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Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend

Deckman 19 Jun 04 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 19 Jun 04 - 04:00 AM
Deckman 18 Jun 04 - 10:54 PM
MAG 18 Jun 04 - 09:22 PM
Deckman 18 Jun 04 - 04:32 PM
Stewart 18 Jun 04 - 02:37 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 04 - 12:15 AM
Deckman 04 Jun 04 - 10:51 PM
Don Firth 04 Jun 04 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 04 Jun 04 - 07:12 PM
Deckman 03 Jun 04 - 02:06 PM
johnross 03 Jun 04 - 01:11 PM
Haruo 02 Jun 04 - 09:56 PM
John P 02 Jun 04 - 09:40 PM
MAG 02 Jun 04 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 02 Jun 04 - 02:02 PM
johnross 02 Jun 04 - 12:37 PM
Stewart 02 Jun 04 - 12:34 PM
John P 02 Jun 04 - 10:15 AM
John P 02 Jun 04 - 10:07 AM
johnross 02 Jun 04 - 12:04 AM
Deckman 01 Jun 04 - 11:13 PM
Stilly River Sage 01 Jun 04 - 01:25 AM
Stewart 01 Jun 04 - 12:23 AM
Stewart 01 Jun 04 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,guest from NW 01 Jun 04 - 12:01 AM
John P 31 May 04 - 11:05 PM
MAG 28 May 04 - 12:52 AM
GUEST,Fred Maslan 27 May 04 - 10:53 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 May 04 - 10:23 PM
johnross 27 May 04 - 09:58 PM
Don Firth 27 May 04 - 02:38 PM
MAG 27 May 04 - 01:33 AM
Miken 27 May 04 - 12:25 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 27 May 04 - 12:23 AM
johnross 27 May 04 - 12:06 AM
Deckman 26 May 04 - 11:41 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 26 May 04 - 07:07 PM
Deckman 26 May 04 - 05:15 PM
johnross 26 May 04 - 12:51 AM
Deckman 26 May 04 - 12:51 AM
Haruo 26 May 04 - 12:15 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 May 04 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 25 May 04 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,reggie miles 25 May 04 - 10:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 May 04 - 10:26 PM
Haruo 25 May 04 - 10:25 PM
Don Firth 25 May 04 - 09:07 PM
MAG 25 May 04 - 06:44 PM
Deckman 25 May 04 - 05:35 PM
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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 05:07 AM

Hey Reg ... That's just the berries!! Bob


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 04:00 AM

What about $1.00 a day? 250,000 folks x $1.00 would make $250,000. That would put you 1/6th of the way toward paying for the event from just ticket sales alone. Just about everyone can and does spend more than a buck on anything from parking to my personal favorite strawberry shortcake, which, btw, has been increasing in price by $.50 per year for years. This year it cost $5.00 for the same strawberry shortcake that cost $4.50 last year. The year before that it was $4.00 and before that $3.50 etc. Now, I can't believe that it actually costs $.50 more to raise those same strawberries and bring them to the festival as they do, but if the price of strawberries continues to skyrocket as it has been, I think getting into the berry market right now might be a wise investment choice.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 10:54 PM

MAG, I appreciate your post. As these performers frustrations become more evident perhaps some answers might happen. But, I don't have my hopes up. Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: MAG
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 09:22 PM

I understand that the fest was run into the red by previous management. You would probably have to go back a ways to untangle it all.

I get a little irritatedby people who stroll through to, as one of you put it, gawk at the hippies, without contributing a dime. and yeah, I think it tends to be tight fisted yuppies.

Would it be so terrible to admit participants free, possibly broaden the scope of participants, and charge everybody else $10/day, $25/weekend?

it would still be cheaper than Bumbershoot, which I enjoyed the one year I went but have not been back to.

All of us participants have complained about the drumming. Would it be so difficult to get them in one place, coordinated by a drum circle leader who knew what s/he was doing? maybe kinda like the road show?? Drums: over here! (and nowhere else)

I send in my $30 so I can get the schedule ahead of time and this year I get a partial schedule and a coupon for my buttons, saying I can save the fest $$ by not using them. hunh??

I have serious questions about why I send in a membership fee and still get besieged by fianacial requests. I really would rather have an admission charge than be nickeled and dimed at every turn. I have my button collection, my shirt collection, and now, my participant button (yay!)

The money thing is out of hand.

I gather the water and power don't come cheap. I can believe the utilities bill is high. I know the ceiling on travel reimbursement is $125/act, which can still add up.

I can believe the bills really are a million and a half.

but this nickel and dime stuff really is out of hand, especially for us east siders who are already shelling out for hotel and gas.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 04:32 PM

Stewart, I am just one of many people (folkies) that look forward to your article. As you and I have been discussing lately, this HUGE festival is filled with mnay problems. I personally doubt that it is possible to save it. I mean "save it" in the sense of trying to steer it back to it's roots, which means "FOLK MUSIC."

I've heard from so many folkies that are still shaking their heads over why this festival is more about: food venders, crafters, huge crowds, drummers who wander at will ruining other concerts with their noise, than folk music. Perhaps those who say that this is just an example of a folk festival that got "taken over" by the big city interest are correct. I dunno!

And I concur, if someone has the balls, and the ability, to follow the money, it might be VERY interesting. Again, thanks for your interest and energy. Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Stewart
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 02:37 PM

Just a postscript on the festival. I wrote a critique of the festival for Victory Music Review, to be published in the July issue. I'll post it on my web site later HERE. Michael Herschensohn, Exec. Dir. Folklife, wrote a response (also to be published). Here's an excerpt regarding the "money factor."

"The benefit concert raises the question of why we ask for money at all. First, it costs about $1,500,000 to produce the entire festival. Even though we request a donation at festival entrances, no more than 15% of our visitors actually contribute. Consequently and ironically, with 85% of our audience experiencing the festival at no cost, we have to raise a lot of money in a brief period of time to keep the festival free of charge. The commissions on CD sales (it costs approximately $10,000 to operate the store over the weekend for the 100 musicians who sell CD's there) and on food and craft sales are all part of the mix that raises the money to put on the festival."

