[Organizers] Lower Attendance

Greg Allan via Organizers organizers at lists.sharedweight.net
Tue Dec 6 13:17:37 PST 2016


Greg from Winnipeg. While the contra community that I have been fostering
here in Winnipeg is brand new, I have seen a drop in attendance from last
year. Two contra evenings I organized had 50+ people in attendance last
year. dropping to 20-30 this year. For the most recent one, I booked
talent, Champion fiddler Patti Kusturok, and cut the price from 13 to 10
dollars. That bumped the attendance from the 20s into the 30s, but I'm not
seeing 50s anymore.

The swing dance community has seen a drop as well, though I believe that is
directly linked to an increased price in a new venue. I have heard people
tend to come and leave early - that it lacks a certain enthusiasm.

Funnily enough, I myself have been coming late and leaving early from some
other folk dance groups I'm a part of. ... Maybe if I ponder that enough, I
will come up with the solution for everyone. General malaise? But
otherwise, I feel the problems are social in nature. For example, people
who have been coming to groups for a long time that feel that changes in
standards are not in their taste or are having trouble getting to know new
members. Or perhaps its the push to innovate and make things more exciting
for current members or to attract new members... like new bands, new music,
new figures, new progressions, new formations, new camps, new events. I
feel it tends to make folk dancing more of a pop culture fad rather than a
long-standing folk tradition that people can become *a part of*. I mean no
offense to anyone, I think we've all put a lot of much-appreciated effort
into making contra enjoyable. But maybe the increase in numbers *was* due
to our much-appreciated efforts, and it's just running out of steam?
English country dancing has existed for centuries without being so
self-conscious - is rapidly evolving to meet the dancers' apparent desire
for new-and-exciting the answer to our problems?

Thinking out loud,

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