'Well here's the website back again by popular demand, and just in time for Shanty Night!
The site has been off air pending the resolution of a few issues about how people - both musicians and audience - want to see the Session developing in the future. The chief bone of contention has been whether to keep things strictly 'acoustic', or whether to allow the introduction of singers' mics. And the whole debate has gone right to the heart of what, and whom, the Session is FOR, and how, if it is to continue to provide maximum pleasure for the majority of its participants and audience, it should be run in future.
This website advertises (both here and on other acoustic and folk websites) that the Mersea Session is 'acoustic', 'inclusive' and 'non-cliquey', and that its chief virtue is 'respect for fellow musicians'.
Following a recent experiment with some of the singers wearing mics, there was disquiet amongst the regular audience, with many considering this an unwelcome development, at odds with the original tenets of the Session, and that amplifying just one or two voices above the rest would run counter to inclusivity and non-cliquiness and would self-evidently NOT be 'acoustic'. It was also felt that it would make normal-level background conversation impossible (and, after all, the punters like bit of a chat with their friends as well as enjoying the music) and that in any case the size of the venue simply did not necessitate amplification. However, some of the musicians still feel that they need mics in order to hear themselves sing. So the issue is not yet resolved, but it's my fervent hope that, if more people - punters and musicians - were to discuss this more openly with each other, rather than muttering behind the scenes, we might yet achieve some kind of balanced resolution.
At its best the Session is a joyous celebration of diverse talents and a hugely enjoyable, life-affirming exercise in community music-making. Many - myself included - would be desperately sorry to see it either diverge too much from its original inclusive, acoustic roots, or disintegrate through lack of consensus about its purpose or direction.
Meanwhile, since it's been off air, many people have contacted me to say that they find this site interesting and useful, which is, ironically, pretty much the first feedback its ever received! When I set it up, I really hoped it would become the Session's site - by the Session for the Session - rather than just the 'Juliet and Greg blog'. So pleeeeeeaaase let's have some more interaction - we'd love it if other people would contribute posts, news items, photographs, reviews of other musical events, links to other sites of interest - ANYTHING! - it would make it all seem soooooo much more worthwhile.
You can 'follow' this site via Google, to show your support. You can join our Facebook page, so we have lots of 'friends'. You can leave comments by clicking on the 'comment' link below each post and following the simple instructions. You can email me direct with news, views and photographs etc at juliet[at]doyleandco.net.
Whether you play, regularly or occasionally, or just enjoy listening, make your voice heard here, as well as on a Thursday night. Tell us what you think about the Session and how you'd like to see it improve or whether you think it's just right as it is.
Thank you, and see you all tonight, come wind or weather . . .