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Need input on youth in folk music

4ADiva 24 Sep 15 - 02:33 PM
Lonesome EJ 24 Sep 15 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,AnnSchunior 24 Sep 15 - 05:37 PM
Mr Red 24 Sep 15 - 06:06 PM
4ADiva 24 Sep 15 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Peter 24 Sep 15 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 25 Sep 15 - 10:45 AM
wysiwyg 05 Oct 15 - 09:17 AM
Jeri 05 Oct 15 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Wm 05 Oct 15 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,Reynard 06 Oct 15 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Oct 15 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 07 Oct 15 - 10:12 AM
FreddyHeadey 07 Oct 15 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Peter 07 Oct 15 - 01:04 PM
Megan L 07 Oct 15 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Oct 15 - 09:57 AM
mauvepink 08 Oct 15 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 08 Oct 15 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Pippins Wiltonshire-Radcliffe 08 Oct 15 - 07:27 PM
Jack Campin 08 Oct 15 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,# 08 Oct 15 - 10:20 PM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 09 Oct 15 - 03:22 AM
Will Fly 09 Oct 15 - 04:02 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 09 Oct 15 - 07:02 AM
Vic Smith 09 Oct 15 - 10:27 AM
Vic Smith 09 Oct 15 - 10:55 AM
Lonesome EJ 09 Oct 15 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 09 Oct 15 - 11:25 AM
Jack Campin 09 Oct 15 - 11:27 AM
GUEST 09 Oct 15 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 10 Oct 15 - 03:46 AM
Will Fly 10 Oct 15 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 10 Oct 15 - 07:22 AM
mauvepink 10 Oct 15 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,Desi C 10 Oct 15 - 09:59 AM
wysiwyg 10 Oct 15 - 12:24 PM
wysiwyg 10 Oct 15 - 12:25 PM
GUEST 10 Oct 15 - 01:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Oct 15 - 02:59 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Oct 15 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Oct 15 - 06:40 PM
Jack Campin 10 Oct 15 - 08:05 PM
wysiwyg 10 Oct 15 - 08:57 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Oct 15 - 11:37 PM
Will Fly 11 Oct 15 - 05:16 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 15 - 06:58 AM
Will Fly 11 Oct 15 - 07:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 15 - 08:47 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 15 - 06:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 15 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,Wm 12 Oct 15 - 02:31 PM
Phil Edwards 13 Oct 15 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 13 Oct 15 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 13 Oct 15 - 10:24 AM
GUEST 14 Oct 15 - 11:59 AM
Lonesome EJ 14 Oct 15 - 03:23 PM
Jack Campin 14 Oct 15 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,wysiwyg minus cookie 18 Dec 15 - 11:07 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Dec 15 - 01:55 PM
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Subject: Youth involvement in folk music
From: 4ADiva
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 02:33 PM

Hello Mudcatters
I'm part of a long-standing folk club in North America and we're trying to find ways to engage more young people. Our membership, while at healthy levels, is almost all people 60-plus in age.
When visiting Sidmouth this year, I noticed there seemed to be a lot of activities specifically geared towards young people. Can anyone tell me more about that? I can't find anything about it on the Sidmouth site.
What about other folk clubs/festivals? Does everyone have this problem? It seems to me that there are more young people involved in folk in the UK than in NA, but maybe I'm wrong?
Anyone have ideas or suggestions? Things that have worked or not worked?
Is anyone on Mudcat under the age of 25? I'd love to hear from you as to what brings you to folk music, what kinds of things draw you to a folk club/festival/event.
Our club has a good website, but not Facebook or other social media. Is that a big factor in how young people decide where to go?
I know I'm opening a big can of worms here, but I welcome all input.
Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 03:23 PM

As an active member of the Bluegrass community here in the Denver/Boulder area, we are witnessing an upsurge in the popularity of acoustic music among young people. Some of this is attributable to the music of people like the Grateful Dead, surprisingly enough. The youngsters start out admiring songs like Morning dew, I know you Rider, and others thinking of them as GD songs. Playing with some of the old geezers like myself, they come to a realization that many of these songs are actually traditional tunes. For many of these people, I think bands like Grateful dead, Decembrists, Old and In the Way, Mumford, etc are a gateway to Folk Music. And it's really not a lot different than my path. I went from folk rock like the Byrds, Fairport convention, and others into true traditional music. Now, if you try to get these kids to sit down and listen to Burl Ives, Kingston Trio, or Tommy Makem, you will have a hard time. But you may find that they will listen to Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson, Gillian Welch, and some of what I would describe as the edgier end of Folk. You will find that many of these people begin to have an interest once you show them traditional music doesn't have to be corny or square. Willow Garden by Jean Redpath is a beautiful song, but you may find more common ground with the young by listening to Nick Cave's version.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,AnnSchunior
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 05:37 PM

Are you familiar with the Youth Traditional Song Weekend? http://www.youthtradsong.org. It's a great group of young people. Ask them.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 06:06 PM

Firstly find your yoof. I guess that would be grandchildren of the 60plussers. In the UK there is a healthy number of children of folkies, they go the festivals as a family holiday and some of the musicianship is scary. But these are kids that enjoy what mum & dad do. And the families play together. And by and large they are good kids, who can mingle with old fogies and have intelligent conversations. And you often hear grandparents did the same with parents. There is a momentum going there.

