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Does anyone really like folk clubs?

The Shambles 20 Apr 00 - 09:50 AM
wysiwyg 20 Apr 00 - 09:54 AM
Midchuck 20 Apr 00 - 10:08 AM
MartinRyan 20 Apr 00 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,aldus 20 Apr 00 - 10:20 AM
Jon Freeman 20 Apr 00 - 10:38 AM
folk1234 20 Apr 00 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Joe 20 Apr 00 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Rana 20 Apr 00 - 11:54 AM
vindelis 20 Apr 00 - 12:17 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Apr 00 - 04:19 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Apr 00 - 06:01 PM
Joe Offer 20 Apr 00 - 06:30 PM
sheila 20 Apr 00 - 06:33 PM
DebC 20 Apr 00 - 07:59 PM
Jim the Bart 21 Apr 00 - 12:48 AM
Llanfair 21 Apr 00 - 03:33 AM
Kernow John 21 Apr 00 - 04:13 AM
Chris/Darwin 21 Apr 00 - 07:43 AM
Rick Fielding 21 Apr 00 - 02:43 PM
Dave Swan 21 Apr 00 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Ken Caird 21 Apr 00 - 07:38 PM
Bill D 21 Apr 00 - 10:11 PM
Jon Freeman 21 Apr 00 - 11:12 PM
Irish sergeant 22 Apr 00 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 22 Apr 00 - 07:34 PM
Abby Sale 22 Apr 00 - 09:18 PM
Rick Fielding 22 Apr 00 - 10:17 PM
Linda Kelly 23 Apr 00 - 10:27 AM
GUEST 24 Apr 00 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,Shimbo Darktree 24 Apr 00 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,James 25 Apr 00 - 10:28 AM
Peg 25 Apr 00 - 02:06 PM
Amergin 25 Apr 00 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Jon Heslop 25 Apr 00 - 03:41 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Apr 00 - 05:45 PM
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Clinton Hammond2 25 Apr 00 - 05:54 PM
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Mr Happy 05 Mar 12 - 06:00 AM
GRex 05 Mar 12 - 06:05 AM
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Big Al Whittle 05 Mar 12 - 07:00 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Mar 12 - 07:07 AM
Mr Happy 05 Mar 12 - 07:27 AM
The Sandman 05 Mar 12 - 07:48 AM
TheSnail 05 Mar 12 - 11:02 AM
Paul Davenport 05 Mar 12 - 12:44 PM
kendall 05 Mar 12 - 08:44 PM
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Mr Happy 06 Mar 12 - 11:24 AM
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Musket 07 Mar 12 - 05:23 AM
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Phil Edwards 07 Mar 12 - 05:51 AM
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Vic Smith 07 Mar 12 - 06:46 AM
Mr Happy 07 Mar 12 - 08:38 AM
Will Fly 07 Mar 12 - 09:04 AM
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reynard 07 Mar 12 - 10:24 AM
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Subject: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 09:50 AM

Does anybody really like folk clubs? Or are those of us who still frequent them just masochists?

My experience is with UK versions of this strange phenomenon, of which I am surprisingly very fond and which I will try to describe here, to those unfamiliar with them. It would be interesting to hear where other parts of the world differ, or are, God forbid, similar.

They are usually to be found in the back room of a pub. This room is also used for other more important activities, like pool, darts, stripper and 'drag nights'. They are held on a regular basis, except for the summer months. They are always on the first Thursday of every month with an R in it, except when this falls on a Friday, when it will be held three times a month. That night will not be a 'guest night' as performers booked for this night, tend to get confused and turn up on Saturday, or not at all?

The heating is never adequate in the winter and in the summer it is always too hot. The fan is so noisy and has to be turned off, because the music cannot be heard above the sound of it rattling away or its shorting out.

The clubs are usually run by a single devoted enthusiastic soul, or a small team of such and my thanks go out to them. They are very a dedicated bunch and will move heaven and earth, whatever disasters may befall on the evening. Like running out of beer, a faulty or 'missing' PA, no guest or too many guests, leaks, floods, boils and 'plagues of frogs'. To always ensure that the raffle will always take place.

The evening may have only started at 09.15, 'old Charlie', may have decided to do all the known verses of 'The Plains Of Waterloo' and made up a few more, complete with an instrumental break between each verse, on kazoo. The M.C will have done their spot. The guest may not start his set until 5 minutes before 'last orders' and during which the pot man is noisily collecting the empties. But do not worry, for the raffle will be held.

For the set will be interrupted, to thank everyone for turning out, on such a cold night and to hope that the heating will be fixed for the next month. Which of course will then be on Tuesday. To thank all those that made the coffee, to ask for another round of applause for our 'wonderful' guest, who we would like to hear another song from but have 'just run out of time'. To thank the landlord (who is at this time loudly scraping the tables around the room), who has to get ready for a wedding tomorrow. But we just have time for our guest to pick out the winning raffle ticket and do all have safe journey home.

My 'tongue is in my cheek' and this is an easy target, of course but even the most indignant reader of this, would have to admit to recognising, at least some of the above? On one level it makes me mad and on another level, I love it all dearly.

If there are ones that do not have any of the above drawbacks, would you please let us know where they are? Canada? Australia? Iceland?

I have seen some wonderful performances in folk clubs but I think this is always despite the conditions set rather than because of them. We may be devoted enough, to endure a lot of this tedium whilst waiting for the good bit. The test is, would you really be prepared to recommend this to your friends, as a good enjoyable evening out and accompany them there?

Hell! I never win the bloody raffle, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 09:54 AM

YES. I would do anything to have one closer than an hour or three away.

But in the meantime, HearMe is even more fun.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Midchuck
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 10:08 AM

"'old Charlie', may have decided to do all the known verses of 'The Plains Of Waterloo' and made up a few more, complete with an instrumental break between each verse, on kazoo."

I know this post was about folk clubs in Great Britain, and I've never been over there. So why do I get the feeling that I've encountered "old Charlie" several times?

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 10:09 AM

"Only started at 9.15..." In Ireland we wouldn't have found the keys of the door by then!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,aldus
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 10:20 AM

Shambles. I know exactly what you mean...and the music is still playing when the last bus for home leaves. I also find that they are often packed, and set up a mini theatres...people sitting in rows...I saw Martin Carthy in Truro and it was great but I couldn't get out for a pint and by the time he was rolling along into some great tunes.. I had to get the bus. Same with a June Tabor concert in Penzance....to answer your question.. I hate folk clubs but I love the Music...


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 10:38 AM

Well Shambles, with the exception of the boils and plagues of frogs, I have experienced everything you mentioned at some point or other over the years and more.

This includes sessions as well as folk clubs but.

At one time the Bee folk club in Rhyl had a noisy beer pump/motor that used to interfere with the singing.

The landlord of the Hope and Anchor in Denbigh did a runner with all the takings. The landlord in the Rhoslan, Llandudno had a drink problem and got himself so heavily in debt that he nobody would sell him beer. The Parade, Llandudno decided to put a Rock band on one folk club night and I arrived at the Four Crosses, Menai Bridge for our weekly Irish session to find a reggae band playing...

There was a row in the London, Llandudno (after my time of being involved in the organisation) that led to the folk club getting barred for life!.

I remeber the Parade being so cold one winter that only about 6 of us used to brave it and we huddled round a Calor gas fire and 3 of us used to slip out to another pub halfway through the night to warm up (and to sample the best pint of Bass in town).

I remember when "Irish Don" got blind drunk in the Parade and took over the PA for his set. We went and drunk outside and left him to it.

