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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
johnross NW Folklife/Seattle (93* d) RE: NW Folklife/Seattle 08 May 08


Those festivals in Berkeley, and similar events at the University of Chicago, Newport, San Diego and numerous other places over the last forty-plus years were great. And they still occur, not necessarily with the pantheon of performers Don describes. The National Folk Festival, which is coming this summer to Butte (first time in the West for decades), promises to be another good one. Those are all festivals where there are performers and there are audience. And most of the audience never gets close to the kind of parties that were a big part of Don's experience. Many of us have similar memories of great festivals. I know I do.

As a side note, that $15 admission in 1960 would be close to $100 in today's dollars (http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Calculators/Inflation_Rate_Calculator.asp).

But those festivals operate on a different set of guiding principles. There's some difference of opinion, but as I understand it, the Northwest Folklife Festival is a community barnraising, in which many communities share their traditions -- the music, dance and other activities that they do within the community -- with the larger public. Whether it's maritime singers or taiko drummers or contra dancers or any of dozens of other categories, it's a chance for outsiders to see and hear and participate in activities that otherwise take place in living rooms, community halls and church basements. There is, by design, a lot less separation between performers and audience.

And most of the audience doesn't come to see and hear specific performers, but to take in the "spectacle." The street performers, the dancing and group singing, and the "wander around and see what turns up" approach are all among the reasons that people come to the Folklife Festival, according to the vox pop interviews they do on the grounds every year. If (and I'm definitely not encouraging it) the professional and semi-professional musicians who also play at the festival chose to stay away, the crowds would still be as big, and the stages would still be filled.

Again, the usual discliamer: This is my opinion and does not reflect etc etc etc.


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