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NW Folklife 2009

astro 06 May 09 - 01:07 AM
Desert Dancer 06 May 09 - 01:43 AM
Desert Dancer 06 May 09 - 01:49 AM
Deckman 06 May 09 - 07:13 AM
GUEST 06 May 09 - 07:22 AM
GUEST 06 May 09 - 09:53 AM
Desert Dancer 06 May 09 - 01:50 PM
Don Firth 06 May 09 - 02:14 PM
ClaireBear 06 May 09 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,astro at work 06 May 09 - 02:45 PM
Desert Dancer 06 May 09 - 04:22 PM
Desert Dancer 06 May 09 - 04:23 PM
John P 06 May 09 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,mg 06 May 09 - 04:54 PM
John P 06 May 09 - 05:00 PM
astro 06 May 09 - 05:09 PM
artbrooks 06 May 09 - 05:25 PM
MAG 06 May 09 - 08:34 PM
astro 07 May 09 - 06:38 PM
Stewart 07 May 09 - 10:02 PM
Acme 07 May 09 - 11:32 PM
Deckman 07 May 09 - 11:35 PM
astro 08 May 09 - 02:09 AM
Genie 08 May 09 - 02:45 AM
astro 08 May 09 - 11:56 AM
Acme 08 May 09 - 12:03 PM
Genie 08 May 09 - 09:34 PM
astro 09 May 09 - 01:32 AM
astro 10 May 09 - 12:50 AM
Desert Dancer 12 May 09 - 11:15 PM
Desert Dancer 12 May 09 - 11:15 PM
open mike 13 May 09 - 01:38 AM
ClaireBear 13 May 09 - 01:49 AM
Desert Dancer 13 May 09 - 02:14 AM
mg 13 May 09 - 02:17 AM
Genie 13 May 09 - 05:12 AM
Dorothy Parshall 13 May 09 - 10:26 AM
Desert Dancer 13 May 09 - 10:57 AM
reggie miles 13 May 09 - 12:02 PM
Don Firth 13 May 09 - 01:05 PM
Deckman 13 May 09 - 01:16 PM
Don Firth 13 May 09 - 04:50 PM
reggie miles 13 May 09 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,mg 13 May 09 - 05:04 PM
ClaireBear 13 May 09 - 05:25 PM
astro 13 May 09 - 06:46 PM
astro 13 May 09 - 06:48 PM
Don Firth 13 May 09 - 07:47 PM
ClaireBear 14 May 09 - 12:51 AM
astro 14 May 09 - 01:23 AM
Genie 22 May 09 - 02:19 PM
Genie 23 May 09 - 03:33 PM
reggie miles 25 May 09 - 12:31 PM
astro 25 May 09 - 01:18 PM
Don Firth 25 May 09 - 04:03 PM
Stewart 25 May 09 - 05:36 PM
MAG 25 May 09 - 07:29 PM
astro 25 May 09 - 11:57 PM
Stewart 26 May 09 - 12:29 AM
Deckman 26 May 09 - 12:44 AM
GUEST 26 May 09 - 12:48 PM
Don Firth 26 May 09 - 05:15 PM
Deckman 26 May 09 - 05:54 PM
Stewart 26 May 09 - 06:17 PM
Genie 26 May 09 - 06:23 PM
Genie 26 May 09 - 06:47 PM
Deckman 26 May 09 - 06:58 PM
reggie miles 26 May 09 - 07:21 PM
MAG 26 May 09 - 07:36 PM
Don Firth 26 May 09 - 08:25 PM
Deckman 26 May 09 - 08:46 PM
Genie 27 May 09 - 12:22 PM
reggie miles 27 May 09 - 12:44 PM
Deckman 27 May 09 - 02:01 PM
Don Firth 27 May 09 - 02:36 PM
mg 27 May 09 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,The old fiddler logo- anybody have a copy? 02 Jun 09 - 01:12 PM
Don Firth 02 Jun 09 - 02:09 PM
Genie 02 Jun 09 - 08:42 PM
reggie miles 03 Jun 09 - 12:02 PM
Genie 03 Jun 09 - 05:45 PM
MAG 04 Jun 09 - 12:10 AM
Eric Armstrong 04 Jun 09 - 03:01 AM
Desert Dancer 04 Jun 09 - 11:35 AM
reggie miles 04 Jun 09 - 12:31 PM
Genie 04 Jun 09 - 06:19 PM
Genie 04 Jun 09 - 06:39 PM
MAG 04 Jun 09 - 09:24 PM
Desert Dancer 05 Jun 09 - 01:59 AM
reggie miles 05 Jun 09 - 10:38 AM
Desert Dancer 05 Jun 09 - 01:53 PM
Eric Armstrong 06 Jun 09 - 01:14 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Jun 09 - 05:01 PM
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Subject: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 06 May 09 - 01:07 AM

Who out there might be going to Seattle for Memorial weekend for NW Folklife? Hope to see you there.

Astro in LA and Desert Dancer in Tucson, but will soon be here in LA!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 May 09 - 01:43 AM

Northwest Folklife Festival site
Last year
more from last year, particularly on the topics of security issues

~ Becky in Tucson
links—it's what I do...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 May 09 - 01:49 AM

Here's a question: what does one do with one's instruments while you're dancing? NEFFA has an instrument check service; anything like that at Folklife?

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Deckman
Date: 06 May 09 - 07:13 AM

YES, they have instrument checking service, well protected.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 09 - 07:22 AM

Following the flyer links to try and figure out lodging and location. First thing that pops up.        

H1N1 (swine flu) is an illness caused by a type of influenza A virus. Confirmed cases have been identified in Seattle.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: GUEST
Date: 06 May 09 - 09:53 AM

I'm pretty sure the instrument check is only for registered performers. If you are one, you're good. It is usually in the hospitality area.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 May 09 - 01:50 PM

I'm pretty sure the instrument check is only for registered performers.

Hmm. :-( That's going to lead to a fair amount of shuttling back and forth to the hotel...

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 May 09 - 02:14 PM

It's a bummer, but in addition to the registered performers, there are usually about eleventeen brontozillion buskers and such inhabition the Center grounds, so you can see why they have to limit the instrument check.

I'm not going to perform this year, but I may come and lurk a bit.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: ClaireBear
Date: 06 May 09 - 02:40 PM

There's a belongings check for the dancing public right in the dance hall, I think. I seem to recall leaving an instrument there once or twice.

C


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: GUEST,astro at work
Date: 06 May 09 - 02:45 PM

I saw online a checkin costing $2 used once and unlimited use for $5...I wonder if that is for instruments...

Too bad you aren't performing Don...it would be nice to see you...

astro at work but hardly working...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 May 09 - 04:22 PM

Ah, ClaireBear, a service specifically for dancers makes sense.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 May 09 - 04:23 PM

Here's a question for you locals -- who's playing/calling/etc. that we shouldn't miss?

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: John P
Date: 06 May 09 - 04:46 PM

I'll be there a lot this year -- I'm playing with three bands.

Saturday it's Mad Fiddlu at the Nordic Showcase in the Charlotte Martin Theater. The showcase starts at 3:00, but we're on toward the end.

Sunday I'm with Bandage a Trois on the Acoustic Stage (no amplification!) in the Shaw Room at 2:20.

Monday it's Crookshank on the Fiddler's Green Stage at 11:50 am.

Anyone else playing this year?


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 06 May 09 - 04:54 PM

I would double check on that instrument check...there might be one specifically for performers but I have used the check in room frequently as a non-performer...it usually has been in the center house upstairs and was by donation to a high school group usually. Very convenient even for backpacks etc. mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: John P
Date: 06 May 09 - 05:00 PM

So much to see and hear . . . From a quick scan of the schedule:

Stanley Greenthal at the Cafe Impromptu, Monday at 3:00

The Raging Grannies in the Center House Theater, Monday at 1:20

Laura Love and Orville Johnson, Monday 3:45 on the Fisher Green Stage

Rebel Voices, Saturday 9:30, Charlotte Martin Theater

Morris Dance Showcase, Saturday 4:20, Mural Amphitheatre

Reggie Garret and the Snake Oil Peddlers, Sunday 11:00, Fountain Lawn Stage

Inochi Taiko, Saturday 11:00, Fountain Lawn Stage

Maritime Show, Saturday 3:00, Northwest Court Stage


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 06 May 09 - 05:09 PM

Desert Dancer and I are beginning to plan our program for the fest...so much to do and so little time to do it in!!

