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Re: [nwbluegrass] Re: Festivals and local vs nat'l bands

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  • Mark Gensman
    I cannot discount what is more important to you. However, since I don t jam, don t hang out at the jams, and rarely even listen to jams for very long, I find
    Message 1 of 25 , Sep 1, 2003
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      I cannot discount what is more important to you. However, since I don't jam,
      don't hang out at the jams, and rarely even listen to jams for very long, I
      find the on stage performance to be the most important part of the band
      appearance at a festival regardless of national or regional standings.

      And I agree with you completly. If a band member wants to participate in
      jams, they should be encouraged to do so. However, since the paying public
      expects a good stage show and that is usually where the largest audience
      hangs out, the band member needs to remember their priorities and be
      physically and mentally prepared for the best stage show possible.

      I have been known to buy a band's CD, but always after a killer stage show,
      never based on what takes place in a jam. And if they have to "get back on
      the bus" to get to another show, at least I have their CD to remember them
      by.

      Mark Gensman
      Ground Zero Sound


      >From: "copcyclerider" <copcycle@...>
      ---SNIP---
      >Mark,
      >
      >Since I believe the "magic" is in the spontaneous jams, that floats to
      >the top in determining the "purpose" of the festival for me.
      >
      >Perhaps "required" is a bit strong. Maybe "selected for" is better.
      >
      >There are PLENTY of good performers that find enjoyment in, amd WANT
      >to participate in the whole event beyond just their performance.
      >If I want to hear the music of the "get back on the bus" band I'll buy
      >their CD. We do have a choice in who gets hired.
      >
      >Playin' music is a full contact sport. Remember, no festival weekend
      >goes unpunished.
      >
      >:))BOB
      >

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    • copcyclerider
      Mark, Thank you for helping to focus this discussion of just what a festival should be. Pickin party vs. stage show/concert. For you, the thrill is clearly
      Message 2 of 25 , Sep 1, 2003
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        Mark,

        Thank you for helping to focus this discussion of just what a festival
        should be.

        Pickin' party vs. stage show/concert.

        For you, the "thrill" is clearly in a well practiced/performed show.

        For me, the "magic" is in the moment when a few strangers come
        together and have a spontaneous musical conversation that proves the
        whole IS more than just the sum of its parts. It speaks back to how
        this music started and why we have it today.

        You wrote:

        "I don't jam, don't hang out at the jams and rarely even listen to
        jams for very long"

        I'm sorry to hear that. I think you're missing the essence of the
        Bluegrass experience. Bluegrass is so much more than "I can play
        faster than you can" solos and stage humor. I believe a reason that
        many bluegrass performers perform (can't be the money) is to try to
        share that same "magic" they felt in those jams they heard and played
        in before they were "famous". (and since, too)

        Bluegrass music IS a jam session. ie: loosely structured, not played
        strictly from charts or arangements and tunes passed from one picker
        to the next by ear.

        It's those little musical suprises that give me goosebumps. (and
        surprise and give goosebumps to the pickers too)

        Can a festival be both a pickin' party and a stage show/concert?

        Sure, why not? So long as the economics of the latter don't interfere
        with the affordability of the former. If the pickers don't come, it's
        just a show.

        Find the magic and share it.

        Next vacation...Branson!

        :))BOB

        Trying to teach a pig to sing is doomed to failure
        and it annoys the pig.
      • Kathy Boyd
        Bob wrote; Performing bands should be encouraged (required) to stay on site and spread out and jam. Want to hear the national bands? Buy a CD. Wantto see the
        Message 3 of 25 , Sep 1, 2003
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          Bob wrote;

          Performing bands should be encouraged (required) to stay on site and spread
          out and jam. Want to hear the "national" bands? Buy a CD. Wantto see the
          "national" bands? Buy concert tickets. Want to hear AND see "real"
          back-porch music? Go to a local/regional festival and hang out at the
          campground. (we've got some GREAT pickers that rival the "national" bands in
          quality if not fame) Want more structure? Go to the band scramble.
          Participate. Want to learn more about how the "good" pickers do it? Go to a
          workshop and then hang out near their jam.

