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Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow

The Sandman 17 Dec 14 - 11:56 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Dec 14 - 04:01 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 14 - 04:15 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 14 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Peter 17 Dec 14 - 04:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 17 Dec 14 - 04:34 PM
The Sandman 18 Dec 14 - 12:38 PM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 14 - 12:55 PM
r.padgett 18 Dec 14 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Pete Willow 18 Dec 14 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Another rude anoymous poster 18 Dec 14 - 05:52 PM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 14 - 06:39 PM
Joe Offer 18 Dec 14 - 07:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Dec 14 - 07:41 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 14 - 07:42 PM
TheSnail 18 Dec 14 - 07:49 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Dec 14 - 04:46 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 14 - 05:04 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 14 - 05:15 AM
OldNicKilby 19 Dec 14 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,rudely anonymous 19 Dec 14 - 05:36 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 14 - 05:49 AM
OldNicKilby 19 Dec 14 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,rudely anonymous 19 Dec 14 - 07:01 AM
Jack Campin 19 Dec 14 - 07:02 AM
johncharles 19 Dec 14 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,ST 19 Dec 14 - 07:14 AM
OldNicKilby 19 Dec 14 - 07:24 AM
GUEST 19 Dec 14 - 09:04 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 14 - 09:39 AM
GUEST 19 Dec 14 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Yorkshire 19 Dec 14 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,rudely anonymous 19 Dec 14 - 11:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Dec 14 - 11:49 AM
GUEST 19 Dec 14 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,rudely anonymous 20 Dec 14 - 04:59 AM
The Sandman 20 Dec 14 - 05:22 AM
GUEST 20 Dec 14 - 05:41 AM
r.padgett 20 Dec 14 - 11:16 AM
Vic Smith 20 Dec 14 - 12:43 PM
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Subject: FLOOR SINGERS ARTICLEBY P WILLOW
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 11:56 AM

Floor singers – are they a help or hindrance to folk music?
Posted on December 17, 2014        by Jacey Bedford

Pete Willow reflects on a common experience for folk club audiences – sitting through a performance by the enthusiastic but musically ungifted amateur floor artist. This provoked some interesting discussion from respondents during his PhD research on amateur music-making.

Folk club audiences are generally a tolerant bunch. But do we secretly seethe inside when a floor-singer stands up and regales us with a hesitantly-performed, poorly-rehearsed, out-of-tune set of songs that charted in the 1960s?

The issue of musical quality and professionalism in performance was given a considerable airing from respondents to my doctoral research on amateur music-making. I've been reminding myself of some of the notes I made when I conducted an admittedly unscientific survey on Facebook a couple of years ago. One question that I asked was:

For an enjoyable night out at the folk club, how important is the standard of music being played? Is this the most important factor or are there other things more important?

It was by no means the first time such a question had been posed at folk followers. This sort of thing often crops up in places like Mudcat but it nevertheless produced some spirited responses. For example:

I'm quite happy to see artists who are still on their journey towards a better expertise – as long as they perform with belief and passion.

The music at folk clubs I visit is important; the overall standard of that music is a little less important. After all folk music is often a form of storytelling and can be very entertaining if delivered well regardless of whether the performer is a gifted singer/musician.

I'd rather see an average performer with great material than a brilliant performer with poor material.

For singer's nights, I don't expect quality – but I do expect commitment. Even the poorest performers deserve respect as long as they are doing their best to give a performance.

These were some of the many voices who rated passion and commitment in delivery as more important than expertise; these views suggested that folk clubs are indeed tolerant spaces for the technically less gifted performer, at least as floor singers. Guest acts are of course expected to be worth the admission fee. As one respondent said:

…having worked professionally as a singer … I do expect to see a higher standard of performance at a folk club from a 'guest'- particularly if I know the guest is being paid to perform; if my expectations are not met I feel quite irritated.

I am very tolerant of truly dreadful performances from the floor (I haven't worked out why) but not from booked guests. I think we all recognise the possibility of some tension between the wish to provide a good evening of entertainment at one's folk club and maintaining a policy of openness to all comers. In the end we should remember the important point that (usually) people pay to come in.

