Just Plain Folks August Bulletin
August 9, 2002

We are heading out on our 4th annual North American East Coast Roadtrip.

Our Roadtrips include live performance showcases for any interested members in any genres which the venues can accommodate. Often, the events are intentionally more about networking and building community than being discovered by a music exec. We do occasionally have "industry" and media people come to showcases, but that isn't our real focus. The most important thing is to create a fun excuse to come out and play 1-2 songs along with 10-60 of your artist/band peers doing the same thing. Our shows have historically been free to attend and free to play. We do ask that you bring friends and fans out so that the venues who host us have a good night and want to work with us again in the future. Remember, networking with peers is the most important career building tool you have.. and it's free!

First, lets answers some Common Questions:

How do we fund these trips and still keep it all free?

Normally, we fund these Roadtrips primarily by selling our JPFolks T-Shirts and Hats and that allows us to keep the showcases and workshops and meetings free. (So please plan to buy something or make a small donation as our voluntary/unofficial member fee once a year.) If you don't have the money, you're still welcome to attend and participate and we'll catch you next year for a donation. This year we are VERY pleased to have a sponsor for this Roadtrip, our long time friends at TAXI! TAXI is not only helping to cover the travel expenses, but they are also helping to get the word out so we can hook up with some of their great members at each stop along the way.

Who gets to perform?

We've put on showcases that have featured over 5000 different artists in the past 3+ years. In all those shows, only a tiny number haven't been 100% open to any member who wants to perform. In each city we visit, we always have open shows in for anyone to sign up for. It's an important part of our community philosophy to give everyone, at every level, a chance to perform.

During a typical showcase, we may give an extra song/time to music awards winners and nominees (or Featured Artists on our Radio Free Virgin Channel) as recognition for that achievement as long as there is time to accommodate everyone who wants to perform. We also like to have 1 featured show during our Roadtrips for Music Award winners and nominees in large cities where we do multiple shows. (NYC, Boston, Philly etc..). Each Roadtrip has a sign up process that we will ask you to follow. This sometimes changes depending on how the trip is set up, but it's very important that you follow the guidelines given. Once we have enough artists to do the show, we email confirmations. Since these shows are open, it is rare that we would run of out slots for people (in fact, to date, it's never happened, but it's possible with our continued growth), so as long as you sign up properly, you'll likely get confirmed for at least one of the shows you want as long as it was an open sign up in the first place.

What genres/talent levels?

We've had everything from Drag Queens to Gospel Choirs, from Tradition Folk to Death Metal and from Country to Pop... wait...that's the same thing these days... but you get the point. We welcome anything, no matter how bombastic or how minimalist. We ask all participants to remember this, and we hope you'll all embrace the diversity which we are all so proud of. The idea is to meet peers, celebrate the music of our fellow members, make contacts, stretch your networking connections and have fun. Playing music is just one more positive excuse to do it all.

As for talent levels, all we ask is that you are rehearsed and prepared to do the best you can. These shows are NOT the time to try to play a song you don't really know very well. They are NOT the time to perform your 16 minute ode to your cat. (In fact, we ask you to try and keep the song lengths reasonable, especially at big shows, because a 5-8 minute song might mean someone else doesn't get on stage at the end.) Everyone has to learn and improve and get a start somewhere. We are happy to offer that opportunity. Just remember that you are there to entertain and put your best possible foot forward. You never know who might be listening, but you DO know that whoever IS is very important! If you treat every audience like they are a room full of A&R people waiting anxiously to sign you, one day it just might be true.

Another note: Always have guitars/basses etc.. tuned and ready to go the moment you walk on stage. NO ON STAGE TUNING!!! Nothing is more of a downer than someone spending 5 minutes tuning so they can play one 4 minute song. Be prepared!

Can I bring my band, will there be a PA, etc...

This is all dependent on each specific event. It changes with every show. Some are solo/duo only type shows, some can accommodate full bands. The only downside to full bands is set up time, and typically we'll ask bands to share backlines to keep change out times to a minimum. Normally we'll send out more detailed info on what each venue can accomodate. We are still adding venues on this trip, so you'll have to stay tuned. If you have questions, however, it is your responsibility to ask and find out, not ours. If you have special needs, you MUST make arrangements prior to the show.

Again: Any special needs beyond a place to plug in an instrument and a microphone for you to sing into is YOUR responsibility to arrange for the show. Don't ASSUME anything!

Performance times:

The idea of these events are to network and support your peers. If your intent is to come out, play a couple songs and leave, then these aren't the shows/events for you. Nothing leaves a more sour taste than someone who plays prima donna at one of these shows and is clearly only there for themselves. We do understand time needs (i.e., kids at home, jobs in the morning etc...) and will always work with folks within reason to accommodate. But if you truly only have a few minutes to attend an event, spend it networking and supporting the other artists instead of performing yourself and then leaving.

We handle each show and the line up differently. In some cases we may spread bands out or place them all in a row. In some cases we may try to mix experienced performers in with inexperienced so we keep the show up and moving. We do try to honor general timing requests (like first third, middle third, last third...) but if we get a huge number of these requests, obviously not everyone's can be honored. If you have a special need, just send us a note and we'll do out best to help you out.

As for actual stage time, as noted above, please be ready to go when it is your turn. If the show is a small one (5-15 artists or so) we can be flexible. If we have 20+ artists, we normally have each performer do 1 song until the lineup is done and then for those still around, we'll use the remaining time for another round if possible.