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          I agree with a lot of what you've written Bob, but as for bands being
          required to "jam", most of us are middle aged (or better) and we're all only
          human. For instance at the Tygh Valley festival I will be performing 5
          sets, running the band scramble, and helping with sound. I will be one
          tired puppy!

          Also, there are a lot of performing band members who are, quite honestly,
          lousy jammers. I am one of them. You will notice that you very rarely see
          me bringing my bass to a jam. My reasoning is that it's MY time to visit
          with people, and the bass players who live to jam but wouldn't be caught
          dead on stage deserve their time to play. I use jams as times to practice
          harmonies and stay a bit in the background as sometimes jams become
          performances with listeners expecting what they've heard from the stage.

          Just my two cents, but it is the voice of experience.

          Kathy B.
          Tualatin, OR




          No Strings Attached web site www.nostringsbluegrass.com
          Ground Zero Sound & Promotions web site
          www.groundzerosound.com

          People will forget what you said,
          People will forget what you did,
          But people will never forget how you made them feel!

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        • Mark Gensman
          Bob, I appreciate the joy of the jams for the pickers. In my case, hanging around a jam is usually just frustrating for me so I prefer the stage shows. My
          Message 4 of 25 , Sep 1, 2003
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            Bob, I appreciate the joy of the jams for the pickers. In my case, hanging
            around a jam is usually just frustrating for me so I prefer the stage shows.

            My biggest problem is that I learned at a very early age I have absolutly no
            ability to play string instruments. So of course I end up hanging around a
            bunch of musicians that only play stringed instruments..how dumb am I?

            I love the music and I enjoy playing it in the privacy of my studio and with
            the few friends that will have me, but standing "outside" the circle looking
            in when there is a musical free for all going on just does not float my
            boat. It has been a hard learned lesson but I understand and appreciate the
            purity of bluegrass. So for now, I'll get my kicks watching the stage..

            Enjoy Branson..I hear they play some music there!

            Mark Gensman
            Ground Zero Sound


            >From: "copcyclerider" <copcycle@...>
            ---SNIP---
            >For you, the "thrill" is clearly in a well practiced/performed show.
            >
            >For me, the "magic" is in the moment when a few strangers come
            >together and have a spontaneous musical conversation that proves the
            >whole IS more than just the sum of its parts. It speaks back to how
            >this music started and why we have it today.
            >
            >You wrote:
            >
            >"I don't jam, don't hang out at the jams and rarely even listen to
            >jams for very long"
            >
            >I'm sorry to hear that. I think you're missing the essence of the
            >Bluegrass experience. Bluegrass is so much more than "I can play
            >faster than you can" solos and stage humor. I believe a reason that
            >many bluegrass performers perform (can't be the money) is to try to
            >share that same "magic" they felt in those jams they heard and played
            >in before they were "famous". (and since, too)
            ----SNIP---
            >Next vacation...Branson!
            >
            >:))BOB
            >
            >Trying to teach a pig to sing is doomed to failure
            >and it annoys the pig.
            >

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          • copcyclerider
            Kathy, I ve already agreed that required is much too BG police. I do feel that festival bands should be selected for more than just their ability to put on a
            Message 5 of 25 , Sep 2, 2003
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              Kathy,

              I've already agreed that "required" is much too BG police.
              I do feel that festival bands should be selected for more than just
              their ability to put on a "killer stage show". There's plenty of
              talent out there. They should be chosen in addition for their
              willingness to participate in the festival beyond just their
              performance. You certainly do. And so does Clyde.

              Mark,

              Some of the most memorable stage presentations have been jams.
              How about Dawg and Jake?
              That's happening all over the venue. If the jam you're standing
              outside of is a "cluster-pluck", move on. The "magic" is out there IF
              the pickers are there.

              Earlier I wrote: Build a festival for the pickers and the grinners
              will come too (if you market the"magic") Without pickers the
              "festival" is just a show.

              What is it that brings pickers from far and wide to a festival?
              1. jamming and places and time to jam.
              2. workshops
              3. band scramble
              4. accessibility and affability of performers.
              5. affordability
              6. Time to socialize with friends (perhaps seen only at festivals)
              7. Performing bands that have a personal connection

              There's probably lots more...

