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are folk clubs shite?

15 Dec 03 - 07:00 AM (#1072726)
Subject: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,666

somebody started a thread about how to run a folk club successfully.i dont have the answers to that question,but i can relate some of my experiences with people that run clubs in my town. first we have bob,a self appointed expert on everthing, who has decided that only "working" musicians should be paid, and as far as he is concerned only people he knows in his pissant bush music club are "working " see bob has never worked as a musician ,he supposedly works as a photogragher during the day .At night he sometimes takes pictures at   bush dances of bands ,which he did on an occasion when i happened to be playing.he then edited me out of the picture because he doesnt consider me a legitimate "folkie".Hitlers propaganda machine has got nothing on him. Then we have sandra , who runs another club , where you are charged ten dollars admission,"to pay the artists"She is so important, that she has decided that it is totally up to her discretion who plays , and who doesnt.she, like bob,has decided that only people she knows are"working musicians" and the other people who might want to perform, are only there to support her ego trip.then we have allison,who runs another club where she waxes lyrical , about her midweek irish session, where she gets paid but nobody else does. you see like bob and sandra she believes that the other musicians should only be there to buy drinks ,and make up the numbers so she will be paid. sound familiar? i could go on about several others , but i think youy get the picture. folk clubs are not there to do anything for you.they are there to inflate the egos of the people that run them.

15 Dec 03 - 07:45 AM (#1072751)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?

Don't knock shite. If it wasn't for shite, you'd be constipated.

Folk clubs are like any other field of human endeavour, they range from the better than excellent to the worse than, well, shite.

15 Dec 03 - 07:46 AM (#1072753)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: JennyO

So some of us turned you down, did we? Looks like we made the right decision. These are my friends you are talking about and I know you are wrong. Are you man enough to come out from behind your GUEST handle and say who you are? I doubt it.

Why don't you go and sober up and get a life?

And that's all the troll feeding I'll be doing tonight!

15 Dec 03 - 07:54 AM (#1072756)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Borchester Echo

Nevertheless, an analysis of how and why many folk clubs are not best serving either the musicians or the punters can only be of value...

15 Dec 03 - 07:58 AM (#1072758)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,MC Fat

Perhaps Folk Clubs are in a Heirachical Meritocratic Society and in any such society someone has to be shite !!!

15 Dec 03 - 08:00 AM (#1072763)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Sweetfia

Er, NO, they are not shite

15 Dec 03 - 08:06 AM (#1072768)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,mink

As GUEST says - there are all sorts, good and bad.

However 666 raises an interesting one about those sessions where one person gets paid & the rest turn up and play.

There is a local who runs a bunch of these. Said organiser is a bit variable in quality themself & is generally ratted and incompetent by the end of the night. Said organiser is paid, but the participants get nothing other than the chance to perform a couple of songs/tunes. The sessions are open to all and can include anything from the sublime to the rediculous. The customers in the bars are largely uninterested in folk & probably just want to get on with their drinking & chatting.

If said org did not get paid, then presumably they would not do the organising, and then maybe we'd have nowhere to go and perform. But on the other hand, perhaps if said org had not cornered the market then other things might spring up. I am not sure whether:
a) Said org is making money from our talents & is exploiting us
b) We are fools for going along with it & it serves us right
c) We are talentless ego-trippers making fools of ourselves in front of unwilling audiences.
d) Its nice to have somewhere to go and perform, so everything is perfectly fine.

What do you reckon 'catters?

15 Dec 03 - 08:16 AM (#1072778)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?

(666 is wrong about the number of the beast, as well. "6 taken to the third degree" BEFORE decimal notation was invented probably meant 6x6x6 = 236)

It is your decision whether or not to play on the terms offered. You are always free to set up your own club.

Also, many years ago, Theodore Sturgeon caused un upset at an SF convention by proclaiming that "90% of SF is crud". But then, he said, 90% of EVERYTHING is crud.

You just have to find the other 10%

15 Dec 03 - 08:16 AM (#1072779)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: JennyO

GUEST 666 is having a go at three friends of mine, all regular mudcatters, who run clubs, and who I know work tirelessly to contribute to the folk community.

I'm surprised he hasn't mentioned me too. As far as making money is concerned, I for one do not make any money out of my folk club. In fact sometimes I am out of pocket, and I try to give as many people as possible a chance to perform.

This is obviously a disgruntled would-be performer with an axe to grind. Let him come out in the open instead of hiding behind the GUEST tag, and I might take him seriously.


15 Dec 03 - 08:18 AM (#1072782)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: treewind

In case the innocent haven't noticed, this thread appears to be all about folk clubs in Australia.

There's plenty wrong with folk clubs in England, but in most cases quite different things from what was described in the message at the top of this thread. As for other countries - I'm not even sure if clubs are equivalent in the USA, where similar gigs seem to occur in "house concerts" (rare to nonexistent in the UK) and coffee houses (rare, though a club I know has recently moved to a US-style coffee house near here).

Anyway, in England, especially in the south, the trend has been for folk clubs to have falling attendances, and the average age of the audience (though not the performing guests) is going up - a dying generation.

Two opinions seen recently on that:
(1) a long discussion in started with the suggestion that folk clubs should move out of small dirty rooms at the back of seedy pubs to locations more friendly to civilised human beings (village halls, community centres etc.)
(2) The editor's column in the current "Living Tradition" magazine suggests abolishing folk clubs altogether. Folk singing is for bars and public places (as opposed to closed pub function rooms), and folk dancing is for the streets.

Er... discuss!


15 Dec 03 - 08:25 AM (#1072787)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?

What about identifying the clubs/sessions etc., in order that we knew which ones and which organisers to avoid?

15 Dec 03 - 08:33 AM (#1072798)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Borchester Echo

Why not be positive about identifying and implementing better ways to present traditional music rather than slagging off and infighting?

Anahata has well and truly reopened the can of worms (his turn!). If you care about the music more than your personal pride, discuss rationally then go out and do.

15 Dec 03 - 08:34 AM (#1072799)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Fooles Troupe

The definite answer is .... probably...

15 Dec 03 - 08:51 AM (#1072813)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Don't Shoot the Messenger

Orpington Folk Club is the only one I can comment on, having been coerced into visiting it by a well meaning folkie.

It was housed in a cold upstairs room, in a not very thriving pub, or rather it was sort of thriving in a "we don't like strangers here" sort of way.

The five or six acts that performed were excruciatingly poor, and definitely fall into the celebrating their own egos category. I visited it a second time, because I could not believe it was so bad, and hoped my first visit was on an unusually weak night. It was equally poor then too.The average age was 50 plus, nothing wrong with that, but where do the future of folk clubs lie?

Sorry to not be more positive, I am sure there are well run clubs out there.

