How many people are involved in folk activities in Gloucestershire?

8,900 people listen ‘on-line’ every week (figures from BBC) to the Johnny Coppin programme on Radio Gloucestershire. Added to this are an unknown number who listen ‘live’ (Not all those are from the county, but as many local radio stations have their own folk programmes, probably most are).
(Input to the local economy – probably limited to the fee that the local freelance presenter receives from Radio Gloucestershire – unknown. 
 
There are 45 Barn Dance/Ceilidh Bands in the county (according to the Glosfolk web site – there may be more). That is approximately 200 musicians. If each band plays for ten dances a year (a conservative estimate) and there are 60 dancers at each dance, that is 23,400 people a year, or 450 people a week.
(Input to the local economy – cost of tickets purchased - £175,000 annually assuming an average ticket price of £7.50, plus drinks, food, travel etc)
 
There are at least 15 social dance clubs, (Glosfolk web site) most of them meeting weekly. If there is an average of 25 people attending, that is 375 people a week.
(Input to the local economy – entry fees at an average of £3 - £56250 annually)
 
There are at least ten Folk Clubs in the county. (Mr Red’s Mid-West pages) Minchinhampton and Frampton meet weekly, Stroud, Cheltenham, Lechlade, Gloucester, and Forest fortnightly, and Dursley, Winchcombe, and Mitcheldean monthly. An estimated 120 people a week.
(Input to the local economy – entry fees at an average of £5 - £30,000 annually)
 
There are 25 music sessions listed at pubs and other venues. (Mr Red’s Mid-West pages). Some weekly, some fortnightly, and some monthly/occasional. An estimated 200 people a week taking part.
(Input to the local economy – entry fees are usually free, but travel costs and drinks/food purchased at venues at an average of £10 per head - £100,000 annually, and a very welcome boost to struggling local pubs)
 
There are seventeen Dance Display clubs (morris etc) listed on the Glosfolk web site. At 20 people per club, all meeting at least weekly, that is 340 people per week.
(Input to the local economy – membership fees at an average of £20 per head - £6,800 annually, travel costs at an average of £5 per head per week - £75,000 annually – this does not include the money generated by pubs, fetes, and other events)
 
There are 43 singers and groups, and 10 workshop leaders listed in the Glosfolk Directory.
(If they have 12 gigs a year, and get a fee of £30 (modest), then this comes to £15,480 per year contribution)
 
A grand total of almost 1400 people a week taking part in folk activity in Gloucestershire, plus at least 8900 listening to the radio. 11,000 a week! As many as go to see Gloucester Rugby!
 
Obviously, there is some duplication and overlap, but compensating for this will be the number attending public concerts at venues such as Cheltenham Town Hall, Tewkesbury Roses Theatre, Stroud Subscription Rooms, Stroud ‘The Space’, Uley Prema Arts Centre, Gloucester Guildhall, etc, all of which have regular folk concerts.
(Input to the local economy – ticket prices, these vary, as does the capacity of the venues. My very conservative estimate is £750,000 annually. 
 
A grand total of £1,258,530 annually (conservative estimate – it may be much more) is contributed to the Gloucestershire economy by folk and traditional music – a very substantial sum, which Glosfolk is committed to helping to increase further. So folk music is not just very popular (15% increase in events compared with last year), great fun, and preserving our local and national heritage, it is also helping the country out of recession! Perhaps Glosfolk should get the Queen’s Award for Industry!
 
© Peter Cripps 2012/2014





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