The Frigate on the quay in Conwy was interesting. That used to move about a little when the sea got a bit rough which made playing a bit difficult. There were times when we had to finish early when there was a high tide to get people off. How that place ever got a licence is beyond me... One night, I was one of the last off and had to jump about 3 feet as the gangway was that far off the quay and after I and somebody else got off, one of the ropes attaching the ship went, it slewed round a bit and the gangway ended up pointing down towards the sea and a long way from the quay wall. In spite of all these dangers, they were happy times and I was sorry we had to leave there. The desicsion to leave was caused by the smell from the toilet system - it became unbearable for most people.

I don't bother much with folk clubs these days. This is not because of any of the problems but because I no longer have the patience to sit in silence for long periods listening to the same old stuff week in week out. I still love sessions though - it is different when I can join in with the same stuff week in week out.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: folk1234
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 10:51 AM

The term "Folk Club" has a broader meaning here in the New World. True, it does apply to the dirty, smoke-fill, back rooms of few comforts, many disappointments, and a few treasures of which you speak.
It also applies to the now-smoke-free cofee bars and/or nuveau-cuisine acoustic venues. It applies further to the many rich and wonderful 'Folk Music Clubs' throughout our countryside.
It was the Branford Folk Music Society that reintroduced me to folk music in 1988, the Houston Folk Music Society that added to my pleasure during the six months that I worked near Houston (1993), and the Tulsa Folk Music Society and the Oklahoma City Traditional Music Assn that sustain me today with wonderful opportunities to learn, play, sing, and share our music.
And there's the Wash DC area club that does great things like the Getaway.
Just another twist. Please excuse my tangental vector.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 11:25 AM

I know exactly what you mean. In the south East of England there are many folk clubs and regrettably quite a lot of them are as you describe. The very best are those where the landlord is a fan or at least benign, and in those cases they are even better when run in the main bar of the pub as many unsuspecting members of the public get a chance to hear the music and may even discover that they like it - it also discourages too much dreary stuff from the performers! The trouble with bar gatherings of course, is that the club organiser cannot charge an entrance fee but if the artist is good enough a pot collection can be more than adequate for even quite famous guests like Jez Lowe. Some of the best of this type can be found in Kent and Sussex. Look out for: The Beacon, Tunbridge Wells (1st Monday of month) The Queen's Arms, Cowden Pound (3rd Saturday, 2nd Tuesday and 3rd Tuesday)- better known as Elsie's The Red Lion, Turner's Hill W.Sussex (every Friday) The Rising Sun, Twitton, Otford, Kent (2nd Thursday) Travelling Folk, various pubs in West/Mid Kent (1st and 3rd Thursdays) The Wellington, Seaford, W Sussex (Every Friday) A few of the above don't book guests but are no less fun as a result and give more time for the local talent to excel. Full details can be found in the "What's On Folks" and the "Sussex Folk Diary" as well as "Folk London". Good hunting!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Rana
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 11:54 AM

Hi,

I have to say that I've enjoyed the folk clubs I've been too (which hasn't actually totaled that many in number). You get a much better connection with the artist.

When back "home" I do try and get to the Red Lion in Birmingham - my only critique was that Birmingham buses stopped running too early and it was a pain to get back to the other side of Brum,

The Old South Folk Club in Edmonton, Alberta (late 70's was excellent.

Vancouver lacked a folk club in the early 80's really missed that - though the Rogue is now there.

Ontario has good ones - Cuckoo's Nest in London, Folk Under the Clock, Peterborough - more like a concert setting, Vital Spark in Whitby, Acoustic Harvest in Toronto, - can't really mention the Cloud 'cos of my connection and hence biased opinion (though the Globe and Mail reviewing a Robin Williamson concert described it as a "panelled social club with rec room ambience"!) are all ones I've enjoyed.

Heard much good stuff of Greenbank (maybe Tony can give info) and numerous others.

Others I enjoyed (I think) were so long ago I can't really remember too well - Jug O'Punch in Brum (Birmingham) and the one at Reading University in the early 70's.

All of these allowed a special way of experiencing many a fine talent - you masy just have to take the rough with the smooth, but that is folk I suppose (or do you really want to go to the Air Canada Centre and pay $75 or whatever)

Cheers Rana


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: vindelis
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 12:17 PM

My introduction to folk clubs was the Wellington in Weymouth. It closed when the people running it got married. They opened another at The Antelope in Wareham soon after. This ran for many years and even gave rise to the Wareham Folk Festival, alas also now defunct. The main problem with folk clubs in the Weymouth/Portland area is that there are not enough diehards to keep them going. You can only sing to empty chairs for so long. I now have my weekly 'fix'on Wednesday nights, at The New Star, on Portland. It is a 'come-all-ye' sing-around, for all comers of all abilities. You don't have to be Martin Carthy or Davy Spillane before you can perform in public. It is unfortunate that there are a few people in the folk fraternity who think you should. There is a happy medium between the mega stars and the dismal, to which a large proportion of closet musicians could and often do aspire. They just need a little more encouragement in the early stages. OK I have digressed a little, but it needs saying.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 04:19 PM

Yes, I like them. But then I co-run one.

And I hate the ones which try to dissuade the incompetent - we all had to start somewhere, and even some organisers still need sympathy.

And I hate the ones where there is too much talking.

And I haate the ones that are non-smking. I don't smoke myseld, but I'll die for your right to do so.

And I'm a bit iffy about ones with PA too.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 06:01 PM

I live in Minnesota and I have visited folk clubs in Britain, and I have to say I have NEVER encountered anything quite like a British folk club in America. The venues we DO have tend to fall into these categories:

(1) Concert-type venues where you pay $15 or more for a ticket, sit in a theater-type seat alongside a hundred or more other audience members, and where NO ALCOHOL IS SERVED.

(2) Bars that are smoky, noisy and crowded, where the music is free but the drinks are expensive, where most patrons ignore the musicians and shout into one another's ears for conversation.

(3) Coffeehouses where the musicians play for tips and free coffee, and are likely to be high-school or college students who got their first guitar six months ago, and learned all the songs they know from their parents' old Bobby Goldsboro albums, and NO ALCOHOL IS SERVED.

(4) Outdoor summer festivals where you pay $15 or more for admission, and BEER IS SERVED, but the beer tent is 200 yards away from the music tent, and the port-a-potties are 200 yards off in another direction, and to get to either of them you have to run an obstacle course past the stroller-pushing parents and the pottery-browsing tourists and then stand in line for 20 minutes to get your beer, and then you discover that they only accept tickets, not money, for beer, and you first have to stand in another line in another tent to buy your tickets, and when you finally get back to the music tent, you find that the musicians you came to hear are gone and have been replaced by a puppet show or a juggler.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 06:30 PM

I guess I'm blessed to live near the vernerable Palms Playhouse in Davis, California. It's an old, barn-like building that looks like it could burn down at any moment, but it has wonderful acoustics and a warm, friendly atmosphere. There used to be a black Labrador named Taj to greet you at the dooor, but I think Taj must have died because I haven't seen him lately. And yes, beer is served - no smoking allowed. Admission is usually $12 to $15.
The Palms doesn't have as much traditional music as it used to have, but there are still at least a couple of traditional folk concerts a month, and lots of blues.
I suppose it isn't really a "folk club," but I think it's an ideal example of what a folk venue ought to be.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: sheila
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 06:33 PM

I haven't been to a folk club in many years.
When I lived in Edinburgh, back in the 60s, I was one of the organisers of a rather good folk club.
We didn't meet in a pub, we rented space in the Canongate Tolbooth, and we charged admission (a shilling more for non-members). There was no bar, but some people did bring their own bottles. We couldn't pay our guests much, and they sometimes wound up sleeping on somebody's floor, but the music was great.
There were a number of folk clubs in Edinburgh then, and several pubs where informal sessions regularly erupted.
I loved it!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: DebC
Date: 20 Apr 00 - 07:59 PM

I miss the UK Folk clubs. I miss the beer. I miss the music. I DON'T miss the smoke.

