Over the past couple of seasons, questions have come from some of our Celtic Series buyers, along the lines of "Why isn't the Celtic Series at the Victoria Theatre anymore?" Good question. And not an answer that lends it self to "sound bites" and quick explanations. A few things have happened at the same time that are all part of the answer.
The Celtic Series arrived at a near perfect time in 1980s. Interest in traditional Irish music was growing, fueled later by the Riverdance phenomenon and interest in all things Ireland that helped feed a healthy interest in the music. Cityfolk was ideally set to introduce bands like Ireland's Altan into the market and at over 1100 seats, the Victoria Theatre was an ideal setting. But gradually, numbers on Celtic Series shows came down as interest in the music waned from its peak years. And when total seats sold get below 700 in the Victoria, you are not only looking unsuccessful, because of the costs involved with utilizing the venue—rental fees, stagehand payroll, equipment rental and other variables—you ARE unsuccessful.
The challenge then became identifying a smaller venue that would still create an ideal experience for the buyer, allow us to bring new bands into the mix, accommodate some favorite ensembles, and be balanced by more reasonable venue costs. Bigger name acts will still be put into a larger venue.
After last year's series experience at the Dayton Art Institute, we feel that the new Centennial Hall at Stivers School for the Arts offers an ideal solution. Finished in 2010, it's intimate and comfortable with great sight lines, near downtown with plenty of safe parking options and situated in close proximity to superb eateries such as Coco's and the Dublin Pub. You can take a look here.
Beyond Cityfolk's basic financial challenges to exist in a market the size of Dayton, being a venue-less presenter poses its own set of difficulties. Booking any concert means matching an ideal routing date from an artist with the schedule of a venue that is often already fully scheduled. We try to take into consideration the feedback we receive from our audience. Some want to see new bands, some want tried and true favorites, and sometimes we have the advantage of introducing audiences to new bands at the Cityfolk Festival prior to booking them on our annual Season of Events. An ideal Celtic Series might include all of these elements.
In the process of booking concerts, we work hard to keep not just Celtic Series buyers, but all segments of our audience, interested in attending concerts and supporting the work of Cityfolk.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
“Trust in people and their creative power.” – Paulo Freire
It has been my great pleasure to spend the last six years helping to launch, develop and grow the Culture Builds Community program at Cityfolk with all of our incredible staff, partner agencies and community leaders. On August 19th, I will be leaving my role as Community Programs Manager at Cityfolk to return to my home town, Sweet ‘Ole Chicago. However, the transition is bittersweet, as I will be bidding farewell to Dayton, OH and all of its wonderful people with a great deal of heaviness in my heart. It is not easy to say goodbye to a place that has given me so much, most importantly, the opportunity to do work that I wholeheartedly believe in.
|Kelsa (at left in the red bandana) with Randy Wilson and |
several East End residents at an early CBC event
|Kelsa in rehearsal for Rise Up and Dance! earlier this year|
|Kelsa (front) dancing with Pandora and members of|
Nationbeat at the Cityfolk Festival
I want to thank Cityfolk, all of our great CBC partners, and especially all of the cultural leaders, neighbors, families and children for allowing me to step in and get to know you and your communities. I will cherish everything that I've learned and received from all of you over the last six years. I wish you all the best of luck, and I know in my heart that you will continue to shine, prosper and celebrate the unique and beautiful tapestry of cultures that is Dayton, OH.
With greatest respect,
Kelsa R. Rieger Robinson
Monday, August 15, 2011
Cityfolk has brought several of these awardees to Dayton for you through the years: Irish fiddler Liz Carroll, Polish polka master Eddie Blazonczyk, Lebanese flute player Nadim Dlaiken, guitar player and maker Wayne Henderson, gospel and R&B singer Mavis Staples, Native American hoop dancer Kevin Locke and many, many more. We pledge to keep bringing these amazing talents here to perform for us, and share their wealth of cultural knowledge.
Friday, August 5, 2011
|Julie Henahan and Edwin George|
|Tony Ellis and the Musicians|
of Braeburn on the Ohio Dept.
of Natural Resources stage
Steve Martin, who has garnered worldwide acclaim as a comedian, actor, writer, producer, and musician, recently added music journalist to his resume. Martin interviews banjo player and composer Tony Ellis in the July issue of The Banjo Newsletter. In a wide-ranging conversation, Martin queries the Ohio-based banjo player about his influences, and how his style has evolved from the early 1960s, when he spent more than two years on the road with the legendary Bill Monroe & his Blue Grass Boys. Martin also talks with Ellis about how his music has inspired Martin’s own banjo playing, particularly Martin’s composition "The Crow", featured on his 2009 Grammy-winning album The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo.
Martin, who has long been a fan of Ellis’s music, says in the interview, “I came upon your music by accident, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is the kind of music I remember being introduced to when I first started playing in the 1960s.’ The way folk musician’s play; those individual styles. When I heard your song "The Wild Fox", it just sounded great, and it made me fool around in double C tuning. I immediately wrote my tune "The Crow"—and
my new banjo career was off and running…”
Here, Steve Martin plays Tony Ellis' composition "Father's Pride" for Diane Keaton when she was honored at an event at the Kennedy Center:
Learn more about Tony Ellis in this segment from the PBS documentary program Our Ohio: