Ether Music 2007 ?

Posted: 4/10/2007 7:06:08 AM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

For those of us unable to make the trip to England, there is the possibility that there will be an Ether Music 2007 in Asheville, North Carolina this year.

I contacted Moog Music last week about another matter, and Linda Lafferty (the former Linda Pritchard) mentioned that they felt they may go through with it this year.

There may be two problems with this.

One is that it looks like they would be releasing the necessary information to the general public far too late again.

The other would be the apathy of the theremin community and lack of participants which doomed the event last year.
Posted: 4/11/2007 1:46:19 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Thanks for the update!

For my part is was definitely *not* apathy but mainly the cost that prevented me from participating, this was compounded by late information which made it more difficult to plan for.

Bethatasitwas though, they are still a great *small* music company and not event planning experts. They still have my loyalty as well as hopes that they can get it together this year and maybe even get the info. out sooner and price it cheaper.

much appreciated
Posted: 4/11/2007 3:59:29 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

I've not encountered any apathetic Thereminists! Most of us are uncurably hooked on the instrument.

I think the short lead time is an issue, though. People's summer schedules tend to fill up. As much as people would like to participate in a Theremin festival, a short lead time discourages attendance.
Posted: 4/12/2007 12:46:58 AM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005 use of the word apathy is not in regards to the enthusiasm for the instrument but rather the will to make the commitment to make an event such as Ether Music possible.

Jason Barile, myself, and others had made a concerted effort to make people aware of the possible 2006 event, provided sufficient details about costs, and provided regular reminders throughout the year beginning immediately after EM 2005.

In effect, those who couldn't make it to EM 2005 had at least a full year to prepare for EM 2006.

Yet, Moog Music only received commitments from ten registrants (of which you and I were two) out of the twenty-five they considered to be the minimum necessary. Therefore, they were forced to cancel the event.

I don't know what else could have possibly been done to improve the number of committed registrants.
Posted: 4/12/2007 2:31:14 AM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

Thoughts on holding a successful convention:

1) Don't hold it too often. There's a limit to how frequently people want to travel for a particular topic. This limit varies by subject. Maybe a yearly Theremin convention is too much? Maybe every 5 years would bring a more enthusiastic crowd.

2) Hold it in a location with additional stuff to offer as a destination. It's all well and good to think people want to go to a Theremin convention, but people have more incentive if they can go to a Theremin convention and also do some other stuff... maybe even bring their family on the trip, and have other things the family can go do while they're making strangled cat noises at the convention. Moog Music is in, what, North Carolina? I'm gay. The South is not a welcoming destination to me.

3) Publish a detailed schedule in advance so people can know just what they'll be getting into, and so they can get enthusiastic about it.

4) The convention should ideally publish photos and videos of past events, and maybe even host forums online where past participants can enthuse about how great it was, talk to each other, and keep in touch after the event. Seeing that people went and were happy helps get people excited to go.

5) Make all costs clear up front. This includes getting a group rate at a hotel and publishing it. If I can look at the page, get the registration and hotel costs, figure out travel cost, and quickly be able to say "Okay, if I go to this it will cost me $500, I can handle that..." then I'm more likely to go than if it just seems like I'm going to have to shell out an indeterminate amount of money.

6. Email mailing list. Get people to sign up for the mailing list who are interested in the convention. Send them occasional reminders - "pre-register now for the special rate!" "Only three months left to pre-register and get the special rate!" "One month left!" "Last chance to get the special rate, through tomorrow!" "You can still pre-register online, even though you missed the special rate!" "Last chance to pre-register, the convention is in two weeks!" "See you there!" Sometimes people just need more nudges to remember to sign up.

Personally, I'd love to go to a Theremin convention, but I'm uncomfortable with the idea of going to North Carolina, and for the last couple years I just haven't had both time and money to commit to the purpose. Maybe some other year, and preferably in some other place.
Posted: 4/12/2007 11:23:52 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

All very good points Tom, many of which I've offered on at least one occasion to the folks at Moog Music. Trying to make it a yearly event might be too much to ask.

