I’m so sorry to bring the news that fRoots Magazine is suspending publication.
We are very proud of having recently published our 40th anniversary edition and that over those four decades every single issue came out on time. We are also very proud and aware of what we have contributed to the folk, roots and world music scene and many artists’ careers over that time, and the high regard in which we are held as a result. We were thrilled to get a Lifetime Achievement Award this year from Folk Alliance International.
We were truly humbled by the response to our Kickstarter campaign in 2017 that gave us the breathing space to look for a better future plan for the magazine. This resulted in our past six quarterly issues of greatly increased size and quality, which have all been wonderfully received and were the best we have ever published. We have worked tirelessly with many allies over those past 18 months to secure our future and have been in advanced discussions with potential publishers to take fRoots into their existing companies. We were given confidence that this would happen, but sadly it was not to be.
In trying to find a sustainable business model we have had considerable help and advice from supporters with wide-ranging experience, particularly Alan James who explored all possible ways to source official funding before his sudden death a few months ago. It is frustrating that there are no Arts funding schemes available to us, in spite of our unique contribution to arts that do qualify for funding and our ticking of many of the boxes that are expected of other supported Arts organisations.
Unfortunately being an unfunded single-title publication in a specialised music field is now barely viable and many other music titles of far greater prominence have fallen this century. Changes in reading habits coupled with decreased advertising support in the digital age, along with current political and economic uncertainties, are a major hindrance.
fRoots retains great unexploited potential and we know that the right expertise and investment could unlock this. However, personally, after 40 years of producing fRoots – the past four unpaid – and having invested a very substantial amount of personal funds that I am unlikely to ever recover, I am unable to take it any further myself. As you may imagine, this causes me great regret.
My heartfelt thanks and enormous gratitude go out to everybody who has contributed to or supported fRoots in any way down the years.
The fRoots team will continue to seek potential publishers, funders or major benefactors/angels and in the meantime we are looking into ways to keep an enhanced web presence for reviews, news, podcasts etc – to keep the fRoots brand alive. But for now we are reluctantly stopping taking further subscriptions and have put plans for the Autumn issue on hold until further notice. The current and back issues remain on sale on the fRoots web site.
UPDATE – 10th September, 2019
We regret that having been unable to identify potential publishers or benefactors, and having been advised that whilst Arts Council funding might now be possible, the process would take at least two years even if successful, we have had no choice but to file for voluntary insolvency. Current subscribers have been emailed by the insolvency practitioners who have been appointed. However, the fRoots Radio podcast – now rebranded as Podwireless – will continue, along with our quarterly Playlist selections. You’ll find both via this site (click the links above) which will also continue selling back issues. Important/ entertaining folk/roots news is being posted on our Facebook page.
Editor/Publisher, Southern Rag Ltd