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Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'

Desert Dancer 18 Aug 06 - 11:29 PM
Barry Finn 19 Aug 06 - 12:25 AM
Cllr 19 Aug 06 - 03:02 AM
Liz the Squeak 19 Aug 06 - 03:37 AM
bill\sables 19 Aug 06 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 19 Aug 06 - 07:25 AM
andrewq 19 Aug 06 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 19 Aug 06 - 08:14 AM
greg stephens 19 Aug 06 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Mike Miller 19 Aug 06 - 09:25 AM
Janie 19 Aug 06 - 11:31 AM
Midchuck 19 Aug 06 - 11:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Aug 06 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 19 Aug 06 - 12:37 PM
John MacKenzie 19 Aug 06 - 01:14 PM
Ron Davies 19 Aug 06 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,TJ 19 Aug 06 - 01:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Aug 06 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 19 Aug 06 - 03:30 PM
open mike 19 Aug 06 - 04:22 PM
Les from Hull 19 Aug 06 - 04:42 PM
Little Robyn 19 Aug 06 - 05:20 PM
8_Pints 19 Aug 06 - 05:37 PM
artbrooks 19 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM
open mike 19 Aug 06 - 08:20 PM
Desert Dancer 20 Aug 06 - 11:18 PM
s&r 21 Aug 06 - 03:42 AM
Scrump 21 Aug 06 - 04:03 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Aug 06 - 01:11 PM
Desert Dancer 22 Aug 06 - 01:06 AM
fi_in_nz 22 Aug 06 - 10:38 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Aug 06 - 11:05 AM
GUEST 22 Aug 06 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Tabster 22 Aug 06 - 01:14 PM
Seamus Kennedy 22 Aug 06 - 01:26 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Aug 06 - 01:30 PM
Leadfingers 22 Aug 06 - 02:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Aug 06 - 08:41 PM
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Subject: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 11:29 PM

I thought this was an interesting question that deserved its own thread:

Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival
From: Janie - PM
Date: 18 Aug 06 - 10:44 PM

I'm not sure folk festivals in Britain are the same kind of event that many folk festivals are in the USA. Some one familiar with both want to comment?

Janie

--

I don't have experience of both, but often read festival threads from "both sides of the pond".

What was it that struck you as different from your experience, Janie? (And was it the about Philadelphia Folk Festival, or Clifftop, aka Appalachian String Band Music Festival, as mentioned in that other thread?)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Barry Finn
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 12:25 AM

Thanks for posting this question DD. I've only been to US festivals & have followed the threads from elsewhere with curiosity.
Thanks
Barry


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Cllr
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 03:02 AM

the main difference IMHO is that folk festivals i have been to in the states where at schools and therefore dry while beer drinking is an integral part of uk festivals.

Also when i wsas running a shanty session (singaround) at the free san francisco folk festival i was told that it was usual not to applaud between songs so you could fit more in, but I got the audiance to appluad any way it didntseem to save much time as the audiance spen t a couple of minutes after eachsong tryin to congratulate the preivous performer bywaggling their eyebrows etc. Cllr


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 03:37 AM

I don't know about the US, but I've attended festivals in Europe and things seem to be much different.

Firstly, they seem to have a much more secure financial backing from major companies (Dranouter festival is sponsored by the premier radio station in Belgium) and this shows.

Secondly, they are much more geared towards the assorted age groups, but the assorted age groups are welcomed in EVERY location, regardless of how disruptive they can be. The concert tents (Dranouter is so big it needs LCD screens half way down) don't have many seats (people sit on the ground) so it's much more relaxed and no-one gets wound up if the people in front get up and leave part way through.

The festivals aren't "dry" but they do have a greater (and cheaper) range of soft drink/juice stalls. The beer tents are clean, bright and well attended by bar staff. Some of them also serve food and there is usually more than one on site.

One regret would be that there didn't seem to be any 'fringe' events, no singarounds or sessions, but as there was usually so much else going on over the whole site, that wasn't really a problem.

