Summer 1997 -- Volume XXIII#2
Editor: Angel Roman


President's Message

Another New England Folk Festival has come and gone, leaving many, many people filled with memories of its richness. The program was, as usual, jam-packed with wonderful events, and the weather blessed us once again. People keep telling me how well-organized the Festival is, and I tell them that the Festival Committee is the best team ever, working together cheerfully and with dedication to create our annual little bit of magic.

This year we owe a special thank you to our attendees: the gym floor passed inspection with flying colors! Members of the high school's athletic department check each year after the Festival, and were very pleased this year with the care we took. Festival evaluations also indicated that people were pleased by the lower level of dust, thanks to cleaner shoes and the frequent sweeping of both the main and lower halls; this is certainly something we will continue in the future.

I also want to thank all of you who parked at the Natick Labs. This was so popular we had to hire an extra shuttle bus on Saturday, which we did gladly. The town police were pleased at not having to ticket or tow many cars, and so were we. While we continue to try to improve the parking situation we very much appreciate your cooperation.

One of the things that impressed me this year was the attendance at the Sunday morning annual meeting. A larger group than usual, it included both people new to the Festival who wanted to see what we were about, and a number of members who have been coming to the Festival for a long, long time; some from the very beginning: Frances Clayton, Larry Jennings, Angela Taylor, Arthur Tufts, and Francis and Marjorie Worrell. Some of these people are still active in helping us run things, others have contributed in the past, but all are still attending, involved, and cheering us on.

The presence of these folks reminded me again of the original impetus for the Festival: a place where people of differing beliefs and backgrounds could come together harmoniously to share music and dancing and other folk traditions. It is, as one committee member put it, our own Brigadoon, where we can leave the concerns of the =D4real' world behind and enjoy the best of one another. One new Festival attendee commented on the "gentleness" he saw everywhere - families enjoying activities together, old friends happily meeting again, people treating strangers with warmth and consideration. He was impressed with how different this is from the usual atmosphere of everyday life. I think it is different, and it is important for us all to have a place like this to go to. I invite you to help us preserve and maintain it.

-- Nancy Hanssen

Summary of the Minutes of the NEFFA Exec Board

26 January 1997

Secretary's Report (Dan Pearl)
There were a few minor corrections to the minutes of the 8 December 1996 meeting, and they were approved.

Treasurer's Report (Ralph Jones)
Ralph presented David Reid's figures on contributions to Festival income by different attendance categories. The Ralph Page Legacy Weekend reports income on the low side; the estimated loss is $1500.

Ralph has indicated that he's the only candidate for RSCDS, Boston Branch Treasurer.

Booth Discussion
Ralph reintroduced the idea of charging booths a small percentage fee so we can more readily assess how popular they are. Nancy: There are other ways to find this out. Leslie: The fee is not accurate, given the wide price range of booth offerings. John: Why not just ask them to keep track. Bob: A booth that sells trinkets does serve a purpose, too. Dan: If we want to assess interest and education value, we should ask people who are being interested and educated. We should do a survey of people, say, leaving the crafts room during some times during the Festival. Bob: Could we add more vendor-related questions to the Festival Evaluation? Janet: Ann Schunior reports that vendors have enough to do without keeping up a sales sheet for NEFFA. Are we micro-managing?

Free T-Shirts/Tickets
The circumstances where we might give out free T-Shirts and tickets were discussed.

Arrangements (Bob Solosko)
Jean Krogh is taking on outside facilities chair (yay!). We have someone we are approaching about outside signs. One of the portapotties will be handicapped-accessible. There will be some sort of portable sink as well. Natick Labs parking has been arranged for. We'll have three buses. Should we have a motel run?

Dan will be handling pager and cellular phone rentals. There will be less parking around the school than before. Can we put in a flyer with the News? Answer: yes.

The folk bazaar will be shifted to the front of the trophy display cabinets to make room for shoe cleaning chairs. We'll get additional mats for the entrances to the main halls.

John reports that Chinese slippers are no longer available.

We have 18 returning craftspeople. I intend to have 31 total vendors. I still need an instrument builder jurist. (Bob Solosko volunteers.)

