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Why can't we be friends here too? (FSGW)

12 Oct 99 - 02:50 AM (#122906)
Subject: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: SeanM

OK... here goes. Little pebbles big avalanches sometimes make... or not.

I admit. I've got FSGW envy.

Somewhere amongst the threads, someone once said "well, why isn't there something like this on the west coast?"

Well, why isn't there?

And if there isn't, why can't we make one?

I'll start the excuses with me... on the condition that I'm the only one:

I don't have the experience putting this together I don't have the money to lay out for this kind of gig I don't have the contacts to get teachers out I don't really have the time

But you know what... I'd be willing to do a lot of work to make this kind of thing happen out here. Limited expertise, lack of funding, real life and music gigs intruding and all.

True, we already have the Lark in the Morning camp during the summer, but that's already sold out until 2525, by the looks of it. And I can't recall hearing about a get together like FSGW outside of that in CA, and not much beyond the Old Time Fiddler's get togethers outside of CA.

So... can we talk? Can we find out if it's possible? Or if it's already happening and I'm just deluded?

Can we be friends out here too? ;^)


12 Oct 99 - 11:16 AM (#122970)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: JR

Talk to Frank in Toledo.. I think he has something in mind.

12 Oct 99 - 11:18 AM (#122972)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Art Thieme


Yes, it could happen in California too--not now with todays mix and dynamic. But, sadly, to make it happen sometime soon you would need to import all the folks from the East Coast that make it come off so naturally yet thoroughly planned.---I realize that's not very practical. And they wouldn't fit---physically or psychologically---into California. I don't mean that as a putdown of Cal. There are just a bunch of wonderful folk people in D.C. and south from there--as well as in New York, Boston and New England---from the ocean to the Appalachians. And this paean to the people that make it happen---there and at other gatherings all over the world--is from a someone who is thoroughly midwestern --as my friend Joel Mabus says.


Art Thieme

P.S.---There's a challenge for ya.

12 Oct 99 - 11:37 AM (#122980)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Bruce O.

FSGW is an amazing organization. I been a memeber of several organizations during a long life, but nothing has kept my interest like FSGW, over 30 years now. It's all the members. Amazing talent and knowledge, and people with good organizational skills, and countless hours of volunteer work, much requiring professional competence, all done for free. It's not really the organization, it's sum of the people in it that make the good things happen, from putting together publicity, getting out a good newsletter, keeping track of membership, getting good performers for concerts, running maintaining and improving sound sound systems, setting up tents and stages for a folk festival, - well that much is a start, but it takes a lot more, and FSGW has the good people willing to do it all. It would be very difficult to match FSGW.

12 Oct 99 - 11:45 AM (#122986)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Charlie Baum

You don't need us Right-Coasters. Start gathering among yourselves in twos and threes. Let other people know and your twos and threes will double into sixes and sevens. In time, it will snowball into an avalanche. [Block that metaphor!]

Seriously--pick someone's home (or a state park, or a lodge, or a resort hotel if you can afford it) as a gathering place. Now get a few people each to agree to meet and each one of you invite all the folk musicians you know, whether they're Mudcatters or not.

Don't worry about quantity. Focus instead on the quality of the gathering. Enjoy yourselves. That's what it's all about.

--Charlie Baum

12 Oct 99 - 11:59 AM (#122992)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Bill D

FSGW had several advantages, it was in major metropolitan area near LOTS of 'traditional' singers.;it had the Library of Congress near... it was started by some folk with a great deal of knowlege and perseverance, who kept at it and created ways to attract new was started at the 'right' time in the roaring 60s...

this being said, there is no reason why, if you can locate potential members, that it could not be done elsewhere. Bear in mind, what FSGW has done is with volunteers who care...and even WE are having a hard time filling the positions lately!!...We can always find folk to attend a Getaway, but you MUST have someone willing to do the work of putting it together and establishing continuity.

If this project does get going, I'll bet we could find some old hands willing to describe not only some tricks for success, but also some ain't easy, but as you see it can be worth it!

12 Oct 99 - 12:07 PM (#122996)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: annamill

All I did was invite people and they came. There wasn't a lot of expenditure though there was some work involved. Everyone helps, Sean. All you need is a place. Ask everyone to bring something for food. I found Mudcatters are easy to entertain. Just put them together ;-) Max slept on a hammock, Allen C and his friend David brought blowup mattresses, etc. If you have a park near you and some floor space, you have a gathering. Just set a date and send out invitations right here.