15 Dec 03 - 08:52 AM (#1072814)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Sandra in Sydney

Who have I offended?

The same bloke who said a lot of stuff about Bob some time back? Must be a musician who plays in a band BMC booked sometime, otherwise how could Bob have taken photos of him? I say him as most bush musos are male. I'll have to ask Bob (& Alison) - & what's this about buying drinks - Bush Dances do not sell alcohol, nor does the Dog & as Alison's club meets in a Scout Hall, I doubt they do either.

And what is a working musician? I can only think of 2 acts who have appeared at the Dog who make their entire living from music (us not them & Jez Lowe if you are wondering!) The rest have 9to5 jobs outside the music world.

By the way if guest is saying I get paid, I don't - it's only the 2 advertised artists who get paid. I certainly have said we charge entrance cos we pay our artists, & it is up to the MC on the night who gets a floor spot.

Now I'm wondering which performer we rejected which night! Was it the night Charley Noble & Naemanson were booked floor spots?


15 Dec 03 - 09:01 AM (#1072818)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Jon

Oh well as I've been on 2 other discussions including umf, I may as well come in on this...

Firstly, I do think folk clubs are important, particularly the singers nights and the oppertunities they give especially to others starting out. Whether they should exist in pubs or other venues is debatable. My own preference is pubs but I see no reason why other venues should not be tried. Overall my feeling on this is that rather than try to decide on a global situation, each club should be taken on it's own situation and merits - I think for example a London club could have different problems to say a small club in North Wales - the type of club I am used to.

I have noticed (or perhaps being paraniod think I have noticed) cliques forming in folkclubs (but perhaps they just happen in life anyway) and have certainly from the organisers side been aware of suggestions of favouritism as well as being part of a resident group, accused sometimes of hogging too much of an evening (though believe me, some nights it can be hard to work out how much you need to fill)... One approach to at least minimise some of those sort of feelings was the one adopted at Conwy - in that case, they used to run a rota of MCs.

As for the payment bit and sessions, I have been on both sides of this - sometimes getting money and/or beer when perhaps someone else hasn't and sometimes being on of the ones who misses out. I've no problem either way with this. My view is I am there for the music and if I'm lucky enough to get a drink or other reward out of it so be it and the same goes for anyone else.


15 Dec 03 - 09:27 AM (#1072839)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Santa

The club I go to has a policy of booking roughly three touring guest nights to one local established talent night to one singers night. Guests recently have included Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick and Martin Wyndham Read (now that was a good run!). The greater the guest, the larger the attendance. The first spot is picked by the organiser from among the club's reliable "residents" i.e. attendees who do sing or play to a reasonable (but not professional) standards. Singer's night is partly pre-arranged club members and partly whoever turns up. Attendance is generally lowest on Singer's nights, but they are seen as important to individual club members who want to sing/play. And no, they won't generally perform to professional standards, but I don't think that's the point.

It's that difficult concept of a "club", existing primarily for its members, alongside being a place that presents quality entertainment to a paying audience. Maybe I'm not seeing it clearly, but being a place for outside (i.e. non-regular club attendee) wannabe musos to come and inflict themselves on the population seems to be placed third in our organiser's priorities.

Fortunately, there are a number of local clubs, so there is room for a diversity of talents and approaches to suit different individuals needs.

So my answer is no, folk clubs aren't shite. If they didn't exist, where else would I go to hear folk music? If their audiences are aging, that's because the baby boomers who came in with the 60s folk wave are aging. If there is to be a crisis, it will be because the clubs run out of potential organisers willing to put up with the hassle.

15 Dec 03 - 09:36 AM (#1072848)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?

666 - I loved your thread, excellent stuff. I take it that you are in Oz? Fuck 'em all I say. Here in England, in my experience, things are much better. Start your own thing, do it now.

15 Dec 03 - 09:41 AM (#1072851)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,John Hills

I sympathise with the correspondents who have experienced
unpleasant evenings in certain clubs but I have visited many clubs in Sussex, Kent, N.London and Essex, been welcomed and enjoyed the entertainment. I accept the point about audience age groups and attendance but perhaps we are seeing part of a process which will, in due course, turn full circle.

15 Dec 03 - 10:51 AM (#1072921)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: George Papavgeris

GUEST,John Hills said:"perhaps we are seeing part of a process which will, in due course, turn full circle".

While I, too, would like to believe that, the truth is that there is no evidence that this is the case - rather the opposite, we are on a downward spiral that only a new "revival" will pull us out of.

Such a "revival" can only be led by youngsters, not by us. And it may well blend in some new music elements, as part of the attraction for the younger generation. How about listening to the latest Metallica ballad for example? And before you cringe at the connotations of the band name, do spend 3 minutes listening to "Nothing else matters" - when my 18 year old daughter played it to me I was bowled over. Now, I would gladly accept some of that as the price for doubling audiences and halving average age at the clubs.

But will such a revival happen anyway? In whose interest is it? What will drive it? Perhaps the record labels, in search of new audiences; or perhaps - I'd like to think so - the young'uns themselves, as they seek self-expression in the passive, non-participatory world of pap thrown at them by the media.

15 Dec 03 - 11:17 AM (#1072935)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Dave the Gnome

Nah - Clubs are OK. It is some of the people who treat you like shite that are a problem;-) And there are artists, organisers and audience in that category!



15 Dec 03 - 12:09 PM (#1072976)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Moses

Have I just been lucky in my choice of clubs?

My "local", a "traditionally based" singers club which also books guests on a regular basis, tries to encourage performers of all standards (we all have to start somewhere). We are blessed with several talented singer-songwriters and well known performers, so the evenings are often wide-ranging in abilities. Entrance fees are modest on open nights so as to try to encourage new talent. The club is run by committee and everyone has a say in how it is run. Some nights are magic but even the "poorer" ones have a value - even if it is just to "start someone off" in front of a friendly audience. Rremembering the first time I sang there myself - I don't think I would have done it if I hadn't been among such good friends.

A "concert" club I regularly visit is run differently. Supported by "regulars" who do the warm-up spots, it books well known artistes and charges significantly more for the privilage of seeing the "Big Names".

Yet another club, just started, is offering a "spotlight" to anyone who turns up regularly and performs.

As for being paid - no one except the "booked" guests gets paid. We perform because we want to. Perhaps this is different in other Countries, but in the UK this seems to be the norm.

It is the people who run the clubs who make them what they are, and as has been said many times, "there's nowt as queer as folks"!

You pays your money and takes your choice.

If you don't like what you find, try another club - or start one yourself. So no, they are not shite but they are certainly all different!

15 Dec 03 - 12:13 PM (#1072979)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?

Clubs are ok but you better not be critical of any of Jennyo's friends or you'll be yelled at for being dare you .

