Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


Have big folk festivals had their day?

GUEST,The Grim Reaper 24 Feb 07 - 11:08 AM
Scooby Doo 24 Feb 07 - 11:29 AM
Bee 24 Feb 07 - 12:04 PM
GUEST 24 Feb 07 - 12:08 PM
Bernard 24 Feb 07 - 12:12 PM
Scoville 24 Feb 07 - 12:19 PM
Bernard 24 Feb 07 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Suffolk Man 24 Feb 07 - 03:22 PM
Scoville 24 Feb 07 - 03:25 PM
The Villan 24 Feb 07 - 03:46 PM
George Papavgeris 24 Feb 07 - 03:46 PM
Bernard 24 Feb 07 - 04:02 PM
oggie 24 Feb 07 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Hampshire Hog 24 Feb 07 - 07:25 PM
CharleyO'Neill 24 Feb 07 - 08:03 PM
melodeonboy 24 Feb 07 - 08:41 PM
eddie1 24 Feb 07 - 09:31 PM
Mark Dowding 25 Feb 07 - 05:20 AM
LesB 25 Feb 07 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Hampshire Hog 25 Feb 07 - 07:11 AM
Mark Dowding 25 Feb 07 - 07:46 AM
Georgiansilver 25 Feb 07 - 08:02 AM
Mr Red 25 Feb 07 - 08:16 AM
Folkiedave 25 Feb 07 - 08:26 AM
Mo the caller 25 Feb 07 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 25 Feb 07 - 11:22 AM
Ruth Archer 25 Feb 07 - 11:55 AM
muppitz 25 Feb 07 - 12:11 PM
John MacKenzie 25 Feb 07 - 01:01 PM
Ruth Archer 25 Feb 07 - 01:13 PM
Jock O' Dreams 25 Feb 07 - 05:02 PM
Ruth Archer 25 Feb 07 - 05:21 PM
Jock O' Dreams 25 Feb 07 - 05:43 PM
Folkiedave 25 Feb 07 - 05:53 PM
Jock O' Dreams 25 Feb 07 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,Sidmouth Fan 25 Feb 07 - 09:54 PM
Soldier boy 25 Feb 07 - 10:07 PM
open mike 26 Feb 07 - 01:29 AM
Folkiedave 26 Feb 07 - 05:21 AM
Ruth Archer 26 Feb 07 - 07:14 AM
Mr Red 26 Feb 07 - 07:56 AM
bubblyrat 26 Feb 07 - 10:45 AM
Folkiedave 26 Feb 07 - 10:51 AM
open mike 26 Feb 07 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,Jimbo 26 Feb 07 - 02:22 PM
Ferrara 26 Feb 07 - 02:35 PM
oggie 26 Feb 07 - 02:46 PM
Folkiedave 26 Feb 07 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Me 26 Feb 07 - 04:30 PM
oggie 26 Feb 07 - 04:34 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:













Subject: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST,The Grim Reaper
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 11:08 AM

Browsing through the threads here and on other messageboards there seem to be many praising the smaller folk festivals and quite a few criticising the bigger festivals like Cambridge for being too commercial, too congested and somewhat uncaring about their audiences.

Now that Sidmouth is a shadow of its former self I wonder whether the bigger festivals have had their day and folkies are looking to the smaller festivals for their enjoyment.

What do others think and which festivals do you think offer the best (and worst) festival experiences and value for money?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Scooby Doo
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 11:29 AM

I believe they have.
Small festivals here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Scooby


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Bee
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 12:04 PM

Could you define 'big', as in how large an audience?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 12:08 PM

No. Mudcat just appeals to DIY folkies who tend to prefer DIY festivals.

Big festivals are doing just fine - (Old Sidmouth had been doomed since Mrs C took over, it was only a matter of time - it's doing fine now).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 12:12 PM

I don't think the audience size is necessarily the definition. Maybe the number of organised events running simultaneously?

One good thing about smaller festivals is not having to miss out on something because it clashes with something else... too much of a Good Thing?

The smaller festivals tend to be friendlier - you can easily speak to the organisers (they make themselves available).

The trouble with any generalisation is someone will leap out and say 'not necessarily, what about Basingthorpe Muck and Shovels Festival?'...!

Anyway, when is a festival NOT a festival? What defines a festival as opposed to a concert with more than one 'main guest'?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Scoville
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 12:19 PM

I suspect that festivals, like a lot of things, go in cycles. I used to go to the Texas dulcimer championships until the event got so big you pretty much had to come up and camp for a week ahead of time to get a camping spot. I can't afford the time or money to do that so I quit going. Lately, I've heard that a lot of people apparently had the same problem I did and that the event has shrunk again to a more manageable size (it's held in a camp-ground in Glen Rose, which is a small town with limited hotel accomodations). So, I might start going again.

We don't have many huge festivals around here. We have lots of smaller ones that accomodate a range of musical tastes and genres. Personally, that's A-OK by me since they tend to be more affordable and less of a demand on my limited vacation time. I can go to more of them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 12:21 PM

Yup. Less of an impact on the local residents, too, I'd guess.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST,Suffolk Man
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 03:22 PM

I agree with Bernard that smaller festivals tend to be friendlier.

The best I went to last summer were all relatively small - Oxford, Shrewsbury, Wickham, Bromyard - and all were very friendly and enjoyable experiences.

After years of religiously attending Cambridge I've stopped going now. There are just too many people packed onto too small a site and the organisers appear indifferent to audience feedback.

I can't comment on Sidmouth as I haven't been since the demise of the main arena but if those who do still go enjoy it then good luck to them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Scoville
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 03:25 PM

Well, the locals made a lot of money off of the festival people, and the festival people were not a rowdy bunch (it being a dulcimer festival, and all), so I don't believe there were ever any "town-gown" issues. Also, the campground is on the edge of town and out of the way of the resident population. There wasn't a lot of late-night noise, drinking, amplified music, other nuisances. It's always been a very safe, friendly get-together. The campground simply couldn't comfortably accomodate that many people for that long, and there was too much competition for space. There also isn't really any parking for day visitors or for those who had to stay in town and drive in.

Most of the smaller ones seem to have a pretty good handle on parking, etc. County fairs, large village-type flea-market settings, parks, etc. We've hardly ever had that kind of problem as long as the whole thing doesn't outgrow itself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 03:46 PM

Its not the size its the way you use it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 03:46 PM

Nah - I think both small and big festivals are thriving and will continue to do so; they just attract different audiences, mostly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 04:02 PM

In recent years the ones I've had experience of have been Saddleworth, Poynton (now Woodford), Coppull, Lymm, The Open Door, Fylde and Middlewich (I think I last went to Sidmouth in 1976...!).

Of all these, the bravest ones have to be Coppull and the Open Door.

Coppull don't charge (there is a bucket for donations), and spend all year fundraising so they can pay the guests fairly.

This was somewhat forced upon them by bad weather a few years back - the festival was higher profile, with a concert marquee on the 'back field' of the Alison Arms. 'Back Field' has a different meaning here in Lancashire (UK) than across the pond...! It means a field... at the back...! ;o)

Anyway, rather than admit defeat, the organisers fought back!


The Open Door had to downsize because of problems finding a pub with a suitable room, so the twice-yearly 'Extravaganza' always makes a loss, which has to be clawed back somehow.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: oggie
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 04:44 PM

No but they may attract a diffrent crowd and it may be that the hard core of whatever go to more specialised festival that cater for their particular interest, for example the Fiddle Fest at Brigg.

In my case I find that the large festivals have a brilliant cast list but in reality I can't see half of those I want to see because of clashes, fire regs etc so I'm only seeing a fraction of a large festival anyway.

All the best

Steve Ogden


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST,Hampshire Hog
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 07:25 PM

Good point Steve but here in Hampshire we have the Wickham Festival with a brilliant cast list all of whom appear on the one main stage with the second stage reserved for local singers and musicians plus up-and-coming acts.

This means you get to see all the star names without having to move from your comfy chair (except to the bar & loo) and the Festival itself still retains its cosy intimate atmosphere.

Sidmouth too has most of its star names all appearing on the one stage in the Ham Marquee now.

Gone, thank goodness, are the days when you had to walk miles to see different star acts in the Bowd, Bulverton, Arena, Ham etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: CharleyO'Neill
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 08:03 PM

Each to his own...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 08:41 PM

No, the bigger festivals have not had their day; certainly not in commercial terms.

Like Suffolk Man, I went to Cambridge for donkey's years (probably 15 - 20 times, I never counted), but I now get much more satisfaction from the smaller festivals. The bigger festivals, often featuring folk/crossover or world music artists will invariably attract the "weekend picnic crowd", who don't really like folk music that much, but who like a day out in the sunshine and who are perhaps a little (but only a little) more broad-minded than your average Radio 1/2 listener (e.g. the group of people who sat next to me during an Eddie Le Juene concert one afternoon in the 90s at Cambridge, who talked through most of his set, commenting that "anybody can play that"; and,of course, given the chronic overcrowding that Cambridge is famous for, I had no chance of moving away from them, otherwise I'd have lost my precious 2' square of ground that I'd saved all afternoon and wouldn't have been able to see him!).

It's then important to define what a "big" festival is. Sidmouth is, I suppose, classified as "big", yet it has a different feel to the more obviously corporate ventures such as Cambridge and Guilford (actually the Guilfest is no longer a folk festival, as it was in the 90s).

Then there are "big" fesivals such as Warwick that I've never managed to get to, but I've been reliably informed that Warwick's a cracking festival.

Perhaps, as Villan said, it's not the size, it's the way you use it!

I think that, certainly in the short term, festivals have a healthy future, at least financially. It's probably the folk club scene that we need to be most concerned about.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: eddie1
Date: 24 Feb 07 - 09:31 PM

Big Festival – The Edinburgh Folk Festival was really big with venues all over the city. What made it feel like a "small" festival was being able to use The Student's Union with concerts, singarounds, bars and a restaurant. Sadly, I read it's no longer with us.

Medium Festivals – Wallingford Bunkfest. Fairly new in the festival spectrum, this is a well-organised festival which keeps an intimate atmosphere by having several pubs within very easy walking distance of the main site and by having excellent camping by the sports club (think hot showers!) and the sports club itself with late-night ceilidhs and club prices. Add to this, free buses if you are a performer or have a weekend ticket.
Ballyshannon. I can't remember much at all which says how good it was!

Small festival – Newcastleton. This great little border town has one of the friendliest festivals ever, The camp site is the park/children's playground in the town centre. All venues within easy walking and bonuses like the Scouts selling breakfasts over the garden wall and having the Scout hut open for floor sleepers.

Across the Pond, my only festival experience was at Glen Echo in DC. As far as I remember, all concerts were free – only local artistes but this included Tom Paxton! I remember leading a singaround/jam session with about 200 musicians including a bass clarinet and a tuba! A one-day event but truly magical!

Seems to me looking back that the answer, irrespective of the length, number of concerts, ceilidhs etc it's important to keep parts of it where people can join in, make their own music and get to make new friends.

But what do I know?

Eddie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:20 AM

Hamphire Hog said: "..here in Hampshire we have the Wickham Festival with a brilliant cast list all of whom appear on the one main stage with the second stage reserved for local singers and musicians plus up-and-coming acts.This means you get to see all the star names without having to move from your comfy chair (except to the bar & loo) and the Festival itself still retains its cosy intimate atmosphere."

Surely the point of a festival is "mix 'n' match" where you can see the up and comings/locals alongside the "big"names". I get the point of not having to move around between venues but isn't it easier to move the artists between venues so the "biggies" appear on both stages. OK some locals/u+c's may not want to appear on a big stage but there are some of us who wouldn't mind a bit more exposure alongside the "biggies" or don't find it a nerve wracking experience.


