[Dixielandjazz] Disavowing our Dixieland Roots

Fuzzy fuzzymail at fuzzyjazz.com
Tue Jan 15 15:08:17 PST 2013

My (true) story takes a while to tie into OKOM, but please stick with it:

A local man departed my hometown a decade or two ago and made good in the
world.  He met several powerful and influential people.  One of these people
found that the man had always secretly wanted to start a Blues festival, so
he approached the man and said something to the affect of: "Carte Blanche:
I'll fund your dream - tell me where you want it, and we'll make it happen
for X number of years."

The man was very excited and (with great fanfare) returned to his hometown
to announce that this wonderful thing had happened, and that he had chosen
our small western town to host the event!  The papers went giddy, but the
people didn't really know what "Blues" music was - what kind of crowd it
might bring.  So, the big three-day event occurred, all the bands arrived,
the multi-stage venues were set up...everyone and everything was in place -
except for the audience.

The following days found the newspapers filled with messages of
(paraphrased) "Shame on you! You terrible, ungrateful citizens that have
snubbed your noses at this great gift!"  

So, a year went by and the entire thing repeated itself...this time a few
more people showed up to listen (probably out of guilt), but still not many.
The music pumped to the clouds and descended over the entire small town, and
many of us were left wondering why we should pay when we could hear the
entire obscenity-laced cacophony from our own doorsteps.

The next year came, and I thought..."Well, I'll try the first evening show."
MISTAKE.  Massively talented musicians graced the stage in an awkward, "Are
you kidding me?!" manner - seemingly unsure how to handle the huge venue
with the scant crowd.  After the second act started and the lewdness of the
entertainers continued to increase, I headed home fairly discouraged.

One more year comes (2012). Blues is out. Rock-n-Roll is in. I listened from
my doorstep.  However, other people showed up to patronize the festival. A
total loss appears to have been avoided.  Looking forward, it will now be a
well attended Rock-n-Roll "festival" of 1980s fare.

End results:  a guy who could use money elsewhere, funded the Blues dream of
a local man who is now stuck with a festival which doesn't promote the music
of his dream. 

MORAL:  Creating a successful music festival is really pretty meaningless on
a personal level unless it actually promotes the kind of music you like.  If
you're just in it for the money, don't do jazz - just hire Bieber, or
whomever is in style that day.  If it isn't for the money - stick with your
passion...others will do the same.

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