Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 5

January 2003

  1. COOPE BOYES & SIMPSON (9 January). This week's New Year special is now SOLD OUT and I have a waiting list for any returns. Those of you who are coming will notice a few new(er) faces in the floor act line-up: Chris Laurence will be acting as MC and there will be short spots by Leeds-based singer Kevin Loughran and women's acappella quartet Soundsphere, plus two others. Which takes me on to…

  2. FLOOR ACTS POLICY From time to time I am asked about why we have floor spots and how floor performers are chosen. Briefly, these are the main points:
    • Guest artists usually contract to do two 40/45-minute sets and, encore aside, are often reluctant to perform for longer. At the Black Swan, we always try to ensure that guests get at least the time they have asked for, and those who wish to do longer spots are accommodated if at all possible.
    • The rest of the evening could therefore be filled up with FREE TIME (later start, longer break, earlier finish), or a designated SUPPORT ACT, or FLOOR ACTS.
    • Folk clubs, more than most other live music settings, are about participation and the encouragement of all performers. With only one Singers Night a month, we feel that NOT to have performance opportunities on Guest Nights as well would be seriously to diminish that role. I for one don't want us to be, most of the time, a purely concert venue.
    • Some clubs have gone over to using designated support acts, but they are almost always clubs who put on a Guest only once every second, third or even fourth week, leaving plenty of space for other performers on other weeks.
    • Most of the time, floor performers make a very positive contribution to the evening. OK, one or two turn out to be sub-standard or having an off night, and anyone heard too often is in danger of becoming predictable, but on balance they are a solid asset to the club. And if you disagree you can always sit them out in the bar and have a natter!
    • We now operate an informal booking system for Floor Spots, both to regulate numbers and to achieve some sort of quality control. If lists are looking over-subscribed, frequently featured "regulars" are being asked to step aside occasionally.
    • Of course there's lots more could be said (e.g. floor spots as the seedbed of future stars, the crucial role of the MC, etc.) − if you have strong views, please let us know.

  3. MAGPIETY (16 January), unlike most other guests this next season, will be unknown to most of you. I booked them on the strength of a good CD they sent me. They have a fluctuating line-up but we are getting the FULL version: singers/ musicians Esme Ryder and Ann Marie Summers, plus extra players Stephen Tyler, Phil Tyler and Frank Lee, so it should be a good big sound. Esme used to sing with vocal trio Ryder McCulloch Ryder around the North East, while Ann Marie also works with medieval music ensemble Misericordia. She appears with them on London 's South Bank on the Thursday lunchtime before heading north to rendezvous with Magpiety in York . It should be something a bit different and good fun!