Love, annap

12 Oct 99 - 12:10 PM (#122999)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Bruce O.

Charlie is right, of course. I didn't mean to imply one should start by trying to imitate all the good things in FSGW. Nothing ever starts at where FSGW has gotten to.

12 Oct 99 - 12:17 PM (#123001)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: katlaughing

Sean, Joe Offer is one West Coaster I know of, who was at FSGW and even presented a workshop. If the two of you, along with everyone up Margarita and MAG's way, plus fadac, El Swanno, and others plan it, I'll bet you'd have a good start.

12 Oct 99 - 12:44 PM (#123011)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Margo

Pardon my ignorance, but what is FSGW? I konw there are festivals around here, one big one in Seattle every year called Folk Life. Is FSGW a festival?


12 Oct 99 - 01:28 PM (#123031)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Charlie Baum

FSGW is the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, the organization which sponsors the Getaway weekend every Fall that's being talked about on all the threads around here with "Getaway" in the title. The organization has over 2000 members, and sponsors several hundred music and dance events every year. For more about it, go to

--Charlie Baum

12 Oct 99 - 01:30 PM (#123033)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Charlie Baum

Drat--bad coding! But the link is to
--Charlie Baum

12 Oct 99 - 04:11 PM (#123104)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Margo

Thanks, Charlie. If it is so successful, perhaps someone out here ought to mirror their organization and efforts. I am so limited timewise, I have to pass the buck. I wonder how the Folklife festival in Seattle compares to FSGW. I haven't been to it yet, am hoping to next year. Anyone else have an idea?


12 Oct 99 - 04:31 PM (#123112)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Charlie Baum

Far smaller, less ornate organizations than FSGW (not to mention individuals) run weekends similar to the Getaway. You don't need all of the FSGW complexity to do it--the FSGW has evolved over DECADES. Don't try to replicate the organization with all its bureaucracy. Just invite anyone to campout at your place. Actually, Dick Hamlet, who is a long-time Getaway attendee who now lives in Oregon, and I were discussing the camping faciliites at this year's Getaway, and he said that the Pacific Northwest is loaded with kids camps that are VERY cheap to rent off-season. Or just have everyone camp in your back yard and pot-luck in your kitchen. Think small, but DO IT!

--Charlie Baum

12 Oct 99 - 04:53 PM (#123119)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: lamarca

Actually, since the FSGW evolved in Our Nation's Capital, we probably have too much bureaucracy...One of the reasons our organization is having a rough time continuing events is that they have become so elaborately planned, military spec'ed, red-taped and arrgghanized that it's hard to find people willing to volunteer to run them anymore.

As the organization grew over the years, so did the amount of planning and work people put into events like our Getaway, the weekly contradances, the monthly programs, the sporadic Special Event concerts and the winter "Mini"Festival (so-called to distinguish it from our June BIG Festival, a 2-day FREE event that takes 6-8 months of planning and work and $25,000-$30,000 to put on...) Now that we're all older and tireder, it's getting harder to maintain these events at the level they "jest growed" to. So my advice on starting a local music gathering is to keep it simple...

signed, A Burnt-Out Former Folk Bureaucrat, now much happier to be an Indian instead of a Chief...

12 Oct 99 - 05:01 PM (#123121)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: darkriver


FWIW, there is something here Out West called The Strawberry Music Festival. It occurs twice a year (over the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends). The site is beautiful: Camp Mather, just outside of Yosemite National Park. Camp Mather has acres of mountain meadows, pine forest and a lake on Hetch Hetchy.

The Music Festival has its own web page (mais oui) here.

Not only 3 days of camping, but a special kids' area & planned activities, a lake for swimming, a private 3-day radio station that broadcasts live the performances from the main stage, workshops, all-day and all-night jam sessions, usw.

The music is acoustic. Not always folk; the dreaded singer-songwriters show up too.

I've always wanted to go; haven't convinced the wife yet.


13 Oct 99 - 11:38 AM (#123417)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Bill D

darkriver...since you brought it up,,*grin* of the items in the FSGW charter says that it will promote...blah, blah..."traditional" music, dance, etc...

well, of course, that is NOT all we allow!..But FSGW has never allowed the singer-songwriter and latest vaguely folk-like stuff to dominate. We have many fine members who write new songs, and many of our concerts feature performers who include some of their own creations, but a 'folk' organization is a very different thing if it serves mainly as a venue for promoting what is currently 'hot'. It is not easy to work out a comfortable balance these days, but any group needs to at least address the question .....I, Personally believe that our emphasis on keeping traditional music in the forefront has helped keep the group reasonably stable and 'defined'.

