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Old 12-29-01, 08:12 AM   #1
mnozzolio
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Post "Crashing" events

Does anyone have any thoughts/opinions/experiences with "crashing" events, such as art shows, festivals, etc. In other words, have you tried to perform unannounced? Curious minds want to know.
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Old 12-29-01, 10:04 PM   #2
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Do it all the time. That is how I got my practice in when I first started as a "stilted" strolling entertainer. After 5+ years, I still do it.

I have only one rule: If they call me, they have to pay. If I call them and they don't hire me, I won't show up. Unless it is a bonfide charity, then I might show up if I feel like it, when I feel like it and stay only as long . . . as I feel like it.

And of course I respect the space of any entertainers that might be present.

Often I'll bring a friend along to take some pics or shoot some video. I generally will wear a different costume than what I would wear at a paying gig:http://www.stiltwalker.com/mvc346x.jpg


These pants have my web site URL prominently displayed down the pant leg.

I have stilt walked the 10K (6.1 mile) Bolder Boulder four times, and gotten my pic in the paper at least three times as a result. And you could clearly read my web page address in the newspaper photo!

I've never been asked to leave but once. Got a great newspaper article out of it. Read it here:http://www.westword.com/issues/2001-07-19/news.html

So I would encourage you to use good judgement and go for it.

Walking tall, and stretching imaginations!

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Old 12-29-01, 10:54 PM   #3
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I agree with everything Stretch said. I started doing 17 years ago and still do it.
I would like to add a couple of important points.
Crashing festivals gives you good exposure to other festival directors. If you do a great act, it will be noticed.
If you can crash an event and make great hats, it helps establish the credibility of your fees. Eg it's Port Fairy Festival weekend and last year you crashed it, made great money and had a very good time but this year another festival wants to book you. He has to match or better your expectations. The booked gig is better because you are paid regardless of weather or crowds but crashing a great festival is usually worth it. It is a great way to meet other performers. Personally I think every-one SHOULD do it.
It's also astounding the variety and number of events that will work for you.
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Old 12-29-01, 11:33 PM   #4
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Crashing festivals as gorilla-marketing is generally acceptable, crashing them because you see an opening to earn money and entertain without impacting on set pitches or programs is also ok (just my opinion) crashing them specifically because you have not been invited is really the only instance where it is considered bad form.
Jazz festivals, arts festivals etc usually have no objection to additional entertainment providing its within the atmosphere that they are trying to produce and in most cases on public land there are grey areas of authority that can be exploited but having said that it really pays in the long run not to piss people off, if you can respect that its their promotion money that get the crowds there and try to inhance the event and if possible liase with them then so much the better.
I know of a few people who have either crashed street performance festivals or in some cases have merely threatened to, because they were sore at not making that years cut, who, because of that attitude have more or less blacklisted themselves.
I doubt you'd be asking about this unless you were dealing with something specific and it might be easier to know more about that or I may be mistaken and you may simply be asking for moral guidance in which case god have mercy on your soul.
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Old 12-30-01, 08:12 AM   #5
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Thanks for the supportive comments. To elaborate, the events I had in mind primarily were arts/crafts shows and sales, and town celebrations, i.e. "Springfield Days."
FYI, I play accordion. Last summer, I had submitted material to a large arts festival that was seeking street entertainers. I never heard back. I at least wanted a formal "no." I showed up at the event anyway and started playing on the fringe of the where the main activity was taking place. Within a few minutes, the president of the festival board asked if I had permission to play. I said no. He said, "that's OK, but why don't you move up to where all the people are."

If I had gone in and immedately started playing in the midst of the activity, I might not have been welcomed. I've "crashed" a few other events, as well. I guess my overall opinion is to show up; find a spot where I won't inhibit or interefere with the event, and leave quietly and respectfully if asked to do so.
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Old 12-31-01, 06:31 AM   #6
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[This message has been edited by Lucky Diamond Rich (edited 12-31-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Lucky Diamond Rich (edited 12-31-2001).]

[ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: Lucky Diamond Rich ]

[ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: Lucky Diamond Rich ]</p>
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Old 12-31-01, 09:43 AM   #7
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Don't hold back man, tell us how yu REALLY feel!

Walking tall, (everywhere, not just at festivals)

Bill "Stretch" Coleman
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Old 01-01-02, 03:18 AM   #8
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Old 01-06-02, 04:03 PM   #9
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Forgive me, but I need to inject a few facts here. I'm most familiar with a few Ontario locations, but my understanding is that many cities in Canada have prohibitive bylaws, fines and enforcement (or else rigid, annual audition structures) that make Euro/Oz/Kiwi-style "just show up and work it" street performing very untenable in a lot of the country.

In the case of Waterloo festival, the festival is granted an exemption from a fine-based anti-peddling bylaw, only for the duration of the fest, and only for contracted artists. In other words, you could be fined or nastier because you'd be breaking the law.

Not necessarily fair, but c'est la guerre.

For meself, I think it's all in the approach. Landing onself in the middle of an existing fest and elbowing out a pitch without regard to other artists, the schedule, the funds and effort put into building the fest audience is sure to get you a frosty reception. Asking if there's a timeslot/space that you might work might more likely get you results, if the schedule hasn't been compressed and compromised by weather. It's the old "bees with honey, not vinegar" thing. No "sucking festival organizers cocks" required - just a simple nod to etiquette, and the recognition that you're there to gamble, and that the fest built the edge.

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Old 01-06-02, 04:45 PM   #10
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I would think that simply calling and asking to crash the festival would be the easiest way.
At the few fests I've crashed, I've sent the president an e-mail explaining that I'd like a little exposure, won't interfere and would perform for free. I've never had a problem and I've never had a, "no". I've even had access to the performers "lounge" and perks offered on a couple of occasions.

However, let me qualify that I called fests that I would fit with and I knew had a less than stellar budget. With bigger and better fests I might have been turned down. It has also been a few years since I did this, times might have changed.

Have you thought of typing a form letter and sending it to the fests you want to do for free? Tell them about you and what you will and won't do.

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Old 01-24-02, 04:24 AM   #11
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[ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: Lucky Diamond Rich ]</p>
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Old 01-24-02, 08:14 AM   #12
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spam
I know of a showman who claims
he's too pure to wear festival chains
such a strong, mighty show
but to Nelson he'll go
and put the fat lie to his claims.

Rich, pipe down with the self righteousness, willya?
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Old 01-24-02, 10:12 AM   #13
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Boy, and I didn't even have to poke him with a sharp stick!

Rich, why the fury? We can peacefully co-exist. If you choose not to partake of the festival format, power to ya. I'm sure that you, and hundreds others, make a tidy living on your own terms.

The thread asked about what happens when you crash an existing festival, and I provided some information on the restrictions that I know about, and within which some of the fests have to work.

In some cities the regs are stupidly prohibitive (Vancouver's ban on fire and sharp implements being one example), and various individuals (performers and producers alike) are trying to educate their communities on how to be more receptive.

The festivals with which I'm familiar are supposed to be a celebration of the artform and its purveyors. Granted, many of them got their start as a means to drive traffic to urban merchants or shopping districts. But the best of them are simply that - a presentation and celebration of variety street performers, street theatre and spectacle.

You're certainly free to deride whatever you see fit. But be consistent, man. If you think festivals have made things too easy, turned artists all soft and squishy so they don't have to work for their edge and their bread, then performing at or crashing one would certainly be beneath you.

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Old 01-24-02, 09:29 PM   #14
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Jesus rich, get a santimonious grip, your contradictions are showing, are you not crashing the Christchurch festival at this very moment, or are you using the collection of all your buddys to merely overlook your distate for festivals on this occaision cos it suits you. Are you working it? or just hanging out? No matter, your booked into the Nelson festival at the end of the month, are you doing wellington as well? (you did last year or was it the year before) and are you doing the auckland fest like you did last year? must be nice to have your cake and eat it but its messy when you dribble it publicly.

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Old 01-25-02, 11:19 PM   #15
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Old 01-26-02, 12:58 AM   #16
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Yo.

My limerick says that I know of you, not that I know you. Those verses state what I've observed. You put yourself on a level above performers who do festivals, but then, you do festivals. I call 'em as I see 'em, and hey, even if you were being straight up about it, its still self righteous talk, and I say it stinks up the place. So put the soap box away, ya corporate soulselling festival slut, you're no better than the rest of us.
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Old 01-26-02, 06:16 PM   #17
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'My oppion is,
that i choose not to crash festivals at,all!As I think festivals attract a cretain type of act aswell!'

Really and what type of people do they attract?

"I was just visiting,some old friends,"

Oh I see, friends who work at festivals, who are "hardcore" and "real" (just like you) and somehow sidestep having to suck the organisers cock to justify being there.

Usually at about three years old you come to learn that the world doesn't in fact revolve around you , you cry and the tit just doesnt appear. its an introduction into subjectivity and you learn more about it throughout your life.
There's more than one truth richy, sorry if you or your higher power are hurt by this, you appear to be viciously opinionated (which is a quality I admire) but you fail to realise that opinions and truth are two different things. (its called a messianic- complex and in part involves voices in your head)
Your entitled to your opinions which I choose to disagree with.
I think in this instance that given you perform at festivals and that you choose to hang out at festivals even when not performing, that your opinions about festivals being inferior to the street is just another way for you to try and bignote about how fabulious and hard core and real you are.
I think you presume we're interested.
You insult my friends- some of whom run festivals and some of whom (like you) work them, other than that your opinions mean very little to me.
I respect your commitment to street theatre but I'm not intimidated by your pedegree or your thinly disguised physical threats-

"I hope you can back up these,words!As I am sure I will see you out there on the street's somewere,it is a small world you know!!!!And maybe we can sort this tecnicallity ,out then!"

you come of sounding like a thug in my opinion.

One last thing because i just can't help myself,
"As for the cake,man you have been eating the same old cakes for years"

Your appearance may have changed over the years along with your name from time to time, but how long is it now you've been juggling for a living lucky.
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Old 01-26-02, 09:24 PM   #18
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[ 01-28-2002: Message edited by: Lucky Diamond Rich ]</p>
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Old 01-27-02, 03:12 AM   #19
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How about we stay on topic and watch the flames? Hmmmm?

We've all been here before folks and we know where it ends up. Someone's gonna get hurt.

Lucky, Martin, Taxi: To continue this conversation, go to Blah Blah Blah.

To continue discussing "Crashing Events" carry on right here.

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Old 01-27-02, 10:36 PM   #20
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Hi there - this seems like a relevant discussion at the moment for me. Here is a situation.
You live and work as a street performer in one city for two years constantly performing in the same places because that is where you know that you can get your biggest crowds and the most money to support your lifestyle.
Along comes a "World Buskers Festival" which commandeers your pitchs and your crowds for several weeks - sucking the money out of the punters and over-exposing the populace to street performance so that the hats suck for the next month.
If the festival has little or no regard for established local acts and doesnt provide us with a place to play where should we go?????
This happened to me over the last ten days - with all due respect to the festival for providing the publicity and such and creating the street performer buzz - when I set up in an out of the way corner of the Arts Centre (the local busking centre on a weekend) - well away from any of the festival acts - is it fair that I get a card dropped in my hat at the end of show saying - "it really isnt cool to crash this event, in fact it is really rather rude."
Prior to performing I contacted the local relevant authority ( bear in mind that I have done hundreds and hundreds of shows to very big crowds in recent years in this location ) to check what the status was with the festival and where I should perform and complied with the instructions. Now I find myself in the situation that I think that I may have blown any chance I ever had of working a very lucrative festival. Can a local truly crash his own pitch???
What I would like to know is what gives a street performers festival the right to ignore local acts that make their living from a pitch in favour of international ones. I showed respect to the visiting artists and didnt compete with there crowds.....was I in the wrong performing on my home pitch??? If my act was well presented, professional, highly skilled and more importantly entertaining did I do any harm to this festival????? If the festival ignores the locals should we ignore the festival????
I agree so vehemently with LDR when he talks of keeping it real. I am a performer like so many others here that can actually make something big happen in an empty square and so many street festival performers that I see are just not buskers and probably incapable of doing this. But I think that these festivals are awesome ideas - they are hugely lucrative, they educate the public and promote the art and the majority of the ones I have worked for are run by a charitable trust, a lot of volonteers and hard work and only a few people drawing a wage that truly does reflect the amount of work that they do, but what gives them the right to forbid local street performers - the ones that keep the craft alive in the city when the festival is not there????
Food for thought - love to hear some opinions and know whether I should get plastic surgery, change my name and start doing magic!!!

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