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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Jon Bartlett NW Folklife threatens street performers (Seattle) (162* d) RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers 12 May 10


My thanks to all who have contributed to this thread some old ideas but many new ones!

My own connection with Folklife goes back to 1975 and I've sung on its stages every year since. Everyone on this thread and any opinions I've heard at Folklife and elsewhere all say the same thing Folklife is not what it was. This is in some ways a good thing (I recall 1975 as being wall-to-wall bluegrass and us singers from Vancouver a novelty item), and in some ways, perhaps most ways, a bad thing (vastly overcrowded, an endless musical maelstrom, and an ever more pushy administration with no corporate memory).

John Ross before he died last year wrote and circulated a paper about Folklife being bust. His views were widely shared. I don't think it's possible to resurrect the Folklife we fell in love with.

I come now to Folklife to sing and drink with old friends, and, unlike the early days, when I might be found listening to a three-hour symposium on Vietnamese music in the northwest, rarely stray from The Northwest Court. I honour what Folklife taught me about music and the public: that our music of all musics should be free, volunteer-led and -run, and should open its doors to a wide range of subgenres. In the festivals I've run or had a hand in running (Vancouver's CityFest, 1991-8, and Princeton's Traditional Music Festival princetonfestival.wordpress.com , 2007 to date), both of which I describe as "children of Folklife", I have tried to follow these precepts. If we cannot bring back the old Folklife, we can at least support festivals and other musical gatherings or happenings which share its original impetus.

Jon Bartlett


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