Astro


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: artbrooks
Date: 06 May 09 - 05:25 PM

Not this year, Becky...sorry. Unless it changed since last year, there is a general public belonging check in the dance building - the one where the go-all-day-and-wear-the soles-off-your-feet-to-live-music contra dance is held. I think, but I'm not sure, that the one upstairs in Center House is for performers and volunteers, but you can sign up for a shift as a greeter or something and get access to that AND get a free t-shirt.

Art Brooks


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: MAG
Date: 06 May 09 - 08:34 PM

I arranged the weekend off so I can come but do not have a room booked yet.

Usually I just drive up 99 until I find a cheapo, but that's a hassle.

If anybody has a bed or couch or floor handy I could use, I'd be happy to chip in for cost.

PM me if you got it.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 07 May 09 - 06:38 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Stewart
Date: 07 May 09 - 10:02 PM

I'll be leading a musical Tribute to Stan James on Sunday

Sunday, May 24, 2009, 1:00-2:30 pm
Northwest Folklife Festival
STAN JAMES TRIBUTE CONCERT
Stewart Hendrickson & Friends
A tribute concert for Stan James (1935-2008).
MC: Paul Dorpat. Performers: Stewart Hendrickson,
Nancy Quense, Al Hirsch, Chris Roe, Mariide,
Percy Hilo, Alice Stuart, Paul Gullingham, and Steve Lalor.
In the Cafe Impromptu from 1-2:30 pm.

Then from 3-7pm I'll be at the Victory Music booth
just outside of the Rainier Room
So stop by and say hello.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Acme
Date: 07 May 09 - 11:32 PM

Stewart, I'm glad to see you're doing that. I am never in the NW for this event, but I always like to read about it. It's in the genes, I guess. :-) Anyway, enjoy the Stan James event. Is anyone going to try to tackle his mermaid song?

SRS


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Deckman
Date: 07 May 09 - 11:35 PM

Hi Maggie ... not likely that anyone would EVER attempt that song. The Mermaid song was truly Stan's "signature" song. He is missed. Bob


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 08 May 09 - 02:09 AM

Stewart,

Sounds great...we'll get you on our list of things to do and it would be nice to meet you!

Astro - just got home from a star party...first light on a new telescope- Saturn looked great!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 08 May 09 - 02:45 AM

Re: Instrument check

To be admitted to the Hospitality Suite for performers and volunteers, all you need to do is sign up for volunteer service, usually 4 hours. That can be helping with any of the many stages/venues, selling buttons, staffing the information booths, etc.
It's a great way to meet people and often hear some great music, and in the hospitality suite you have access to a free check room for instruments and whatever (donations requested but no set fee demanded), free coffee and soft drinks, beer and wine at a big discount, and lots of spontaneous music in the suite. I really recommend volunteering.

I've missed only about 5 Folklifes since 1977, and I look forward to this year's too.

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 08 May 09 - 11:56 AM

Genie,

Where you generally go to volunteer? Sounds like what we will do (astro and Desert Dancer). Thanks for the advice!

Astro...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Acme
Date: 08 May 09 - 12:03 PM

Bob, I agree.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 08 May 09 - 09:34 PM

Just go to the 3rd floor of the Center House, to the Registration area. You can sign up there.
You'll be able to look over the program and see what hours would work best for you.

You can also sign up ahead of time online. The address is www.nwfolklife.org.

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 09 May 09 - 01:32 AM

Thanks Genie...we'll do that...hope to see you there...Desert Dancer and I will work!

Astro in Los Angeles and Desert Dancer in Tucson...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:50 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:15 PM

On the "Saturday - Workshops" pdf of the schedule (having finally printed it out):

"Public Checkrooms"
"A public checkroom is available for your convenience in the Fisher Pavilion Roadhouse. Hours are Friday through Sunday, 11am-10pm and Monday, 11am-9pm. The cost is $2 for once-time check and $5 for unlimited access."

So, that's the dance hall zone, and presumably instruments are checkable.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:15 PM

Artbrooks - sorry to miss you there, we'll just have to get to Albuquerque sometime!

~ B in T


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: open mike
Date: 13 May 09 - 01:38 AM

reggie...will reggie be there...calling reggie miles...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: ClaireBear
Date: 13 May 09 - 01:49 AM

ClaireBear's mister, Dan the dancing frog, will be alternating between the contra floor and whatever vegan food booths are present this year.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 13 May 09 - 02:14 AM

By what name shall we know him, ClaireBear?


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: mg
Date: 13 May 09 - 02:17 AM

Would anyone like a stay at the beach after Folklife..female or couple...I do not have a good way of getting back..it is about 3.5 horus from Seattle and 2.5 from Portland...very pretty and historical place...I mean I could use a ride..of course if you can figure out how to get here by public transportation you are more than welcome...but it is difficult on a holiday...and always...mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 13 May 09 - 05:12 AM

Hope you can find a taker, Mary. I have to get back to Portland by Tues. AM or Mon night, or I'd take you up on it.

As for the check rooms, if you're going to hang out at or near the roadhouse most of the weekend, the $5 deal seems good. But if you're a performer or volunteer, you can have unlimited access to the hospitality suite for whatever tips you want to offer the kids (usually Boy Scouts, I think) who staff that checking area.

Art, I'm really sorry you and Jen won't be there. Maybe the Getaway?

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 13 May 09 - 10:26 AM

My third year on Whidbey, I would love to get to the international folk dancing a Folklife but could not find it on the folklife site schedules. I know it is happening but???? I would be most grateful for some direction - your chance to tell me where to go! And when!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 13 May 09 - 10:57 AM

Sunday, Center House Court for international folk dancing...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 May 09 - 12:02 PM

Open Mic, apparently, my talents weren't considered valuable enough to be included in the lineup for a performance slot to play at Folklife this year. Oddly, neither was my workshop, teaching folks how to play music with an actual folk instrument, the hand saw, considered valuable enough to be added again this year in the "folk" festival lineup, even though my workshop drew 100+ attendees last year.

How folky does one have to be to get some respect around these parts? Do I have to bleed folk blood? I play a guitar that I made myself from junk that I found at garage sales. I doubt that there are many others at this event that can make that claim. I was nominated as one of the best solo blues artists of 2009 by the Washignton Blues Society. In the last year my songwriting efforts and recordings have won awards and have been featured worldwide in the press. I play melodies with a hand tool! Work with me people!!!

Yep, they decided my original folk/blues efforts weren't good enough but fortunately, the festival has mentioned that they will include those who play Huddie Ledbetter songs. They also mentioned that they will feature those who spin blues records as part of their act. Isn't that special! Why include those from your community that actually learn to play original folk/blues with actual instruments when you can include those who know how to turn on a record player.

I give up! Don't expect to see my smiling face gracing any stages there in the future.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 May 09 - 01:05 PM

Incredible! Bloody incredible!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Deckman
Date: 13 May 09 - 01:16 PM

Reg ... for many years now, a lot of us "out here" have been wondering just how the festival selection process works, or doesn't work. It appears that, yet again, the "locals" have been passed over. Consider yerself to be in very good company. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 May 09 - 04:50 PM

I dunno, gang. It begins to look as if there are folk festivals and then there are folk festivals.

I guess one could say that plugging in a turntable, putting a record on it, and flipping a switch is "playing folk music," but somehow. . . .

I can't really see all that many people rushing in to see someone do that.

Hey! Brilliant idea! Why doesn't Gerard Schwarz do that with the Seattle Symphony? He could rehearse the orchestra well, then make one really good recording of a piece of music. And then, charge people to come to Benaroya Hall and listen to him play the record!??

And for the visual appeal, Schwarz could stand there in his tux and wave his baton at the phonograph.

Think of all the rehearsal time they'd save! And they wouldn't have to pay all those musician every time they played the piece. . . .

Gawd!! I'm a flippin' genius!!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 May 09 - 05:03 PM

LOL!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 13 May 09 - 05:04 PM

Maybe it is time for a NW songs, songwriters, more singing-oriented NW things with people from Alaska to California...and including BC and Alberta etc. if they wanted...

Local and historical themes, multi-ethnic, no payment, perhaps sponsored by a university or maritime museum or something.

Don't I have great ideas? Now someone please execute this. mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: ClaireBear
Date: 13 May 09 - 05:25 PM

Sorry, I've been away. My hugsbandly unit is named Dan. He always wears blue -- usually jeans and a blue polo -- and sometimes sports a red hat. White hair, 75ish. Spry, though, for an old guy!