Yes child and kid oriented events, ceilidhs are useful, kids can learn so much faster. Teens encourage teens.

I enjoy joshing with some of the kids, tell them kiddy or teen jokes. It ensures there is little or no barrier between the generations. Well, I want the ceilidhs to be going as long as my legs will and that needs yoof coming on to the conveyor belt to compensate for those who no longer dance. Dances are mixers. Concerts don't have that element.

At Towersey there was Billy Watman who looked very young, probably 14/15, and was an absolute whizz on guitar/sequencers, yoof would see him and relate more to him. First find your prodigy.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: 4ADiva
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 06:52 PM

Thanks for the suggestions so far.
Our group also had a wonderful squadron of families and children in earlier years that attended events together and participated in the music. Alas, in recent years, those children have grown up and are pursuing their own lives. Perhaps they will return when they have children of their own.
I agree that teens encourage teens. The problem is how to get the ball rolling. Any time anyone under the age of 30 shows up, they take one look around, notice all the grey muzzles, and politely flee. Not literally, of course, they stay for the one session, but then we usually don't get them back. So it's a self-perpetuating problem. Perhaps we need to pay a couple of talented yoofs to come along, sort of like a duck decoy, to embolden the migrating flocks to settle down!
Checked out the Youth Traditional Song Weekend and it looks fantastic. Unfortunately, being on the northwest coast, Mass. is a looooong journey, otherwise I'd be there in January. I shall use them as a resource, if I can make contact.
Keep those ideas coming!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 24 Sep 15 - 08:18 PM

Over here young people generally don't go to the old school folk clubs. There are exceptions - lots of people will probably say I am wrong because they have a token youngster at their club but you don't get gangs of people in their late teens the way you did 40 years ago.

Younger people go to festivals, ceilidhs and dances but as listeners or performers tend, in major cities at least, towards a totally separate circuit of venues.

The first thing that you need to do is identify some younger gigging musicians locally and check out where they play.

For your own club, however, your best prospects for new members are probably the "empty nesters" whose kids have left home and who suddenly have room for a more extensive social life rather than trying to drop down two generations.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 25 Sep 15 - 10:45 AM

Lonesome EJ is right. And you do need to get on social media - I think that is definitely a factor for the younger demographic.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Oct 15 - 09:17 AM

I've seen several ways young adults get involved. Some of them are probably not what the OP and above posters probably want, but the topic is the topic.

1. Raise them in the tradition. US examples: Jenny and Becky Armstrong, daughters of George and Gerry Armstrong; my "folkbaby" Katarina (search for 'folkbabies' thread); Mudcatter Dan Schatz (if I recall right).

2. Give them electric guitars for church music, and then encourage their tastes towards the folkie songwriters. Leave them to their tastes, and hope they follow those tastes towards good, classic folk.

3. Accept and encourage their generation's 'everyone knows this song' choices, regardless of genre. For an example, yesterday's song circle was most heavily attended by young adults wanting to sing current pop chart-toppers. "I'm so glad you came! It's your turn in the circle to pick a song. (Girl names a title.) No, I don't know that song, can you teach it to me?" I explain that in a song circle, we go around picking songs. People are expected to lead the songs they choose. After much shy giggling (and my story of how i got over my shyness), she whips out her cellphone, plays a YouTube video just loud enough for her to hear the melody, and sings! (After warning us not to look at her while she sings.) Her friend and I praise her singing. The next pick is her friend's, who is equally shy. They encourage each other back and forth thru 5 songs! I name this form of singing along as 'foneoke,' which they like. Then they remember that I haven't had a turn, and demand I play and sing several from my book. They like all of this enough to want to do it again, and happily sign the mailing list to get flyers to bring friends.

It ain't what I'd have considered 'folk'.... but it got them involved enough to come back. For my turn, then, I'll introduce similarly-themed songs to their picks (love songs mostly), and set out an extension cord for their fone chargers. The next flyer will break out an hour for young adults, who are bored easily and will do this for an hour at most. The first hour goes to family/children's songs.

It's on me to listen to their fave radio station to pick up on songs I can like enough to arrange. (Two or three.)

.......

The age group most of us long to reach are all about having something of their OWN, as they explore their identities away from their parents. They will seldom want to follow what they perceive as 'parental,' tho they often will like whatever old, classic music genre their parents DON'T like. If you can present Folk in a way they think their parents would dislike..... murder ballads for example.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Oct 15 - 01:49 PM

Check out the link GUEST,AnnSchunior posted above.
The Youth Traditional Song Weekend is quite successful. Definitely ask them.

I think people just have to find music, like it, and not be discouraged. One person discovers where the music is, tells a friend who tells a friend, etc.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 05 Oct 15 - 04:23 PM

I'm 24, have been attending traditional music events (mostly in the U.S., but occasionally abroad) since age 18, and am used to being the only person in the room with their original hair color. Here are some quick thoughts about how I decide to attend an event (and keep coming back) when I know everyone else in attendance will have a few decades on me:

- Is the level of artistry likely to be high? This is not necessarily the same as skilled musicianship. I want to hear versions of traditional songs that demonstrate that the singer has spent time contemplating the material but still holds to traditional styles and conventions. (Guitars, be gone!) I'd much rather hear a unique version of a song sung by a less able singer than someone with considerable talent regurgitating the work of another artist note for note.

