Mudcat Café message #1823553 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #93889   Message #1823553
Posted By: GUEST,Russ
31-Aug-06 - 09:47 AM
Thread Name: Philadelphia Folk Festival
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Folk Festival

The Folks at PFSS had to make hard decisions and significant changes to keep the festival alive.
I wish them the best.
I hope that the attendees liked what they heard this year and come back for more next year,
The PFF deserves to live.

That said,

"The fact that Jackson Browne can create songs that people around the globe can join together and share, as well as understand" is relevant but not telling, for me.

IMHO The fact that "folk" sing the songs of Jackson Brown does not make him a "folk" musician and therefore appropriate for a "Folk" festival.
I'd say the same about the Beatles or Louis Armstrong.
Jackson Brown is no more a folk musician than Stephen Foster, a professional composer of unabashedly popular music the performance of which is now confined almost exclusively to the folk tradition.

One of the news stories I read reported that they had considered removing the word "Folk" from the title. Would not have been a bad idea, IMHO>

People keep using old words to apply to new phenomena.
Happens all the time.
The problem for me is that the process makes the old words meaningless.
The problem for me is that although the old words become meaningless, they keep their connotations.
The people who recycle the old words want all the advantages of the old words, particularly their warm and fuzzy connotations, without any of the disadvantages of the old words.
They also hope that people will not look too closely and question whether the old words are actually appropriate.
I have a problem with that.

And another thing...

I have been a mover and shaker in organizations not completely unlike the PFSS.

The following is PURE SPECULATION

Speaking from experience, the most accurate name for what is currently called the Philadelphia Folk Festival would be "Festival of Music that we like, and that we hope will attract a large enough audience to pay for the damn thing."

In such an organization, the term that originally specified the focus of the organization, in this case "Folk," can become more a weapon than a guide.

I have sat through any number of meetings where somebody says "It is not really x, so it is not appropriate for our festival" when we all know that they really mean "I don't like x and wouldn't attend a free concert featuring x."

I am not claiming to have any knowledge of the inner workings of the PFSS. I am simply speculating on the basis of my experience with similar organizations.

Anyway, I personally am happy with whatever title the PFSS gives it event, but think they should call it the Philadelphia Pops Festival. The reference, of course, is to the legendary Monterey Pops Festival.

I mentioned above that I go to Clifftop instead of PFF. If anybody starts screwing around and trying to broaden the definiton of "Appalachian string band festival" to include amps and electric instruments I am taking to the barricades. I would be joined by a lot of my fellow musicians.