Might be a thought to export the Welsh Eisteddfod idea
The term literally means a sit-down meeting, but in practice it's a state-wide semi-competitive structure starting in the schools and arts colleges designed to promote both performance and individual competence from the youngest of ages - 8 is not unusual - culminating in the State-wide festival normally thought of.
That's backed up with community-wide music in the form of the chapel-based gymanfa canu, community singing, performed in parts to professional standards both at feast periods such as Christmas and the New Year and on occasion throughout the year. In addition, any number of local choirs - for example, on the family turf the other end of Wales, Morriston Tabernacle hosts its own choir, the Orpheus, and the Rugby Club, then there's Pontardulais Male Voice and about six local choirs into the bargain within a couple of miles. There's over 20 listed on the databases within about 20 miles.
Nor is that all. Often after a gymanfa the folks will knock off down the pub, and then you get the best singing of all, because there's no conductor forcing the performance into a classic style. Unofficial soloists appear, and, well, it rocks.
And that requires backing by a considerable number of instrumentalists. Whilst not as informal as you'll find in mid-Wales or the Northumbrian borderlands, so far from any mass entertainment the locals do for themselves visiting each others farms on a regular basis (much the same as the Scottish ceileidh), none the less there are no end of other ways to get together and perform. It's why that one area produced Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Catherine Zeta Jones, John Rhys-Davies, Ivor Emmanuel, Sian Phillips, the list of actors is endless too.
My own London school has a similar culture and produced Jude Law, David Hemmings, Leslie Howard, Simon Ward, Julian Glover, Sam West and the entire National Youth Theatre movement on the stage, Florence Welch, Ed Simons, Felix White, Jo Goldsmith, and a few more vocalists. My point is that it's nurture, not nature, and giving any community the opportunity will produce some stars. On the other hand, the modern musical scene, dominated by production houses, suppresses this in favour of its own creations, in a spiritually sterile environment typified by the Got Talent crew - if you don't fit their mould, you've either got to be unassailably excellent or forget it, the Susan Boyle showdown.
So why not start something similar near you? The aim isn't the competition, it's learning to work together to be the best possible, to have the self-confodence and self-possession to succeed solo, which is also a commercial asset, and maintains our traditions. That school's six hundred years old, the Welsh around two thousand and maybe more, and is to a certain extent a local precursor of communities like this. But anything starts somewhere, and has quite quick results. Why does the session have to be in the bar? Start it in a community centre or church and ajourn for some libations afterwards - bar keeps are always after something to build regular clientele, and once they know what's in the bag you'll have your choice. Their problem is finding something distinctive from pre-packaged pop pap, and we're already a step ahead. The important thing is to find your own voice, and that's easiest done from the core culture, which is why indulging the male collecting instinct can be important, it allows players to merge what's in their heads with what others have done in the field. It's the difference between being clones and performers, and that's important if music is to go anywhere. The big houses are an utter contradiction, wanting quick bucks for something fresh yet stifling the shoots from which that freshness will come, and it's part of what happens here, ideas helping players express their inner ear.