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NW Folklife threatens street performers (Seattle)

stallion 05 May 10 - 03:41 AM
reggie miles 05 May 10 - 11:16 AM
reggie miles 06 May 10 - 02:10 PM
Howard Jones 06 May 10 - 02:50 PM
John P 06 May 10 - 05:41 PM
reggie miles 06 May 10 - 09:17 PM
The Fooles Troupe 06 May 10 - 09:45 PM
Stewart 06 May 10 - 11:50 PM
reggie miles 07 May 10 - 01:04 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 07 May 10 - 04:15 AM
Howard Jones 07 May 10 - 05:01 AM
John P 07 May 10 - 07:46 AM
reggie miles 07 May 10 - 10:38 AM
Don Firth 07 May 10 - 02:47 PM
reggie miles 07 May 10 - 04:40 PM
Stewart 07 May 10 - 06:54 PM
Stewart 07 May 10 - 06:58 PM
Deckman 07 May 10 - 07:56 PM
Deckman 07 May 10 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,The Boogieman 07 May 10 - 08:39 PM
reggie miles 09 May 10 - 11:40 AM
mg 09 May 10 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,artbrooks 09 May 10 - 04:12 PM
John P 10 May 10 - 10:27 AM
reggie miles 10 May 10 - 01:01 PM
Don Firth 10 May 10 - 01:30 PM
John P 10 May 10 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 10 May 10 - 08:31 PM
mg 10 May 10 - 08:54 PM
reggie miles 11 May 10 - 12:58 AM
mousethief 11 May 10 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 11 May 10 - 02:40 AM
The Fooles Troupe 11 May 10 - 06:51 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 May 10 - 06:55 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 May 10 - 07:04 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 May 10 - 07:11 PM
Jon Bartlett 12 May 10 - 03:30 AM
Deckman 12 May 10 - 06:18 AM
MAG 12 May 10 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,astro 12 May 10 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,mg 12 May 10 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 12 May 10 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 12 May 10 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,mg 12 May 10 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,mg 12 May 10 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 12 May 10 - 06:19 PM
reggie miles 13 May 10 - 02:28 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 13 May 10 - 02:40 AM
John P 13 May 10 - 05:42 PM
artbrooks 13 May 10 - 07:31 PM
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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: stallion
Date: 05 May 10 - 03:41 AM

I thought I had little to contribute but this has given me an insight into some of the fundamental differences between British subjects and US citizens. The New York Met. Museum is, I assume free, but a recommended donation is asked for and no one seems to mind paying it. Is it really a british thing that requires some order needs to be maintained, like queing, to avoid chaos. Is it a US thing that once you have the money you hang on like crazy. Surely freedom, broadly speaking, in the sense of what it meant in framing the US constitution, was the freedom to own and aquire property (including slaves) without the intervention of government. Does anyone consider that personal freedoms may impinge on someone else's freedom? Somehow, to me, the majority of US citizens are too far right to be assosciated with Anarchists and yet that is what is being advocated, bring it on! As for big business, this festival is small beans, address bigger issues like being robbed blind by the very rich and stop squabbling over peanuts, cos that is what it is. So citizens see a business opportunity and grab and hold on like alligators and subjects see a business opportunity and regulate it. ( We tried de-regulation and look at the bother that got us into) OK people have livings to make but I do have issues with buskers at "free" festivals, that is a brit thing, like tipping and paying twice and paying when it is free..........oh and one other thing............no stop where I am ...nearly tripped over a hornets nest!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 05 May 10 - 11:16 AM

"We do not want to remove street performers from the Festival, unless they are in violation of the rules set in place by Seattle Center and Northwest Folklife. These rules provide for the safety and enjoyment of all who attend the Northwest Folklife Festival."

This strikes at the very heart of the matter. As previously pointed out, certain rules, that the city of Seattle was trying to enforce via the private company that the city hires to manage the Seattle Center were already deemed by the Court to be "unconstitutional" and yet NW Folklife has ignored the Court's ruling on the matter. They seem to deem themselves above the laws of the land.

Their rules are in direct violation of the what the Court has said are protected rights under the First Amendment, our freedom of expression. They are the ones who are in violation of law. The city of Seattle and the Seattle Center were already taken to task on this matter last June and they lost. The Court ruled in favor of those who perform on public property and not the city or those who manage the Center.

I love this country. I'm glad that we live in a country that recognizes the rights of their citizens and actively discourages corporations and cities from stealing away those rights. I'm astounded that private business entities like those who manage the Seattle Center would try to enact rules that restrict our First Amendment rights. The sad fact is, that they are not alone in their attempts to try to privatize public property and violate our rights to freedom of expression. Their actions are merely the tip of the iceberg.

The Court even awarded Mike, the fellow who challenged the rules, $20,000.

Now, NW Folklife is trying to pretend that the Court's decision didn't happen. They are feigning ignorance of the law and in so doing are stepping on the rights of all Americans under the First Amendment. If they're so intent on being petty dictators, why don't they simply go out and find their own piece of ground to do so, preferably, somewhere far away from this land of the free!

NW Folklife has drawn their rule book directly from that which the Seattle Center tried to use and then added many more restrictions, "for the safety and enjoyment of all who attend." This statement is simply hogwash with regard to what happened to me last year. No one's "safety" was threatened by my presence and many were enjoying my presence there but their enjoyment was cut short when the head of NW Folklife's security walked up to me to threaten me, intimidate me and ultimately have me forcibly removed from the event by the police.

Playing folk music is not a criminal offense, unless you happen to be playing it at the NW Folklife Festival! Criminalizing freedom of expression is against the law! If whoever posted the post above as GUEST Northwest Folklife had a pair they wouldn't have posted as an anonymous GUEST and would have addressed the actual issues here instead of spouting PR BS. The only reason they didn't do so is because they haven't got a legal leg to stand on.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 06 May 10 - 02:10 PM

"Our guidelines have not changed—they are the same ones we have used for several years."

Just because they've gotten away with using them for "several years" doesn't make their "guidelines" legal in this country. In fact, some of their "guidelines" have been challenged in court and proven to be unconstitutional.

Because they have been breaking the law for "several years" they feel justified in continuing to do so!? There are a lot of corporate shenanigans that Wall Street has been using for "years" too. I suppose NW Folklife wants to tell us that those crooks had the right to bring millions to ruin as a result of their mismanagement. Or perhaps NW Folklife would like to defend Bernie Madoff's actions next. Because, after all, he used his tactics for "years" to rip off billions.

This is the very issue. These "guidelines" must change, in order to be in accordance with the law. On June 24th 2009, 8 out of 11 judges of the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit have invalidated some of these "guidelines" and the NW Folklife Festival doesn't appear to believe that they have to comply with the Court's decisions on this matter. They are acting criminally by proposing that citizens of the United States have to follow their unconstitutional "guidelines". They are behaving criminally by refusing to recognize or obey the laws as described by the Court. They apparently don't feel as though they have to abide by the principles expressed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

And the NW Folklife Festival wants to defend these actions, trashing our precious rights under the Constitution on Memorial Day weekend? It a slap in the face of every hero who bravely stepped forward to do his or her duty to defend this country and the principles it stands for. Their "guidelines" tread on the very fabric that makes this country great.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 May 10 - 02:50 PM

I've followed this with interest but haven't commented previously because I live in NW England, not NW USA, and certainly have no basis to comment on the US Constitution.

However it seems to me that the "rules" are sensible provisions to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone attending. Surely similar provisions have to be made for other public gatherings throughout the USA - how do they address the legal issues? How does any festival or other event taking place on public land ensure the public's and performers' safely without infringing someone's constitutional rights?

It occurs to me that if performers at NW Folklife were all to insist on their constitutional right to perform what they like, where they like, when they like, then it would become impossible to control health and safety and the event could not carry on.

The OP is pissed off because of the way he was treated at a previous festival. I don't know all the circumstances, so I can't comment on whether or not his anger is justified. But leaving constitutional issues aside (and I recognise how seriously these are taken), surely at any large event a bit of give and take is required to avoid performers infringing on each other or obstructing the public.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: John P
Date: 06 May 10 - 05:41 PM

Just a hypothetical question: If I paid the Seattle Parks Department a bunch of money to hold my wedding in a public park, would I have to allow a busker to play for my wedding guests?


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 06 May 10 - 09:17 PM

Nice try John but you can't compare apples and oranges here.

But if you are planning a wedding in a public park soon, allow me to insert this plug. I can play a beautiful version of the Wedding March (you know, Here Comes The Bride...) with my musical saw and have done so at a couple of matrimonial ceremonies. ;o)


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 May 10 - 09:45 PM

"We bring a large crowd to Seattle Center for the Festival, which means that street performers have lots of people to entertain"

Am somewhat bemused by this oft experienced common arrogant attitude - that owing to the 'good heartedness' of the 'organisers', now the 'performers' have 'somewhere to go' for their own pleasure... haha :-)


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Stewart
Date: 06 May 10 - 11:50 PM

rules of conduct
announced by the the Seattle Parks Superintendent
earlier this year. One of the proposed rules advocated by
the Superintendent, but rejected by the Park Board was
"no spitting on park property."

I don't see anything that Reggie was doing that is
prohibited by these rules, however constitutionally-questionable,
vaguely worded, or difficult-to-enforce they might be.

The issue here is how to promote common courtesy and
respect in a public space. Reggie is a good friend of mine
and I have high respect for his integrity and courteous behavior.
He's not about to play loud obnoxious music right next to
your wedding ceremony in a public park. But if he did,
you might want to reconsider having your wedding in the park,
or he might want to consider fleeing the wrath of others in the park.
It's all a matter of common courteous concern for others, and
strict legislation of behavior does not seem to be the answer.
As I understand it, from talking to Reggie and reading his posts,
Reggie was acting in a responsible and courteous manner. But the rules
were unbending, strictly speaking unconstitutional, and the
punishment did not fit the supposed crime.

Cheers, S. in Seattle
where politeness is above average


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 07 May 10 - 01:04 AM

Howard Jones,

"leaving constitutional issues aside"

That's exactly what this event has done. They've tossed our constitutional rights in the trash for the sake of exercising their control over our rights.

"surely at any large event a bit of give and take is required to avoid performers infringing on each other or obstructing the public.'

My point exactly, no one was infringing on anyone else, in my case. Nor was anyone obstructing the public in my case. I understand that you weren't there and witness to what happened. You only have my words as evidence. I, however, have witnesses to exactly what went down.

My point is, that their security was entirely uninterested in give and take and apparently felt like bullying someone. NW Folklife's rules should not condone such behavior but they, nevertheless, allowed him to act with impunity by threatening me, intimidating me, and trying his best to trump up charges against me. Until finally, he just plain lied about me to justify police intervention.

But my concern goes beyond what happened to me at this event last year. It was about three weeks after Memorial Day 2009 that the court case was won, in favor of street performing being a protected First Amendment right on public property. That is my point.

You seem to have the opinion that, adults engaging in a time honored performance tradition, are somehow incapable of doing so responsibly without the malevolent oversight of a compassionless corporation enacting illegal legislation to restrict us in that endeavor. I'm of the mind that grownups playing folk music know how to behave themselves.

How is it that we can proudly uphold our Second Amendment right to bear arms in public spaces but somehow NW Folklife seems to think that dangerously unsafe folksingers have to be placed under their control for the safety of the public?


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 07 May 10 - 04:15 AM

Is it a US thing that once you have the money you hang on like crazy.

You could argue is that the USA exists mainly because of an attempt to hold on to what were seen then then as very lucrative colonial properties. The citizens of the USA do not have a monopoly on hanging on to what they hold.

But in this case whatever the policies, those who were powered to enforce did not seem aware or if they did, they saw no reasons to follow them.

Perhaps there is at least some agreement that this is an area which needs to be improved?


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Howard Jones
Date: 07 May 10 - 05:01 AM

Reggie, you say that "no one was infringing on anyone else, in my case. Nor was anyone obstructing the public in my case." However your point, as I understand it, is that even if you had been doing this their action would still have been unlawful.

I cannot understand how it is possible to organise any large event without exercising some control over the people attending, whether they're the audience or performers. Otherwise the result would be at best chaos and at worst dangerous. However that is what you appear to be advocating.

Your argument appears to be that the First Amendment gives you the right to perform when and where you like without regard to what else is going on. Perhaps so, but all I'm saying is that if you're going to attend a large event life NWF (and take advantage of the crowds it attracts) then a bit of give and take is necessary, which may include accepting some measure of control by the organisers. Otherwise, the reductio ad absurdum is that the event itself is unconstitutional because it will inevitably infringe someone's rights.

As for the way you were treated, I'm not disagreeing with your version of events but,with respect, perhaps the NWF's representative saw the situation differently. Perhaps he used poor judgement in the situation, or perhaps he just liked to throw his weight around. Perhaps the police were called because he felt you were being confrontational, rather than because of your original "offence" against the rules. I don't know. However just because the rules may have been enforced incorrectly, unfairly, perhaps even unlawfully, doesn't mean that NWF is wrong to have some rules.

