What would you have in a festival?

What would you have in a festival?

If you were planning and running one, what would you include? Let’s say your intended audience is like the users of this board - people who play as well as listen.

What got me thinking about it was some advertising I saw for a harp festival, which I felt vaguely disappointed by - as it was all formal concerts, which seems a one-way experience at best.

I’m intrigued as to how you could genuinely get a sharing / contributing culture going in a festival aimed at the likes of this board’s users, as opposed to just having music for “consumption”.

Re: What would you have in a festival?

If you aimed a festival at an audience like the users of this board you would lose a LOT of money. The great, great majority of people do not play so they “consume” music. But I think what you may be getting at is sessions at festivals, if that’s so then yes, to me it’s a mistake not to organize sessions for a folk festival.

Re: What would you have in a festival?

There are one or to festivals that are aimed at musos and do well of course, the Clancy week for one but they are the exception.

Re: What would you have in a festival?

Since you are a consultant Mark do we get paid for this ?🙂

Re: What would you have in a festival?

I’ve always enjoyed the Cambridge folk festival where bringing your own instrument is encouraged and moving around the little sessions that pop up all over the site is a big part of the fun.

Re: What would you have in a festival?

If it’s a festival for a specific instrument like the harp, I’d certainly expect workshops - if you’re paying performers to be there you might as well use them. The session side of things usually happens anyway, where the organisers have set things up or not. But I’d also like to see an open stage at some point in the proceedings, to give the new talents some exposure.

Re: What would you have in a festival?

For a village- or town- based festival, you need to get local pubs cafés and halls onside and wiling to host sessions, workshops etc - like Orkney or Stonehaven FFs

these kinds of festival also usually get government and council grants

For an “enclosure” festival, a big “session tent” with multiple bars and areas like they have at the Australian National festival in Canberra would be good.

Both types benefit from some sort of mingling between paid perfromers and amateurs, in a festival club or “hosted” sessions.

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Re: What would you have in a festival?

A small town with a clutch of session-friendly pubs, such as Rothbury has been, and I hope still is.

That is surely the first requirement.

Re: What would you have in a festival?

By far, I love Catskills Irish Arts Week more than anything!
Great music, workshops, lots of other activities, even children’s and arts programs. Registration is open now too… July 11-17
info: 800/434-3378
www.irishvillageusa.com

For harp events try the Somerset harp festival, July 29-8/1….a bit far for you Mark… but… maybe someday! Come over…. try both…. make a good holiday out if it all!
http://www.somersetharpfest.com/

Re: What would you have in a festival?

The Austin Celtic Festival is, first of all, more than a music festival, but music is a big part of it, and that’s mostly big headline bands on a main stage. BUT, there are also two tents that host workshops throughout the festival - mostly by local/regional performers, but the headlining band’s members may also do workshops - I attended one with Joannie Madden this past year, as Pride of New York was the headliner. Also, there are nightly sessions organized at the “hosting” hotel. It seems to be a very succesful event.

Re: What would you have in a festival?

I was at the near perfect open air festival last Saturday: Folkerdey, in a park near Duesseldorf. Run by two young musicians and two youth clubs. 5 acts from the regional session scene, two young international bands, session by the campfire after that. Good food, fair prices, play corner for kids, interesting stalls. No barriers, no entry charge, buttons sold to pay the musicians. Not much beer-drinking, an estimated 500 people. Everybody happy.
My advice would be: start small, let it grow over a couple of years. Give people the feeling that it’s ‘their’ festival. Make it family-friendly.

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Re: What would you have in a festival?

I’d look to emulate the Willie Clancy Week (or the smaller unrelated Clancy Bros. Fest in Carrick, Tipperary) to be honest

For Willie Week
-sessions nearly in every pub in Miltown, some people start them up at 2:00 pm, others finish at 6:00am

-classes for all standards of musicians

-ceili dances in the Marquee almost every evening, including the Tulla Ceili Band

-concerts every night with well known musicians in the hall

If your a musician great, best festival I go to…. If your there to listen to good music your in luck too theres a lot of quality sessions in the pubs!

How would I start of trying achieve a festival with these qualities? Organise Classes for musicians with good tutors…. Give the tutors free accomadation for the week - they will come.

For the 1st years depending on location it would be difficult to bring in musicians looking for sessions as they will want to go somewhere they’ve heard of and are sure of getting a tune in - Bag in a few local musicans to play in the pubs - if…if need be pay them or offer them free grub, advertise the session as open………. - this is what happened in the “ Clancy Bros.“ fest in Carrick-on-Suir and it now brings in hundreds people people very June,

The Willie Clancy Week (not trying to befuddle people) brings in thousands of people, Its second largest ITM fest in Ireland only smaller than the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann (which might not have as many musicians)

Willie Clancy Week - Trad Music and Dance
Clancy Bros. Fest - Folk Music, Trad Music

Re: What would you have in a festival?

Maybe a little off-track here in that the following isn’t about musicians, workshops, etc, but if I had my druthers at an outdoor festival then there would be plenty of shade, free water, and accessible restrooms. It’d also be nice to not be prohibited from bring in my own water. I hate that! And if you buy one of their absurdly expensive 14oz. bottles then they even take the cap so you can’t refill it. Okie dokie, that’s my two cents. 🙂