However, the craft stalls, as far as I could see, sold the same multicoloured tutt and ethnic monstrosities as every festival I've ever been to in the UK. Several of them were in fact, the same stalls!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: bill\sables
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 03:39 AM

Hello - Susan of DT here

We have been to many US festivals and a couple of UK festivals.

The US festivals are mostly in contained areas - a school, fairground, fenced off space. What fringe there is is in the
parking lot/campground (not all festivals have camping). There are no pubs in existance, not to say in use as fringe. Festivals are usually outside. If it rains, you sit in the rain and listen. A few have alternate indoor venues, but not many. There are usually large night concerts, such that everyone goes to the one concert at night. During the day, there are smaller groups that might be miniconcerts or workshops on instruments, singing styles, a topic, or whatever. Sometimes there is also dancing. There is usually no beer. People commute, stay in motels, or camp (if it is available). Vocal and instrumental are integrated. Dance may or may nor be present, usually separate if present.

Whitby is the UK Festival we know best and the other two we went to so far Towersley barn only and Scottish National are different, so it may be Whitby that is different. Whitby has a vast number of performers. The festival site is the entire town. Events occur in avery large room in town. Events are aal indoors, except for some Morris displays. People rent "cottages" for the week or else camp. The fringe is almost every pub in town. Lots of beer. Whitby is all traditional singers (we go to the vocal portions, there are also instrumental and dance portions). Vocal, instrumental and dance are widely separated - as if three different festivals.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 07:25 AM

What's "Scottish National"? I've been involved in the folk scene here in Scotland for more than 25 years and never heard of it.

I wouldn't go to a folk festival with no sessions. Don't particularly care about the beer, but pubs are often good places to play in.

Bill's description of a US festival sounds like what brass banders do here - there's a big annual brass band festival in this village (Newtongrange) which takes place in a fenced-off area of the park. But they also use the pub across the road and have a beer tent.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: andrewq
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 08:01 AM

Jack wrote: What's "Scottish National"?

It ran in 2003 and 2004. I don't know if it still happens. The old web page is here:

http://www.thenationalfolkfestival.co.uk/htmfiles/nfs_mainset.htm


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 08:14 AM

It's just Common Ground now. I wouldn't have thought of that as a festival at all, any more than the Stirling University summer schools are. A friend of mine has just been to it at my suggestion, got a lot out of it.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 08:35 AM

When people say there's no beer in USA festivals: do they mean no beer on sale, or an actual ban on beer drinking?


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: GUEST,Mike Miller
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 09:25 AM

Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. It's something to do with the law or liability or the plethora of lawyers. (An attempt was made, this year, to have a beer tent near the food venders but it didn't work out). This does not mean that there is no imbibing at the fest. The thousands of campers enjoy whatever refreshment they bring with them. So long as they are not dragging kegs into the campground, the powers that be turn a tolerant eye. I am keenly aware of the booze ban. For thirty years, I ran the big campfire sing and each night I began the procedings with a reminder of the rules and an offer to "dispose" of any contraband (potable or combustable) from penitant souls, no questions asked.
I have played at festivals in U.K., Ireland, Israel and the USA and they are different, reflecting the cultural mores of the country. Americans are more into picking sessions than singing sessions. Our love affair with improvisation is evinced in the popularity of such forms as Blues, jazz, rock and bluegrass. Our European fascination with precision and tradition has been tempered with an Afrocentric response to rythmic variety and complexity. I'm old, so I was raised with Eurocentric values (It's why I became a folksinger) but I am, also, American and I love to play swing and bluegrass and to alter melodies as I go along.
The biggest difference between European and American festivals is the attitude toward tradition. Americans are not as in love with their traditions as you guys are. There are many possible reasons for this (Age, political awareness, ethnic multiplicity. etc) but the fact remains that, without a strong tie between the audience and its roots, a folk festival is nothing but a music festival in jeans.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Janie
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 11:31 AM

Thanks for starting this thread, Becky. I really didn't know if 'festival' meant the same thing in the UK and the USA. From what I've read here so far, they are more alike than different.