- Am I interested in the repertoire on display? I want to hear old songs in old styles. I don't want to hear the same songs every month, the work of singer-songwriters, people's own compositions, versions of songs made popular by well-known recording artists, or "It's not a folk song, but . . ."

- Are the regulars friendly? I don't want to be preached at about the way things used to be or should be done, but nor do I want my age to cause me to be treated like a precious commodity. I'm probably at your event because we like the same things; let's talk about them like you would with anyone else.

- Can I get a beer there? I want to toss back a pint or two while listening/mingling/singing; dry events at venues like church halls are considerably less attractive.

If the answer to some of these questions is affirmative, I don't really care how old anyone else in the room is. My personal tastes are probably *not* representative (re: musicianship v. artistry; concerns about traditionalism), though, so take some of the above with a grain of salt.

Overall, members of my generation *do* like traditional music. With some exceptions (see Youth Traditional Song Weekend, which by the way, is a blast), I think we are more likely to consume or play it in less structured settings (for instance, swapping songs or jamming with friends over dinner at someone's house). I'm not an instrumentalist, so this is only a hunch, but I'd also guess that we generally prefer playing tunes to singing songs, which is perhaps an activity best enjoyed in more intimate settings.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Reynard
Date: 06 Oct 15 - 10:08 AM

I'm a bit older that Wm above but very much endorse his/her points.

Speaking from a British perspective, I really like proper traditional music, but some of the comedy and singer-songwriter stuff that seemed to get lumped in with "folk" in the 60s-70s is much less to my tastes. Some of it is frankly a bit naff and hasn't aged well; the real traditional stuff of course is timeless.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Oct 15 - 10:51 AM

Am I the only catter here who entertains doubts about Guest, Wm, (2nd post above) said to be 24 years old?
==============
I've been thinking about this thread, and I think you need to define "youth." The life of a 10-year-old is much different than the life of a 20-year-old.

To involve a 10, you need to involve its family, or at least have permission. To involve a 20, you need to get it away from its drinking buddies. That's a different course of action.

Here's a positive thought I had - in my town, the younger adults who like traditional culture are not singing, they are dancing. (I just played English dance for 20 or 30 people, most of them young.)
If that's the case in your town, think of a way to get those dancers coming to sessions.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 07 Oct 15 - 10:12 AM

The important thing for youth is for them to feel part of a community, and most importantly with people of their own age. You'll always get the one oddball who's happy to hand out with the olds, but to create fleets of them you need a structure where they can get to know each other and play regularly.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 07 Oct 15 - 12:35 PM

Leenia mentioned "... the younger adults who like traditional culture are not singing, they are dancing."

Or playing...
I had a holiday in the Shetland Islands and there were a bunch of (?)8-15yearold fiddlers putting on a show for the tourists and loving it. (that's concentration on their faces, not misery)
They came from all over the islands and did afterschool rehearsals -organised by a few very dedicated teachers.


And here are a bunch of 10-25year olds having a good time by the sound of it.
I don't know how they recruit and I don't know if they have any moving in to singing.
wildfirefolk.co.uk
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wildfire was formed by Lichfield Arts as a Youth Ensemble to play music as it should be played - with enthusiasm, energy and style! Created as part of the Lichfield Arts Folk Arts project, Wildfire started off as a one off workshop and was so immensely popular that it quickly developed into a band in its own right with regular rehearsals and performances all over the country.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wildfire Folk are a show-stopping ensemble of young musicians who deliver folk music as you've never heard it before!

"No question - this is the best group of its type
I've seen here or in Europe.
A band that exudes character, enthusiasm and joy"
~ Donald Judge
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                        
Welcome to the website of Wildfire Folk - a talented group of players aged 10 to 25...
Wildfire Folk is the Lichfield Youth Folk Ensemble - a 20-strong band performing around the UK, delivering high-energy folk music - think juicy riffs, mind-blowing percussive rhythms and a lively tune section, combined with an impressive professionalism and great showmanship.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wildfire Folk Workshop
* Sunday, October 18 @ 10:30 AMSun, Oct 18 @ 10:30 AM   *
Lichfield Guildhall, Bore Street , WS13 6LU

All ages welcome at this fun lively workshop – Combining traditional material with a variety of genres, come and learn to play Wildfire's foot stomping tunes by ear.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*! keen enough to turn up at 10.30 on a Sunday morning !
FH :)


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 07 Oct 15 - 01:04 PM

The OP conflated two issues:

1. Getting young people into folk music in the first place.

2. Improving the demographic balance of an individual club.

You can get, and are getting, youngsters (teens or early 20s) into the scene but you won't get them into a club where the next youngest person is complaining that the change in pension age means that they are having to wait for their bus pass.

If a club cannot maintain a demographic balance it will eventually fold even if the local scene as a whole is healthy and active.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Megan L
Date: 07 Oct 15 - 01:21 PM

Freddy I caught the first Ilseburgh show of the season the kids were amazing and the Island seems to keep them enchanted with music as they grow


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 09:57 AM

"The important thing for youth is for them to feel part of a community, and most importantly with people of their own age."

