Saturday, December 13, 2008

Boston Folk Fest canceled

Folk fest nixed
Yet another victim of tough economic times, next year's Boston Folk Festival has been canceled. Pat Monteith, executive director of the event and general manager of sponsoring radio station WUMB, says organizers decided it wouldn't be fiscally responsible to have one in the fall, especially with no corporate sponsors on board. Now in its 11th year, the festival - which has featured such headliners as Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, and Suzanne Vega - could be revived, but Monteith is hesitant to say when or how. "To be very honest with you, I can't even think about another festival until I get the radio station [financially] healthy."


Notlob said...

Why did WUMB management decide to communicate this news via what is basically a gossip column? A long time WUMB member and volunteer expressed his displeasure that it was not that day nor subsequently sent to the news list by email.

Read ongoing discussion in &

Susan Forbes Hansen said...

Good question. Lots of controversy about WUMB and its selling of WFCR's folk collection at the LP / CD sale last weekend, too.

Notlob said...

They did the same last week at UMass Boston, but had not heard that WUMB had domain/control of the WFCR collection.

For the benefit of the doubt, I assume/hope both collections were first digitized?

My hat is off to stations that allow knowledgeable hosts to produce their own shows, playing music by their choice, not that of "music directors" whose interest is artibron (sp?) ratings.

Eli Polonsky said...

It's my understanding that any physical property, including records/CD's, of any University of Massachusetts radio station, whether WUMB, WFCR or any one of the many others, becomes property of the University of Massachusetts system, allowing any of their stations to make arrangements with any other to do whatever they agree upon with it upon approval of the U. Mass. administration.

I very much doubt that they went through the work and spent the time and effort that would have been necessary to have digitized the collection.

As for Music Directors and Arbitron ratings, it's the station management above them who are concerned with ratings because they affect their funding grant status from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and they also believe that higher listener ratings translates to more pledges during fundraisers.

This is the way the station is run by its management, and the Music Director is simply hired to facilitate that particular business model that the management above him wants. He's only doing the job he was hired to do.

Fortunately, there are many shows that are alternatives to "public radio" music stations that are run like commercial music stations among all the non-commercial, largely volunteer staffed college and community stations in New England elsewhere on the dial, including Susan's program on WHUS in CT.

Susan Forbes Hansen said...

Well, technically the recordings remain the property of the labels and artists (check out those stickers on some of the CDs you've bought at a radio station's sale!). But I think most stations assume that because no one's come and rounded up their property, the station can take it via ... I dunno, eminent domain or something.

The WFCR collection of LPs was started by Mary DesRosiers, the founder of Valley Folk. I inherited the show in 1985, a few years before the CD revolution, so every CD that came into that collection was under my supervision.

When Valley Folk was canceled, I was offered the collection for WHUS, but there was a lot of overlap, not much more room at WHUS, and I didn't have the time while still employed to pick and choose. Every so often I remember a particular recording that I'd love to have, but too late.

I thought that the collection would subsequently be offered to the other stations that program folk / acoustic music, and maybe it was. All I know is that the Thursday night before the sale I was alerted by a WUMB volunteer who's a listener. And then on Saturday night I heard from another listener who'd spent several hundred dollars on the gems.

And no, the collection certainly wasn't digitized.

Notlob said...

Here is the notice of the WUMB sale. If possible I'd like to see the corresponding WFCR notice.

WUMB’s renowned CD and LP Sale is back for another year! This incredible sale begins on Saturday, December 6th, from 9am until 5pm and continues on Sunday the 7th from 9am – 3pm on the UMass Boston Campus in the McCormack Cafeteria on the 3rd floor of McCormack Hall.

With over 15,000 items to choose from in the genres of R&B, smooth and traditional jazz, and much more, you’re sure to find the perfect holiday gift for a friend or the perfect addition for your personal music collection. Prices start as low as 50 cents and all proceeds support WUMB, a local nonprofit public radio station, where musical roots continue to grow.

Join us for what has always been a fun and fruitful event for the music lover in all of us!

For directions and parking information visit:

Susan Forbes Hansen said...

AS FAR AS I KNOW (and I could be wrong about this), WFCR posted no notice, not even to its employees.

Notlob said...

WUMB is at it again.
From the January WUMB "Folk Ripples".

"WUMB Music Marketplace Returns!

"WUMB will host another music sale on Wednesday, January 28,
containing Jazz & Blues LPs, Smooth Jazz CDs, and portions of the former "Valley Folk" Radio Show Collection. CDs will sell for $4/disc and LPs will be just $2/disc. Bulk discounts will also be available. The sale is from 10am-3pm in the 2nd floor Lobby of McCormack Hall. See you then!"