Cheers
Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: LesB
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 07:03 AM

Judging by their popularitry I wouldn't have thought so.
I myself do'nt go to very big festivals ie Cambridge as to me they are bordering on being 'rock' festivals.
I also am not too keen on too small a festival either, as they are usually populated by people making their own music and I want to go to a festival too see the booked artists.
Therefore I like the average sized festival.
You see it all depends what you want out of a festival.
Cheers
Les


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST,Hampshire Hog
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 07:11 AM

A fair point from Mark except Wickham does also have up-and-coming artists like Lisa Knapp on the main stage alongside the star names like Jethro Tull, Eliza Carthy and Kathryn Tickell while I'm told the second stage this year will have star names like Cherish The Ladies alongside the local singers and musicians. In short, a good mix.

It's also possible to "mix 'n' match" as the two stages are just a couple of minutes walk from each other and I agree with Mark that this is one of the attractions of festivals where you often go to see a star name yet come away most impressed by someone you've never heard of before.

Which is why I'm delighted Wickham have The Spooky Mens Chorale this year as I thought they were a highlight at other festivals last summer.

As to whether big festivals have had their day, I guess not while they keep selling out but there do seem to be a lot of people who are moving away from the "traffic jams" at Cambridge to the smaller festivals elsewhere.

The small festival scene appears to be thriving with a terrific choice of artists and style of event available to us all.

As melodeonboy says, it's the folk club scene that gives more cause for concern... but that's discussed on other threads.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Mark Dowding
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 07:46 AM

Fair enough Hampshire Hog. I just thought your original post made it sound as though it was all big names on one stage and "the rest" on another stage.

Here's another poser. How many festivals have you been to where there's an afternoon concert in a large hall with a dozen or so in the audience. The organiser has put the up and coming artist on (and big names as well) but nobody wants to go to see them because too much is going on at once. It can be a bit soul destroying to have your "chance" only to find you'd play to more people in your local folk club.

Cheers
Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 08:02 AM

I guess 'small' is the new 'big' as far as Festivals are concerned. They are all big to the people who organise and attend them.......even the smallest.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 08:16 AM

No

But their relative popularity will wax and wane with fashion, the price of petrol, the weather (don't think that global warming will reduce the rain nor make it less voluminous), and the age of the attendants.

Fortunately Folk fashions are a little slower in their habits so we will have time to adjust.

I love small festivals but the bigger ones are more likely to have ceilidhs. Kirtlington Lamb Ale being a notable exception. Having said that Cropedy and Cambridge et al have always had that mass/crush/loudness that my ears &/or psychie walks away from.

Now lets define BIG
If you are not on speaking terms with the organisers? It's one definition. And not a bad one for FOLK.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 08:26 AM

(Old Sidmouth had been doomed since Mrs C took over, it was only a matter of time - it's doing fine now)

What a strange comment.

Mrs. Casey took over when Sidmouth Festival was doomed, and Mrs. Casey expanded the festival for the next eighteen years. In many ways it retained the sense of a small intimate festival, you met the same people in the same bars each year. You walked the streets and bumped into your mates and people you haven't seen for years.

Now the platinum season tickets are much the same price as far as I can see, for what you tell me is a smaller festival. If you argue it isn't a smaller festival then it is a big festival again!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 08:58 AM

Well you couldn't get more different than Whitby and Cambridge (not that I've ever been, to Cambridge, or wanted too).
Whitby, and Chippenham suit me. Plenty of dance, lots else to do when legs and brain tire.
Good value (thanks to the artists who give their time for less than its worth). They work out at about £5 / morning, afternoon or evening, so even if you cant get to everything you can still get your money's worth.
Is the difference between Traditional and Noisy (pop, folkrock, whatever you want to call it)?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:22 AM

I have noticed that many people (often those of the younger 'persuasion') seem to exhibit what I call 'flocking' behaviour - that is they are only happy when packed in with as many of their kind as possible. This is my idea of hell and I can't really see what it's got to do with the enjoyment of music! Rock festivals, as far as I can gather, appear to be like this. I also believe that Cambridge is now similar (can't speak from personal experience because I haven't been to Cambridge since about 1970). A 'perfect' festival for me is one where you meet up with your mates, get a chance now and then to sing in a singaround, get to hear some of your favourite performers and, if you're really lucky, get blown away by someone you might not have had a chance to hear before. The 'National' used to be like this - I miss it!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:55 AM

for me the big difference between the type of punter who enjoys Cambridge and the type who goes to some of the smaller festivals is that Cambridge is a much more passive experience. There are far fewer participative opportunities for workshops, playing and singarounds. There's no morris, few ceilidhs, and activities are aimed at young people (though they are excellent).

