When can we see you play a show? I checked your website and couldn't find any shows that I've missed or any upcoming. I couldn't even find a tourdate page on your website. I'm really excited to see your set since you have let many know how shitty they were when you saw them play. Now I've seen Barry Hensley play many times. That dude is badass and a super nice guy. Seen Jeff play a few times. He's a damn fine guitar player.
Please...PLEASE keep us notified of your shows or when you add a tourdate/show page to your website?
For the sake of honest dialogue, I'll pretend that I don't notice your sarcasm and flippancy. I'll point you to my recent posts on this message board as well as Cringe.com requesting opening slots for C'bus bands (search AMERICANA).
I've only recently rounded out my line-up. Since I've been here, I've performed at a house concert for the Wild Goose Creative, participated in a Writers-in-the-round with Jason Quicksall and Jesse Henry, and a tribute to Townes Van Zandt held at Carabar. Those are the only performances I've done.
If you visited my site, you could hardly have missed my blog on the first page. The third paragraph says this:We're putting the word out that we're just about ready to begin making inroads on the scene. If you know of a band that would make a good co-bill, let them know about us. We need to be in front of some folks before too long.
My last few blog posts have been entirely about trying to get a band together and start playing locally. Do you have a band? Would you like to offer me an opening slot? I’d accept!
I’ve played Columbus in years past. In fact, I started my second recording here back in ’99 or ’00. HensleySturgis learned a set of my music and I did a couple of shows with them as their opener both here and in WV. Smitty (Lilybandits) was their drummer at the time and Trent Arnold was on bass. I’ve played a couple of festivals with The Sovines in St. Louis and East Lansing, MI. Hung out with the 1 Riot 1 Ranger guys in Nashville and Austin, TX. I met Tim Easton out there, too. Hell, I even wrote a hit single for a Christian band from here back in the mid-90s. I’ve known about the C’bus scene for a few years before I ever moved here.
I got to town a week or two before ComFest ’07. I spent as much time as I could bouncing from stage to stage that weekend. I saw a lot of good music. In fact, here’s what I said about it on my blog: I've also been reconnecting with other friends on the local scene (Trent Arnold/Lilybandits, Bob Ray Starker and Matt Benz/Sovines, Tim Easton/Haynes Boys). I'm still looking to meet up with Mark Wyatt from 1 Riot 1 Ranger. I went to the Community Festival (ComFest) last weekend and saw some great local talent. Among my favorites: Big Back Forty, X-rated Cowboys, The Woosley Band, The Spikedrivers, Megan Palmer, The Wahoos.
I was polite enough to leave out the fact that I also saw some “talent-challenged performances.” I think it was sufficient to point out some of the ones I liked. I’d rather be complimentary when possible.
Nonetheless, your comment that I’ve “let many know how shitty they were” is without merit. My criticism of what I did see was also in a different context. And context is important.
So, let’s keep our perspective on this, shall we?
First, I’m not complaining that I was not included in this year’s ComFest. The organizers are free to choose whomever they wish to entertain their audiences. I don’t care if their Selection Committee is 1 stoned hippy pissing into a barrel of names on paper slips and seeing who comes up yellow! They have the right to use any or no criteria they choose.
My complaint is with the lack of professionalism in their handling of their notification (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) that I was not selected. It came in the form of an email/letter telling me (and presumably others) that if I hadn’t already been told I was playing I would not be, and telling me I should volunteer and put that on my application next year.
Now, I have no problem with volunteerism. In fact, I do it from time to time in various capacities. But by its very definition it should be “of one’s own accord or by free choice.” To use “volunteerism” as criteria for inclusion as a performer at the festival is a form of coercion.
Second, and of much less importance, I’ll address the private message sent to me by Red Rabbit (I don’t know who that is, male or female). RR said they pulled my application and noticed that I listed no performances. My response is that I have had no performances this Spring. I’m just finishing putting a band together.
However, let’s take a logical approach to that question. What is the reason for requesting my performances? Is it to see if I’m good enough to perform on their stage? ALL of my players are performing at the festival and have done so many times in the past. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that the level of musicianship of the band passes their muster. The only things left to discover are the strength of my songs and my voice. Both can be found on my website. If they were considering me and a live performance was required, they could have contacted me and requested a command performance.
Third, and let me very clear about this, I never said I’m better than everyone I saw last year. But I do think I am better than several. If that sounds egotistical to you, ask yourself if some were better than others. You, too, are making a judgment call. I saw people on stages last year making music that just was not good. Any objective person would agree.
