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What is Happening to our Folk Clubs

GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 09 Oct 17 - 01:51 PM
Jack Campin 09 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Oct 17 - 02:29 PM
Tattie Bogle 09 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM
Johnny J 09 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,G-Force 09 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM
Tattie Bogle 09 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM
Mr Red 10 Oct 17 - 03:08 AM
GUEST,Orson Trap 10 Oct 17 - 03:35 AM
Richard Mellish 10 Oct 17 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,rewster 10 Oct 17 - 04:53 AM
Johnny J 10 Oct 17 - 05:42 AM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 05:44 AM
Johnny J 10 Oct 17 - 05:55 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 06:19 AM
Johnny J 10 Oct 17 - 06:30 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 06:35 AM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 06:58 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 07:10 AM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 10:39 AM
Jack Campin 10 Oct 17 - 11:30 AM
The Sandman 10 Oct 17 - 12:27 PM
The Sandman 10 Oct 17 - 12:35 PM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Mudcat Moaner 10 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM
GUEST 10 Oct 17 - 03:24 PM
Mr Red 10 Oct 17 - 04:19 PM
Johnny J 10 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM
Tattie Bogle 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Jerry Crossley 10 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM
TheSnail 10 Oct 17 - 07:24 PM
Joe_F 10 Oct 17 - 08:40 PM
Jack Campin 10 Oct 17 - 08:47 PM
Mr Red 11 Oct 17 - 03:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 17 - 04:01 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 17 - 04:21 AM
Johnny J 11 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM
TheSnail 11 Oct 17 - 07:36 AM
Johnny J 11 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM
Jack Campin 11 Oct 17 - 08:27 AM
TheSnail 11 Oct 17 - 09:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 17 - 11:17 AM
Jack Campin 11 Oct 17 - 11:53 AM
Johnny J 11 Oct 17 - 12:08 PM
TheSnail 11 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM
Mr Red 11 Oct 17 - 01:05 PM
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Subject: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 01:51 PM

Has anyone else noticed the gradual decline in performance standards amoungst floor singers. It used to be the case that some degree of ability was required but it now seems we have breed floor singer who turns up with his printed word sheets, sings unaccompanied and thinks that's all that necessary


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 02:00 PM

Has anyone noticed the decline in quality of whining on Mudcat? Used to be that peeves had some originality to them, but nowadays people just repeat the same whines we've had on dozens of threads before.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 02:29 PM

Whining on Mudcat? Never!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 04:09 PM

Just the reverse in our area, re floor spotters, that is! They seem to get better all the time. Some of them otherwise sing semi-professionally as festival guests, even if it's not their main day job. On occasion, some have been known to outshine the main guest!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM

Balerno FC(if you're talking about there) is very much "old school"...... Morag, Janet, the late Maggie C and others from the past would never have dreamed of using song sheets. It's obviously rubbed off on the newer floor spots too.
I'm not sure it's so good in other folk clubs though and certainly not in more informal sessions and gatherings.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,G-Force
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM

I'm surprised to hear you consider standards are lower than before. Certainly our Club has many excellent performers: lots of enthusiasm and talent. Of course there is the possibility that none of us are exactly in the first flush of youth so have been performing for a good many years, some semi-professionally as with the previous post. Frankly if we can't turn out a decent performance now we should be ashamed of ourselves.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM

Johnny J, I was meaning Edinburgh & Lothians generally, and beyond in other areas of Scotland.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:08 AM

Personally I have found that the average may have changed, but what has happened to some events is that the young dynamic singers/instrumentalists that would otherwise replace the ones at the other end of the conveyor belt have, by and large, followed a different fashion. Aspirations to be famous & rich is the current trend, which diminishes the pool of potential performers.

Add to that the club attendees & organisers have settled into a pattern and the organisers with flair have had to decamp. In one case I can cite, the driving force always had a project. The club cassette, folk plays, theme nights etc. He had a sabbatical and came back with a different venue and is doing the same kind of thing elsewhere. And the new club has a dynamism that the old club doesn't. Personalities play a big part - if they grow tired the drive dilutes with them.

My singing/wrongciting morphed into social Folk dancing, video documentation, audio history collecting, journalism and websites. After 120 written songs you notice a repetition/re-use that lacks freshness. Creative people may have butterfly minds!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Orson Trap
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:35 AM

Musicians (not folky strummers) have their music in front of them in orchestras, brass bands, jazz bands etc. Lots of Folk artists (?) have music stands in front of them on stages at festivals...even the likes of Bob Dylan etc. Ok, I don't like it when it sounds like they are 'singing by numbers' but does it matter if they are putting over the song in the right spirit?


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:56 AM

As with so many things, there is a spectrum.