However, some floor singers themselves see the whole purpose of folk clubs as places where they can perform, guests notwithstanding:

Musicians go to these things to play, i.e. to get involved ourselves in the music making process, as well as to listen (which I admit I do too, I love to play music!!). Which I think begs the question – what is a folk club? Is it one where people sit quietly and listen to a talented performer, or one where like-minded musicians get together to play music with each other and inspire and challenge each other?

That sounds like a wonderful ideal which presents folk clubs as communities of people who like to play music and assume that everyone there is happy to listen to it. If only that were always the case. It didn't take long for the voices of dissent to emerge in reply to the initial survey responses. One object of particular concern was the 'singaround', which is of course used by many clubs to subsidise guest nights as well as provide a space – or circle – for a community of amateur performers:

Some folk singarounds feel like criticism-free therapy for the players, and I feel that as an audience, I am validating a claim to be a 'performer' which feels false, because they are simply not trying to entertain or engage.

The format of singarounds has greatly depleted the standard of performance. Where a beginner can now sit in a circle and be accompanied by more experienced musicians and singers – this has taken away the need to fully practise a set before actually performing it, and so the standard is pretty poor as a whole now. A knock-on effect is that if someone who hasn't experienced a 'folk club' goes to a singaround, pays £2/£3/£4 on the door to get in and then is treated to a circle of beginners who play wrong chords, wrong keys, and forget their words, they will go away with a very bad impression of folk music!

This post only scratches the surface of the threads of animated and thoughtful discussion that arose from my Facebook survey but the message that clearly emerged was that amateur musicians and singers are tolerated, indeed enjoyed at folk clubs if they appear to make the effort in practice and demonstrate passion for what they perform. In a culture of commodified entertainment, it is not surprising that commercialism insinuates its way into the folk club experience. The higher the admission, the more audiences expect quality. And professional artists themselves have bills to pay so would not thank clubs who drive audiences away by indulging poor floorsingers.

Nevertheless, if folk clubs don't provide a space for passionate amateurs to perform and share the music that matters to them, arguably they wouldn't be doing their job.
Pete Willow

Pete Willow

Pete Willow
Pete has run folk clubs and concerts on and off for over 40 years, mainly in Coventry and Warwickshire. He has a particular interest in music promotion and PR and his writings include a regular folk column for the Coventry Telegraph with articles also appearing in the Birmingham Mail and the Metro. In additon, he writes the programme copy for the Warwick and Bromyard Folk Festivals. His 'day job' is an academic, teaching and researching media, communications and public relations. He has recently been awarded a PhD for his thesis on amateur music making as a social and cultural activity, basing part of his research on three case study folk clubs in the Midlands.


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Subject: RE: FLOOR SINGERS ARTICLEBY P WILLOW
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 04:01 PM

'It was by no means the first time such a question had been posed at folk followers. This sort of thing often crops up in places like Mudcat'

Nuff said, Dick.
What are you trying to provoke now?


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Subject: RE: FLOOR SINGERS ARTICLEBY P WILLOW
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 04:15 PM

Yet another post by GSS which doesn't credit the source and reproduces a whole article without its author's permission.

Mods, please rap his knuckles.

    It's true. Posting a copy-paste without full attribution is almost as rude as posting anonymously. The appropriate knuckles should consider themselves to have been rapped.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: FLOOR SINGERS ARTICLEBY P WILLOW
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 04:15 PM

Posted where? It's normal to link back to the original even if doing a 100% copy/past job.


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Subject: RE: FLOOR SINGERS ARTICLEBY P WILLOW
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 04:20 PM

Why doesn't this ****ing site prompt for a name like every other open access forum on the web? Second guest was me.

I see that two other people posted while I looked unsucessfully through Jacey's several blogs thinking that might be the source of the original.

I would have liked to see the article in context and make any comments on the original site where they would be seen by the author.


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Subject: RE: FLOOR SINGERS ARTICLEBY P WILLOW
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 04:34 PM

very nice to hear from you anyway Pete! brilliant musician and writer!