Debra


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 12:48 AM

I started getting lost in folk clubs in 1968 - The Lower Lip in DeKalb, Illinois. It was a college based coffee house where we could try stuff out in anticipation of the audition for the BIG TIME - the university sponsored and sanctioned Coffee House that took place once or twice each term. Mostly though, we met at the Wesley Foundation basement and sat and played until they threw us out. The dorms weren't coed at that time and you couldn't hope to touch the heart of the other gender in your dorm room. That was a long time ago.

Since then it's been a lot of bars (too smokey, noisy, drunken and indifferent), an occasional college, and now the phenomenon of the coffee house in the big bookstores. Everyone learned to play last week and they have a CD of their own stuff. Some performers are truly excellent. In my opinion the best thing that's happened in the past few years is the return of the real coffee houses. The music is never a function of the money. You meet the largest cross-section of people of all ages. You can do what you want as long as you entertain the owner.

But when you come down to it, I'll play anywhere, anytime.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Llanfair
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 03:33 AM

oh, yes, Shambles and all, the "Folk Club" format is SO familliar. The Railway at Nantwich, Cheshire was like that. We stopped going when they tried to chill a learner out. There were two factions in that one, one to run the club and one to organise the yearly festival. They had stopped speaking to each other by the time we called it a day.
Our monthly Blues and Folk night avoids most of the pitfalls, except the date each month, which is just as you say, the R in the month being critical!!!!
We had some problems to start with, because we insisted on welcoming all musicians, not just those who are Irish purists.
The venue is Mid-Wales, for those who don't know where I come from. ahawyl, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Kernow John
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 04:13 AM

Shambles
I like your descriptions reminds me of the clubs I ran and visited in the 60s.
The new one I'm now involved with (plug plug) at St. Ives in Cornwall seems a mile away from the oldies. We do sit in curved rows with the odd table but the seats are padded and comfortable with lots of leg room. We don't allow smoking (Richard I sincerely hope your stand isn't prophetic) and the drinks are served from the bar in the main pub.
The singers nights are proving very popular and I hope we would never discourage a newcomer.
Although only new we have managed to give a Cornish duo their first full booking and hopefully have provided a spark that will see the relaunch of Jinxs Stack.

I must confess to being an addict for folk clubs and sessions and can remember the times when the only place Martin Carthy, Ralph McTell, Sandy Denny, et al could get the work that enabled them to keep going was the FOLK CLUB.

Ps. Any catters who are coming this way and would like a booking please get in touch. We do have a guest night every other week (always Saturdays) and we pay!

Sorry to have rambled a bit and used the thread for an ad!
Regards Baz


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Chris/Darwin
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 07:43 AM

The Top End Folk Club holds its fortnightly gatherings in a fuel tank close to the beach. That probably sounds strange, but previously (and famously) it was held in a naval gun turret. "The tank" is an ex WWII fuel tank about 30 metres in diameter, with a dance floor in the middle, toilets, drinks fridges, and set up as a rock climbing gymnasium.

Occasionally there are still climbers going up and down the courses when we arrive on Friday nights.

The format is very much sit around and sing to each other. There are quite a few regulars, and occasionally some amazing people walk in off the street. No alcohol is served, and smokers go outside during the intervals.

It is a very relaxed evening, and I enjoy the companionship, the new songs to learn, and yes, the opportunity to perform to a critical but very relaxed and sympathetic audience. Everyone is free to sing or play along where appropriate, and everyone is pretty sensitive to the performance.

Every Sunday afternoon we have a jam at one of the local Irish pubs, where 30-40 people gather around a couple of tables where the performers sit and sing. Again, very much a "jam" situation, with everyone joining in. A great afternoon, and the pub even pays the club.

I grew up in Melbourne, and was introduced to folk clubs in the 60s by "Frank Traynor's", a jazz club after 1am Fridays, but a folk club before then. People like Martin W-R, Gordon McIntyre, Danny Spooner, as well as a host of fine Aussie performers (including this new acoustic group who dropped in one day calling themselves the "Seekers". I remember those days with great fondness, despite no grog. I guess I have always thought of that setting as ideal, fully acoustic with candle lighting, but you don't any longer get crowds of 200 with a swag of wonderful performers who were introducing a whole new culture to a generation.

Like most clubs, Darwin works because of a small band of dedicated people who do the work, collect money, organise events, advertise, etc. But above all, the club has fun.

Regards
Chris


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 02:43 PM

Excellent thread Shambles! It won't fill up like the silly "YANK BASHING" ones or the "Folk-Fantasy sagas", but it may just have a longer "shelf-life". It's certainly got me thinking about "folk-club experiences", good and bad.

I think the key is often the folk or folks who run the place. Clubs tend to reflect the personality of their administrators. From a personal point of view however, I prefer the ones' that don't exclusively "specialize". You know what I mean? The ones where ONLY one type of folk music is implicitly welcome. 'Course, the ideal (for me) would be four or five of 'em in a row...one for trad ballads, one for instrumental sessions, one for singer-songwriters, one for bluegrass, one for acoustic blues, one for old time string music.......ooops! I'm describing "folk UTOPIA" aren't I? Oh while I'm doing my own fantasizing, they'd all be open (and have entertainment) from 12 noon to the wee hours!

Rana is right. We are blessed with some really good ones here in Ontario. Wish they were closer together.

Hmmmm, there's a topic fer ya Roger..."Folk Utopia".

Rick


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Dave Swan
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 02:58 PM

Shambles, Nice idea for a thread. Yes, I do really like folk clubs. As others before me have pointed out, clubs come in many stripes. With any luck one can find a club which suits him. Clubs can change their personalities as well. The only time I've ever walked off of a stage was about fifteen years ago when the management of a local club refused to control a drunk in the audience. When said drunk chucked a beer bottle at the stage, we folded our tent. The same club is now run with far better order and I'm happy to stop in to sit around the table for a session. As soon as Rick opens Fielding's Folk Utopia I'll be there.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Ken Caird
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 07:38 PM

I run the New Dawn Glasgow Folk Club previously known as the Star. I've read some of the crits in this thread and I don't recognise my club now or when Arthur Johnstone was running it.

We were one of the first Scottish clubs to install a PA operated from within the audience, back in the 80's (I'm an ex-sound engineer, and my current soundman has his own hire company).

We have always encouraged floor spots because we believe firmly that floor spots are the beginnings of the performers of tomorrow.

With a large number of hairy-arsed veterans in the audience, new floorspots are sure of some good pointers in their career, even if it's threats to strangle them if they sing "And The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda", because they've just discovered the song.

I've always believed that the audience deserves as much for their gate money as we can provide and if that means we run late then so be it.

I've no doubt that the clubs coming under the critical eye here are doing their best.

Think on this before you throw the shit..

Have you got the dedication to run a folk club?

Did you ever think to make your dissatisfaction known to an organiser?

We can only work with what we think is right. If nobody comes up and says "Look, here's an idea which might help." then we just carry on as we're doing.

DOn'y slag the clubs, take a part in how they're run, because without the clubs there would be no live folk scene.

Cheers

Ken


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 10:11 PM

we used to have a really nice place near Wash DC, the "Red Fox Inn"..it was a moderate sized reasturant/bar where the owners 'contracted' the entertainment to others...had a big name Bluegrass band some nights,but Monday nights belonged to FOLK. We had an open mic, with guest performers on some nights. It really worked well for a number of years....we saw some fine professional and semi-pro stuff, and the best of the locals...and there were MANY good locals from the FSGW...and they were quite tolerant of average folks like me..But, like many things , it fell victim to the area going upscale and someone offering them a lot of $$$$ for the place.

There were several attempts to move the 'action' to other places, but there was never quite the feeling after that...and the singer/songwriters positively clamored to use up all the available time & space...finding just one night a week in one club for 'trad' became a losing battle. Those who really cared found private homes...but that is not the same....That was almost 20 years ago


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 11:12 PM

Ken, With reference to the venues I passed comment on.

I supported all of them. I stuck with the Llandudno Folk Club through a very lean patch in the early 80's and when we moved from the Parade to the London, I became part of the resident group and organisation of the club and did this for 6 or 7 years until we decided enough was enough and handed over to somebody else.

I called the meeting that got the Conwy Folk Club going and I was a founder member and part of the organisation there until I decided to have no further involvement with folk club politics about 2 years ago and I also was a founder member of the session in the Rhoslan in Llanduno.

All of the folk clubs I have been involved with have encouraged floor spots and personally, I have sat down with people showing them chords, scales on instruments, lent books out, lent instruments...

Also, we have always managed to keep them free with just a raffle and still managed to get some good guests.

These days, I am just an occasional visitor but I can assure you that I do not want any involvement in the running of a folk club again at least not in North Wales.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 03:39 PM

The last Folk Club i was in was in Portmouth (in Jolly old Bighty as a few Royal Navy friends in formed this Yankee Jack tar) The experience in what I experienced and you so eloquently described but I hasten to add the same could be said for the good Blues clubs I've been to. These days I'm likely playing the folk music around a campfire with a wee drop of the creature to lubricate the pipes. Still i do miss hitting the folk clubs like I did in my visits to the UK, Reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 07:34 PM

I would like to see folk clubs redesigned to permit children, older people and those who don't want to be subjected to tobacco smoke and drunkeness.

I'd be all for those clubs.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 09:18 PM

Sheila - we did the Edinburgh U Folk Soc. for several years in the 60's. It met at the University so there was no official beer & also no other non-folkists hanging around (It was open to the public & many non Universityers came.) We loved it. I can't think of the slightest negative thing to say about it. The people were people with normal foibles but the crowd was so easy-going it hardly mattered. The songs were wonderful, the atendees devoted to the music & the generosity unlimited.

I kinda liked it.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 10:17 PM

Frank, wanna do a concert at the Tranzac? I Think you'd like it. It meets your criteria.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 23 Apr 00 - 10:27 AM

come to the White Horse folk club in Beverley East yorkshire -it's bloody marvellous!!! coal fires candlelight and newcomers get a free pint!! We are lucky to have some very dedicated organisers and it's wonderful to be able to see Jez Lowe Martin Carthy Archie Fisher etc in the comfort of your local hostelry. it now has its own website www.soft.net.uk/10sg/nellies.htm for more info.I've been going fo just over a year and I can't imagine life without it!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 10:43 AM


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Shimbo Darktree
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 12:28 PM

Hey, Shambles,
Grab yourself a one-way ticket to Brisbane, Oz. We do it
differently here.
Firstly, our club does not operate in a noisy venue, so we
are unplugged (no PA). We charge nothing, and are paid
nothing. We hold it mid-week when the owner of the premises
(a fully licensed restaurant)is happy to have extra business
and charges nothing for the venue. And I would do almost
anything not to miss a Wednesday night.

Do I like folk clubs? My bloody oath!

Regards,
Shimbo


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,James
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 10:28 AM

Frank, you don"t want a folk club, you want a masoleum....I hate to be politically incorrect... But Kids at concerts can be a huge distraction, I have been at clubs where people bring the kids...then proceed to ignore them....and all is ruined for eveyone. Some venues may be listed as non smoking...go to those...


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Peg
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 02:06 PM

Hey Jon Freeman; just wanted to say, reading your thread and mentioning those townsin Northern Wales made me very misty-eyed!!! I spent three days there a few years back, in Llandudno, then Conwy, just hiking around and hanging out and I took LOTS of photographs...it is simply beautiful there and I think of it often...
that place on the pier in Conwy; I wonder if I went there in 1988...i got some fabulous fish and chips from a small cafe and then went to the pier where I saw people on holiday (lots of kids) and some of them were drinking stout...so I noticed the pub opened right onto the pier and I went and grabbed the perfect accompaniment to my hot meal...mmmmmm...nothing like a tall pint and some crispy, salty, greasy, delicious fish and chips eaten by the sea...i don't know if there was any folk music happening...it didn't matter, the sound of the waves and the people having a lovely time was enough, even on that chilly, misty day in July...

peg


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Amergin
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 02:53 PM

Not to get off the subject here, but have you all ever been to an open mike poetry session? Those are pretty fun, except for the fact that I always seem to get stuck after some one who spends half an hour reading (in their estimation) the greatest epic ever written (which just so happens to be their work) and they're using alot of thees and thous and all this other fancy talk. It does have a plus side, though, it's a great cure for insomnia. Sorry, remind me next time not to butt in on things I have no knowledge of. Blessed be. Amergin


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Jon Heslop
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 03:41 PM

Probably not, but until somebody comes up with a better idea for getting together with like minded freinds, having a few beers and a bit of of our favourite music all in one place........?


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 05:45 PM

Dear Frank

This is the first time I ahve ever seen someone want more oldies in folk clubs. THe usual lament is that there is no-one there under 40 and precious few under 50. Still, we senile delinquents can still get out of order enough!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,SteveB.
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 05:50 PM


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 05:54 PM

I'm clinging to the under-30 part of my life for the next few days, and I LOVE folk clubs!!! Mind you after a good show, I'm usually the first one heading fer the pub! But I can't get enough... Like I'd ever get to see Garnet Rogers play a pub, or Stepehn Fearing, or James Keelaghan... Baaah! They've served their time and risen above... And more's the power to 'em!!! Most of the folks that I've talked to that have made the jump from pub/bar gigs to folk clubs, coffee houses and concert halls wouldn't go back to the pub/bar circut for love nore money!
The couple of times I've been lucky enough to play folk clubs, I've loved it... no smoke to contend with... no drunks banging tables out of tempo... Requests for songs that I love to play as opposed to Drunken Sailor/Wild Rover crap... Folk Clubs rock!!!!

Well, maybe not rock, but they folk around really well on a good night! LOL!!!

It boils down to what ever blows yer hair back, eh!

{~`


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,SteveB.
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 05:54 PM

Here in Central PA we have a great all-volunteer folk club called the Acoustic Brew Coffeehouse. It takes place in a great room that has awesome acoustics, no sound system is needed. They hire excellent musicians, and tickets are 8-10 dollars. No alcohol, but there is coffee and homemade baked goods, and we all go out to jam and drink afterwords. Saw Christofer Shaw there two weeks ago and he commented on what a special venue it was.

We also have some nice coffeeshops that hire folk and singer-songwriter musicians who do both traditional folk and original material. Many of the local artists are quite good too.

In general, the scene is pretty good here....

The bars don't have much folk stuff though...

S.B.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 06:00 AM

I'm usually annoyed by spammers reviving threads, but for pure chance, this one a good one.

*************

I'm of the don't like fc's group,preferring the less artificial, more spontaneous atmosphere of the sinaround/ session


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GRex
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 06:05 AM

I'd love a sinaround. Please tellus where.

          GRex


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 06:31 AM

More sinarounds! You'll be giving folk a bad name...

I must admit, Folk only really works for me in a lively session / singaround; context is all, and the filthier & informal & extrovert the better. Egos checked in at the door; no performers, no PA, no stage, no barriers, no order, no MC, no formality, just the roaring pissed-up inclusivity of the come-all-ye. Of course I do other stuff too, but I'm happiest just hurling the occasional ballad into the merry fray at the Moorbrook, or pestering so magnificent a fiddler as the great Hugh O'Donnell to sing Adieu, Adieu just so we can roll in the glorious chorus, or else I'm racing with the hunt as Dave Peters (my favourite folk singer of all time bar none) sings Swarthfell Rocks, or else twanging my trump along to so venerable a tune as Morgan Magan with all the wistful associations of the past 39 years since my mother first bought Chieftains 4 when I was 12... I've recently added Willie Scott's The Shepherd Song to my fiddlesangs rep (hell, it's only taken 30 years...) and whilst I've yet to record it, already the Moorbrook Lads & Lasses have uplifted it with an ensemble arrangement which is as spontaneous as it is magnificent. Odd to think it's one of the best things I've ever been involved with & it'll never get heard outside our glorious wee session where dreams can, and very often do, come true...


