Friday, October 16, 2009

Damp, Drab & Dreary

4th Street Art & Music Festival. Any Day Parade headline this event, playing as the last act in the evening, after which a keg was being carried in for what was a much deserved private party for fest workers. That show was after the rain, and I guess I’m blaming the rain for the dreariness when I spent time at the fest in the afternoon. A drab affair, but that’s how I always find this event. The music is good, music is always good, but the rain seemed to curtail some of the performances so I wasn’t able to experience much of it, except for the ADP set. Seemed the powers that be tried to spark the fest up some this year, adding a secondary stage at the other end of the fest, giving folks a reason to walk down (or is that up) 4th Street. Who wants to look at art in the rain? I always get the feeling that it isn’t about looking at art, but about being a flea market so our local artist can move some merchandise. I have no problem with that, but I guess I wish for a little more festive in the festival, not that I have an idea of what that should be. There was some outdoor painting going on, a kind of big balloon you walked into, some other activities that might be seen as inter-active, art-experience. Mostly, there were tables and stuff for sale. I’m pretty much outside even the fringes of the local art circles and I wasn’t in a reporter mood to jazz up a blog post. I had other things to do that made it impossible to tarry in the rain at the fest. There’s a clubby atmosphere to the whole deal—all the artists know each other, they are all young—seems like a closed loop to me. I didn’t see many people who weren’t of that generation, or of that generation and somehow part of this scene. This is not a knock against the scene (or generation Y), its members or their talent. Some awesome work is being done. But, if you are holding a festival, the purpose is to open up your scene to your fellow neighbors, share it with them for a while. Should we blame the closed-loop attitude of the young artists and organizers or is it the fault of the narrow-minded attitude of the older generation (X & Boomer) who seem interested only in youth they’re related to. Maybe it was the rain. Or the food (there were two or three vendors, everything looked unappetizing). I didn’t expect the selection you find at, say, the Italian Feast—but it is hard to believe the lack of support by the local restaurants—not much else besides the soggy shish kebob. Art is such a broad term, and but for the festival, it was mostly paintings. Maybe these things just work better in Williamsburg or Woodstock or New Hope, or maybe like much art, the 4th Street Festival is still a work in progress. It’s supposed to be the capstone event of the J.C. Artists Studio tour, but that tour is about as decentralized as an organized event can be. Saturday is the opening day of the two-day tour, and the artists were hosting their own private receptions into the evening. The artists who are part of the tour neglect the Arts Festival, the premier event of the tour, which reduces the festival to just another tour stop, not a destination. Hey, I’m just speculating here. Lots of reasons I’m sure, I could have just hit it during a lull and was too impatient to wait for the lull to pass. Let’s blame the rain for the drab afternoon portion of the festival.

No comments:

Post a Comment