Incidentally, I see the "rules" also prohibit knives and firearms, so there goes the Second Amendment as well. That seems sensible to me too, but I'm from the UK where we think guns are a bad thing.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: John P
Date: 07 May 10 - 07:46 AM

I agree that buskers have the right to perform in public places.

I've been playing at Folklife for 27 years and have watched it go from the highpoint of my year to an almost impossible scene. I still play there because my band mates want to, because I feel nostalgia for it, and because I usually pick up some new fans. I don't, however, look forward to it or really enjoy it anymore.

When I started playing there, no one got paid and all the performers were from the Northwest. Some years back, major "stars" from elsewhere in the world started being allowed to play, and these stars were paid. This was a major slap in the face to the local musicians. I have watched the amount of care that is taken of the local musicians decrease every year.

The festival has turned into a generalized urban party where a large percentage of the attendees have no interest in folk music whatsoever. It's a free party on a sunny weekend . . .

I have a fairly wide definition of folk music, but the festial programmers apparently don't have ANY definition of folk music. Rap and rock, complete with full amplification, are intrusive and turn the festival into any other summer music festival -- why call it folk anymore?

There is an acre with hundreds of drummers playing full volume non-stop all day every day. Playing folk music in the face of that is almost pointless.

And as much as I like buskers and think they have a right to be there, they are a major pain in the ass. The place is lousy with them, from 50 little girls scratching on their violins to what looks like every professional busker on the West Coast. I don't know what the answer is, but I suspect the Festival gets as many complaints about them as they do about anything else. My biggest beef is that there is nowhere in the festival for a spontaneous jam session, which used to be my favorite thing about Folklife. Everywhere is blocking a path, right next to a stage, or filled with someone with their hat out. There are too many buskers to be functional.

I have thought for years that Folklife needs to move out of the city and off public land. The "free" festival is paid for by non-stop, non-stop, non-stop guilting everyone into making a donation. My understanding is that their contract with the city requires the festival to be free, but they still have to pay for the Seattle Center gounds. Who thought that was a functional economic model? It is bothersome that the festival exists because of local musicians who are playing for free and we get to watch everyone else in the place make money -- food vendors, craft people, and other performers who didn't sign up to perform.

Reggie, I have great respect for you as a person and a musician, but saying "nice try John" doesn't answer the question I posed earlier. I really am curious if you think it would be alright (as in legal) for a busker to work a wedding crowd. If so, why? If not, where do you draw the line?


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 07 May 10 - 10:38 AM

In your hypothetical question, you suppose a private wedding event on public property is the same thing as a public event on public property. They are not the same but according to the Court's decision; you cannot regulate how far away one might perform to a gathered group of park goers. That doesn't mean that I or any other performer would have the least interest in interrupting your private event. However, NW Folklife being a public event on public property makes the issue an entirely different matter.

Weddings are traditionally private affairs and are traditionally held on private property. However, I have seen more and more wedding parties taking to the streets. I've seen them happily bounding by me with that certain spring in their step, while I'm in the midst of entertaining other passersby. I've always endeavored to pause what I'm doing and grab my hand saw to offer the Wedding March for them. By doing so, I'm just doing my part to wish the happy couples all the very best.

Just as in your hypothetical, NW Folklife supposes the worst of those who are street performers, as though they had no common sense to act appropriately in public. I disagree. So, NW Folklife creates hypothetical situations, "what ifs" with which to base their "guidelines" to restrict our First Amendment rights. NW Folklife is not alone in their disregard for the rule of law in this country or for their disregard of our Constitutional rights. They've carried their "what ifs" far too far afield when they start criminalizing folk musicians and demanding a fee to play folk music on public property.

I've not noticed anywhere in their "guidelines" that such a fee is being demanded of those who are simply panhandling on the event grounds. Of course, the absurdity of that action probably won't escape the "public safety" minded folks at NW Folklife for too much longer and soon we'll see a fee being demanded from those who are simply panhandling on the grounds. Oh, and NW Folklife will probably want their 15% from them too.

There are many that have used the catch phrase, "for public safety" to enact their own versions of inane regulations restricting freedom of expression on public property. Of course, what civic minded individual is going to stand in the way of "public safety"? This is such a common tactic, that it's become a cliché to use, for those wanting to wrestle control of public property from the public.

That's the means used by those private concerns wishing to curtail the freedoms we enjoy in this country, so that they can have their way with public property and minimize the public's use of it. For the "public's safety" they enact rules and regulations which try to side step our rights. Because it's for the "public's safety" they have carte blanche to use police authorities to help them in their actions to minimize individual rights. What they actually desire is control, plain and simple. The "public's safety" is the least thing on their mind. Those who crave power over our freedoms have found an ally in the phrase "for the sake of public safety."

In my experience, I've seen many street fairs do likewise, to placate those who they charge a bundle to vend their wares. I didn't see any NW Folklife security being concerned about the "public's safety" when those paying hundreds of dollars to vend their merchandise under covered walkways obstructed the public by causing all manner of traffic congestion. Isn't it odd how the "public's safety" isn't a concern to NW Folklife at all, once you pay them hundreds or even thousands of dollars, up front, plus 15%, to vend. Oh, but let someone come along and wish to play folk music at this so called folk event and all of a sudden, they are considered a "public safety" nuisance.

Make no mistake about it boys and girls this is most definitely NOT a "public safety" issue. This is big business paying for the right to push their weight around and curtail the public rights. The Court, however, did not see fit to grant such powers to the city of Seattle. Nor did the Court see fit to grant such authority to the private company hired by the city that manages the Seattle Center. Somehow though, NW Folklife envisions it's their right to demonize and criminalize the playing of folk music and those musicians who play it.

To compare John's hypothetical to my situation last year, the head of security directed me to move closer to the greatest amount of noise pollution at the event to offer my musical entertainment, rather than allow me to continue to offer it as far away as possible from the din of drummers gone amuck, amplified electric bands and every other distraction. Okay, are you paying close attention John? Again, I had the common sense to find an area of the grounds where I could offer what I had to offer far away from the other public events happening on the grounds but I was directed by the head of NW Folklife's security to move closer to those other functions. If this isn't plain enough as an example of the difference between individual common sense and corporate insanity, I don't know what is.

Being an acoustic performer and a long time street performer, I was using reasonable care to avoid that overly crowded area of the event simply because it would be near impossible for anyone to enjoy what I was doing in an environment with such distractions competing with my simple acoustic sound. I chose an area with the least amount of distractions for the sake of being able to be heard and enjoyed by the few folks that paused to listen. I had no interest in trying to compete with an amplified stage or a drum circle just as I would have no interest in competing with your wedding nuptials.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 May 10 - 02:47 PM

I don't know where Reggie was exactly, but I think, from his description, I have a pretty good idea. It should have been no problem at all, neither blocking traffic, nor interferring with anyone elses performance.