When I was younger, I went to festivals nearly every weekend during the 'season,' but I rarely attend them anymore. Maybe things are different now. One thing I am thinking is that in the UK, singing is more valued than in the USA as a 'participant sport' in the campbrounds and parking lots. At least that is my experience with festivals in the southeast USA. Most of my festival going experience has been Bluegrass and Old Time music festivals, so that may account for a big part of that. But I think that is true even at folk and 'roots' festivals. In the campgrounds or 'fringe', if you want to be a participant and not exclusively a spectator, you better be carrying something with a neck and strings.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Midchuck
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 11:39 AM

My favorite US festival, Old Songs, is not "dry." The Newman's Ale people (as in the Roberts/Barrand song) have had a sale truck there for many years.

Most US folk and bluegrass festivals have a "no alcohol in the concert area" rule, but don't give you any hassle about what you do in the camping areas.

I guess some of the major rock festivals are quite different - searching everyone's rucksacks, not letting you bring in bottled water because it might be vodka, blah, blah.   I won't go to such an event more than once, if that.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 12:29 PM

There are some festivals in England which take place in a field or a park cut off from the outside world, mostly with big concerts and not much of a fringe - in the folk context Cambridge is a major example. I think it's a pattern that is more prevalent in other types of music in this country.

I used to go to Cambridge but haven't for some years, and that way of running a festival doesn't really appeal to me. Mind, the last time I went I remember taking part in a pretty good pub session outside the Festival Enclosure, so some kind of a fringe may have developed there.

The more typical pattern seems to be the one Susan of DT described for Whitby - a combination of sessions in pubs, concerts and dances in halls or marquees, and traditional display dance sides in the streets.

The balance varies, and all festivals I have been to seem to develop there own special character (and their own special characters). I've just got back from a first visit to Broadstairs this last week, following on Sidmouth which I've gone to for years. They are distinctly different, but are made of of essentially the same uingrediants.

And there are also mini-festivals based on individual pubs, typically with singing sessions in one part, and tune sessions in another, and a dance side or two in the street, when they aren't singing or playing, and maybe some more formal concert in a room or a tent.

The idea of a dry festival seems hard to imagine for anyone used to the English folk festivals. The same is true of the only Irish Fewetival I've been to, the Fleadh Ceoil, where the drink was a very major part of the fringe and the fringe was a major part of the festuval. The big differance there was the presence of masses of competitions of all sorts, right at the heart of the whole event, which is something pretty well absent from the English festivals generally.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 12:37 PM

I've never been to a festival where the policy was as strict as Peter mentions above, with bags searched, etc., but many US festivals are held on park land or at venues where the administration/owners have a no-alcohol policy, so the festival producers have no choice but to comply.

The Washington Folk Festival is held at a National Park site which bans alcohol. One year the suggestion was made (by me) that we should see if we could get a nearby tavern to be a site for pub sings and the like, as many festivals in the UK do. This was squelched immediately by those who said they didn't want people going "off site" (even by the 20 feet or so this would have involved), and they feared the Park Service wouldn't like it (not that they were even asked). So that was that. It's still a good festival, though!

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 01:14 PM

While we're at it, what is the distinction between a workshop, and a specific type of songs session, in the US?
Giok


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Ron Davies
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 01:24 PM

Don't know exactly what you mean. But a workshop would usually have a theme--a session perhaps not--but what do you mean by "specific type of songs session"?


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: GUEST,TJ
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 01:32 PM

A few US festivals do occur on multiple stages spread around the downtown area of a city -- two of my favorites over many enjoyable years are the Lowell Folk Festival and the New Bedford Summerfest, both in Massachusetts. And if you're so inclined it's easy enough to pop into a pub as you walk between venues. :-)


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 02:27 PM

It might be necessary to ask the people running a pub or a bar or whatever if it'd be all right to have a session, but I can't see how the people running a festival would have any authority to stop it happening; though as Nancy King reported there, some organisers can get a bit bossy about stuff that doesn't concern them. The thing about fringes is that they are not under the control of the organisers.

