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(Message started by: Shannon on Aug 14th, 2007, 1:43pm)

Title: Is music still art if nearly no one shows up...
Post by Shannon on Aug 14th, 2007, 1:43pm
Is music still art if nearly no one shows up to hear it?
Updated: 08/12/07 6:55 AM

Itís so hard to say this, but it has to be said.
Music Is Art doesnít belong at Americaís Fair in Hamburg. It belongs in Allentown.

Thatís where it started. Thatís where we all congregated. Thatís where it felt like a celebration of Buffaloís underground arts scene. Thatís

where, when you looked up, you saw a friendly face, more than likely attached to the body of a Buffalo musician, painter, scene-maker or supporter.

It makes perfect sense that Goo Goo Dolls co-founder and tireless Buffalo arts supporter Robby Takac moved his festival out to Hamburg, after striking a deal with Americaís Fair. Lord knows the powers that be in Allentown made it less than easy for the MIA Festival to take place. Shame on them for that.

But, whatever. We get so used to failure here that we accept it. And when it comes, we roll our eyes, and go back to the regularly televised broadcast.

As a member of the Buffalo arts community, I shed a quiet tear when Takac made it clear that he and the Allentown Village Society were not likely to see eye to eye, and that the city was not planning on interceding to any effectual degree. Takac, ever the soldier ó working in the music business means that dealing with boneheads is not a rare occurrence ó struck out for the suburbs, hoping that the fairís regular traffic, and the MIA devout, might commingle.

This is a great idea. Unfortunately, based on Saturdayís rather excellent (but ill-attended) maiden voyage at the fair, itís an idea that didnít work. MIA has been a packed, high-energy, raucous affair from the get-go.

This year it felt more like something Buffalo musicians know well ó a lousy gig before a largely apathetic audience, that couldíve and shouldíve been so much more.

This general malaise didnít come from the MIA stages, of course. There was a tight, exciting running order offering original music, dance, graphic art and photography spread across the area near Gate 4 that MIA commanded.

The turnout, however ó though enthusiastic ó was light. And something seemed to be missing. Perhaps it was the surrounding city that Buffalo artists and musicians live and work in. And Takac, for the first time, wasnít there either, as touring commitments with the Goos found him overseas.

Letís face it, Robbyís a big attraction at this yearly soiree. If thereís a kinder, more caring man in rock íní roll, I havenít met him.

There was some great music this year, and as ever, new, young bands and artists were fully represented. For my money, the Heads ó a group of Newfane barely post-high schoolers known for grabbing headlines a few months back after commandeering the roof of their high school for an impromptu concert ó a la the Beatles in ďLet It BeĒ ó stole the show.

The group came out and tore through some Metallica, some Pink Floyd and a heavy rock original with both power and conviction. The guitarist in particular was excellent.

Friday, I watched eight hours of the Warped Tour at Darien Lake, and I didnít see more than two guitarists out of some 25 bands with as much command of their instrument. Now thatís cool. And itís also very MIA.

Later, the WSW Rock Band, led by teacher George Olmsted on bass, kicked it hard with a set of covers that belied the high schoolersí ages. Again, this is exactly the stuff that MIA has always done so well.

Everything and You offered a set of original tunes in the punk-emo vein, and was well received. Earlier, Serious blasted through a selection of its own tunes, and won points for both passion and commitment.

The evening concluded with a set from Amungus, the avant-garde electronica project launched by Takac, and at one time, including the rather brilliant guitar contributions of the late, and much-missed, Mark Freeland.

The presentation was strong and well paced. Everything seemed to be running on schedule.

Takac and his wonderful crew deserve kudos for moving forward with their festival.

But MIA belongs in Allentown. And next time, someoneís going to have to come up with a darned good reason why an event that celebrates both the wide expanse of art and artists in this city, and an organization that has given selflessly to the arts community and beyond, has been banned from the city limits.


Music Is Art Festival

Saturday at Americaís Fair, Hamburg Fairgrounds.

Title: Re: Is music still art if nearly no one shows up..
Post by the red o on Aug 14th, 2007, 2:16pm
Thank you.  I was wondering if we'd see a review this year.  I couldn't attend and haven't seen much talk about it on the Goo boards or on the local WNY music board I visit.  The clip I saw on the news was pretty tight on the stage, obviously trying to avoid showing the sparse audience.

I'm so angry by all of this.  First and foremost, it's ridiculous that the city officials and the Allentown people are preventing such a wonderful event in its rightful home.  I've said more than enough on that issue, I think.  But I'm getting even more annoyed by the people who are supporters of MIA.  The WNY music messageboard I read is filled with prominent musicians in WNY, many of whom have played past MIA festivals and swore how wonderful it was.  This year, rather than support the arrangements Robby HAD to make (had to, not chose to) these people mocked the location and didn't even seem to attend.  Furthermore, the media did little about it.  When Robby called in to WEDG in May about the ordeal, the radio hosts swore they'd start the uprising and campaign against the bullshit.  They did nothing.  The Buffalo News' writers clearly think MIA should be allowed in the city, and yet they write only weak articles with subtle hints when they have the opportunity to write pieces about the unbelievable stranglehold the Allentown Art Festival has had on that weekend for far too long.  If I were Robby, I think I'd rather throw in the towel on the whole thing than carry the whole burden of the Allentown fiasco and let everyone else reap the successes and jump the bandwagon during hardships.  Typical apathetic Buffalo.

