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Old 08-17-11, 09:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Isabella View Post
And David, I think you missed my point.

You are arguing that festivals harm local businesses; fundamentally, you posit that one corporation is more worthy of the audience's dollars than another.
This may be different in your town, but in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley where I've put on hundreds of live music shows, nearly all music venues are owned by 1 or 2 or 3 local people. They're not corporate at all. These are folks who have put their money into a dream and do their best to support the local community by booking local acts as much as they can.

In the Bay Area I'm talking about Amnesia, the Knockout, Hotel Utah, Kingman's Ivy Room, El Rio, Ashkenaz, Mama Buzz, La Pena. Even the biggies like Bottom of the Hill, Red Devil Lounge, and Cafe du Nord are owned by individuals who have borrowed money, even maxed out their credit cards to create community spaces for community events.

The festivals, at least the festivals around here are the big guys for the most part. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is put on by billionaire Warren Hellman. The Outside Lands festival just concluded is put on by Another Planet, a concert corporation that was spun off from Bill Graham Presents. The Treasure Island music festival, happening soon, is put on by BBC Beverage, a major food and beverage corporation.

Okay, those are music festivals, but I think the theme holds. Festivals for the most part require a lot of money and thus require corporations, or at least corporate foundations to run.

Call me old-school but I prefer to leave my money with local folks I know and respect, who have put their personal money on the line, not corporations.
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Old 08-19-11, 02:03 AM   #22
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So I'm guessing you always pick the neighborhood hardware store over Home Depot, you hit the corner grocery instead of Safeway, and you never set foot in Walmart?

Look, David, you're entitled to your opinion - you ARE arguing that one business is more worthy than another, and your criteria for worthiness is not quality of product, audience appeal, value for money, or variety of music, it's size. You think small businesses are better than big businesses. That's fine, and it's a great thing to support your community. But it doesn't make festivals--that employ a ton of LOCAL people and spread the wealth around LOCALLY through food and beverage concessions, garbage pick up and sanitation, ticket surcharges to the county/state/venue, etc, all the way down to the henna tattoo girl sitting on her cushion at the edge of the festival--the bad guy. You want your local bar to have a monopoly on the music dollar? Keep tilting at that windmill. And it's a great cause to support local venues. But don't imagine that you're advocating for a utopia for all street performers by railing against festivals.

Right now, I'm at a festival. The Edmonton Fringe. There are local venues involved - pretty much every theatre, bar, storefront, and found space in town. Every restaurant in a ten block radius is getting extra traffic. There are local, national and international performers, with a set quota for each category. The indoor and main stage performers are chosen by lottery--the newbies have just as much chance as festival veterans of getting in and making a hit show. And the street buskers have a mix of big and little pitches that are assigned by morning draw. We're making great money, we're provided with housing by the festival, and we're having a wonderful time. And a ton of LOCAL people are coming to LOCAL venues to see LOCAL performers do their shows, as well as those local people getting to interact with theatre people from all over the world. There are LOCAL street performers here who are getting better because they get feedback from professionals on the road, not just their own community. And there are lots of opportunities to share tips on doing better shows, writing better contracts, and getting leads for better gigs. It is one of the kindest, most generous, most lovely artistic communities I get to be a part of. And every morning, the Artistic Director of the WHOLE GODDAMN FESTIVAL is present at the draw to hang out with the street performers and see how we're all doing.

