The things you need to know about TSF

What is the Traditional Song Forum?

The TSF is a national organisation based in the UK that brings together those interested in the research, collecting and performance of traditional song. 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 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 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 meeting in London 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, if necessary. Afternoons are usually occupied with a series of talks by members or others on a theme related to the area or to a topic of interest.

Occasionally we will have a full day, often in association with another organisation such as the EFDSS, when we run a symposium on a particular topic. The 'Broadside Day' run in February 2011 is an example of such a day.

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.

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

The Secretary keeps a register of member's interests, together with their contact details, which is only available to members of TSF. These lists are updated at least once each year and circulated to members on the private TSF e-mail list.

There is also an e-mail group called 'Tradsong', run for us by Johnny Adams that enables members to post questions and discuss matters of common interest. This is also available to non-members.

As you read the notes from our previous meetings 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 and the bulk of our communications can be found on these pages. The benefits of registering as a member are that you will receive the Forum Directory of Members which is updated at least once each year as well as inclusion on the TSF Secretaries mailing list. There are also occasional offers to members of discounts on books, etc. The modest annual subscription (£8.00 at the time of writing) covers meeting expenses and the costs associated with running this website.


How do I join?

Follow this link to the registration form. Please print out the form and then send it, with your cheque for the subscription to the Secretary at the address given on the form.


Who runs the TSF?

We agreed early on that this was not going to be a bureaucracy but we do have 3 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

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 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.


How does TSF relate to EFDSS?

We work closely with the English Folk Song and Dance Society. A majority of our members are also EFDSS members. We support the general aims of EFDSS and, particularly, we are very 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 and I'll see if I can help.