At one end is the singer for whom knowing the song perfectly is a point of honour and who would therefore rather not sing at all than have any kind of prompt sheet. Unfortunately they may nevertheless sometimes forget the next line or the next verse: then they improvise, go "la-la", get a prompt from someone else in the room or just stop in the middle of the song.

Then there's the singer who refers to a prompt sheet (or a smart phone) if it becomes necessary.

At the other extreme is the singer who reads the words as if they've never seen them before, struggling even to make them fit the tune.

We can all have our points of view on this, but I know where I personally draw the line of acceptability.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,rewster
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 04:53 AM

The Moaner is spot on for round here. People are running their own sessions to escape the crap in the clubs.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:42 AM

Was it Karl Dallas who once said "Folk clubs exist so that one day they no longer need to exist..."?

Personally, I still see the value of folk clubs but there are so many other arrangements out there these days including "Open Mics", all manner of sessions, workshops..to learn your craft, Ceilidh nights, folkie concerts in Art centres and small venues and so on.

As such the format of many remaining folk clubs have changed somewhat. The larger ones adopt more of a concert style and often rely on "hand picked" floor spots or supports. Smaller clubs rely more on resident singers and musicians of varying standards. While they do have occasional guests, they don't tend to rely on "big names" may even book local amateur performers on occasion.

As such, the quality of both flor spots and guests is bound to vary but, thankfully, we can still pick and choose where to go...in my area, anyway.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:44 AM

Lead by example, GUEST,Mudcat Moaner. Show them how it's done. Give them something to aspire to. If you really can't bear to spend time with these inferior people, stay at home and watch yourself playing air guitar in the bathroom mirror.
Glad to hear it, GUEST,rewster. Most people who complain about how terrible the organisers/performers/floor singers/audience are tend to scuttle back under their stones when you suggest they try and organise something themselves.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:55 AM

"Most people who complain about how terrible the organisers/performers/floor singers/audience are tend to scuttle back under their stones when you suggest they try and organise something themselves."

True, but it would be nice if the more constructive complainers had the opportunity to get their "foot in the door" and make suggestions and change within the organisation. Unfortunately, most clubs and organisations tend to be resistant to change. So, newcomers to committees etc often face an uphill struggle and either tend to give up and quit or, alternatively, conform and go with the flow.
So, nothing much really changes..sadly, I know from experience.

Setting up in competition is not always practical especially in a smaller town or where there already a surfeit of clubs and sessions. You really need to have a few good original ideas and lots of motivation. Not everyone can do this but their opinions should still be considered by existing organisations as long as they are presented tactfully and constructively


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:59 AM

Many venues are being dominated by singer-songwriters ,many of whom are very bad at both.i don't go to sessions much these days because of these people who write political rants or songs about how the girlfriend left them. I would like to see certain nights designated for this sort of thing, then I could avoid them and go and enjoy those other sessions which present a wider variety of music.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:19 AM

I think we all probably have very limited experience of what goes on in folk clubs and think that our experience is universal. I don't recognise much about the problems described here nor much in the way of "constructive complainers".
Going back to the beginning "Has anyone else noticed the gradual decline in performance standards amoungst floor singers."
No.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:30 AM

"constructive complainers"

Not the best description, I suppose, and it was a bit tongue in cheek. ;-))

However, there are lots of people with good ideas out there whose input would be worthy of consideration. However, they might just not have quite enough motivation, ability, or experience to start their own club or whatever and it might not even be practical.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:35 AM

Snail , I don't quite follow your reasoning! Are you suggesting that people who regularly attend folk clubs have very limited experience of what goes on there ?
Your post seems a bit unclear, perhaps you could have just stuck with "No".


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:58 AM

Sorry Johnny J but I have a bit of a history of getting pissed off with the moaners who don't seem to be prepared to actually do anything themselves. Folk clubs only exist because of the people who DO have the motivation (most importantly) to actually do something. I don't feel that people like GUEST,Mudcat Moaner are actually coming up with good ideas worthy of consideration. In my experience, most organisers welcome ideas and contributions.

Anonymous GUEST, people who regularly attend folk clubs have a lot of experience of the folk clubs they regularly attend. I attend one club every week (I help to run it) and others when I have the time along with quite a few sessions and festivals. From that experience I would not be prpared to make sweeping statements about the state of Folk Clubs as if they were a single entity. For instance, "Many venues are being dominated by singer-songwriters" may well happen but it not something I have ever encountered in the last forty years.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:10 AM

Well, Snail, that does not mean that it does not happen. You seem to be the one who is assuming that your experience is universal! But many others seem to feel differently, I do know that many people also make "constructive" suggestion, or work hard to improve things. not all criticism is mere moaning, is it ? anyway, I have probably said enough .


