Where to begin…
The number of FARMers who helped nurture our Midwestern gathering is so many and before too much time has passed we wanted to express our blissful gratitude to you all and spotlight a few who were essential to making this conference happen.
First and foremost, we’d like to once again acknowledge this year’s patrons. In addition to the generosity of our perennial donors, we had several new sponsors this year. Our deepest gratitude to silver level sponsors – Wheatland Music Org and LilFest (who underwrote the printing of our programs); to Blissfest Organization at the bronze level and the following Friends of FARM – Stained Glass Coffeehouse, WDCB, WNUR, West Bethesda House Concerts, Chicago Songwriter’s Collective, Madison Songwriters Guild, The Ark, Ten Pound Fiddle, Maple Street Chapel, Two Way Street Coffeehouse, Andina & Rich, Andina & Irabagon, Inside Out Recording Studio and a3radio.com who also once again recorded the main stage showcases for rebroadcast (more on this later).
Tip of the hat to the members of your FARM Board of Directors: Sandy Andina, who managed the much bigger job of Registrar this year with grace; Stephen Lee Rich, who took on the challenge of scheduling and running our Performance Lane showcases; Nancy Emrich, who organized the outreach to our sponsors with the help of one of our beloved veteran FARMers, Sue Fink; and finally, Lola Tyler, our phenomenal Treasurer who went beyond the call of duty both before and during the conference to help with a smooth registration and check-in on site.
In anticipation of our growth spurt, we recruited a few folks with a desire to help who became our FARM 2010 Planning Committee. They are Cindy Morgan, Smitty & Gerry Smith, Tom & Bev Mansell, Jack Ferguson and Ben Hassenger, (who also organized our Workshops and Panels). In addition to participating in pre-conference brainstorming, they were all part of a wonderful team of volunteers led by Cindy Morgan. As volunteer coordinator she did an amazing job assigning tasks, scheduling the workers and keeping things running smoothly all weekend long.
On-site volunteers not already mentioned above were: Max & Ruth Bloomquist, Bob & Pat Hofbauer, Rhea Van Atta, Maggie Ferguson, Joel Palmer, Susan Harrison, Jim Hall, Bryan Baddour, Derek Daniel, Jan Krist, Chico Schwall, Craig Siemsen, James Green, Arielle Campion, Jobi “Johnnie” Mihajlovich, Paul Zimmerman, and Tom Saunders. We thank them all for their willingness to help and their hard work.
Special thanks to Christine Kuhn who tackled the difficult job of Showcase Committee chair. With more than 80 submissions, and our first year using Sonicbids, the committee had its work cut out and they did a terrific job. The results were two nights of superb music by a diverse line up of artists from all over the country. A new committee will be chosen next year, and each year going forward, to keep the selection process fresh and unpredictable.
Big, huge thanks to Maurice Smeets from Studio A Recording & Sound who once again did an outstanding job of sound and lighting for our showcases and open mics. Everyone was singing his praises all weekend long.
More thanks to Josh & Lani Richardson of Snapshotmusic who filmed our official showcases. We’ll be letting you know how you can get your hands on a DVD of their performances as soon as that info becomes available to us.
In addition to our outstanding Official Showcases, there were lots of great musical moments over the weekend, including but certainly not limited to:
- our first Midwest Folk Radio Presents showcase on Thursday featuring 12 outstanding artists;
- our first ever Thursday open mic;
- an inspired and entertaining key note address by Matt Watroba;
- a nod to John Lennon in honor of his 70th birthday hosted by one of Michigan’s favorite songwriters, Chris Buhalis;
- spontaneous hallway jams with Enroute Music and their Porchboard foot and slap basses
- Lunchtime vignettes from Sheila Graziano and Lilli Kuzma
- 60+ artists at Performance Lane
- the late night magic of several song swaps and jams.
Despite our best efforts, mistakes do happen and things will go wrong. We’d like to formally apologize for the errors and omissions in the program book, outdated information on the website, the meal-time confusion and any other inconveniences you may have felt over the weekend. Call it growing pains and we beg your patience as we work out the bugs…
…we heard and appreciate your comments and suggestions at the membership meeting on Sunday morning and have looked over your evaluation forms. Our virtual ‘door’ is always open and we’re eager to hear more. Keep in mind that in many cases we’re dealing with a lack of time and/or money. To that end, we ask that you also consider how you might be able to assist in the implementation of your suggestions.
We would like to close by saying how grateful we are to you all for attending FARM and for all the kind words. We had our best year yet and our goal is to keep improving. Please watch for a very important message with information about taking a survey. Your continued feedback will help us plan an even better conference for you in 2011.