Something Better To Do This Weekend
This Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22, folks in Northern California will have a chance to hear me play electric didgeridoo for free at the 40th annual North Country Fair on the Plaza in Arcata.
Get there early though, because I’m the first act on the North Stage, playing from 10:30-11:35AM, both days.
North Country Fair is my favorite local festival. It includes lots of great music on two stages, a samba parade, and the famous “All Species Parade” led by animal themed kinetic sculptures followed by revelers in animal costumes and puppets of all kinds.
They also have the best of our local craft artists, festive food, and information booths for local non-profits. Besides playing at the festival, I’ll be manning a booth for KMUD all weekend.
I love North Country Fair for many reasons. First, North Country Fair is a free event. It costs nothing to attend because the costs of putting on the festival are born by the craft artists and food venders. Anyone can come and enjoy the fair, whether they have money to spare or not, and people who have money, can spend it on handmade crafts, clothes and food, which supports local artists, and helps build Humboldt County’s economic diversity.
Second, North Country Fair pays all of the musicians who perform at the festival. It’s not much, but each performer, not each act, but each performer, gets paid $10 for appearing on-stage at North Country Fair. That is a token of appreciation for the work that these artists put into their acts.
When you listen to a live musical act, you enjoy the fruits of years of training and practice, months of rehearsal, hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of instruments and equipment, not to mention the courage to get up on-stage and the energy it takes to pour themselves out for an audience.
Too many local festivals, (like the big one at the beginning of the Summer in SoHum) pay big bucks for a headline act, but expect local musicians to work for free. At the same time, they charge admission to the festival, even though local craft artists pay the expenses of putting it on, and volunteers provide most of the labor for free.
Yes, the folks who put on North Country Fair (The Same Old People) may not make much money themselves, (which comes from beer, wine and t-shirt sales) but they provide an excellent example of how a community non-profit should operate. The Same Old People don’t own a world-class concert hall, but they know how to support the arts in a small rural community.