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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
reggie miles NW Folklife threatens street performers (Seattle) (162* d) RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers 02 May 10

How much $ does NW Folklife get from just those who are vendors at the event? After looking at the application fees multiplied by the number of craft and food vendors that they allow to be featured at the festival, my calculator says, somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000. That's not counting the 15% that they ask from each vendor, determined by the amount of merchandise they sell. That seems like a healthy chunk of change and that's just from the vendors at this event.

Then, if you add what they collect from their various charitable contributors, like Paul G. Allen, Boeing, The National Endowment for the Arts, Q13, The Seattle Times, Comcast, 4 Culture, Arts & Cultural Affairs, Tully's Coffee, Western WA Toyota, Trex, Bridgeport Ales, Pepsi, BECU, Penguin Windows, WA Lottery, Dave's Bread, The NY Times, Deschutes Brewery, and a few others, I have to wonder why they see fit to force street performers to pay a fee at all. What? Is Paul Allen down on his luck and therefore can't offer them enough $? Has the Washington State Lottery suddenly gone bust because they haven't sold enough Lotto tickets and can't afford to share their wealth? Has Boeing gone broke and decided to quit building planes? Or has Pepsi sales been off? Has Toyota fallen on hard times? Nowhere on their site do they indicate what amounts any these contributors offer to the event. I think what Don said earlier is right. This is Big Business.

McGrath of Harlow, does the concept of freedom of expression mean nothing to you? Do you reside in the USA? This event is happening on public property, a public park. The Court specifically stated that you cannot commercialize "public" property and deny our First Amendment right to freedom of expression. Being mean spirited has nothing to do with it.

If you want to talk about being mean spirited, let's talk about why I was evicted from this public park, during a national holiday, by public officials, (the SPD) for offering free music at this free festival. They used police "force" against me to have me forcibly removed. I harmed no one during my 1/2 hour set of music. I put smiles on the faces of everyone standing before me. Let's point the finger of blame in the right direction.

Mind you, they've already received several decades of my time, talents and energy in support this event. It's not as though I'm some stranger who just walked into the event and has never offered anything in return. I've put in my time performing on their stages and I've hosted free workshops there for years. Even my performances as a street performer are offering my time, energy and talents for free at this event. Either way, whether on their stages, or via my efforts at entertaining casually on the grounds, they still have had the benefit of my talents featured at their event for free. They pay me nothing. Are you trying to equate my time talents and energy as being worth nothing? Would you like me to quote you what some other, truly supportive, events have offered me for my time, talents and energy?

I believe that this perception is part of the problem. This event has had the luxury of so many years of talented individuals offering their entertainment for free, that they deem that talent as having no actual value and that's exactly how the folks, who donate their time to this event, are treated by this event. The event sees dollar signs ($$$) when they see a food or craft vendor application arrive in their mail box.

Do you think that maybe that's why those vendors aren't being harassed for causing traffic issues? Do think that maybe that's why they are allowed to do what musical folks are being demonized for doing? And not just demonized but in my case, I actually had the head of security call for 4 Seattle Police to have me escorted off the grounds, because I dared to sit in the shade and entertain about a dozen folks, at their behest, for free, for about one half hour, on a sunny Sunday.

artbrooks, some of the same areas on the grounds of the Seattle Center where street performers are demonized for trying to play (like I was last year for playing underneath a covered walkway at the far northern edge of the event) are somehow miraculously and magically deemed by the event coordinators and their security staff, as just fine for craft vendors to crowd with their booths and cause huge traffic issues. No one says boo to them for creating traffic issues in the covered walkways. In my case, I created no such traffic issue, whatsoever, but that was the flimsy excuse that the head of Folklife security used to harass me and ultimately get me ousted from the event. The only difference is that the craft folks are paying hundreds of dollars to the event. Because of the fees they pay, they are allowed to crowd those same covered walkways and create actual traffic issues.

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