Not necessarily. Between school and teams, kids are with people their own age most of the time. A lot of kids would appreciate the attention and goodwill of an intelligent adult.

I have a friend who is a school official, and she says, "Anyone who will TALK to them!"

and a psychologist writing in the newspaper said, " For today's child, love is spelled T-I-M-E."

The person aged 20 - 30 who is looking for the right guy or girl is a different story.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: mauvepink
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 11:22 AM

FOLKUS do a great deal to help and encourage younk people in the NW area of England and beyond that I know of. They hold plenty of workshops in the year and at various festivals. I have met a couple of their very enthusiastic tutors and mentors over the years so maybe take a look at their website for ideas.

I find a lot of young people at open mic sessions who, whislt initially only interested in rock and pop, on hearing folk and country they sometimes ask about various songs and singers. Before you know it some of them are returning with folk and country songs to sing on acoustic guitars. There is a massive acoustic revival underway so these youngsters appear to be embracing that at the moment.

My granddaughter often accompanies me to gigs and various clubs where she enjoys the diversity of song in most of the places I frequent. She loves some modern pop but is just as happy with folk or country on her mp3 player or ipod. I cannot say I am a true traditionalist with folk, so the clubs I go to tend to be those where 'anything goes' and it is there I see a great many younger players coming up where they are made to feel welcome and not si guilty of daring to play a guitar or sing country songs!

I do think some clubs can be stuffy at times. The people are generally always nice right up until you do not do trad stuff. I remember almost getting lynched for daring to sing a country song at a trad fest once. That was as much my ignorance as my enthusiasm that caused me to think anything is folk music!

In short, I let the youngsters do what they like,. I may not like it but if gets their fingers on instruments and whets their appetites for more then it's a start. If folk or country grabs them they will return with the right welcoming crowd and encouraging commets :)


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 01:08 PM

Doubt if it was just me or how many other mudcatters would openly admit..

But when me and my mates were teens, the only art / culture activities we attended regularly
were the ones where we had a fair chance of copping off with girls...

We found Youth Theatre and playing guitar in punk bands quite productive...

Folk gigs at the local Arts Centre were also handy for the more hippy student girls.

This basic hormonal adolescent priority probably needs to be taken into consideration.. 😜


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Pippins Wiltonshire-Radcliffe
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 07:27 PM

You do realise, Diva, that Mudcat is probably the web forum with the single highest age demographic of users, right? We lot don't exactly have our fingers on the pulse of the youth.

PWR


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 08:28 PM

I guess I have the opposite issue. I mostly play in settings where the majority of the players are half my age. I like what they do much better than the kind of thing most of my contemporaries do, and I have a great deal more respect for their technique, knowledge, communication skills and imagination than I do for people my age who are just freewheeling downhill to the point where their guitar is decorating the wall in their eventide home.

Whatever age you are, you can tell when people are putting in a serious effort, if that matters to you. And I guess people who don't want to try hang together too - that's what a lot of events labelled as folk or trad are for.

Be inspiring and you won't see a problem.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,#
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 10:20 PM

"We lot don't exactly have our fingers on the pulse of the youth."

We lot barely have pulses of our own, no offence.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 03:22 AM

You can say that again! With one exception in the past year (not that we do many gigs) I can't think of any club where the audience had more than a token of younger people attending.

What I recall from nearly 50 years ago is that our local folk club was the place to go for the more radical 6th formers!... mind you the organisers were only a few years older than us, and not our parents or grandparents age. I too believe that the festival - dance venues are where the young get their dose of folk music these days if at all - I use the word 'dose' advisedly too, after all it does them good!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 04:02 AM

Why do people care if a folk club dies slowly and then folds because of the demographic? Why are they worried? Is it because the cosy, friendly tradition they've known in their lifetime - perhaps for 50 years - might be drawing to a close? Quite possibly.

Does it matter? At a personal level, perhaps it does - a bit like your favourite local closing down after many years of being your watering hole - particularly if there's little other opportunities for such a thing in your area.

However, the music itself is in no danger. It will carry on being performed and played and sung as it always has been - and there's enough of it available to listen to on recordings and to read about in books for it to always be there.

Times change and styles change, and you have to either accept the trend or try to buck it. In my teens there were pianos in most pubs in the seaside town near where I lived, and you could walk down a street hearing the sounds of some amateur pianist knocking out tunes old and new. Long gone. The first folk club I attended in the early '60s was run by a retired schoolteacher from the ashes of a folk dance club. Lots of young people, enthused by Peter, Paul and Mary, and Bob Dylan, joined it. Long gone as well.

But if you want to make the music - and pull the birds, as punkfolkrocker might say - get down to one of the public ceildhs in Lewes or other towns in Sussex. Occasions where, if you happen to be playing in the band, you can observe the pulling going on between various groups of people in their twenties. Go to festivals, where riotous assembly can still hold sway, as others have said.

If you'd been in the Great Eastern pub in Trafalgar Street in Brighton last night, you'd have seen two old boys of 70 (one of them me) and a youngster of 65 knocking out a mixture of some sharp-ish rock'n roll, country, blues and folk - while a bevy of people, old and young, got up from their tables and shook their bacon. We even got toasted in 17-year old bourbon by a young couple in their twenties.

