I was overjoyed to see Joseph Byrd’s piece on the Jazz Festival (“Regarding Local Festivals,” April 2). The quality of our local Blues and Jazz festivals has been going downhill since Glenn Maxon has taken over the helm. He has eliminated local bands from both.
Our Blues Fest was the best, with two stages and non-stop music for two days. The locals played on the smaller stage and a few very good headliners were on the big stage. We were also allowed to bring a picnic lunch. I guess Maxon had a better idea. How can you sell an “All Event” ticket and then charge an extra $10 to see some of the shows? I know local people, myself included, who stay away in droves because of Maxon’s leadership.
Add local bands to the mix – local people like to see their favorite local bands on the same bill with the “bigs.” Fire Maxon. Then the festivals would make more for the children’s programs they supposedly support.
Robert Thoman, McKinleyville
Mr. Byrd, where were you at the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival? Did you see all the happy people, young and old, dancing or sitting and tapping their feet to the music? Did you talk to people from L.A., the Bay Area, Redding, Oregon and yes, Eureka, all listening to wonderful, entertaining music, and thoroughly enjoying themselves?
We are going to Medford for their festival to see bands with a reputation for the music they play, whether it be Bix, Satchmo, Jell Roll Morton, etc. We are not going to hear their local bands.
You said “rural music festivals are usually the sign of an establishment too lazy to put together something that celebrates the special virtues of a community.” We beg to differ. Talk to Glenn Maxon and the hundreds of volunteers that dedicate themselves to putting on a top notch music festival. We salute them. We have been going to the festival for 19 years and will continue to attend the Jazz Festival and support it. We wouldn’t miss it. Looking forward to their 20th in 2010.
Congratulations and thanks to all of them for a wonderful time.
Dave and Joanne Vina, Eureka
Does Mr. Byrd always see the glass half empty? Is he not aware of the Blue Lake Blues Festival? Every act in this wonderful venue is local, homegrown blues!
Please, give credit when it is due! And come to the Blue Lake Blues festival – it’s well worth it for the wonderful music, food and local brews
Ginni Hassrick, Eureka
Let me offer a meek word in defense of the Redwood Jazz Festival so ferociously dissed by Joseph Byrd last week. My office buddy Sean dismissed it, too, as a party for “bluehairs.” I’m a bluehair, but my 10-year-old, trumpet-playing grandson really got off on the clarinet virtuosity of Jerry Epperson, pictured playing in Joseph’s article. For the older generation it’s a total nostalgia trip. I don’t care whether or not the artists are local, I just love that old Dixieland.
What really is an “egregious example of a lazy community,” as Joseph described the festival, is the fact that local public school music programs are in danger of going down. We listened to the Zane Junior High School Band and were blown away by the skill, precision and spirit with which they executed no less than 13 numbers. They were even missing their first trumpet, who had just sprained his ankle at a basketball game. A violinist named Sarah played several beautiful solos, sax players Moctezuma and Casey performed with aplomb, Trevor was rousing on the trumpet, and the drums were terrific. The whole band filled me with pride in our community.
Where are they going to get music instruction if we cut them out of the budget? It’s sheer insanity, just like the Eureka High School swimming pool saga. In allowing our taxes to be sucked up into the giant sting of Wall Street or the demented escalation in Afghanistan, in remaining passive in the face of these savage cuts to education, in not passing on the culture and survival skills we inherited from our grandfathers to the generation who will be forced to pay for our folly, we are indeed an egregiously lazy community.
Ellen Taylor, Petrolia
With regard to Joseph Byrd’s very negative and damaging article on the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival, I see no good reason why the Journal chose to publish it while the festival is going through such rough times. Mr. Byrd is an egotistical, self-serving, frustrated, second-tier accordionist who couldn’t make it in the L.A. music world and came to Humboldt County with a very large chip on his shoulder and an elitist attitude. His great contribution to music these days consists of accordion performances at Wildberries Market, clearly a case of sour grapes. As a music teacher at College of the Redwoods, he should know better than to denigrate the institutions that foster local talent and seek to improve the community.
While I too would like to see a bit more originality in the choice of bands, I would not criticize the organizers who work so hard to pull this off year after year.
Francis Scalvetti, Eureka