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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Local Ineptitude

Hey, We're Talented. Really, We Are.

This past winter I was in a leadership class here in Sioux City. On one of the sessions a lady from the Chamber of Commerce got up and gave a "rah-rah" speech detailing how Sioux City was an up-and-coming area and had a lot to be proud of... "One of the ways we promote the arts and local talent here in Siouxland is through the 'Fridays on the Promenade' series where we showcase local bands every Friday afternoon in the summer," she said. "We're proud of our local artists and want to use them to revitalize the downtown district."

As I listened to her I caught myself wondering how many local bands actually played at the Promenade the year before. I could only think of one, and if memory serves they were a last-minute substitution for an act out of Chicago or something. Her remark stuck in my mind.

I just saw the schedule for this year's Promenade, featuring local talent to showcase the city... There's ONE guy from the Sioux City area on the list. One local artist. The rest are from way far away and have no connection to Sioux City.

And people around here wonder why the art and music scene is dying a slow death on the vine... Local artists get no support from the community even at events promoting local art! It's frustrating.

And before you say things like, "well, they probably got the best musicians available," lemme tell you that some of the musicians from Sioux City ARE among the best available. I'm not saying the local talent is better than what the city hired, but the local guys truly are a lot better than people suspect.

At times I'm happy I'm not in a band any more...

4 Comments:

Blogger Bluzlover said...

I agree, there are some very talented local artists and musicians. The Fridays group decided to provide the locals with a chance to hear a variety of performers they can't hear every week in town. We also don't want to compete with the local venues and the bands they promote. This is the reason the shows are done by 8:00 pm. I'm sure we will continue to include at least one local artist every year.

4:58 PM  
Blogger pistols at dawn said...

Unfortunate, to say the least. Maybe the world has turned away from whatever the Sioux City sound is.

6:07 PM  
Blogger The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

We were lucky to live in a place that embraced it's local music scene. My old neighborhood in Columbus has a music festival every year since the 70's featuring 3 days of 5 stages filled with local bands from 11am to 11pm. Only a handful are from out of town.

It's free, the bands play for free for the exposure (and just cause it's fun) and the whole thing is locally run - as in NO Corporate Sponsors. So they can do whatever they want.
The whole thing is paid for with beer.

http://www.comfest.com

Hop on your bike, come on down and see how it's done.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Bluz -- The main problem I have with that theory is that most people in Sioux City have never heard the local talent... It's nice to hear bands from out-of-town, but unless a person wants to travel to Sioux Falls or Omaha, there are precious few places to see Sioux City bands play. It's an age-old problem in SUX -- there simply aren't enough venues in town to showcase all the talent, so it's frustrating to see "foreigners" come in to town to get the big bucks whilst the local talent starves. Don't get me wrong, I like to see the "big boys" play too... I'm not claiming to have a solution to the problem, I'm just griping.

At least you guys are getting something done, as opposed to me, who sits on the sidelines complaining.

I miss June Jam. (They used to have over 100 local and area bands play an all-day festival on twelve different stages stretched across a four-block strip in downtown Sioux City. It was perfect, but alas, it is no more. I guess the guv'mint got involved.)

2:07 PM  

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