People like a competition. TRAD2MAD is back. For nine years, the Islington Folk Club ran, via the internet, our version of X Factor for unaccompanied singers. Entrants posted their performances of songs on YouTube and sent the URL to the competition email address. The title TRAD2MAD stems from the club’s motto, “From the fiercely traditional to the frankly eccentric”, first coined by David Campbell, singer. Peta Webb, who might admit to having sung for a number of years - from Oak to Sisters Unlimited - recalled singing competitions in London in the 1960’s. They were part of the Irish tradition and festival scene, to some extent continuing today but always live. Well strange days like these have awoken the game again, so the club, while self-isolating, will run three competitions: one in April, one in May and one in June. It will be led by Bernard Puckett, our former Bookings Secretary and long-time MC and will be judged by him and the other members of the committee who are Amanda MacLean (Singer, MC and author), Brian Gardner, (Singer, MC and Bookings Co-ordinator), Nick Moran (Singer, Angel Band, MC and Treasurer), Rob Twisse (MC and Angel Band), Roger Trevitt, (Singer, Hunter Muskett and Angel Band). Each month, the cash prizes will be as follows:
1st prize £25 2nd prize £15 3rd prize £10
When we are able to reopen, as before, the online competition will feed into club nights. We always give a free entry to each TRAD2MAD entrant and we envisage, as before, being able to present some entrants live in a “Three Way Split” evening or some such combination, This has worked well in the past, giving some performers an opportunity to have their very first booking. Some have gone on from this to solo guest spots, both at Islington Folk Club and elsewhere.
Encouraging the use of the internet and allowing people to perform to webcams and camera-phones and the internet is for first-time performers, a less scary way of exposing their singing voice for the first time. It has proven to be particularly appealing to young people who have less experience of performing. Yes, TRAD2MAD is a singing selfie. Other performers have used their entry to raise their profile, introducing themselves and often their band to the online community, and hoping for greater things. The last time we ran the competition, it provoked great interest across all social media. Bernard says that when results were announced via email, his inbox was vibrant with internet chatter and notes that some prize winners heard from other interested friends via Facebook.
Quite a lot of past entries have been from the TRAD side or what is sometimes called contemporary folk. We do not discourage this, and we always like to have a balance, but the judges are always pleased to see more from the MAD side of song. Whatever the case, try to bring something of your own to the singing. In the past, some of our judges have marked down versions of songs that were carbon copies of other people’s performances.
Over the short life span of the competition, the performances have ranged from the gothic to the urban, to the rural, along the country tracks, cycle paths and riverbanks, via the bedrooms, kitchens and stairwells of the global village. It is always a pleasure to be let in and listen to four minutes of real singing. Just Google TRAD2MAD to view some past singers, get a feel for it and enjoy.
The full details of how to enter and conditions will be posted on our website in the next few days, A further mailing will go out once they are.