At the Shore Leave convention I attended a particularly disappointing panel on the last day which went a little off topic and then became people sitting around complaining about the fandom community and their creations in general.
In specific, one young woman complained about Wizard Rock, and how WRockers think they’re so clever and unique but don’t realize filk has been around for decades upon decades.
And that got be a bit riled up, not that anyone was in the mood to listen to me rather than continue complaining. So I’m going to complain about the complaining here. Because I can. And because, in my book, WRock is NOT filk. They are extremely similar in a whole lot of ways, but anyone who’s spent time around both knows that they’re also pretty different.
The Music: Filk songs mostly (but definitely not exclusively) are parodies of existing songs with the lyrics changed. That takes some clever rewriting and often results in hilarity. WRock songs mostly (but definitely not exclusively) are original creations of music and lyrics. That takes a whole different kind of skill and creativity.
Subject Matter: While there are definitely filk groups that sing about only one fandom, many of the groups are non-fandom specific and jump around in subject matter as their muses dictate. WRock is Harry Potter. Sure, some of the groups sing the occasional song about another fandom, but it’s pretty rare on actual albums or at concerts during the “golden age” of Wizard Rock.
Groups & Perspectives: Filk singers and groups usually have amazing names and personas, but not many of them go to the extent that WRockers do. Wrockers not only name themselves based on the fandom but often write and perform songs specifically from that perspective. Listen to a Draco and the Malfoys song and you know you’re getting the wizarding world from Draco’s perspective in almost every song, for example. That’s one of the things I find most appealing about WRock. It’s a deeper investigation of the canon.
Culture & Community: This is the big one. Filk has its own culture and community. Filk concerts and circles are amazingly fun and unique to the genre. But Wizard Rock concerts have a different, unique feel to them. Though both are all about sharing the music and love of fandom, the cultures are different and the communities separate. While filk is supported in the Wizard Rock world and probably Wizard Rock supported in the filk one, they seem to consistently choose to be separate entities. Which, to me, makes them DIFFERENT THINGS. Both are places where one can be creative without judgement, but the communities are still separate.
I just did a quick search and found this interesting article that says much the same thing: Identity and authenticity in the filk community by Melissa L. Tatum
So, yes, they’re very similar in nature but they are different. Which anyone would know if they’d been to as many WRock concerts as I have.