Suppose that there are 300 folk acts – solo, duo, band – actually working in the UK. Further suppose that each of them wants to play 100 gigs a year. Suppose yet again that they’d like 100 people to be at each gig. That comes to 30,000 gigs and 3,000,000 attendees. Which is a lot.
But suppose every gig attendee could be persuaded to go to a gig a fortnight. That’s not a huge ask, particularly as a lot of these gigs will be in the cheap, £10 or less ticket range. As each act would play two gigs a week that’s 1200 a fortnight, with a total attendance of just 120,000. Which is not a large number at all, particularly when spread across the country.
Now, I have no idea of the exact number of at-least-semi-professional folk acts out there gigging. But it’s not going to be ten times 300. It might be twice as many, maybe even three times. And whether 100 attendees is a reasonable average target is also up for debate. Some would be grateful to get that many on a regular basis, for others (particularly bands) it might not be enough.
But getting the exact figures is just fine-tuning. The point is that, in the light of the regular, well intentioned but sadly-rehashing-the-same-old-arguments threads you see on Facebook and forums about boosting audiences, the actual number of people who need to be enthused might well not be that large. Which doesn’t make the task simple, but it does make it easier than it might appear initially.