It is possible to have a lot of fun and good music with NO rules and debates about content, but IF you have any sort of 'formal' club with officers and regular events, you need to confront the issue.

(please note that this post expresses MY personal attitudes and prejudices, not any postion of FSGW as a group)

13 Oct 99 - 09:58 PM (#123653)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: bbelle

Having just attended the Getaway as part of the mudcat contingent, I would have to agree with Bill D's stance. If the rest of the FSGW events even slightly mirror the Getaway, it was a sharing of music for all, not a venue for promoting one's own. It was a sharing of voices and instruments, not a venue for promoting one's own. Apologies for the drift in thought from the original thread. The FSGW and the Getaway have been in existence 35 years and to start a group with the same immediate results would be whistling in the wind. It takes many years and a tremendous amount of work to achieve what they have. I would think that before you undertake the task to start a similar type of group, you would want to decide the group's objectives and philosophy and go from there ... moonchild

13 Oct 99 - 10:56 PM (#123674)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Mudjack

Those gatherings are taking place all through the west coast. From Seattle to San Diego. Most every folklife, folk society has their outings in the likes of a campout or festival. Connecting is as easy as getting on the net and searching out the festivals and campouts. Mid Columbia just had one last month at Goldendale Wa. The cost for a weekend that includes a giants lodge/hall with full kitchen facilities and sleepping quarters for one hundred people cost a little over $500. Food can be catered and I would guess a price tag of $35 to $40 per person would cover the cost. That is an estimate based on 50% of the hundred folks it would accomodate.To have an event requires a lot of energy from volunteers. Most camps require chore sign ups and can only succeed with everyone doing their share.There are ELC(Ecological Learning Centers) all over the State of Washington. They rent out to large groups very reasonable.ELC's offer hot showers, cots and kitchen facilities and my experience grades them HIGH.We can do it.

13 Oct 99 - 11:49 PM (#123696)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Charlie Baum

One thing I would mention about the FSGW's participatory events, which include our monthly Open Sings and our Getaway weekend, not to mention the informal parties and after-concert sing-arounds that spring up among our members:

We've got the concept of the sing-around, which is a little different than a sing-along. We go around the circle, and everyone is offered a chance to perform. They may sing or do an instrumental. It may have a chorus or it might be just a solo. If someone doesn't wish to sing, they can pass, or they are permitted to request something. Even the shyest people are encouraged to participate, and super-egotists (including commercial singer-songwriters) soon tire of showing up, because they'll only get a limited number of opportunities in an evening. The quality of the music may vary, but the social quality of the music thrives. "Newbies" learn because they are given the opportunity to practice performing. And the good among us get better--because the opportunities to share our songs come at regular intervals thoughout the year, we're encouraged to build and expand our repertoires so we don't bore ourselves (or our friends) with the same old same old every time. And we also learn the social skills of sharing music. Sometimes that means taking on responsibilities--deliberately singing a chorus song after a string of too many solos, or doing a fast piece after slow ones have made the group soporific, or responding with encouragement to a struggling beginner. Those social skills develop over time and in a community. But once you've got a critical mass that's used to a singaround (like the FSGW), you can incorporate people into it very easily--and they'll learn fast.

--Charlie Baum

14 Oct 99 - 12:17 AM (#123707)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Barry Finn

I'd love a good excuse to go west again.
Hey Art, this east coaster would very much enjoy hitting the Lark In The Morning camp, the last (& only "sob") time was in 1981 or 82. Debbie was doing a grand job in the kitchen then & there too. If Big Mick fix's his ford (Fix Or Repair Daily) his run might not be any worst than it was to DC, well maybe a few extra hours of driving. Barry

14 Oct 99 - 12:52 AM (#123720)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: katlaughing

And ya can all stop over in Why-Oh-Min on yer way out there!!!

Charlie, thank you for explaining a singaround. I love that concept and would feel very comfortable participating in the way that you described it.


14 Oct 99 - 12:54 AM (#123721)
Subject: RE: Why can't we be friends here too?
From: Guy Wolff

I have to go to Mill Valley near S.F.for my work..If it ends up you guys pull off something I would love to hook up with you all..Thats 2 from the east !!!! yours Guy