I will wager this:   If Reggie hadn't been there, someone else would have been. So why pick on Reggie?

I think it was mainly because the security person was constipated and feeling cranky.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 07 May 10 - 04:40 PM

If you ain't got that do re mi boys, if you ain't got that do re mi
You better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee
The Seattle Center is a garden of Eden, a paradise to play in for free
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot, if you ain't got that do re mi


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Stewart
Date: 07 May 10 - 06:54 PM

Hi John (07 May 10 - 07:46 AM): My sentiments exactly!
I have performed or put on workshops for the past 7 yrs at NWF
for no money whatsoever, often paying my own parking or bus fare,
while a few "stars" are flown in from across the country or abroad
and are paid, while us "volunteer musicians" get nothing.

I used to be under the impression that this was a folk festival
featuring the folk music and folklore of the region, the Northwest.
But it now seems to include anything from anywhere -
from pop, rap, & rock, to anything goes, at full amplification.
And every year we get fewer courtesies, and are badgered more
and more for monetary donations and other concessions for playing.

Still I continue to come back, I don't know why, as long as I get
a stage or a workshop. But I enjoy it less and less.

But I'll be there on Friday, 5/28, 3pm, on the Folklife Cafe Stage.
Friday is the best day - smaller crowds, less noise, and hopefully
better weather. I hope to see you then.
Maybe it will be better this time.
Or not.

Cheers, S. in Seattle
where the sun is shining today!


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Stewart
Date: 07 May 10 - 06:58 PM

And Reggie, good song!

S.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Deckman
Date: 07 May 10 - 07:56 PM

I didn't think I would bother to add any more to this very good thread ... I thought that I'd already said whatever it was I could say of any value. But today, I chanced into a long and meaty, discussion with another serious folk musician, who also has a plus 20 year history with this festival.

I had expressed my frustration with the current product ... (note the marketing term) ... and yet I was a little surprised by the depth of his frustration and anger. He made an interesting point, one that certainly rang true with me:

It's really been since the advent of the "Folk Festival Promotors" ... meaning those who went to college and got degrees in folk festival production management ... that these problems have occured.

This NF Folk Festival had strong local roots. It was started with the locals, and for the first years, it was just fine: workshops, concerts, jam sessions, good clean healthy family fun.

Then came the promoters ... crafts, food venders, cops, crowd controll, diminishing parking for the performers, and worst of all ... the bringing in of "professional performers who were not local." At this point, the festival became a different animal, one that was way beyond local controll.

I just spent some time perusing this years schedule of performances and workshops. I was very, very dissapointed to see just how FEW performances I would personally attend. I get more quality "FOLK MUSIC" in one month in peoples living rooms than I can now get in four days of this so called "folk music festival!"

It's so sad ... what happened! Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Deckman
Date: 07 May 10 - 08:10 PM

I made a mistake ... I meant to say: "I can get more quality folk music in ONE NIGHT in people living rooms than I can get in this four day festival! KITTOS! bob nelson


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,The Boogieman
Date: 07 May 10 - 08:39 PM

Howdy,
I've been performing at Folklife for over 20 years. I've worked for the organization at times. Now I look on the event as a shell of what it was intended to be.   It started out as a event by performers for other performers , their friend, family. Now for some it's become another people watching event much like the University Street Fair. It's another bite of seattle for some, who come to eat and gawk. There is still a large group of people, who love folk music.   For years the festival organizers have attempted to make it an ethno-music event. The blue grass players, the western swing players, the folk dancers etc. now take a back seat to this concept.   One of the program directors asked m how we used to get volunteers to stuff envelopes etc. I told him, it wa all volunteers. There was only one paid employee who worked year round. The new festival organizers spend a lot of time in meetings trying to figure out how to get more volunteers!
They have meetings for deciding what new musical focus top have at the next years festival.   The festival has no institutional memory. Therefore they are always creating a new festival by new people with new ideas as to what is relevant.   American roots music is what created this event. All of the music that already exists right here in the NW is what the event is about.   If you build it , we will come and play. If the event continues to be a festival for corporate sponsors, we won't.      "How to Alienate Folk Musicians?" must have been the topic of one of their meetings. As top street performers, this year there will be many more than ever.   If the festival doesn't try to control the situtation, you can be replaced by the nine year old violin student.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 09 May 10 - 11:40 AM

I have to agree with much of what has been said here with regard to the festival's downturn. In many ways, the fall of this event has crashed more thoroughly than our economy. All, that once made this event precious to many of those who put their talents, time and energy in to making it happen in the first place, has been washed away via that downward trend. On the way down, many have tried bailing it out, in the vain hope that something positive could be resurrected or turned around but no amount of pleading, tears, anger, fists pounding in frustration, raised voices, emails, suggestions, letters, complaints, messages like the above, on sites like this or even goodwill on the part of those who wanted to see this event succeed, or restored to it's former glory has been effective in reasoning with the cold, callous, thoughtless indifference and yes, even malice demonstrated.

Here's an interesting aside to all of this. After hearing about this thread and possibly even reading it, someone from the event approached my friend, the one who I initially described in this post and reprimanded him for speaking to me about his issue with the event. They were trying to quell his concerns and apparently did not like the fact that I brought the issue to light. I don't blame them for that. Who wants to be caught with their pants down?

The people at this event have my email address, my phone number and my street address. They were (note I said "were") even once befriended by me on my MySpace page but at no time have I received one private piece of communication about this, not that I would respond to it, even if they did call or write. My only interested is in shining the light of day on the issues that have come to my attention, their belligerence and lack of respect for civil rights.

Being abusive to others is not something that I can stand by and watch, without speaking up about it. Sadly, subjects like this are the themes of many of my original songs. In the words of Popeye the Sailor Man, "I've had all I can stands and I can't stands no more!"

Most abusers know that there is only so much abuse that they can reasonably act out and that there is only so much abuse that that those they prey upon will put up with before that control, that they engage in, begins to backfire. So, the act of abusing others is usually a subtle dance. Those who choose to dance that dance usually do so by taking only small steps, so as to not arouse the attention of those who they are taking advantage of and risk retaliation for their actions.