C


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 13 May 09 - 06:46 PM

Don,

My students would like some sort of idea like that for their exams and homework, projects...just find one really good result and copy it for the rest...we paid for that education, why don't I get that grade I paid for....?!

astro, maybe just tired after grading and grading and grading and....


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 13 May 09 - 06:48 PM

Clairbear,

Did you say you are going to be there...if so hopefully DD and I will cross you paths...

This will be Desert Dancer's and my first big Festival since we hitched up for the long ride together...should be fun! Though next summer we hope to back out east for some of the nice times there...

astro


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 May 09 - 07:47 PM

astro, "homework projects. . . ."

I always thought that was what cut-and-paste from the internet is for. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: ClaireBear
Date: 14 May 09 - 12:51 AM

Astro, no, sorry. We divide up the vacations because someone has to stay home and entertain our 9-year-old. Dan gets Folklife; I get the Getaway. He loves to dance, I live to sing -- so it works out for everyone.

Have fun!

C


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 14 May 09 - 01:23 AM

Don,

I have come to believe that "homework" projects is to test their ability to copy accurately....

ClaireBear,sounds like a nice arrangement...I have a schedule now with taking most summer offs that Becky and I can go pretty much together...this is a bit of a new world of folk for me, so I am having a great time...

Astro...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 22 May 09 - 02:19 PM

Well, I'm off to the Seattle Center to do some volunteer work at Folklife today so I can have my schedule pretty free for the rest of the festival.

The weather seems to be exceptionally cooperative this year -- no rain but not above the 70s-80s temp-wise either.   

Reggie, I'm very sorry you're not on the program. It seems like there are some people who get booked for 2 or 3 gigs during the festival and others not at all. I've never liked that.
But I don't know all their criteria. I just know it's not based entirely on talent; the TYPE of program you're offering counts for a lot too. (E.g., they're flooded with singer-songwriters and don't have as many ethnic dance groups.)

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 23 May 09 - 03:33 PM

Tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM is the Tribute To Silent Voices forum/sing-along. The first part is dedicated to Stan James' music. The second half is less structured and more audience participatory, with various departed music friends being remembered.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: reggie miles
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:31 PM

Evil musician gets ejected from the 2009 Northwest Folklife Festival by four members of the Seattle Police Department for playing folk music at the folk music festival! I'm not sure exactly what happened. I'm usually pretty focused on just what I do when I perform and entertain. I don't go out of my way to tromp on anyone in particular with the messages in my songs but some of them are stronger than others and there is a point to why I sing and play them. I'm not saying that's why I was ultimately asked by the head of security to move on. He had a whole host of rules to demonize me with and reasons as to why I shouldn't be allowed to entertain folks with my hand saw and homemade guitar.

For instance, for some unknown reason, there's a rule that states that street musicians cannot perform underneath any outside structure at the Seattle Center grounds, where the festival is held, that is built to either shed rain or shade someone from the sun. I'm fairly certain that there are some real good reasons why musicial folk would prefer to stand in the blazing sun and not in the shade or the pouring rain, instead of under cover with their instruments as they entertain folks, I just can't think of any right now.

I think this whole issue is based in some kind of monetary argument. Every rule in place seems to be based in that same reasoning. The folk festival invites craft folk to bring their wares to sell and charges them a hefty fee for the opportunity. The crafters get to set up their booths underneath the covered areas of the festival grounds and after paying hundreds of dollars for the right to be there, I'm supposing that the craft folks aren't so eager to see street performers blocking any of the foot traffic along those pathways. I'm just guessing, but I think that some of the craft folks view the street performers as encroaching upon their profits by the activity of entertaining passersby and getting donations via their activities. So, I imagine, that this rule that was enacted by the folk festival folks was to keep that sort of thing from happening and thereby keeping the craft folks as happy as they can. This probably also minimizes having craft folks pointing their fingers at music folks and blaming them for their lack of sales. Security drones are dispatched to seek out and demonize any folk music performer who would think that entertaining in a location like that might be a good idea.

In fact, street entertainers do very little to inhibit sales via their activities. They actually create a festive atmosphere among those folks wandering around the grounds of the event. Even more than the events that the festival works so hard to stage, without a stage, street performers are able to connect and share their talents with festival goers more directly and only manage to reap mere donations for their talents and energies. Street performances should be viewed as a positive attribute to any musical event like this.

I was first approached by someone who mentioned that I was not to perform there and I looked around and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. I had no huge crowd blocking traffic. I pointed toward the crowded walkway nearby where vendor's booths were making the path narrow and said now there's congestion. Then I turned to the small group of fifteen or so that had gathered before me and said, "Besides these people love me." Then I added, "Even the ATM line." There was an ATM right next to where I was and the line was long. One of the folks in line there shouted back, "Yeah, we love him!"

He then left and I reasonably figured that I had made my case and that as long as I wasn't creating too huge a crowd via my activities, I was okay. I didn't see that there were two teenage security guys standing behind me the whole time who had called for backup from their head of security. I continued making smiles unaware of what was going on just behind me.

Unfortunately, power hungry folks in positions of authority are always anxious to extend their power and use it to its fullest whenever they can. They see their function as needed even when it is not and go out of their way, as this guy did, to justify their position by pushing people's buttons and pushing the envelope of their power just to make themselves seem needed. Even when their efforts are ill directed as they were in this case. I don't think that I need to cite examples here of the endless number of times that folks like him pushed their weight around for no good end.

Generally speaking, street performing is a very green and organic means of offering one's entertainment skills and talents. No PA system is required, no stage or lighting is needed. So, there's no need for electricity. It's just one person offering his or her abilities, musical or otherwise, to another who happens to be willing to view and listen. The listener or audience decides if what is being offered is worth offering anything at all in return to support it. They can walk away if they don't like what they're seeing or hearing, just like changing the channels on a tv set.

For the record, at the time that the head security guy came up to where my stuff was, I wasn't even playing. Another saw player happened to be offering a song. I was merely standing and listening and at no time did I indicate that I was even going to continue to play. I even packed up my things after talking to him and moved them out from under the over head structure that was offering me shade.

The day before, Saturday, there were two acts performing underneath the covered area, much deeper where the walkways were far too close to the craft booths. I wouldn't think of playing there. What I do as an entertainer often attracts enough listeners as to make playing in that area an instant traffic jam. Even as the security guy was talking to me, there was another solo guitar player set up just outside of the covered area playing where I was. I pointed to him and asked why I couldn't do as he was doing and setup in a similar location. I asked why he wasn't hassling him. His reply was this is about me and not him.

Then the security guy tells me that there were rules and that I couldn't offer my CDs for sale at the event without a special license. I told him that they weren't being offered for sale but merely for donations. That he seemed to be trying to find a means to get me in trouble for offering my music at this event was also upsetting.

He directed me to go further inward toward the central area of the event to offer my music. I replied by saying that I didn't want to go to where the amplified stages were so loud to try to present what I had to offer acoustically. I am a solo acoustic performer. I was on the very outskirts of the event where there were few that folks were even wandering around and I really wasn't creating any kind of conflict whatsoever via what I was doing. I may have been acting against the letter of whatever law or ordinance that I broke but I was not doing it conscientiously or purposely to get myself into the fix that I ultimately reaped. It was actually the security head guy that pushed the situation into threats for some unknown reason.

This chief security guy stood in front of me and provoked me by threatening me with expulsion from the event if I did not comply to his will and yet I had complied by packing up my stuff and ceasing my activities just as he asked and was not even playing music at the time he called for Police backup. Nor had I said or at any time indicated that I would continue to play in the area that he had deemed a nonmusic location. Though, I did think it was unbelieveable that a folk music festival would limit folk musicians from gathering and playing folk music at such an event.

In fact, the security head came up to me while I was in the middle of a conversation with another performer. I wasn't playing a note. He interrupted my conversation by saying that he was in a hurry and his whole attitude was that he had to get in my face and lay down the law. That, more than anything, is what upset me.

That he would chose to deem me guilty of so great an infraction as to earn expulsion without ever even trying to explain any reason for such harsh threats is what's puzzling. He gave no real explanation. He just quoted the vague rules that he was supposed to uphold as part of the festival's agreement with the property manager but offered no reason why the same rules did not apply to the craft folks and apparently he saw no need to offer any answers to my questions regarding the reasons why I was being railroaded away from that location. Perhaps he didn't really have any answers, only rules to spout and defend however ridiculous they were. He simply turned to his two teenage folk music security clones and asked them if they thought I could play just out from under the overhanging shade structure and they simply nodded no.

