The things you need to know about TSF 

What is the Traditional Song Forum?

The Traditional Song Forum (TSF) is a national organisation based in the UK that brings together those interested in the research, collecting and performance of traditional song. The idea for the organisation was first discussed at a meeting organised by Steve Roud in September 1997 and, as a result, TSF was created in January 1998. Our aim is to be inclusive of all the traditions found in Britain, Ireland and the English speaking world, although the majority of forum members are interested in the songs originating in these islands. For a fuller explanation please have a look at our TSF Aims. Although forum members are serious about their interests, the style of the organisation is informal and we are determined not to get stuffy or bureaucratic.


What does TSF do?

TSF members meet two or three times a year to share progress on their work and to seek advice of other forum members. These meetings are held at locations around the UK and we try to have at least one in the south and one in the north of England each year. We also try to arrange a third meeting each year in another part of the country (or beyond), at the invitation of a local group or organisation. TSF meetings are open to anyone wishing to attend. The usual format for the meetings is that, in the morning, we will have a round-the-room sharing of progress in the work of the members attending and a short business session. Afternoons are usually occupied with a series of talks by members or others on a theme related to the area where we are meeting or to a topic of interest.

The notes from these meetings are an important part of our communication to members along with any supporting papers or items circulated on behalf of Forum members. Much of that material is also available on this web-site.

We also join with the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) for the annual Broadside Day, held in February. We also support the Conferences organised by EFDSS on folk song.

TSF and its members are also involved in a number of other educational activities or projects that are targeted at the public to raise awareness of and knowledge about traditional song.

The Membership Secretary keeps a register of member’s interests, together with their contact details. This information, which is only made available to members of TSF.

As you read the notes from our previous meetings (which can be found on this website) you will get some idea of the things we have done in the past and hope to do in the future.


Why should I join the TSF?

The Forum is an open organisation in that our meetings are open to all and the bulk of our communications can be found on these pages. The benefits of registering as a member are that you will receive messages via e-mail from the Secretary with news of events and other matters of interest related to traditional song. There are also occasional offers to members of discounts on books, etc. We recently decided to make membership of TSF open to anyone interested in traditional song and who agrees with our aims without asking for a subscription fee. 


How do I join?

Complete the registration form and send it to the Membership Secretary (Shan Graebe) at the address given. We will then add you to the database and you will receive all future messages from TSF.


Who runs the TSF?

We agreed early on that this was not going to be a bureaucracy but we do have 4 elected officers who do the things that keep it running. The officers are:

Steve Roud – the Chair

Doc Rowe – the Treasurer

Martin Graebe – the Secretary

Shan Graebe – Membership Secretary 

In addition Steve Gardham has been co-opted by the officers to act as Chair for meetings held in ‘The North’.


Does TSF have a constitution?

Not really. We do have our TSF Aims and a pretty clear idea of what we are about but do not have a written constitution as such. If we were to grow and to do more we would seriously consider it.


TSF Privacy Statement and Data Protection Policy

We need to have some personal information from Traditional Song Forum members so that we can maintain contact and to ensure that your subscription is managed properly. We ask members to give their permission to hold and use their personal data and the way in which we do this is covered by our Privacy Statement and our Data Protection Policy, copies of which will be kept (and updated) on this website and will be accessible from this page. Members may ask to see their data and request to be removed from our lists if they wish.


The TSF Discussion Group

Johnny Adams runs the ‘Tradsong’ discussion group where you can share information with other TSF members and with a wider constituency. A good place also to send those queries that you want the numerous experts in the TSF to help with. To join the group you should:

  1. Go to ‘Yahoo Groups‘.
  2. Search for ’Tradsong’ group and open it.
  3. Click Join Group.
  4. Set your membership info.
  5. Click Send Request.
This will send a message to Johnnie Adams who will approve your request and notify you that you have been approved – then you will start to receive messages from the group – but not, usually, an overwhelming number.


The Traditional Song Forum Facebook Page

Paul Davenport created a Facebook page for TSF which is seen by a number of people, many of whom are interested in traditional song but are not TSF members. If you would like to visit this, click on the link to the top right of this page


How does TSF relate to EFDSS?

We work closely with the English Folk Song and Dance Society. Many of our members are also EFDSS members. We support the general aims of EFDSS and we are particularly vocal in our support for the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and the projects that it is carrying forward. We have also accepted the hospitality of EFDSS for a number of our meetings and have had several joint meetings and activities with them. We have not, however, sought to formalise our association with the EFDSS.


What else?

Well – we don’t exactly know – even after all this time. We aspire to being more than a talking shop but it takes time and individual effort to get things going. Most Forum members are already pretty busy with their own work. Most of us feel, though, that there is real value in meeting and learning together with other like-minded individuals and there is a sense of purpose within the organisation. Maybe you could help some of our visions come to life?


I want to know something else – who do I contact?

Start with me at tsf.secretary2020@gmail.com and I’ll see if I can help.

Updated 4 May 2020