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 07:00 AM

I think when they got rid of the smoke and the drunkeness, that's when the rot set in. that, and all those bloody folksongs....


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 07:07 AM

I think it's nice to make sure everyone gets a fair crack of the whip. Otherwise, yes, the riotous joining in is very much the best bit. But preferably on folk songs. Even though it is an American song, we made a great roar of "The Miner's Lifeguard" in the last of the season's "Lower Coke Winter Sings" (oops, sorry, Stoke) on Sunday.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 07:27 AM

The OP's Q is of relevance though, even 12 years later.

Statistically, there must be lots who do like fc's but judging by my immediate area alone, many more people like the informal sesh/signaround set up.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 07:48 AM

yes, they are cool


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: TheSnail
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 11:02 AM

It's quite possible to like sessions and folk clubs.


("sesh/signaround" Folk music for the deaf?)


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 12:44 PM

Folk clubs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are full of superstars and others are full of hopefuls with every possible combination in between. What's not to like? You find the club that's at your level (you hope) and go with it. You'll soon find out if you need to move on, in or out. Personally, I'm immensely grateful to anyone who's prepared to run a club. Even more so if they book me, but without them we'd all be a lot poorer and many of us might spend more time at home alone.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: kendall
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 08:44 PM

Generally, I think they are great. Keeping our music alive is so important. I am, however, bothered by those who hog the floor or those who are so bad that they make the bottom of my feet hurt.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 10:58 AM

Folk clubs come in all shapes and sizes.

Ah! To live Sheffield, where every pub hosts a different sort of Folk Club & every night you've got at least a dozen to choose from - from Ballads to Wyrd and all points in between.

Round here they come in one size-fits-all, and woe-betide the hapless traddy I(or newcomer) that dare venture therein. Still, we found our wee residential nook and there's no finer place in the country in my experience. Not sure about stars or hopefuls though - everyone I know just does it for the love of the music & regards making a career out of it as anathema to the nature of the beast, involving all manner of compromise and botheration which only serve to detract from the real essence of the thing. And whilst it's nice to pop one's head above the parapet occasionally, to dazzle & baffle a wider circle of audience & critics, it's good to get home & snuggle back down by the hearth for another good old blow. Nothing depresses me more than seeing guests in Folk Clubs doing the same stuff they've been doing for decades. What's the point? I even got bored of seeing Bellamy after a while. After all, how many times do you have to hear On Board a '98 and still believe in what you're hearing? Still, towards the end I say he wasn't getting out much. But when the music becomes an act, all polished & professional with routinely intros, I'd just as soon not bother to be honest. That's one of the reasons I love open sessions, where nothing ever turns out the same way two weeks running. That, to me, is what Folk is all about.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 11:24 AM

That's one of the reasons I love open sessions, where nothing ever turns out the same way two weeks running.


That, to me, is what Folk is all about.


Ditto!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 11:50 AM

To which I might add the warmth, the laughter, the tears, the pure joy of the crack (I'm a Tynesider) and the howling humanity of the thing. I've never got on with the fart-in-a-lift folk club, much less anything which presupposes a floor spot has to be some sort of performance. How can you get up to speed with two or three songs? No way. One song is more than enough. Keep moving, gentleman!

I hope this sounds positive, BTW - as I've said umpteen times before I never purposefully listen to Pro Folk, only old Trad Singers and singers in sessions. In such a community you know your place, you credit where credit is due and any would-be Prima-Donnas are roundly disabused in the name of Folk Character.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 12:30 PM

To answer the OQ, not since the early 1980s. I love good sessions and totally informal pubby things, I love small concerts in good venues with good sound, lighting and comfort where all the music is of high quality. I dislike the shabby, embarrassing in-between where not very good people pretend to be pro performers or revel in their amateurishness and we're expected to sit quietly and pay for the privilege. Not all are like that, but the percentage is too high to take the risk much any more.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 12:38 PM

Ah yes, those who haven't learned a new song in 30 years, BORING.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: TheSnail
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 02:29 PM

Great evening at the Lewes Saturday Folk Club last Saturday with the Fay Hield Trio followed on Sunday by one of the best sessions at the Black Horse that we've had for a while, supplemented by some of the people who had been to Rob Harbron and Sam Sweeney's workshops the day before. Some people had come a long way, including one from Sweden.

Just off to another session at the John Harvey Tavern which is always a good one.

Folk clubs and sessions are all good fun in their different ways.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Ian Mather sas cookie
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 03:07 PM

When I started thirty odd years ago, most clubs around my way were two songs on a small stage type folk clubs and that is the type I tend to personally prefer,although they are few and far between now.

Singaround, where you are sitting tend to be the norm now, and I can see why many prefer it, indeed, the ones I go to regularly are of that ilk, but that's more to do with being nearby rather than any other reason.

Given the choice, I prefer to do a small " turn" and listen to others do so. Moving from where you sit to a place to perform just happens to be my choice, but I'm not going to break bottles and have a glass fight over it. If I didn't enjoy old clubs I wouldn't go. Mind you, there are some I would never take members of the human race to, it would be too embarrassing.... My own capacity for listening to retired geography teachers droning on about how hard it is down the pit is far greater than I would expect my friends to be.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: LesB
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 07:12 PM

Yes I like folk clubs, I like to see guest artists & I sing on singers nights, but not everyboby is a performer, some people just like to go & listen & be entertained (or is that a swear word)?
I sometimes go to singarounds & I see more inflated egos at some of these than at folk clubs (especially at festivals).
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 11:44 PM

OK, so don't jump on me for sounding dumb, but what exactly is a folk club? I take it that it's a gathering at a pub, with a (usually volunteer) person in charge who books paid performers. I take it that floor singers are accommodated, and occasional singarounds.

Here in the States, we have song circles, usually in somebody's living room; house concerts; and a few folk venues.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 04:45 AM

We call our wee sesh a Folk Club, and a lot of Folk Clubs are just singarounds. Mostly I suppose a Folk Club is a more formal sort of concert venue with a selected club member providing support; mostly they operate like a reduction of the traditional British WMC (you know you're in trouble when the MC refers to the guests as artistes) overseen by a paternalistic committee, or pastorally minded gaffer who speaks for his flock. They can be great fun, but you know you're dealing with hoary well-established instituationalism soon as you set foot in the place; in UK Folk Clubs, this is what's generally meant by Traditional...


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Fidjit
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 05:04 AM

YES.

One of the reasons why I moved back to England after 40 odd years in Scandinavia.

Now live in an epicentre of folk clubs that I visit on a regular basis. Roughly about 12 within an hours drive. And half of those within 30 minutes.

YES. Folk clubs are the salt of the earth.

Chas

Then there are the folk concerts that are put in the areas larger towns. Great.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Musket
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 05:23 AM

Joe, Joe Joe...

You realise of course that asking what a folk club is might just start a debate? Amazing what might come out of the woodwork.

Years ago, there were many folk clubs that were in upstairs rooms of pubs, running a similar format; singers nights, guest nights with local singers supporting. (I use "singers" in the generic sense, just more of them than those who purely bang tunes out.)

I suspect nostalgia being what it is, many of us hanker back to those days and use today's folk clubs to recapture youth, not to mention having a good night out, seeing old mates and banging out songs.