So, what I was doing, putting smiles on people's faces at this music event, was not a priority to him but rather to find me guilty of some inane infraction was and to get me removed as a result was also. I guess the swiftness of his heartless act of cheap shots was so that he could get back to whatever he was doing before he was called away to deal with me.

It's a hard thing to change gears from holding an interesting conversation with a fellow musical saw player to dealing with the angst of this impatient security guy. It was hard for me to understand, in the moment, exactly how the issue of my presence at that particular location became so important as to overshadow what I had created via sharing my music with those who stopped to listen, smile, applaud and offer what they did in donations. My intentions were simply to entertain. To reap so harsh a reward for efforts at sharing music seems hardly justified.

Rather than viewing the talents of street performers as enhancing the festival, this folk festival somehow deems them as an evil that must be tolerated and controlled in order to placate those who have an issue with entertainment being offered in this manner. Perhaps it was a craft person who complained. Or maybe it was one of the volunteers at the nearby volunteer tent that didn't like my playing style or the fact that I had a recepticle for donations, just like the festival had for festival visitors. The festival asks that visitors donate $10. I make no such demands of those listening to me play but as I was playing near one of the entrances, perhaps the volunteers viewed my presence as some kind of competition. I know that's an absurd idea but I'm still grasping at straws as to why I was forced out of this event by the festival security.

I know that having a security staff person get in my face for playing folk music at this folk music festival is something that got me rather upset. I mumbled some kind of curse word or two after being confronted by him. I did not wish to be ejected from this event for offering my music casually as a street performer and I did not deem my actions so harsh as to see the need to be ejected from the festival grounds using four Seattle Police officers. That was a low blow by an underpaid weekend security geek.

Truthfully, until they brought it to my attention, I had forgotten about the rule about being under a shade structure while entertaining passersby. I asked him, "Why are you doing this to me?" and how long he had been doing his job as a weekend security guy. He said seven years. I told him that I had been coming to this event for 30 years. I offered that it must make him feel great pushing around folk musicians at a folk music festival.

I was only offering my music as requested by those standing in front of me listening. In this case, perhaps there might also have been those who were using the anonymity of a cell phone call to hide behind and mask their deeds while making complaint phone calls to the authority figures because they had their panties twisted in a knot for whatever reason.

I certainly have other places to offer my music as a street performer. I don't need the aggravation of having to deal with an insane bunch of micromanaging weekend security geeks. I had only gone to play at that particular shady location because it was kind of warm in the direct sunlight for my instruments.

Just before I decided to give the location a try, I had watched an entire band of about a dozen or more performers play there. They had attracted a huge crowd via their activities. It's easy to do with a group that large. Their audience, which was much larger than mine, had blocked the entire area during their performance. I didn't see any security guards show up to stop them from playing their set. Being a solo performer, maybe the security goons saw that ganging up on me would be easier to do and I guess they were right.

A friend called today to say that there is no reason or rhyme for some rules that are put into place. They are just there to be used by authority types as blanket reasons to eject undesirable types. In this case, that would be me. Such is my reward for innocently falling into the trap of believing that the power of sharing music and creating smiles is a greater good and should be supported.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:18 PM

Sorry Reggie for your hassle...we certainly enjoyed what you were doing (Desert Dancer and I) and enjoyed making your acquaintance! Hope to see you performing soon.

Generally, I have enjoyed our time here...some of the "music" was annoying, but could generally could find things that we enjoyed doing and hearing...just had to pick them. Certainly, the main stage was a waste, but the kids enjoyed themselves, seeing and being seen by the opposite sex...ah, youth!

I was excited by the "tribe" of young folkies out there singing and playing. The movement continues...

Well, off to a workshop on the two-step...desert dancer and I will trip the light fantastic....

astro...

PS...tried submitting, will try again since it did not work...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:03 PM

Buh-loody hell, Reggie!

I'm not sure when such manifestations as "folk festivals" came into existence, but I think it might have been sometime in the 1930s, North Carolina or someplace like that. I know that Walt Robertson, going to college in Pennsylvania, attended the Swarthmore festivals in the late 1940s when he was a student at Haverford, just down the road a piece.

But the Street Musician is following a tradition that goes back more than a thousand years (documented), and probably since the beginning of musical entertainment (reasonable speculation). Wandering minstrels, troubadours, jongleurs, skalds, bards, and such have been around since time immemorial. The words "folk song" (volkslied) were first used sometime in the late 1700s by German philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder, and folk festivals are considerably less than a century old.

History and tradition give you precedent over philistines in uniform, Reggie. But perhaps being hassled that way is also part of the tradition. I'm quite sure that more than one troubadour singing to his rebec or lute and entertaining people in a village square in hopes of garnering a few coppers was told to "move on" by some philistine shopkeeper or a deputy sheriff with too much authority for his brains to handle.

So be of good cheer! Even in being subjected to this kind of treatment, you are well within an age-old tradition!

Odd, perhaps, for one who has been actively involved in studying and performing folk songs and ballads for the past 57 years, I find my interest in the Northwest Folk Festival rather marginal. I've attended several, and preformed and/or participated in workshops about a half-dozen times (including performing right after Elizabeth Cotton!! Now she was one tough act to follow, but fortunately, the audience was generous!). But the thing has always been such a mob scene that, other than hearing a few singers (usually for a maximum of a half-hour) or attending a workshop, I can't say I really enjoy them much. You have to know who and what you're looking for and when and where to go to actually find any folk music at this "folk festival."

All in all, over the years, I get the distinct impression that the folks who run that folk festival don't know their assed from their elbows when it comes to folk music. I recall attending three of the Berkeley Folk Festivals in the early 1960s. A whole different kind of folk festival, but very well run. I met a lot of the Biggies there, had a chance to chat face-to-face with them, and I learned a lot!!

We'll have to swap war stories sometime when we're face to face.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Stewart
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:36 PM

Sorry to hear that Reggie. Some things don't make much sense, and that certainly didn't. It seemed to me that there were many more commercial booths than last or previous years, and fewer musical stages. So where is it all going?

Feeling a bit under-the-weather this weekend, I just managed to get out once, yesterday (Sunday), but I had to be there for the Tribute to Stan James that I put on. I arrived at the Cafe Impromptu in time to hear The Wanderers (Carl Allen and Bill Murlin) - they were great! - and Sarah Comer, a fantastic young traditional fiddler - quite awesome! - before our Tribute Concert. I was quite pleased with the Tribute, everyone did quite well and we kept it on time. Steve Lalor and Paul Gillingham ended their set, and the concert, with a very appropriate song, "He Was A Friend Of Mine." I think we did Stan good!

I then made my way across the teaming, cacophonous, midway, through hoards of people, to the Alki Room, where I found they had sold out the copies of our CD "Songs of the Pacific Northwest" (and I forgot to bring any more copies - oh well). There wasn't much more worth listening to, so I called it a day.

I have to go back this afternoon to pick up my other CDs, but it will probably be just in and out. Maybe I'll get smart sometime and avoid it altogether.

Cheers, S. in Seattle
where the sun is still shinning
doesn't happen often!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: MAG
Date: 25 May 09 - 07:29 PM

Well, I loved every minute I was there.

Where I live I am starved for folk music and the Fest is a big deal for me.

Buskers who block traffic annoy me a lot; it is so hard to get around as it is. Otherwise I think they are fine.

Although I could have done with the half-assed rockers who set up right by my volunteer station and drowned out the lovely Andean band playing there.

Genie, thanks for the tips and it was great to see you.

Stewart, you wouldn't remember me but we actually met at a Mudcat gathering some years ago. I am not sure I want to think about how many. You still sing great. (yes, I was at the tribute thing.)

I am discovering I need to pace myself and go lie down for awhile and take a break.

I think the amount of coordination this Fest takes is a behemoth undertaking; there are 5000 volunteers alone. The full staf of the Seattle Center for 4 days +.

Lots of people go for the ethnic food and I enjoy looking at the pretties for sale although I can't afford them. They are crafters; an art in and of itself.

It is PNW Folk Life: music, dance, art exhibits, workshops, etc.

I enjoyed seeing everyone there who I have ever met.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: astro
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:57 PM

MAG,

I know what you mean, found some things very enjoyable...you find the joy if you look, and there was a lot of joy we found. Some stuff we could do without, but many others enjoyed those things...take what you want and leave the rest behind and don't think of them...

We had some lovely dances and heard some lovely music. We probably won't come here but every few years, but we will come back. We enjoyed being a part of the volunteer group and had a nice time in the volunteer camp...and the weather is lovely.