From what I've observed in recent years, the majority of Cambridge punters turn up to be entertained rather than to take part. Interestingly, Cambridge also maintains the biggest separation between punters and artists, with a massive backstage VIP area where most of the artists tend to congregate.

Now, my feeling is that most of these more "passive" punters have not come up through the folk scene: they don't play or sing or dance. They've come to folk as just one part of their music experience, via a bit of Radio 2, or maybe seeing Kate Rusby or Seth Lakeman at their local arts centre. They are probably also used to more commercial music experiences, and so don't realise that Cambridge is odd precisely because you aren't rubbing shoulders with the artists at the bar, let alone taking part in a session or a sing-song with them. They also accept the ridiculous ticketing situation and the overcrowding as part and parcel of the experience, because they know that the other non-folk festivals they'll attend this year (maybe Womad, or V, or Glastonbury) make Cambridge look like a village fete in comparison.

So my answer to the question "have big folk festivals had their day?" is absolutely not. If anything, the people attending them are the majority. It's us lot, who are much more specialised in our interests and enthusiasms, who are in the minority.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: muppitz
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 12:11 PM

I have a couple of views on this, bigger festivals have more things that can go wrong and more people with varying points of view to please so there are potentially more things for people to complain about.
However, a big festival can get like a big business in a sense and in the midst of trying to create a massive event can become detached from the people they're doing it for and even forget why they started doing it in the first place.

At 24 I'm not sure if I still fall into this "younger persuasion" that Shimrod mentioned but I'm a fan of any well run festival, large or small, if there are lots of acts I want to see then all well and good, if not then I rely on there being decent singarounds and sessions to attend.

If you don't like the big festivals, then don't go, the people running them will either have to scale down or diversify just as any other 'business' would have to, I just hope it doesn't cause some to close, as is sometimes the nature of business.

muppitz
x


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 01:01 PM

Got my Sidders bumph through the post last week, is it just me or are they trying to turn the clock back again?

Giok


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 01:13 PM

can you elaborate, Giok?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Jock O' Dreams
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:02 PM

The smaller Festivals or the "fringes" of the larger Festivals are much more in tune with the essence of Folk, which to me is friends entertaining friends with a minimum of financial involvment and a lot of social contact. Once you have huge halls and vast stages you lose this contact and the music loses its Soul. You are in to "Folk Cabaret" not true folk music and when you have uniformed guards contolling entrances (as happened at Sidmouth last year ) then I think they have lost the plot! There seems to be two types of Festival at the moment, one putting on this folk based Caberet and controled by a few agencys and thus we tend to get very simmilar line ups and the other run by dedicated Folkies which tend to be far more sociable and frendly yet still have superb acts. Guess which I prefer?

Jim McAdams


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:21 PM

"There seems to be two types of Festival at the moment, one putting on this folk based Caberet and controled by a few agencys and thus we tend to get very simmilar line ups and the other run by dedicated Folkies which tend to be far more sociable and frendly yet still have superb acts."

I'm intrigued. I'd love to know which festivals you feel fall into each category. I can think of very few festivals which aren't run by people with an absolute passion for folk. God knows they're not in it for the money.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Jock O' Dreams
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:43 PM

"I'm intrigued. I'd love to know which festivals you feel fall into each category. I can think of very few festivals which aren't run by people with an absolute passion for folk. God knows they're not in it for the money."

"They" are probably not, but the Agents and Artists are! I would say any Festival which accepts sponsership or grants is on the "slippery slope" They have taken the Thirty Peices of silver and must dance to the Sponsers tune which is inevitably Bums on Seats and lots of them! I was amazed at the Front cover of Sidmouths program last year. All logos! not a morris dancer in sight! and inside the chairman talking about "Mission Statements" Surely they have lost the plot!
      

            Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 05:53 PM

Exist without grants? Round spherical objects......

Fine let all the grants go to opera and ballet and trad. jazz and American style pop music, and anyone else. After all its only my money paid for either through taxes in the case of grants - or profits in the case of sponsorship. Let them all slide down the slippery slope of sponsorship and grant accepting.

We in folk music can go to heaven saying we kept our hands pure.

And St. Peter said - and how many people were still listening?

Listening - we said - no-one was listening to folk music anymore - but we remained pure.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Jock O' Dreams
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 06:34 PM

There are many small festivals that exist without grants, Miskin, The Fox & Hounds ect. and they are going fron strength to stength producing true folk music so your scenario of no folk audiences would not appear to true.I don't go to folk festivals to get a return on my income tax but to sing with my friends. What I am saying is there is a scale above which you lose the social side of folk which is its Soul! Grants and sponsership may help you get that scale but do not call if true folk, it is folk based caberet. Now that said some people may want that experience and why not but it's not my cup of tea.

See you in heaven!

                Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST,Sidmouth Fan
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 09:54 PM

Jim says "Sidmouth have lost the plot".

I think it's more a case of a festival having lost its direction and now having to re-invent itself.

It's no longer a big festival but it still has a future for those who prefer informal sessions and dance displays to big-name concerts.

The sessions and dance displays are as good as ever but the concert side of things seems a real mess with no-one in overall control, no clear ticketting system, and sky-high prices for those concerts still held at the Ham.

I guess the high ticket prices are needed to pay for all the uniformed security guards now policing the festival.

Many of my friends are going elsewhere this August but you'll still find me on the prom with knotted hankerchief on head watching the world go by with bells on its legs.

Philip G.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 10:07 PM

One of the best folk festivals I know is the Holmfirth festival of Folk,near Huddersfield,west Yorkshire. Held on 11-13 May this year.
It is held in a beautiful Yorkshire village (centre of "Last of the summer wine" (TV series) country).
It is a small,friendly and self-contained community of pubs,clubs,hotels,restaurants,take-aways,shops and concert venues.
Much in its favour is the fact that it fully satisfies concert goers and the 'fringe' element alike. You can do one or the other or both, it doesn't matter. Everything is close to hand,including the camping, and most of the pubs etc are buzzing with sing-arounds and play-arounds for musicians throughout the whole weekend.
It also hosts one of the biggest gatherings of Morris sides in the country so the streets are alive with entertainment and colour.
There are also many workshops and lots of events for children.
This is one of the best examples I have found where the whole community is involved and supports it and where everyone is made to feel accepted and welcome.
I have been to very many festivals,both small and large and it is hard to put your finger on what makes a really good festival work.
But if you want to attend a festival that ticks all of the boxes my personal opinion is that The Holmfirth Festival of Folk is a true gem and stands up as a true example of how smaller, community based festivals, are probably the best.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: open mike
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 01:29 AM

most of these comments seem to be regarding UK festivals.
In the U.S. the twice-a-year Strawberry fest draws about
5,000 people. It always sells out long before the date.

The organizers keep it to a manageable level of participants,
mainly due to the limits of the camping space. Several other
festivals are now going which have patterned themselves after
Strawberry. The people who work on it learn something each
year and try to make improvements based on thier experiences.

Some of the smaller festivals have not been around long enough
to have learned how to organize themselves as well as the
mosr established events.

The strawberry started out as a bluegrass fest.

There are a couple of other events which have many of
the same organizers and audience members...World Music
fest. and Celtic Music fest.....each has a bit different
focus, and some encourage more costumes, re-enactment, etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 05:21 AM

Mike, do these exist purely on ticket receipts?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 07:14 AM

"I guess the high ticket prices are needed to pay for all the uniformed security guards now policing the festival."

There was one pub last year with the type of security you mention, and my understanding is that they were paid for by the pub's management. I also understand that this was to do with more general security legislation as interpreted by the venue in question, and not to do with the festival's requirements.