All I can say is, David, if your festival experiences are uniformly terrible, if you make no money and no friends, and gain no artistic satisfaction, you may not be doing it correctly.
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Old 08-19-11, 02:12 AM   #23
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AMEN!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-19-11, 08:22 AM   #24
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Wow, Isabella, you are at the Fringe and you take your time to contribute to this forum? Bravo! Good luck in Edmonton! Your act is amazing, to my knowledge you are the only busking aerial act around! I totally agree with you - festivals are GOOD for local community - they bring tourists to hotels and resreaunts, give jobs to locals, and inspire local creative people to improve the quality of their shows/art etc. The mentality in San Francisco is "this is my spot, I have been here for 10 years, stay away from me!" They do not need to travel, like buskers in other cities, where the weather makes you move out and travel, so they are really protective of their 'territory". I have been threatened with baseball bet on Fisheman's Wharf when I worked there in 2000-2001...I am not saying ALL SF buskers are like that, but some are and I can see where they are coming from. The rents are also very high there, so I can undersrtand that they are under a lot of pressure to make money!
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Old 08-19-11, 04:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabella View Post
You are arguing that festivals harm local businesses; fundamentally, you posit that one corporation is more worthy of the audience's dollars than another.
I think my answer got lost somewhere in this forum. It takes a lot of money to put on a festival of any kind, whether it's a music festival, busking festival, or Burning Man. Thus, the big corporations such as Another Planet, Live Nation, BBC (Better Beverage), and others dominate festivals. THAT is corporate.

On the other hand, the clubs and bars tend almost universally to be owned by 2, 3, or 4 people who've pooled their money and maxed out their credit cards in order to run venues to serve their neighbors and local performers. Big difference.
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Old 08-19-11, 06:17 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by davidkaye View Post
I think my answer got lost somewhere in this forum. It takes a lot of money to put on a festival of any kind, whether it's a music festival, busking festival, or Burning Man. Thus, the big corporations such as Another Planet, Live Nation, BBC (Better Beverage), and others dominate festivals. THAT is corporate.

On the other hand, the clubs and bars tend almost universally to be owned by 2, 3, or 4 people who've pooled their money and maxed out their credit cards in order to run venues to serve their neighbors and local performers. Big difference.

Nope, I caught that. It's five posts down.

Like you said - you think small businesses are more valuable than big businesses and should be favored.

Like I said - size is not my criteria for how valuable a corporate citizen is. It doesn't matter to me if it's one dude with a not-very-successful business, as you argue (maxed out credit cards? Yeah, I want to sign a contract with that person, their business acumen must be incredible), or a giant mega-corporation. I think both have good things to offer the community, and both contribute in different ways.

And really, dude, really - the more you argue on a STREET PERFORMERS' forum that MUSIC FESTIVALS are the enemy, the more you sound like a man with sour grapes to squeeze.

Sorry you didn't get hired.
Sorry you didn't get that club gig against the giant festival.
Sorry you didn't have anything to do while your friends were partying at the festival.
Sorry you can't be bothered to get out of California and find out what an amazing experience many festivals can be, both artistically and financially, but please, stop assuming that "festivals" as a group are terrible, because your experience is not the only experience out there, and right now you are claiming that it is.

(claps hands, palms to table, backs to camera, palms to camera)

Last edited by Isabella; 08-20-11 at 11:28 AM. Reason: being nicer
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Old 08-19-11, 08:32 PM   #27
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Hey yall, I think it's awesome to have David on the forum - he is a 'negative catalyst" so to speak, having an argument helps you better understand where you stand...Look at this thread and "I hate festivals" one - long discussion, lots of emotions, wow, fun! I do agree with Isabella that David has some personal issues behind his attack on all festivals - but I do not feel that telling people to shut up is a way to communicate on this forum...it's not like he's telling us to "Repent or go to Hell"...
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Old 08-22-11, 03:15 AM   #28
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Sorry you didn't get hired.
Sorry you didn't get that club gig against the giant festival.
Sorry you didn't have anything to do while your friends were partying at the festival.
HIRED: Uh, I spend 80% of my time doing freelance computer tech support and 20% of my time busking on the streets and in subway stations. From that busking I get hired to do walk-arounds at rich people's parties in Marin County and in other rich enclaves, and the occasional business event (DNA Lounge, Good Vibrations sex toys store, Oracle, Apple, etc.) Sometimes I do it in costume. I am doing as much performing as I wish to do.

CLUB GIG: I actually turn down most club gigs because my music isn't oriented toward clubs. I am a background player, not a foreground player. I do cheesy pop tunes that make people cock their head and wonder what they're hearing. That works far better as a walk-around than as a club gig.