Just as a poker player looks for tells in his fellow players to gauge and guide his actions in a game of cards, abusers look for signs in those that they abuse and use response clues to guide and direct their actions toward others that they wish to control. Like a magician, who is adept at sleight of hand, they are usually well versed in the art of distraction. As in this case, they show you what they want you to see and meanwhile they steal what they wish with impunity.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: mg
Date: 09 May 10 - 02:45 PM

But what would you do if you were in charge of planning for crowd control and public safety at this event, and the pathways are already quite clogged with the 10 year old violin trios? Perhaps allocate a side street and let them all compete without amplication? I do n't know. But I know the safety issues are very serious, and include, or included in the past the type of crowds that would drag you along with them, and toward barbecue grills and sometimes open flames. There are dogs in the mix, and I have seen pit bulls, on leash but not muzzled, at cheek level of babies. Oh but he never bites and it is only the way they are trained and not the breed of dog. I forgot that. There is very little open space for bluegrassers etc. to jam. There are people setting up big pianos etc. on walkways.

You have to be able to get ambulances or fire vehicles through. You have to be able to disperse a crowd quickly if there are gunshots, as there were a couple of years ago, or "events" such as a terrorist attack, and the Seattle Center is a target.

I don't care if some people can earn money there busking while others do it for free. That is not an issue to me. I also don't care if they pay Joan Baez or Paul McCartney to come and give them big bucks while the Scandia Fiddlers keep on fiddling for free. I only care about public safety, and this is by nature an unsafe event. And the number of buskers and kids playing by the dozens will only increase.

I think in general on non-crowd weekends it would be great to stroll through the grounds and hear live music and pay the buskers as inclined. But it can't be unlimited at Folklife, and if it is not unlimited, how do you go about limiting it? By permit? By location? I don't know. mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,artbrooks
Date: 09 May 10 - 04:12 PM

If you see a fat bald guy wearing an Albuquerque Folk Festival shirt, say hi, Art.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: John P
Date: 10 May 10 - 10:27 AM

Wow, they just keep digging themselves deeper. Threaten to call the IRS on a street performer, and then jump on him for talking about it. Someone from Folklife was on this thread earlier. Are you still here? Is it really the policy of Folklife to report non-compliers to the IRS? Did someone really call a person to say they shouldn't be talking about it? What's the other side of the story?

My own opinion is that an organization that rents a public space for an event should be able to determine what goes on in that space, even if they invite the public. Obviously, the courts disagree, so that's that. I also think that any rule that is pushed beyond the point of practical application is a fetter and not a help. Reggie being told to not play in a location that wasn't causing a problem falls into that category.

Boogieman, I can't agree with you that "American roots music made this event" and that there is something wrong with it being an ethno-music event. I've been playing there for 27 years and have never played American roots music and have no desire to do so. Ethnic music that exists in the Pacific Northwest should and does get included. I do think they should stop having a yearly focus on one type of music, since that means they are specifically NOT focusing on others. But folk music is folk music, no matter where it comes from. It makes the festival interesting, which a bluegrass and western swing festival would emphatically not be. Rap, rock, jazz, and most singer-songwriters, however, don't have much connection to any sort of "folklife" and apparently take stage slots that are denied to folks who actually do play traditional folk music of some kind. I would also like it if all the crafts and food had some connection to folk arts. What's wrong with having a traditional arts festival?

But the worst part, by far, is the hundreds of drummers having an all-day, everyday, non-stop bash fest in the middle of the festival.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 10 May 10 - 01:01 PM

Blackballed by Reggie Miles 5/25/2009

I got blackballed, blacklisted
Cuz I wasn't afraid and I resisted

My freedom, denied
Cuz I took a stand for what's right with pride

Got demonized, pushed around
Cuz I believed in my cause and stood my ground

Got knocked down, stepped on
And I didn't do a damn thing wrong

When sweet liberty becomes a crime
Our sacrifice to get it ain't worth a dime

You can spread your lies 'bout me all day long
You'll never stop me from singin' my song


Got blacklisted, blackballed
Innocent and yet the police were called

Denied my freedom
Treated like I was some kind of a bum

Got pushed around, demonized
For exposin' the truth and revealin' your lies

Got stepped on, knocked down
Cuz I believed in my cause and stood my ground

Folk ain't no four letter word
& singin' ain't illegal last I heard

When sweet liberty becomes a crime
Our sacrifice to get it ain't worth a dime


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 May 10 - 01:30 PM

In the light of what John P. says just above, can anyone explain to me the essential differences between the Northwest Folklife Festival held over Memorial Day weekend and Bumbershoot, the arts festival (also something of a mob-scene) held over Labor Day weekend?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: John P
Date: 10 May 10 - 08:01 PM

A LOT more folk music at Folklife. Lots of really good music, if you can put up with the mob scene and the noise.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 10 May 10 - 08:31 PM

I only care about public safety, and this is by nature an unsafe event.

The old 'red herring'.

Life is by nature an unsafe event. The only sure way to make it safe is to end it. Is that what you and others who ONLY care about public safety, intend to do?

Public safety is an important aspect of any form of gathering but most of us ALSO care about aspects other than public safety which are also important and should not be risked in the name of the often meaningless mantra that public safety has now become.

This perfectly laudable aim is too often confused with security issues, mainly as it tends to be security employees who treat these aspects equally and often overlook that these are simply incidental to the gathering and are not the sole object.

It is insulting when assumptions are made that responsible people who simply ask for their rights and for commons sense to prevail at such gatherings are seen as having a wish to intentionally make the public unsafe and have can have no regard at all to the public's safety.

But far too many of our rights and freedoms are now being threatened by measures which are stated to be for the public's safety and sucurity but which only affect and place limitations on responsible members of the public and which have no affect at all upon those who would intentionally transgress.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: mg
Date: 10 May 10 - 08:54 PM

It is too stupid for words to think that that is what I thought or said. mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: reggie miles
Date: 11 May 10 - 12:58 AM

I made a perfectly logical suggestion regarding the many drum acts that frequent this event. I suggested giving them an indoor location in which to perform. Taking that one faction out of the equation would dramatically reduce the overall din in the available listening environment on the grounds.

By an indoor location, I didn't mean an inadequate tiny room, with too few seats, or one that was tucked so far back into the corner of the basement of one of the buildings that it would be hard to even locate. I meant a nice indoor space with ample seating and dancing room, for those who enjoyed moving to the beats, with a nice stage, lights and even a PA, not that most drummers need a PA to be heard. Give them a worthy environment to consider performing in and they may just wish to happily play there. Call it, Drum Central or some such colorful name/title. Make it the place to go to hear such talents on display.

Of course, you could also do likewise for every loud combo that might wish to perform at the event. There are enough indoor locations that could accommodate them too. If listeners wanted to hear loud music they could go indoors to enjoy it. By removing the loudest volume makers from the outdoor stages, you lower the volume over the entire area across the grounds and eliminate the bleed of one loud stage performance onto another.