Title: Re: Is music still art if nearly no one shows up..
Post by DWG on Aug 14th, 2007, 10:21pm
Maybe next time around they could have the festival back in Buffalo, either at the old location outside Chameleonwest, or somewhere else within the city (perhaps the Albright-Knox or the Buffalo Central terminal) and do it on a weekend other than the one which has been hijacked by the Allentown arts fogeys. I think the Music Is Art event is strong enough to stand on its own merits,  given the right location and scheduling.

Title: Re: Is music still art if nearly no one shows up..
Post by Pon on Aug 18th, 2007, 8:00pm
I didn't read the article, but art is how you feel inside and a personal thing. I rather sit alone in my room and enjoy the sound of good than to be around most ppl my age who are into hip hop or teeny bopper music. Of course, sucks if nobody show up..

Title: Re: Is music still art if nearly no one shows up..
Post by tripper on Aug 22nd, 2007, 7:32pm
Ok, I think its my turn to speak up on this. No, I don't live in Buffalo, but I have been a volunteer for 4 years.  I wasn't able to attend this year for numerous reasons. But, I don't think people understand some of the issues with the festival.

First of all, the bands have to audition. Robby just doesn't allow everyone to play-even if they are friends. Sure a lot of the bands are friends, but its not automatic. Trust me on this-I know some bands that weren't chosen. The location in Allentown as well as the weekend it has been in the past was a good fit for a lot of the bands that played. Many of the local musician's play in a couple of different bands. During Allentown Art Festival, there are many gigs going on around town-usually within a 2 mile area of MIA. This gave the bands that played the opportunity to play gigs where they were paid, as well as volunteering at MIA. In the past, I saw many musicians play, go to another gig and come back to play with other bands. And they loved it! It was a great time for involved.

The location at the fair didn't give them the opportunity to do that.  This year, they also wanted new bands that hadn't played in the past. If you look at the line up, other than TJ who used to front Last Conservative and Agent Me-there weren't bands from previous years.  And some of the ones excluded- are on Robby's label.

Its too bad that Allentown chose the fake art and wooden lawn ornaments over true local art.  One of the main concerns was what it would be taking from the artists involved in the art festival. Guess what- 90% of those artists are not from Western NY!  They are making a lot of money and taking it right out of Buffalo!  They are not contributing to the economy there.  At least with MIA- a lot of GGD fan's traveled there.  I alone spend on the average $500 for the 4 days that I am usually there between gas, hotel & vodka.  And I am a volunteer!

Jeff's column was right on the mark. He praised some of the new bands but pointed out what a shame the turn out was.  He applauded the fair for stepping up and letting the festival take place there.  Maybe there wasn't enough advertising locally?

I know most of the voluneers &  guess what-alot of them were from out of town as well- as far as Cali to give their time.  How many locals can say that.

The idea of stopping the festival?  I don't think all of the people who worked so hard to put it on would like the idea too much. And I don't mean Robby.  It may have been a low turn-out but there was a lot of heart and hard work put into it.  They don't consider it a failure. They consider it a reason to push even harder to get it back where it belongs=in Allentown. And next year, I will be back with them.


Title: Re: Is music still art if nearly no one shows up..
Post by ChickenCookie on Aug 23rd, 2007, 2:08pm
It's sad to say, but I don't think advertising is at fault here.  There was plenty of local advertising, at least equal or perhaps more so than previous years when it was at Allentown.  See, that was the beauty of Allentown ... even people that didn't necessarily know about the festival could wander over when they got their fill of pottery and wooden lawn stakes.  And they did.  And the opposite happened, too; people who haven't attended Allentown in years (myself included) wandered over to check out the items for sale during a break from the musical art at MIA.  It was a win-win for everyone involved.  The culture and fabric of the Allentown neighborhood is a perfect fit for something like this, and it truly dismays me that anyone would stand in Robby's way.  Like I said, afterall, it IS for charity, for goodness sake!

I do give the fair organizers a lot of credit, though, for stepping up and offering a new, albeit temporary, home for the MIA festival.  It was really pretty cool of them to do that, and faced with no other alternative and a short time frame in which to pull it off, Robby had to take them up on it.  The problem with the fair is that it attracts a completely different crowd.  The fair experience is a multi-layered one, with families and old and young alike taking in pig races one minute, a civil war re-enactment the next, and hitting up the vendors for freebies in the Agricenter after that.  It doesn't cater to a crowd looking for a music festival or arts enrichment, like Allentown does.

I've already contacted the mayor's office and the Powers That Be to voice my opinion that MIA should be allowed their permits next year.  I do hope someone in City Hall listens this time, to someone other than the blowhards at the Allentown Village Society.

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