I’ve had some pretty serious affirmation on the quality of my music. That’s a fact. So it’s not just my opinion on which I base my comments. I know other people like what I do. Not everyone. At some point personal taste takes precedent over ability and craftsmanship. But even those who don’t like my genre or style will likely acknowledge that I’m fairly decent at it. That’s all I’m saying. Nothing more. No claims regarding the odor or flavor of my feces.
Now… the point of all this is that I questioned the concept of booking artists based on whether they had volunteered. RR tells me that’s not the criteria. OK. Is it musical ability? My players are all in the festival. We should meet that standard. So exactly what is it that makes one band a ComFest-worthy band and the next one not?
RR used the phrase “on the bubble” and I asked for clarification on that. In return I got a link to a definition of the phrase itself. How patronizing. But I find it interesting that the example on the link is about qualifying for an event based on performance! Which brings me back to my question: What criteria are used to determine a band’s inclusion, exclusion, or “bubble” position?
Now, there are a couple of other folks’ points I’ll address:
1)Maybe they didn't think you are as good as you think you are.
2)I do recognize after reading it, that the email in question is a bit "off".
3)You general attitude towards volunteering equating to "pickin up their garbage" smacks a a MASSIVE sense of entitlement. Comfest stands for COMMUNITY FESTIVAL. Volunteering is good any way you slice it (even if you are bitter that you didn't get picked to play).
1) That could be. But does that mean they think all the artists they chose are better than me?
3) I have no such sense of entitlement. See my comments before and above. They don’t owe me anything and are free to choose whomever they wish based on anything or nothing at all. But they sent me an email suggesting that I should volunteer and put that on my application next year which begs the question: “Why does it matter whether I’ve volunteered at their festival?”
Your attitude about how great you are and how so many other local bands suck is surprising coming from such a professional as yourself. There are only so many slots to fill. There are hundreds and hundreds of bands that apply each year. How, pray tell, do you know that you are better than all of those bands?
Maybe once they post the schedule, you can go down the list of local bands that got a slot and enlighten us as to which bands are worse than you, as good as you, and better than you.
Have you even played any shows in our town this year?
Comprehension. Understand what you’re reading. I never said anything about how great I am. And I have gone out of my way to point out that I have a great deal of respect for the local scene. I’ve blogged about it on my website.
But are you telling me that I’m not as good as some of the ones that were presented last year? Were they there because they were the best band available for that slot or because they had volunteered for the festival? Either way is fine; it’s their festival. Remember my original complaint is not that I wasn’t chosen. I don’t care about that. They have the right to exclude anyone for any reason. Fine. But the rub for me is the letter insinuating volunteering determines who gets in and who doesn’t. I’ll say it over and over and over. Maybe one of those times will sink in.
As for going down the list of local bands, I’ll let you do that. You, and anyone else who cares to, can make his/her own judgment about the quality of each band, including me. You decide if they chose the most capable performers and entertainers OR if they included lesser talents to represent the Columbus music community.
Re: my local shows - Asked and answered but here it is again. No, I have not played out this year. Not for a lack of trying. I’ve been working on getting a band together and I’ve posted multiple times on this board and Cringe to ask for opening slots with other local bands.
What I’m saying at the bottom line is this: ComFest is THE Community Festival. But how do they define that? Are they trying to represent the best of the community or are they just celebrating those in their “Friends & Family” network? What defines one’s contribution to the community? If I’ve lived here for a year but I haven’t volunteered at their festival, am I not part of the community? I’ve volunteered for other things locally. Is that not part of the community? I go to local shows and support local artists. Is that not part of the community?
I don’t mind paying dues and earning people’s respect on the local music scene. I understand that. Accolades from other places are meaningless on an experiential basis. I get that. I’m willing to stand and deliver and have each person judge my music on its own merits. But that’s not what this is about.
This all goes back to the facts of this situation:
1 – I applied for ComFest.
2 – I never received confirmation that they were considering me or that I was excluded.
3 – I DID receive an email asking me to volunteer and suggesting that I include that on my application next year.
4 – That email callously informed me that if I hadn’t already gotten confirmation of a date, I was not going to be included.
5 – I took issue with the email and the apparent “pay to play” attitude. Only then did I question the criteria for inclusion and make comments regarding the quality of some of last year’s performers.
To conclude, I’m not saying I’m the best or even in the top tier in this town, but I’m definitely not among the worst. I just don’t like the implication of the email I received from the ComFest organizers.
I will be at ComFest every day. I will be bouncing from stage to stage. I will soak up as many shows as I can. I love live music. And I will be happy to hear some great performances. And I’d like to play there someday but that may not happen. I don’t take kindly to implied coercion.