Regarding CD sales - it costs $10,000 for the store to sell CDs for 100 musicians? That's outrageous! They'd save a lot of money just letting the musicians sell their own CDs, as they would like to do anyway. A full accounting of the Festival finances would be interesting.

S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 04 - 12:15 AM

Reminds me of the 1972 Mariposa Folk Festival. Bob Dylan (who was not on the published list of performers) was sighted walking across the grounds. Within a few minutes, there were about 8,000 people running after him.

Several performers had the weird experience of seeing 75% of their audience get up and run off in the middle of a song, for no apparent reason.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 10:51 PM

"Raindrops keep falling on my head ..."! Bob


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 08:58 PM

". . . stage area that it was nearly void of anyone by the time I was ready to play."

O-o-o-oh, yeah. I remember once right around 1980, give or take a year or two, when I was scheduled to sing on one of the outdoor stages. Just as I was due to go on, it started sprinkling a bit. Then a bit more. I asked one of the stage crew if it wasn't time to move to the indoor stages. He said he couldn't until the word came down from Zeus or someone and he wanted me to go on right then. It wasn't raining hard, but it was definitely sprinkling, and I told him I wasn't about to subject my guitar to getting rained on. It was a nice Oribé concert classic, and raindrops were already beading up on the finish and I had to keep wiping them off before they ran into the soundhole.   Besides, the audience was covering their heads with newspapers and such and starting to drift off, obviously not wanting to stand there out in the open. Finally the gods spoke and we went into one of the rooms in the northwest corner of the Center (I don't recall the name). By the time we got set up, it was half an hour later than I was scheduled to go on. As I mounted the stage, I noted that my audience consisted of my wife, three friends, and a couple of the stage crew. Oh, great! I checked my tuning and prepared to do my first song. Then, the sky opened up and much of the North Pacific decided to inundated the Seattle Center. It started coming down in buckets, streams, and torrents! Within two minutes, the room was wall-to-wall people. Captive audience!

Whatever it takes!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 07:12 PM

This note is just appreciation for the prompt assistance in resolving a minor issue regarding the retrieval of my instruments from one of the check rooms.

Sunday evening after I had left the Exhibition Hall Dance-O-Rama event where I had been sitting in on washboard with some friends from Portland (Bayou Cadillac) I headed for the instrument check facility at the hospitality room. At about 10:05 when I approached the area to retrieve my instruments I noticed that the sign on the door read closed at 10:00pm. I guess I hadn't noticed the sign when I was there earlier dropping the stuff off because so many others were there doing the same. I felt compelled to just get out of the way of the next person in line. There were still three of the folks inside the area, but they seemed intent on leaving, and indicated that they were not willing to return my instruments because they were officially closed. I was a little dismayed by this at first, but I realized that after the long hours that the folks there had put in, they were probably as tired as I. I was about to leave for the evening when a friend indicated that perhaps a man standing nearby could help. (Sorry, I can't remember his name. He was tall and dark haired.) When I explained to the tall dark stranger that I was just five minutes late of their closing, and had just arrived from being on stage, he pointed to the last remaining staff person near the check room and said that he was the one to talk to. I quipped, "Oh passing the buck eh?" Then he went over to the staff person and introduced himself as being one of the event coordinators, (my ears perked up) and asked if the staff person could help those of us who were in need of checking out our instruments. A line began to immediately form of those who were apparently in the same fix as I. I thanked the tall dark stranger for his help.

One exciting moment for me last weekend happened after I had finished performing a set in the Alki Room. It seemed as though every performer that was on the stage before me was absolutely stellar, so I was a little on edge. For example, the woman performing just before I was to play was young and beautiful with long flowing blonde hair and a voice like an angel, and that's no exaggeration. As I sat and listened to her I was stunned and wondered what I could possibly do to follow such an act. The contrast would have been like day and night (my show being the night part). That's why I was floored when folks just seemed to walk away from her performance. So many left the immediate stage area that it was nearly void of anyone by the time I was ready to play. I began my first song, "I'll Do Anything To Make A Buck" and a few more folks gathered. As I often do, I introduced my resonator guitar as being homemade and included an explanation of the various items (junk) I used in it's construction. Before I had finished my set there was quite a group that had wandered over to listen. I was happy for the attentive smiles but I figured they had just happened by to see someone following me.

When I was stepping down from the stage a woman who was seated right up front during my show approached and introduced herself. She was the granddaughter of one of the Dopyera brothers. (the inventors of the resonator guitar) I was in shock for a moment, and when I regained composure I noticed she was wearing a button that read, "Got Dobro". She suggested that I needed a good Quarterman cone in my guitar and I informed her that I had one in there already. I then began explaining in more detail some of my design alterations and managed to hand her a business card.

Wouldn't it be grand to get a call back.

"Yes Mr. Miles we're hoping to have you fill a position in our research and development staff."

A fellow can dream. ;0)


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Jun 04 - 02:06 PM

John,

I appreciate your following through on this (these) thread. I realize that you live a very busy life away from mudcat. I tried to e-mail the "operations director" with some specific questions I had regarding some of the problems we saw at the festival, but her e-mail address as listed in the program was rejected. I thought that this was just another example of the kinds of problems I was seeing.

Again, thanks for your efforts. Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: johnross
Date: 03 Jun 04 - 01:11 PM

>where's the money going?

That's a fair question. I don't have a detailed answer, but I'll try to get one and post it here.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Haruo
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 09:56 PM

I have no axe to grind here, and I am not one who hopes there will be no Folklife at the Center in years to come, but I would be interested in seeing where all of our $5'ses are going. Is there someplace where this is audited and publicly accessible?

Haruo

PS The Phil Thomas Tribute was wonderful. His Chinook is pretty English-accented, but understandable. My guest from Germany (Aage Fischer, an Esperantist in town for the SID convention at the Convention Center) was particularly appreciative of Linda's update of "Annexation" (as was I, as was I).


