Mar 19, 2012
RIP Snowmont. We Hardly Knew Ya
The Snowmont Music Festival, slated for March 30-April 1 at Killington Ski Resort, has been abruptly cancelled. Give the organizers credit for being direct and honest in their reason for pulling this plug: a lack of ticket sales.
Somebody took a bit big $ hit on this one, and we're glad it's not us. With a lineup including the Flaming Lips, Diplo, Lotus, Snoop Dog, Chromeo, Kaskade and about twenty others, there are no doubt many large "50% Deposits" being left on the table as the principals back out from incurring further harm. We're talking 6-fig territory. It is unknown whether this is an in-house production of Killington's corporate parent or a third-party that was just renting the joint. Here's to hoping it is the former.
Several perfect storm type of factors might have been in play here:
1) March 30 is a pretty early time of the year to try to get the first-jump on festival season.
2) There is a glut of existing festivals in the northeast already, all competing for the fragile entertainment dollar from the same audience. Many other fests are shutting down. One can assume there is a reason for them doing so.
3) In particular, nearby Okemo is doing the same thing, with a similar gig being introduced this year in the same timeframe.
4) The lousy ski season means fewer people went skiing in the months leading up to this festival, which meant the on-mountain buzz was minimized.
5) That lousy ski season, combined with the lingering effects of Irene (which walloped this part of the sate), has the local economy reeling. That, in turn, will minimize ticket sales from local music fans.
6) One glaring execution mistake was made: the print ads only listed the various 3-Day purchase options (Early, Advance, Late). Single day ticketing was never mentioned (if it is even available). Sure, one could hit the mentioned website for that scoop, but that violates a central Marketing 101 principle: don't require the prospect to do extra work to learn the fundamentals.
Too bad. Live music is a tough, tough business these days. Festival production is the ultimate high wire act within the industry. Let's hope everyone is still standing and in one piece after this one.
Expand Your Horizons; Quit Smoking Cover Bands
Would we go to art galleries that featured nothing but paintings that were near-copies of famous paintings. You know: done by people that are pretty darn good at looking at the original hanging on a wall or in a book and then creating a near exact version on a canvas?
How about movies: if some local cats went about re-creating (as closely as possible) a well-known film from twenty years ago, would we go see it? Would be limit our movie viewing experience to only those types of works, with no more than one or two exceptions a year?
Consider what books we would buy. Would we only buy titles that were dupes of famous works, with only slight differences (maybe different sentence structure)?
Not likely to all three.
Then why is the vast, vast majority of the live music listening experience consumed in front of cover bands?
If we are in a Creative Economy era, then creativity needs to be supported, encouraged and rewarded. Not doing so for the most creative and ubiquitous of creative arts (music) is therefore economically damaging. Not to mention socially stifling. If your definition of "going out to hear some music" is a reflexive action to go catch cover bands; then you are part of the problem.
Support Live Music.
Better yet: Support Live ORIGINAL Music.
Move down to MOVE
Along those lines, Nanoburgh is looking forward to seeing how the upcoming MOVE Festival is pulled off in late April in Albany.
With an emphasis on local and regional indie artists (of the ORIGINAL variety), 100 acts will perform in 10 venues downtown. A $12 wristband lets you wander about.
We wish these folks well and will be first in line to support them. We'll treat it as a talent scouting mission!
This is the kind of thing the Albany market needs more of ...
Don McLean on the Warpath?
So, Don McLean is playing Saratoga as part of that city's spring Arts Fest, is he? Yes indeed; he'll croon in the shiny and glassy Skidmore Zankel Center's stage.
Maybe he'll get a buzz on afterwords and roll down to the Tin & Lint on Caroline Street. There, he can feel free to hunt down the location of that famed plaque proclaiming that space to be the very spot where American Pie was written in the early 70's.
Such a claim has since been found to be nothing more than a myth, of course, denied forcefully by Mr McLean himself on several occasions (including to us here at Nanoburgh a few years back via a phone interview). The Saratogian even caught wind of that old news (with attribution back to our work) on a recent Facebook Group chat, and ran with it as their own "investigative report" type of rah-rah (without said attribution). Somebody wake up the boys upstairs in the Legal department, will ya? What? Oh; never mind.
Once found, here's hoping he rips it from the wall and hauls it away for proper disposal wherever he deems fit. Like maybe the Hudson River?
Now that would be fun, wouldn't it?