Cross-Blogging On Summer Festivals And More

In response to a post here from 6/27/2008 on the impact of rising gas prices on summer music festivals, my Inside The Arts blogging neighbor, Jason Heath, posted an excellent companion piece. In his article, Jason takes the time to provide far more detail regarding some of the issues that musicians tend to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue work in summer music festivals. His article provides exactly the sort of insider’s perspective I’ve found most readers enjoy; meaning those who already know the info will still find it interesting and those new to the scene will find it fascinating. For example, Jason a recent personal experience to illustrate that playing in a paid summer music festival actually cost him $2,104.80. For managers and board members, it is an invaluable look at sometimes difficult issues from a different point of view because let’s face it, if your summer festival doesn’t offer tenure to regular musicians, odds are you don’t get unfiltered feedback from players due to their fear of not being invited back.

In response to the Martin Bernheimer discussion initiated by Iron Tongue Of Midnight’s Lisa Hirsch where Bernheimer claims blogs are at the center of issues contributing to the downfall of print based music criticism, culture journalist and blogger James Reel posted a concise article entitled The Enemy Within at Cue Sheet, his Arizona Public Media blog. In his post, James concludes "As the pros are being bought out or fired, their places are being taken, if at all, by deeply unqualified hacks. It’s becoming far easier to find intelligent arts commentary online than in a daily paper." Good stuff.

Finally, a number of readers have sent in their observations and thoughts on last week’s article questioning whether or not offering preview audio clips help with selling tickets. Emails and comments keep coming in so I’m going to push the follow-up article back a few days to give readers some more time to send in their observations (especially those just coming back from July 4th breaks).

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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