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Forward Music Fest thoughts

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Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby jjoyce » Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:25 pm

Since this board turned into kind of an ad hoc feedback form for the Forward Fest, now would be a good time for a debrief, yes?

What did you see? What did you like? What would you change? What were you hoping for but didn't get? What was unexpected?
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby eriedasch » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:20 pm

Here's another perspective of Friday nite:
http://host.madison.com/entertainment/m ... 002e0.html
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby wallrock » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:41 pm

What I saw: All Tiny Creatures and Juniper Tar at the HNS on Thursday, Blueheels at the Capitol Theater & the whole HNS show (Flatbear, Ra Ra Riot, Sleeping in the Aviary, etc.) on Friday, and Little Red Wolf and Crane Your Swan Neck, then Filligar at the Frequency & This Bright Apocalypse, Occidental Bros Dance Band and BLK JKS at the Stage Door on Saturday.

What did I like: I was mesmerized by ATC on Thursday, and I definitely would see Juniper Tar again. Blueheels are always great but the Capitol Theater was much too big for their 5:00 show. Flatbear was great but the crowd was too loud. Ra Ra Riot was fun and the kids seemed to really be into it. Sleeping in the Aviary blew me away, and really were the highlight of the weekend. Little Red Wolf was excellent as well, and the Occidental Bros got my ass out the seat later that night.

What I didn't like: Delays, delays, delays. It seemed like every venue was way behind schedule, the Frequency notwithstanding. The show at the HNS on Friday was running late and SitA got pushed behind Ra Ra Riot, which sucks for them since 80% of the crowd took off thinking the night was done. It also led a couple of their assholish fans to shout "Fuck Ra Ra Riot" as if somehow they were to blame. I also wanted to see Joe Pug on Saturday and hiked down to the Project Lodge, but that was pushed back to the end of the showcase and the second act was running late too, so I walked back to the Square. The Stage Door was at least an hour behind on Saturday before anything even started. I had time to run back to the Frequency and catch Filligar and still make it back to see This Bright Apocalypse. My well-planned itinerary was next to useless for most of the weekend.

Unexpected: BLK JKS was a bit out of my comfort zone but after the first couple of songs I really started to get into it.

Overall I had a helluva good time and I don't really have any regrets. When I first looked at the lineup I was disappointed in not recognizing many names, but in the end I saw a lot of great acts that I may not have taken a chance on otherwise, which I suppose is the point.
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby jjoyce » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:57 pm

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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby supaunknown » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:04 pm

I went to one measly show - the one we played at the Project Lodge with Ridley. They were cool cuz I haven't seen too many local bands incorporate the live & pre-recorded thing and it was neat to see how they made it all happen. And it was nice finally meeting you, JJ.

It was my first visit to the Project Lodge. It's a great energetic little place. Very friendly and inviting. I felt old, but ya know, I am.

As far as the ForwardFest organizers, well, I'd prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt this year. Considering what a clusterfuck putting together this event must've been, I think just pulling it off should be commended. Early on, they did give our little band verbal assurance of our inclusion in FF but then didn't respond to several inquiries as the date crept closer & closer and we wonted details. Eventually they came through and all was well.
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby SOS » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:10 pm

wallrock wrote: The show at the HNS on Friday was running late and SitA got pushed behind Ra Ra Riot, which sucks for them since 80% of the crowd took off thinking the night was done. It also led a couple of their assholish fans to shout "Fuck Ra Ra Riot" as if somehow they were to blame.


While it was not Ra Ra Riot's fault that the showcase got started late (the first band, Princeton, waited an hour and a half after start time for their drummer, and still played delaying the entire showcase)... RRR was to blame for the switch in order at the end. They kept asking SITA to switch, but knowing fully well what would happen, SITA didn't want to. Then RRR went to one of the FMF organizers and pulled the, "Our contract says we're supposed to play at this certain time, and that's what we're gonna do." People would've stuck around for them knowing that things were running late. But having them switch with SITA, like you said, made folks think the show was over when their set was done. Hence, the miffed fans.

I guess a suggestion for next year is to make sure there is a stage manager at each venue making sure set times are kept on schedule. If a band is that late... too bad. It's not worth screwing up all of the other bands' and attendees' schedules because of one band.

All that aside, Kudos to FMF for pulling off another year!
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby Kenneth Burns » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:25 pm

Harsh words at Dane 101, including "inexcusable" and, in the headline, "disaster":

http://dane101.com/forward_music_fest_2 ... s_disaster
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby Adam Powell » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:28 pm

There was no stage manager at each venue?
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby TAsunder » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:40 pm

We went to Pale Young Gents and Andrew Bird. The former were good, the latter great. Bird started a bit late, but the Pale Young Gentlemen started right on time.

I thought it was an excellent pairing. There were some technical issues with the sound during Andrew Bird on occasion, but it didn't prevent me from admiring the genius of the guy. He had this kind of socially awkward yet charming vibe to him. My fiancee would leave me for him in a heartbeat. It would take two heartbeats for me to leave her for him; the extra beat being to consider my sexuality. I wonder how many violin bows he goes through in a year - the one he used that night was tearing apart.