So just go with the flow and accept that the occasions for music making have always been, and always will be, fluid.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 07:02 AM

Correct in all particulars Will!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 10:27 AM

Jon Dudley wrote:-
"What I recall from nearly 50 years ago is that our local folk club was the place to go for the more radical 6th formers!... mind you the organisers were only a few years older than us,"


Funnily enough, nearly 50 years ago I was running a folk club at The Lewes Arms in Lewes that was full of radical 6th formers* that I was only a few years older than...... but there was also some radical oldies, the likes of Bob Copper, Scan Tester, George Belton et al who didn't seem to mind that - well, in the case of Scan - that their audience was more than 60 years younger than them. The age differences did not seem so important then.... or I am I looking back through rose-tinted spactacles. What do you think, Jon? You were there.

* One of the regular 6th formers was Valmai Goodyear and she is still pouring enthusiam each week into the weekly Lewes Saturday night folk club - so we must have been doing some good!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 10:55 AM

I think that the most important aspect of what Jon says is that the age of the organisers were pretty close in age to the older teenagers who were the regulars. The organisers were people they could easily relate to and there were young people newly qualified in the professions who were folk club organisers all over the country. Where are those potential organisers today? They don't exist - with a few notable exceptions.

But before we start to complain about the lack of young organisers, we need to consider what life was like back then compared with now. In the 1960s we came out of university and college and walked straight into a permanent job and we had no huge student debt hanging over our heads. I remember having a number of jobs to choose from when I qualified as a teacher. Within 2 or 3 years a young couple was able to save the deposit to buy a house. Life ran smoothly for us. Life certainly isn't like that for the young couple in their 20s today.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 11:05 AM

Regarding the comments about humorous songs of the 60s and 70s putting off younger singers, I concur. There is this strain of corny humor in song that takes place at any Folk gathering. While a satirical version of The Bonny Ship the Diamond may be amusing to older folkies, youngster will view it as painful in the same way they view other strained humor, like puns.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 11:25 AM

Today there is a massive universal international 'folk club' for all age groups...

it's called "YouTube"...


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 11:27 AM

One of the regular 6th formers was Valmai Goodyear and she is still pouring enthusiam each week into the weekly Lewes Saturday night folk club - so we must have been doing some good!

Eek. It had never occurred to me to fantasize about women squeezebox players in school uniforms before...


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 11:51 AM

pervy squeezebox


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 03:46 AM

Interesting Vic, I recall attending one Blues gig at a club in Bishop's


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 04:53 AM

Going back to the '60s music scene, when many of us here were getting into guitars and other instruments, it was very much simpler in its range of choices than today - seems to me.

If you played an acoustic instrument in a non-classical field - guitar, double bass, mandolin, clarinet, etc. - then the way forward in performing was probably either a folk club or a jazz club. If you played an electric instrument, you formed a band to gig in pubs and clubs, or even theatres. It worked the other way round as well - many of my friends started with acoustic guitars and then bought electric guitars as band membership beckoned.

In my neck of the woods, at any rate (NW Lancashire), I don't recall any folk music sessions - jazz jam sessions, yes, but not folk sessions. Not much in the way of singarounds either, though some generous people with big enough houses occasionally hosted a music party where we sat around and took turns to sing, play, eat and drink. No open mics as we know them today, and I'm sure there were probably folk festivals in the mid-'60s but I was never conscious of them and never attended one.

A very different social musical scene, then, from today where we have folk clubs, sessions, singarounds, festivals, and open mics in pubs. And a huge local choice down here in Sussex - I could be out playing every evening of the week, quite apart from regular paid work, if I chose to - though I accept it might be a bit sparser in other areas of the country. Given that choice, folk clubs will either hold their own or they won't - but that won't in any way alter what the "young folks" choose to do, which is to make music of their own choosing in their own way. Just as we did 50 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 07:22 AM

Sorry about that…rather too rapid with the digit..

I first attended a Blues club in my home town of Bishop's Stortford which was absolutely packed with people of my age and a bit older. The point of course was not lost on these kids that the Blues was the root of the music they were into…Stones, Kinks, Manfred Mann et al. My parents moved us to East Sussex and I ended up at Lewes County Grammar School for Boys. My class consisted of lots of the children of Profs and lecturers from the relatively newly-founded Sussex University and I am absolutely certain that it was their liberal views and tastes which led their offspring to the folk clubs. As an example, I remember a group of us attending an adult party of Dr.Ryle where the musical 'entertainment' was a swathe of Weavers, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger albums being played on the Dansette…

Some of us were detailed into reading for the blind poet James Reeves who wrote two (at the time) influential books on folk music, 'The Everlasting Circle' and 'The Idiom of The People', which again must have had an effect. The fact that girls used to go to the Lewes Arms Folk Club was a prime driver also for us to attend, but it was the fact that the organisers and their friends were little older than ourselves - were you Vic and Tina! that seemed to make it all relevant; that and the sensible mixture of different types of music from Malcolm Austen's banjo accompanied American-based material to Vic's Scottish Ballads, to the Irish songs from Terry Masterson and then to a weekly rendering of 'Bushes and Briars' which always had us regrettably giggling. Occasionally we had the so-called 'Source Singers' - Scan Tester, Bob Blake Bob and Ron Copper and others. This had the magical effect of linking it all up and making sense of what everyone else was playing - where it came from if you like. Thanks to the foresighted nature of those in charge of bookings we were 'exposed' to the tradition in a most sensible and clever way.

