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Old 06-19-10, 07:01 AM   #1
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Isabella's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Kalamazoo-zoo-zoo-zoo, USA
Posts: 403
Default Working a festival with bad blood - your thoughts?

Last year I saw a festival in a town where I was street performing. I contacted the festival organizer, who I'll call Previous Guy, and tried to work it out for this year, but their festival has been taken over by another organizer, who I'll call New Guy.

From Previous Guy's friends, I hear the takeover was shady. As an outsider, I don't know enough about local politics to know what is genuinely shady, what is the complaint of an injured party, what is shady-by-non-local-standards-but-just-fine-here, and what's sour grapes.

From New Guy, I hear, "I was hired, I don't know the situation, what am I supposed to do, turn down a gig because some other guy used to do it?"

I'm not doing the festival, I got another gig. But I know performers who are, and several of them got "shame on you!" emails from people associated with Previous Guy. Some performers were told the audience would receive them poorly, or that people associated with the previous incarnation of the festival would be coming to spit on them, possibly metaphorically, but something may have been lost in translation. One performer, with a height act, got a veiled threat to their safety.

I'm curious to know other performers' views.

What would you do, if you had been contracted for a festival and it turned out there was bad blood? Does it make a difference if the bad blood is with another performer, rather than "just" an organizer?

What's appropriate action for a genuinely wounded party if your gig has been taken over in a shady way? How do you determine what to fight for and how to make your injury known?

Thanks, gang.

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