"the concert side of things seems a real mess with no-one in overall control, no clear ticketting system"

The concerts are programmed and the ticketing system is in place. The first mailout has just gone out and details are on the Sidmouth website.

"It's no longer a big festival"
Maybe not compared to Glastonbury, or even Cambridge, but in a folk context there are still few that can compare. The profile of artists, length of the festival, and range and number of events still make Sidmouth one of the biggest folk festivals in the country.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Mr Red
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 07:56 AM

uniformed guards controlling entrances

My first experience of Sidmouth (for a Heap of reasons) was just that last year.

For a free event at the Anchor, packed to the health and safety gunnels, blame PEL, Tony Blair. And if that meant there was just enough room to dance - then more of the same say I. Tarmac is unforgiving in a crush. Those "uniforms" were not window dressing - I watched them - they would (did) spot a miscreant and their presence prevented more. It is a reflection on litigious society and poiticians not on Folk or festivals.

Steve Heap did a lot for Sidmouth, and a lot more for Steve Heap. That is not Folk - it is entertainment. And business.

It didn't feel like business to me last year - so applaud the current organisers for that much - please.

Joy (the workaholic gardener) is planning longer this year (in mid season for her). Says it all really.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:45 AM

Sidmouth has CERTAINLY changed !! I first went in 1965 ( you could go by train then !! ) and,believe me,Sidmouth HAS changed a lot since then !!. Of course, the modern Sidmouth of the last couple of years has felt a bit strange without the Arena,But then someone 'high up ' in the organisational hierarchy told me that the actual cost of setting-up and running the Arena as a separate venue,is mind-bogglingly prohibitive ! As someone else said here,Sidmouth is trying to "Re-invent" itself, and yes, mistakes have been made(and will probably continue to be made ).I worked in the box-office last year, and there were all sorts of problems encountered, paticularly with regard to season-tickets-- but,as a result of the massive feedback received,a different system is in operation for this year, and hopefully,given time,the "new" Sidmouth will settle down to something like it was, say,five years ago.Give the new organisational team a chance, folks----they are working VERY hard for you !!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:51 AM

and a lot more for Steve Heap.

Not sure what is meant by that?

We had the slagging off of how Steve Heap was making a fortune ages ago. We now have a much smaller festival for around the same price. Whatever else we think about Steve Heap he was clearly not making fortune.

Or he was a hell of a site more efficient than the current organisers - who if you ask them might even acknowledge his help......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: open mike
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 12:48 PM

yes as far as i know the ticket prices support the cost.
prices include camping. There are arts and crafts booths
and food booths which probably pay a percentage to the
festival for the chance to sell there, too.

they also sell t-shirts, and other items with the logo brand
of the fest. There is an on-site radio station at many of the
fests here which broadcasts most of the main stage artists
so they can be heard in tents and cars of those not at the
main crowd. Some fests have private, after hours concerts
in more intimate settings that require an extra ticket to
attend. these are usually indoors, and more like a night club
with tables, bevereges, etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST,Jimbo
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:22 PM

Oops. This seems to be turning into yet another Sidmouth rant.

And we've had enough of them!

On the topic of big versus small it's surely obvious that big festivals can't have had their day if enough people still pay and go and make them big

BUT...

Small is beautiful!

I'd far rather sit among friends in a calm and relaxed setting at Middlewich, Bromyard, Wimborne, Wickham, Miskin or Beverley, enjoying superb music and a decent pint of real ale, than be crammed onto the Cambridge site or, worse, the mudbath that passes for Glastonbury, T in the Park, Womad or Reading.

And at the risk of mentioning Sidmouth again, much as I love the Festival the town itself can feel very threatening late in the evening when yobbish louts take over the town centre.

P.S. Please don;t attack Steve Heap. Be thankful he kept the Sidmouth Festival going for years at considerable financial risk to himself.   Just as he now does at Towersey.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Ferrara
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:35 PM

open mike and Eddie1, I was glad to see at least some mention of North American festivals in all this!