That move, to eliminate loud acts from outdoor stages, would make it much easier for those playing acoustic instruments in the same environment. More acoustic players could find places outdoors to offer their music casually to listeners on the grounds, like Bluegrass Hill. Those listeners who detest the loud volume levels outdoors would smile because their ears would not be assaulted by the harsh volume levels. Loud acts would smile because they would be featured in pleasant indoor environments, immune to the changing weather patterns.

Somehow, this perfectly workable suggestion/solution to reduce the overall volume levels outdoors at this event has escaped the notice of those organizing this event. Instead, they have given free reign to any acts drumming on the grounds, without showing the least concern about the volume levels of their instruments.

It's this same lack of concern that shut down a quiet acoustic jam that several old friends and I were having on the grounds. A drum group set up right next to us and drown us out via the sheer volume of their multiple drums. That group got away with playing what was perhaps the loudest African style drumming that I have ever witnessed. It hurt my ears to be in the same area. I understand that this (playing loudly) is perhaps the nature of their art form.

We were standing in plain view of them and they had no qualms about playing their much louder drums in the same area and effectively shutting us down via their volume. They used the volume of their drums, essentially, as weapons against us. They forced us to stop playing by playing so loudly that we could hear ourselves. Nor could anyone else hear us. We had to stop playing at that point. We could neither play or sing as loudly or louder than multiple drums being beaten with sticks.

I am also aware that perhaps this too is the very nature of their particular art. Drums have long been used in the art of war and establishing dominance. They knew, that because of the volume they could create with their drums, challenging us in that area would mean that they would win and we would lose. This was not a pleasant lesson to learn.

I didn't enjoy being forced out of the area because they were not willing not share the space. We tried waiting until they had finished displaying their talents and seemed to be taking a break, to once again offer our more quiet acoustic entertainment. Unfortunately, as soon as we started to try to play again, they started right up once more.

Sadly, this is not the first time that my attempts at performing casually in a public environment have been shut down due to the volume of those who played louder instruments. Most of those encounters with other performance folks were with those playing drums but there have also been those playing amplified instruments and horns too.

Usually, they have more than one person in their combo, but even one drummer can out volume an acoustic guitar. I've tried, to no avail, reasoning with almost everyone of them. In each case the parties with the louder instruments set up far too near to where I was already playing and began to dominate the same space via their volume, until I was no longer able to compete. Asking them to move to an area to where their volume wouldn't have a negative impact on what I was doing didn't seem to interest them. They've all responded the very same way. They knew what they were doing by interrupting me in the area and could care less that they were being rude and insensitive. There was absolutely no compassion expressed by any of them. Nor any willingness to cooperate in any fashion. That's been the same reaction that I've received over and over again by those who play instruments that have more acoustic volume. They've all acted as though they don't care and they don't have to care.

I'm guessin' that my only recourse is to just do likewise and make even more noise than they can create. I'll set up close to them and play a bigger drum. I do own a couple of big drums and I've been meaning to teach some lessons to those who see themselves as owning any situation simply because of the volume they can produce via their instruments. I see nothing wrong with fighting fire with fire if that's their game. Plus, I can be a really bad drummer too and I don't mean bad in a a good way either. ;o)


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: mousethief
Date: 11 May 10 - 01:19 AM

JohnP: My own opinion is that an organization that rents a public space for an event should be able to determine what goes on in that space, even if they invite the public.

Does Folklife rent the Seattle Center? That doesn't seem right.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 11 May 10 - 02:40 AM

The reason why all forms of over-regulation are implemented in the name of the public's safety and are generally supported by those of who would take such proposals at face value, is that we and especially our politicians in particular, do not always delve as deeply as we might into the real reasons behind why such proposals are made.

Politicians are understandably very sensitive to how they are seen by the voting public. Even the most obvious proposed over-regulation, which is unlikely to actually achieve anything to protect the public in reality but will limit their freedoms even further, will be seen as political suicide for them to be seen to oppose.

The real fear is that should they be seen to be making a stand against the imposition of yet more needless red-tape, they will be accused of placing the public at risk.

There is a big danger here and we have to wake up to the fact that there are powerful organisations and lobby groups which appear to see and value regulation for its own sake, in pretty much the same way that many of us value music making and the basic rights associated with this. Let us not make it too easy for them.

The key is to ensure that a balanced view is taken. One which recognises and values the activity firstly and only secondly addresses any real public safety issues but does not simply use these issues to further the distorted view that regulation is the primary object in itself.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 May 10 - 06:51 PM

"organisations and lobby groups which appear to see and value regulation for its own sake"

It's simpler than that. The 'creative types' (the 'right brainers') - such as those that 'can do' can make complex value judgements 'on the fly' and react rapidly to changing situations.

The "B graders" (the 'left brainers') - see Douglas Adams in HHGTTG where he mentions the entire ship full of "B graders" - telephone sanitisers, etc that were bundled off to 'prepare the way' for the 'settlers' - as a convenient way of disposing of them out of 'normal society' - NEED that apparently 'simple list of rules' to (whatever they substitute for...) 'think' with, and get frightened when dealing with the 'creative types', whose intuitive and convoluted thought processes they cannot comprehend. they tend to flock together in such "organisations and lobby groups", funnily enough, as then they don't NEED TO THINK INDIVIDUALLY.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 May 10 - 06:55 PM

"this perfectly workable suggestion/solution to reduce the overall volume levels outdoors at this event has escaped the notice of those organizing this event. Instead, they have given free reign to any acts drumming on the grounds, without showing the least concern about the volume levels of their instruments."

They are NOT Musos at heart, they are merely money making bureaucrats - "B Graders" - whose now guaranteed yearly income is not in any way related to 'making music', even if they 'make music' of any form themselves.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 May 10 - 07:04 PM

"It's really been since the advent of the "Folk Festival Promoters" ... meaning those who went to college and got degrees in folk festival production management ... that these problems have occurred."

These people ARE the "B Graders" - those who CAN: PLAY - those who CAN'T: get degrees in folk festival production management... :-)


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 May 10 - 07:11 PM

"They have meetings for deciding what new musical focus top have at the next years festival. The festival has no institutional memory. Therefore they are always creating a new festival by new people with new ideas as to what is relevant."

This is what "B Graders", by the very nature of their intellect DO - they "tend to flock together in such "organisations and lobby groups", funnily enough, as then they don't NEED TO THINK INDIVIDUALLY"!

