The Idea of Festival
by Sidney N. Hetzler, Jr.
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in any form or manner without the author's written permission.
Last edited: 12/26/07 Visitors:
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 The Desire to Festival
CHAPTER 2 Place
Origin of Charleston's Spoleto Festival U.S.A.
Interview with Dr. Theodore Stern
Interview with Charles Wadsworth
Interview with Nigel Redden
Interview with Colin Sturm
The Struggle to Fill Chattanooga's Empty Festival Space
The Shaping Power of Place
The Element of Empty Space
CHAPTER 3 Force
Artistic Director: Why Menotti?
Why not "a Menotti" at Riverbend?
Art Power and the Element of the Artistic Director
CHAPTER 4 Ideal
Menotti's Festival Idea
Origin of Chattanooga's Riverbend Festival
Festival Planning Seminars
Analysis of Objectives
Messages and Meanings
Analysis of Riverbend Festival Objectives
The Element of Purpose
Essence of a Festival of Difference
Signs of Festival
CHAPTER 5 Festivals of Difference and Sameness
Perspectives and Semantic Framing
An Arts Festival-Creature Encounters its Heritage Habitat
Implications of Festivals Viewed as a Place of the Different
Functions of an Artistic Festival
CHAPTER 6 Qualities of a Festival Theater
Shaping of Reality
The Idea of Festival
Primary Function of a Festival: Chautauqua--Forum for Conflicting Views
Restatement of Claims: Intent, Function, Effect
Dedicated to Albert J. Sullivan
Professor of Communication, Boston University College of Communication
|About the beginning of the Spoleto USA festival, it all depends on what your goals are in life. I've always told young people to never set
material goals, because you can never achieve them, because you're always changing them.
And if you can set your goal as
helping others, you will be happier and you'll make other people happier. And the only way to be happy in this world is to
have other people happy. And when I see the joy and the pleasure that people get from this festival, I have the satisfaction
of knowing that I've come close to achieving what I set out to do. Does that make sense?
I tell my own children not to set
material goals. Taking my life as a military person, I'm a devoted American; I love my country. I see its faults but I see its greatness too.
And at the College I could see the opportunity to help young people. And in the festival, I see the opportunity to expose a
large number of people to something which will be a joy to them and make their life worthwhile.
Dr. Theodore S. Stern, first board chairman of Spoleto Festival U.S.A., 1999 interview.
Nothing is absolutely dead: every meaning
will have its homecoming festival.
M. M. Bakhtin
"Methodology for the Human Sciences,"
Speech Genres & Other Late Essays
Chautauqua is a place, an ideal, and a force.
John Heyl Vincent, founder;
Chautauqua Institution, Jamestown, New York, 188Os,
quoted on a postcard picturing the audience in a traveling
Chautauqua lyceum tent.
Art, then, is an increase of life,
a sort of competition of surprises that stimulates our
consciousness and keeps it from becoming somnolent.
The Poetics of Space
Man passes through the present with his eyes
blindfolded. He is permitted merely to sense
and guess at what he is actually experiencing.
Only later when the cloth is untied can he glance
at the past and find out what he has experienced
and what meaning it had.
Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves
"...when the cloth is untied..." -- Woodstock '99
Woodstock 99 Photos (by Sandi Dill and Sid Hetzler)--click on thumbnail
image for larger photo.
Link to Woodstock 99 Home Page
Left, popular ladies' chest art; right, mud bath survivor
Left, two strolling gents on former B-52 runway; center, painted man; right, new form of naval art.
Left, crowd in front of main stage; right, moshing/body surfing pit at main stage-photo from press tent TV screen.
After 35 years, Sid Hetzler returned to Griffiss AFB, Rome, NY,
where he was staff information officer at the base for three years in the
mid-60s, to experience Woodstock 99 (and a return to the place of his
first job after college) for his forthcoming
book, "The Idea of Festival." Giving the peace symbol in
front of downtown Rome's unchanged Savoy Restaurant, scene of weekly,
often drunken junior officer gatherings in 1962-65, Sid's reaction was
"I think this Woodstock 99 had as little to do with peace, love and music as the US Air Force did in the 60s when we pulled the hippies off the B-52 fences and runways. The music was loud and angry and monotonous. I'm happy I left well before Sunday night when the pent-up rage evoked by unending rock music erupted in fires, destruction, rapes and other violence. This Woodstock's images were more like the horror of the movie "Apocalypse Now" than those of the gentle pastorale of the first Woodstock in '69, which I missed. When you are frisked and searched at a festival entrance with a metal detector, you feel as if the military police had never left the old air base. To my surprise as a student of festivals, I found myself agreeing with a 'peace patrol' guard who said she hoped this was the last Woodstock. There is merit to the New York State "anti-Woodstock" laws and regulations; local officials would profit more from programming their own festivals at the former air base than renting to such a gargantuan enterprise. It is impossible for 225,000 people to be in a safe community environment with such temporary facilities and security forces. I don't think programming hard rock and rap music almost exclusively makes good artistic sense. Where was Joan Baez when she was needed to sooth the mob? To judge from the expensive vehicles parked over several miles of concrete and the $150 ticket price plus travel and camping supplies, this was not, as our photo assistant Sandy Dill suggested, the old Woodstock counter-culture but mainstream young America. These were 21st Century American youth with money to burn and time to waste...and nothing to say--Generation Z. A national service corps seems an idea whose time has come...and maybe located at the now historic Griffiss Park. The only real protest statement left for this late 90s Woodstock nation was to remove their clothes and parade silently with plastic beer bottles up and down the cracked runway from stage to stage without any real notice from anyone except the hundreds of vendors grasping for their ready money. This kind of festival as a spectator sport seems at the edge of extinction."
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