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: John P
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 09:40 PM

Hi johnross,
If Folklife isn't paying for the Seattle Center or the wages of the help, what's all the constant fundraising for, and where's the money going? And where did the musicians' CD money go that got spent to pay bills a few years ago? And where do all the rather high booth fees and sales percentages from the vendors go? Something about the festival is costing a tremendous amount of money.

JP


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: MAG
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 06:40 PM

I'm gonna go check out the other thread as soon as I've puyt in my 2 cents.

After all of our collective swivets, my band had a wonderful time playing at the roadhouse. Yes it was an effort getting all of us over and getting ready, but people seemed to like us (but really, if you
just play dance music for those olympic dancers, they are happy).

It seemed less crowded than usual to me. I understand Friday had a lot of rain but the spritzes on Saturday and Sunday were nothing.

There were designated jamming spaces but the only people I saw in them were buskers and folks with little kids who needed to chill.

The 2 mainstrips to either side of the green were most crowded, as usual. I missed the old shortcuts behind the booths which are gone because of the remodeling, I guess.

I like the remodeling -- overall it seems to provide more space.

As a first time performer I looked forfor jammers after we played and mostly didn't find anybody. I would strongly second more jamming space, and having drummers in one, preferably indoor location -- maybe with a strong leader so it would be one big drum circle. Soime drum circles are not fun because nobody knows how to guide them. I've been to both kinds.

I especially love having the singalong stuff in Intiman courtyard. It is a great place to chill as well as sing.

Having this out in the country somewhere means being away from comfortable hotels, which some of us need.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 02:02 PM

John, for what it's worth I think that the farm idea is a real good one. That's what the Oregon Country Fair has done, and very successfully I might add. They are now suffering the same fate of being over crowded. I'm not sure where they can grow to alleviate this problem. Growing pains are hard to handle.

I also agree whole heartedly with the idea that those who drag drum kits to the grounds to beat all weekend long, and by doing so prevent so many others from being able to perform due to the sheer volume of their activities should be banned, or at least forced to apply for their own spot on the bill. Give them their own stage, either far away from the highest concentration of performances so that their volume would not negatively impact other more quiet performances, or preferably something indoors like the space that was offered to the dancers this year. Placing this group inside somewhere would take them out of the outdoor mix of sounds and vastly increase the amount of room outside where folks could gather to listen to performances of lesser volume. There are also methods of muting drums to make them less of an intrusion.

There are many like myself who wish that they could have an opportunity to perform casually on the grounds to share their love of music and performance with the folks wandering about for more than just their half hour stage slot. Accommodating this group of performers in this way, who, by the way, vastly out number the few who are causing all of the volume excess, seems like a no-brainer to me, but I'm an entertainer and they are organizers, perhaps two completely different animals.

Concerning your busking comment, I'm not sure what folkloric value means either. I enjoy busking, (offering entertainment with a receptacle for donations), and I do strive to offer my unique interests within my particular performances whether busking or on stage. My guitar that I made from junk I found at garage sales, my crazy collection of sounds on my washboard, or my musical saw playing, all have what I believe are valuable folkloric roots. The style of my material has always been rooted in traditional forms like the bottleneck style playing that I love, or wacky and wordy old folksongs.

I am currently enjoying something I've never before had to my credit, playing about 40 of my original songs. I realize that this does make me a singer-songwriter but again my style and approach is still rooted in more tradition than most of what I've seen and heard out there. I like the balance I've achieved between old influences and my newer messages, but when I see that a rap band or a rock band has managed to get a larger stage than I at the folk festival I've applied to play at, as was the case last weekend, it causes me to scratch my head and wonder whether the organizers actually have the same outlook about all of this folk stuff.

When a half dozen drum groups are allowed free reign to ruin any opportunity I might have to share all weekend long due to their being hogs of the available listening environment and nothing is being done to deter this activity it seems to reinforce the idea that those organizing the event are not really so interested in representing what I find valuable. I guess it means that they find the activities of those with drums more appropriate to the festival grounds. Otherwise why would they allow it to flourish year after year?

Perhaps the busking overload will eventually subside as the Buskers Festival that the Pike Place Market Street Musicains Guild hosts gets up to speed. This will be it's third year running. It's still in it's infancy as festivals go, so they have all of this mayhem to look forward to as they grow. There are some good lessons to learn here.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: johnross
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 12:37 PM

> For the amount you would save in a few years of paying for the
> Seattle Center you could buy a permanent site.

Northwest Folklife does not pay for the use of Seattle Center. The City of Seattle donates the space and the wages of the Seattle Center employees who work that weekend (including sound operators, ushers in the Opera House and many other less visible folks). Folklife does pay the city for rent on its year-round offices, but it's well below market rate.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Stewart
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 12:34 PM

John P., very well put. I agree and these are excellent suggestions.

John R., I very much appreciate your efforts in trying to make Folklife a participatory event and put the 'folk' back in it. The tribute to Phil Thomas this year and the Coffehouse Reunion last year were, in my mind, highlights of the festival. But, unfortunately, they were only a minor part of the big extravaganza.

For my part, I organized a workshop on the Irish Session with help from my friends in Fado's Irish Pub Sunday Session. I was successful in getting Folklife to post the workshop schedule on their web sit, even though that schedule was not part of the grid in the printed program and one still had to look in a different part of the print guide to find them. So I put out my own publicity - emails, flyers at Victory Music's and Seattle Folklore Society's booths, etc. etc. It paid off, as we had about 40 people show up - about 25 musicians playing and about 15 others listening. I had several hand-outs, and we talked about the Irish Session (history, how it operates, etc.), in addition to playing tunes. Since we were the last scheduled workshop in the Orcas room on Monday, we just continued to play tunes after our alloted time. The Center staff quietly came in and removed extra chairs and tables, but let us continue. Finally when we left at about 6:15, I thanked them for letting us continue. One of the Center crew said "you were making such fine music, we didn't want you to stop". This is what Folklife shoud be about - ordinary people involved in making good music.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: John P
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 10:15 AM

Oh yeah, one more idea:

* Admit that the festival has run its course and end it.