15 Dec 03 - 02:07 PM (#1073066)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex

One problem is that the term "folk club" covers everything from concerts with major guests, pre booked support acts and no floor spots through to singarounds with half a dozen people who have no interest in entertaining an audience.

Some are superb, for some to be shite would be an improvement. The trouble is that you don't know which is which before hand. It is an unfortunate fact of life that customers are more likely to tell people about disappointments than about the good things.

15 Dec 03 - 03:02 PM (#1073116)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,666

come out from behind my guest tag?Why?so you can have me executed?banned from folk clubs,for having an opinion?
Welcome to the folk goosesteppers ball! "you have insulted my friends" Of course they are your friends.You are all part of the same ego tripping clique.The truth is that anyone who doesnt grovel to people like you, cant really be a performer of any substance can they?.

15 Dec 03 - 03:15 PM (#1073120)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Zany Mouse

666. Aptly named I think. For goodness sake - grow up. If you don't like folk clubs, and/or this forum, then the answer is simple - JUST STAY AWAY!

Zany Mouse

15 Dec 03 - 11:38 PM (#1073229)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: alison

so you sobered up after your bottle of wine did you?

I make no money from the folk club, I run it because I like to see people enjoying themselves playing music, and my club is a bit different because we have all levels of performers from complete beginners, (gives them somewhere they can try out in a supportive atmosphere), to professional musicians.

yes I get paid (along with a few others) to run a midweek Irish session... I've never made any secret of getting paid, thats how most of the Irish sessions run... they have a core of musos who turn up to keep the thing going,

"she believes that the other musicians should only be there to buy drinks ,and make up the numbers so she will be paid. sound familiar? "

wrong, I'll get paid whether they turn up or not, being a muso is my job therefore I get paid.

the other musos don't have to turn up, but they do because they enjoy the chance to play music midweek on a night when they otherwise wouldn't be doing anything, and I for one am grateful for their support. they (and I) all turn up on tuesday at Hornsby for another Irish session where no one gets paid.

no one forces them to come along, if they didn't turn up the session would happen anyway



16 Dec 03 - 12:00 AM (#1073246)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Peace

I played a variety of clubs when I worked in music. Some clubs were better than others. Gerde's (in New York) was a dream Mike Porko ran it, and he was good to the people who played there. Mike Regenstrief ran the Golem in Montreal and he was a performer's dream as a club manager. We were always treated fairly. Sam Hood at The Gaslight (in New York) was great to work for, as was Chuck Baker at The Yellow Door in Montreal. I have also worked for a few assholes in my life (and I've been one myself more often than I'd care to admit). No, all clubs are not run by vampires. Therefore, find the good ones and only work there. Frig the others.

16 Dec 03 - 04:21 AM (#1073330)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: breezy

bad gigs make it harder for good gigs to be successful and get us negative image, and in England this image is a curse.

If folk pay to go in then it should be a better standard than the walk-in free-bees.

They expect their money's worth, and as an organiser you want to attract them back.

If a landlord is paying then it must be worth his while.

As a muso you must be able to carry a whole evening single handed, 3 hours or more, and be entertaining.

Its your gig, you have to balance up the needs of all and if some would-be performers are a risk to the event then they will probably not feature.Easy to judge by the numbers that walk away. I've seen festival performers clear a singaround!!

Spoon away.
No insulting each other unless its mutual catty banter.

All performers have egos, but not all musicians.

16 Dec 03 - 04:25 AM (#1073332)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,John Warner

I'm John Warner and I admit to the fact. The problem we face with large audience folk gatherings is that the inexperienced or inept performer can ruin an evening for an audience. I have enjoyed the occasionally massive and always good chorus singing at the Loaded Dog on many occasions, regardless of who runs it. I've seen all sorts of oddments get up and sing long, monotonous and badly accompanied songs at The Dog, North by Northwest, rarely at Almost Accoustic because Margaret Walters spends herself to exhaustion to ensure the best, but occasionally one slips through. JennyO at North by Northwest is especially open and tolerant of some occasionally barbarous performers.

The Glengarry Castle singing session used to be a good place for all and sundry to sing and be heard free of charge. Such sessions are hard to find, but we're working on it. No folk club I know of is shite, they are rather places where dedicated people struggle under adversity to cover the rent, provide the tea and coffee, organize the focal performer and juggle the floorspot requirements to meet the needs of twenty or so egos.
Folk Music, as a fairly minority preference, needs all the support it can get. Its true leadership do not deserve the abuse recently heaped upon them, but the support and approval of those of us who have shared in their work.

John Warner

16 Dec 03 - 05:37 AM (#1073357)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Brakn

GUEST,666 Why don't you start your own club?

16 Dec 03 - 05:52 AM (#1073365)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Linda Kelly

the clbs I attend are excellently run. We have singers and musician nights where everyone who comes pays £1 which goes towards publicity, Xmas party etc. If a professional musician turned up on these nights he would not be paid. Booked artists are paid and have an evening to themselves and the ticket prices will range dependant on their fee. So Bob Dylan, if your listening, if you come on a singers/muician night you won't be paid-but we would be glad to have you!

16 Dec 03 - 06:01 AM (#1073369)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: George Papavgeris

Come on folks, let's not honour 666's sour grapes with any more merit than it deserves. Anyone starting a thread with a generalisation ("are folk clubs shite?") is not worth talking about.
Whoops - was that a generalisation?

16 Dec 03 - 06:21 AM (#1073376)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: freda underhill

it's weird to hear people who run folk clubs called an "elite". but I guess any group that you feel outside of could be seen as an "elite".

personally, I like those folk clubs - i prefer teddy bears to teddy boys, any time.

there are different streams of music in the folk scene - festivals and sessions are a place where those streams can cross over.

666 - why not get your feet wet and come to the session at the Birchgrove in Balmain, 1st & 3rd tuesdays of each month. most of us can't count, so we won't know who you are!


16 Dec 03 - 06:26 AM (#1073378)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Jon

Well I came in as I felt some sense was being talked by some posters, not to honour 666. Outside MC, I "know" Sandra and Jenny as regular and nice contributers to the Annexe and Alison from wider "meetings" including visiting her room on Paltalk. I've been ignoring 666.

I think the last comment addressed to 666 ("GUEST,666 Why don't you start your own club?") does make sense though. There can be times where for whatever reason you are unhappy with what you find in your local folk world and to provide something extra and different is not a bad option. It certainly beats griping or trying to change others, others who may quite reasonably enjoying what they do - I don't believe there is a single right way for a folk club or a session though I do have my preferences...


16 Dec 03 - 06:40 AM (#1073388)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Borchester Echo

Linda, speaking as someone who was once under instructions not to let that American Bob in any more without paying, I'm glad to hear your entry policy is more welcoming.

Needless to say, I never charged BD, nor Paul Simon to whom the same injunction was later directed.

