So, you’ve never been to a folk gig or a concert night at a folk club?

Something that comes up time and time again within the folk world is that there aren’t enough young people in the audience at gigs. There’s a wealth of young performers and talent… but audiences at folk concerts really do still tend to be of a certain age and demographic.

Wherever you live in England there’s almost certainly been an amazing folk concert less than an hour away from your home this month, and there’s very likely going to be another one within the next month.

So, if you like music but you haven’t been to one of these nights then perhaps it’s worth reading this:

They’re often in the upstairs rooms of pubs, or village halls, or the back room of a hotel. But they’re not exclusive clubs! They want you to come along for the evening.

Going to a gig or a concert night at a folk club is just like going to the cinema. It’s not going to be awkward. You don’t have to talk to anybody else before or after the gig - although you’ll probably find plenty of people willing to talk about music if you want to! They’re not going to make you sing, but you may well get a chance to join in a chorus if you choose.

Just like going to the cinema there’s an expectation that you’ll probably stay in your seat and that you won’t talk during the performance. But that won’t be a problem, because you’ll be enjoying the gig!

You’ll almost certainly get a good seat. There will very likely be a bar selling decent beer and there’s normally an interval during the evening so you can buy more drink and buy the artists CD if they’ve suitably impressed you.

You’ll see an artist you have probably never seen before. Read the blurb about them on the posters. Look for a few YouTube videos. Make up your own mind - but in general: the folk club is putting them on because they’re really good at what they do.

You’re probably not going to be deluged with utterly obscure medieval instruments or songs with 72 verses sung by old men with woolly waistcoats and a finger in their ear (and even if you did - you might find you actually enjoy it!). Those stereotypes still exist, but they’re really not an accurate representation of the diversity of the folk scene. Adele and Ed Sheeran would probably be playing folk clubs if they hadn’t had the breaks they did.

They might perform unplugged (although the majority of concert nights use a good PA system, and many artists tour with their own).

There might be a support act, or a few support acts. The odds are that they might be good but they probably won’t be great. Then again, they might be utterly amazing! That’s one of the joys of going to nights like this. You never know when the support act is going to grow up to be Bob Dylan.

So, bring a friend. Come with a group. Come on your own. Bring a date. But do go along and see how amazing live music can be. You’re probably going to spend something between £5 and £12 for a ticket, buy a few drinks from the bar, and maybe spend £10 buying a CD.

The reason that the audiences tend to be older is simply that they grew up in a time when home entertainment and the attitude towards it was completely different, and therefore going out to something was a far more regular event. They’re used to it, and time and time again they’re going back for more… so why not see what you’re missing out on?

You’ve now got the added bonus that if the night turns out to be really awful, you can just blame me for giving you bad advice!

Posted by Ange Hardy on September 22nd 2016

Loading... Updating page...