JP


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: John P
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 10:07 AM

johnross, you said:
"In other words, yes, there is a lot to criticze about the Northwest Folklife Festival, but bringing in exhibits and performers from East Africa shouldn't be on that list. Those "international" performers at the festival are our neighbors in the Northwest, . . ."

Am I missing something here, or are you saying that performers brought in from East Africa are our neighbors here in the Northwest? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Of course folks from East Africa who live around here should be part of the festival -- that's a big part of what makes the festival great. But I don't think that folks from East Africa who don't live in the Northwest should be part of the festival. But maybe that's not what you were saying, I'm not sure.

Representing the complete ethnic diversity of the Pacific Northwest is what makes the festival strong. Bringing in performers from out of the area cheapens it. Paying them cheapens me.

Here's my suggestions for a better festival:
* Stop bringing in paid performers from elsewhere in the world. It dilutes the festival and is insulting to the local performers. You started doing it without our permission and ought to be ashamed of yourselves. The beauty of Folklife Festival used to be that it was a celebration of all the local talent from many different ethnic communities. It's not that anymore, and it's the worse for it.
* Get rid of the drummers around the fountain in any way you can. Get the city council to pass a law if you have to.
* Stop booking singer-songwriters. There is no folklore in their acoustic pop music and they clog the stages and the schedule.
* Stop booking rock bands. I think rock bands (and drummers) are in many ways the epitome of the traditonal folk process, but you have to draw the line somewhere. In this case, decibel level might be a place to start.
* Provide some space for jamming. I was trying to have a jam with some friends, and we couldn't find a space to do it that didn't interfere with a stage or a busker. How about no stage and no buskers in Fisher Green?
* This one's really controversial, and I'm not sure I actually support the idea: require that buskers offer something with some folkloric value. I haven't a clue what that means or how anyone would go about deciding, but there are WAY to many people busking at Folklife.
* Stop taking a cut of performer's CD sales. It's offensive and insulting. I'm already donating a performance that anyone else would pay $500 - $1000 for. Allow us to sell directly from the stage, without red tape, hoops to jump through, or taking a commission. Anyone who has ever done any performing in folk music knows that your major CD sales happen at the performance, not later, and not elsewhere. Get the city council to pass a special waiver if you have to.
* This one is even more extreme: Move the festival to a farm 50 miles or so from Seattle. For the amount you would save in a few years of paying for the the Seattle Center you could buy a permanent site. Without the huge overhead, grant money might be enough to pay for the whole thing, and it could still be free. People who want a folk music and arts festival would come. The rest could have their generalized urban party at Bumbershoot, and drum to their heart's content any Saturday afternoon at Gasworks Park.

Thanks,
John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: johnross
Date: 02 Jun 04 - 12:04 AM

I've just come from a post-Folklife party where I had several conversations that could easily have been part of this thread. The crowds, the commercial sponsors' impact, and the damn drummers are all products of the size and scale of the event, and they all contribute to the changes in the spirit and character of the Folklife Festival.

It's not the same event that it was in the 1970s, and as far as I'm concerned, it was a lot better in many ways back then. I agree with a lot of wht Don, Bob and others are saying in this thread and in the one specifically about the Northwest Folklife Festival.

If anybody can offer any practical suggestions about how to put this particular genie back into the bottle, I would love to hear them, and I can promise to pass them along.

My own approach is to do what I can to try to make sure thare are some events every year that are consistent with my own sense of what the Folklife Festival is supposed to be. The Phil Thomas program this year, and the Coffee House Reunion last year are the most recent results. And the Band Scramble "contests" that John Watt and I have run for more than a decade are very directly intended make sure that participatory events remain part of the mixture.

And I'm not alone. I could name several other people who arrange and organize good and interesting programs every year, just as I try to.

And it's equally true that the core staff are dedicated to keeping the "folk" in the Folklife Festival. At least three of them have graduate degrees in folklore or ethnomusicology. They're devoting a huge proportion of their time and energy into making the festival a "public folkore" event, and not just a showcase for singer-songwriters and ethnic junk food vendors.

For example, this year's focus on the people of the Horn of Africa was organized by working with the local immigrant communities from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Their culture is as much a part of the culture of the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest today as those of the earlier immigrants from Norway or Ireland or the ones who came up the Oregon Trail. It's not as if somebody from Folklife picked up the telephone and called a booking agent in New York or Paris or Addis Ababa and said, "This year we want to do the Horn of Africa. Who can you send us?"

These new immigrant groups are gradually becoming part of the broader regional cultural mix, just as the Vietnamese, Cambodian and Hmong immigrants did twenty-five years ago, and the Scandanavians a century ago. But the Folklife Festival is probably the only opportunity many of us will have to learn what our new neighbors are like, beyond what we might see on the menu in an ethnic restaurant.

In other words, yes, there is a lot to criticze about the Northwest Folklife Festival, but bringing in exhibits and performers from East Africa shouldn't be on that list. Those "international" performers at the festival are our neighbors in the Northwest, doing the things that they usually do in their churches and community centers for other members of their own ethnic or cultural groups. Damn right they should be part of a regional Northwest event.

I'll probably have more to contribute to this thread, but that's enough for now. The usual disclaimer applies: These are my own opinions and should be treated as such. I have no authority whatsoever to speak for Northwest Folklife, nor do I claim to be doing so.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 01 Jun 04 - 11:13 PM


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Jun 04 - 01:25 AM

I hope none of you were caught up in this:



Monorail at Seattle Center Catches Fire
May 31, 2004 10:37 PM EDT

SEATTLE - A monorail caught fire outside a Seattle museum Monday, forcing firefighters to use ladders to evacuate dozens of passengers. Nine people were hospitalized, including a firefighter who injured a knee, but none of the injuries was considered serious and no one appeared to have been burned, Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzgerald said. About 40 people were evaluated at the scene for respiratory problems from the smoke, she added. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

About 100 people were aboard the train when it caught fire outside the Seattle Center's Experience Music Project, a rock 'n' roll museum. Thousands of people gathered at the center over the holiday weekend for the annual Folklife Festival. Fire officials said the fire was brought under control Monday evening. Streets were closed in the area.