Meanwhile, we were listening to The Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Who, Hendrix and the rest, but it was also fashionable to be seen with a Dylan or an Incredible String Band album under your arm, or, and believe me he was incredibly popular, the latest Donovan LP.

To your question Vic, the age difference when applied to the old singers exactly WAS the point! They were the link with the past, to that very music - to a group brought up on Blake and Tolkien and Morte D'Arthur this was manna from heaven…the sound of the past brought to life…living history without the cobwebs - real people in the flesh singing songs in an uncomplicated way that pleased their ancestors! For a few moments we were transported back.

But they've all gone now and a new tradition has arisen where the young must grab what they can from wherever they can, and it makes for a fresh new amalgam of cultures and styles - and some of it is wonderful. It demands a different way of listening and of performance, be it in an art centre at a ceilidh or at a festival or occasionally in a folk club! Whilst I concur with your thinly veiled political point about us being the lucky generation (you can say that again!), I think it's a red herring. Bad times breed great music…I loved Punk (takes shelter) and the whole American folk music movement was born out of left wing politics centred on the way in which the country was heading in the 60s.

Whatever, I think Bob Dylan sums up the point of traditional music rather well if enigmatically -

Traditional music is based on hexagrams. It comes about from legends, Bibles, plagues, and it revolves around vegetables and death. There's nobody that's going to kill traditional music.

Oh and yes - Valmai - if she was male she'd be a diamond geezer!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: mauvepink
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 09:18 AM

@ Jack Campin

I so relate to what you say about playing around people who are half you age. This happens to me a lot (unless I am working a OAP home or hostel) and it has given me a great deal of insight and material in doing so. These 'kids' do not demand much but if you throw something in they know every now and then they love you for it. My musical tastes have certainly been widened these past 3-4 years as I 'escaped' the pure folk environments and ventured into the wider real world. I love live music... bringing me nicely around to

@ Will Fly

I find so much musical talent around the north west now and it is certainly not uncommon to have folk and country being played at pop venues these days (often by the youngsters) of a high quality.

I recently went out with a band for the night to watch them. Great covers band but no country in their act. They were asked to do some country but said it would be down to me if I wanted to do a set. I played the 'interval' and the place lit up ready for the bands last set. It was a fabulous night and we all have been given another gig to do at the venue with the same format within the month :)

This is what can happen when people are willing to mix it I have found. The night worked because it was a busy real ale pub, with a very mixed audience, and a band willing to be flexible. Everyone had a great night and we are looking forward to the next time.

I find the NW full of great live music, of all genres, so I do agree with what you say.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 09:59 AM

Have you thought about contacting local schools? In the UK it was realised school spending was almost nil on Music, fw schools even had a qualified music teacher. What insetruments there were were usually a few basic cheap percussion items and the odd recorder. There was a very successful program to donate old but useable instruments to local schools and the interest from the youngsters was huge. There is a problem attracting youngsters to Folk clubs but it has been inproving and there has been quite an increse in open Mic style acoustic clubs which make youngsters welcome


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 12:24 PM

So much in the above to emulate and affirm in the above, despite US/UK scene and culture variables.... in no particular order, these paragraphs from above posts all resonate for my situation:
[I]
... just go with the flow and accept that the occasions for music making have always been, and always will be, fluid.

... This basic hormonal adolescent priority probably needs to be taken into consideration...

... Times change and styles change, and you have to either accept the trend or try to buck it...

... Regarding the comments about humorous songs of the 60s and 70s putting off younger singers, I concur. There is this strain of corny humor in song that takes place at any Folk gathering. While a satirical version of The Bonny Ship the Diamond may be amusing to older folkies, youngster will view it as painful in the same way they view other strained humor, like puns...

... Whatever age you are, you can tell when people are putting in a serious effort, if that matters to you. And I guess people who don't want to try hang together too - that's what a lot of events labelled as folk or trad are for.

Be inspiring and you won't see a problem...

... But they've all gone now and a new tradition has arisen where the young must grab what they can from wherever they can, and it makes for a fresh new amalgam of cultures and styles - and some of it is wonderful...

... I let the youngsters do what they like,. I may not like it but if gets their fingers on instruments and whets their appetites for more then it's a start. If folk or country grabs them they will return with the right welcoming crowd and encouraging commets :) ...

... Bob Dylan sums up the point of traditional music rather well if enigmatically - Traditional music is based on hexagrams. It comes about from legends, Bibles, plagues, and it revolves around vegetables and death. There's nobody that's going to kill traditional music....
[/I]
~Susan/USer


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Subject: any mod help request
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 12:25 PM

Can anyone fix html italics into the above post? Fone trick didn't work....


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 01:27 PM

@wysiwyg For some reasobn Mudcat doesn't support bb code, you need to use html. The code for italics is the same in both, you just need to type <i> rather than [i]


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 02:59 PM

I think this is bullshit. The real shortage is for inspirational role models of any age.

when was the last time you were actually thrilled by a 'vision' of folk music.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 03:05 PM

to elaborate on what i've just said.....did Martin Carthy when he heard Broonzy or Sam Larner for the first time.