FRIENDS: I travel in 3 fairly wide social circles, the original Burning Man/Cacophony/Subgenius extended family, jazz and bluegrass musicians, and gamers. I also run a gaming club that meets twice a week. I don't get lonesome.

I was offered 2 comps for the festival but didn't go because I really didn't want to deal with the huge logistical hassle of getting to and from GG Park. Instead I did a little fiddle jamming with a couple friends on Saturday and played board games on Sunday.

Just goes to show that you know nothing about my life.

Next?
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Old 08-22-11, 03:16 AM   #29
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Oh, heck, just for the hell of it here's my website: http://www.davidkaye.us -- check out Mister Melodeon and see me dressed as a pirate for a pirate party!
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Old 08-22-11, 03:30 AM   #30
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there is so much I want to say to this but I dont think I will say any of it.
Good luck David. Enjoy your 20% performing. I am a 100% performer.
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Old 08-22-11, 03:58 AM   #31
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there is so much I want to say to this but I dont think I will say any of it.
Good luck David. Enjoy your 20% performing. I am a 100% performer.
For 5 years I worked as the chief software architect and software development manager for a company making a software suite to assist in organ transplants. The software I wrote is now in use in nearly every human organ transplant center in America and in Europe.

I was working in the Flood Building at the corner of Powell & Market where the cable car turns around in SF, and I heard a lot of street performers on the street below. I felt my life slipping away as I pined to turn my musicianship into a career. Yeah, I'd gotten a lot of abstract satisfaction knowing that our software was saving lives, and I guess I was happy about that, but it wasn't fulfilling for me.

After a time an investor came into the company and I was laid off because it was cheaper for them to hire indentured servants from India to write the programs under threat of deportation.

So, who's going to hire a software development manager/software architect? Nobody, actually. That position is almost always held by a co-founder, not a hired hand. I wasn't finding any work -- AT ALL. This was in 2001.

Thus, my wishful thoughts about busking came true in a very rude awakening. My fiddling was okay for jams, but wasn't up to par for solo and I couldn't find a reliable back-up who was willing to play for hours.

I then bought a button accordion because I realized that I could be a one-man band that way, doing both melody and backup.

Trouble was that I only knew a couple songs. So, I played in a different BART subway every day so that people wouldn't realize that I only knew 2 songs.

It was a test of fire. I didn't have the luxury of being able to develop an act over time. I had to start making CASH FLOW! So, I spent every waking moment trying to figure out what songs I could play, what fiddle tunes I could transpose to button box, and what kind of gimmick I could use to get tips.

I read what is perhaps the bible of busking, Jim Rose's "Freak Like Me", to try to pick up some pointers. No need to say he's an asshole, I already know that. I know too many people who've been screwed over by him, so don't bother discussing that.

BUT, and it's a BIG BUT, I knew that he was a professional who has been through the trenches and offered some excellent advice in the book.

I quickly learned to study every aspect of my act, how to dress, what to play, how to acknowledge audiences, how to position my tip hat, everything.

Within a couple weeks I was making about $7 an hour steadily. Not very good, but it was a start. As I tweaked the components of my act I began to make more and more money, and then I started getting $5 and sometimes $10 tips. Within about 3 months I had developed about 2 hours of music, had my "stage" personna set, and managed to support myself for 2 years at an average rate of about $35 an hour consistently. That means I could go to X street or subway venue and reliably come away with $35 an hour. I didn't realize at the time that few street musicians do that well.

One day I got a business card from a woman living on a houseboat who wanted me for a party. She paid me $100 an hour to play for her party for 3 hours. Not bad for a solo act.

However, over time I was getting asked about computer help, and knew that I could charge $100 an hour to do computer support, and few people thought my price was high. So, given the difference between $100 an hour sporadically and $35 an hour reliably, I choose to devote most of my time to the $100 an hour, but I back it up with $35 an hour on the streets and in the subways.