The monorail, originally built for the 1962 World's Fair, runs through the museum on its path between the Seattle Center and downtown. Both of the monorail system's trains will be out of service for an undetermined amount of time. There have been several incidents over the years in which the fire department's high-angle rescue team has been called out to remove passengers when a train broke down.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Stewart
Date: 01 Jun 04 - 12:23 AM

And "Guest From NW", thanks for your comments. I also agree. As a newcomer to Seattle (moved here from Minnesota 8 yrs ago) I don't know what it was like in the early years, except what I hear from old-timers like Bob Nelson, Don Firth, and others. But it has certainly got too big, commercial and far removed from what I consider folk music (what ever that is). I think it should be a community festival for the people emphasizing folk music from the Pacific NW region. I heard a promo spot on our local folk music radio station last week about Folklife - "come to see the celebration of arts from the Horn of Africa, and come to see all the great international performers." So that's a Pacific NW regional festival? I don't think so. I think it's gotten out of hand and needs to be reinvented in another form.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Stewart
Date: 01 Jun 04 - 12:12 AM

Hi John. Thanks for your comments. I agree with your critique of folklife. I too have mixed feelings. I just got home after leading a very successful Irish session workshop. For me the best parts were hanging around the NW Court stage and hearing the Celtic and maritime music, doing a little busking (for no money - I am an unemployed folk musician by choice) and doing a couple of sets on the free (anybody sign up) stage in the Sliver Platters CD sales room (it also helped our CD sales there). The worst part was struggling through the huge crowds, loud unmusical noises and drum beats, smoke and bad food, and many vendors in the central fountain area.

Deckman (Bob Nelson) started another thread HERE titled "Folk Festival Problems" as a sequel to this thread. You can read his, mine, and other posts there about Folklife and other festivals in general.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,guest from NW
Date: 01 Jun 04 - 12:01 AM

i played folklife for many years and always gave it priority over paying gigs cuz i loved it so much. i haven't even bothered to attend the last few years (since the debacle about using performers CD money to pay debts and not paying performers for several months afterward). pretty much all the things i enjoyed don't happen any more. jamming, busking, informal band performances, the mixture of great pros with amatuers, etc. have all been messed with to the point of "why bother" to me.
the beginning of the end, i think, was when the staff began "programming" the festival. it used to be if you applied, you played. no quality control. pure community. i loved that. even tho i'm a pro musician i really enjoyed everyone that got up to play and felt that the community aspect over the "quality" aspect was dang cool. that's why i didn't mind playing for free even tho it's my profession. but then certain staff members decided more vetting was needed and outside acts should be brought in. why? to bolster the programmer's resume about putting together the festival i'm guessing.
now the mantra is "it's so big we need more money, more stages, more performers, more fees, more donations, blahblahblah. i don't see why the festival couldn't go right back to "you apply, you play", first-come first-scheduled, if you play this year you can't play next year (so the rising numbers of performers can be accomodated) no shows for pay PERIOD no matter who pays for them, shorten the hours for stages and encourage more impromtu playing and workshops, so the whole thing runs on LESS money etc.
please tell me what i'm missing or what is wrong with my ideas here.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: John P
Date: 31 May 04 - 11:05 PM

I just spent a couple of days at Folklife, and found that I enjoyed it more this year than in the last few years. Trying to be at peace with the overcrowding, the commercialism, and the constant begging for money. I believe this was my 22nd year performing there.

I think the festival is a wonderful event, and I think the people putting it on are to commended. The thing that keeps me coming back year after year happened again this year: after my performance someone came up who had never heard music like ours before and was completely excited and wanted to know where he could find more. I f I get one person like that in the audience each year, all the hassles of going there and performing become worth it.

Here's my big complaint about the festival: When I started playing at Folklife so many years ago, the deal was that eveyone who played there was from the Pacific Northwest, and no one got paid. It was a local festival for the local folks to play local music at. Somewhere along the line they started bringing in big name acts from elsewhere and paying them. It pisses me off to be sharing a stage with someone who is getting paid when I'm not. I know, I know, Folklife doesn't actually pay them, other groups bring them in and pay them and Folklife just gives them a stage. That doesn't matter. Folklife is putting paid performers on the same stages they are asking the locals to play on for free. I have found it particularly ironic that the last few years have seen Pete Seeger and Utah Phillips getting paid to sing union songs at a festival that doesn't pay the rest of the help.

Another problem with bringing in "names" from elsewhere is that Folklife is the one time of the year that the mainstream media in Seattle can't avoid doing major articles about folk music. The rest of the time the entire genre -- and its practitioners -- are pretty much ignored. As soon as the international stars started showing up, they got a lion's share of the press coverage that was actually devoted to the music.

I think it would be interesting if someone started a folk music and arts festival in or around Seattle that was aimed more at the folks in the folk community instead of being a generalized urban party the way Folklife has become. Yes, Folklife is great at introducing people to new things, but it is also a bit like being exposed to folk arts in the standard American consumerism way. Your complete folk experience in one weekend with no need to think about it the rest of the year.

Anyway, the festival was well done this year, I was only bothered by one rock band, and I got to see lots of friends from all over that I often only see at Folklife. We had an overflow crowd for our stage set, and the only money I spent at the festival, including for food, was on a small gift for my wife.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: MAG
Date: 28 May 04 - 12:52 AM

Does the above mean that if anybody gives our band and caller a hard time, I can tell them they are being a butthead?? (BG)


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,Fred Maslan
Date: 27 May 04 - 10:53 PM

couple of things,
There is a singalong stage, the Intiman court stage, which is somewhat intimate and seperated from the general hullabaloo. It's not listed in the formal chart of stages but it is in the program if you search.

to illustrate the community feeling of this festival, my son Raffi is now a boardmember at age 19. He is a folkdancer, songcircle member and has been a volunteer every year since before he was born.