But you really can't call "always creating a new festival" by their demonstratively ineffective repetitive processes that clearly demonstrate "no institutional memory" as genuine 'creative effort'.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 12 May 10 - 03:30 AM

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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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: Deckman
Date: 12 May 10 - 06:18 AM

Very well said Jon. Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: MAG
Date: 12 May 10 - 10:52 AM

um, as someone who has been shoved and threatened by busker audiences while I was trying to get through them with my guitar to get to my band at the roadhouse, I beg to differ about the safety issue.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,astro
Date: 12 May 10 - 12:58 PM

Becky (Desert Dancer) and I were there a year or so ago and I enjoyed being in Seattle, but really didn't enjoy the scene at Folklife. It was just too crowded which was exhausting. The Contra dance scene was again dangerously crowded. I will spend time at smaller venues with a much more manageable scene then there.So probably won't be back for a long time.

Astro getting ready for a nice weekend with Becky....


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 May 10 - 01:35 PM

So what do you do the first time a child is crushed? Or someone is wedged between the crowd and the barbecue grills (a whole other subject)? Or people in wheelchairs can not get through? Or a dog gets scared and bites someone? Or a cooking tent catches fire and the crowd surrounding it is huge and can't move..and that is how crowded it is. Or someone has a heart attack and EMT can not get to them? Say, oops, we are going to look at our policies and review the situation and see that this does not happen again?

One person busking is not a problem. 20 or 50 probably can be absorbed. What if people figure out what a great place it is to do this and 300 groups come, many of whom are young children..age 10 or so..a moving crowd can not even see them. You could I guess insist that children at least be in a safe area.

Sometimes, just to inform everyone, as there seems to be some fundamental confusion here, people with safety concerns only have safety concerns and are not using this as a wedge to impose fascist control on people...but safety regulatios are the same as imposing control on people..the intent is for the public good however. mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 12 May 10 - 03:30 PM

mg

You ask a lot of questions about risks that I am sure measures have already been introduced to address and no one here is suggesting that sensible safety concerns like the ones you list should not be addressed, but you did not answer the one that I asked.

Life is by nature an unsafe event. The only sure way to make it safe is to end it. Is that what you and others who ONLY care about public safety, intend to do?

Perhaps you would agree that your stated concern ONLY for the public's safety is common to all gatherings and does not only apply to musical entertainment?

In England and Wales, music gatherings are still being over-regulated and damaged because of a myth that such gatherings present more public concerns that non-musical gatherings held in exactly the same places.

Thus a single non-amplified guitar is illegal without advanced Entertainment Licensing but the showing of TV sport in the same pub is not.

After there was a riot at an outdoor big-screen showing of TV sport - our (then) Goverment were asked if the public needed the same advanced protection afforded to them, as was available for the single guitar player - for the showing of TV sport? The reply was to the effect that that there were no additional measures available in Entertainment Licensing that would have protected the public in this showing of TV sport.

But despite this statement, these same additional measures are still thought to be the only way the public can be protected when live music is involved. My fear is that your real concern for safety is perpetuating the myth that musical gatherings present more concerns for public safety than do non-musical gatherings.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 12 May 10 - 03:36 PM

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/80603w0003.htm#column_WA41

June 2008
Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in view of the serious violence and disorder that broke out in Manchester when a big screen showing the ITV broadcast of the UEFA cup failed on 14 May, it will review the exemption for broadcast entertainment in the Licensing Act 2003. [HL3715]


Lord Davies of Oldham:

The screening in Manchester of the broadcast of the UEFA cup final in a public place on 14 May only took place with the consent of the local authority and under restrictions agreed with the police. It is therefore difficult to see what added control would have been available had the event been subject to the licensing controls under the Licensing Act 2003, or that such controls would have prevented the disorder that arose.

It remains the Government's position that big-screen television broadcasts in themselves do not cause disorder, but that it is the consumption of alcohol at such events that can lead to problems. Decisions on whether big-screen events should go ahead are the responsibility of the local authority in consultation with the local police, who are involved at an early stage, and event organisers. It is already possible under existing legislation to control consumption and drunkenness in public places.

Under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, it is possible for a local authority to designate any area to which the public have access a place where alcohol may not be consumed. It is also an offence under the Licensing Act 1872 to be drunk in a public place. The Government are confident that the police and local authority in Manchester will ensure that safety and security arrangements provide a controlled environment at any future big-screen events.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 May 10 - 03:39 PM

No. I would have the same concerns if there were the same level of crowdedness at Bite of Seattle or an exhibition of Informercial Products on the center grounds or knitting exhibitions that drew this level of crowds. mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 May 10 - 04:27 PM

Another scenario..happened at the Puyallup fair recently..some mentally ill and hospitalized people were taken to the fair..they should not have been. There was some incident..I can't remember what it was but it was serious...bottom line is you have to be able to have security and police and fire be able to get through quickly..and they probably would be rushing against the force of the crowd. mg


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 12 May 10 - 06:19 PM

No. I would have the same concerns if there were the same level of crowdedness at Bite of Seattle or an exhibition of Informercial Products on the center grounds or knitting exhibitions that drew this level of crowds. mg

That is the common sense approach that I hope you can see is lacking in the legislation and official line that I have demonstrated.

It is an approach that is encouraged where the focus is on potential public safety risks arising around music making and care must be taken if this encouragement is to be avoided. This approach places any risks before the benefits. Of course it is sensible that any real risks are adressed but I hope you would agree that a balanced approach is the best one.

some mentally ill and hospitalized people were taken to the fair..they should not have been.

I see no reason why these people should not be exposed to the proven benefits of music making and also to the related social activity. Sensible steps should of course be taken to address any real safety concerns and possibly in this case these steps were not adequate but this is a good example of where a balance must be made.

For is it seriously being suggested that is impossible to ensure an adequate level of safety for these people (and others) and that the only answer is to deprive them of such visits? I hope not.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SOMETIMES THAT BEAR BITES YOU (R Miles)
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 May 10 - 02:28 AM

mg, I'm sorry if I missed something here. Are you saying that folks having their children in strollers are in danger of having those children bitten by unruly dogs at such events simply because they ride at the same general level of the dogs in question? This is not a public safety issue. It is up to the parents of said children to be aware of the circumstance into which they are bringing their children, a public park, on a national holiday, during a large music event, where, yes, others may also be bringing their animals.

I've never witnessed this kind of an incident taking place at this event or at any other and I've visited and performed at countless such events in my 30+ years of playing music in crowded public spaces. That's not saying it might not have happened or that it won't happen in the next few minutes, tonight, tomorrow or next week sometime. I'm just saying that we can sit around our keyboards a dream up all kinds of "what ifs" until were blue in the face. Then, we can sit around in various town, city, state gatherings dreaming up all manner of safety codes and regulations for all of the fears that we've invented and none of them will ever make certain that our interactions in such places are, in fact, 100% safe.

