February 13th, 2018.

Let the Takoma Park Folk Festival angst begin. The applications are up, which means shit’s about to go down. Last year was the first year I’d been promoted to the Chair of the Program committee and as such was the first year that I didn’t get to SELECT artists, I just go to tell people who WASN’T selected, organize the whole affair, do battle with various other elements of the board… you know… all of the angst and not nearly as much of the fun.

But the day of the festival – everything was clearly worth it. All of my griping, all of my rage – the day of music was spectacular and so I’ve signed up for another year of it DETERMINED to remember that moment when it became clear that it was all worth the roadblocks thrown in my way…

And now the sarcastic emails start coming in. Last year I got hate mail for selecting “not folk” artists over “folk” artists. A couple of messages that angrily point out how amazing the sender was and how obviously we weren’t looking for serious musicians. Plenty of grumpy posts about how artists that were selected didn’t realize that the “we don’t pay anyone” thing applied to THEM… my Takoma Park email address was spammed, added to mailing lists, added to porn accounts… it was all that Gamergate Trollism writ small (“small” because there was only ONE person who was actively threatening) and perhaps all the more insulting because it was so petty.

I’m trying to let it go, remember my mom’s words about ducks and letting it roll off my back. I just wish that I could dish out real consequences. When a “professional” is UNprofessional there’s not much I can do about it other than be unprofessional right on back – other than insist they’re not booked through TPFF now or in the future – I mean, in theory I can also block them from four local institutions and several venues… and don’t forget that bookers TALK to one another…

But going on about that is ALSO unprofessional. I tend to just roll with it and not engage as opposed to writing back “Thank you for taking the time to dump your feelings on a volunteer. I’ve made your comments available to the following local festivals, venues and booking organizations – so you’ll probably not need to waste your time contacting any of them in the future – thanks!”

And that would be unprofessional too.


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