Sometimes I sit down in the middle of everything and just listen.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 May 04 - 10:23 PM

Have a good time!


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: johnross
Date: 27 May 04 - 09:58 PM

Aw gee, you guys, I'm just a small cog in the large machine that makes the Folklife Festival happen every year. There are dozens of people who do as much as I do, and many who do a lot more. As far as I'm concerned, it's a community barnraising, where we all do what we can to make the thing work.

The Northwest Folklife Festival is very specifically trying to present the things that people do for their own entertainment, and that they make for their own use. So the ethnic dance groups who practice in church basements and the old-time fiddlers' shows that include seven-year-old kids who haven't quite got all the notes right are just as important as the musicians who play in clubs several times a month. Maybe more.

That's a very different mandate from most festivals, which are intended as entertianment events where people come to see and hear performers who are there to entertain them. Folk festivals like Philadelphia and Vancouver are organized to present high-quality musicians to appreciative audiences. We want to expose people to the cultures of their neighbors.

Both approaches are valid, butthey produce quite different events.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 May 04 - 02:38 PM

A few ruminations about folk festivals:

First, another round of applause for John Ross and the folks who put this thing together and keep it running. This isn't exactly a "nine people accompanied by a ukulele, a slide whistle, and a set of bongos"-size gathering, it's a bit larger than that:   it's HUGE!! I've been in small cities where there were nowhere near as many people as you'll find on the Seattle Center grounds during a festival afternoon. And the fact that it comes off as well as it does—the fact that it comes off at all—is to the credit of John Ross and dedicated and diligent people like him. With an event this monumental and complex, if a few people find something to be dissatisfied about, that's pretty much to be expected. On the one hand, it's next to impossible to avoid a few glitches in an event this big. And on the other hand, even if it were, there are always a few people who could find something to bitch about at a free lunch in Heaven.

I've attended a whole batch of folk festivals over the years, and the biggest by far is the Seattle Folklife Festival. My first acquaintance with such events was the annual Berkeley Folk Festival, several of which I attended in the early Sixties. These were a pretty big events (although compared to Folklife, they were minuscule), but they were quite different. The purpose was not quite the same as that of Folklife. The Berkeley festivals (held on the U. of C. campus) were somewhat longer, beginning with an opening ceremony at noon on the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend, and finished on Sunday with a huge concert (all participants) in the Greek Theater, followed by a picnic and barbeque in the eucalyptus grove on the west side of campus. Since people came from all over, they gave you Monday, Memorial Day itself, to get home again. In between, one could attend a wide choice of workshops during the day, beginning at something like 10:00 a.m., and continuing into the afternoon. Concerts were held in the evenings. You could hear people like Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, The New Lost City Ramblers, Sandy Paton, Jean Ritchie, Lightnin' Hopkins, Almeda Riddle, Doc Watson, Alice Stuart, Merritt Herring, Mississippi John Hurt, Joan Baez, Alan Lomax, Marais and Miranda (although not all at the same festival), and, in general, the Gods of Olympus. There were enough performers that they had to split the concerts, with two or three performers per evening. These were also the people who made up the panel discussions and workshops (many of which were moderated by Sam Hinton). If you kept your options open and dropped into after-concert parties and such, you never knew who you were going to meet and have a chance to gab with. Barry Olivier organized this, and it was a really tight and efficient suite of events. If you didn't leave dizzy with euphoria and with a head full of stuff to work on, you just weren't paying attention. These were glorious affairs. I loved them and learned an immense amount by attending them, along with have a chance to chat with people like Charles Seeger, Ewan MacColl, and Joan Baez. And a couple of times I actually got invited to perform in a peripheral event or two.

There are times when I wish Folklife were more like the Berkeley festivals, but that would change its character. It would be a whole different animal.

At the Berkeley festivals, you came to listen to a slate of well-known performers, folklorists, and other authorities, and learn. It was an educational experience, with the chance of hear them up close, both performing and talking about folk music, and a good possibility of actually meeting and talking with them. But for the most part, other than at parties or gatherings in corners and stairwells, one didn't get a chance to perform. You listened to others perform. It was not a participatory event like the Northwest Folklife Festival. At Folklife, the premise seems to be "This is what people do, and here they are doing it. Care to join in?" And there are thousands of participants.

Actually, I'd like to see two types of folk festivals. But that would be asking quite a bit.

I performed at Folklife regularly during the late Seventies and early Eighties, and then again last year at the Coffeehouse Reunion (A Gathering of Geezers). The support and assistance of the staff was marvelous ("Is everything okay? Can I get you anything? Coffee, fruit juice, bottled water?"). Also, one can have unforgettable experiences there. In the late Seventies, I think it was, I was scheduled to perform in one of the evening concerts and found myself on the same program as Elizabeth Cotton. I had a chance to sit backstage and listen to her, but ye gods! I was the one scheduled to follow her on stage! The audience would have liked to have listened to her all night (so would I, for that matter), but they were generous. I fell back on my Gordon Bok imitation, and was warmly received.

I won't be performing this year, and doubt that I'll be attending. There are lots of people I would like to hear, and it's always a great chance to see people one hasn't seen for awhile. But I, too, am a bit overwhelmed by the mobs. With me in my wheelchair trying to wend my way through crowds of people who are wandering around, peering over other peoples' heads looking for still other people, I find it a bit difficult to go more than about ten feet without someone winding up in my lap. I can get a little hoarse after a day of shouting "Through, please!" and "Look out!!!"

Good singin' and playin' everybody! I'll be listening on my Tom Swift electric radio.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: MAG
Date: 27 May 04 - 01:33 AM

Thank you John Ross; I don't know you but sincerely appreciate your hard work in a labor of love.