              Any thoughts on developing a proposed "mission statement" for a
              festival?

              re: Old Folks and jamming. If you're tired, go to bed. A well
              planned festival should schedule plenty of time for jams. (extended
              lunch/dinner breaks) Time for jamming shouldn't be just after
              midnight. Besides, ten hours is way too long to sit in folding chairs
              stageside. How about every couple of hours have a scheduled break and
              INVITE the attendees to wander the venue and find the "magic" that
              I've been talking about.

              Branson? Not me...

              :))BOB
            • Kathy Boyd
              Bob wrote; How about every couple of hours have a scheduled break and INVITE the attendees to wander the venue and find the magic that I ve been talking
              Message 6 of 25 , Sep 4, 2003
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                Bob wrote;

                How about every couple of hours have a scheduled break and INVITE the
                attendees to wander the venue and find the "magic" that I've been talking
                about.

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                Now that, my friend, is a MARVELOUS idea!

                And by the way Bob, I agree with you 210% that the bands hired for a
                festival should do more than just put in a few 45 minute stage appearances.
                I figure once I'm hired I might as well help out by teaching workshops,
                helping with the band scramble, emceeing, or whatever.

                What else am I going to do all weekend. . . I already said I'm a lousy
                jammer!

                Kathy B.
                Tualatin, OR





                No Strings Attached web site www.nostringsbluegrass.com
                Ground Zero Sound & Promotions web site
                www.groundzerosound.com

                People will forget what you said,
                People will forget what you did,
                But people will never forget how you made them feel!

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              • copcyclerider
                Firstly, Kathy, Thanks for your kind comment re: nat l/local thread. next: Never criticize the messenger as a way of disagreeing with the message. They are
                Message 7 of 25 , Sep 8, 2003
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                  Firstly, Kathy, Thanks for your kind comment re: nat'l/local thread.

                  next: Never criticize the messenger as a way of disagreeing with the
                  message. They are entitled to their opinion no matter how stupid. AND
                  they're entitled to share it with the group even if some members might
                  not be interested in that particular thread. Some folks care about
                  birthdays and some don't, for example. BE NICE or take it off list.

                  That's my opinion.

                  This past weekend the BeachGrass Brothers had a great time. We went to
                  Port Townsend and performed at a downtown pub where we had played
                  last year. Great time/crowd. PLUS, the owner put us up, fed and
                  watered us AND even personally cooked us breakfast the next morning.
                  A wonderful local fiddle player joined us and the music was HOT. Then
                  on to the festival in Port Angeles. Got camp set up in time for some
                  evening concerts.

                  Rachel, I'd drive 600 miles to hear you play your fiddle. (come to
                  think of it, I did...)

                  Crossfire was the last group for the evening. The crowd had dwindled
                  considerably. You know, you can only manage to sit in a metal folding
                  chair for only just so long. (festival planners take note)
                  Those that left missed a delightful set. Sharon is one of my favorite
                  people. It was wonderful to see her, and to say that we wish her well
                  doesn't even begin to cover it.

                  Rained LIKE STINK saturday night. Not much wanderjamming.

                  Lastly, please, Please, PLEASE !!!! "WRAP (your) MESSAGE TEXT" when
                  you post your messages. It's really hard to have to scroll sideways
                  way out into cyberland and back again over and over and over to try to
                  read line after line after line of text.

