Floorsinging for Beginners
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7. Future Areas for Discussion?
How to get gigs. You've done a few floor spots but you want to play more than the two or three in a night. Where do you start in getting to play more often and longer sets. Even, dare I say, for money!!! How and who do you persuade that you need to be unleashed on the wider public for longer? I suppose one's music should speak for itself, but only if its heard often enough. So any ideas about self promotion would be gratefully received. Also some "don'ts" in there would be useful too.
One suggestion is to show up to do floor spots, introduce yourself to the organizer and say that you're looking for work, or else to send tapes. Clubs that have a big name policy may be interested in (cheap or even free) support acts. Fewer festivals nowadays seem to have serious jams and singarounds, but those that do help to get your name known. Some clubs give local singers a chance to do a longer set (a half or whole evening) from time to time. Of course, some clubs don't consider they have a particular incentive to book someone who comes every week anyway. Clubs that are associated with festivals are likely to be looking for local talent to pad the guest list cheaply and do things like MC concerts, run singarounds etc., which all raises your public profile.
Tapes generally need to be pretty good to make much of an impression. If you're going to send them round the country to clubs, festivals, agencies etc., you'll be taken more seriously if they're professionally packaged with a good looking poster or two, a properly formatted and well-printed resume etc. Some people won't even look at a tape that isn't well packaged: it's one of the heuristics for dealing with a flood of unsolicited gig-hunting mail. Best not to make a tape a 3-hour cassette of your life's work. A well-balanced set of three, say, should be quite enough to interest an organizer, if you're his/her cup of tea. For heavens sake do some research before you send stuff off. Don't waste their time and yours by sending a tape of acoustic rock and roll to a hardcore traditional club, or sea shanties to a club which leans towards the cabaret.
Another area which seems to interest people is running clubs, especially in terms of MC-ing. Apparently Brian Hooper of Southampton published a booklet a while ago called "So you want to be a Folk Club MC". I don't know if it's still available, but it was apparently originally published by:
........44 Janson Road
You might be able to contact him via Folk on Tap. [Thanks to Ken Piper, editor of Fol-de-rol, for the following details for Folk on Tap. Extract from Folderol Hardcopy section http://www.piper-kj.demon.co.uk/diary.htm]
Folk On Tap, published by SCoFF, Southern Counties Folk Federation, in Jan/Apr/Jul/Oct. Available at clubs £2.00/issue. Annual postal subscription £8.50 to Peggy Danby, Subscriptions, Gemini, Gorey Coast Road, St Martins, Jersey , Channel Islands JE3 6EU.
A substantial A4 quality magazine - 72 pages + review insert.
SCoFF, the Southern Counties Folk Federation, is a confederation of clubs from Somerset to East Sussex/Kent and from Bucks/Oxon/Berks to the Channel Islands including Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Wiltshire, and Surrey. For club subscription rates (UK£12-£30) contact Sam, the treasurer & editor.
Editor (copy date one month in advance.) Sam Satyanadhan, 3 Cranbury Road, Woolston, Southampton SO19 2HZ. tel/fax 01703 570082.