Last edited by davidkaye; 08-22-11 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 08-22-11, 04:13 AM   #32
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So I'm guessing you always pick the neighborhood hardware store over Home Depot, you hit the corner grocery instead of Safeway, and you never set foot in Walmart?
Righto. I not only support our local Cole Hardware, I've begun putting ads in their monthly newsletter for my tech support. If that's successful I'll also run ads for my party performing.

I was part of the neighborhood alliance that successfully challenged the building of a Home Depot store on Bayshore Blvd in SF. It was to be the biggest category-killer hardware emporium in Northern California, 3 stories, spread over 4 industrial properties, covering a city block.

I shop at Safeway because they're a union store, as well as a local store, and Safeway management has bent over backwards to try to protect union jobs. Seriously. Our family worked for Safeway and one of my first computer jobs was at Safeway's then HQ in Oakland.

I have only set foot in a Walmart once and that was about 2 years ago while killing time for an appointment. I was curious what all the to-do was about Walmart. It was a disgusting place with food stains on the floor, junk merchandise, and hugely fat women eating and drinking sodas as they cruised the aisles dragging screaming kids around. It was the most disgusting retail experience in my life.
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Old 08-22-11, 04:19 AM   #33
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See we're all a little competitive. Sometimes it's good to vent but when you vent publicly or even semi publicly, say in a performers BB, it pays to be able to back up your opinions with more than your own personal anecdotal observations.
This isn't about you, David, no one knows or cares enough for that to be the case. You quantify yourself in a way that erodes rather than reinforces your perceived authority about those opinions you have. 400 shows. That's about the annual # for your average full time street performer.

You state that amount like it's a qualification of note over 12 years.

You don't like festivals, you don't like corporations, you do like one billionaire because he employs you and you do like certain rich people, who may or may not work for corporations or own them, because they employ you to.

You champion your local entrepreneurs who have business models that are failing and you blame those festivals, and those corporations, who are successful as the major factor in this.

You might be right. You are just not making much of a coherent argument. Again. It's not about you. It's not about how many times you work a year or whether you are part time or not.

It's about your blanket dismissal of corporate work. *cough* Oracle, Apple, etc *cough*
and your dismissal of all large festivals apart from the one run by that rich guy who hires you.

and your observance that your local scene is on the wane.

Being woven together in your own mind as some sort of black and white situation where the compromises you yourself make are so self evident to any reader that it's frankly a little astonishing you cannot see them yourself and I have to point them out.

I'm not that interested to be honest but if you are going to forward a position wherein you make huge sweeping statements based on your own admitted minor experience to a large group of people who's experience dwarfs yours, in terms of shows performed, festivals worked for, corporations employed by etc etc. Then it should, [not that it does but that it should] come as little surprise that your mere anecdotal opinions, may, when stated the way you have, and when defended without deference to other points of view... well it fuels the unfortunate stereotype many have that those with aspergers and other variances of social autism often seek solace in the digital world and wind instruments.

Just saying....
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Old 08-22-11, 04:30 AM   #34
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It's about your blanket dismissal of corporate work. *cough* Oracle, Apple, etc *cough*
and your dismissal of all large festivals apart from the one run by that rich guy who hires you.
I'm dismissing corporate festivals that take away from local venues, PERIOD.

NOTHING about the Apple or Oracle events took away from any existing venues because both are INTERNAL events designed for their biggest customers, not public events competing with local venues. The people who attend these events fly into SF specifically to be wined and dined by Apple and Oracle. When the events are over they leave town. In fact, they're bussed in and out and aside from their hotels they really don't even see much of the city at all.

And NOTHING is 100% in my comments. I'm talking about trends, not absolutes. If you take what I'm saying as an absolute, perhaps you need to ask yourself why you think others always think in black and white.
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Old 08-22-11, 05:27 AM   #35
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I should perhaps take lessons from someone who gymnastically tries to pass off opinions like this?

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"

I hate busking festivals because they expect buskers to work for tips only, but yet the promoters want to get rich off the events.

as non binary? As nuanced?
lets revisit your defense again.

And NOTHING is 100% in my comments. I'm talking about trends, not absolutes. If you take what I'm saying as an absolute, perhaps you need to ask yourself why you think others always think in black and white.

