A person has asked me, by email, to outline what I’d like to see in an Albany music festival. Figured I may as well share my response in this space; I tried to keep it short.
I’d like to see a weekend festival that:
1. Features multiple venues all over town, including performances on both the UAlbany and Saint Rose campuses… college kids are the Albany arts community’s greatest untapped resource.
2. Includes at least one noteworthy, contemporary national headliner per show.
3. Does NOT favor local bands… Sonicbids should be used to allow artists to apply for showcases from anywhere (and the application fee can go towards paying the national headliners). I think we serve the region best by making it a magnet for artists and art-lovers, not by simply gathering a pile of the same local acts people here can see anytime. Don’t get me wrong – locals should play; I just think competition from outside is a good thing, for many reasons.
4. Encourages all performers to busk around town, at malls and on college campuses to promote their appearances, and encourages non-participating venues to independently host art and musical performances for the weekend.
I also think the best time for this is in the fall, no more than a couple of weeks into the school year, when college kids still have summer-job money left and they’re still wide-eyed enough to be open to new experiences.
I thought Rest Fest was a great start – they just need to think bigger than one venue (and an acoustically unsound one at that).
Anyway, those are my basic thoughts… it would be a significant undertaking, but even if it builds slowly, I think we could have something very special here in a matter of years. It’s not so much about consolidating the current music scene as it is about changing the culture, enouraging locals and students who have never thought twice about music and art to become interested and proud of it…
Comments are open… will I regret this?