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 12:38 PM

This article was posted on face book,by jacey bedford, it is therefore in the public domain,the posting states clearly it comes from jacey beford, the article is clearly written by pete willow, what is the feckin problem, joe, it is a lot less rude than this personal message from you, you should hang your head in shame.
My Dear Mr. Miles,
I would like to inform you that in my opinion, you perfectly fit the
definition of a Certified Asshole.
Congratulations!


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 12:55 PM

This article was posted on face book,by jacey bedford, it is therefore in the public domain

I think you'll find, if you look in Facebook's terms and conditions, that all content posted to Facebook belongs solely to Facebook, and neither you, Pete Willow nor Jacey Bedford have any rights over it.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: r.padgett
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 02:23 PM

I took issue with a fb posting I saw on Folk21, not sure it is there now, however the purpose and ideas of what is a floor singer is and why needed is an issue to many

Ray


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST,Pete Willow
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 02:41 PM

Hi - no problem from me to see this reposted on Mudcat. It was originally on the Folk 21 blog and not actually reproduced on Facebook, just referred to via a link. So I don't think Facebook can claim ownership.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST,Another rude anoymous poster
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 05:52 PM

I am going to be anonymous on this one, as like Dick, who as you will all have seen, was recently been described as a 'talentless moron' I've also been insulted here. I've seen Dick performing and can tell those of you that don't know him, he is a polished and professional performer, and knowledgeable about the material he performs.

I've also had my abilities as a performer called into question, so perhaps those rude people should ask the opinion of the 1000 or so people on my mailing list, or the 1000's of people I have performed to at clubs and festivals.

I normally post under my own name, but I've come to the conclusion that I have no wish to be tarred with the same brush as the large number of obnoxious idiots that contribute here.

The article Dick reproduced was credited both to the author, and the original poster, and is a very valid topic for discussion, so I see no earthly reason to berate him for posting it. But then of course, a large number of the 'experts' here, as is evident from their posts, are so full of their own self importance, and consider themselves to be wonderful singers, but it reality could not hold the attention of an audience for more than one song, and are also totally intolerant of others who sing purely for pleasure, but acknowledge their shortcomings and have no aspiration to be a professional performer, so are very much the topic of the piece Dick posted.

It is such a shame, as Mudcat is a fine resource, and it is sad that it is abused in the way it is. FIRST REMOVE THE PLANK FROM YOUR OWN EYE!

If I bother to post again here, I'll be rudely anonymous and proud of it.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 06:39 PM

I didn't see a lot of point in reproducing it, since Pete didn't make any new points that haven't been raised here before (though he did try to be fair to a range of opinions and didn't get gratuitously steamed up about it).

I would have been more impressed if he'd identified venues that have managed to improve the quality of their acts and described how they do it, or suggested feasible strategies for making things better. Did the FB survey ask for realistic positive suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:16 PM

Gee, Dick, couldn't you figure out that I was trying to defend you?

Yes, I think that copy-pastes should be attributed (which was done), and I also think it's nice to include a link to the original source of the information (which was not done). That offense is minor, compared to the rudeness of attacking another person under cover of anonymity. I think that if one is going to make use of the privilege of anonymity, then there should be no negative tone whatsoever in whatever one posts. It just isn't fair to take a potshot at another person, when that person doesn't know who you are.

But I think the topic of discussion was floor singers, not assholes.

Most folkies I have encountered are generous and supportive, but there is an annoying air of haughtiness that comes from some of the more vocal inhabitants of folkdom, a tendency to suppress anyone they think to be lesser talents than they are. As a Californian, I hadn't known of floor singers until I attended Whitby Folk Week about ten years ago. Most of the concerts there didn't have floor singers, but there was a delightful daily concert in a pub in Robin Hood's Bay that had slots for floor singers, and I thought that was wonderful. It gave normal "folk" a chance to sing in the presence of well-known singers and in front of a sizeable audience. It gives newer singers a chance to develop their abilities and their stage presence - this not something most singers can do well in solitude in front of a mirror. Nothing serves better to develop a performer, than performing before an audience.

