We've hit our initial target - THANK YOU! But we can't stop yet; every penny we raise means the future of the magazine is more certain. If we can hit £40,000 that means we'll be so much more confident about your investment supporting us into the future.
fRoots magazine has been publishing continuously for almost 40 years, bringing you the best in folk, roots and world music – what we call ‘local music from out there’.
Joe Boyd : "I doubt if the huge audience that now exists for world and roots music would be there if it weren't for fRoots."
Robert Plant : "Incredibly stimulating."
But, like many print magazines, we've reached crisis point.
We want to keep publishing the great interviews, commentary, photography, reviews and listings that our readers love and are so vital to the independent music world we support - but the magazine is no longer breaking even, despite our faithful advertisers and subscribers. We've been having difficulty covering our costs since the crash in 2008, and the magazine can no longer continue with its current business model.
We need to develop a new business model and decide what our next steps are as a publication - but we can't devote time to doing that while we're also trying to stay on top of a busy publishing schedule and balance increasingly unbalanced costs and income. This is why we need your help.
If we can raise more than £20,000 - preferably a lot more! - it will greatly relieve current pressures, so that rather than worrying about paying the bills, the fRoots team can develop a new business model for the magazine. We can also plan for the current editor's handover to a new team to take over the reins. Founder Ian Anderson has been tirelessly creating the magazine all this time, and is keen to ensure a smooth transition to make sure all the work of the last four decades won't be lost. Your support will mean that we keep the magazine going for as long as possible, with a team willing and able to take it into the future.
Jon Boden: "It is the inclusivity at the heart of fRoots magazine - the ability to celebrate cultural specificity alongside multicultural cross-fertilisation and global unity - that makes it such a vital and life affirming publication."
Billy Bragg : "fRoots proves that Englishness and multi-culturalism do go together. Music is great at creating empathy between individuals, communities, races and nations and by spreading the word, fRoots has made a considerable contribution to this process. Long may you continue to do so."
fRoots has always stayed connected with the grass roots from which we grew, and operated outside of the mainstream music business. We’ve often been the first to highlight artists and musics that readers may not have been so familiar with, with more attention to cultural and gender equality than most, as a glimpse at some of our 21st century covers will show. . We’ve often got involved in event promotion and media partnership as well as simply publishing a magazine. Down the years it has been that deliberately non-commercial, involved, activist approach that has helped give us our incredibly loyal readership for which we are so grateful. Many thanks go to you if you are already a subscriber.
Arts Council officers have told us that because of all we do, we tick many of the boxes that they most require from clients in order to support them with funding, but unfortunately the Arts Council has no scheme to support ‘commercial’ magazines, no matter how deserving and uncommercial they agree we are. And we've never had the luxury of a publishing house or investor behind us.
Folk, roots and world music gets irregular coverage from the mainstream publishing and broadcast media, yet in spite of the music itself being in an incredibly creative and buoyant phase, it seems to have currently fallen off the mainstream's radar. fRoots is always there for the music, and rarely has it been more needed than now.
Sam Lee: “What would a young folk singer do these days if it were not for the pioneering, sound divining, scene defining, truffle sniffing skills and reportage of this very magazine?”
Here at fRoots, we have taken many sensible steps to cut overheads including relocating out of London, freezing or cutting wages (in the editor's case not drawing any pay at all for the past two years) and decentralising our hard working staff. But without outside funding or investment we need the support of our community more than ever if we are going to maintain this valuable role in the new realities.
How can you help?
The most obvious is, of course, to support this Kickstarter! Remember, if we don't hit our target of £20,000 we get absolutely nothing (your card won't be charged unless and until we hit the target), so every backer helps. We've got some fantastic backer rewards so you'll be able to get your hands on something very special.
If you can't back this Kickstarter, the next best thing you can do is to share the link. We need everyone with an interest in folk, world and roots music to know this is happening. Please pass it on to your friends, your colleagues, mention it at your local session, tell your local music venue, share it on social media, put it in your newsletter if you have one - tell people why this matters to you. Your words make an enormous difference.
We've been amazed by the rewards people have got in touch to offer - and we like to think it says something about the position fRoots holds in its readers' hearts and the musical ecosystem.
The rewards we’re able to offer are actually pretty overwhelming (even for us!) so here’s a quick list of what’s available, plus links to external sites for more background info:
CDs, LPs, music downloads and other treasures:
- High quality A2/A3 prints of any fRoots cover since 2000
- Five fRoots back issues of choice, from available stock - whether you've got some gaps in your collection you'd like to fill, or you're new to the magazine and want to catch up
- Limited edition art paper A3 prints of two Biff strips: 'Bernie & Jeremy' (2016) and 'Morris Dancing' (2009):
- CDs of Gabi Lunca: Sounds from a Bygone Age
- James Yorkston signed white label test pressings and novel Three Craws
- Glass painting of Youssou N'Dour by Senegalese artist Mahiah, plus CD
- A Jaune Toujours limited edition collectors' box set
- Andrew Cronshaw signed CD bundle
- A set of signed CDs from Choux de Bruxelles, featuring Jaune Toujours, Mec Yek, Qotob Trio, and Arabanda
- A collection of CDs from Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma, including contemporary compositions of Cretan music
- A set of CD and vinyl recordings from the Hornbeam catalogue, featuring Tom Paley, Spider John Koerner, Bonnie Dobson and Jim Kweskin
- A signed Natalie Merchant 10-CD box set
- An amazing - and discovered by surprise in their warehouse! - full 78-vinyl archive from Fellside; you are not going to find this somewhere else
- A pair of signed CDs from Emily Jones, aka Owl Textures
- CDs of contemporary Cretan music from Giorgos Manolakis and Stelios Petrakis
- A collection of CDs from Muziekpublique
We have fistfuls of festival tickets to give away:
- A pair of tickets to Fire in the Mountain, 1-3 June 2018
- A pair of tickets to Cornwall Folk Festival, 24-27 August 2018
- Kickstarter exclusive: a ticket (only 50 tickets available) to join Joe Boyd, legendary producer and writer, for an evening at the Green Note in Camden, London, taking you through his perspectives on musical history followed by a Q&A session - 17 April 2018.
- Tickets to a 2018 concert from The Goose Is Out in south London
- Tea and a chat with Fay Hield - pick her brains about songs, singing and more.
- A day's birding in Poole Harbour with Simon Emmerson of The Imagined Village and Afro Celt Sound System
Whether you decide to club together with a few friends, or sell tickets (privately, not commercially), a house concert is an amazing way to hear an artist really up close and personal - whether it's in your own home, or a nearby private space like a cafe.
- A one-man Northumbrian ceilidh from Alistair Anderson
- Maggie Holland
Lessons and workshops:
- A private morris workshop for you and up to five friends with Laurel Swift & Alex Merry
- Skype singing lessons with Tim Eriksen
- Music production workshop with Gerry Diver
If you haven’t tried advertising in fRoots before now, we have two special offers for new advertisers if you book through the Kickstarter:
- A full page advert in the magazine, normal cost £697 or more
- A full page inside cover advert in the magazine, to run for three consecutive months, normal cost £2300 or more
Risks and challenges
To heavily mix metaphors: this isn't a magic bullet, it's a lifebelt. We would love to promise that your support here will mean fRoots will keep publishing for another 40 years, but we can't say that.
We have plenty of ideas for what our next steps should be, but we need the time to sit down with a wider team, and plan them out in detail - artistically and financially - and that's what your support will give us. It means we'll at least be able to be confident that we've planned it out as carefully as possible.
The future of the magazine will look very different from its past (like many print magazines) but we're committed to keeping it going in physical and other forms for as long as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter