From The Folknik Sept/Oct 1998

Greetings Friends and Folkies,

Truckee's taller than me We both now routinely experiment in previously undabbled territories, and have been surprised by the results. Truckee's in a repertory theater, and I have enough water colors completed to consider doing a show of just them. I'm also learning to weld, sculpt, and design, but my afghans are picked up now less frequently than a koto that somehow soothes me.

After last year's tangle with the Russian River in Guerneville, I was ready to consider places like Wisconsin and Tiera del Fuego, but Truckee successfully lobbied to explore adjacent communities. There is here an energy as inspirational as it is contagious, shining expecially bright during the disaster . I was already building fantasy festivals in the sky. Enter Peter Krug and a serendipitous introduction to our future fiddling and picking landlord couple and our new home, replete with enclosed acreage for future concerts and gatherings, swimming pool, hot tub, bus converted to music space, and a pair of poodles. There was even a loft in our dream cottage to set up the computer and begin grant searches for start-up funds, while developing some great event concepts. Enthusiasm abounds with the locals, but largely without focus . Enter me, raring to go.

Did I mention that our dream cottage is in . . Rio Nido! I had no idea transition could last so long . Waking up to canoes approaching both the front and back doors was unnerving, disorienting, and spooky. Thus we are readying for another move. The PO (see below) is always good, however, and I'd love to hear from anyone! Promo packs, cemos, and CDs should be sent to me at the same address, c/o Artistry & Events by Upstage. In the works are a 3-day festival in early autumn (editor's note: did we miss it?), a 2-day event benefitting the American Indian Movement's Center for Spirit, and one definite concert series, with 2 others in the planning stages! Having been sorely remiss in the most rudimentary correspondence, I plead guilty to aggravated etiquette abuse and beg forgiveness, while looking forward to hearing from any and all of you.

On this note,

Heidi Barton

PO 1716, Guerneville, CA 95446-1716. Phone 707-869-9220.

Open Mikes

Ed. note: This was pieced together from comments sent by Bobbie Raymond and Dave Perasso regarding the Open Mike at the SF Free Folk Festival (FFF).

From Bobbie: The Open Mike provides a valuable service to musicians and music lovers in the acoust folk-music community. People sign up to perform for different reasons: (1) It's a good place to warm up; (2) they can get experience using a microphone or get used to performing for an audience; (3) they couldn't prepare a [demo] tape [for a main-stage concert set], or it wasn't accepted; (4) they just dropped in from another city or country and want to share their music; (5) children, teenagers, and handicapped people are involved, and access to the main-stage is limited; (6) enthusiastic main-stage performers want to continue; (7) there's a new song or group screaming to get out and be heard; or, (8) it's fun, and they want to please their friends. [Over the 12 years I have been associated with with the FFF], the Open Mike has been a rewarding activity that shows respect for, and nutures, the music.

From Dave: Open Mikes hold an important place in the continuum of folk activities, between jam sessions and song circles on the one hand and performances on the other. They provide an opportunity for [the folk process] to occur. Perhaps the most obvious thing about Open Mikes is that musicians who would not dare to perform in a more formal setting get up the courage to try a few songs. The informality of the Open Mike allows them to be on stage in a nonthreatening environment and to receive immediate feedback from audience and friends. Good hosts work hard to encourage the performers and to give them support and feedback. Many performers at the Open Mike just met each other at the FFF, or first heard each other at the Open Mike.

Audience participation is very high [at Open Mikes]. The performers are close to the audience, and the audience becomes a part of the music. This closeness is very important to the musicians. When musicians perform at the Open Mike after performing on the main stage, they often comment that the Open Mike was more fun, that the audience was better. This informality, and the impromptu nature [of what happens there], is an important part of folk music.

The Open Mikes at the FFF have been outstanding. There is an energy that comes from the festival itself, and so many musicians of different talents and styles all come together. The Open Mikes have been both a crystallizing point for, and an expression of, the diversity of the FFF

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