I hear so much groaning and complaining about "bad" singers and their failure to follow the arbitrary rules that vocal, haughty people seek to impose on the rest of us. I hear far more complaining, than I hear actual "bad" singers. And the singers don't annoy me if they flub a song - I figure it's part of the learning process that we all go through.

I suppose the possibility exists that a situation could be totally dominated by bad singing, but does that happen often?

I thought folkies were supposed to be tolerant, but I sure hear a lot of intolerance in the folk community. And that disappoints me. Well, no, maybe the topic IS assholes. There are too many judgmental assholes in folkdom, and they're far worse than the possibility of an occasional "bad" singer. It sure makes it miserable for the rest of us sometimes.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:41 PM

i was applied to be a certified asshole, but they said i was too much of a bum...


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:42 PM

Hi Jack Campin. You've given me food for thought. It wasn't the purpose of the FB survey to come up with strategies; it was more of an analysis of what's happening now and what people's opinions are now. Perhaps 'analysis' is too strong a term. More a 'snapshot'. Anyway you've given me an idea on what to write for my next contribution to the Folk 21 blog - which I'll get round to *after* Christmas! (Constructive criticism always welcome.)


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Dec 14 - 07:49 PM

What worries me about Peter Willow's article is that it seems to assume that floor singers will be, by defintion, of poor quality. The title is "Floor singers – are they a help or hindrance to folk music?" but right from the first sentence he talks about "the enthusiastic but musically ungifted amateur floor artist.". I've known floorsingers who have upstaged the paid guests. OK, I've come across a few duds but not many.

Without floor singers it isn't a folk club it's a concert.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 04:46 AM

'Without floor singers it isn't a folk club it's a concert'

yes i agree. and sometimes you get fed up with how bloody clever the pro's are. not that theres much pleasure in watching someone who's really bloody stupid. other than sadistic glee...!


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 05:04 AM

I went to the cellar upstairs[sat near euston square] recently and did a floor spot,the standard of floor singers was very high and included tom paley, 2 nights later i went to dartford folk club all the floor singers and residents were of professional standard, 2 clubs in 3 nights where the standard was high as it should be.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 05:15 AM

Maybe you could post to tell the Mudcatters that Folk21 exists over here[facebook] with a specific remit to provide a self-halp group for people involved in/caring about folk clubs that book guests. If any Mudcatters have a specific interest in the nuts and bolts of booking guests in folk clubs and running guest nights they would be welcome to join us.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 05:23 AM

Well , Pete Willow should know about the quality of "Floor Singers " The session at Monks Kirby that he attends / runs is just about the very worst that I have ever encountered, singing from the words with music stands and mostly downright awful.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST,rudely anonymous
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 05:36 AM

'I thought folkies were supposed to be tolerant, but I sure hear a lot of intolerance in the folk community. And that disappoints me. Well, no, maybe the topic IS assholes. There are too many judgmental assholes in folkdom, and they're far worse than the possibility of an occasional "bad" singer. It sure makes it miserable for the rest of us sometimes.'

I think you've hit the nail on the head there Joe, and exactly the point I was making above. However, I agree with Dick that generally the standard of floor singers is very good, and there is generally a degree of tolerance. I was the booked guest at a club recently, and two of the regulars sung before me, one forgot the words and started again (twice) one started a song with the capo on the wrong fret and again stopped and re started the song, did it matter, did it spoil the evening for the audience, of course not!

And if you needed proof that perhaps the topic is 'judgemental assholes', up pops a post from OldNickKilby to provide that proof!


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 05:49 AM

i played seven clubs in 14 days and did 3 floor spots, there was only one club where some of the singers were sub standard, two of the clubs allowed sheets and music stands and it was at one of those where some of the perfomers were below par, the other club that allowed music stands the overall standard was reasonable to good.although i prefer not to see music stands [i think they can create a barrier between the performer and the audience],i believe it is possible to perform well with them, if the performer has practised and makes eye contact with the audience.
i must add that all the clubs i visited were guest booking clubs not singaround clubs.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 06:15 AM

No Rudely, if we accept a low standard of attainment then that is where it will stay. We should all strive to get better


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST,rudely anonymous
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 07:01 AM

the point you are missing OldNicKilby is that the people we are talking about here, are for the most part, unassuming folks with no aspirations to being a professional performer, who will get up and sing purely for the love of it, and probably because they see it as a way of supporting 'their' folk club.