As a matter of fact, the regulations won't guarantee anything of the kind. They may quell some fears in the hearts and minds of those who craft such micromanaging techniques. In their minds they are doing all they can for public safety. The real issue is, are they doing all they can to "truly" help. More often than not those folks will go right on micromanaging everyone's activities until you can't scratch your nose in public without being accused of a felony.

Let's take a real and present tangible example to illustrate just how inane the regulations that NW Folklife have enacted are. The same regulation that I was accused of breaking, sitting under a covered walkway offering my art, did not seem to apply, in the least, to any vendor on the grounds. Now, how is it that a single performer with an acoustic guitar can be guilty and ousted from the event using police force but the same infraction somehow magically doesn't apply at all to those vendors who were doing just exactly what I was? Except, in their case, they ALWAYS cause huge traffic issues all weekend long. The difference between me and them was only that they were forking over copious amounts of cash to the event organizers, paying them off, to break the regulations and have security look the other way.

The Court has made plain that I don't have to pay anyone, anything, to exercise my First Amendment rights on public property. NW Folklife wants to pretend that they have the right to ignore the Court's ruling on this matter. They want to micromanage performers in order to placate the vendors who are paying copious amounts of cash to vend at this event. They don't want vendors getting upset by performers that might block traffic, that might otherwise pass by a vendor's wares. What you have here is a private security force not acting in the best interest of public safety but rather in the best interest of those who have paid copious amounts of cash to the event organizers. That, simply put, is an issue of big money unlawfully trying to dictate the rule of law. (The Haves vs The Havenots)

Look at what's going on in the Gulf of Mexico if you want a fine example of how big money dictating the rule of law works. Instead of safety minded regulations being put in place for the good of all, big money was able to side step the process of safety by, no doubt, paying off, with copious amounts of cash, the right political parties or agencies involved with such regulatory actions. Now, look at the mess they've caused. This is exactly what is going on at NW Folklife. Those with money are getting away with creating safety issues while those without are demonized, and criminalized even when they are not causing any such issues. Open your eyes America!

Who would have thought that the idiot, that did, would have pulled out his loaded hand gun, safety off, to pistol whip someone at Folklife two years ago? He even had a permit to carry it. The fact, that he had a permit, probably made a whole lot of folks happy and safe feeling but that didn't stop him from acting as irresponsibly as possible. There will always be those who cannot find it within themselves to behave and hence, why such micromanaging is pointless.

Lightning could strike any one of us dead in the next few moments. We might drown in our own bathtubs after hitting our heads because we slipped on the wet surface of the tub. I could get a paper cut from loading paper into my printer. Any number of accidents could, can and do happen. We can't possibly regulate to address them all. Nor can we even reasonably address which ones we should prioritize higher than others.

I am always amazed to hear each year how many tornadoes follow very specific paths throughout the Midwest and yet folks still seem oblivious to that fact and settle in areas that have been devastated time and time again. It's the same with those who live in hurricane areas along the Gulf Coast and flood plains all across the country. No amount of loss of life or damage seems to convince people that those areas are bad places to live. I think that these horrific natural disasters rank a bit higher on my list than the concerns you've mentioned and yet nothing has been done to regulate folks from living in many of those areas of the country that continue to be plagued by such ruin.

Reasonable regulations are one thing but even these, when enforced by unreasonable, power hungry individuals, who act without just cause to excess and to the detriment of liberty, become pointless exercises in man's inhumanity toward man. In this country we've crafted checks and balances into our system for the creation of such legislation and its enforcement and yet even with this system, meant to create order, peace and liberty, we are plagued from within and without our carefully crafted system, by those who would pervert it and subvert it to their own ends, case in point, NW Folklife's blatant disregard for our First Amendment right to freedom of expression. It is a protected right and not a privilege that we should have to pay them to enjoy!

I agree with The Shambles. Life is dangerous. We're all gonna shuffle off this mortal coil sooner or later. How are you going to spend your life? Will you spend it statistically determining the least dangerous path, always fearing the worst? (Cup half empty) Or, will you bravely risk the course and challenges that each new day brings. (Cup half full) Stuff happens and it ain't all good stuff either.

Sometimes That Bear Bites You by Reggie Miles 2008

Sometimes you get to bite that bear,
Sometimes that bear bites you.
You can never be sure of weather.
It may be cloudy but it could turn blue.
And nobody knows which way the wind blows,
But it blows just the same and it's true,
That sometimes you get to bite that bear,
Sometimes that bear bites you.

You might be ridin' in the finest limo,
Or starrin' in a Hollywood picture or two.
You may be havin' a ball at your A-list party
Sippin' champagne from a shoe,
But you know it won't last forever
Every up has its downside too
Yes, sometimes you get to bite that bear,
And sometimes that bear bites you.

You may be an ace at card play,
Or have a knack for rollin' them dice.
And you may win at most every spin,
Of that roulette wheel of life.
But haven't you heard,
You can't win 'em all,
Is the only permanent rule?
Yes, sometimes you get to bite that bear,
And sometimes that bear bites you.

Sometimes you get to bite that bear,
Sometimes that bear bites you.
Ain't no sense in feelin' bad, mad or, sad
Disappointed, angry or blue.
Cuz in this go round there's just one game in town
One toss of the coin then you're through
Yes, sometimes you get to bite that bear,
And sometimes that bear bites you.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 13 May 10 - 02:40 AM

For is it seriously being suggested that is impossible to ensure an adequate level of safety for these people (and others) and that the only answer is to deprive them of such visits? I hope not.

I have just thought of an example where the balance between benefits and risks would be different.

Casual visits to the front-line in a war situation would involve more real risk than could be balanced by any benefit that might be gained and it would be sensible for such visits not to take place.

I have not visited this event and even the worst accounts that I have read here do not lead me to think that it is (yet) a senario comparable to a war zone.

A view which places every potential risk of a musical gathering before its benefits, is not a balanced view and it is one that will not result in the sensible regulation required but will result in the type of over-regulation that we all suffer from.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: John P
Date: 13 May 10 - 05:42 PM

Unfortunately, if you want an organization to ignore safety concerns, you'll have to promise them that no one will sue them if something happens. I agree that people ought to be responsible for themselves, but an organization like Folklife can't afford to have that be their plan.

The unpleasant fact is that if there were a deadly situation and people were unable to leave the area or medical people couldn't get to an area because of the crowds, Folklife would get sued for millions of dollars.

I also don't think the buskers are the cause of crowds at Folklife, and I have no problem walking through their act if their audience is blocking the walk.


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Subject: RE: NW Folklife threatens street performers
From: artbrooks
Date: 13 May 10 - 07:31 PM

100


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