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Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?

Northerner 06 May 06 - 01:58 PM
Zany Mouse 06 May 06 - 02:11 PM
Northerner 06 May 06 - 02:20 PM
Lancashire Lad 06 May 06 - 02:40 PM
Richard Bridge 07 May 06 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,Andy 07 May 06 - 05:08 AM
Strollin' Johnny 07 May 06 - 05:23 AM
Northerner 07 May 06 - 05:36 AM
Northerner 07 May 06 - 05:45 AM
RoyH (Burl) 07 May 06 - 05:49 AM
greg stephens 07 May 06 - 08:10 AM
Leadfingers 07 May 06 - 11:45 AM
Northerner 07 May 06 - 12:04 PM
Strollin' Johnny 07 May 06 - 01:05 PM
Northerner 07 May 06 - 01:28 PM
Zany Mouse 07 May 06 - 01:47 PM
Northerner 07 May 06 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Scottie 07 May 06 - 06:54 PM
Splott Man 08 May 06 - 04:43 AM
Northerner 08 May 06 - 05:51 AM
Cllr 08 May 06 - 07:19 AM
GUEST 08 May 06 - 07:31 AM
Strollin' Johnny 08 May 06 - 07:40 AM
Northerner 08 May 06 - 09:46 AM
RoyH (Burl) 08 May 06 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,Nicholas Waller, Topic Webo 09 May 06 - 07:44 PM
Northerner 10 May 06 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Nicholas Waller 10 May 06 - 01:39 PM
Northerner 11 May 06 - 07:55 AM
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Subject: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 06 May 06 - 01:58 PM

Are folk clubs subsidised at all? I hadn't heard of any subsidies, but I am only a floor singer and not involved in administration at all.

I started going to a storytelling circle occasionally a few months ago. Now it has run into problems because its Arts Council subsidy has been cancelled. They are going to reapply and in the meantime have put out a smaller programme for the next few months and are looking through their options. One of their options is to increase fee at the door (from £5 to £6) and another is to change to a different venue.

I would not have described this as a failing storytelling circle. They get good attendances. Their expenses, however, are larger than their income on the door.

So, I wondered how folk clubs are able to keep their heads above water financially. And if there are any ideas that they could implement.

For instance, the pub that they go to once a month charges for hire of the room. But I know that some folk clubs get their room for free. And I don't think they have a raffle either.

Do you have any suggestions for them? Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 06 May 06 - 02:11 PM

First of all, approach the landlord. Many landlords can be persuaded because of the extra bar takings. A raffle will always raise a bit extra but the price for the story telling circle is rather high so the punters might not stand for one.

I've never applied for an Arts Council grant so I don't know anything about it. I'm sure there's a catter out there who can enlighten you.

Good luck

Rhiannon


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 06 May 06 - 02:20 PM

Thank you Rhiannon. I am not sure how approachable their landlord is, however. They had to change their monthly night earlier this year because their landlord wanted to use it for something else.

The landlords of some folk clubs can be very welcoming. At the Thursday night folk club that I go to, the landlord hands round free sandwiches! Yes, I suppose it comes out of our drinks money. Even so, it is a very nice gesture.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Lancashire Lad
Date: 06 May 06 - 02:40 PM

As Rhiannon says, many landlords are happy to host such events (especially in the quieter mid week period) as this can boost their bar takings. However in todays time where many landlords are struggling to pay their rents, they may opt for the most profitable night they can put on. If these means dumping the folk based event in favour of s more profitable regular booking they will do it.

One option that you might consider is fundraising via a different route. At Woven Wheat Whispers we are currently discussing the possibility of making a fund raising album available for a couple of folk clubs. I wont bore you with all the detail here, but the general idea is local artists record and contribute a track or two each which we compile into a downloadable album. The Folk club sets the selling price and everytime some kind soul pays to download the album, it adds a few quid into club funds. It will never make a vast amount of money, but it might just help keep the wolf from the door.

If that sounds an interesting idea to anyone, you are quite free to email me by clicking here.