The crowd was a little bit odd even if you don't consider the group in front of us that kept leaving to get more and more drinks until they were completely inebriated.
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby supaunknown » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:25 pm

TAsunder wrote:There were some technical issues with the sound during Andrew Bird on occasion, but it didn't prevent me from admiring the genius of the guy. He had this kind of socially awkward yet charming vibe to him. My fiancee would leave me for him in a heartbeat. It would take two heartbeats for me to leave her for him; the extra beat being to consider my sexuality. I wonder how many violin bows he goes through in a year - the one he used that night was tearing apart.

Classic. The kind of post that might haunt you in your old age.

I had no idea that seeing Andy Bird could've been such an awe-inspiring, sexuality-questioning experience. The stuff I've heard from him makes me sleepy, but it's possible a zillion SPIN-mag hipsters are right after all.
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby SOS » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:46 pm

supaunknown wrote:I had no idea that seeing Andy Bird could've been such an awe-inspiring, sexuality-questioning experience. The stuff I've heard from him makes me sleepy, but it's possible a zillion SPIN-mag hipsters are right after all.


That's actually why the hubby and i left before the encore... we were both starting to doze off. While i thought his set was incredible... would i want to see him again? Nah. The guy most definitely has a lot of talent and i can see why he has such a large following... but i was starting to crave some caffeine.
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby SOS » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:51 pm

Adam Powell wrote:There was no stage manager at each venue?


I believe there was supposed to be. While there were a few FMF volunteers at High Noon on Friday, there was not a stage manager. And that show highly required one.
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby ForwardMusicFest » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:02 pm

First off, thanks to everyone who came out! This is only our second year and neither of us (yes, there are only two core organizers) have the luxury of doing this full time, so we really appreciate all of the support we've received in the community over the years and received a ton of positive feedback from everyone we talked to over the weekend. We really appreciate all of the feedback as we try to figure out how to structure the festival in the future, but wanted to try to answer some of the questions that came up.

Obviously, the main issue the came up was with scheduling delays. With over 100 bands playing in three days (and most in two) it should be expected that our optimistic scheduling may skew a bit on the late end. How often do you go to a show that starts on time? Now multiply that by 100. We don't want to get into excuses and specifics, but traffic, production delays, illness, travel, broken equipment, etc. all factor in and contribute to that, and with an industry that doesn't exactly pride itself on punctuality. With the exception of a few venues, things ran close to what we had planned. Honestly, we planned on tweeting a lot more updates during the weekend (which people can receive via text message too) but we were so busy dealing with issues that were popping up and ensuring that things ran smoothly and everyone got to play that we didn't have time to do so. We did our best to answer questions people had when they asked, but circumstances dictated that we evolve and think on our feet, and problem solving was the focus rather than communication. In the future we will have someone to take on that task too as we now realize how critical that is.

Some of the issues, such as Atlas Sound performing in the Rotunda rather than the Capitol Theatre were last minute decisions based on availability and on proactively troubleshooting factors mentioned above. Most of those sorts of changes we still believe worked out for the best. We did have both volunteers and stage managers at every showcase, communicating with us at all times. And of course, the staff at all of the venues were great at doing what they do best, but with no one from the festival organization getting paid (so that you can enjoy an orgy of music for $45 max) please again be considerate and conscious of the trade-off between professional staff and keeping our festival budget conscious.

Also, based off of this feedback, we definitely plan to pare down the lineup a bit next year so that we can focus on scheduling as that seems to be a major focal point after the fact. We hope that bands/audiences will give us the benefit of not getting too angry or feeling too slighted if we don't book them or their favorite band next year so that we can accomplish this. It's a tradeoff to be sure.

And as the kind folks at SOS pointed out the RaRaRiot situation was out of our hands and one of the most frustrating of the weekend. We still feel terrible about how the audience at the High Noon was treated although we do agree that Sleeping in the Aviary deserve headline status and are one of our all time favorite Madison acts. HUGE thanks to SITA for acomodating this and not replicating the diva factor of the evening.

Overall, though, we think it went very well musically and people seem to really love what we were doing. We nearly tripled our attendance from last year, and we do what we can with the resources we have. It is certainly a learning experience since we aren't professional promoters, but we really appreciate all of the support, advice, and constructive criticism everyone has given us so far and hope you will offer that in the future too.

As for the Dane101 article, consider the source and the previous relationship. Very sad and disappointing that it has come to that.
Last edited by ForwardMusicFest on Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby supaunknown » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:07 pm

SOS wrote:
Adam Powell wrote:There was no stage manager at each venue?

I believe there was supposed to be. While there were a few FMF volunteers at High Noon on Friday, there was not a stage manager. And that show highly required one.

Isn't the venue's sound person kind of the stage manager? Or do all the inflated/sensitive egos involved in dealing with bands require there be some don't-fuck-with-me-mutherfucker with a nametag that says "Stage Manager" running the show?
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Re: Forward Music Fest thoughts

Postby ForwardMusicFest » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:26 pm

supaunknown wrote:Isn't the venue's sound person kind of the stage manager?

Yes.
supaunknown wrote:Or do all the inflated/sensitive egos involved in dealing with bands require there be some don't-fuck-with-me-mutherfucker with a nametag that says "Stage Manager" running the show?

/Yes.
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