16 Dec 03 - 07:48 AM (#1073444)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Santa

John, I don't really feel that an evening is "ruined" by one bad performer doing a short floor spot. Just shrug your shoulders and get a nice warm feeling at how charitable you are being to the poor fool.

I can think of times when I've had an evening made memorable by just one particular song.

16 Dec 03 - 08:06 AM (#1073451)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Rob

666 has every right to pose his question - albeit the heading may well have been better considered.

Folk/music clubs/sessions could well be a starting point for *unknown* musicians/performers to begin a career, and, add to our musical heritage - after all, someone has to try to stop the; Karaeoke,
and big screen football rot.

Having said that, it is very difficult to overcome the inertia of the "it's aye been" mentality of both organisers and regulars at *certain* clubs.

O.K, book the well known acts - but also book the "unknown" acts,
and pay them at least their travel expenses and lodgings, you never know - their brand of music, verse whatever may tempt more and different people into the circle.

By the way, i'm speaking from experience - trying to get a bite of the circuit cherry!

Oh yes, regarding floor spots, everyone has to start (and sometimes finish) somewhere. don't be too rough with them - have the decency to discuss ways of improving (if at all possible) their skills, however, if that fails recommend they attend a nearby karaeoke venue!

Finally, there is no such thing as "Trolling" it's an excuse sad, intolerant, helpless people use.

16 Dec 03 - 08:52 AM (#1073485)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Don't shoot the messenger

Very interesting points above, by many posters, guests and otherwise.

Someone, sorry not to remember who, pointed out that if these clubs charge the public admission, they should ensure the entertainment is of a suitable standard to satisfy the paying punter. Which was exactly my problem with my couple of visits to Orpington Folk Club...had I been in someones sitting room, and one of the performers had picked up the accoustic and started to sing, I would have been appreciative of their talent and their capacity to share it. However if the same person took the floor infront of a fee paying audience, then they are as open to criticism as any performer. Is there another genre of music where the musicians are paid to practise infront of an audience in the local pub, and expect to be applauded for doing so. I know we all have to start somewhere, but I have never had my Sunday Lunchtime drink interrupted by someone murdering a violin.

I have found that by paying that bit extra to see quality acts at respected venues, I am rarely dissappointed. I know beforehand the calibre of the artist, and on the occasions that I have not heard of them, I am ressured by the fact that for a particular venue to give them a spot, means they have proved their worth somewhere.

It is a shame that this may mean some excellent unknowns will fall by the wayside, because others like myself will not take the chance on seeing unknowns? No answer to that one really except, the good usually come to the fore.

From the publican's point of view, the space they occupied in Orpington was not suitable for "regular drinkers" upstairs, cold and lacking ventilation. So at least he gets some payment for the otherwise d actsunused floorspace.

16 Dec 03 - 09:17 AM (#1073507)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Leadfingers

As a Serious Paid Muso , ex Folk Club Organiser and regular Floor singer at any local club I can get to I think I am entitled to my Twopennorth.

Firstly , as a Club Organiser (never been paid for doing it) you are
dependant on whoever turns up to fill the time that the guest artist
is NOT doing. This can often mean putting on floor singers who are
not particularly good,But without them would the club survive as a
financially viable entity?

I have never come across any club which offered any inducement to singers (other than,in the old days,reduced admission) so they are all volunteers offering their services.

As a Gigging Muso I do a lot of Non Folk Club work,but do the occasional Club Booking and am often Well Impressed at the standard of Floor singers though some clubs are better than others in this respect.

Also,some clubs are better run than others some more welcoming than others,and some dont deserve the audience support that they DO get.

Just bear in mind that one of the VERY few places a budding muso can
get any kind of exposure these days is in folk clubs - Unless the said muso is in a position to PAY to PLAY,which is the state of affairs in most NON folk venues.

In UK we are fortunate in that there are a lot of places for a folkie to go, and I have no experiance of the scene in Australia,but agree
with the suggestion to 666 that if he/she thinks its so easy,then go
and start your own club and see what it really like,trying to keep all those disparate egos happy.

16 Dec 03 - 10:00 AM (#1073541)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager

I go to folk clubs or any other sort of 'roots' event music primarily because I like the music. Folk music, music for the people by the people, it's meant to have commitment and rough edges!    Secondly I like the informal atmosphere, essentially people are doing it because they like to do it, and because they care about the songs or the tradition. Nobody is going to grow obscenely rich on the folk club circuit, and for me that is a very, very good thing. The moment 'Folk Idol' starts I'm off.

As a part of this I accept and celebrate the fact that a number of performers are going to be amateur or just starting out. That is part of the appeal. Also I get all this for a sum of money that is a fraction of that I would pay at a gig in the local theatre or arena, backed by the financial muscle of a record label that professes to be interested in music.   

I think 'folk clubs' should have a focus more on the songs and the music than 'performers'. A 'good' performer, in my book , is one that has a commitment to his/her music.   If someone cares about their music, then they're likely to turn in a performance that is as good as they can make it. I don't think we can ask more than that of anyone.

Perhaps a shite folk club is one where the performers think they are more important than the music or songs they are performing? It certainly turns me off a club.


16 Dec 03 - 11:06 AM (#1073725)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: red max

"Folk Idol", what a thought!

16 Dec 03 - 12:43 PM (#1073798)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,666

sobered up? to me there is nothing more hypocritical than a bunch of sanctimonious people sitting around trying to sing christmas carols,when the reality is if you were to fall down dead on the spot,the same people would pick up your corpse and put it out on the street, so they could lock up on time.after years of attending folk clubs, i feel i have the same level of relationship with people ,as you have with someone you sit next to on a train.

16 Dec 03 - 01:35 PM (#1073839)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Stage Manager

If that's the case then 666 you're going to the wrong clubs.

I know what you mean though. A certain sound/recording engineer of my aquaintance was in the habit of refering to some more dogmatic, 'folk persons' as the "Folk Nazis". The sort of people you are talking about kept me out of folk clubs for years. Fortunately they're not all like that.


16 Dec 03 - 06:00 PM (#1074044)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: alison

so why come along?...... from what you have written we are obviously one of the few places where you have been able to play. You were welcomed back after several years absence. I enjoy your music, you are obviously talented, but there has to be tolerance too for the others who are there.

last friday was the Christmas party.... there were 10 mins of Christmas carols... you were given opertunities to play, you knocked them back..... like other halls we have a rental agreement with the owners... ours says "no music after midnight out of respect for the neighbours"..... thats one of the rules... if we don't stick to them... then no meetings.



16 Dec 03 - 10:49 PM (#1074236)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Charley Noble

Whine, whine, whine,
But doesn't rhyme with 666,
So here's a quick fix,
Change your digit to 669!