Of course different places have different rules and regulations and licences which can get in the way of that kind of things happening, as we in England know only too well, with a Licensing Law that might be designed to stamp out informal music-making.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 03:30 PM

McGrath, the idea was to include the tavern as one of the festival venues, and schedule events there, listing them on the program. So it would have been more than an ad hoc session. But it didn't happen, so it's kind of a moot question.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: open mike
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:22 PM

most fests i go to have a no GLASS rule in the main seating area,
just for safety,,you can bring beveredges in other containers.

i saw some mention (in the whining thread?) about dogs...
there would be chaos if people could bring their dogs
at the festivals i go to. Usually there is a main stage,
and several smaller stages where more intimate performances
are held..with question and answer sessions or workshops
focussing on "harmonies" or techniques.

oh, and what is crack? perhaps it means food?

some festivals offer food and drink to the performers.

most have booths where the audience can purchase all
sorts of things to eat and drink (and wear, and   ....)

most festivals have a space where the performers can sell their
products after their set. c.d.'s, t-shirts, back scratchers,
fly swatters, hats, etc.

most of the fests i go to are held in a park-like place, or
fair ground where there is a campground .

they are often multi-day events.

one of the most popular ones, Strawberry music festival,
is twice each year, and the tix sell out soon after christmas
for events in may and august. it is coming up in 1 1/2 weeks.

some people have gone twice a year for 25 years! people have
been born, married and died there. well, i am not sure about
the born part, but definately some have been born 9 months
after!! and weddings and deaths have definately happened there.

it is in a beautiful place in the mountains with tall trees,
and a lake.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Les from Hull
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:42 PM

OM - crack (more properly craic) is an Irishism for good fun and conversation, often gently alcohol-fuelled. Perhaps somebody who's more Irish than me will have a better definition.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Little Robyn
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 05:20 PM

In New Zealand some of the big festivals have a late night 'home brew' session where home-made beer is available free to everyone there and the singing is unaccompanied, often shanties, but usually chorus type songs and the thing goes on until the beer runs out - usually in the wee small hours.
Our festivals are mainly camping ones these days and music happens all over the site, ranging from trad, bluegrass, blues, morris, NZ, singer songwriter, children's sessions, a ceilidh and invited 'big name' guests from all over the world.
They happen on long weekend/public holidays so people can drive home on Monday. The next one is in Wellington at the end of October, there are others around New Year but the biggest is in Auckland at the end of January if y'all wanna come. We had a group of catters there this year as part of the Shellbacks!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: 8_Pints
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 05:37 PM

And great it was too, Robyn!

Bob vG [Shellback]


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: artbrooks
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 06:11 PM

The Northwest Folklife Festival is a three-day affair held the end of May on/at the old Worlds Fair site in Seattle. The beer tents are open from noon on each day, there are multiple stages with different areas somewhat "themed"...that is, all of the "Celtic" groups are in the same place. There is semi-organized singing, there is contra dancing all day long, there are buskers all over the place, and some great after-parties. Two blocks away it is as though the entire city was unaware of it.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: open mike
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 08:20 PM

as i recall the North west folklife festival may be free to attend,
due to support by the local community and businesses.

http://www.nwfolklife.org/

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Northwest Folklife Festival is an annual festival of ethnic, folk, and traditional art, crafts, and music that takes place over the Memorial Day weekend in Seattle, Washington at Seattle Center. It brings together an estimated 250,000 visitors, 1,800 volunteers, and more than 6,000 musicians, dancers, and other performers. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

Northwest Folklife was founded in 1971 by the Seattle Folklore Society, the National Park Service, the National Folk Festival Association (now the National Council for the Traditional Arts), and the City of Seattle, as part of the Park Service's urban outreach program to allow the people of its Northwest Region (including Alaska) to publicly present what they "make for their own use and do for their own entertainment." The first festival was first held in 1972.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 11:18 PM

Refreshing, in case there are more comments...