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:38 AM

Anonymous GUEST, try reading what I've actually said.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:39 AM

I have read it, thanks!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 10:39 AM

An old fellow was resting on a rock just outside Athens.
A passing traveller stopped to chat, saying that he was on his way from Corinth and wondered what sort of people he'd meet in Athens. "What are the Corinthians like?" asked the old fellow. "Pretty dull, on the whole, when they're not being unfriendly or unhelpful." "That's a pity, I was thinking of moving out of Athens 'cos they're just like that there too."
A bit later, another chap passing by stopped to chat, saying that he was on his way from Corinth and wondered what sort of people he'd meet in Athens. "What are the Corinthians like?" asked the old fellow. "Oh, they're a great bunch, full of go, always willing to muck in and help." "You're in luck," said the old man, " that's just how I'd describe the Athenians."


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 11:30 AM

In my experience, most organisers welcome ideas and contributions.

At the club local to me (which I haven't been to for years) you could go regularly for 10 years and never be told who the committee were, when they met or how to contact them. The whole process of organizing guest nights was made completely obscure to outsiders, so there was no possibility of making any suggestions.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 12:27 PM

ok, Jack but it is a mistake to generalise from one particular example


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 12:35 PM

"True, but it would be nice if the more constructive complainers had the opportunity to get their "foot in the door" and make suggestions and change within the organisation. Unfortunately, most clubs and organisations tend to be resistant to change"
simple go off and try running your own club, when you have done it for over forty years like vic smith or ted poole or john taylor or clive pownceby, then you will have something to be proud of in the meantime ,if you are not prepared to do it,stop whingeing


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 12:36 PM

At the folk club I help to run, the residents are listed on the website and our flyers as are the main contact details. All the committee were recruited from the audience (including me). The original founder has long since gone to the big singaround in the sky. Existing committee members range from 30 years service to two or three. We would welcome more.
Neither your example nor mine entitle either of us to make sweeping generalisations about what folk clubs are like.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Mudcat Moaner
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 01:11 PM

My initial post was a genuine observation of what I see at several Folk Clubs in my area. If clubs are to survive beyond being just a venue for floor singers, singing to each other, then quality needs to be encouraged and the unaccompanied word sheet holder is not the way to do it.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 03:24 PM

Agree.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 04:19 PM

Sorry to denigrate singing from music/lyrics sheets. But....

It is a lot harder to project with your head looking down, simple fact of mechanics of the lower jaw determining the sound chamber and the resonance of the larynx. It is harder to enact, embellish, illustrate - prettify the music if your eyes are demanding the biggest portion of your brain.

It is not about fashion - not about arbitrary rules, it is about functionality, it is .......... lets be honest, artistry.

And on the subject of "musicians" who read from music - soloists don't. Period. True - they practice 8 hours every day (that Aston Vanilla** are not playing).

If you are up there on your own, you are a soloist.



** easily licked.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 05:33 PM

"simple go off and try running your own club,"

I've done that too or, at least, monthly folk nights which I ran on the same format as a folk club.
Also, I've been on committees and helped out in other folk clubs, festivals etc over the last 40 years myself. It's not always easy to change things although, most of the time, things worked fairly well. So, I didn't complain that much.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM

Jack's local club, which he hasn't been to for 10 years (I might take a guess at which one).....so who do you think it is who does the MCing, announcements and thanks, sells tickets on the door, raffle tickets, distributes raffle prizes, brings in the noticeboard, puts out the chairs, returns glasses to the bar?
And if you bother to take out membership, you'll get a membership card, which lists Committee members and their phone numbers on it. And they have an AGM where you can meet these elusive Committee members, and even vote them back into office.
AND 10 years on, they have a website (probably for the the last 6 or 7 years) and (more recently) aFacebook page, where you can find the same info.
Plus if you really wanted to know who was on the Committee, you could always have just asked!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM

'i don't go to sessions much these days because of these people who write political rants or songs about how the girlfriend left them'

you've obviously heard the latest folk classic what I have written

My girlfriend's gone away
And I don't like Theresa May
the thought of them, it really makes me sick
Theresa is prime minister, but the girlfriend's much more sinister
Anyway - they both get on my wick

then the refrain (written in the tradition)

So heave away me hearty
we're bound for the Conservative Party
Even now the Boris Johnson flies aloft
Down by the rolling sea
There I will have a wee
for the aching in my ball means I'm pissed off.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST,Jerry Crossley
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 06:20 PM

Whilst it's not the main point of this thread, another problem with crib sheets is that you cannot engage properly with your audience if you are staring down at a piece of paper or iPad. Anyone who has done public speaking and presentation training will know that if you ignore your audience, by avoiding eye contact, then they will ignore you too.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 07:24 PM

GUEST,Mudcat Moaner - "what I see at several Folk Clubs in my area"
Just so. It's the sweepung generalisations that I'm objecting to.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 08:40 PM

I have finally decided on the antecedent of "our" in the title.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 08:47 PM

The people who made the bookings at our local club were just about never seen at it. I can't recall their names. It was a very weird way to operate.