                  Thanks,

                  :))BOB
                • Mandoholic@Comcast.net
                  One geezers view. Because of work, and a doctors appointment Nik and I didn t get to Winston until 3 PM on Friday, missing my favorite part of any festival,
                  Message 8 of 25 , Aug 30, 2004
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                    One geezers view.
                    Because of work, and a doctors appointment Nik and I didn't get to Winston until 3 PM on Friday, missing my favorite part of any festival, watching it grow. Full grown when we arrived, we had to jump right into setting up the Bo-Teek, missing that slow, leisurely meet and greet that is our custom. Not having Cartwright's Music kind of took some of the shine off the Bluegrass Mall, but we still had our lounge area set up and the seats were almost always occupied with friends, old and new swapping lies and picking a few. We didn't even get an instrument out on Friday night, but had a lot of visitors to the Mall, most notably a nice long visit from the "Giggle Club", Anna, Athena, Ellie, and Mary, with Apprentice "Giggle Club" member Amy making a brief appearance. I'm beginning to think that working at a Bluegrass Festival goes against nature. We were only at Winston for 48 hours, 6 hours to set up and tear down, 20 hours manning the shop, 12 hours sleeping, 4 hours eating, 2 hours fixing my hair. I'm not a math wizard, but it seems to me that doesn't leave much time for doing what I go to festivals for, Picking. I know it will be dissapointing to all the ladies, but next year I'm wearing a hat. We did have one nice jam at the Bo-Teek with the high-light being our traditional rendering of Norwegian Wood, with Fred, Ken and I doing three part harmonies on guitars(two Merrils and a crummy old Martin), Nikki bowing the bass and traditional Stanley style banjo from Chuck Holloway. Chuck says he will deny it ever happened, but he was the only one in the group that knew all the words, what's that all about???? I smell a record deal in the works. Never got to sit down and watch any of the shows, just straiffed a few. Great line-up, great sound, great festival, way too short for Clyde.


                    --
                    Clyde Clevenger
                    Just My Opinion, But It's Right!
                    www.bluegrassboutique.com
                    Salem, Oregon

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • jlkellyd28@comcast.net
                    Some interesting comments so far about this festival. I have to agree somewhat with eljimbo s comments since I also had the good fortune to be part of the
                    Message 9 of 25 , Aug 29, 2005
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                      Some interesting comments so far about this festival. I have to agree somewhat with eljimbo's comments since I also had the good fortune to be part of the festival.

                      I thought that the band line-up was absolutely first-rate. Especially the work of Steve Husak in scheduling. Saturday night with Great Northern Plane opening the evening with their tight harmonies and stellar showmanship followed by the tradition-bound sounds of Train 145; the truly unique honky-tonk bluegrass sound of the Earl Brothers; and the "contemporary" sound (their self description) of Copper Canyon, provided something for everyone, I thought.

                      Captain Gravel performed two solid sets of well-presented bluegrass with obvious sincerity and love for the genre. Head For The Hills presented the fastest picking of the festival during their dinner hour set Saturday night but then came back Sunday morning with not only speedy picking, but also showing that they could slow things down and do some very traditional sounding bluegrass gospel. HFTH also earned a lot of respect from me by performing Orange Blossom Special without waiting for someone to request it. I know that pickers rank this tune right up with Rocky Top on the list of "I hate to play . . ." songs, but HFTH obviously realize that there is a segment of almost every audience that love this tune and they're willing to give the audience what they want as well.

                      The Airstream Valley Boys with Kent Powell pulled off an extremely strong set subsituting for the late arriving HFTH. Ken and Clyde had been running all day in 90+ degree heat providing the best festival sound anywhere but didn't bat an eye in stepping up to help out the Festival. Nikki had been taking care of the Oregon Bluegrass Association table but put that on hold to hold down the bottom end of the Valley Boys sound.

                      This year there was a strong line up of workshops. I was only able to get to Clyde's guitar workshop, but that was a good choice. Clyde presents his material very well and I never fail to walk away from one of his workshops without picking up a tidbit or two of very useful information.

                      It's too bad that the elderly gentleman who volunteers to pick up the trash, putting aside some very important family matters in order to honor a commitment, made some people uncomfortable by letting his truck run. I know how annoying that can be. Perhaps if someone who was bothered by this would have gone and said something to him, he would have been glad to shut the truck off. Then again, maybe he wouldn't have and that would have been another matter, but if you don't ask, you can't expect him to know.

                      Of course, there was the problem of the missing scree, but from what I've seen of the work and dedication of the Oregon State Bluegrass Festival Association, I'm confident that they will not let another year go by without it. The coninuous improvement shown each year indicate that this group is interested in putting on the very best regional festival they can.

                      Thanks much to Steve, Deon, Karen, Jan and Don and all the volunteers for OSBF. You guys are the best.

                      Jim

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