Having recently inhabitated a floor spot at the Loaded Dog, I found that folk club a wonderful space to perform in. The acoustics were good, the audience was willing to join on refrain and chorus, the arrangements for strangers such as Naemanson and I were well coordinated, and we both enjoyed the other floor spots and the featured performers and we we were happy that they got the lion's share of the gate. Club managers such as Sandra work awfully hard to keep a folk club functioning, and generally the only compensation is the satisfaction of another wonderful special event, and maybe a thank-you.

Thanks again, Sandra, and Bob, and JennyO, and Margaret, and Allison!

Charley Noble

16 Dec 03 - 11:13 PM (#1074250)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: JennyO

Thankyou yourself, Charlie. It was lovely having you Brett and Judy too. What a pity the timing of your visit didn't allow your coming to my folk club. I think it was on the night just after you left.

I was wondering when you'd find this thread. Some people just seem to have a way of making their own misery wherever they go. If this malcontent can't get along with us, I don't like his chances anywhere else! Fortunately we don't get too many like him.


17 Dec 03 - 01:08 AM (#1074277)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: poetlady

I agree with El Greko that it would be nice if more young people were involved in traditional music, but why do there new to be new musical elements? I guess I think the music's good and can stand on it's own. I think the main reason most young people don't like it is because most of them only listen to what they hear on the radio or what their friends listen to. Then, when they hear something different, they don't get past the initial dislike they experience because it's not what they're used to.

The idea of watering the music down (which is what I think you'd have to do to make it acceptable to the majority of young people) scares me. Two of the reasons I came to like folk music were the tradition behind it and the fact that it is different. While that may keep some young people from liking it, it may, in fact, be the very reason it appeals to others.

17 Dec 03 - 04:52 AM (#1074348)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: George Papavgeris

We will probably get multiple threads, poetlady, with some preferring the unadulterated origonal versions, and some going for new developments. A bit like the 70's revival, which brought forth new styles of song among the protest singers, styles like folk-rock (Steeleye Span and Fairport) etc.
Even traditional music has a variety of styles itself, so I just expect that variety to grow further. And in the end, I welcome it too (most days of the week); I see it as part of the music developing. Even the best food needs some salt occasionally.

17 Dec 03 - 05:49 AM (#1074356)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Jon

I suspect you are right El Greko.

I think perhaps one area we need people to understand better is exactly what an event they are going to is about.

In my case, at the moment if I can just get to one event per week, I opt for a pure trad Irish instrumental session. I could understand someone perhaps getting upset if they came there thinking songs were enjoyed or that say a Morris tune would go down well. On the other hand, I don't accept the view that the session should bend to accomodate everything as in doing so, it would lose what makes it special to some people.

If someone wanted to start and open to all types club and even allow Metallica, so be it - and great. The more variety the merrier as far as I'm concerned. If I lived in Norwich rather than out in the sticks near Cromer, I'd probably be looking for a different event to attend each night of the week and looking for variety rather than just limiting myself to what is my main area of enjoyment within folk.

17 Dec 03 - 06:29 AM (#1074367)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Sandra in Sydney

Poetlady - a couple of months back a teenage Irish group was interviewed to publicise a festival. They call themselves The Forrs - their major influence is the Corrs & there are four of them - and they said that their friends thought that folk music was for Seniors, but when persuaded to come to folk events liked it after all.

So, how do we Seniors get younger folks to join us?


17 Dec 03 - 06:36 AM (#1074371)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Borchester Echo

There are many ways of skinning a cat, but that one amounts to cruelty...and attempted murder of the music.

17 Dec 03 - 06:36 AM (#1074373)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Jon

Just maybe Sandra, we let the younger ones have thier own heads and try to get out and enjoy some things they set up.

17 Dec 03 - 08:01 AM (#1074424)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Jon

Countess R, I may be reading this wrongly but I assume your remarks were addressed at my comments rather than at Sandra's which came in between.

If that is the case, could you please explain how you go about things? At the most basic level I see 2 options:

1. That every club or session should be open to everything.
2. That there is plenty of room for both diversity and speciality within clubs and sessions.

I favour #2 and feel much would be lost if #1 was adopted universally. What I don't see how it #2 can be done unless people understand this diversity and speciality exists.


17 Dec 03 - 08:17 AM (#1074438)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Borchester Echo

Nope, I was talking to Sandra, and being unkind about the bloody Corrs as usual.

I don't disgree with you Jon (not always, anyway :-)

17 Dec 03 - 09:27 AM (#1074487)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Charley Noble

You know, "666" isn't even a prime number!

But it's really hard to be more than smart-assed when I don't even know if I've met this numerically challenged Guest. Normally I wouldn't even have checked out a "shite" thread but one of my Maine friends pointed out that it had something to do with people we've recently met in Sydney.

My positive suggestion for "666" is to quit whining and start a session of your own, with whatever priorities you want. It's not an easy job but others have done it, and a few managers have even managed to successfully replace themselves when they've burnt out doing it.

I should acknowledge that my wife and I failed miserably at trying to replace ourselves as co-managers of the Portland (East) Folk Club. Our replacement's first and last season shredded what remained of the Folk Club's cultural fabric. No, we didn't abandon the Club as volunteers or as financial supporters, and other volunteers were still carrying out their functions. The new manager made booking decisions that turned out to be financially disasterous and then when it came time to pay performers he would mysteriously disappear!

So, here's to you, "666," best of luck in digging yourself out of the hole you've created for yourself in the Sydney musical landscape.

Charley Noble

17 Dec 03 - 11:16 AM (#1074548)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,The Stage Manger

Despite the various locations this for me is developing into a very interesting thread and some important points are being raised. Until relatively recently I had not been into an English Folk club for many years. I had been put off by a lack of excitement, a sense of staleness, and dare I say it, a sense that songs had to be done in a certain way, otherwise they weren't "folk."

My interest in this genre of music was revived when I ended up living in the Highlands of Scotland, where Celtic and Gaelic Music were thriving. (Some might say sh*t kicking) It was like being hit by 1000 volts. It was vibrant, new, inventive exciting, but still firmly rooted in a tradition going back a thousand years, (and now scattered over the globe.)   I've no doubt that some south of the border would not consider it as folk music. To them I would say surely a tradition is a living and continually developing thing. It is about people and their sense of identity. It's got nothing to do with 'preserving' anything, the older ways of doing songs serve as a reference point for new generations and ideas. The most glorious thing about this apparent renaissance is that it is led by young musicians, who very obviously 'connect' to their heritage. I'm sure some here might be appalled that dancing, drinking, socialising, and very loud amplification are all part of the mix, as much as unaccompanied songs. (Why should folk music stop being folk music if it is amplified?)      

