Tag: festivals

It’s the economy, stupid.

I was going to launch into a rant about how not to throw a local festival, but as I began writing I realized there was an underlying reason behind the individual failures responsible for a bad show.

A local producer rented the venue space, arranged for bands and vendors, and then opened the gates.  Unfortunately not many people actually showed up.  End result, disgruntled vendors, musicians and fans.  He printed up small fliers and got them out to other concerts but failed to advertise in the local alternative press due to financial matters.  He had to wait for a few people to show up and pay him before he could run out and get supplies, this slowed him down and the event suffered as a result.  Due to the economy he could not afford to pay people to help him during the weekend and though there were plenty of volunteers you get what you pay for.  

Now if the kids who go to the concerts can still afford their internet services they had a chance of finding out about it, if they could afford to put gas into a borrowed vehicle, scrape together $75 bucks for a ticket and grab some bologna and bread on the way out of their college ghetto apartments they could have actually made it to the festival and enjoyed themselves.  Unfortunately only about 150 kids were able to do that and I’m guessing half of those were local musicians looking to make contacts.

Another aspect to this dilemma is distraction…I’m quite content to sit on a lounge chair and watch one good band after another hit the stage, that’s what makes me part of a dying breed.  The younger generation needs more stimulation and activity than that.  They get bored with only one thing to focus on and boredom leads to bad ideas.

Gesture Painting

This is the painting, that is Stan’s converted bus and then there is my mess in the foreground.  At this point the painting was about 2/3rds done.  A few others had worked on it as well.  In the comments I’ll post a picture of the Happy Winner.  Click on the image to see it full size.  There will be some better photos coming from some friends shortly.  But at least now you get to see a bit of my style.

Normally I work on a flat surface so it was a challenge working on the vertical surface again.  I used natural charcoal, acrylic paint and iridescent inks.  The canvas is lightweight, I prefer linen but linen is very expensive.  

I learned:

1. to bring a stool to hold my pallet so there isn’t as much bending over involved.

2. bring some acrylic extender to increase the workability of the paints.

3. set up in the shade next time.

4. letting go of ownership can be a wonderful thing.


My Experience at String Fling in Sterling, NY

After an easy drive out to Sterling I had a little difficulty finding the venue, but like most things that are hard to find it was worth the search.  The “gate” consisted of two large trees on either side of the road with some friendly faces there to greet you.  Eric, the Arts Director came out and introduced himself, gave me some background on the venue, musicians and layout of the property.

I was lead to my spot, right in the middle of Vendor Row, quickly unpacked my things and set up my tent.  Stan, my neighbor in a big white converted bus, was the first to say hello, he gave me a tour of his bus and introduced me around to his travel companions.  Stan sells rocks, crystals and anything terrestrial and was going to head to Herkimer to get some more Herkimer Diamonds right after the show.

I exited the bus and was asked if I’d be willing to paint a sign for the Family Village area, a small hollow that sits away from the rest of the venue where things are quieter.  I said sure and was handed a beautiful piece of wood that had been reserved for just this purpose. I broke out my paints and started in on it. People walking by asked what I was doing and who I was and it was a good way to meet new people.

Pony Party: Afternoon Edition

Years ago when I was young and broke, I used to work my way through music festivals that interested me because I could never afford the tickets. I always enjoyed the Mariposa Folk Festival held in various locations near and around Toronto. As a kid, I was dragged there by my semi-hippie Mama.

As a young adult, I worked my way through college as a bartender and waitress, so I always go stuck in food services when I volunteered. One year, my job was to organize on foot delivery of food to the performers, a most excellent assignment because the performers were quite happy not to have to stand in a line up. They tended to invite the food workers in to whatever party they were having.

One year our shower facilities on site were two tents. A boy tent. A girl tent. And a garden hose. Spray and wash.

So I always had some affection for dirty, smelly, music festivals marked by debauchery, crowds and sunburns.

But a funny thing happened this year. Even though the crowds at the Beale Street Music festival were pretty well behaved and it did not rain the entire time, I lost the love. I might take a break next year and go to an actual blues or jazz fest.

In the past some of the headliners have caused public finger wagging. Three Six Mafia local boys from the Frayser area in Memphis, a once thriving now somewhat blighted area of town were accused of encouraging nudity and drug use when they did their shows. The thing is nobody huffed and puffed when the smell of herbal cocktails wafted around during Parliament or KC and the Sunshine Band in past years, or at Santana this year. My guess: because the people doing the grooving were old folks and they didn’t whip off their clothes to show off expanded waist lines and beer bellies. So. For some reason in the south the young ones engaging in illegal substances and flashing their hot bodies is way more offensive than Mom and Dad stepping out.

I do have a word to the Tall people of the universe. In my case, that means almost everybody. I like Tall people. I socialize with them regularly. But…..

In crowded social situations, elbowing the shorties in the head and stepping on their feet just to create some space and pass by is fucking rude. On the off chance that I am reincarnated as a sumo wrestler, I will remember you. And if you actually notice I am trying to take a picture, deliberately standing in front of me just because you can is also very fucking annoying. Thank you.