We only got to meet Reggie, but that was an enjoyable moment...hope to meet more of you through the years...

Astro and Desert Dancer resting our "feets" and taking it easy...


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Stewart
Date: 26 May 09 - 12:29 AM

Well, I came back this afternoon to pick up my remaining CDs. Feeling a little better, I stayed and heard some impromptu performances on the open (sign-up) stage in the Alki Room (CD sales). I think some of those performances are as good or better than the ones on the big stages. Totally acoustic, and an intimate setting. Folklife should have more of those.

One group I liked was a local duo, the Forget Me Nots, with a fiddle player and guitarist. Original songs and tunes. Two young people. Perhaps the future of folk music. Us old gray-haired folkies are a disappearing breed, so it's nice to hear some young ones with their own music.

Yes Mary Ann, I sort of remember you from the PNW Mudcat Gathering (2002?). Thanks for coming to our Tribute.

Cheers, S. in Seattle
where scattered showers are
predicted for tomorrow
back to normal weather!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Deckman
Date: 26 May 09 - 12:44 AM

To: Reggie, Don, Stewart:

WARNING ... this will be long.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the "Pacific Northwest Folk Festival" is no more about folk music than chickens have lips! WAKE UP! Let me explain:

In the 40's, 50's and early 60's, we sang for ourselves, in our own living rooms, for each other. That was folk music and that was what folk music all about. Then along came the "Seattle World's Fair" in 1962, and some idiots decided to exploit our music on stage. "Hey ... we can attract crowds with this music!" And of course we all went along with it, myself included.

From that event came the birthing of the P.N.W Folk Festival. It's early years were O.K. as they were guided by caring musicians who put the music foremost. Then along came a whole new breed of college graduates with degrees in "Folk Festival Management" (my term). This quickly changed the events by shifting the focus from the music to crowd numbers. As the festival became "bigger" it became more "successful." Soon events were added to attract more people: crafts, food venues, etc. With the increasing crowds came the predicable crowd problems, which brought rules, regulations and cops.

As the crowds grew, the "perks" for the volunteer performers began to disappear. No more free parking, instrument checking, free food and drinks, slumber rooms. "What ... free parking ... we need to sell all the parking spots to pay for the cops!"

Soon came the year that Ruby Chow (a cool lady) of the Seattle City Council decided that the city could make a LOT of money by charging admission to this "free festival." The storm of protest from the musicians nixed that idea in two weeks.

So ... Reg, Don, Stewart ... you have what you have. You are completely delusional if you think this so called "festival" has anything to do with folk music. The common name for this festival is "The Forklift Festival" ... so called because of the number of forklifts required to do the set ups. Would that instrument cases were so numerous as to require forklifts.

Reg ... I'm sorry to say this ... but YOU brought your troubles on yourself. You knew the rules and you chose to break them. Why stoop so low as to put yourself under their control ... you're a far better man than that. Don ... you could have written this diatribe much better than me. We both have been there a thousand times before.

Stew ... dear friend ... let's keep our folk music where it belongs ... amongst us folks. Judy and I look forward to seeing you all at our next hoot. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: GUEST
Date: 26 May 09 - 12:48 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:15 PM

Pop open a beer and prop up your feet. This, too, is going to be a bit on the long side.

Bob, I generally agree with what you are saying, but I think we need to clarify a few things.

In the early 1953, the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society was formed. This is not the same organization that puts on the Northwest Folklife Festival. This festival was initiated (I think) by the Seattle Folklore Society, which was formed in 1966 by an entirely different group of people.

History HERE.

This outlines how the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society got started and what it was attempting to do before it got "McCarthy-ed" in late 1954. Only to be resurrected under the initiative of Stewart just a couple of years ago, to attempt to meet a need that is not being met by other organizations, bless his heart!!

Personally, from what I've heard of the activities of the Seattle Folklore Society recently (declining to sponsor singers of tradition songs on the basis that they did not write the songs themselves), I tend to wonder why it calls itself a "folklore" society at all. When I go to the Northwest Folklife Festivals, and out of that milling mob scene (covering some seventy-four acres and scores of stages), and the general cacophony (including "Duke, duke, duke, duke of earl, earl, earl. . . ."), I find that I have to wend my way up to the meeting rooms crammed in the northwest corner of the Center grounds to find anything that resembles traditional folk music at all (and then, only at certain times), I tend to ask myself, "This is a folk festival?"

This did not start during the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. That was an entirely different thing and making money was not its purpose. The United Nations Pavilion was up in that same northwest corner of the fair grounds, and after the fair opened on April 21, 1962, the officials at the U. N. Pavilion noticed that the general eddy of the crowds of fairgoers completely bypassed that corner. People who got up there either knew where they were going, or were lost. So John Hampshire, head of the U. N. Pavilion, and Robert Ashley, one of the Fair officials, tried to find a method of attracting people up to that corner of the grounds. Someone suggested that folk music might be a possible draw, while at the same time being consistent with the general aims and goals of the U. N. They put out a call, and we volunteered.

We did not get paid. We volunteered our services. Nor did the U. N. Pavilion make any money out of it. Nor did the World's Fair. But it did accomplish its purpose. We drew large, enthusiastic crowds. And furthermore, even though we, the singers, didn't get paid directly, many people who heard us sing at these Sunday afternoon concerts hired us for other events. One of several I did was the Port Townsend Arts Festival, with Nancy Quensé and Stan James. Judy Flenniken and I started working together as a result of our frequently being hire together after being heard at these concerts at the U. N. Pavilion.

I would hardly characterize John Hampshire and Bob Ashley as "idiots." As I say, no money was made by either the U. N. Pavilion or the Fair itself. Just by the singers doing "spin-off" performances. And Hampshire told us he was eternally grateful, and as a commemorating gift, had one of the Sunday concerts recorded and pressed, and presented each of the singers with a copy of the record at the closing party on the evening of October 21, 1962.

The commemorative record HERE

The following year (1963) perhaps came a bit closer to being a promotional thing for the Seattle Center. After the Fair closed, here were all these marvelous facilities, such as several new performance halls, theaters, arenas, a sports stadium, the Pacific Science Center. . . .   Deserted. Except for cool Pacific breezes blowing vagrant tumbleweed across the grounds and the distant, mournful howling of a lonely coyote. . . .   The City of Seattle wanted people to make use of these facilities, so they hatched up a number of attractions to draw people onto the Seattle Center. One of these was put together by a Los Angeles promoter named Len Hanson. The "ABC Hootenanny" was the newest popular music show on television and folk music seemed to be "big" these days, so Hanson initiated the "Seattle Center Hootenanny," to be held every Wednesday evening, in the Center House if the weather didn't cooperate, or in amphitheater in front of the Horiuchi Mural if the weather was good. Hanson saw to it that the singers were paid. And these events drew huge crowds. One night when I sang, the police estimated the crowd at 6,000. The following week, 15,000!

But there again, the Powers That Be spent more money than they made. But it accomplished the purpose. People got used to coming to the Seattle Center, and the place started to hum. As primarily a cultural center. A home for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (before they recently moved to their new quarters at Benaroya Hall), Seattle Opera (the fourth largest opera company in the country), Pacific Northwest Ballet, ACT (A Contemporary Theater) and the Seattle Repertory Theater, plus spawning other theater companies. And, of course, the Pacific Science Center, the Experience Music Project, the Science Fiction Museum. . . .   

As far as the Northwest Folklife Festival is concerned, it came along way after these events and has nothing to do with the events back it the 1960s. It's just a bloody huge party, with the word "folklife" referring to what "folks" seem to do for amusement, with darned little relationship to traditional folk music. I can't see a whole lot of difference between this mob scene held over Memorial Day weekend and the Bumbershoot Arts Festival, also held at the Seattle Center over the Labor Day weekend.

I don't think Reggie, Stewart, and I are deluded into thinking that the Northwest Folklife Festival has much of anything to do with folk music.

Folk in name only. But there is a bit of folk music there. But you have to know where to look.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Deckman
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:54 PM

Don ... once again I demure to your better memory. And yes, you are quite correct. I should NOT have referred to the promoters of the U.N. Pavilion concerts as "idiots. I remember Bob Ashley well, and he was always a pleasant and polite person.

If I can possibly re-phrase my comment I might say: "Whenever I walk into the P.N.W. Folk Festival these days, I think it's 'IDIOTIC' to think this mob scene has much to do with folk music! (better?)