I'm off to Celtic Connections in January. If anyone's interest in "folk" music is on the wane, I recommend a trip to Glasgow. If you don't come back on a high then you're probably brain dead.

I attach a link on the subject of "traditional and Gaelic music" from a letter sent to the West Highland Free Press. It seems to me to address some of the issues raised here. (Yes they even discuss traditional music in the papers up there!) The music is now seen and valued differently as a result of revived interest.. The Scottish Arts Council is sponsoring Capercaillie's tour of the Highlands and Islands this coming Spring.   They certainly seem to have got something right and they're not sitting back on their laurels!.

I feel this is a good and very worthwhile discussion, and one I'm sure concerns quite a number of us that value the music. What lured me back to an English club? Someone I'd worked with some years back turned up as guest at a local club, and I came across this bunch people singing some bloody good songs. El Greco was one of them.   

If you asked me what English folk clubs need, it would be some passion, anger, and a dollop of radicalism. The things many of us had when we were younger and that the music provided an expression and an outlet for. I suspect many youngsters view folk music today much as I used to view the music hall songs my grand parents used to sing.    Wouldn't be seen dead…..


17 Dec 03 - 11:53 AM (#1074573)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Borchester Echo

"If you asked me what English folk clubs need, it would be some passion, anger, and a dollop of radicalism..."

Well, Dick Gaughan will be back on the road soon to dispense some of that...but you really shouldn't give the impression that *all* is dire south of the Tweed. Of course, although things are in a desperate state in the vast majority of folk clubs - and this what this thread is, presumably, intended to address - traditional music does thrive outside of them.

Go to an English ceilidh (no, it's not a lot like a barn dance!) and you'll be hit by 1000 volts there too. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of Mrs Casey Music, many festivals are now supercharged springboards for tremendous new bands who draw in younger people completely new to traditional music in addition to the "folky children" who have grown up with it.

Ventures like Folkworks and Shooting Roots are producing fantastic musicians, singers and dancers who certainly are connected with, and proud of their heritage. And yes, many of them don't see the folk clubs tucked away in dingy rooms above sleazy bars as relevant to them. I cannot blame them.

17 Dec 03 - 12:11 PM (#1074590)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Cluin

Dick Gaughan...

Woo Hoo!

Sorry for the interruption. Back to your regularly scheduled "shite" discussion.

17 Dec 03 - 12:35 PM (#1074613)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,The Stage Manager

Countess Richard

I'm delighted by your rapid response and fiesty defence of the English Tradition.   

As luck would have it I Saw Dick Gaughan in Cambridge last month. Perhaps a tad less 'radical' than he might be on home soil, but as fine a "troublemaker" as you could ever wish to encounter with some great stories. He was also supported a fabulous young and local Irish band, NoID, who by all accounts are mostly still at school, They were terrific, and I understand that they were being taught by an organisation similar to those you mention.

I am indeed aware of new acts at English festivals but I obviously need to get out more.

"Ventures like Folkworks and Shooting Roots are producing fantastic musicians, singers and dancers who certainly are connected with, and proud of their heritage. And yes, many of them don't see the folk clubs tucked away in dingy rooms above sleazy bars as relevant to them. I cannot blame them."

So is the folk club on its last legs, soon to die out as an irrelevance? Maybe thats what they deserve? It's a relief that the tradition is not reliant on these clubs for survival. I'm a great believer that the 'tradition' and the music is far more important than individual personalities. In a peculiar way maybe it has a life of its own. Long may it continue, with or without (shite)folk clubs!.

I'm very pleased to stand corrected, and delighted to be able to discuss this topic!


17 Dec 03 - 01:32 PM (#1074655)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Borchester Echo

Not correcting you, SM, just adding to what you said. I've seen the much healthier state of traditional music in Scotland and wholly agree that in England there is much more that needs to be done to redress the balance.

I'm aware of No ID, a band which contains a number of All-Ireland champions. They're great, but the Irish tradition, like the Scottish, still has a much higher profile than the English for reasons to do with culture as much as its history of competition.

I hope to come across you at next year's festivals where I hope you will see for yourself that the English tradition is indeed living and, most of all, great fun!

17 Dec 03 - 01:56 PM (#1074671)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: treewind

... But DG's another Scot!

Anyway, back to the point... where are those Folkworks and Shooting Roots musicians and singers doing their stuff around here? What can be done to promote and encourage more of the same?

I'm seriously open to suggestions here.
The Mayflower Folk club was the place for traditional music in Cambridge. It's reduced to once-in-a-blue-moon events and there's nothing planned for the future right now. Mary and I have considered taking it over and reviving it (I already maintain the web site) but we aren't sure that we have enough time, nor whether it's the best thing to do. There are pub sessions and vaguely folk "acoustic" venues. There are tiny and crumbling clubs further away (St Neots, Stortfolk) and there are thriving larger clubs at Saxmundham and Sutton, but they are miles away and once a month, and we do go when we can. And there's Ely - we're off there tonight.

What about Cambridge though? Where are all those talented young folkies? Are they all diddley-diddling away in the Irish music session olympics? Where are the singers? (I know where the dancers are - The Round and Gog Magog Molly, many of them).

What or who should we support? Start a new folk club, revive an old one, or do something else?


17 Dec 03 - 02:23 PM (#1074688)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: breezy

go for starting a folk club, with your talents youve got the basics, a bloody outstanding resident duo.

more performers should turn their hands to promoting,

Good luck


17 Dec 03 - 03:03 PM (#1074714)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: George Papavgeris

Yes, go for it Anahata! You have the energy and anger that CR was referring to above.
Now if we can only find some Southern radicalism...Robb Johnson? Attila the Stockbroker? Steve Hughes? Take your pick.
If I can help in any way you, gizzacall.

17 Dec 03 - 03:06 PM (#1074715)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: George Papavgeris

Just I structure lost realised I in sentence the above.
Senior moment...

17 Dec 03 - 03:47 PM (#1074740)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson

Ahh, I love America

Home of bluegrass and no one here says the word shite.

17 Dec 03 - 04:55 PM (#1074783)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: The Stage Manager


You guys don't know what your missing! You'll never guess some of the things we apply it to over here!


17 Dec 03 - 06:50 PM (#1074880)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Callie

Hey 666 - why not think outside the circle and make some other opportunities for yourself? There are countless performance opportunities to be had in Sydney - you could spend every night of the week playing if you were serious about it.

Sydney could always use another folk venue - why not set up your own club and run it to the ideals that you hold? I guarantee that the miniute you do set up your own club you'll be flooded with requests to play and you'll have to make decisions about who to book and who to knock back.