MA, in a swivet over playing on Saturday ...


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Miken
Date: 27 May 04 - 12:25 AM

I, too would echo the Deckman in his applause for your efforts John, and those of the whole group who stage this every year.. After being away from the music for a few years and coming back to Seattle after many years...........I found the Folklife festival to be an absolute joy!! The diversity of music and dance is unequaled anywhere and the reason is in large part because of it's size and budget and support!
I can understand the feelings pro and con stated in this thread, but have to say the opportunity to perform here the past couple of years has given me much pleasure; as well as being able to hear Don and Bob and Maggie and Nancy and Steve and Matapat, and Buddy MacMasters and Jerry Holland and Phil and Viv Williams, and Alice Stuart and Stewart H. and Blackthorn, and the Cutters and Hank Cramer and all the maritime and celtic performers and on and on.....and the lovely Teresa Morgan! Well I'm running out of breath.....plus Jon and Rika and Mary Garvey and our own Reggie Miles ( I too live in snohomish County): I absolutely look forward to it every year in spite of the food smoke and the crowds. I've learned to find hiding places for quiet time...like the volunteer and performer lounge (sometimes) and the Intiman Court. Ah well.........enough.eh?
Mike


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 27 May 04 - 12:23 AM

Bob,

Ichabod Caine, has a morning show from 5-10am. He wants me to be there at 6:45am on Thursday, that's tomorrow.

That's tough duty. I'll have to be up and about by, at the latest, 5am just to get myself together and out the door in time to arrive Johnny on the spot. That is of course if all goes well on the roadways and I'm not caught in the inevitable grind of crunch time.

I'm not certain if this is a live broadcast or if he will releasing a chopped version of the interview later. The last time I did one of these for KMTT they chopped up what we did and turned out only a small piece when they finally aired it. I guess I won't know intil tomorrow.

Sawry I'm so ill informed about all the details. I don't often get an opportunity like this. It's always surprising when it happens. I'm happy for any advertising that comes my way, and hope it turns out well. If asked to play I thought I'd play "America The Beautiful" as a song choice.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: johnross
Date: 27 May 04 - 12:06 AM

Just a passing note: for those of you who aren't able to attend the Northwest Folklife Festival, it will be broadcast live on community radio stations along the I-5 corridor from Bellingham to Portland and Astoria, incluidng Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Bellevue and Olympia, Washington, and Portland and Astoria in Oregon.

I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that at least one or two of those stations might also be streaming to the Internet.

KUGS 89.3 FM Bellingham    KSER 90.7 Everett
KSVR 91.7 FM Mount Vernon   KBCS 91.3 Bellevue
KAOS 89.3 FM Olympia       KBOO 90.7 Portland
KMUN 91.9 FM Astoria


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 26 May 04 - 11:41 PM

What time Reg? Bob


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 26 May 04 - 07:07 PM

This just in, a local morning radio personality Ichabod Caine from KMPS 94.1 FM has invited me to join him tomorrow morning (Thursday) in the studio for an interview.

This was coordinated via the folks at Folklife.

So, if you're an early riser, you can hear what I saw tomorrow morning. I'll be the one yawning.

Saw ya later or earlier


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 26 May 04 - 05:15 PM

I just want to briefly jump in here and give a HUGE round of applause, and a BIG thank you to John Ross. Those of us in Seattle who know what's going on behind the scenes, recognise that it's ONLY because of John Ross, and others like him, that this festival functions as well as it does.

And, in my opinion, it does function well, all things considered.

Thank you so very much for your very hard work and great loyalty to "the cause", John. Sincerely, Bob Nelson


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: johnross
Date: 26 May 04 - 12:51 AM

Reggie and others--

I absolutely agree that the Folklife Festival has gotten too big and too crowded. But that's one of the prices of success. As far as I'm concerned, it was at about the right size maybe twenty years ago.

But the reality is that huge numbers of people come to the festival, and so it's necessary to worry about things like crowd control and public safety. And that drives a lot of the logistical planning that happens every year.

For example, the program folks try very hard to schedule concerts and other indoor events that will just about fill those theaters, without creating a huge waiting line outside the door. Every person in a theater is not walking around, so they're not adding to the crowded foot traffic.

When a street performer places him/herself in a traffic choke point, the crowd surrounding that performace makes it even more difficult for other people to make their way through that location. So the festival staff tell the performers to take their act someplace else. Sometimes, it's just a matter of moving back onto the grass or asking the folks watching to take a step closer so they don't block the sidewalk. But sometimes, the only option is to move to a different place, away from the high-traffic location.

We all know that the crowds are difficult to tolerate. But we can reduce their impact by working together.

It's a vicious circle (cycle?): as the crowds have gotten larger, the festival planners have had to add more stages and programs. And that costs more money, which means that the festival has to keep attracting big crowds to generate the revenue to support itself.

Street performers do add a lot to the spirit and the "value" of the Folklife Festival. But so do the thousands of performers who sing, play and dance on stages, and who sell their CDs through the Folklife Store. Nobody is saying "Don't sell your CDs;" they're just insisting that you contribute your fair share to the cost of making the event happen so you have a place to sell them.

Look. I write books about computers for a living. I receive a lot of my own income through an agent who takes a commission off the top before I see any money. It sure would be nice if I didn't have to pay that commission--I could probably take a nice vacation or replace my 16-year-old car. But my agent spends his time talking to editors and publishers while I spend mine writing. So he finds work for me, and he keeps me busy. Without him, I wouldn't make nearly as much money. So he earns his commission. Sure, he makes a lot more money off his commissions on "The Internet for Dummies" which has sold something like nine million copies than he makes on anything I've ever written. But would it be fair for me to tell him, "you make enough money off those big huge sellers, so you shouldn't charge me a commission on the book that sold four thousand copies"? Of course not.

