Opportunity for what? Fun, that’s what. And a little bit more, too. At first, it started out as an experiment (going back 20 years): could a guy call on some old contacts to try to put on some shows in an out-of-the-way location and actually see if people have enough fun to come again? It worked, apparently, as now we all collectively have so much fun that it’s becoming a little word-of-mouth cult. The audience has fun, the artists have fun, I have fun. So much fun, that artists have been blowing off much bigger gigs to play here. It’s all because of the sense of community that everyone brings to the table. Everyone is instantly everyone’s best friend, and it’s great.
So what can we do to make it even better? I had been thinking of just this when I got a call from Stephanie Lesnik at Field House Farm to help with a fundraiser for the Rettich preserve and the Madison Land Conservation Trust, it hit me between the eyes.
This was a ton of fun. Sure, worrying about the weather wasn’t so great, but the event? Wow. Why so good? Everything. The work by the land trust volunteers to get the property put together for the event, and the speakers they organized. The food by Field House Farm. The music by Low Lily. But most importantly, the people who came with the attitude that they were going to have a great time. And they did, and without them, it would not have been what it was.
Time for another picture from the backside during the soundcheck. It doesn’t add to the story, I just like it…
Back to the point: it’s the collaboration. Any one of the organizations could have, and already have experience doing, very successful events that people really enjoy. But, when you get the collaboration between various non-profits and business, to come together for a good cause, the results are amazing.
So this year, we’re taking whatever is left over, money-wise, at the end of every show (and it’s a small amount after the artists are paid, the ice cream bought, and the dinner paid for) and giving that to a local non-profit. Most everyone knows not one person connected to the series makes a dime, and they usually are our good sponsors, but this way, the couple hundred bucks left over will be diverted from workshops and advertising and sent out to do good work in the community. Hey, it’s not much, and we won’t be changing the world, but if some family or organization can buy groceries or needed supplies, we all win.
Hopefully, that’s just the start. I envision our fiddle club, the Skunk Misery Ramblers, out picking on front porches around town, generating good feelings for all. We play nursing homes now, but why not start a front porch picking day in downtown Madison or Guilford? Durango, Colorado does it, and it brings people from all over the area. They come to enjoy the tunes and soak up the vibes, and discover new friends and new places. They grow, all because of a few guys scattered around playing some tunes.
How about a town-wide music fest that brings together all sort of local non-profits and business together, down on the green, for the purpose of raising awareness and money for the local groups working to help the community, showcasing a few businesses, and entertaining the crowd with killer tunes? Why not?
Frankly, too many people are thinking small: What’s in it for me? What can I do to make my business make me more money? I want more. More.
Enlarge the focus everyone. What can we all do together to make something bigger than anyone could imagine? You want more? It’s the “rising tide floats all boats” thing. Collaborate. Reach out. Go for cool. It works, I’ve seen it.