Sadly, you might see evidence of this when professional musicians of a younger generation are dismissed by some as being too commercial, or that The BBC Folk Awards go to excellent professional musicians who interpret folk rather than sit in a pub singing it in the same way as Fred used to sing it back in the '60s.

So sad. But luckily, just a vocal minority.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 05:24 AM

Because we like to caravan we tend to look up the local folk clubs in the area and pay a visit. Were not looking for gigs - just a good night out, but we take our instruments in case we can contribute to the night. The experience is very varied.

In some we are made to feel very welcome - a club atmoshpere, while in others ignored once we have paid. Some have paid guests but try to get everyone who has brought an instrument along on as a floor singer,and give newcomers a spot rather than residents, time permitting, while others have their residents and ignore new comers. Oh, You should have phoned beforehand. Some have singers nights. Please do two as there are two of you. Thankyou Wimbourne. One club we went to had the first 30 mins as a session and then got on with things. We enjoyed that.

My impression is that a number of guests are now charging a lot more,( agents have to be paid) so the club has to charge more as entry,so going along at random in the hope you like the guest can be an expensive mistake. Also, some pubs/clubs charge for the use of their room.

Because its such a mix is difficult to enthuse or be critical. However, you have to admire the organisers of these clubs who usually put in many unpaid hours maintaining membership records, web sites, coping with insistent agents, organising PA and accomodation.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 05:51 AM

Folk club: pay at the door, tell the MC if you want to sing, wait till called and then stand out front and do a song or two, depending what everyone else is doing. There may also be a guest, who you will probably have heard of, doing a full set. At some point there will be a raffle, and people will look extravagantly delighted to win a bottle of wine.

Singaround: find the right room, sit down, join in choruses, and wait till the turn-taking has worked its way round to you - or (if you're late and the MC's feeling scrupulous) until it's gone all the way round the people who came on time. The MC will then ask if you've got a song, and you can do one, usually sitting where you are. Later there will be a break - but no raffle - and afterwards the turn-taking will go back round the room, possibly in the other direction.

Session: find the right room, sit down, join in choruses. If you've got a song (and why wouldn't you), wait for a pause and leap in, sitting where you are. No raffle, no MC.

Singarounds and sessions happen in pub back rooms. Some FCs use bigger rooms with a stage and rows of chairs, but mostly they use pub back rooms as well. You won't see a guest at a singaround or session - and only very rarely see anyone doing more than one song in a row - but some FCs work on the same principle, with singers' nights week in, week out. There are only three firm distinctions: at a folk club, you pay on the door; the MC calls and introduces all singers; and there's a definite divide between the act and the audience, who are expected to sit and watch with rapt attention.

Oh, and you're much more likely to hear a traditional song at a singaround or session than in anywhere calling itself a Folk Club.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 05:56 AM

In England - pubs in general are in trouble. Some of its their own fault.

The roads of England are policed very thoroughly nowadays and - realistically you can't have a nights drinking and then drive home even a short distance. The choice of soft drinks in most pubs is bloody awful and they're unforgiveably expensive.

Also the price of petrol has rocketed, plus many town centres charge a lot for parking. All of which makes for a more expensive night out than in the hay days of folk clubs.

The knock on effect of this is that folksingers can't really wander up and down the country learning their trade. Thumbing a lift isn't a great idea - too many Fred Wests out there. Lucy Ward has managed to sustain this approach, through these difficult times - but only with the help of a very supportive family. To spend eighty quid on petrol for a trip for petrol to do a speculative floorspot - is a bridge too far for many young performers.

So as old age takes its toll, and the people who established their reputations oin the 1960's and 1970's die out and retire - the number of artists who have learned the skills involved in being a good folk club act is declining. The majority of younger singers are trying to graduate into pro folk musicians are looking at arts centres and small theatres as their principle source of revenue. But really its a different bag of tricks - with different disciplines and requires a more hands on appraoach to the technology of making yourself heard and apprecited in a larger venue. And it has to be said - a more distanced singing style.

Folk sessions are still there in pubs, but the old style folk club is sadly disappearing. However youcut it Ian, it ain't happening ....yes many of theyounger artists are quite brilliant musicians and singers. But because they haven't done that thing of engaging with an audience (not just a gang of mates) their writing is of a a different character from say MacColl. who would sit there on his chair and introduce his song and perform it - just as naturally as telling you a story.

The folk club was one sort of performing opportunity - the folk festival, and theatrical setting is another.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Naer
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 06:21 AM

I guess the easy answer here would be just "no, nobody likes folk clubs". But ofcourse, that's not entirely true. I personally don't enjoy them, and neither do my friends. But I guess some people find them nice.

________________
working with: Kirjanpito Jyväskylä


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Roger Knowles
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 06:27 AM

Used to love 'em. I don't any more. Too many people reading the lyrics from song sheets etc.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 06:34 AM

Pardon me for appearing a bit thick but what are the three post above "GUEST,Roger Knowles" all about??


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 06:46 AM

Pardon me for appearing a bit thick but what are the three post above "GUEST,Roger Knowles" all about??

Just spam. Look at the part after GUEST in each post (and then ignore it).
These posts will soon be removed, but generally the Mudcat system is pretty good at filtering out the spam posts before they even appear.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 08:38 AM

The sessions round this area are all in the main part of the pub, usually the lounge, rather than being shut away from everyone in a back room.

IMO, this is a better way, provided the place doesn't get too noisy, & enables everyday folk to hear stuff they wouldn't normally have experienced & often want to join in - all to the good most times!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 09:04 AM

Weekly, conventional folk clubs around me - all less than an hour's drive (Sussex):

Amberley
Arundel
Chichester
Eastbourne
Horsham
Lewes (two)
Seaford
Tonbridge

And there may be others. Then there are monthly ones in places like Brighton.

But look at this: A local chap started a monthly folk club about3 months ago second Monday of the month - in an old pub (the Royal Oak) in a remote rural village in West Sussex (Wineham). Packed out from the start! Hardly any singers at first but lots of local people and nearby outsiders who wanted live music. More chairs are now needed... people not being able to get in... And, yes, it's got lots of traditional music in it (until buggers like me get in there and corrupt it, of course).

Sangboc Folk Club


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Banjiman
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 09:45 AM

I love 'em. I find some singarounds and sessions a bit dull..... especially where the "residents" or others use them in lieu of being able to get paid work (often, because they're not good enough). Having said that others are great (I like Exelby Folk Club in North Yorks..... a pretty much sing anything club but as the organiser does almost exclusively trad, so do lots of other people. 3 pretty much full length ballads, all performed excellently, from differing performers last Monday as an added bonus).

But what I really enjoy seeing (and organising)are small, intimate concerts with excellent performers. There can be something very magical about a quality performer (they don't have to be famous or hyped) being given the space of 2 good length sets in an intimate venue to really express themselves. This can be in a pub, house or village hall but need a listening audience who aren't just waiting for their turn to perform. I'm very happy passively listening if the performer and atmosphere are "right".

......and what I really hate is the attitude of some "performers" who will go to clubs where they can sing and are happy enough to take bookings from others but then come on Mudcat and slag off folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: reynard
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 10:24 AM

I recently retired and decided to renew my youthful interest in folk-performance after a gap of about (ouch) 50 years. I'm planning to move out of London soon and looking for an area where there are good clubs within easy reach, including accessible by public transport.   I visited Lewes last year and that was a revelation, so currently Sussex is my first choice. Anyone want to recommend any other folk-friendly zones in South England?


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 10:42 AM

I love folk clubs!

But I must say that the ones described in the UK in the initial post of this thread sound...a bit disorganized. ;-) Most of the folk clubs I see here in Canada are very well organized. Perhaps the problem with the British folk clubs is that they are confined to a dusty back corner of a pub as a sort of afterthought or minor accessory to the main event...pubbing. It's not generally like that here. A pub is one thing. A folk club is another. I like to play in a place where people are not there to drink and socialize...they're there to listen to the music. The socializing is done before and after the music.