Here are my broad generalizations about various festival characteristics that aren't limited to any one country, from what I've seen and read, on this thread and elsewhere (I've only experienced events in North America):

Some festivals are enclosed + admission (at the gate or in advance)is required, some are free and open to all.

They may be mostly outdoors, mostly indoors, or both.
(Depends in part on the local climate, I suppose.)

They may be one-day, weekend, or week-long events.

They may focus on one genre (e.g., old-time or sea music), or encompass a wide variety of styles (including more or less variety in ethnicity of the music).

Some festivals have a dance component.

The number of and sort of participatory activities varies (sometimes a "workshop" is a panel of folks discussing/playing on a topic or theme, sometimes the attendees participate in some fashion).

Definitions of how wide the "folk" umbrella is vary from festival to festival.

There may or may not be nearby or on-site camping or other housing, and if there is this, this will increase the liklihood to near certaintly that there will be late-night music-making by attendees.

--

Generalizations contrasting the US and UK, and I believe these apply to folk music-making in general, not just folk festivals:

Americans do less unaccompanied singing than those in the UK.

Americans do less group singing.

Americans do less drinking in association with music-making; certainly less public drinking.

Americans definitely do less drinking in association with dancing.

Other than that??

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: s&r
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 03:42 AM

This is a fair definition of crack (craic)

Stu


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Scrump
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 04:03 AM

I've never been to any folk festivals outside the UK or Ireland, but the idea of a dry festival seems a bit odd. I've been to rock music festivals or outdoor concerts where they ban people from bringing in alcohol, and search everyone coming in to check, but that was simply to force people to pay the inflated prices from the people selling the stuff onsite, and maximise their profits. But I've never encountered it at any folk festival I've been to.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Aug 06 - 01:11 PM

"I've never been to any folk festivals outside the UK or Ireland, but the idea of a dry festival seems a bit odd."

As noted in one of the other posts, there are reasons for this - usually insurance and/or licensing with state and local authorities. Another reason is that some festivals here in the U.S. feel that alcohol will detract from the "family" atmosphere they are trying to create.

I do think that even after all these years, Americans still suffer the effects of prohibition. Americans never really learned to embrace beer or wine as part of a celebration without suffering the stigma of "alcohol".

On the other hand, I question the need to have alcohol to have a good time. Some of the posts I've read on Mudcat make it sound like a session could not possibly occur without a couple of pints. Perhaps because we never really had the "pub" culture here in the U.S. and often music was made on the front porch, parlour or in the kitchen. You do not need alcohol when you are comfortable with family and friends.


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 01:06 AM

Now here's a thought, in part rooted in personal experience --

Is there a causal relationship between the drier American scene and the shortage of unaccompanied singing? It takes a lot of courage to sing without even an instrument between you and the audience, and maybe the availability of "Dutch courage" makes it easier in the UK.

I used to want to have the guitar to clutch even if I wasn't using it... fortunately, I've gotten beyond that. Maybe it's because of the occasional practice opportunity singing out at the local Irish sessions which take place in wet venues...

;-)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: fi_in_nz
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 10:38 AM

Hmmmm, I haven't been to a festival in the US, but I've been to heaps of UK festivals, Vancouver FF and quite a few of the New Zealand North Island festivals. My main point is that one UK festival can be as different from another UK festival as it is from a US festival. Cambridge and Whitby are poles apart and neither is anything like Brampton or Cleckheaton or Saddleworth. In the UK we have village festivals which take over whole villages, there are predominantly "watchers" festivals like Cambridge with very little participation, there are festivals on single sites - like Brampton and I believe Warwick, and if you go to Ireland there are plenty of teaching festivals (like Meltown Mowbray (sp) etc - not UK I know, but worth a mention since it's a different festival type again). All of the festivals I go to in NZ are on single sites and involve much participation - possibly partly because we just can't afford many expensive guests and because the quality of our homegrown musicians is so good!!! ;-) Vancouver was totally a watchers festival when I went and probably isn't representative of most US festivals. It seemed to primarily involve parking a large blanket in front of the stage area and then b&$$£%ing off for the rest of the day until the one act you wanted to see.....

