Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's Summerfest again! Oh, wait...

Among the conscientious in the event promotion world -- there are a few -- some common sense tenets are etched pretty clearly. One is: "Don't name your event what a neighboring community names theirs."
New Bedford's Summerfest has been entertaining the masses since 1854 or something, when what we now call "folk music" was known as "new wave." But The SouthCoast is an area well-known for its lazy careless determined nature. Crippled by symptoms like short term memory loss, unrelentingly plodding reinvention is what passes for innovation. (cue Chamber of Horrors theme) The Fall River Spirit -- with a totally straight face -- notes that Fall River's

Summerfest was conceived after the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce in late May canceled FRCA 2010, citing in a statement "challenging" economic conditions such as fewer corporate sponsorships and volunteers and a "substantial" increase in costs The popular event had drawn thousands of people to the city's waterfront every summer for 25 years.
The "FRCA 2010" mentioned actually fell apart under its own staggeringly ungainly self-importance, volunteers finally sussing out three days without pay is indenture, and the public balking at paying for something that they felt "was always supposed to be free." And that explains why Fall River's waterfront festival should have the same name as New Bedford's. Blame the Chamber.HULK SMASH COPYWRITER!This weekend's Summerfest event (the one in Fall River; there are 9,402,871 others, btw) appears to feature something called Kid's World Festival (which breaks the "no punctuation in the title" rule, in this case making it appear to be ONE particular kid's world, sharply diminishing attendance.)
The SouthCoast has always eschewed respected precedent. Consider the moral, legal, and ethical challenges presented on a daily basis in local government; business owners' reliance on outmoded or delusional paradigms; the deep rejection of the terms "industry standards" and "quality requirement." Also, there's a widely pervasive "my kid can do that" mindset.
Which is why watching SouthCoast amateurs try to concoct marketing projects that should be left to actual professionals is so rewardingly hilarious. Of particular note is the use of "new" media by "old" media and how they'll describe "recordings" as "podcasts" or "commenting anonymously at the end of a news article" as "blogging."
There is, however, no website for Heritage State Park's Summerfest. And I'm not sure who the audience for the Kids World Festival website is. And its creators certainly had no idea either. Most special event websites are sharp and active with welcoming animated graphics and quick incidental blurbs of enticing adspeak briefly identifying attractions.
The Kids World Festival's (apparently unedited and mostly unreadable) site seems cobbled together from press releases and distracted musings aimed at adults but illustrated for children. Children who would no doubt find its banal clip art and 1980s fonts insulting. 750 words is a nice grant proposal but not an inducement to a fun-filled family weekend.
Oh, and is this a "501c-3" or "501(c)(3)"?
Are you sure?
I know that a new non has to go through backbreaking paperwork, pay exorbitant fees, and complete that rabies control quarantine program. Most organizations have to wait a couple of years before they even show up on common lists of charitable foundations. But since an important local media operative is in charge at Kids World (and we all know how the media is so exhaustively well-versed in non-profits), I could not be dissuaded from checking on the outfit's self-definition. The I.R.S. is, understandably, succinct:''Never heard of 'em.''I'm sure, however, that we're soon to see official evidence of the indomitable self-confidence of those brave community-minded SouthCoasters who have started this endeavor in the worst economy in Massachusetts since 1621 and among the least philanthropic sourpuss bastards in the world.
Good luck with that.
And have fun this weekend!


Anonymous said...

Rick Oliveira in a whacko. He does a radio show called "Under Reported " about comspiracy theories. Yah, I want him running a kids festival.

PJ said...

In writing this piece, I was haunted by the SouthCoast's other quickly lashed-together non-profits that serve only as (a) amusements for bored or hyperactive busybodies and their spouses, or (b)embarrassments to the real NPO community which doesn't need its pool of support thinned by amateurs.

I don't know Oliveira's experience in the service or charity industry. I wrote about his entrepreneurial spirit -- in a Journal entry a few years ago.

shamrock said...

Good catch on the 501(c)(3) claim. I looked them up a few weeks ago when I saw the ads soliciting donations. I didn't say anything because I am starting to believe that I am a jealous naysaying hater. They are a non profit corporation registered with the state but that doesn't equal a tax write off for contributors. Maybe they don't know the difference.

PJ said...

I have met only a handful of people in the entire SouthCoast who actually have any idea what the difference is, Shamrock.

But, remember: It's for the good of the kids.

kids said...

So doesn't throwing shit around end up on your faces?
You want to see the books? Stop being such negative people and do something positive for a change. We did and we succeeded. Can't take people doing good thing huh? Interferes with your perception of being the only people who care, or make a difference. Please! If you cared for the kids of Fall River, you would do more than rant and pat yourself on the backs for catching typos. Perhaps maybe you should have asked for our letter from the IRS before slandering an organization of volunteers. Perhaps, maybe you should have experienced the festival and given a group of volunteers and businesspeople their due. We had seven weeks. Seven weeks to do all we could to make a positive impact?
Yes, you project too much and do too little good.
You want proof of how many kids were made happy? Check out the facebook page for kidsworld or simply ask someone who was there.

PJ said...

Wow. Just wow.