What is the biggest impediment to people actually listening to music?

1. a ready supply of alcohol!
2. and a fecking TV on somewhere in the room!

The above 2 factors seem to be a common attribute of most pub-type situations.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 10:56 AM

   I visited Lewes last year and that was a revelation, so currently Sussex is my first choice. Anyone want to recommend any other folk-friendly zones in South England?

No - if you have found Lewes, then you have found folk music heaven on earth.....

Two very lively folk clubs that put on top guests and manage to co-operate closely, a four-day festival in October, many tune and song sessions in pubs in and around the town, folk concerts & dances at the Town Hall and the All Saints Centre, ceilidhs, many dance sides dancing outside pubs that sell Harveys beer throughout the summer, regular all-day workshops on a variety of singing and instrumental subjects - all led by top performers, an excellent and very active West Gallery Choir. The Traditional Song Forum meets here in May.

An excellent local listing magazine that covers just about everything that goes on. Two listings websites with all the events listed throughout the area - and is kept up to date.

Lots of really talented singers and musicians involved with a lot of friendly and interesting people......

Of course, I could be accused of having a slight bias!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 11:37 AM

We were at at the Kit & Cutter Folk Club in London recently which was everything a Folk Club should be. Well organised, focussed, festive, atmospheric, only one guitar, and, age 50, I was easily the oldest in the room by 25 years. The place was packed out, the joint was jumping, and we came away feeling happy that such venues are no longer the exception to the general rule. Renewal, enthusiasm & a youthful outlook are the order of the day. Just a shame it's taken so long really - after nigh on four decades of folkin' in the blasted hinterlands I'm beginning to feel a bit long in the tooth really, but still sprightly enough to welcome the sea-change.

I don't think the problem lies with Folk Clubs, rather with the nature of Folk itself, and Folkies, whom I love dearly, but when it comes to thinking (& listening) outside the box they're hardly the most dynamic breed. This suits the nature of the beast, which to me is Traditional Song & Ballads and a hearty respect for the Old Traditional Singers, which is so rare these days as to be endangered. To me the ideal folk club is part piss-up and part Seance; I like to see ghosts, spectres and ectoplasm oozing from the mouths of singers in a trance of mediumistic possession. Time was I would seek out such sessions all around the country, just sit in, and listen, and bask in the cracked idiosyncratic eccentric uniqueness of it all without feeling the need to join in. Don't see so much of that these days, alas; instead we see a lot of interminable singarounds where ne'er a traditional song is sung or a harmony dared, and a new breed of elderly unaccompanied singer who've come to 'Folk' by way of second-life recreation thus pushing the demographic up even higher whilst lowering the overall standard. That said, I know some amazing second-life folkies, but some of the attitudes I've encountered have been utterly inhuman - shocking, in fact.

Again, I'm being positive here; it's just the way things are and each to their own. Takes all sorts to make a folk scene, though going by Little Hawk's comments once more I'm very happy indeed I don't live in Canada...


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 01:15 PM

Oh, and you're much more likely to hear a traditional song at a singaround or session than in anywhere calling itself a Folk Club"
   another example of the generalisations written by internet scribes.
firstly its not true, secondly folk clubs include traditional songs but do not exclude contemporary songs.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 05:55 PM

There is one point about folk clubs that nobody has yet mentioned.

Without those of us who devoted a large portion of our lives to their organisation, nobody would have heard of Carthy outside of a fifty mile radius of his home, and the same is true for just about every other bookable guest.

Folk music is undergoing a resurgence at the moment, which is mostly taking place in the burgeoning session/singaround scene, but the really talented newcomers to that scene cannot progress without guest booking venues.

The fact is that the Art Centre and Festival opportunities cannot cater to more than a small fraction of their number, so there has to be some move toward re-establishing the places where young hopefuls used to hone their performances.

The OP is well known for his negative attitudes toward any kind of structured environment, including for a very long period Mudcat itself. Not surprising then that he has taken the worst attributes of a very small minority of clubs, and cobbled them together into stereotypical, but totally mythical, venues.

The biggest problem any would be folk club organiser faces today is the erroneous impression given by such sourpuss criticism.

GSS knows more about the first impressions on anyone entering the clubs I organised than I would feel comfortable claiming, and I believe that he would agree with most, if not all, of the above.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 06:49 PM

'pushing the demographic up even higher whilst lowering the overall standard.'

puzzled over that phrase - what do you mean?

Personally I like older people having a sing. Although sometimes I do get a bit impatient some of the really bloody awful music you encounter. Its not an age thing. Some people who look relatively normal can sound very strange. A three song spot can sometimes feel like an eternity. Why do all the really lousy singers seem to know such long songs.

And most of its avoidable - if only they asked themselves - would YOU be entertained by that?


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 06:51 PM

Suibhne Astray - If you did live in Canada, you would be in constant peril of being assaulted by roving gangs of feral beavers, trampled by rutting moose, and laughed at by loons! Be glad you are in the UK where it's safe. ;-D

Let me explain further what I was on about in my previous post. The places where I normally see folk music or acoustic music or trad music happening here are:

1. small cafes that encourage acoustic music - You can get alcohol at those places, but it's not the main reason people go there, so it doesn't cause a problem with audience attention.

2. local song circles - You can get alcohol at some of those, but again...it's not the main reason people go there. They go to play music.

3. house concerts - Same deal. You can get beer or wine at most house concerts, but people go to listen to the music.

4. folk festivals - You can only drink alcohol at the "beer tent"...not on the rest of the grounds. There is entertainment at the beer tent. People who want to drink all night will favour the beer tent.

5. formal concerts in concert halls - You can get beer or wine in a separate room during intermission, but you can't take it into the concert hall with you.

In all of the above situations you have the option of having a drink or two or three if that's your pleasure...but people are basically there to listen to music. And there are no TVs to be seen.

All of the above produces a great venue for acoustic music.

And then..........there are the bars. People go to bars to get drunk, to talk loudly, to try to pick up someone, etc....and their attention to the live music is generally pretty poor unless it is incredibly LOUD. And there are TV sets on with some damn football or hockey game going. Most bars prefer loud rock or blues music to acoustic music. Most patrons of bars are largely oblivious and barely listen at all to acoustic music. The environment totally SUCKS if you are a folk musician.

Does that help clear up what I am saying?

Note: There is the odd bar that is an exception to the above and has a really nice atmosphere that is conducive to acoustic music. If so, it's because the management in that bar has succeeded in creating a mood and attitude there that favours a less oblivious audience. Such bars are rare in Canada.

But again...beware the feral moose and beavers!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: johncharles
Date: 07 Mar 12 - 07:10 PM

the continued existence of folk clubs suggest some people like them.
our club will celebrate its 50th year shortly. I am sure it has experienced many changes but it remains a place where like minded people can come together and hear live music. we have singers nights, guest nights, and slow sessions. plus a webpage (keeping up with the times don't you know.)

http://www.reverbnation.com/venue/barnsleyfolkandacousticnight
john


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Joe Nicholson
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 10:44 AM

For all their faults I prefer the intimacy of a Folk Club to the formality of a Concert

Joe Nicholson


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 11:12 AM

Yes. I do. Burl.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 11:35 AM

Do you remember a conversation we had long ago Burl? It was when we were extras on Boone and you were 'boxing referee with towel' and I was 'excited boxing fan in smokey crowd', and I run you home that night.

Even back then, we were saying that it was hard to be as sharp a performer as one wold like - given the dearth of folk club gigs. When was that? A long time ago? Have things changed? I wonder.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 02:38 PM

I like the folk clubs I go to and they all have similar formats. A mixture of singers/musicians nights and paid guest nights. The paid guest nights typically vary from fortnightly to monthly. Singers/musicians nights are mostly round the room singaround format with an MC to manage the evening. Usually you sing or play from your seat but in some cases you go up to the front and sing. Mostly either one or two songs each time. You don't seem to get residents in the old sense and the "support" on a guest night is round the room with some or all of those who sing getting one song each and just once round in total. The guest usually gets two 40 - 45 minute spots.