My favourites are the NZ ones, cos they're small and there's heaps of participation, but there are small festivals like that in the UK too - just haven't quite found out about them yet!! F


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 11:05 AM

I visited Eureka Springs in Arkansas a couple of years back. There wasn't a specific festival on, I had just missed a blues festival, but the whole town was full of buskers and places where there was music going on. There didn't seem to be any problem with Alcohol as there were hotels and bars serving both alcohol and entertainment. Surprised me a little because other places I visited in Arkansas (Mountain View for instance) were completely dry! Must say it was a quirky little town - very 'Old World' by US standards and it seemed more 'European' than a lot of places I visited.

The other thing I noticed was that we visited a couple of farmers markets in Edwardsville, Illinois and Alton, Missouri. There were bands performing in the open at the markets but there were also bars in both places where the musicians seemed to congregate and play. In some ways they were very much more like the UK festivals I am used to than the US ones mentioned earlier.

Maybe it helped that I was being shown round by someone who is not a 'folky' and had no pre-conceptions about folk music?

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 11:24 AM

I think in America alcohol is still thought of as being slightly wicked, whereas in Europe it's part of the culture. I don't think any UK festivals would consider that having a bar means they're not "family friendly".

The thought of playing music without a pint in front of me is faintly shocking :-)


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: GUEST,Tabster
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 01:14 PM

I've played at festivals in the UK, the US and Ireland and can't honestly make too many distinctions between them, culturally speaking. Except that in the US my experience was always positive in terms of sound crew and generally being taken care of as a performer. UK festivals are slowly catching on about ensuring performers have at least some cold water to drink - Priddy was great with a Green Room and home made cakes and tea!
As to dry or wet, there's far more of a tradition in the US for house concerts where there isn't always (or often, in my experience) any booze on hand, so not having much booze at a festival isn't a huge change. Yes, there's a beer stand at Old Songs, but only one, and even the Morris dancers were drinking more lemonade when I was there (twice). Personally when I'm performing I tend not to consume much alcohol, if any, so I don't miss it!
Anne


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 01:26 PM

Pretty much, all the Irish/Scotttish/Celtic festivals I perform at here in the U.S. have liquor or beer sales.
Guinness, Murphy's are major sponsors at some, Miller, Coors at others.

The larger festivals such as Longs Peak in Colorado have at least three main tent stages, with subsidiary smaller stages. Sponsored by Murphy's (and formerly Guinness).

The Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, PA has at least 3 large tent stages and about 5 or 6 smaller ones. Sponsored by Coors.

Entertainment is on a rotation basis, with acts following each other on the hour.

Some festivals have a session tent, where the performers can jam with members of the public.

Usually at the larger festivals, the performers are housed in the same hotel, so the session would be in the hotel bar. And I've been in some mighty ones!

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 01:30 PM

You are right in your assumptions Guest. There are still "dry" towns and counties in this country.

However, it never occured to us that alcohol was necessary to make music.   Perhaps the musicians think that it makes them sound better?   

One of the best lines I ever heard was someone telling a musician "You really sound good when we're drunk".   Maybe a pint or two helps dull the senses and miss the mistakes??


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 02:59 PM

When I got involved in Folk back in the mid sixties , it seemed that America had the Instrumentalists , while UK had The Singers , especially from the Traditional point of view . The Stupid dichotomy
of dance versus song had a lot to do with that , along with the fact that traditional song always WAS unaccompanied - Instruments were for Dances and Church music !
And the old Songs were sung in the village pub after work , in many instances !


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Subject: RE: Compare US/UK approach to 'festivals'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Aug 06 - 08:41 PM

You don't need a drink to make music, the same way you don't need a drink to make a meal. But having a drink with a meal seems a pleaant way to eat. Perhaps not at breakfast so much.

Generally speaking folk people seem to be better at drinking without getting unpleasant - maybe that's because these days we tend to be a fair bit older than the youthful binge drinkers that are working at giving booze a bad name thse days in England. And we're probably better at looking after each other when we've had a skinful.


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