Every one of the food, beer, crafts, book, record, t-shirt and other vendors is paying either a flat fee, a percentage of sales, or both for the privilege of selling at the festival.
Yes, to do business for four days straight with their own tent and location and power etc. they are paying fees. I see nothing wrong with that. These folks obviously feel the event is a worthwhile endeavor.
In exchange for those fees and commissions, the festival attracts more than 250,000 people who spend more than a million and a half dollars over the four-day weekend.
I guess that may make the event a good incentive for any business to to think about investing in. Do the festival vendors attract the 250,000 people or do the performances? If it's all about vendors then why bother with the music at all. Let's call the festival Vendorama or Vendorpalooza. Let's see, if I wanted to buy a CD or a t-shirt etc. I could go a retail outlet. If I wanted food, I could easily find a store or restaurant. I think the music is why most folks show up.
But somehow, a few people who want to sell their own CDs don't think they have any obligation to pay their fair share of the costs of producing the event.
Yes, it is what is fair that I'm interested in seeing happen at the event. What performers have to offer does have value. The festival gets it for free. Isn't that a fair exchange? Perhaps someone should sit down with every performer and figure out what kind of fee each and every one would normally charge for their services. That fee is what all the performers are already donating. Has anyone tried to do that? Isn't the donation of their time and talent fair enough?
....it's all free.....nobody is turned away because they don't contribute.
Ah but someone was turned away last year, and not just someone, a folk performer, and he was contributing something his skill and talent as a performer.
If Folklife didn't charge the vendors a commission and spend that money to make the festival happen every year, there wouldn't be anybody there to buy your CDs.
So, your saying that the event does not draw enough donations from all of it's other resources, the City of Seattle, other levels of government, sponsorships, private donations, and the fund raising concert, and that without the commissions from vendors, particularly those few performer's who wish to sell their own CDs, the festival could not make enough money to function and that there wouldn't be anybody there to buy CDs. Funny, but I seem to remember plenty of folks showing up at the festival before this commision on CD sales took place. How about this, let's suspend the commisions on performers CD sales next year and see how many folks don't show up and then go from there.
But when the city can't keep the libraries open due to short funding, I have to say that I don't mind paying my share of taxes.
I believe that I just saw a news cast about a brand new library opening in downtown Seattle. The new Central Library just opened yesturday. I guess your taxes are going to good use.
As far as I'm concerned, any musician (and everybody else) who's making money at the festival has a moral obligation to put something back into the cost of the event's production. And that includes buskers
Buskers do offer something, their entertainment. I get the feeling by your post, even though you say (and believe me, it's appreciated) that you don't actually regard any of the performances by the entertainers and musicians there as having any real value. Perhaps this is because they've all offered these services for free, and the popular perception seems to be that anything offered for free has no inherent value.
A very good friend once told me, when you ask nothing for your services folks will treat you like you're worth nothing, and that what you charge for your services will determine how you are treated. I've seen this happen over and over again at many different monetary levels.