One of the pleasures I'm enjoying at my advanced age of 172 is the ability to spout off occasionally. And if I occasionally miss-peak, I know I can rely on better minds than mine to correct me.

You are quite correct about the history. CHEERS, bob


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Stewart
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:17 PM

Thanks Don for setting the history straight. You're right, the NW Folklife Festival was started in 1972 by the Seattle Folklore Society. SFS had a brief account of the history of the Festival on their web site, but that and other historical information has disappeared from their web site in recent years. So much for history and folklore from the SFS! The Festival was later (I think around 1980) separated from the SFS and set up as it's own non-profit corporation.

The SFS was founded by a group of people interested in bringing traditional source musicians from the eastern US and the Delta region to Seattle before they disappeared. There was not any regard for local Northwest musicians or Pacific Northwest folklore. In the intervening years SFS has morphed into a concert-producing organization for mainly out-of-state singer songwriters. Your observation of SFS "declining to sponsor singers of tradition songs on the basis that they did not write the songs themselves" is not entirely true - they recently brought Mike Seeger to Seattle - but mostly so.

Back to the Folklife Festival - it has just gotten too big for its own good, trying to appeal to every conceivable community including many that have nothing to do with Pacific Northwest folklore, folk arts and folk music ("Northwest Folklife relies on the diverse communities of the Pacific Northwest to inspire programs. Northwest Folklife collaborates with these communities to develop public presentations of their culture.") including hip-hop and "world music" (whatever that means). In striving to appeal to every conceivable interest it has grown so big that it cannot sustain itself financially, so it has to add more and more commercialism in order to bring in more money so it can grow even bigger. But like our economy it has finally gone from boom to bust. So this year more commercial booths and fewer musical stages, participatory activities and the things that used to make the Festival attractive to the local folk music community.

There's only about 10% of the Festival that I find interesting. Most of that has been around the NW corner. So that's where I usually hang out. It's too much of a hassle to make my way through the midway crowds to hear the few other things of interest. But even that is changing as I find less of interest even in the NW corner.

It's probably unrealistic to think that we could have a festival like Folklife was in its early years - most every local folk musician got a stage and it was more like an informal backyard jam. Times change. Maybe we should invent something different to take its place. Any ideas?

Cheers, S. in Seattle
where we seem to have avoided
the rain predicted for today
(although it's probably raining
in Everett. Bob?)


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:23 PM

Reggie, I'm really sorry you were harassed like that. Much as I agree with your points and Don's and Stewart's about street performers being an asset to and integral part of music festivals like this, I do understand the need for some crowd control and traffic control measure. (In fact, sometimes I'd actually like to see a little more 'control' of where the louder performers can play -- e.g., the drummers who set up right next to Bluegrass Hill. Some people are already doing their music and someone with a tuba or drums comes and starts up right next to them, pretty much forcing them to leave.)   But your experience doesn't seem to be an example of that sort of need. As you said, there were "legal" places for you to play where you'd have been creating a traffic jam.

Sounds like you encountered someone with an ill-conceived "need" to exercise his "authority."   Or maybe somebody complained about something earlier in the day and by the time the security contingent got there the source of the complaint was no longer relevant but the guards felt they had to make you stop doing SOMETHING.   (Like giving a perfect manuscript to an editors who feels they won't be doing their job unless they change stuff.)

The Folklife Festival has gotten much bigger and more commercial over the years, but I'm not sure that can be avoided as long as it's at a place like the Seattle Center.   Many people drop by the festival without much idea of what it's about, just because it's a holiday weekend -- especially with perfect weather like we had this year. But by spending money at the food booths, donating for Festival buttons, and buying stuff at the crafts booths and the CD store, they do help pay for the rental and staffing of the Seattle Center areas. So do the corporate sponsors.   I don't think the Folklife Festival could afford to exist at the Seattle Center without them, and I don't know of another such accessible place to hold a Festival of the size it was 20 years ago.

I do hope you will contact the Festival committee and tell them your experience. They ask for feedback on the festival each year, and I think what happened to you is something they need to hear about.   I think the Festival coordinators need to make it clearer to the "mall cops" what needs to be controlled, and why, and what doesn't.   

Sorry I missed you.

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:47 PM

MAG, it was good to see you at Folklife too, as well as Stewart, Mary, and others from Seattle and Portland. (I don't think I ran into any non-NW folkies this year.)

Don, I have to take a bit of issue with this statement:
"I can't see a whole lot of difference between this mob scene held over Memorial Day weekend and the Bumbershoot Arts Festival, also held at the Seattle Center over the Labor Day weekend.

I don't think Reggie, Stewart, and I are deluded into thinking that the Northwest Folklife Festival has much of anything to do with folk music.

Folk in name only. But there is a bit of folk music there. But you have to know where to look."

A huge difference between Folkife and Bumbershoot is the participatory element. Bumbershoot is totally about being part of a concert audience, isn't it? Folklife still has a LOT of dancing (contras, Balkan, northern European, Scandinavian, swing, Israeli, African, etc.) and quite a bit of participatory singing and instrumental jamming. (Some of the jam sessions are scheduled but most of them are spontaneous and not in a designated location.)   
My biggest problems with the (successful) attempts to draw big crowds is that it makes it very difficult to get from one end of the Seattle Center to another, especially when you're carrying a guitar or other large instrument.   I missed out on several of the participatory activities because it would have taken so long to get from the Center House or the Fountain Stage area to the Intiman Courtyard or the NW stages.   In that sense, I do wish the organizers wouldn't define "folk music and dance" so broadly.
That said, I did notice a slew of young people at the festival this year -- many of them playing bluegrass or other folk music.   I wonder how many of them may have "discovered" this music by coming down to the Seattle Center on Folklife weekend, perhaps to catch the hip-hop show or "world music" (a term usually applied to African music) and being exposed to fiddle tunes, contras, bluegrass, Celtic and other folk music.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Deckman
Date: 26 May 09 - 06:58 PM

About 15 years ago I sent a suggestion to the then festival director about how to make the festival more enjoyable for the performers. Notice that then, as now, my focus has always been on the performer, NOT the thousands of rude festival goers. I thought my suggestion was brilliant in it's simplicity ... simply lock every OTHER bathroom door and place a sign saying "CLOSED."

Alas ... like other useless suggestions over the years, my suggestion was not taken! bob (who continues to admire my friends who put up with the mess at the Seattle Center)


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: reggie miles
Date: 26 May 09 - 07:21 PM

Yup, I forgot about that overhead structure rule. The folks that were listening as I played were so nice to me that I got caught up in that great feeling you get with listeners who really appreciate your energy. So, the security guy had the right, by the letter of the law, to ask me to stop playing and I had stopped. But pushing the conversation into threatening to eject me from the event after I had complied with his wishes and then to ultimately get me escorted off the grounds with police was simply poor social skills on the part of this part time security guy.

My goal at the event was to create smiles and perhaps a little laughter via my efforts at entertaining and I did, during that brief half hour set on Sunday. I wanted to offer my talents and hoped that folks would stop to listen and appreciate my efforts, and they did. They offered applause, their laughter, their smiles and even a few donations. After I was finished playing one song, they requested more music of me and I, being the generous soul that I am, was more than willing to honor their request. They, were why I was there. Folks listened and enjoyed my stories. They enjoyed my playing, with both my musical saw and with my bottleneck slide guitar.

Yep, I did that. I am guilty of playing folk music. When playing folk music becomes a crime, only criminals will be folk musicians. Put on the cuffs and drag me off to jail for my evil ways.

I created something beautiful. That effort was then squashed by this event's security goons. Was getting escorted off the grounds worth it? Yep. Would I do the same thing again? Well, I don't purposely go looking for trouble. I wasn't looking for it this time either. Nor was I aware, at the time, that I was doing a bad thing, but trouble found me. I did exactly what I had seen others do, entertain folks under the covered areas of the festival grounds. I didn't see anyone else getting escorted off the grounds by police for doing the same.

You're right too Bob, this isn't much of a folk festival. It does look and sound a lot more like Bumbershoot, with amplified stage volumes far too loud. Free reign is given to far too many, who by virtue of the volume of their instruments, are allowed to dominate the available listening environment at this event. They might just as well call it Drumfest. It's annoying and frankly, I'm tired of hoping that the people who have run this event into the ground via their lack of vision will ever see reason to actually do something to improve it. I'm glad to have learned this lesson now, instead of allowing frustration to simmer any longer about this event's shortcomings.

