COUNTRY ON THE MOVE
It's very interesting to see the 'season' of live entertainment slowly ease down in the upper Midwest, in anticipation of winter, but also because the 'season' for festivals, and other outdoor events, is a bit limited in this same area. We can sort of plan something from mid-April to late-October, but anything beyond those parameters could contain 'bad weather' elements that could not only cause an event to fail, it could also cause the promoters thereof serious financial difficulties. There really aren't that many 'events' or 'festivals' going in our state of Iowa anymore, but that certainly hasn't stopped music makers, especially good pickers and players from sharing music. 'Jam sessions' are the norm, especially in winter time when there is so little like-minded activities to participate in. Of course a lot of pickers, singers, songwriters, performers of all kinds, head south in the fall. Bob & Sheila Everhart, who record for the Smithsonian Institution, as well as promoting several summer events, go south fairly early simply because they do not have a furnace in their small performance center the Oak Tree in Anita, Iowa. Since I'm Bob Everhart, my response to that is, "We've never been able to afford a large furnace for the theater, it takes quite a bit to make all that work properly. We have the desire sometimes to keep something going through the winter months, but we also have to consider that many of our fans and supporters also head south. Most of them go after Thanksgiving, and then a whole bunch more go after Christmas. That's all fine and dandy, but what about those that stay behind and see the winter through?" According to dear wife Sheila, "Well, they could go south too, however that is probably not a usable option. Television is so dismal anymore, there isn't anything on the national networks that even remotely goes out to an older audience. There's lots and lots of cable television shows, but anyone with 'taste' isn't going to watch too much about eating strange bugs and spiders in some in far away land, or looking for antiques in similar programs all over the network, or even trying to find music programs that are attractive. RFD-TV has some very nice old time music programs, mostly on the weekend, but that leaves it pretty short-sighted for an older audience."
Entertainment itself is becoming a very 'controlled' industry in America. Conglomerates of huge business interests now 'control' just about everything we hear and see. They not only own the radio (especially the 'charting' stations) and television outlets, they own the record companies, the music publishing companies, the promotion companies, the publicity companies, and of course the 'entertainer.' Wow, that doesn't leave a lot for different tastes in the business does it? It always amazes me that it is like it is. The radio frequencies that radio stations broadcast on, are owned by the citizens of America. The Federal Communications Commission was established to see that those frequencies were not abused, or all owned by just a few companies. It was that way for a long long time, but today, none of that holds true. OPne company can 'own' every radio station in a city if they have the money and the desire to do so. The Congress even passed legislation to take PSA's (public service announcements) off of the air waves (radio and television) so as not to be a bother to the owners. PSA in the past was an incredibly useful way for a non-profit charity to get recognition and help. Today, forget it. So it goes for music, and the entire entertainment world. I guess it's back to the 'jam sessions' for me and anyone else that wants to actually play music. But, then again, sometimes a brave promoter will still do everything they can to keep old-time music festivals alive and well. A guy once told me if I wanted to get really rich, all I had to do was immerse myself in the sale of drugs, booze, and pornography. All of it for sale, with huge profit margins. Well, no thanks. I think I'll just stick with the Wabash Cannonball and let it go at that.
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International