As I said, did it matter that things went wrong with the floor spots I referred to earlier, not one iota!

I think you may also need to differenciate between a 'floor spot' at a club with a booked guest and a paying audience, which of course is the scenario the original article is aimed at, and a singaround, where there is no paying audience, and is, usually, a gathering of friends or aquaintances getting together for self entertainment, and in that situation, I would certainly expect people to be tolerant of less than competent singers/musicians, as if they are not, it defeats the whole object of a singaround, which sould be welcoming and all embracing.

There are those that expect the entire pub to fall silent for them when they sing at a singaround, and there are those who are not so far up themselves, and sing for their own pleasure, but it seems you would want to exclude them from singarounds!

I wonder, what do you do, are you someone capable of keeping the attention of an audience for a couple of hours, or just the armchair pundit who of course knows it all?


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 07:02 AM

I've only been to the Cellar Upstairs once, a couple of years ago, and my experience was much like Dick's: except that there was a fair range of age and ability among the floor spots, from some very young up to Tom Paley. I wouldn't say everyone was stellar but they created an atmosphere where everybody gave their best. (I'd have done a floor spot myself but didn't think to ask until it was too late). Good place.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: johncharles
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 07:10 AM

floor singers whether bad, below par or reasonable to good, are singing for the love of the music not for money. I have seen some older "professionals" in the last couple of years who seem to be living on past performances and were in my view pinching their fee. I know of at least one who said the audience were at fault, No doubt he/she was an authority on folk singing.
john


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST,ST
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 07:14 AM

For my own part, I can accept poor floor singers if they're in the process of improving – we all had to start somewhere and, hopefully, we're all doing our best to improve. What does puzzle me are the ones who, month after month and year after year, come up with the same (low) level of performance, making no progress at all. I see the whole room switching off: can't they? If I get a poor response to a song more than twice I ditch it from my repertoire, if I go to a venue a couple of times and can't get a positive response from the audience, I stop singing there (though some I still go to as "audience") as it's clear my material/style/ability isn't appropriate/good enough.

As for strategies for improvement for the club (sadly I have no suggestions for improvement of those performers who seem unaware of audience response); I find a "managed" singaround with a good MC helps. A purely "round the room" format can often get several weak performers, or a string of songs of the same type, in a row – a good MC can mix up both the quality of the performers and the type of material to provide a much more varied and enjoyable evening.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 07:24 AM

Rudely, A couple of hours is a bit much for any performer and I can think of very few who would accept such a booking. But a couple of 45 min spots is no problem. I have been a Folkie for 55 years and have run Clubs and Singarounds for around 30 of them, given help to many, lent Concertinas to quite a few and started several Singers off with some books to start their library. Being "rude" is not productive like a great many I am dismayed at the falling standard of some Singers who just seem to not care about the Tradition and the Heritage that is in their material.
Jack, you are right the Cellar is a lovely Club, great Singers and a love of the material. Only problem for us is that the last train leaves St Pancras at 10. 30


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 09:04 AM

"Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 05:23 AM

Well , Pete Willow should know about the quality of "Floor Singers " The session at Monks Kirby that he attends / runs is just about the very worst that I have ever encountered, singing from the words with music stands and mostly downright awful"

"Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: OldNicKilby
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 07:24 AM

Being "rude" is not productive"


So why do it then?????


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 09:39 AM

maybe the cellar club should start earlier and finish at 10pm


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 10:40 AM

I used to go very regularly to a singaround club which had an interesting mix of singers and musicians of varying abilities and was very encouraging etc

In the process of being all inclusive and encouraging it unfortunately included and encouraged most of the people who struggled to get to sing regularly at other places. The more accomplished left as other opportunities arose and so the standard of the remaining people stayed at a level - supplemented by others in need of inclusion and encouragement.

