Two weeks ago today we opened the seventh annual Afterglow Festival in Provincetown and I lost the thread with the Blague because it took every moment of my time and every atom of my energy. So again doing a bit of catch up here and I thought I might tell you a little tale of what we did. First our fundraising was down by about twenty thousand dollars oer last year which seriously impacted our abilities; however we did have quite a good turn out so we managed to break even. Friends had given us a place to stay but I have to tell you it wasn’t comfortable; and our old realtor (who found us places in Provincetown in the past) was our upstairs neighbor and started stomping around every morning at five am. By the end of the week I was a hot mess.
But the week did start out great with a fun party and a great dinner at a friend’s new restaurant which is my new favorite eatery in town. First night of shows went well. But audiences were low but in the end we did have two sold out performances which was a first. Despite the excitement in being in a new venue and the fact that many people “discovered” us for the first time in seven years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pull this off. It is the law of diminishing returns in many ways and I think in order for us to do an eighth year it would have to be “the Afterglow to end all Afterglows” perhaps literally.
As I say I typically post about the artists each day but it was in many ways a disjointed festival. The artists used to share a spirit of community. Now they pretty much perform their own show and don’t see anybody else’s. And there is a photographer in town who always siphons off the talent to take photos of them so that he can put their images in a book and profit from them. He will schedule shoots during our shows. It’s just beyond.
If I am to do this again, I need big funding and I need to drain the swamp so to speak. Now that we live in such a polarized society, too, the type of artists I champion seem not to exist—that is to say I have carved out sacred space for those who aren’t big-ticket sellers (like the Broadway stars who people the stage on season) but the artists seem not to feel that they aren’t as financially valuable. “I need a guarantee of X.” Okay so the fact we’re paying you and traveling you and housing you and building audience for you in a place where nobody knows you is not enough?
I often tell clients that when they hit a paradox it is time to take note and close the circle and move on. Well the fact that people are now really turned on to the festival will not be a reason for me to continue. I cannot do it without support or money. And Provincetown has more reach people in it than ever before. I will give the people of Provincetown the chance to pony up and help just as the year begins. And if they don’t bite then the festival will…the dust.
Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*
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