Eddie, we still have the Glen Echo Park festival. It is two days, it is free but there is a donation jar and the Folklore Society and the group that now run Glen Echo have worked hard to find corporate sponsors. Bill D and I run the crafts area, which brings in a modest bit of funding from crafter fees and commissions.

I never think of it as a big festival because I see so many people I know all day long, but I guess we have a total of about 6,000 to 10,000 people during the two days. Eight stages of music, storytelling and dance. All unpaid performers but we give them -- and all staff members -- a free carousel ticket and a good lunch each day.

Washington, DC is full of embassies and multicultural ethnic talent and we try to showcase the diversity as well as local "stars" and our own folklore society members. But it's not about big stars, it's a family outing, a chance for plenty of jamming under the trees, (and in bad weather, there has been jamming in the crafts pavilion) and a grand good time. So I guess in that sense it might not be considered a "Big festival." But it's big. It is put on entirely by volunteers.

Other big festivals over here are doing fine. Take a look at the Mystic Sea Festival thread. It's huge and it's wonderful.

Bill and I don't get to many of the others but I knew there are Old Songs, the Champlain Festival, NOMAD (North American Society of Music and Dance), NEFA (New England Folk Alliance), the Eisteddfod, and i dont' know how many others on the east coast alone. These are all relatively non commercial festivals. None of the people we make music with would be interested in huge commercial festivals with lots of stars (except Mystic, which is heaven), but it's about the music even though it's huge.)

Beyond that there are the American old time music festivals. Lots of bluegrass festivals, plus lots of old time music, dance and singing such as the Mt. Airy Fiddlers Convention in North Carolina, the
Galax old fiddlers convention in southwest Virginia, the FOOTMAD (Friends of Old Time Music and Dance) festival in Charleston, WV, the West Virginia Folk Festival in Glenville, WV and I am sure many more.

These are all huge in terms of attendance although they mostly have specialized audiences.

And as far as I know the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas is still going.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: oggie
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:46 PM

"There are arts and crafts booths
and food booths which probably pay a percentage to the
festival for the chance to sell there, too."

Things may have changed but it wasn't a question of a percentage the year I did it (in the Steve Heap days), it was a large fee. How large? Just before it I'd done the Royal Show (150,000+ visitors) and Sidmouth was more expensive.

My mistake, I misjudged it, haven't been again. At the big festivals the traders pay a lot to stand, one of them auctions off the rights to sell a particular product at the festival. Nowadays I do small festivals and pay a reasonable fee. I know a few people who used to trade at the biggies (of all musical types) who've made the same decision.

All the best

Steve Ogden


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 02:55 PM

Hi Steve, it isn't the size of the crowd that matters surely?

I am not criticising rather, I am intrigued. As a seller of second-hand books about folk music there would be little point in me paying a fee to the Royal Show with its 150,000+ visitors - whereas I could justify a large fee at the National, an event I, as a specialist trader miss enormously.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: GUEST,Me
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 04:30 PM

I can see the next thread will be entitled:

"Have big fees for traders at big folk festivals had their day?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Have big folk festivals had their day?
From: oggie
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 04:34 PM

Hi Dave,

Unfortunately unless you are specialised, like the second hand folk book seller, the size of the crowd does matter. It's a numbers game, same as the High Street, the higher the footfall the higher the rent, more people past the stall the better my chance of selling. If you're selling expensive musical instruments then obviously the festivals the place (the organisers know this and charge accordingly). My prices start at a pound and most are under a fiver ( I'm a fretworker) I need people.

The point of the post wasn't to grumble, I pay my fee and take my chance, it was merely to point out that the people selling food, crafts or general goods aren't having free lunch and they're helping the festival balance it's books just like ticket sales or sponsorship and it can be an expensive gamble. These days if I like the bill at a festival I don't work it, I won't see the bill anyway!

As a by-the-way, you might be surprised at the response you can get from an event you would not expect to do well at. Folkies (or whatever) don't just go to Folk Festivals (or whatever), I sell loads of Tin Whistles on York Market!

All the best

Steve Ogden


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 28 September 12:54 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.