Did he ask himself, is this man young?

No he was thrilled by what they had to say artistically. By what they could help him to express.

Does anyone get what I'm saying?


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 06:40 PM

Well, need we be thrilled? Need we have our fingers on "the pulse"?

No, we just want to have a pleasant time for an hour or two.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 08:05 PM

Dunno who this "we" is.

People looking for the inspiring in music are of all ages and can find each other easily enough.

People looking to use music as a lubricant for comfortable social interaction can also find each other easily enough. But that kind of use is likely to be generation-specific.

I'm lucky that I didn't share many of the musical interests of my conemporaries when I was young. Folk revival and singer-songwriter stuff struck me as second-rate, platitudinous and not capable of holding my attention for very long. It hasn't got any more gripping since. So I have no emotional stake in boring younger people rigid with nostalgia for Bob Dylan or the Eagles.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 08:57 PM

(My fone does not have the character I need for html here. :-( )


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Oct 15 - 11:37 PM

its the thing i love about the music....meeting someone who makes their own unique synthesis.

i've never gone for this tradition stuff. i love it when someone sings a traditional song or a new song that makes me think....what's this? how clever! you have taken the music home and added your creativity.

the idea that there is one traditional approach that is 'the tradition' is what has buggered and lost the young crowd. well not just the young crowd, its lost everyone who's not actually tone deaf.

this idea that if you acquire the minimum skills and the take yourself off to a session where they grind out the same tune for 20 minutes and the cacophony goes on for eight hours or so - well its hardly a spectator sport.

did the Irish come up with the idea? some chieftain tracks were longish - but they were genius musicians....


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 05:16 AM

Eeh Al, you're in one of your curmudgeonly moods again.

When I wander up the High Street to the George tonight for our monthly session, I'll ask the musicians if they want to play anything for twenty minutes - and ask the landlord if we can play for eight hours. I'll also ask the many people who come regularly to listen to us what they think of all that as well. I wonder what answers I'll get.

So, nul points for exaggeration, I'm afraid. I also don't know of any local music venues where the idea of a traditional approach to performing traditional songs is insisted on. There are some local folk-ish groups down here who have vocals-only evenings in pubs - no instruments allowed - but that's their choice. It keeps me away from them, and I'm sure our mixed vocal and instrumental sessions may keep them well away from us.

But the point is, as you say, we don't all have to have the same approach to the same music - which also means that those who do want to hold to a traditional approach have every right to do so. Whatever the consequences. I don't sing any traditional tunes whatsoever - I just play tunes and sing daft songs from the 1920s - so it doesn't bother me. We can't all be original and vital and creative interpreters either, Al, and role models don't have to be living entities in the community. Most of my role models as a youngster were black, dead and on vinyl!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 06:58 AM

strangely enough Will. i would put your approach to guitar playing as exactly the kind of originality that that has been marginalised and suffered lack of attention because of the dull conformists - the ones who buggered up trad jazz as well.

As Miles said about the birth of bop - we started using the more complicated chord progressions to get rid of the amateurs. we had guys getting up with us who couldn't play and were taking ten choruses to prove it....

tell me in all honesty - you've never sat all night in a club to do a three minute song spot in a club where every other bugger was grinding out cobblers for twenty minutes at a time.

one club in Derbyshire, i remember the guy took his uillean pipes out of the shop packaging, even cut the gaffa tape in front of us. and took a prominent part in the evening's proceedings.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 07:56 AM

tell me in all honesty - you've never sat all night in a club to do a three minute song spot in a club where every other bugger was grinding out cobblers for twenty minutes at a time.

Oh yes, Al - been there and done that! Which is why I now pick and choose very carefully where I go. I actually rarely go to folk clubs these days - just two or three now and then where I know and like the organisers and residents - preferring the odd session and singaround once or twice a month.

Most of my playing these days is actually paid - wedding and parties with the ceilidh band, and pub gigs with some mates - so the odd acoustic performance here just for fun is quite refreshing. To be honest, I take as I find - and age has its compensations...


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 08:47 AM

'Most of my playing these days is actually paid - wedding and parties with the ceilidh band, and pub gigs with some mates'

strangely enough, i suppose its the same with me. i like doing old peoples homes!

still its a bit of a fucker. you see what i mean. the aspects of our work that would inspire, because its what we're really good at. no one will get to hear it, because the traddies won the civil war - to arrive at what.

a situation where people like ourselves, who know quite a lot about traditional music, approach an evening at a folk club with trepidation.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 06:30 PM

I am not sure that I get the point of that last post. Traddies? The thing that puts me off folk clubs is the host of crap singer / songwriters


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 15 - 07:12 PM

well crap anything doesn't make for the greatest of evenings.

sorry didn't mean to wake you up. this isn't a simplistic four legs good two legs bad conversation. i think guest you're maybe out of your depth.

