Monday, August 10, 2009
Folk Fest Stalking 101
I had the pleasure of attending the 30th annual Edmonton Folk Festival this weekend and if there is one thing that I have perfected in these past few years at the festival... it is definitely musician stalking. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not follow these artists off stage for fun or interfere with their lives to the point where they fear me, but I do devote myself fully to following one particular performer. Please note the 7 following steps to achieve stalktastic success:
1. Seek and Stalk
Choose a performer that is worthy of your undivided attention for the entire weekend. This will vary according to musical taste. You may choose to stalk more than one performer but I do not recommend more than 3 since it is difficult to give your undivided attention to multiple performers. I will leave it up to you to determine how many you can handle.
2. Get Organized!
Buy a program or obtain a schedule! It is difficult to stalk when you do not know where and when your performer is going to be. There is a handy page that lists all the performer names and all the times and places they will be playing. Star these sessions because they will be your top priority! This is non-negotiable! If you are committed to being a dedicated stalker, you cannot choose other sessions to attend when your chosen artist is playing. This may seem obvious but this is why it is difficult to stalk multiple performers since many sessions conflict and you cannot be in multiple places at once.
3. Time to Spend $$$
Buy their c.d.'s. If they are stalk-worthy to you, other people are definitely interested as well, and it is almost guaranteed that the Merchandise tent will sell out. This is not the time to be frugal! Make the investment since c.d. possession will ensure that you will be able to carry out later steps with ease.
3. Do Your Homework!
Great, so now you have a c.d. and you are at the scheduled stage ready to listen. Not good enough! What separates a stalker and a regular audience member is your knowledge. It is time to hit the books! As soon as you have chosen your stalk-worthy artist, you must learn as much as you can about them.
4. Homework List
It is time to hit Google, Wikipedia, Myspace, and become their fan on Facebook to learn about the biography, discography, and all other facts related to the artist no matter how insignificant. Yes, you should know what is on their ipod, you never know when it will be handy in the future. It is also time to start listening to the c.d.'s you have purchased. The beauty of the Folk Fest is that your choice performer will likely be performing on more than one day. Learning the lyrics and melodies of your favorite artist is essential since it is not in a stalkers nature to be a passive audience participant.
5. Front and Centre
At this point you should be singing, or if you are shy, at least mouthing along to the songs. Furthermore, you should know which performer your attention should be directed to in preparation for an upcoming solo so you may scrutinize tiny details in their performance such as fingering. Performers feed off the energy of the audience and it is your duty to establish and nurture the performer/audience relationship. It is even possible that the performer will notice your unwavering attention and your linguistic proficiency at their song lyrics. This is your moment to shine!
5. Keep Your Hands to Yourself
When the performer is off-stage, do admire from a distance. If they are juggling multiple curry plates or are standing next to you in the men's urinal... this is not the time to profess your love. Performers are still people. It is best that they just think you are a dedicated fan. There is no need for them to know how much you know about them. Just enjoy the giddy feeling you get inside when they walk past you on the way to watch musical sessions like a normal audience participant. You will silently enjoy the fact that you know who they are and that the other people around them have no idea the musical genius that just walked past them.
6. Up Close and Personal
It is a plus to know when your performer is signing autographs. This changes daily and it is important to check the white board at the Merchandise tent. This is the appropriate time to profess love since it is expected. This is also where your purchased c.d. will come in handy since you have an excuse for them to sign something significant instead of the free Rogers bandannas circulating throughout the park. This is also a time where you can relay some impressive homework knowledge you acquired ex. remarking on what a feat it was to win a particular award in 2007 or note how a particular song (which they did not perform in the sessions but was on their c.d.) particularly resonates within you. Again, this will set you apart from the other autograph seekers. The performer will appreciate your attention to their music and careers and it will make you more memorable in their mind as well. Just try not to come across too strong. This may be difficult since it is hard to stifle stalker-love. The talent to suppress love expression will vary according to stalker.
7. Future Stalking Forecast
O.k, so you have successfully stalked your first artist and are now left with a feeling of emptiness. Chances are that your performer will return to Edmonton for a concert now that they have built-up their initial fanbase. If not, your previous homework where you searched them on Myspace etc. will pay off since you will now subscribe to their newsletters and make sure you receive notifications on all their movement. You cannot afford to let your attention wane even though they have now left the festival. If they are ever back in town or at least nearby, you must be aware!
Overall, it is important to note that stalking is not a one-time activity. If you wish to remain dedicated stalker, stalking must continue outside of the festival. It if your job to promote this amazing artist to anybody willing to listen, continually purchase upcoming albums, and attend future concerts. This will ensure that the career of your performer will thrive and you will be able to stalk for many more years to come :)
Happy stalking everybody!
My personal choice this Folk Festival? Danny Michel of course! This amazing singer-songwriter with his quirky lyrics and pedal loops has captivated me since the Folk Fest in 2005!
Danny M. session #1
Danny M concert
Last Danny M session
Danny M playing in between sets on the mainstage.
Photo Credit for last picture: Andrea V.