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Admission Charge:
7 Audience should pay nothing
0 Audience should pay 50p
21 Audience should pay £1
1 Audience should pay £1.50
2 Audience should pay £2
1 Audience should pay £5 (Guest Nights)
24 Performers should pay nothing
1 Performers should pay 50p
4 Performers should pay £1
0 Performers should pay £1.50
0 Performers should pay £2
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Smoking Policy:
6 Smoking should always be allowed
2 No smoking while performers are on
4 Smoking should only be allowed at the bar area
29 No smoking at all
Admission Charge Comments Received:
For those we know, charge. For those we donít, a donation. You donít know their economic circumstances!

Try a raffle. If this does not bring in revenue then charge admission.

People donít appreciate something they get for free. Performers could have entry fee refunded, funds permitting.

People less likely to buy raffle tickets if they pay admission. Performers and audience should pay the same. Charge only if money is needed to cover club expenses.

I think £1 is probably an acceptable minimum charge, as it is from the raffle and admission that clubs manage to support their guest lists.

I expect to pay at clubs. Usually between £1 - £5 depending on if they have a guest or not.

Think there should be a small cover charge out of respect for the musicians. If you get something for nothing, nothing is what it is worth.

I think folk clubs are excellent value and charges are not begrudged. [Shirley, Cramlington]

Admission charges should be in line with artist's fee, bearing in mind a surplus needs to be held in reserve for the future. Performers/regular attenders could get a reduction. [Dave, Bridge Folk Club]

It depends on the guest fee. But even on a singers night there should be a small charge, this will make the audience appreciate the performer all the more. If performers offer to pay it should be accepted. [Keith, Cramlington]

Free admission singers nights, singers on list for gig nights free admission [Dave, Blyth]

[Comments removed at sender's request]

I do not mind paying an entrance fee as long as the money made is spent wisely [Margaret, Cramlington]

Singers nights has been free for months now. Whilst I don't mind paying I don't think it would help, the raffle takings would drop and so you would be no better off. But you should still charge for guest nights.

Cramlington charges on residents nights and more on guest nights. I think people who play should pay less but they should still pay something even a token £1 or 50p. You dont get anything worth having for nothing these days. [Rob, Newbiggin]

As in any activity, all income and outgoings need to be balanced, so only the organisers can judge what's feasible. you might like to list some combined charges/payments for us to select from. The other consideration is cost of refreshments; places where entry is cheaper often add the price on the drinks so audiences pay over and over again on each drink! [Mrs P Smith, Newcastle]

When K. Self ran the club, it always had an admission charge - so why not now? [Jack, Morpeth]

Making a simple £1 donation saves raffles and messing about, prevents bad feeling about those who don't buy raffle tickets etc, the only people who don't pay at our club are first time visitors and guest night performers. [Ian, Hartlepool]

Smoking Policy Comments Received:
People need a choice (I am a non smoker).

Iím a smoking person but will fall in line with the democracy of the club.

As a non smoker, I would prefer no smoking, but this could seriously deplete the attendance.

Perhaps smokers could stay at the bar, like tonight. Keeps the smoke away from the performers.

My preference is for no smoking at all, but itís probably not practical. Could try asking for no smoking during performances and see what the reaction is.

The folk bar is very small and was always far to smoky. There were usually at least 5 smokers so it became unbearable. I've never found it easy to sing in such an atmosphere. It is usual in most Folk clubs now to restrict the smoking to a specific area or ban it altogether.

Cut the smoking and numbers will increase. People are put off by smoke filled rooms and it makes it hard for singers to give their best.

Area around performers should be smoke free. Non smokers would then fill up the front?

There should be no smoking - far too unhealthy for a small space.

After going to The Davy Lamp (non-smoking) I found the smoking at Ashington made my eyes sore and breathing in that atmosphere very unpleasant, I had forgotten how intolerable it could be. It was enough to put me off. [Shirley, Cramlington]

If there were a no smoking rule I would be able to bring my wife!

Passive smoking is a major health hazard. [Rob, Guide Post]

At last, no smoking at Ashington, about time too. It has always been too smoky and it's a health hazard as well as a turn off. Well done! [Alan, Ashington]

The Folk Bar is much to small to allow smoking. My wife and always think twice about visiting Ashington due the amount of smoke, it makes for a very uncomfortable night. Both Cramlington and Washington have a no smoking policy which as had no detrimental effect on the clubs. [Keith, Cramlington]

We are always very busy hence we havenít been for ages but as far as no smoking is concerned it is the right decision for the small room but for the big room I think you should split the room or have a smoking section. The small room has always been far far too smoky (although I did smoke myself). See you one of these nights.

I have met many people in folk clubs over the last 25 years doing worse things than smoke, and some even smelling worse. I personally will not condone control of any individuals personal choice within the laws of the land and the norms of society. I can't last an hour without a fag! [Dave, Blyth]

I don't really care! But it's too late to voice an opinion as you've already banned it!! It seems that the only place that club regulars were able to follow the results was on the website... So, your consultation process was lacking, to say the least. As far as i can recall, in the past few months - I have never heard results mentioned at the club! And all that is ever mentioned in the newsletter is a link to the website to view the results and join the debate (or lack thereof) [Bob, Ashington]

I believe that at Ashington people should not smoke in the room where the performances are taking place. People can easily get up and go outside the room, after each song, as to not disturb the performers whilst they are singing. The room isn't very big, and it is unfair to make other people put up with the smoke - they tell you that on the adverts too... [Richard]