18 Dec 03 - 03:31 AM (#1075127)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Frank

I've lost touch with the folk clubs of Britain & Ireland and havent been to Oz but I can tell you that the "wannabe musos to come and inflict themselves on the population" are alive and well and working as professionals in the Irish bar scene in the US

18 Dec 03 - 04:37 AM (#1075163)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?

You usually sing christmas carols around Christmas time (well thats what we do heer in AMERICA) and i am pretty sure you do in AUSTRALIA. guest666 get a life and stop complaining

18 Dec 03 - 09:50 AM (#1075370)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Janice in NJ

One friend of mine once wrote a piece to console another friend who had been rejected by a festival program committee. What he said to her was:

A real folksinger doesn't worry about bookings. A real folksinger creates her own venue. On street corners. In campgrounds. In parks. In schools. At parties. At family gatherings. Wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. A real folksinger plays in hospitals, and hospices, and old age homes. A real folksinger plays in prisons, and libraries, and bus stations, and at street fairs. And a real folksinger doesn't whine and bellyache and complain because such and such club or festival wouldn't have her.

It was good advice then, and it still is today. Forget about the so-called folk scene, with its multitude oh-so-petty gate keepers. Instead go out in the world and build a following, and the day will come when those would-be guardians of folkdom beg you to play their house.

18 Dec 03 - 09:57 AM (#1075374)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,The SM


That's brilliant advice. I guess not many 'folk clubs' ever booked
Woody Guthrie when he was starting out!


18 Dec 03 - 09:58 AM (#1075379)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Beverley Barton

that last post hits the nail well and truly on the head eh what?

18 Dec 03 - 11:51 AM (#1075480)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Janice in NJ

Here's a link to the original piece by Steve Suffet and the responses that followed: A Real Folksinger. It later appeared on the Peoples Music and the Folknet discussion groups, and created interesting discussions in those places as well as here on Mudcat.

18 Dec 03 - 12:00 PM (#1075491)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: mooman

Shite is in the Eye of the Beholder...



18 Dec 03 - 12:54 PM (#1075518)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Grab

Treewind/Anahata, Cambridge isn't doing too badly for folk. Tom Paxton and Show of Hands were both packed. Not strictly trad, but I think mostly people go to listen to music that they like, not just music that's a particular genre. (And both these two are as much a part of the "tradition" as you can get whilst still being alive, anyway! ;-) I don't see this as "watering down" the tradition, as Poetlady puts it - watering the tradition helps it grow and thrive. You don't allow some cross-pollenation and new growth, it's as dry as dust and just as dead.

I think the problem for the Mayflower is precisely that there is so MUCH music around in Cambridge. You're competing with a zillion pubs who put on bands, have open-mike sessions, or have players' sessions. Given a choice between paying money to get into a folk club with a variable quality of musicians, and going to a pub for free to listen to a variable quality of musicians, I'm afraid I'll choose the free one.

I don't have time to get out to folk clubs much, and mostly the ones I go to are more "social" sessions (ie. more like a collection of friends who play music meeting in a pub) rather than the "serious" variety. The Red Lion in Whittlesford has been recommended as a hang-out for more "serious" musicians, but we tend to go to the less serious session at the Bees in the Wall instead. I can't say how "young" they are though. There isn't usually a majority of younger people, but younger people join frequently enough to make up for the shufflers-off-this-mortal-coil. I guess I'd fit in there, since I'm 30 and I've been going to various small folk clubs in Cambridge for about 4 years now, which is fairly young by folky standards. :-)


18 Dec 03 - 01:14 PM (#1075535)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: George Papavgeris

Grab, you said: "Given a choice between paying money to get into a folk club with a variable quality of musicians, and going to a pub for free to listen to a variable quality of musicians, I'm afraid I'll choose the free one".
If that is all you ever do, you are missing out on a huge chunk of folk activity and listening oportunities: You'll never get to hear any of the performers who do not attend "sessions" for whatever reason. Martyn Wyndham-Read does not attend sessions. Neither does Robb Johnson. Or Marilyn Middleton.
It seems to me that, for the sake of saving a little money (what - 3 pounds UK? 4? 5?) you are cutting yourself off from some of the best music around. But hey - that's your choice, and you're entitled to it.
Me, I go to clubs. Because they too have a role to play in promoting folk music, even if many of them don't do so adequately. And because there is nowhere else I can go to have an evening's comparable fun and enjoyment for the money.

18 Dec 03 - 01:42 PM (#1075547)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: PoppaGator

Thanks to Janice, first for the "real folksinger" quote, and then for the link to the earlier thread.

As someone who loves to sing but has never had the *slightest* urge to write a song, I aspire to the venerable role of "songster," and I am glad to have a tradition -- or, actually, a multiplicity of different traditions -- from which to draw material.

What is a songster? My understanding comes from two of greatest practitioners ever, Mance Lipscomb (who told me in person) and John Hurt (who I know only from his recordings) -- an artist who can perform songs that people love, using only his own resources, i.e. his voice and whatever instrument(s) he can play with his own two hands.

(Make that "his or hers," "he or she," etc., if you need to.)

If Mance, in his day, could play and sing Gershwin or Cole Porter tunes in his two-finger blues-picking style and still be a "folk" (or "folk-blues") artist, you or I can play Beatles tunes or whatever without having to apologize. But, of course, those who stay true to one or another tradition are also finding their artistry and self-expression in the interpretation of pre-existing material. There are so many great songs out there already, and "folksingers" (or, at least certain types of folksingers) exist to keep the best ones alive by continually re-performing and reinterpreting them.

Now, as far as my *not* aspiring to the role of "singer-songwriter," that may be a whole new and separate discussion. I'd just like to pass along my observation that far too many performers who can provide me with great enjoyment with their renditions of material they have learned from others (whether familiar or obscure) take a sudden turn for the worse when they announce, "..and now for one of my/our originals..."

18 Dec 03 - 02:17 PM (#1075566)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Dickmac

Well run folk clubs are not shite!!!

The range of comments suggest that there's a big variation in the standards of organisation and performer.
I'm a member of Irvine Folk Club (Ayrshire, Scotland) which has been going for alomost 40 years so we must be doing something right. I'm not a committe member but I am committed to seeing the club continue to flourish. Members pay an annual subscription of £10 and fortnightly concerts are held where members pay £4 and non members £5.
The usual format is three of four unpaid floorspots from local (or any from anywhere ) singers and paid artist or group.

We get regular and infrequent visitors, depending on who is performing.

The last four club nights have featured Breabach, a young and very talented group,Mary Smith from America, Raillion - another talented young trio with a Dutch girl who sings Scots songs and finally the legandry Whistlebinkies.

The club runs the annual Marymass Folk Festival, the 36th was in August with Eric Bogle topping the line up, and its believed to be the longest running festival in Scotland.

The club must be doing something right.

If you're in the area why don't you pay a visit.

