For everyone who came to the festival THANK YOU!!! For those who didn’t, you missed a magical weekend. We’ve had wonderful festivals before and will have wonderful festivals in the future…but this one was special.
When I arrived here in Sept of 1998, along with hurricane George, someone sent me a link to sf_folk and I wound up at the 1999 SFFF by sheer luck. I had a wonderful time, it was so hot, that I went home and came back on my motorcycle and brought my dog. I thought WOW this is amazing, middle of January and it was so hot we all had shorts, sunscreen, etc. I assumed it was always like that. I was WRONG about that! It hasn’t be that hot since and we’ve been rained out, frozen out and ‘hurricaned’ out (I know it’s not a real word, but it’s MY email). I heard such amazing singers, the songwriting contest, Jack Williams and Steve Glickstein in a guitar round, I was completely mesmerized. Then I heard Amy Carol Webb finish the evening with ‘We Come From Women’. I couldn’t believe anything so wonderful existed here in south Florida or anywhere for that matter. My idea of folk music was John Denver, Peter Paul & Mary and the Chad Mitchell Trio (all of whom I still enjoy), but had no idea that folk music was alive and well!!
I introduced myself to Heather, Robby, Sig & Marie. I met them a week later at Brian’s decompression party, none of them remembered me, I re-introduced myself. I met them again at an open mic or Luna Star a month or so later, they STILL didn’t remember me. After being a director of the festival I can understand why they didn’t remember me from the festival (it’s pretty darned hectic for us at the festival), but after the decompression party and an open mic, come on, I’m not THAT quite, unassuming and introverted!!! Now, I think they all recognize me…well I still have my doubts about Marie :). A few months later, there was some kind of ruckus in the Broward Folk Club, the Treasurer quit and I was asked to be his replacement. Fast forward 14 years AND I’m STILL on the board. I’ve often been accused of being a slow learner, I guess it’s true.
While I love the music, something we all have in common, I joined the club because of the people and the camaraderie. This is a community, the likes of which I’ve never been exposed to before. You all (or y’all as they say in the south/southwest) have made my life so much richer just being a part of this warm heartfelt community. I’ve been lucky enough to be in charge of my share of festivals, was able to bring you the Chad Mitchell Trio and many, many musical events. I guess I’ve just been I’ve been in the right place at the right time. I’ve really been lucky and am thankful for that!
In years past, the BFC had a board of 13 people and the SFFF had a very large core staff. I can’t remember how many, just remember going to the meetings and they were big! THIS year’s board from the very first meeting decided that it’s goal was to have a SFFF no matter what. The BFC board is now only 7 people and they ARE the core staff plus a few other people. To put on a festival with this number of people borders on sheer lunacy. Easterlin wanted us back…but the rules have changed. Since Wilma EVERYTHING has changed. Because of local government bureaucracy, the expense of having a festival at Easterlin or any county park is absolutely prohibitive.
While this festival had a similar look and feel as the old ones (but smaller), we had to completely re-invent every part of the festival, from the park to the food (we now have food trucks NOT a joy), new expenses and layout, etc. In other words, we started from scratch. I am so proud of each and every person on the board. This festival ABSOLUTELY could not have happened without each and every board member and Pete Larson. Just one person out of that equation, and it wouldn’t have happened. Along with dedicated people like Carrie Kaplan, Jay Kohn, Walter Morris and Mark Fodora, the event would have been much different and not as good, smooth or well attended; and a special thanks to my co-director Arlene who was awesome. Of course, thank you to Ellen who made everything beautiful as she does every year. I am deeply grateful to all of you.
BUT what made this weekend magical was all of you who attended. While we heard so many ‘thank you’s’, we heard more ‘IT’S BACK!!!’. Everyone was so happy and had so much fun, there just seemed to be love in the air. It was an amazing experience for me to a part of this weekend. We will have more festivals I’m sure, they will all be good, some will be better, but I have a moment in time that will be in my heart forever and I thank you for that.
This is not written from the board or wasn’t intended to thank all the people who helped make it happen (so if I left someone’s name out, I’m sorry but Arlene will catch it). This is just written from my point of view, just as a thank-you for all who attended and made it magic.