(May B)log: Are we the biggest skiffle band in the UK?

Before we get going…

Okay, for those genre “national socialist workers” out there who dispute our genre tag – please read the previous blog entitled “Why say skiffle?” – you might just learn something. More than that, if promoters, venues and press around the UK and Europe define us a ‘skiffle’ then why fight it? We say we’re “skiffle pop” anyway.

Basically – all the above is a crap attempt at pigeon-holing us into a classification other than “three guys with instruments”

Allow us to plow on…

Go on. Make your point.

We recently put a Twitter call out to a number of fellow UK skiffle acts asking if they would be interested in participating in a one-day skiffle festival in Cheltenham. Our home town is more or less the festival heart of England and puts on an insane amount of nationally and internationally renowned events spanning art, literature, film, music, poetry and science. Quite literally a world class place to be right now. We love it, all of our members have worked and/or performed at the highest levels of these festivals and establishing and executing a festival of this type successfully could be done in our sleep. Full house. Great time. Artists paid, watered and fed. Audience happy.

How many responses did we get back?

None.

Not a single one of them.

We’re not saying a lack of response is impolite – it’s just that we wouldn’t do it. A simple ‘not for us’ or ‘send more details’ or ‘are you crazy?’ would suffice. It just seemed that we could provide a place where the most ‘visible’ of skiffle bands in the UK could gather and perform under one roof and attract those from around the country who would love a day of dancing, double basses, washboards and classics.

Now. We appreciate that we occupy a narrow band of the wider scope of music (and all the genres who sail within her) but we have recently come to question our position within this hierarchy. Where do we belong in context of the diverse tag of modern skiffle itself?

At the end of the day the only gig we’ve ever had with another band like us had to travel all the way from Canada for us to play with. They were called “Blackberry Wood” and the show was put on by the awesome Cheltenham Underground promoters. One of our favourite gigs to date : )

At the end of the day, we just want friends to play with – is that so much to ask?

What this led to was a tiny bit (not too much, mind) of soul searching. Perhaps we were simply not big enough on the “Skifflescope” to be audacious to suggest such a thing? Or does no one care about skiffle? Or are we considered somewhat of a petulant child by our genre for trying to make it contemporary and bring it to an entirely new audience through playing shitty covers?

Again. Who knows…

What were your findings then?

Well, to quote Brian Butterfield “The results have been…incredible”

We didn’t actually set out to find this – it was through researching other bands, trying to make contact with them and seeing what other venues put on skiffle shows that we discovered these findings. We found what could realistically be agreed as the top 10 skiffle bands operating in the UK right now based on the standard parameters used to indicate success, when one defines success as:

suc·cess/səkˈses/
Noun:
1.    The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
2.    The attainment of popularity or profit.

Then using such indicators as a bands following of FB & Twitter, YouTube views, records released and probably what many musicians would consider a defining factor: shows played, to find an informal average for the reach of each artist.

What we found was that we are embarrassingly prolific in the face of these factors when compared to our peers.

If an alien were to land on earth tomorrow with the specific role of investigating skiffle they would most likely begin by narrowing their search to the northern countries of Europe (specifically England, Germany & Finland) then investigate these logical parameters that outline the genre and indicators of success in that field. If they were to do so in this fashion then it would almost certainly lead them to us.

That’s your working – what about a conclusion?

Are we the most ‘successful’ skiffle band operating in the UK today? Who knows – there is probably no way of knowing for sure and everyone’s opinion is different. What we do know is that we’ve accomplished more than we could have ever hoped for when we started out and through this process have attained both at least some degree of popularity and profit.

So what does this mean?

Absolutely nothing is what. It’s a series of accidental findings that have been formulated to present a reasoned argument with respect to the perception of success and skiffle. If we really wanted we could actually all afford to leave our jobs, rent a flat together and split our time between live liking kings on tour then dogs at home off the proceeds of Thrill.

Would this make us a successful?

No.

But it’d be awesome if we could all play a show together 🙂

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2 thoughts on “(May B)log: Are we the biggest skiffle band in the UK?

  1. Dan from Railroad Bill asked me about six months ago if we wanted to play a skiffle festival in Cheltenham in November. I said yes please but heard nothing since. Have Googled the event and see something is planned for Nov 9 but the Facebook event pages have little detail or no longer exist. Guess we missed our chance?

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