Cheers
LL


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 May 06 - 03:21 AM

Derek Moore's "Moore or Less" club (Three Mariners, Lower Rainham, Kent) has a council or quango grant but I do not know the details


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Andy
Date: 07 May 06 - 05:08 AM

I run a folk club in the local cricket club premises. The cricket club committee let us have use of the place for £10 per month, (which I actually volunteered to pay) to defray a bit of the heating and lighting costs incurred by our club nights. The cricketers obviously use the clubhouse at weekends during the summer, but in winter they only have a small social gathering on Saturday nights and they're grateful for the place being used by us and a bit of cash going over the bar midweek. There's a great deal of trust. I hold a set of keys to the place, my wife Sue runs the bar, we organise the 'cellar work' and a multitude of folkies help set up the room for club nights, ensuring it's back to'normal' afterwards. I hand the bar takings to the club treasurer about once a month.There's a bit of work for us but this is a wonderful arrangement.We're happy, they're happy, bliss! Could you look at the possibility of a similar arrangement for your storytelling evenings? Might be worth approaching someone! Incidentally, why charge £5 to £6? Do they have paid performers, are the organisers taking 'expenses' or does the landlord want a hefty whack for use of the room? Could the occasional storytelling equivalent of a 'singers' night, with just free local talent, where folks drop a couple of quid in an astray, help to build up a bit of revenue? Could you find cheap 'dry' premises where folks can take their own booze? We've never paid a room hire fee in 36 years of the club's existence (in 3 venues), most publicans being happy to have the extra bar income. What do other organisers have to pay for room hire these days? Anyway best of luck, best wishes for your continued existence!

Regards
Andy


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 07 May 06 - 05:23 AM

Like Andy, I wonder what these 'expenses' are! £5 a head entrance-money, and good attendance, should be producing a sizeable pot - maybe it's not an increase in income you need, but a cut in expenses or a new treasurer, or both.

At Gainsborough Folk Club we have free entrance on singaround nights (which is the vast bulk of our meetings) and our only income is from a raffle, but we searched around and found a room in a members club which they let us have for nothing. Pretty it ain't, but it's free and the music makes an atmosphere. Our raffle-proceeds go towards the cost of putting on a paid guest four or five times a year (recent guests have included Anthony John Clarke, Julie Ellison and Bram Taylor) so we charge entrance of only £3-50 on those nights. On this meagre income our funds are steadily, albeit slowly, increasing.

Sorry, don't mean to offend anyone but it needs to be asked - do you really know where your door money's actually going?


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 07 May 06 - 05:36 AM

Thank you Andy.

The storytelling circle is run by a group of storytellers. They are professional performers but they give their time and their talents for free. However, they are charged for hire of the room by the landlord. They do have Open Mic sessions but have quite a number of professional storytellers who perform there and have their fees to pay. It seems to me that they would need to change venues and have more Open Mic sessions.

I will pass the ideas generated by this thread on to them. Thank you again!


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 07 May 06 - 05:45 AM

Thank you Strollin' Johnny. The storytelling circle only meets once a month so the income generated would take longer to build up. The organisers give their services for free and there is good attendance.

The bulk of their expenses come from the hire of the room and the fees of the performers that they use. The performers do include some of the top names in storytelling.

I attend folk clubs that are very similar to the set-up that you describe. And they give an excellent evening's entertainment.

It does sound to me that they should seriously consider changing to another venue, and using more Open Mic sessions. Thank you for your feeback.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 07 May 06 - 05:49 AM

I suggest you get in touch with Splott Man or Dr Price on Mudcat. Their club has some knowledge of getting grants from local authorities. Worth a try.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 May 06 - 08:10 AM

It is always worth applying. It is very frustrating,the forms have invariably been designed by someone who has seen a couple of forms, but never really thought about the subject. I think the Form Design Module at the Arts Administration Collge consists of an introductory lecture on a Friday afternoon.
   But if you persevere and complete an application, at least someone Up There will know that someone somewhere is organising folk projects and needs some money, and it should help in the long run. Just dont get bitter and twisted. And when they ask if your target participant is (a) Chinese or (b) Asian, don't get smart alecky and say "China was in Asia last time I went to school". That just shows how long ago you went to school, you old fogy. In the modern world of Artspeak, they are two separate places.
Another one to watch out for(this caught me out recently) is a question:
"What are the aims of your project".
Well, you think a bit, and think a bit more, and then you write a couple of ideas down, then you come up with something pretty definitive and write it in on the form, thinking"Well, that's covered everything". Then you look at the next question, and your heart sinks as you realise it says
"What are the desired outcomes of your project?"
    At this point, you start to weep. At first silently, then louder and louder as you realise the impossibility of making any mental connection with the alien beings who write this drivel.
    But seriously, apply, apply, apply. Get a thick skin. It's a game, but there are others playing it. So you had better learn too.
   Perhaps, though, if you are a budding folksinger, you should perhaps consider busking. At least it's honest.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 May 06 - 11:45 AM

In my somewhat limited experience of getting Arts Grants for Folk Events , it seems to help if what you are doing has some sort of 'educational' element . In other words , can the Artist who you want to book do a Workshop (Harmony ,Aspects of Song writing , Beginner Folk Piping , or such) as a precursor to the 'entertainment' aspect of the Gig .