This sophistic rationalizing wherein you posit that working for corporations is ok if the focus is internal is just threadbare and silly.

What if a crowd forms outside looking in the window? and what if that crowd put off going to a bar? Or what if the staff of that corp had planned to go to a bar afterwards but because of the event didn't? Your artificial lines in the sand are self serving and trite and don't bear inspection.



So blanket statements justifying your dislike of music festivals have been shown, outside your limited experience to be untrue. Further blanket statements justifying your dislike of busker festivals because they don't pay fees have also been shown to be, outside your limited experience, untrue.

You seem to come from a school of logic made popular by fox network wherein if you are emphatic enough about your opinions they magically become irrefutable and factual.

By making the emphatic statements you have, unsupported by the larger world comprised of those of us who live and work in it, who work for large organisations that support communities, who work for buskers festivals and other festivals that pay us fees enough to have this work be our prime incomes. You have painted yourself into a corner where no amount of bombast and counter attack will eclipse the quite stark fact that on the face of it, outside your own self admitted limited experience nationally, internationally and over time, the things that you state are opinions not based in any reality outside your own.

You have every right to believe yourself correct but as shown here, where your experience is completely overshadowed by perhaps close to a century of collective street performance and festival experience just between those in this thread. What you think doesn't matter if you're demonstratively incorrect.

and you are. Sorry.

It might matter to you, but to be taken seriously by anyone else you are going to have to lift your game a tad.

The old 180 where you accuse others of what they accuse you of, is essentially and transparently binary.

I like the picture you painted of being lured onto the pavement from your office window. Given time I think you may graduate to a 49%, I'd put you at 50% which is half way from the 51% you were before you left the office.
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Old 08-22-11, 06:38 AM   #36
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David, What I am hearing from your dismisssal of all events except for internal corporate ones, is that you are not anywhere good enough to perform and make a living. You want your corporate raise every year and still have the freedom to perform because that's how average you are.

As a busker, I get my raise every 15 minutes. When I finish a show and hat the crowd they tell me if I was good or average or even rotten. Yes I hav had 3 ratings for my shows, sometimes in a single day. But for 15 years ever since I told the corprate world to kiss my ass I have been busking, and taking home more than when I was a wage slave.
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Old 08-22-11, 12:13 PM   #37
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David, What I am hearing from your dismisssal of all events
No, I didn't say anything about ALL festivals; I'm talking about trends. You're the one who thinks I'm applying it universally.

In fact in the very first post I specifically exempted Eric Cash's desire to put together a busking festival because I know that he won't go corporate on it.

Nothing is 100%, but there ARE trends.
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Old 08-25-11, 04:04 PM   #38
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I agree wholeheartedly. Just as a matter of interest, I should think your post must contain one of the longest sentences to ever appear on the Internet. Bravo!
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Old 09-08-11, 11:00 PM   #39
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"No, I didn't say anything about ALL festivals;

"As to festivals, I DETEST them you give one exception.

"I hate festivals, most festivals, busker festivals, music festivals, wine and cheese festivals. I hate them all,

You can wiggle all you like but you made a statement that included 'I hate them all' as regards festivals and then in your defense you made a statement denying the obvious.
" I didn't say anything about ALL festivals"

um yes you did, perhaps saying you didn't works for you but while most of the world has adopted post-rationalism some of us are old fashioned.

Better to not use words that cannot be rescinded like 'all' The exceptions you make you qualify as exceptions, this cements your 'all' into 'all but one'.
to use this to deny blanket statement is just silly.

In effect your defense is that what you were actually saying which is not what you have written is that your trend at the moment is to hate festivals, all of them, with this or that exception.

I really wouldn't labor the point cept if you don't learn how to frame your opinions in such a way as they bear scrutiny and defend them without contradicting yourself.

Then you become our patronized mental patient and some of us already have pets.

[I don't, I can't be trusted]
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Old 09-09-11, 05:29 PM   #40
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"while most of the world has adopted post-rationalism some of us are old fashioned."

Thanks for that, Mart. Reads like poetry.
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