We got some information about past booth fees. Booth overhead is not met by booth fees. Our intention was to increase fees until the costs are covered. There was a lot of discussion about whether they could handle a rate increase until Dan observed that an increase of $25 per booth divided by 2000 customers is a couple of pennies per customer. A motion was passed establishing fees for food booths: Food booth fees will be $150 for a single booth; $250 for a double, non-commercial booth; and $300 for a double, commercial booth. Booths will be informed that our expenses have increased and their booth fees will increase every year.

Housing (Elsa Elliott)
We have a negotiated rate with Howard Johnsons Motor Lodge. I will be putting the housing host solicitation with the newsletter.

The possibility of running a shuttle bus to local motels was discussed and dismissed as impractical for us.

Safety (John Wojtowicz)
Any objection to Safety buying a mop and bucket for emergency spills?

We need more volunteers to police the shoes, which should be clean, and free of grit. We are going to have bottlenecks. We need to dry-mop the floor between dance sets, and we'll need four volunteers to do this in a reasonable amount of time. Black marks are made by edging ink and by black rubber heels. Clean leather soles are in general OK.

If someone shows up with bad shoes, we can tell people to dance barefoot or in the Lower Hall. Bob says that contractors have been alerted to wear clean shoes. Mary will encourage crafts people to go through the Activity Room.

Program (Janet Yeracaris)
The flyer is almost done. The shoe wording is still up in the air.

We've had a lot of applicants; we'll be sending out a large number of rejection letters. It looks like it will be a fine program. The program philosophy statement will be presented at the next meeting.

Sound (Michael Bergman)
Bidding has been postponed for one year on the Lower Hall and Auditorium. I am still looking for a sound volunteer coordinator. An independent curtain crew will take care of sound drapery this year.

Nominating Committee
The committee reported on the slate in progress.

23 February 1997

Secretary's Report (Dan Pearl)
There were no corrections to the minutes of the 26 January 1997 meeting.

Festival Publicity
Reportedly, Steve is preparing a press release to send out.

Bob is unhappy with the wording on the flyer re. parking. It is not clear enough that Natick Labs is the place to park.

Bob and Jean will be preparing an updated parking flyer to distribute at dances and at area hotels. Dan will produce the Mass Pike directions memo pads for the Exit 13 toll-takers.

Dan suggested that we collect flyer comments at the Evaluation Meeting.

Activity Room (Linda Palmstrom)
The Activity Room schedule will be on the grid. Some favorite participants will be returning. I have been experimenting with PlayDoh mixtures. We'll have a dress-up corner. Jenny Mosley is acting as a co-chair.

Arrangements (Bob Solosko)
We are looking into electric pianos; they would be more expensive. We'll likely get three conventional pianos.

Custodians will do sweeping for us on a schedule. Operations Manager will monitor the sweeping. We need to have announcements to clear to floor for sweeping.

Natick Schools says we can use the elementary and middle school parking lots (off Mill St.). This would likely require an additional bus (@$750), additional publicity, etc. Dan says he thinks the bus company has a parking lot that might be more conveniently serviced.

Nat Case will do outside signs. He will look to reducing number of signs and making them easier to put up. We are looking into parking map dispensers at critical intersections.

We're thinking of moving the bus stop to the parking area beyond the loading dock in the front loop (to avoid exhaust from idling buses filtering into the Music Room).

Waiting to hear about mats and runners from custodians. Can custodians periodically vacuum the mats?

Crafts (Mary Stafford)
Jurying is completed. We have 31 vendors -- a full hall.

Folk Bazaar (Angela Taylor)
Am I willing to consider expansion? Yes, ever since I've started. This committee has asked me to limit my booths. I can expand into the South Corridor (connecting Performer Sales to the South Room).

How do I decide the mix? It's a combination of people who approach me and people I find by scanning newspapers and other publications. I try to keep it ethnic. There should be music, but not too much. I like educational aspects and environmental messages. I don't expect a lot of turnover. I want a wide price range, but I don't want "Coney Island".

I ask prospective vendors to send me brochures. I like having dependable regulars. People need to commit to being there for the entire Festival.

The booth fee depends on the space and the amount of rental equipment they need. They range from $15 to $20.

We'll need better lighting in the South Corridor. Revels needs an outlet for a turntable.

We can't find the Indonesian vendors. We have two new booths: Fancy Cookies and Baked Goods from Maine, and Cornish Pasties. CDS will probably not be back, as they have no staff.

Program (Janet Yeracaris)
Philosophy was in the mailing. Things are going very smoothly with our experienced committee.