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 07 May 06 - 12:04 PM

Thank you all. They had grants before, so they are familiar with applying for grants. There are simply more people applying for grants now, I think, and the pot is smaller. They have certainly ran workshops through the storytelling circle; I attended one myself in the autumn. So they are already fulfilling an educational purpose. They are re-applying for the August deadline I think.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 07 May 06 - 01:05 PM

Also helps if you know the current PC buzzwords and catch-phrases that press buttons for the people who control grant hand-outs. They change like female fashion, so whilst for instance words like 'empowerment' and 'young people' might do it one time, they could well be turned on by something completely different the next time. It's helpful if you can make the acquaintance on one or more such people and get a bit of advice.
S:0)


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 07 May 06 - 01:28 PM

Thank you Strollin' Johnny. Yes, I think there may be fashions in this. I am a member of a drumming circle and we often put in for grants too; helping ethnic minorities (which is what the drumming circle does) is probably very PC at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 07 May 06 - 01:47 PM

One thought crossed my mind. Some years ago Capital Folk Club in central London had to leave their premises. Les Sullivan (Frog) and his then wife, Gillian, took to their feet and walked around dozens of pubs and begged for a room free. Their persistence paid off and Capital lived to fight another day - in fact several more years.

Maybe this is a lesson to those paying too much for rooms.

Rhiannon


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 07 May 06 - 06:51 PM

Thank you Rhiannon. Tonight I had a quick chat with John Taylor, organiser of the Cutty Wren Folk Club and the Saltburn Folk Club. He says the same as all of you here have done - that they should look for a different venue. He also suggested they contacted Folkworks in Newcastle to see if they can help at all.

Seems to me that the circle can survive, with a bit of thought and trying a few options.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Scottie
Date: 07 May 06 - 06:54 PM

If you involve ethnic minorities the money rolls in!


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Splott Man
Date: 08 May 06 - 04:43 AM

The Arts Council of Wales has for long time had a policy of funding which does not exclude folk events, particularly through their Night Out scheme. Llantrisant Folk Club (I can't speak for other clubs) has in the past had grants for particular events from the Arts Council in partnership with our local authority.
I believe the the English Arts Council has a new venue development scheme for bringing the arts into areas that are under-served. I know, for example, that Sid Kipper works a lot through this scheme.
You need to develop a working relationship with people from funding bodies, who despite criticism regarding "high" art, are there to help you. Don't go in just demanding money, but ask questions regarding how they might help you develop an audience/venue. You may have to adjust your thinking a little bit, but it won't compromise your primary aim which is (I'm guessing here) to spread your music etc as far and wide as possible.
Remember you are dealing with people, not faceless organisations.

Splott Man


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 08 May 06 - 05:51 AM

Thank you Splott Man. I'll suggest that my friends read this thread.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Cllr
Date: 08 May 06 - 07:19 AM

ii have in the past been successful in getting grants for folk cluns and folk events.
Most local arts/ government grants will not pay running costs ie payment for artists or room hire but have to be used for either equipment mikes, peakers, movanble stage, or for something like advertising or printing. some times if your lucky you can get funding for one off concerts then any profit from one off concert money can be used to subsidise the folk club.

if an artist can do story telling or teaching Folk skills in a local school then some times funding can be raised for that. The money from this can be used to make a more attractive package to allow a club to access performes they might not be able to afford.

Check with the local council for possible grants remeber that town/parich may have budget set aside to promote the area as well as district borough and County there are probaly less options in a unitary but all arts council should have ssome funding available

To set it up you willneed to fufil basic sriteria of bank account and consttution and be not for profit. Hope that helps Cllr


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 May 06 - 07:31 AM

I know quite a few people who make money from running folk clubs/jam sessions in South London & Kent. It's usually in a pub and the landlord does not charge, in some cases the landlord even pays the organiser. The club then charges punters £1 £ 2 or even up to £5 just to enter even when there is no paid guest performing! They then have the cheek to sell raffle tickets which can pull in up to £50, not bad when the prize is just a bottle of cheap plonk!

One bloke was the treasurer of a folk club for a year and skimmed about £2000!

Good init!