After seeing someone fight and die of lung cancer there is no way I want to be entertained in a room full of smoke. I did not visit Ashington Folk Club for a long time because of the smokey atmosphere and support jiva in their action of making it a no smoking zone. Well done jiva for giving Ashington a new lease of life. [Margaret, Cramlington]

i smoke and I like a fag or two with my beer. A public bar where people come to drink and smoke is a great way to unwind. But smoking is becoming less and less socially acceptable, more so in enclosed spaces. The Folk Bar is small, so we should have no smoking. I go there for the music, and we are now getting a good crowd in. Let's see whether no smoking has any effect on numbers. I am quite happy to go out on the landing to enjoy my cigarette. There's bound to be somebody on that I don't like. LOL [Hopefully not too often!... jiva]

Smelly clothes - Yes. Passive acquisition of cancer - possibly. BUT .....what if Dave Swarbrick crawled in to play for us ?? I'd roll his fags for him !! [EX smoker] [Hope not... in a recent interview Swarb said 'It is a fact that one ciggy could kill me']

Smoking will soon be banned in all public places, apart from the obvious health hazards and the smell sticking to your clothes and hair employers will be scared of being sued by bar staff etc. No point in fighting it, ban it and be done with it. If I want to smoke I can go somewhere else, if I want to listen to music I'll go to a folk club. Which is most important? You decide. [Rob, Newbiggin]

The no smoking policy is what it has taken for us to come back. [Mrs P Smith, Newcastle]

It's common sense! No smoking in transport (public) or theatres or cinemas - so why not Private Clubs? [Jack, Morpeth]

Your Suggestions For Improvement Received:
1. Keep it informal if possible.

2. Teaching club for beginners. [West Sleekburn Farm Community Music Association run workshops. They would be happy to help... jiva] 

3. No mobiles! [Agreed - we will be sure to mention it every time... jiva]

4. Run workshops [see 2 above... jiva], hit the streets, have fun, take up a cause (ĎSave Our Public Servicesí could be one!!), let the local Trade Unions know you Ė it has immense musical tradition.

5. Do we really need PA system? [Tried 4th March 2004 without PA - general feeling was it's better with the PA, see 14 below...jiva]. Ask people to switch off mobile phone [see 3 above... jiva]. Cut talking at the bar. [We will mention that too... jiva]

6. Theme nights. [Any suggestions? Let us know... jiva]

7. Not a clue.

8. Keep up the good work!

9. More variations in artist selection. Would like to see bands like ColvinQuarmby etc etc. [Ken, North Hampshire]

10. As it's an awful feeling arriving on time with an instrument and not being let on, please, if anyone comes with an instrument they obviously want to perform - so allow them to play even if it means limiting the time of the favourites. [We quite agree, and do our utmost to ensure all comers get a spot on non guest nights, even to the point of not playing ourselves if need be... jiva]

11. I'm sorry to say it is well over 18 months since I last visited Ashington. As it became more contemporary my very traditional songs seemed out of place. [Anne, Blyth] [Although most material performed is still contemporary, traditional music is certainly welcome - recent nights have had a wide variety of genres see Past Events - hope to see you soon... jiva]

12. It's a long time since I visited Ashington folk club so I don't know what it's like now. Make visitors feel welcome, give singers a fair hearing [See 10 and 11 above - we're trying... jiva] encourage participation. I think the survey is a great idea. More clubs should do it!

13. Even though variety is the spice of life, I would like to see a return to the theme nights. [See 6 above... jiva]

14. Using a PA system would be better. [Agreed, see 5 above... jiva]

15. Nothing much I can add except you're both doing an excellent job - please keep it up!! [Jack]

16. I have only been to one night, which was excellent. I have a busy schedule, but I look forward to being able to visit again.

17. Thanks for the effort you are putting into it!  [Rob, Guide Post]

18. Fine as it is. [Dave, Bridge Folk Club]

19. Bigger ashtrays! [Dave, Blyth]

20. I will ALWAYS keep my mobile phone switched on (it will be on silent)... i have three small children at home, and if anything was to happen to them, I would want to know as soon as possible!  [Point very well made... jiva] NO WHISTLING ALONG!! & NO CLAPPING ALONG! (They really get on my nerves as a performer)  NO EXTENDED SETS ON SINGERS NIGHT! [Bob, Ashington]
[At present, we can't do separate guest nights - neither the funds nor the authority - so extended spots are a way of allowing performers to occasionally do more than just 1 or 2 songs, and of giving the audience opportunity to see these artists for free. But, if that's not what's wanted, then we can say 'No' to their requests... jiva]

21. Fine as it is. [Margaret, Cramlington]

22. Either you're just plain stupid or very naive. When you ask for ideas, opinions and suggestions you will get a lot of different answers and then whatever you do you are bound to upset the ones whose views don't come out on top. Just get on with running the club, you're doing a great job of that. Leave vote catching to politicians.

23. You really are doing a good job, and you have brought the folk club up to a better standard. I don't mind paying, i don't mind not smoking [i can give up for a couple of hours one night a month!] and i do like the folk club.

24. An extractor fan would have helped in the past. Opening windows doesn't work, and it would be too cold except on very warm nights. I cant come to the club every month because of shiftwork but I like the way its going now. For a long time it as been sinking but things seem to be happening again so whatever it is your doing keep doing it. [Rob, Newbiggin]

25. You both are doing a splendid job running the club, i.e. entertaining; photography; computer prints etc. Keep it up! (I can't improve on that) !!! [Jack, Morpeth]

Total votes counted: 46

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