You are right that holding it in various locales would increase the odds of success. But, clearly holding it in Asheville is most convenient for the folks at Moog Music.

While most places don't have the quantity and variety of activities one might find in the largest of the coastal cities, it is always possible to find activities no matter where you are, provided you are open to the opportunities.

For instance, in the case of Asheville, N.C. it is located in one of the most scenic areas of the country a short drive from the Smokey Mountains National Park. Being a college and tourist town, it has its share of quaint shops and restaurants as well as artists of all kinds performing in the public spaces. It also boasts the largest private residence in the United States, Biltmore Estate, which offers regular tours. And of course, a tour of Moog Music would be a requisite.

I wouldn't know what kind of experiences you've had to give you such an unfavorable opinion of people in the south. There are good, and bad, people wherever you go. Unless you have your particular predisposition tattooed across your forehead, I don't know how anyone would know or even care. After all, Asheville, N.C. IS a college town, so I would think the populous would be a little more open minded than you might think. If I'm not mistaken, Armen Ra managed to have a pretty good time with us back in 2005 with no incidents that I'm aware of.
Posted: 4/13/2007 12:34:19 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

I know what he's talkin' about, as I'm a resident of the south. For some odd reason, some folks down here tend not to be as friendly to strangers. Just go to some of our bars here, and you'll see right off, that folks don't talk to strangers much. Go to bars in Florida, New Orleans, New York, and folks talk to you as if they knew you their whole lives.

Don't get me wrong. Here in Jackson, Mississippi you'll find lots of friendly folks, and we are host to the International Ballet Competions, as well as an orchestra, opera theater, barbershop chorus, classical style choral society, and a world class art museum. The list just goes on.

Each year, we host an anual street concert/party downtown called Jubilee Jam where every genre of music is heared all over the downtown area for three days. It's a blast.

As someone who's taken part in putting together science fiction conventions here when I was a member of a star trek club, it's been easier to hold local level cons once a year, and large national, and international cons once every two, or three years.

The barbershop chorus I was with for 20 years would compete every few years in international competions / conventions which are held in different parts of the country every year, as well as regional, and staatewide competions.

It really takes a nationally based organization with chaptors in every state, and thousnds of members to successfully pull off conventions every year, however.

I'd love to see at leat a bi-anual convention which would rotate to different places each time.

The concept of constant reminders, and preregistration specials is a strategy which works extremeley well for the barbershop society, and was successfully used by the science fiction clubs when forming conventions.

I don't know if I can afford to go this year, but I certainly hope Moog Music can pull it off with better turn out than last time.

Has anyone suggested to them directly, that they might consider carrying out the suggestions you've outline in the above postings?

Posted: 4/13/2007 1:29:08 AM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

Jeff, actually, all of my visits to the South have been truly lovely: I've had a great time visiting some of the more rural parts of Georgia, for example. But, I keep in mind that NC is the state that kept Jesse Helms in office, and replaced him with Elizabeth Dole, and frankly because of that a lot of a gay people don't consider it to be someplace we'd feel safe. If the state repeatedly puts some of the more rabid anti-gay people in office, we can't be comfortable that the people there will treat us well.

I was actually contemplating the idea of putting together a Theremin convention here in Boston a few years back, but then the first EtherMusic festival in NC got announced and I didn't want to give Moog any competition, I felt that would be impolite. If no festival happens there this year, perhaps next year I'll think about putting something together here, or maybe in New York. I could organize for New York from here I guess. But, if I do it it wouldn't be for profit, so the flavor of it would depend a lot on who agreed to show up.
Posted: 4/13/2007 6:26:26 AM
Jon B

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 8/11/2005

Errr... I don't know of any theremin conventions that have turned a profit. Most have lost money.
Posted: 4/13/2007 7:50:24 AM

From: Bristol, United Kingdom

Joined: 12/30/2006

I imagine that's for the same reason that there've never been any Stylophone conventions.

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