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Ian Anderson
 

The Editor's Box

Ian Anderson's comment column

As trailed in last month’s Editorial, we launched a big Kickstarter campaign in mid-November to try to fill some of the constantly energy-sapping financial hole that fRoots has been in since the 2008 global crash, and give a bit of breathing space while we plan how to do things better in the future.

The way that Kickstarter works is that you have to set a ‘target’ and if you don’t hit it, then you don’t get anything, so the tendency is to be cautious at first. To say that we were astonished by the response to it would be a classic understatement. Admittedly we were blessed by the artists, record labels, major events and more who immediately came up with generous offers of ‘rewards’, but we were staggered to pass the first target in just over 48 hours. Since then, lots more rewards have been donated – we were in danger of breaking Kickstarter as we had so many listed! – and lots more pledges have been made. At press date, still only half way through the campaign’s run, we’d been pledged £33K by 600 people, and still had a final round of rewards to add. We’re beginning to hope that by the end we might exceed 40K. We won’t get that whole amount of course – once fees, processing charges, costs for posting rewards and in some cases making them are taken out, but it will fill a lot of the historic hole and drive the wolves from the door (mixed metaphors r us). Thanks everybody!

If you’ve not engaged yet, you’ve got until 18th December. Visit our Kickstarter page and if you can’t contribute, at least please share it to all your friends and explain why you think it’s an important cause.

Arrangements are underway for meetings early in the new year to consider various new business models, and – hopefully – create a path for an efficient succession in which I can happily retire after 39 years, leaving the good ship fRoots to continue in other safe, creative hands.

· · · ·

It was amusing re-reading some of the ancient controversies revisited by Colin Irwin in his Folk Wars feature this issue. A continual sub-plot in the various doom’n’gloom predictions for the UK folk club scene back in the late 1970s was the concern that both audiences and performers were all ageing. Many were – shock! horror! gasp! – nearly in their thirties! If only they could see things now.

In the last month, in my continual campaign to scare myself, I did my first solo floor spot in a folk club since around 1972. In truth it was very welcoming and comfortingly familiar (yes, I followed the raffle) but I was reminded of a recent quote attributed to Geoff Muldaur: “It’s so nice to be playing to old people again… and their parents.”

Many of the great artists I go to see play folk gigs these days are indeed in their twenties or thirties, but playing almost entirely to audiences of their grandparents’ age. I cannot begin to imagine how that must feel, and I can’t really see how it can change until their generation really take on running gigs and bringing in their own peer group. Maybe this has to be my last great campaign before I slide off. After all, it would be so nice to play to some young people as well!

Ian Anderson


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