December 31st, 2008


Time to start planning for festivals!

Some days, I walk arm-in-arm
with a fox dressed in the clothes of a man
and carrying many hidden things
I was thinking today of the festival circuit, and how it looks these days.

A lot of festivals have the same presenters, over and over again. I mean, how many times have you gone to a festival, looked at the schedule, and said, "Damn, that Michael J Dangler guy is presenting again? Don't they have anyone else?"

There was a real sense of pride when Oak Leaves published several issues without anything written or submitted by me (except a filk I didn't write). . . It was good to see the mag run on its own, without me writing articles or editing the pages on the back-end, a sort of feeling that all the work I did for that rag was worth it in the long run.

I have begun to wonder if the festivals wouldn't be the same way: what would happen if I went a year without presenting at a festival, but just went to the festivals as a participant and hung out?

I already mostly hang out at certain festivals: Wellspring rarely sees me give a presentation, and Summerland hasn't seen a presentation of mine in a few years. But then, at other festivals I have presented nearly every year: Trillium, Desert Magic, and Midnight Flame (where I, along with Skip and druidkirk, was once the entire program).

I do not mind paying to get in to festivals, so the main perk of presenting (free festival admission) isn't so vital to me as it might be for others. Indeed, as a presenter I've paid where I could, and I've never made festival admission a requirement for giving a workshop. When cash has been tight (as it often is), I've occasionally really wished that a festival would pay my way for a workshop, but I've never made a big stink about it.

The kicker to all of this is that I would really, really like to see new people given a chance to give presentations, and to see people who haven't presented in years come back and give presentations on new material. While I am always happy to fill a spot on a program (or, as has happened in the past, headline a festival bill), I really want to see opportunities go to more ADF members, even if it means I get to hear myself speak less (tragic, I know).

Maybe this is the year to do that. Maybe I just need to hang out and be there for other members of ADF: the ones who need a presentation slot in order to attend a festival, the ones who have great ideas that need to be heard, or the ones that are just tired of hearing me ramble on about things.

My festival schedule is currently: Trillium, Desert Magic, Wellspring, Summerland, and Midnight Flame. I hope to sit in the audience at as many of those as I can manage. I'll hang onto some materials and have a presentation ready to go, but I'll offer to present only as a back-up in case they can't fill their schedule or someone doesn't show, rather than snatching a good slot early-on.

I wonder if I can manage to get to a few more festivals, as well? As the Buffett Oracle sang to me this morning, "Only time will tell."