The pub they meet in has a large free noticeboard. The folk club doesn't use it except to announce their fundraising ceilidhs. (The accordion and fiddle club doesn't use it at all). I'd been in the village a few years, and a regular at the pub, before we discovered the FC even existed - when we were told about it in a folk club in Bristol. Why on earth would you want to conceal your existence from everyone in your host village? How hard can it be to pin up a sheet of paper with the next few months' listings and a contact?

I have occasionally looked in the door, but I've usually got something else on that night.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 03:19 AM

if you ignore your audience, by avoiding eye contact, then they will ignore you too.
Being an engineer I came at it from the mechanistic side, but I like this emotional aspect too. I will add it to my mantra.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 04:01 AM

yes - wait til you see the whites of their eyes, or the colour of their pantiees...

then get out the ringbinder and sing Streets of London.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 04:21 AM

The pub they meet in has a large free noticeboard. The folk club doesn't use it except to announce their fundraising ceilidhs. (The accordion and fiddle club doesn't use it at all). I'd been in the village a few years, and a regular at the pub, before we discovered the FC even existed - when we were told about it in a folk club in Bristol. Why on earth would you want to conceal your existence from everyone in your host village? How hard can it be to pin up a sheet of paper with the next few months' listings and a contact?

Publicity? That might mean that you get an audience who actually expect to be entertained.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 05:26 AM

I agree with some of what Jack says. It does make sense to advertise to the local community and not just within folkie circles.

Many folk clubs are guilty of this including Edinburgh FC at different points over the years. The sticking up of posters and delivering hand outs is, of course, a much more arduous and time consuming job in the city although you hire agencies to this for you these days. However, this comes at a cost.
In a local community, however, I suggest this is much more manageable. I don't know how much of this happens in Jack's village. Things may have changed in recent years.

Most clubs now tend to concentrate on social media these days to spread the word but I've not noticed that much difference in attendances as result. Many of the audience who read the publicity online would be coming anyway whatever the method of publicity. Of course, the posts gets loads of views and "likes" from meaning well meaning and often "wonderful" people but most of them won't bother to attend in a million years.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 07:36 AM

"Many folk clubs are guilty"

For F*%$#S SAKE! It makes you wonder why we bother.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 07:49 AM

"Many folk clubs are guilty"

Do you have to take the literal and most extreme meaning out of the above comment?

And, anyway, there's a big difference between being guilty of a murder and a parking offence.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 08:27 AM

In a village like ours, about 2000 people with a compact centre, it doesn't take much effort to publicize with paper. A notice at each of the pub, library, post office and supermarket will do it. That will reach essentially everybody local who might be interested.

We also have village Facebook pages, as I suppose every village does, and a local radio station. I don't listen to the radio, but if there'd been a notice on the village FB pages of what the FC is up to I think I'd have seen it by now.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 09:55 AM

"Do you have to take the literal and most extreme meaning out of the above comment?"
Er? Yes. What else am I supposed to do? I can only work with what I read. "most extreme"? I quoted exactly what you said. Nice to know we're only guilty of minor offences.

Jack, if it doesn't take much effort, why not offer to help?

If you'll excuse me, I've got some work on the website to do and I'm getting behind on the bookings admin. Not to mention the small festival we've got coming up this weekend. It's being covered by the local paper.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 11:17 AM

Take my word for it! Its an alien invasion from the Planet Ringbinder. Quite often they fire their deathrays and then get the mothership to beam them up and away.

Its folk music Jim - but not as we know it!


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 11:53 AM

Jack, if it doesn't take much effort, why not offer to help?

I did. They weren't willing to tell me anything so I could produce any leaflets or posters.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Johnny J
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 12:08 PM

The Snail,

I've been involved in working for folk music clubs and events, on and off, for many years although I'm "resting" these days. Of course, I probably haven't done anywhere near as much as yourself but everyone's contributions differ.

However, even if involved with an organisation, one is quite entitled to make observations and criticisms.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 12:45 PM

No Johnny J, I don't have wide experience. That was the point I was making. I know the club I help run and a little about a few others. That is why I would never make sweeping statements about "many clubs are like this ", "many clubs are guilty of that". How many? How do you know?
Of course everyone is entitled to make observations and criticisms but try and be constructive and just a little positivity every now and then would be nice.


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Subject: RE: What is Happening to our Folk Clubs
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 01:05 PM

social media alerts the undecided. Keeps people interested. But attracting new faces - not so sure. Paper posters, local papers, local radio, libraries, TICs, shops you shop at. All free publicity.

Mr Red
Hon publicity Stroud Ceilidhs .co.uk


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