Performer check-in (especially with respect to Festival Orchestra performers) is the area that needs the most examination.

Sound (Michael Bergman)
New Volunteer Sound coordinator is Sue Carboni. I am getting some volunteers from the NEFFA website.

Nominating Committee
The ballot mailing will be Sunday, 23 March at 1pm at the new Janssen home. Please come and help! Incredible goodies will be served.
The slate will be President: Nancy Hanssen; Secretary: Dan Pearl; Directors: Rebecca (Angel) Roman, Claire Reid, Susan Worland, and Peter Olszowska; Nominating Committee: Janet Yeracaris.

16 March 1997

Secretary's Report (Dan Pearl)
There were minor corrections to the minutes of the 23 February 1997 meeting.

Ralph Page Legacy Weekend (Sylvia Miskoe)
The weekend was an artistic success by all measures. Income, though, was down $2800 from the previous year. The biggest conflict was with Steve Zakon-Anderson's Snowball. Profuse thanks to Steve, who sent us a $250 donation. We had a $900 net loss.

Next year, the weekend will be 16-18 January 1998. We have staff confirmations so far from Mary DesRosiers and Dudley Laufman.

The calling and music scholarship people were required to participate in open mic and open band situations. Nonetheless, there was positive feedback for this.

Festival Committee Badge Responsibilities (Nancy Hanssen)
Nancy reviewed the responsibilities of those who wear the blue-green Festival Committee badges. Early admission stickers are available. Rayna is looking for early admission helpers.

Activity Room (Linda Palmstrom)
The schedule is complete; there is a full slate of activities planned.

Arrangements (Bob Solosko)
Master Operations schedule was distributed and modifications were made.

It was discussed that there is some confusion on where to check in when entering the lobby. Also, late-hours check-in was discussed. Dave Reid said that he'd be able to handle distribution of tickets in envelopes.

There was a discussion of duplicated tickets.

We have gotten permission to use the upper lot at Natick Labs.

The South Corridor looks bright enough without supplementary lighting. Dan: Revels needs power.

We'll be having regular sweeping. Mike: Stage managers could be tapped to make sweeping announcements. Dan: Maybe we can attach bicycle horns to the brooms. Don: Someone should inspect the floor before the weekend. Bob: We'll have a full-length runner on the Craft Room side of the Main Hall.

The Cornish pasties lady is unable to attend. Collection of food forms is going into Health Department this week. Shelagh: Many people were frustrated last year having to find Ralph to summon him to the Pepsi booth. Dan: He will have a beeper this year.

Hospitality (Shelagh Ellman-Pearl)
I have two copies of an Emergency Procedures Manual available for inspection and corrections.

Dan, the Operations Manager, will obviate the need for a Board Member on Call.

Shelagh was authorized a small budget to deal with emergencies.

Housing (Elsa Elliott)
There are lots of housing needs, but few offers of housing. I am thinking of getting the housing form out earlier.

Program (Janet Yeracaris)
The grid is changing, somewhat. We are considering moving the timing of the program cycle two months earlier. There is a publicity issue too; people go to the Web to get the schedule before it is mailed to them as a member.

Ralph wants us to consider charging a commission at Performer Sales.

Safety (John Wojtowicz)
People are being educated about shoe issues. John feels that shoes exclusively used for dancing are OK. People are getting paranoid about shoes.

Sound (Michael Bergman)
Things are behind schedule by about a month. Contracts are satisfactorily in progress.

The curtain issue is somewhat unresolved.

Volunteers (Nancy Hanssen)
Volunteer Forms are at the printers. I need job descriptions. Dan thinks the emergency procedures for volunteers can be reduced to postcard size. Dan also suggests giving extra forms to past volunteers so they can pass the forms to friends.

Michael: I am looking into offset printing. Would it be beneficial to get a printer in the office?

Future Meeting Dates
Please call 508-229-2854 for the schedule of future meetings.

Sad News

Charles Francisco, a long-time international folk and contra dancer, died of illness on March 7, 1997. He lived in the Buffalo, New York, area, and was a regular attendee of summer dance camps and the Ralph Page Legacy Weekend. He will be missed.
-- Angel Roman

Thank You!

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all the people who volunteered at the Festival this year! You should all be very proud. To a large extent it is the volunteers who make the Festival possible, and you gave us a great weekend this year! Thank you and see you next year!
-- Angel Roman

New England Folk Festival Association