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 08 May 06 - 07:40 AM

We're not all like that. Gainsborough FC is a properly-organised club with a Constitution (you need one of those if you want to get a grant) a committee, a secretary, a treasurer, a chairman, and independently-audited accounts.
Darn Sarf might be full of slimy money-grubbing scrotes, but up here in t'North we've got standards.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 08 May 06 - 09:46 AM

Thank you all.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 08 May 06 - 04:24 PM

Splott Man and Dr Price, I've just realised that I quoted your names to Northerner without first getting permission. Apologies for that. Eagerness to help led to a lapse in courtesy. Burl


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Nicholas Waller, Topic Webo
Date: 09 May 06 - 07:44 PM

The Topic, for which I do the website, has, as far as I'm aware, only had one subsidy in recent years. This was capped, and only payable in the event the door take did not reach the guaranteed minimum for one specific act. It was part of Yorkshire Arts' Musicians in Residence scheme, and required either the line "This project has received funding from Arts Council England" or the ACE logo on all relevant publicity and the website. But it was a one-off.

As per the Topic website FAQ (so I'm not giving away any big secrets), all the door take on a guest night goes to the headline act/s. Money in, money out - none of the take goes to running the club, so raising the ticket price by £1 would benefit the artists, not the club. (Singers' and musicians' nights - singarounds - are free entry).

All club costs - publicity, making up minimum guarantees &c - are paid from annual membership fees and the raffle income, though of course there are considerable individual contributions of unpaid time and services (eg, donation of raffle prizes) by club members. The club room isn't rented, which helps; the idea is the audience (and musicians) will boost the host pub's bar take by £000s over the year.

So in answer to Northerner's questions, yes, a rent-free venue and a raffle would be good starts for the circle you're concerned about. As mentioned in the December Newsletter the Topic managed to record a small surplus last year with this setup (plus membership fees). What would be hard for a club like the Topic would be a succession of relatively high profile/expensive acts where the door take fell far short of the minimum guarantee, which would mean soaking up any surpluses built up and chomping into individuals' pockets.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 10 May 06 - 04:38 AM

Thank you Nicholas. My Greetings to the Topic! I used to do floor spots with you when I was younger. Back in the early 70s when I was a student at the university. I have very fond memories of some very fine evenings at your folk club. My real name is Diane Taylor - I used to sing English and Scottish tradtional unaccompanied songs. It's over 30 years ago so I don't suppose anyone will remember me. Glad to hear the club is still going strong.


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: GUEST,Nicholas Waller
Date: 10 May 06 - 01:39 PM

Hallo Diane/Northerner... Unfortunately I don't go to the Topic myself much as I live in Somerset; I do the website long-distance for my brother John, who is act booker and occasional MC (and floor singer) there. He's at the university; in the early 70s he was a research student and lecturer in the then Dept of Yugoslav Studies, and now he goes to China and the Gulf to grab overseas students. But he didn't go to the Topic much then - there was a Uni folk club, though it was quite traditional and sniffed at him showing up with a guitar. He spent more time at the Bradford Playhouse (and Film Theatre)(now the Priestley) in the 70s and 80s.

I don't know how many people at the Topic now were there in your day. Roger Sutcliffe, a former club organiser, goes - he has performed nearly every year since 1964. Trevor Charnock, also a former organiser from the 70s and 80s, goes from time to time.

In your time the club was at the Star Hotel (1969-1991). Now (since January this year) it is at the Cock & Bottle (old pub across the road from the Old Paper Hall, Bradford's oldest building, just up from the cathedral). If you look on the website (links in my previous post) you'll see there's a gig list that is (almost) complete from 1970 to now... if you are so minded, you could probably pin down some of the evenings you sang if you could remember the headline act. For instance, 5th Jan 1973 was Martin Carthy, 7th June 1974 was Vin Garbutt, 7th November 1975 was the 19th Anniversary Weekend with Roy Bailey and Leon Rosselson.

It is the 50th anniversary year of the Topic now!


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Subject: RE: Are there subsidies for any folk clubs?
From: Northerner
Date: 11 May 06 - 07:55 AM

Thank you Nicholas. Yes, I knew the uni folk club; I did floor spots there occasionally over three years. I only started going to the Topic in my Final year and also went to the Fox and Goose.

I don't remember your brother at all. I do vaguely remember seeing Roger Sutcliffe. He turned up fairly recently at the Cutty Wren on a singaround night and did a couple of short spots. He was booked for a guest night later this month but has cancelled for some reason.

It's a shame that so many of the university folk clubs have folded; they were where I started out and were good for beginners.


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