With the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival coming upon us I feel there has been something askew as to the way that it is being booked in recent years. For those of you that do not know the history, The Arts and Music Festival started out as a grass roots COMMUNITY venture called the River City Fair where local bands, artists and businesses showcased their various trades and talents. At this time you walked around and saw businesses, musicians, artists, faces in general that you knew and enjoyed on a weekly basis. This venture morphed into The Hoboken Arts and Music Festival that we know today. This event was always intended to be a way to have the community come together and show the pride in OUR artists and musicians. I truly believe that the spirit of that idea is losing ground with what I like to call "outsourcing of talent".
Hoboken has a history of being a rich gifted community of artists and musicians: Frank Sinatra, Stephen Foster, Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothea Lange, I can go on. Why aren't we tapping into the resources that are here? We could have the next one of those burgeoning stars right under our noses and they are being neglected. I do not want to disparage those artists and musicians that are represented year after year, they are talented, but see what I said there, year after year... lets have some diversity, instead of the same, safe, hand picked, cookie cutter acts and vendors that we have year after year. There are so many original bands in Hoboken to explore and enjoy, let's bring them to forefront at such a highly attended event.
As far as the music is concerned I went to Hoboken Rocks on Pier A this past Thursday and saw real talent. I also ate my lunch in Pier A Park that afternoon and witnessed real love. What I saw a bunch of musicians, essentially a HOBOKEN community of musicians and music lovers in the hot sun putting together a stage, the equipment, taking time out of their lives to bring us the people of Hoboken, some enjoyment that evening. And they did. For 300+ people on a beautiful night against the backdrop of the NYC skyline, these potential stars put their heart and soul into an event. An event that the good "mom and pop" proprietors of this town sponsored (many of whom where pushed off Washington Street to make room for franchises by the way). Lets give them some love back. Book bands like High Speed Chase, eugene, Crewman Number Six, Butterspy, and Motel Creeps, Nicole and Ray Duo, bands that play in Hoboken and bring money into the businesses and please stop bussing them in. I would also like to say that they most likely will not cost $1000 or even $12,500 like other acts that are not from Hoboken have been paid in the past (Hoboken Council Meeting Minutes 9/15/2004). Give us back our community fair, it is only fair.
Irene M. Smith