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Old 07-25-11, 12:55 AM   #1
davidkaye
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Default Why I Hate Festivals

I hate festivals, most festivals, busker festivals, music festivals, wine and cheese festivals. I hate them all, (well except for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in SF at the end of September because it's free and they get name acts. It's backed by a billionaire).

I hate music festivals because they spend a lot of money on a few big acts and expect the other acts to work very very cheaply or work for free -- for "exposure". Not only that, but festivals take away from music venues such as bars and nightclubs. ("Why should I plunk down $7 to see a couple bands when I can plunk down $45 and see 10 bands?") I've seen the music festivals in San Francisco nearly dry up the live club scene, especially as someone who has put on over 400 shows in the past 12 years. I can't make it work anymore. It's like pulling teeth to get people to come out.

I hate busking festivals because they expect buskers to work for tips only, but yet the promoters want to get rich off the events. Sorry, if you want me in your festival, we're going to split some money here.

Also, the busking festivals like to give out awards and all that, to make it seem like the busker has done something really great. But face it, anybody who has been busking for some time and gets up the nerve to participate in a busking festival already has their chops. They know what to do to get an audience. They're *already* doing something great. They don't need awards.

And should a busker want to go on TV or into a Vegas showroom or whatever, busking awards aren't worth much; clips are. Well, you don't need a busking festival to get you clips. You need a friend with a camera. Even the grainiest of video conveys the talents of a good busker better than any busking awards can do.

So, there. No festivals for me.
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Old 08-17-11, 07:01 PM   #2
Irina
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Check out this thread
http://www.performers.net/forums/showthread.php?t=268
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Old 08-17-11, 08:52 PM   #3
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Your blanket condemnation of festivals is only interesting in that it reveals a complete lack of experience outside your tiny little SF ecosystem.

What you do and don't like is, I'm sorry to say, irrelevant. You hate festivals. I hate certain types of cheese.

The reasons you list are entirely opinion based and some are simply factually wrong. There are festivals in your area who don't pay fees. fine, don't work them. There are festivals in your area that do pay fees. I worked for a week in Petaluma last year, [only a bus ride from you] for a good fee. There are festivals in your area who pay performers [Sonoma site specific arts fest] but it seems because it doesn't fit into your convenient 'this is why I'm an unemployed performer' excuse.

You confuse SF with the world at large. What is it exactly you feel you are entitled to that 'festivals' deny you?

There's a truism that a persons enemies are in large part what defines them.

Mine for example are the innate stupidity and selfishness of the last 300 years of western civilization as reflected by myself and to one degree or another everyone I've ever met.

Your's are festivals, not hosted by billionaires, in your immediate vicinity that don't employ you.

You whine a lot. I have yet to hear a constructive peep out of you. Whatever is putting the handbrake on your performance ambitions it's not 'festivals'

I've nothing against whining. But if you could make it a little less petulant and add a little more sauce to your aging bitterness I'm sure we'd all be more inclined to help save you from yourself.
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Old 08-17-11, 09:17 PM   #4
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As you wish...

As to constructive peeps out of me, well, I've suggested getting signed contracts in writing before performing for festivals. That's constructive. In other posts I cited the First Amendment rulings that protect busking, but in the several years since I've been online here I guess those were deleted because I can't find them at present.

Okay, some more constructive peeps:

(1) Have business cards that show what you do (meaning a small photo of you in action on the card, or at least some clip art that shows your props). In my case I use either a photo of my button accordion or I used the full photo of myself showing me playing my button box while wearing my pirate garb -- it's the full version of my avatar here. The point is to VISUALLY illustrate what you do so that the patron can immediately associate the card with the performance they liked. It will make them more likely to call you.

(2) Leave lots of contact options: phone number, email address, website, etc. People are finicky about what means they'll use to contact you.

(3) When busking it's important to consider the visual aspect of the act. I'm just a lowly button accordion player, not a juggler or acrobat, but I find that when I dress a bit out of the ordinary my tips go up. That can mean wearing a tophat or a scarf or an American flag tie with a vest and suspenders. In other words, street clothes don't say anything, but "performing clothes" cue the audience in that you're a performer and what you're about to do is something special.

(4) Always make some effort to suggest what the audience should do. People need social cues. For a juggler, etc., it's a spiel at the end telling the audience that you're not paid by the venue or the city or whatever and that you depend on tips. For a musician like me, it's a small sandwichboard sign that shows a photo of my instrument and a photo of a handful of bills. The printing says, "Your tips keep music alive". Again, people have to be shown what is appropriate to do or else they don't know.

There. Four peeps.
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Old 08-18-11, 09:59 AM   #5
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I don't like any kind of cheese anymore. Learning how milk is harvested has ruined it for me.
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Old 08-18-11, 01:49 PM   #6
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But I still BELIEVE in cheeses...
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Old 01-25-12, 05:08 AM   #7
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Why I love to busk at festivals. There are throngs of people who are looking for entertainment and amusement as they stroll around. I can set my own schedule and play as long or as little as I want. I don't get booked. I come, I play, I leave. The festivals I play are usually located in or near the a city or town center and are very busy. Once I find the right spot I'm in business. That is as long as I'm not kicked out. I spend the whole summer every year going from festival to festival to play. Music festivals are the best for me but city festivals are also good. Where ever the people are is where I want to be when I'm busking. Of course it's just the opposite when I've finished the season . By then I am seriously over boogied and had more then enough of noise and crowds.
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Old 01-25-12, 10:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Harmonica View Post
Why I love to busk at festivals.
Actually, I have no problem with the idea of busking AT festivals that are not busking festivals. I've busked at music and crafts festivals, farmers' markets, and in front of the AT&T ball park where the SF Giants baseball team plays. I've made good tips that way.

But actual busking festivals are what annoy me because I feel that these festivals are trying to codify what has been a freelance kind of endeavor. And I assume that sooner or later freelance busking would be banned when it's not part of an official busking festival.
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Old 01-26-12, 05:55 AM   #9
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Default Buskers sometimes even must pay to play

Well freelance busking is not always free. At a few venues I've had to pay to play. My thinking is they're getting top class free entertainment and should be happy. Their thinking is that if all the other sellers and people doing business have to pay to rent space so why should a musician be different. If I know the gig is worthwhile I pay. Occasionally even a busker must pay taxes.
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