Besides, with all of the available players attending this event, it left the rest of the areas in the city wide open for an enterprising street performer like me. As a matter of fact, after being ejected from Folklife, I went directly to the Fremont Sunday Market and played a set there. I was met by the same kind of appreciation for my efforts at entertaining from the folks attending that weekly event. Both the passersby and the craft folks offered their applause, smiles, laughter and yes even donations. And best of all, guess what I did not have to deal with? Stoopid rules and those who enforce them, demonizing my efforts.

After that, I finished my day by playing a late set at Pike Place and again the results were the same, applause, smiles, laughter and even more donations. It seems like I'm forever turning lemons into lemonade.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: MAG
Date: 26 May 09 - 07:36 PM

My favorite part of the Fest has always been and continues to be the
WORKSHOPS.

This year I caught, among others, Jamie Laval, and Pirate Wendy.

The jams at Hospitality are great when you need to be in there to chill.
The many singalongs at Intiman Courtyard are wonderful for someone like me who has no access to song circles.

The Fest is just so BIG you need to be selective.

I agree with Stewart that the NorthWest Stage is a great place to be, and you would be hard pressed to say the performers don't do folk.

Phil and Vivian Williams were very much present and you would be hard-pressed to say they are not traditional.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:25 PM

MAG, I don' think anyone is saying that there isn't any traditional music at the Northwest Folklife Festival. It's just a bit amazing though to realize how hard it is to find sometimes. You have to know who you are looking for and when and where they are going to be there.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Deckman
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:46 PM

You know Reg ... there's GOT TO BE an incredible song to come out of this. And only YOU can write (right?) it! Love to you bro) bob


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 27 May 09 - 12:22 PM

Yeah, Reg, if you can come up with song gems about wrangling shopping carts or signs that say "No shirt, No Shoes, No Service," I'm sure you can spin your nightmare encounter with the Seattle Center Security goons into gold too.   Love to hear it.

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: reggie miles
Date: 27 May 09 - 12:44 PM

Bob, Genie,

Funny that you should mention it, I've been working on just such an inspired piece of writing. In the past strong experiences have moved me to create songs. Whether it was eating bad dill pickles or subjects with more serious overtones, like experiencing the WTO rallies in Seattle, I've often been inspired to write songs about intense experiences. Given the intensity of this experience, it may demand more than one.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Deckman
Date: 27 May 09 - 02:01 PM

"From lemons come lemondrops" ? bob


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 May 09 - 02:36 PM

I'm hearing a talking blues.

But then, that's your call, Reggie. I'm anticipating the results.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: mg
Date: 27 May 09 - 03:01 PM

I had a great time..less time spent at the festival and more on buses it seems and I don't recall the music as being truly memorable as every few years it is...but I saw some very nice things...a Canadian group I liked, old friends singing in various permutations, great sea shanty singing, a wonderful workshop by Reilly and Maloney, a group in Alki Room with CDs with harp, flute and cello, a jam session that included Laurie Andres, accordianist supremo, a trio of Korean teens playing hardanger fiddle tunes, dancers having fun, amazing Aztec?? dancers, Native American drumming. Oh dear, no Calzones to be had...

But I was satisfied with the music....wish I had heard more but there is only so much time...ran into lots of people..and frankly, with the various deaths we have had lately, there is the realization that this could be the last time we see each other perhaps...

So don't come if you don't like crowds, or time it accordingly..go to workshops...and most people will enjoy themselves. mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: GUEST,The old fiddler logo- anybody have a copy?
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 01:12 PM

Remember the original logo for Folklife? The old guy in the hat with a fiddle was used for - decades, and I'm looking for a (hopefully) digital (hopefully high-res) copy of it.

Anybody that might be able to help, let me know.

Thanks!

string this together:

tom brisk
@

hotmail.com

www.back-burner.net


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 02:09 PM

Yeah, I had one of the T-shirts from the late Seventies, but I'm afraid it's long gone. Faded and worn (definitely not hi-res), and I think my wife tossed it out some time back.

The Fernando Sor T-shirt that I got from the Seattle Classic Guitar Society has gone the same route.

Don Firth


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Subject: Pacific NW Folklife Festival
From: Genie
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 08:42 PM

I still have one of the t-shirts, but like Don's, it's hardly hi-res. The shirt itself is pretty raggedy, but I've held onto it so far because of the logo.   I could take a pic of it (when I get back home in a few days) and send it to you,complete with sharpening the image.

I may also have a Festival Button with that logo. That image should be more "hi-res."

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: reggie miles
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 12:02 PM

After thinking about what happened to me at this event and hearing stories from others regarding this same subject, street performing on the grounds of the Seattle Center during various events held there and the same event, it got me to wondering if there isn't a bigger issue here, that of freedom of expression and whether my rights to that freedom were violated due to the actions of this security person. I mean, I wasn't trying to pistol whip someone with a loaded handgun, I was merely entertaining people via my music. Is that a crime? Is that a reason to involve the use of the SPD?

One friend, a wonderfully talented hammer dulcimer player, told me that, while playing music on the street, he was arrested and cuffed in front of his audience. They booed the officers as the police loaded him into their car and took him around the corner where they then released him. He went to court hoping to present his case but the judge merely dismissed it before he could have his opportunity. He questioned the judges decision because he wanted his day in court and was almost jailed for contempt.


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Subject: Pacific NW Folklife Festival (Seattle)
From: Genie
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 05:45 PM

Reggie, I certainly think crowd control is a legitimate function of the SC and Folklife security, but it doesn't sound like that was an issue in your case. (It wouldn't be the first time someone in a position of authority or power remembered the letter of the law but forgot the spirit and purpose of it.)

I also understand why the Folklife Committee frowns on unregistered street musicians and vendors selling things. It costs a lot of money to rent the Seattle Center stages and rooms and equipment, and the scheduled performers (which should have included you IMO) perform free and agree to give the Festival a cut of their CD saled. That makes it very frustrating for them and the registered crafts vendors to have huge competition from the "volunteers."   For better or worse, there are unusually large crowds at Seattle Center during Folklife and the Festival itself is a main reason for that, so I do like to see most of the money that's spent there actually helping maintain the Festival.   The Festival could -- and eventually may have to -- restrict access and charge entrance fees.   If/when that happens, there may be no street performers, if only because they don't want to pay the fees. For now, I don't think the Festival can prohibit any activity that's not illegal or poses a threat to public safety. And as a rule I find that the Festival folks are pretty tolerant of street performers doing their acts (even when they do block traffic or drown out the scheduled music) and selling their CDs or other goods.    I think your treatment was the exception -- and I hope so.

But harrassment of buskers exists in all sorts of venues and locations besides Folklife. In Portland, OR, there was -- maybe still is -- an ordinance that if you're doing music in the downtown area and can be HEARD 50 feet away, you can be arrested and your instrument confiscated.   (If you're just yelling or playing your boombox loud, the ordinance doesn't apply, nor do you have to sound LOUD 50 feet away. You just have to be audible.
I believe the arrests are complaint-driven and the cops usually give a busker a warning the first time, but I would never have taken the risk that my vintage Martin guitar might end up in "police custody" even for a few hours. It was a very draconian law, and I think enforcement of it has slacked off in very recent years, but still ... .

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: MAG
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 12:10 AM

Those short-sleeved t-shirts are up to $24 which madefor a few peanut butter sandwiches (not to mention lodging).

The shirt may have to go next year.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Eric Armstrong
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 03:01 AM

I have been going to Folklife for the last 25 years.It has indeed become a juggernaut, when the weather is good the crowds are almost unbearable.
I think however that those who complain miss the big picture entirely.
I travel from Vancouver BC where there is nothing remotely similar
(including the Vancouver Folk Festival)and each year I am totally amazed at the numbers and talents of the young people that I see playing music all over the site.Ragtime,jug bands,swing,fiddlers galore
and I suspect that these youngsters first were first exposed to all this
at the free festival right on their doorstep.
Seattle can more than match most other cities in the numbers of great musicians it has produced,and Folklife will ensure that this continues.
Yes it can be difficult, things could probably be improved, but despite this, do not doubt that Folklife is a an absolute treasure.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 11:35 AM

I agree Eric. It was our (astro's and my) first visit. It was a fascinating mix of good times and sensory overload. Not something that we'd attend every year, but glad that we did, and probably back again sometime.

We were really impressed by the number of young people involved. I'm sure it has a great effect on the music that happens in the northwest.

As a free fest, there is the advantage that anyone can check it out (and obviously many do!), and the disadvantage that crowd control becomes an issue.

Not for everyone, but certainly a Good Thing in the grand scheme.