As for the idea of moving part of the festival to another location, it was tried a couple of years ago, when there were some performances at South Lake Union. The audience did not follow. There were literally fewer than ten people in the audience for those sets. In at least one case, there were more people on the stage than there were in the audience. And that was for a solo singer.

Why do people come to the Folklife Festival? Sure, those of us who care about folk music come for the music and to see friends we haven't seen in a year, but for many of the people in the crowd, the music is just part of a much bigger attraction. It's the crafts, and "watching the hippies", and the food and the overall spirit of the event that draws them. Still others come to see their nieces and grandchildren perform in the Irish step dance program or the taiko drum group. A lot of us spend a lot of time and effort to come up with interesting programs every year, but the sad truth is that many of the people who come are more interested in seeing the guy on the unicycle than spending an hour watching ethnic dance or old-time fiddlers. But without the scheduled programs, the whole thing turns into The Bite of Seattle (which attracts an even larger crowd, by the way).

If anybody has ideas about how to solve the acoustical problems created by the drummers around the fountain, please share it with the festival staff. There are comment forms at every information booth, or write a letter or an e-mail after festival. Those suggestions get read by all the planning staff and all the board members.

Disclaimer: I will be chasing around the Folklife Festival next weekend in a sweatshirt that says "Staff" on the front. But everything in this message and anything else I post on Mudcat is my own opinion.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 26 May 04 - 12:51 AM

Reg ... looks like possible rain this weekend. You better put your blue tarp in the back of the PU. We sure wouldn't want those wondeful instruments of your getting wet. Are your boys and their beautiful (blush) mother going to be there also? CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Haruo
Date: 26 May 04 - 12:15 AM

Lack of focus, reggie miles, that's my problem. Lack of focus. But maybe in a few years I'll have a focus.

No, seriously, I'd like to do something on Esperanto folk music, but there'd have to be enough people to go to it.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 May 04 - 10:55 PM

Maybe to avoid charging admission as crowds get bigger, just ask the folks wanting in if they can sing of few bars of something. No song, no admission. There's a Scots neighbor of mine who always used to ask the kids to sing a song when they went trick or treating at her house--she told them that's how they do it in Scotland (is it?). My kids were ready--and she gave bigger candies to those who were up for the game.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 25 May 04 - 10:49 PM

Apologies Stilly River Sage if my comments seemed argumentative to the comnents made by johnross. Just different points on the same compass. We are all in this together and compromises have to be reached that can satisfy as many as can be accommodated. When the idea of "fairness" comes into play, I tend to side with the little guy. They seem to always end up with the short end of the stick in so many matters. I often wonder why there are not more folks willing to stand up for the rights of the least of us.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 25 May 04 - 10:33 PM

There are no fees involved to host a workshop. You simply send the folks there your idea and they decide whether there's room enough. (I think that's how it works.) I guess anyone can do it. Hey, if they let me do one about musical saw, I figure they're game for just about anything. What is your focus? What will your workshop be about?


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 May 04 - 10:26 PM

A note about Don's note--Fort Worth built a great big new library downtown a number of years ago, larger than was originally planned but someone said "we'll need it later." We watched the empty space sit there for a number of years but finally money did come along and the rest of the work was done and this is one lucky city to have had someone suggest they build in that extra space.

My remarks can only be taken as the most general regarding FolkLife, since I have only heard about it second hand. Having attended other events that over the years got bigger and spread out, there are plusses and minuses to that kind of division of activities. Bob is wise to wait until it's over before wading into the topic. You'll have some fresh ideas to discuss when it's over.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Haruo
Date: 25 May 04 - 10:25 PM

Thanks, Don, I was going to try to clarify that situation but you did it more concisely and cogently than I could have.

I second Deckman's most recent post here (all except the part about how many Folklifes one has performed at, which in my case is zero).

BTW I picked up a printed tabloid-insert-style schedule at Bartell's and the Orcas Room workshops are listed. FWIW.

How much does it cost to hold a workshop? (In some future year I might entertain something; for the moment, just curious.)

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 May 04 - 09:07 PM

"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 yesterday. I guess your taxes are going to good use."

Just a clarification on the subject of the new Seattle Public Library building:   I have heard people who are not familiar with the ins and outs of—and the differences between—city funding and bond issues say, "How come the city can afford a big new library building, but it can't afford to keep it open longer hours?" The funding for the library building was a bond issue that was voted on. It was a done deal several years ago, before construction on the new building started. The money for the operation of the library comes from the city's general fund, which fluctuates from year to year. Money for employees' salaries and such is open to the same vagaries as all of the city departments. Two separate issues. Funding is sufficiently short right now that a couple of times so far this year, they've had to close the library for a week to save on employee salaries (unpaid leave). Since my wife works at the Seattle Public Library, that can smart a bit.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: MAG
Date: 25 May 04 - 06:44 PM

Actually, SRS, for people who come to the fest looking for one particular thing, like sing-alongs, having a satellite location where that would be featured would suit them very well, as well as easing the congestion. The featured ethnic music would stay central. The instrument stuff would stay accessible. Workshop volunteers could maybe have a choice, since they are doing a major service freebie for exposure.

this is a very good idea, Reggie. I don't LIVE there, and still couln't help, but it is a GREAT idea.

MA, who lives where I do partly because urban congestion got to me.


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Subject: RE: Seattle Folklife Memorial Day Weekend
From: Deckman
Date: 25 May 04 - 05:35 PM

To Reggie and John Ross ... two very fine people, by the way. I am reading all your comments with great interest. I showed "Bride Judy" my Folk Life button collection this winter. Judging by the collection, it appears that I have performed at something like the first 17 years, and then occasionally after that.

All those years have left many opinions, and a few scars, on my olde frame. I am going to wait until AFTER this soon upcomming festival to respond in detail, to the very excellant posts that you both, and others, have contributed.

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, and it is soon to be Folk Life Festival weekend!!!

Reg ... we look forward to hunting you down and throwing a confederate dollar in your instrument case ... as always. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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