With a good MC the whole thing works well and those I know are very fair.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: TheSnail
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 03:55 PM

I had been thinking that nobody had really answered Joe's question and now Tootler has given the basics. I would add that, as others have indicated, they are, I think, exclusively not-for-profit organisations run by volunteers. They generally have audiences in the tens. They are somewhat more formal than singarounds but less so than concerts. They often take place in the function rooms of pubs but also in whatever is available such as village halls.

Beyond that, they can vary enourmously. The Sangboc club that Will Fly mentions is pretty much a singaround although it is very new and may develop. Others are more like small concerts with a main act and a booked support act. The majority follow the model that Tootler describes although I would disagree with him about residents. I help run one of the two in Lewes and Vic Smith helps run the other. In our club, the residents take their turn with the other floorspots; in Vic's they do the first half support and floorsingers do the second half.

Things may be very different in other parts of the country, but both Lewes clubs are heavily biased towards traditional music and song. There are one or two people who read the lyrics from song sheets but, as they gain confidence, we hope to wean them off it.

Oh and yes, I really do like folk clubs.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: reynard
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 07:28 AM

So that's two votes for Lewes as the most folk-friendly zone in South England and in the absence of any other responses to my question, Lewes wins.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 11:58 AM

Ahhh......folk clubs.......I remember some of them well......The Druids FC(Suns.) at The Chestnut Tree in Derby where you had to be careful about stamping on the floor 'cos it disturbed/showered plaster or dust on the drinkers below in the bar. The Old Kings Head(Fri?) in Belper which I helped to run for a while, Derby's Peasmouldia(Thurs.) with The Lonesome Travellers at the helm, Nottingham's NTMC(Fri.) where the committee 'perched' on the radiator behind the singers rather like a jury....There were others...The Ivy Bush in Pontardawe,The Herga in H&W,The Railway(?) at Dartford, and the marvellous Blue Ball sessions organised by Pete & Chris Coe and the Ryburn Valley 'Mafia'.... Since I fled Maggie T's UK 30 years ago I've scarcely been inside a genuine,down-to-earth Folk Club.
One thing I DO NOT MISS- the cigarette smog!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Bob the Shantyman
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 06:10 PM

I used to MC in a couple of clubs in the Stourbridge area of the west Midlands. There were three or four clubs in the area at the time and when the timing was right I could do three or four clubs in the same week. Now I'm in Shropshire, playing and singing in sessions rather than clubs and I really miss the floor spots done by local singers, the banter with the crowd and the atmosphere of a folk club. Sessions are so different where its a question of playing or singing rather than performing. In answer to the question: Yes,I do!More folk clubs please!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 07:18 PM

So that's two votes for Lewes as the most folk-friendly zone in South England and in the absence of any other responses to my question, Lewes wins.

The Lewes clubs are excellent. I visit them when I can, which isn't often owing to other musical commitments. When I do, I'm made to feel very welcome - in spite of the fact that I only occasionally play traditional music. I play a weird mix of ragtime, blues, jazz , '20s popular songs, music hall and anything that takes my fancy. And they put up with me nevertheless...

Long may they flourish!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 07:49 PM

If I ran a folk club and you turned up there Will, I would feel privileged and honoured by your presence. Can't see where the putting up comes into it.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: TheSnail
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 07:53 PM

People are being very nice. Say Hello next time you're around reynard. Is it really true that all the clubs in the rest of the country are full of singer/songwriters and out of tune guitarists singing Dylan and The Beatles out of notebooks as the nay sayers would have us believe?

See you for the Twaggers tonight Mr Fly?


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 08:23 PM

'Is it really true that all the clubs in the rest of the country are full of singer/songwriters and out of tune guitarists singing Dylan and The Beatles'

Well that's only the traddies, the rest of us sing songs by Radiohead and that bloke that's married to Gwynneth Paltrow.

Personally speaking i play a Yamaha and we are so out of tune - but to be honest, we're out of our head on drugs and we don't generally notice. You're not by my brother, are you...? If you are. you owe me four quid....from 1976.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 08:24 PM

in Vic's they do the first half support and floorsingers do the second half.
not a good policy, the whole point of a resident band[imo]is flexibilty, to be there to step in and bring the evening up if a floor singer is having an off night.
A prime example was Skinners Rats who ran Farningham folk club, which was in my opinion a much better club than Vic Smiths club, and I have been booked at both, Farningham was a great club, they even booked Stephane Grappeli, but part of what made it as a club were Skinners Rats


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 08:33 PM

What a scoundrel! He should be horsewhipped and fed Bob Dylan in suppository form!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 03:38 AM

I do like the idea of the residents only stepping in if there is a shortage of floor singers. I met an organiser of one club who did not go to another local venue despite the good acts because they always had the same support act.
We used to have really good sessions with the morris side with usualy one individual spot for each person who wanted one then tune sets and songs for all to join in singing and/or playing along to. As an organiser I would only do a solo if there was no one else, which was fairly infrequent. The policy seemed to work as we usually had good post dance attendance and many of the publicans claimed that it was the music they really enjoyed.
I also like to see the main act in a folk club audiencing the floor spots. I think it shows a discourtesy if they dont.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Fidjit
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 03:49 AM

Last Thursday at Corsham Folk Club they had guests.(they don't have many) I didn't know it was a guest night so had three instruments with me thinking I would get about three songs. Which is the norm. (I got one)

However, the guests were Jacqueline Sharp and Andrew Bazeley. Who sang most of what I'd heard Doris Day sing. And they were extreamly good.

Surprise. Surprise this went down very well. You must know that most of the audience were old enough to remember Doris Day quite well. Can't find anything of them both, but here is Just Andy giving it six.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 06:38 AM

I may well indeed Twag this evening, Bryan. Depends on my energy levels this evening after a thoroughly physical band night last night (ceilidh in my village hall). Got there at 5pm to get everything ready and got away around midnight. The guitar-playing Twagger, Mr. Chisholm, was still there when I left - I hope he's fitter than I am!

Big Al - the only reason I talk of the Lewes clubs "putting up" with me (which is partly tongue-in-cheek) is that the organisers and residents are rock-solid enthusiasts of traditional music in all its forms - but they're also broadminded enough to have dirty old boppers like me playing for them!

There's a folk club not a million miles from me in which, on open stage nights (i.e. no guest artistes), you won't hear one traditional song or tune. If I go there, which is rare these days, I make a deliberate point of playing or singing something from the tradition - just to be different!


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 07:26 AM

@Big Al Whittle- so, a Yamaha- no doubt you're the one doing wheelies in the carpark.............


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 08:51 AM

I wore this handkerchief, in remembrance of thee
Tied it round me neck me luv, in flash company
And it was yellow


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 10:16 AM

I would like them UK folk clubs just fine if it wasn't for the fact that I been refused entry to several of 'em for no other reason than my ancestry and my genetic coding. Rank specism! Something decisive will be done about it after I become president of the USA. Depend on that. Don't think that the Atlantic Ocean is wide enough to keep you Limeys safe in yer little bubble, cos others have made that mistake...

- Chongo


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 10:51 AM

Chong, if we can put up with Will Fly, I don't see that we'd have any problem with you.


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Subject: RE: Does anyone really like folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 10 Mar 12 - 01:52 PM

That is an interestin' point, Snail. I guess maybe I ain't had the good fortune to visit yer club yet.

I will consider cancellin' my hypothetical plans for launchin' Operation Banjo Jump in mid-2012.

- Chongo


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