COUNTRY ON THE MOVE

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

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