


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 06:14 AM

I have always found good performers with good technique will always win over an audiences. The problem is, you have to sit through a lot of mediocre rubbish before you get to one, particularly in the Folk world.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 07:06 AM

Talking of fRoots as we have been, here is the BIFF cartoon from the new edition I received yesterday. For some reason, the photo used in the last panel looks very familiar....


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 11:39 AM

For anyone who didn't follow another GUEST's link "This may be of interest," here's its description of this forum:

... the Folkistanis on that bonkers internet message board called Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 12:34 PM

I can't say I'm worried about Ian Anderson's opinion of Mudcat but I'm intrigued by -
Not a 'session' where the players play for themselves and ignore civilians. Not a folk club where you have to sit in rows and people 'Shhhh' if you dare talk. Not a ceilidh where you're often made to feel like an outcast if you don't want to dance but just enjoy the music.

Give him his due, he's prepared to speak his mind without worrying about how many potential subscribers he alienates.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST,Richard Dalton
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 04:00 PM

I agree.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Dec 14 - 09:31 PM

It's not impossible to attract younger people to a session with traditional folk songs, just very difficult. A unique venue in the New York City area has been functioning for more than 5 years and the average age is below 30, with 30-40 people attending each monthly session. It's called the Exceedingly Good Song Night and is located in the back room of an East Village cafe, and is hosted by Ken Schatz. I get to attend maybe once a year but I'm always amazed with the energy generated in these sessions. Here's a link to their Facebook page: click here for a good time!

I'm hoping to be there again on Sunday, January 4, 2015.

Cheerily,
Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 03:33 PM

On 13 Dec 14 - 07:06 AM I wrote:-
"Talking of fRoots as we have been, here is the BIFF cartoon from the new edition I received yesterday. For some reason, the photo used in the last panel looks very familiar...."


If you click on that link. you will get a message from Facebook saying-
Sorry, something went wrong.
We're working on it and we'll get it fixed as soon as we can.


No, Facebook, this is less than the truth. You have seen fit to block the sharing of this cartoon for some reason. But as with most things on the internet, it it possible to get around such things, as you can see by clicking here.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 06:16 PM

Thank you Vic.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 07:02 PM

i suppose Froots have got their bit of the action - hobnobbing with the small time superstars of the folkworld. and we've got ours. we're the peasantry, we know our place.

theres no need for resentment or unpleasantness between us. folk music has a role for us both.

as Don Corleone says to Solozzo - as my business interests don't conflict with yours.....


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 04:32 AM

'Big Al' said:
"Froots have got their bit of the action - hobnobbing with the small time superstars of the folkworld. and we've got ours. we're the peasantry, we know our place."

Speak for yourself, but don't include the whole of Mudcat - I have seen posts on here from people I regard as more than "small time" stars.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 05:30 AM

well the music industry regards folk music as very small time. i was with a medium sized record company for some time and it was an eye opener to me. i'd spent a lot of time on the folkscene.... i thought the sun shone out of my heroes bums. it was a shock to find people with so little regard for them.

small time was not meant as disparaging - just descriptive.


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 05:33 AM

Al is correct, most of the population have never heard of the so called big names of the folk world, that is not offensive but factual


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Subject: RE: Folk Clubs and attracting younger people
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 11:12 PM

The same thing can probably be said for the so-called big names of the world of barbershop quartet singing, or polo, or orchid cultivation, or medieval jousting, or perhaps hundreds of other activities, though each of them may be central to the lives of some people.


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