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Is folk dying?
What is happening to Sydney folk music?

By Margaret Bradford
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005

We are after some answers as to how we can get 'bums on seats' at our concerts at the Sutherland Folk Club.

We manage to get the few faithfuls who always say to me after a concert.

What a wonderful night. Where are they? All those folkies out there who say they love folk music and want to be part of the folk scene but we never see them at our club?
I realise it is winter and many of you have other work/family/social commitments and perhaps Thursday night (shopping night) is not a good night for a folk club? Mid week is perhaps difficult when many of us have to go to work the next day.

huge amounts of work!

Linda and Betty and I send a mail out . . . (yes, a real snail mail notice in paper and ink and stamps) to 80 members of our folk club inviting them to come along and hear the wonderful artists. We spend the whole month before a concert phoning, booking, arranging travel, notification of venue, times of arrival, performance times, publicity to many local and Sydney wide newsletters, journals, newspapers for these performers. Sometimes performers cannot make it at the last minute and we have to frantically ring around to find someone else.

Word seems to be getting around OK, people say they are still keen to be involved but why don't they come to our concerts.

Is it the venue?

Is there something wrong with the venue? Our local Trade Union Club has been particularly generous in making a large beautifully furnished room available for us free of charge as we are a sub-club of the Tradies. They advertise our club happenings in their newsletter which goes out to quite a few thousand residents of the Sutherland shire. We also email notice of concerts and sessions to countless folkies etc.

Is it a syndrome of the south of Sydney music/cultural scene? It is so embarrassing to even expect performers to come from long distances to our club and only 7 people turn up in the audience.

I would appreciate it if someone could give us a clue as to how we get people away from that dreaded square box to come and experience some top class live entertainment. Our session nights are attracting bigger numbers than the concert nights. Does everyone sit at home thinking all the other members are patronising the club?

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Is folk dying?