Workshops and Non Performing Events:

We often set up mentor workshops of various types as well as nonperformance meetings/gatherings during Roadtrips. To me, these are often the most fun simply because you can really talk and get to know each other. We'll generally give info on the nature of each of these meetings/workshops, but we've never had a bad one, so if you are available, you should try to attend. To date, all our workshops have been free. On this trip we have a really fun Picnic/Cookout Showcase in Philadelphia and after show Campfire in Hartford. Be sure to catch these and other non showcase events. They are great networking opportunities!

Photos and Videotape:

We take digital photos and video of every showcase we put on. We've built quite an enormous archive library of North American, Grassroots artists already in the last 3 years. We will always post the pics of the performers and attendees on our site. (you can see a lot of the previous shows in our Roadtrip section of the website.) The videos basically get filed for historical record keeping. If at some point we are going to do something with the video, we will let members know in the newsletter. In 3 years we've only had 1 request from 1 artist not to video tape her, but if you have some reason against it, just let us know before you perform and we'll happily stop the camera. At this time, we don't have the resources/ability to make copies of performances. You are welcome, however, to use the digital pics we take of your performance on your site etc.. .if you wish. And you can bring your own video camera to get your performance as well. Just let us know.

And finally, we have a long standing tradition of taking a group photo, usually at the end of a showcase or event (though sometimes in the middle of really large and long shows) which is used to officially document the attendees. If you want to be part of the traditional photo, ya gotta stay for the group pic! It's a sort of badge of honor that you supported the entire community and hung out with all of us til the end! (We used a montage of last year's East Coast roadtrip for our Ad in the current Indie Bible.. check it out!)

I am sure I left a zillion things out, but that's some of the common things we get asked. Never hesitate to ask a question by emailing justplainfolks@aol.com and I'll do my best to answer.

2002 Just Plain Folks East Coast Roadtrip Schedule

Hi everyone. We have the dates and cities set for our 4th annual EC Roadtrip. We are working on venues for each showcase, but because the timing is so short before the first event (4 weeks!) we want to set the lineups ASAP.

Our showcases are open to all members, in all genres of music. Right now we need to know how many artists are interested in performing on each date and in each city. We will use this info to determine the venue size, the backline/pa needs and other important details. This will initially hold your place in the lineup of the event you sign up for. We will update the actual venue names and times/addresses and other details as they become available via the newsletter, website and directly to those who signed up with us. We expect most of these events to fill up pretty quickly, so let us know ASAP if you are interested in participating. This schedule is VERY tight this year, so please don't wait to respond if you are interested. We have left a lot of the Sundays open for possible workshops and additional events if needed in some cities.

Mon Sept 2 Indianapolis, IN 4 Year Anniversary Event
Wed Sept 4 Baltimore, MD Kiss Cafe Showcase
Thu Sept 5 Arlington, VA Luna Park Showcase
Fri Sept 6 Washington, DC TBA Showcase
Sat Sept 7 Wilmington, DE TBA Showcase
Mon Sept 9 Philadelphia, PA TBA Showcase
Tue Sept 10 New Brunswick, NJ Corner Tavern Showcase
Wed Sept 11 Philadelphia, PA The Point Showcase
Thu Sept 12 Allentown, PA Lehigh Valley Showcase
Fri Sept 13 Philadelphia, PA TBA Showcase
Sat Sept 14 Philadelphia, PA Member Picnic/Party/Show
Mon Sept 16 NYC, NY TBA Showcase
Tue Sept 17 NYC, NY TBA Showcase
Wed Sept 18 NYC, NY TBA Showcase
Thu Sept 19 Woodstock, NY Clove Cafe Showcase
Fri Sept 20 Albany, NY Borders Books Showcase
Sat Sept 21 Western, MA Northampton Com. Ctr. Showcase
SunSept 22 Hartford, CT Double Down Showcase/Campfire
Mon Sept 23 Providence, RI Olive's Showcase
Tue Sept 24 Boston, MA TBA Showcase
Wed Sept 25 Boston, MA TBA Showcase
Thu Sept 26 Portsmouth, NH Dolphin Striker Showcase
Fri Sept 27 Portland, ME TBA Showcase
Sat Sept 28 Brattleboro, VT Common Ground Showcase
Mon Sept 30 Toronto, ON TBA Showcase
Wed Oct 2 Buffalo, NY Nietzche's Showcase

Note: All venues subject to change. These are the preliminary listings.

Remember: To be eligible to be considered for the "2002 Live Artist of the Year" you must perform in at least 1 Roadtrip Showcase during the year.

If you are interested in performing at one or more of these showcase events, please email justplainfolks@aol.com and place the dates you are interested in in the subject header. Inside, please place the following info:

1. Name, address, phone number, email address, website and if you've sent your CD in to Just Plain Folks for the 2002 Music Awards (i.e. current) or past (2000, 2001) or not at all. We may have some featured spots available for past or current nominees, or folks being featured on our Radio Free Virgin channel.

2. Please include the size of your band if it's more than just 1 person, what sound or special needs you might have of any kind (other than a place to plug a guitar in and a mic to sing through), and if you are more than a solo act, if you are willing to share any backline with the other performers. We will have our brand new Korg Triton Studio 88 with us (donated for this trip by Korg!!!) for Keyboard players to use. In any band performances, we will be using a shared backline or no backline simple because of time restraints. If you are a band with a backline, and you are willing to share it, we'll consider additional performance time and preffered time slots for those helping out.

All questions and contacts should be emailed to justplainfolks@aol.com. If you send it anywhere else (including here!) it may be missed entirely. We will follow up with all interested artists once the final itinerary is set. Please be patient!

Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/justplainfolks

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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