Will and i have been involved with folk music for fifty years. we care about it. Will has done stuff on the four string tenor guitar that would leave any audience delighted. such achievements take hours of dedication and practice.

if you listened to the present day traderati - you would think that particular instrument was only capable of being thrashed to within an inch of its life. you're not going to inspire anyone - young or old if the music stirs no sense of beauty within yourself.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 12 Oct 15 - 02:31 PM

"Am I the only catter here who entertains doubts about Guest, Wm, (2nd post above) said to be 24 years old?"

Would it help if I described Joseph Taylor as "on fleek"?


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 04:07 AM

I think critical mass is a problem. In the nature of things a lot of young singers are only just building up their repertoire, and can find it a bit intimidating when they realise that everyone else know tons of stuff. (It had the opposite effect on me - I just thought 'wow, tons of stuff to learn!' - but I was in my 40s at the time.) I congratulated one lad on a terrific rendition of The Well Below the Valley once -

Nice to hear that song. Great version - where'd you get it?
Er... off a film.
Right. Sounded great, anyway. Do you do many other old songs?
Er, no, it's just that one.

I hope he found my interest encouraging, but I can see it might have been a bit offputting. But that's where critical mass comes in: you don't need one or two relative novices, you need a whole bunch of them, so that nobody feels they're being singled out.

I do also wonder how much it matters, though. At the two singarounds I currently go to, the age ladder certainly doesn't reach the floor, but it doesn't stop at retirement age either: our younger generation consists mainly of late 20s and 30-somethings, but we have got a younger generation. I myself started singing at folk clubs at 42 & got seriously into traditional songs five years after that. Maybe we should be asking how we can ensure a continuing supply of middle-aged old farts!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 08:05 AM

When I was in my late teens / early 20s I went to folk gigs at Arts Centre and Uni/Poly student venues;
and got dragged by my girlfriend to trendy wine bars
[candle in wax encrusted wine bottle on each table, sawdust on floor, stink of patchouli in the air...]
where we'd be serenaded by young folky hippy guitarist solo singers and duos..

I only ever went once to a proper folk club [somewhere on a bus ride from Leeds] because girlfriend wanted to,
and I guess we didn't think much of it because we never went again.

Though we did win a very naff cosy middle of the road act folk cassette in the raffle...

This was back in the punk rock late 70s.

Something about the format or atmosphere just didn't appeal to us.
Maybe it reminded me too much of Sunday School happy clappy singalongs...???
[which bizarrely I was forced to attend a few times despite my parent's principles of raising me as an agnostic]

Or that sappy beatnik uncle with a guitar who inflicted Burl Ives songs on us at children's parties when I was an infant.

It didn't work for me nearly 40 years ago, and probably put me off for the rest of my life.

These days, maybe the whole concept of organized 'clubs' as hobby activities and voluntary leisure pursuits
is waning and nearing extinction...??? 😕


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 10:24 AM

.. except apparently [according to UK Channel 4 documentaries]...

Swingers Clubs... !!!???

which it seems are growing in popularity and membership,
and could be encroaching on a similar age group and middle class social demographic
as the newer entry level members needed by Folk Clubs...

Now if this gives folk club organisers any fresh ideas for revamping their approach....????? 😜


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Oct 15 - 11:59 AM

I run a coffeehouse and we are having the same problem. We've been going now for 42 years, but getting the youngsters in is one of the problems we have also and we don't present all that much traditional music. Even when we hire a band or soloist that are young themselves, it doesn't seem to help. Responses given to me by 30 somethings when asked how to draw their age group in? "We don't want to come to a church, we don't like it when the audience is my mother's age and we especially don't like it because there is no liquor for sale". There it is in a nutshell!
Oh well - we will keep on trying!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 14 Oct 15 - 03:23 PM

It amazes me that those who love and worship the music of people like Seeger, Guthrie, Leadbelly, Van Ronk, and Elizabeth Cotton can off-handedly dismiss the music of people like Dylan, Richard Thompson, and Garcia-Hunter as singer/songwriter garbage. Can't you see that the music of your peers has become the folk music of your children and grandchildren, as the music of your Elders became yours? It's not all Chanties and Child Ballads that make up the category called Folk. But maybe you can see that there is a middle ground, a doorway that connects the modern music scene to the great, living tradition of song. And isn't our job to facilitate that journey for the young? Is there a problem with showing a young Bluegrass player who has learned Dreadful Wind and Rain from a Garcia-Grisman YouTube clip that this music has deep roots, and helping him to trace them? Could Thompson lead to Fairport and then on to Child?

The times they are a-changing indeed.


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Oct 15 - 07:12 PM

I've never been to what Americans call a "coffeehouse", and I think I'd have reacted like your local thirtysomethings back when I was one, but if alcohol is out, given the recent changes in US law, couldn't you make it a "coffeehouse" in the Amsterdam sense of the word?


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: GUEST,wysiwyg minus cookie
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 11:07 AM

I had a real DUH moment yesterday while enjoying a murder ballad on cd in the car: Can't think how it never occurred to me to start my neighborhood middle-to-HS yoot off with these. Just in time to mail their Febrary flyers! With YouTube links!


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Subject: RE: Need input on youth in folk music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 01:55 PM

It's irrelevant what we did or didn't do in the 60s. If you want something to be popular now amongst a wide demographic range it needs to be vibrant and relevant. if it is you'll attract people from all walks of life and age groups.


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