Monday, 16 May 2011

Use it or lose it

This heading can apply to so many things nowadays.  People like things to be there, but they don't necessarily feel they need to support them.  A hypothetical example might be people who are upset when their local pub closes down, but don't relate that to the fact that they went in only once or twice a year.  A real example is our CAMRA branch's trip to the Stourbridge beer festival, which had to be cancelled through lack of support.  We weren't that many short of breaking even; four more would have done it.  We could have tried putting the price up, but then you risk others dropping out because it's more than they have budgeted for.  Besides, trying to sort that out by e-mail or phone would be a nightmare.  At CAMRA meetings, people say they want social events, but some just don't support them when they're put on.

This train of thought was prompted by the most recent Grateful Fred concert in Freshfield, at which there were only 12 paying members of the audience.  Individuals who put on such gigs stand to be out of pocket if insufficient people turn up.  Unfortunately I couldn't make it as I was running the Lion singaround on the same night, but I was at the previous one, which was well attended.  I was pleased with the turnout in the Lion, where there were nine singers, but occasionally I have been the only person to turn up at a singaround in Southport (this hasn't happened so far in Liverpool).  I discontinued a Saturday afternoon singaround last year after nearly 10 years due to falling support, and if the number of people who said, "What a shame!" had occasionally turned up, it would still be going.  If there's no demand for something, that's okay, but I'm certain from some conversations that that's not necessarily the case.

Then there are the freeloaders.  As you'd expect, most people are fine, but even with small scale gigs put on by local individuals, you get some selfish idiots.  Rich Simcock's Place To Be put on Ewan McLennan a few weeks ago, but there was only about a dozen there.  I was quite disgusted with two women who came at half time and expected to get in for nothing.  They could see how few people were there, and they would know that such events are put on by one person on their own initiative, not a big company that could stand the loss, but they still argued the toss (they ended up paying).  I am reliably told that some people try to blag their way in free into the Bothy Folk Club, where I'm a resident singer.  Fortunately, few get past our volunteers on the door.

I'm afraid I don't understand the mentality.  If people don't want to support things, fair enough, that's their choice, but if they do, but don't get around to turning up, then it may not be there by the time they do stir themselves.  For example, I had a complaint from a couple who said they'd turned up for the Saturday afternoon singaround and there was no one there; this was months after I'd stopped it ~ sorry, too late.  And if you're someone who thinks it's good to blag your way in free to little gigs ~ well, to be polite I'll just say, think again.

Best night to have a folk club

I have discovered there isn't one, and this finding will apply to any kind of evening event you try to arrange.  Many years ago, we had two folk clubs in Southport, the Coronation on Friday and the Bothy on Sunday.  People used to say to me that Friday was no good, because they were tired at the end of a working week.  Saturday was no good, as you were usually doing something else.  Sunday wasn't any good because you had work the next day, which logically also applies to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which brings you back to Friday.

From this I concluded that there's no good night to organise anything and if you want to do something, just do it rather than make excuses.

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