~ Becky, back in Tucson


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: reggie miles
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 12:31 PM

Genie, I think that after 30 years of my time and performances donated to this event it owes me more than an escort off the grounds by the SPD. They certainly do not deserve a cut of my CD sales that I might sell there on my own to fans that have already paid (donated) to enter the grounds. Nor does this festival need to send out teams of security clones to seek out and demonize my efforts for entertaining folks at this event.

If this event knew how to entertain the people that walked into it's gates, I wouldn't have had an audience in the first place. They'd all be happy as clams listening to the many volume knob displays that the festival had scheduled. The fact is, at this point, this event knows little, if anything, about how to run the entertainment aspect of this event properly. That's because the entertainers that play this event have been given a back seat to every other aspect represented. Due consideration has been granted to the vendors of food and crafts because they pay so dearly to sell their wares and products there.

The musical acts, that receive no pay for their folk art, craft, talent, and performances at this event, have now become just another cash cow to be milked. Every year the busy little minds of those running this event dream up new ways and means to take advantage of everyone involved, especially the musical acts. All the while they offer as little consideration as possible in return. It's a typical scenario of haves and have nots being trotted out. If you have the $ to pay, you get accommodated. If not, you don't.

It reminds me of something that a friend of mine told me long ago. He said, if folks offer you $25 for your talents, they treat you like you're worth $25. Likewise, if they offer you $2500, they treat you like you're worth $2500. Unfortunately, this event offers nothing. They demand to glean percentages, that they have no right to, from those who already freely offer their entertainment. I wonder how this event managed to survive all those years before they started gouging the musical acts.

Stage volumes on the large stages this year were as loud or worse than any previous year. They continue to feature loud electric acts on the main stages. What that kind of scheduling has to do with folk arts is beyond me.

For years a minority of drum heads have inundated this event and have hogged the available listening environment, making it impossible for the majority of those playing lower volume acoustic instruments to be easily heard anywhere on the grounds. I put forth a suggestion that this overly volumed minority be given a room 'indoors' to display their thumping. Removing this single factor would benefit the greatest number of musical artists represented at this event by lowering the over all din created by the actions of the drum minority. Instead of heeding this simple suggestion, this event did just the opposite. They crammed as many acoustic players as they could fit into indoor venues. Then they granted the drum heads a tent of their own right in the thick of the event. There they could gather to create even more cacophony via their activities.

That noise level, more than anything, is what drove me to the very northern edge of this event to try to find a quiet location to play and entertain folks.

Someone earlier in this thread mentioned the 5000 volunteers that the festival hosts. If you like to get into a discussion of just how many wasted man hours volunteers have put into this event, I'd be happy to describe the dozen or so volunteers that were all standing around and doing nothing for hours at the volunteer booth that I was set up next to just before I got the boot.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 06:19 PM

Reggie, I agree that you and others who have donated your time and talents for years deserve to be on the official program and/or allowed to sell your CDs on the sidewalks.   However, not all the street performers are in that category, and I really don't know how they could separate people like you from the others unless they required permits (free, ideally) for doing street performances during the festival.   Some cities and parks do require permits for busking, and they can be free or require only a nominal fee. But there'd still be the security people checking out who had permits and who didn't. I don't think there's a simple or easy solution to this problem.
As I said, you were obviously treated in a ridiculously shabby and unfair manner. I do hope you let the Festival organizers know that.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Genie
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 06:39 PM

ETA:
I don't agree with this statement, though, Reggie:
"If this event knew how to entertain the people that walked into it's gates, I wouldn't have had an audience in the first place. They'd all be happy as clams listening to the many volume knob displays that the festival had scheduled. "

You are quite right that the food vendors and many non-folk merchants do clutter the sidewalks and distract festivalgoers from the music. But even if they were not there, an awful lot of the excellent scheduled folk acts would be under-attended simply because there are so many street performers to distract them en route from one stage or workshop to another.

The biggest problem I have with folklife is having too many really good choices of music and dance competing with each other. If the ones I want to go to aren't all scheduled at the same time, they're scheduled at opposite ends of the Seattle Center and it takes a long time to get there through the crowds. But as others have said, there's no dearth of workshops, performances, and dances that are well worth taking advantage of -- and that includes some of the street performers.   

You also said, "The musical acts, that receive no pay for their folk art, craft, talent, and performances at this event, have now become just another cash cow to be milked. Every year the busy little minds of those running this event dream up new ways and means to take advantage of everyone involved, especially the musical acts. All the while they offer as little consideration as possible in return. It's a typical scenario of haves and have nots being trotted out. If you have the $ to pay, you get accommodated. If not, you don't. "

Yes, the Festival does try to 'make money' in the sense of paying the bills. I don't think anyone's making huge profits from running the Festival, if they end up in the black at all.
(Most of the people I know who work on the Festival are more "have nots" than "haves" and volunteer their time.) And it seems a lot of very talented artists do think it's worth performing without pay and letting the Festival sell their CDs for a percentage, since every year talented people like you are turned down. They have more worthy acts than they can handle.

Again, I'm wondering what your solution would be.   I can't see the Festival continuing, even the way it was 20 years ago, without the commercial support and without some kind of regulation of street performers.   (Again, this does NOT mean anyone should be treated the way you were, but it doesn't sound like those security "goons" were following any Festival rules that I'm aware of.)   
I suppose the Festival could go back to unamplified stages, the way most were back in 1980. But then the drummers and the brass bands would drown out any nearby acts.   

I certainly don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Genie


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: MAG
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 09:24 PM

Stage volumes on the large stages this year were as loud or worse than any previous year. They continue to feature loud electric acts on the main stages. What that kind of scheduling has to do with folk arts is beyond me.

I agree with Reggie about the electricification of groups; the Fest in the past has only allowed acoustic instruments; no electric, and at least one stage on the green this year was electric.

They boom and dominate overly.

Lots of us have complained about the drummers for years; givingthem their own tent is a step in the right direction. At least it contains the sound.

Reggie, I echo Genie in hoping you have sent your story to the Fest committee. They are the ones who can effect the situation.

I haven't heard you, but as you know the buskers range from the sublime to the ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 01:59 AM

Here's a fun sampling of some of the "unscheduled" performances:

Buskers, Briefly, from Doug Plummer

Doug's a great photographer (known in the contra dance scene) who's having fun getting into digital video. Check out his other stuff on that site (including two great timelapse films of the dance floor going down and coming up), and also on his main site, dougplummer.com.

~ Becky in Tucson
(thought I spotted him there, but wasn't sure at the time...)


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: reggie miles
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 10:38 AM

That video was a treat. I only recognized a few of those represented as being local regular buskers in the Seattle area. The last guy's name is Carlton Baltimore. At least, that's what I know him by. He's been in the area for several years. He's the best I've ever heard in that kazoo type thing that he does with his voice. He calls himself the Paper Horn Man but he actually does what he does vocally. His paper horns, rolled up newspapers or the paper cups that he uses, merely amplify his vocals a little. They serve more as a visual.

He is really quite unique with his bass range vocals. He's an extremely talented musical composer. He let me listen to one of his songs once. Being of lesser means, as many street performers are, he had created it using two cassette recorders. He found an odd tape loop at one of the local thrift stores of a woman singing some brief line. He played that in one recorder as he sang a part along with it using the other recorder to capture the two vocal parts together. He continued ping ponging the recording back and forth adding percussion, his horn technique, some electric bass etc.

The percussion he managed was created by playing on various surfaces in empty public restrooms. He was homeless for some time and knew what facilities offered the best sound. He liked the reverberation effects achieved by using this method.

When you consider that it was all done with the smallest budget imaginable, the finished product was nothing short of amazing. It sounded every bit as good or better than anything I've ever heard reach the top of the charts. The guy is really a genius in his ability to put together what he did with the primitive tools that he had at his disposal. He's got great ears for composition and a great feel for contemporary musical interpretation and production. If he did have a budget and was able to afford to work with state of the art tools, I think that he could easily be supporting himself handsomely on the music that he'd be producing instead of his street act. As he suffers from limited means, that genius will probably continue to go unrecognized by everyone that passes him by on the street. What a waste!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 01:53 PM

Reggie, when I saw that video, he was the one I was really sorry I'd missed! Thanks for the further info.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Eric Armstrong
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 01:14 PM

Becky, we had hoped to meet you at Folklife, however! it was not to be. check your pm

Eric in Vancouver


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 05:01 PM

Eric, pm'd you back a couple days ago...


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