In the new year,on 7th January, the club will be moving to a new venue at the Golf Hotel.Check out the Irvine Folk Club website
Have I just been lucky with my expriences.
Merry Christmas and A'the Best for 2004 to folkies worldwide.

18 Dec 03 - 04:21 PM (#1075632)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,111

guest 666 doesnt seem to be a very sociable person (well thats the gist i am getting from here) It seems to me like he wants everything his way and when he doesnt get things his way he complains from behind his computer in the by the name of 666. I think that guest666 is a coward. Thats my two cents

Good Night


Albert Collins

19 Dec 03 - 09:04 AM (#1076136)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Grab

El Greko, maybe I should clarify. If the folk club is paying to listen to pro or semi-pro musicians (or at least people of some kind of quality), then count me in for sure! If there's some filler of less good musicians to make up numbers, then OK as well.

But if the folk club is just a pure open-mic, in other words a bunch of people paying for the privilege of being listened to (and in some cases using their "captive audience" as a wailing wall for their latest navel-gazing), that's not filling any need that you couldn't get from a pub session elsewhere. I see it as the difference between paying to listen and paying to perform.

BTW, in my case I know damn well that I'm not up to quality, and I wouldn't expect anyone to pay to listen to me! ;-)


19 Dec 03 - 12:32 PM (#1076270)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: treewind

Breezy and George, thanks for your encouraging comments.
Running a club would get in the way of trying to organise gigs for ourselves too, but a monthly event might be possible to handle.

Graham - I know about the Whittlesford Red Lion and Bees in the Wall - we've been there but as our agenda at the time was investigating anything that called itself a folk club for the possibility of bookings we were a bit disappointed. I confess to knowing less that I should about the folk scene in Cambridge. There are some recently started sessions at Reach and Great Eversden on alternate Sudays which are a deliberate attempt to get away from the more or less all Irish tune-thrashes that go on in town and we support those enthusiastically and have met some great people there.

I am disappointed with the Mayflower and I think it could be revived. The one singers night a couple of months ago was packed. Some singers got two songs while others didn't perform at all, who really should have done (and vice versa, in some cases) and the evening started late as usual. THe Mayflower needs a venue though, as the future of the Portland Arms remains uncertain. The Friday night folk club is overrun with introspective contemporary failed-pop-singer types. I'm investigating Acoustic Routes and we should take a sample of some of those Irish sessions too. There are places where kids are getting into it, like the Saturday Duxford workshops which I used to be involved in, And the local Comhaltas Ceoltoiri branch is thriving but that's Irish again... traditional English is an ethnic minority here!

Sorry everyone, this is all getting a bit domestic and local...


20 Dec 03 - 09:17 AM (#1076783)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?

20 Dec 03 - 09:33 AM (#1076789)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Maryrrf

I'm coming to this thread late but I wanted to mention my experience at the folk clubs in Scotland. I performed at nine folk clubs in various places - from Dumfries and Galloway to Fife - didn't get way up to the Highlands. I also attended and did guest spots in a few more.   Audience size varied and no, I didn't get paid a lot - but what a rewarding experience! All of the clubs were held in comfortable venues, the audiences were appreciative, and all in all it was a wonderful atmosphere. I was made most welcome everywhere, whether I was the performer or a guest. I think folk clubs in Scotland are great places to hear folk music - yes, in many cases they're struggling but some seem to be doing well. Many have been going for forty years or so, such as Irvine (as mentioned in the post above). I'm grateful to the people who run and support these clubs. In all cases I thought the other floor singers were very good and, in some cases, exceptionally good. Having been following the threads about the FC's in England, I wonder if the fact that somebody can't just show up (have to be a member, due to the PEL regulation, if I understand it right?) doesn't make things more "cliquish" there??? In Scotland you don't have to be a member, you just turn up. Anyway - my two cent's worth is that in Scotland, definitely the folk clubs aren't shite - they're great and enjoyable and are hanging in there doing their part to support folk music - long may they continue!

20 Dec 03 - 02:38 PM (#1076907)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: treewind

As mentioned further up the thread, the folk scene in Scotland seems to be in a healthier state generally.

The club membership thing only applies to a few places, notably in London where the LA's (especially Camden, who started this) started charging exorbitatnt rates for a PEL so pubs didn't get one and folk clubs have to find a way round it. You can just turn up at most English folk clubs without any problem.


09 Sep 08 - 04:47 AM (#2434939)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,Cartwheels On A Tuesday

I am amazed at the negative comments about orpington folk club earlier in this thread. It must be the best folk club in the south east. They have a fine band of "residents" that treat us to 10 to 15 or so tunes/songs every week. The really good thing is they are usually the samr songs so we all now know them and can sing along and tap our feet. The beer is only £3.20 a pint and the glass is almost full and you only have to wait about 10 minutes to be served, which ain't bad heh!

09 Sep 08 - 05:17 AM (#2434960)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Will Fly

Orpington sounds great. I do hope they include the Wild Rover in the repertoire - I haven't heard this one for years...

09 Sep 08 - 09:10 AM (#2435124)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Girl Friday

Guest Don't Shoot the Messenger obviously hasn't been to Orpington Folk Club for years. It is now in a nice warm room, downstairs, actually the pub restaurant. The residents are the same, almost as in The White Hart, but they have a selective floor spot policy on guest nights. Yes, a lot of us may be the wrong side of 50, but I've also encountered lots of younger performers who are amazingly talented, and they will bring younger audiences in time. I am now involved in the running of three clubs, each different in character, none of them "shite", hopefully. you pays your money and takes your choice. Incidentally, I know of no club organisers who make a penny out of running these clubs... quite the reverse in fact.

09 Sep 08 - 01:43 PM (#2435369)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: GUEST,woodsie

Orpington Friday Folk is a super club at the liberal Club and reasonably priced booze too!

09 Sep 08 - 03:09 PM (#2435475)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Will Fly

The question, then, is why "Guest Don't Shoot The Messenger" made this post. Being Troll'ish, perhaps...?

09 Sep 08 - 03:13 PM (#2435481)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Spleen Cringe

Maybe a lot has changed in the 5 years since s/he posted it?...

09 Sep 08 - 03:54 PM (#2435532)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Jack Blandiver

Maybe a lot has changed in the 5 years since s/he posted it?...

Changed, Spleen? Changed? I tell you, go using language like that in a folk forum and you'll likely get yourself a reputation.

Sept cents elfes dehors du bois, foul et sinistre ils étaient. Vers le bas à la maison du fermier ils sont allés, sa viande et boisson à la part

09 Sep 08 - 04:30 PM (#2435568)
Subject: RE: are folk clubs shite?
From: Spleen Cringe

You're right of course, Innie. I did try change once, though. Didn't much like the taste.

Estou a detectar uma série de duendes inconsistente, embora. Foi-se a partir de dezoito t setecentos no espaço de duas threads ...