The nett effect is that it is not the force it was. It is something else that fulfils the needs of the people that go but offers very little to new people coming in from outside and so they rarely come back. From the moment it stopped growing and looking to raise its standards it started dying.

and its very very difficult to revive somewhere like that when it is on that road. Much easier to go somewhere else or start something new.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST,Yorkshire
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 10:42 AM

Last post was from me


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST,rudely anonymous
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 11:28 AM

That's rather sad Guest Yorkshire, why did the more accomplished people leave when other opportunities arose, was it because they could not cope with those they saw as less able than themselves?

The singaround I attend on a more or less regular basis as other commitments allow, has a wide varity of abilities, for example, the old boy who was once an acomplished singer, but now can't remember words, so uses cheat sheets, and struggles sometimes to carry a tune, but who am I to say he should not be given the chance to join in.

Despite the fact that in the summer months I'll be performing on festival stages to a large audience, I have no issue with going along to a local singaround for my own pleasure, and if I can help anyone improve I would.

From personal experience, it seems to me that for the most part, the ones who are most critical are those who once had aspirations to 'perform' at a 'professional' level themselves, but never quite made it, but are still full of their own self importance! The majority of folk 'professionals' will happily be a part of a grass roots singaround, regardless of the standards.

Just to point out, we have had a bit of a thread drift here, as the original article is about floor spots on guest nights, to a paying audience, and not singarounds!


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 11:49 AM

a lot of philosophising going on. sometimes you have a good evening in the company of mediocre singers and a rubbish night with really great pro singers.

its all a bit up in the air - in the lap of the gods


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 14 - 09:29 PM

Just for the record - music sessions at Monks Kirby are open, tolerant and entertain many people who come back time and time again. There is no admission. Singers and musicians of a wide range of standards (including some well-established 'professional' musicians - attend and give 100%. There are no rules about music stands. If people want to use them they can, especially if they're trying out new material. Everyone is welcome. If they like it they are welcome to come again. If they don't, they are welcome to restrict their visits to rule-bound folk clubs where all the artists are perfect and never play or sing bum notes. Thankfully most people who come once, come again.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST,rudely anonymous
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 04:59 AM

Monks Kirby sounds just my sort of place, and very similar to my local singaround, and exactly what it's all about.

Going back to the original article, which is not about singarounds, but floor spots at guest clubs, and my personal experience of that, with a few exceptions, is that most who would get up in front of a paying audience have an understanding that a certain standard is required, and that the club organisers will know the local singers and their capabilities, and as such, those who are not up to scratch would not be invited to do a floor spot on a guest night.

More of a concern to me is those who are so full of their own importance that they consider themselves more important than the booked guest, and those who get up to do a 3 song floor spot, accompanying themselves on 3 different instruments, which they've not bothered to tune before taking the stage!

This, of course, is why a lot of clubs now have a booked support for guest nights, rather than floor spots, it's seen as a kind of quality control. Personally, I think that's a shame, as I prefer floor spots on a guest night.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 05:22 AM

"If they don't, they are welcome to restrict their visits to rule-bound folk clubs where all the artists are perfect and never play or sing bum notes"
this is a strange phrase, nobody has ever claimed that performers in folk clubs are perfect, in fact pete willows article indicates that they are not always perfect.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 05:41 AM

I co-ran a club of mixed guest nights and singarounds for many years. We used to have 2 or 3 good floor singers on guest nights. Not meaning those of our personal taste but those who were competent in performing and paying audience members were happy to see. Singers nights were anything goes and everyone had equal opportunities. Seemed to work and we never got any complaints.


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: r.padgett
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 11:16 AM

The problem for Folk clubs which have only monthly or occasional guests

yet have a weekly meeting is that the "floor singers" often will not

support the guest booked prefering to do their own thing ~ this gives

rise to two sets (at least) of audience if you are lucky and payers and

players split

What is needed ideally is people who are happy and keen to be

associated with their local folk club ~ this unfortunately is not

always the case!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Floor Singers Article - by P. Willow
From: Vic Smith
Date: 20 Dec 14 - 12:43 PM

Ray's experience was one that I shared in long years of running clubs. There were lots of singers that we only saw on Open Nights (3 or 4 per year).
There were non-performers that we only saw on booked guest nights (40+ per year).


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