LS said...

Why do people always spew negativity? Kids World was a free event with a huge sandbox, magic show, bubbles, Teamworks was there playing dodgeball and with moonwalks for the kids, there were games, arts and crafts, super heroes, etc. That's just to start. There was so much more! All done through donations from the local community and volunteers to help have a great family weekend at Heritage State Park. It put smiles on all the kids faces and I was amazed at what the Kids World people did. I know because I was there. You should have stopped by and bring some kids with you. Their faces will say it all. You always have next year and I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. The "marketing expert" predicts doom and gloom and is totally wrong about the turnout and effectiveness of campaign and then refuses to acknowledge that perhaps the amateur campaign works beautifully in the Southcoast - even one put together with donated elements and by volunteers... And despite deriding the effort, thousands upon thousands of kids had a blast while same expert questioned vitality of said festival. Oh, and same expert made no effort to fact check and attacks a free kids festival. Nice!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am sure Citizens Union would have given so much money for festival without seeing the letter. This blog shows why caution is needed when reading pieces like this and Shamrocks blog. Imagine allowing one's limited info to be an excuse to attack a free kids festival. They, Shamrock included, didn't even ask the organization prior to questioning its financial intentions publically? Wow. just wow!

Anonymous said...

What the Sam Hill...???

Anonymous said...

It is curious that not one person here addressed the title point. Why did anyone in Fall River think it would be alright to steal the name of a major, longstanding, branded fundraiser that takes place annually in a nearby city? Just because it is "for kids" does not give it a free pass to act like bad neighbors.

As for the comments by the poster called "kids" - that is simply potty-mouth.

If you missed the point of "the impossible journal" and do not appreciate the tone of the blog (that's right, it is a blog, NOT the NYTimes) use the "off switch", like any grown-up would when the TV show or radio broadcast is found to be unappealing. Take your toys and go home.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a group of people attempting to create a fun experience for kids and all you can do is attack? Why not do something more useful with your time, why not try and do something nice? I found the people involved with Kids World to be caring individuals who really just wanted the kids to have a great time. I was amazed at the activities/crafts/games that were available and all for free to the community. My kids asked if they could go to this every week? I only wish there were enough caring people in the world to stop complaining and actually do something good, especially for kids. Hats off to all that volunteered, participated, sponsored, visited with their kids! It was the best weekend my kids have had in a long time (and we just dropped a couple hundred at Six Flags and it didn't compare for my kids!) Next year, why don't you volunteer and try and make some kids happy!

Anonymous said...

So, the only good anyone can do is being good to kids? Seniors have no rights? What about childless families? Veterans? The Handicapped?
Somebody catches your shitty website, writes about it with big words, and then you breeders are the ones who attack like dingoes ate your babies.
The people in charge of this event must be really proud of how you people represent them in the media.

John P. said...

Ok PJ, you are obviously an idiot for writing such about a festival that was run for free for kids what was your reason for even writing about this at all are you really that mentally distraught that you have to completely put down an event that is run by a very hard working man and barely had the money to even fund the event it was a god damn kids festival there is really nothing that great that you had to completely put it down. Why dont you go run so organization and put the time and effort in doing something for the children of our community and run it for free but your mind is obviously to f*cked to realize how much of an idiot you are for even writing this story.

-John P.

Anonymous said...

Are you a jealous chamber board member whose vote killed FRCA and is now compensating the inability of the chamber to put on the city's premiere waterfront event by attacking the friends of heritage state park and the kids world org? chamber staff maybe? former staff? Why don't you tell us how frca funded $100,000 posts?
oh that's right, you don't believe in the right of someone to face their accuser?

Anonymous said...

"to the poster who wrote "Seniors have no rights? What about childless families? Veterans? The Handicapped?"
that's what happens when kids grow up, they turn into these kinds of adults . please continue to circle the wagons tighter it beats apologizing

shamrock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shamrock said...

I certainly applaud the planners, donors, and volunteers for doing something good for kids. But, that doesn't make what I said earlier untrue. Kidsworld advertised as a 501(c)(3) public charity. That status indicates they are an IRS approved public charity and with that status comes tax write offs for donors. According to the IRS website, they are not a 501(c)(3) public charity. I suppose I could have asked to see 'the letter' but the IRS website has, what I understand to be, a comprehensive listing: That, coupled with the fact that it usually takes a *minimum* of 2-3 months to get IRS approval, seemed like evidence enough for me (2 independent pieces of verification).

Feel free to continue to issue words of caution to anyone that reads blogs. I am just a blogger, I express my opinion and back up things I purport as fact to the best of my ability. I am not advertising to be something I am not.

kids said...

PJ, your bombastic pomposity aside, do you feel no obligation to get information correctly when placing it on the "internet" where it comes up in search engines.
You have confused two different organizations, maligned people who actually do care, failed to recognize the success of the event despite the financial burden of both incorporating (yes, it costs a ton of money in lawyers to do it right) and raising money for the festival while also booking acts, securing everything from ice to juice to bubbles. If it is important for you to rip the simple and dirt-cheap website, so be it. As far as Summerfest in New Bedford, that would be a paid event and a nice one. But in Fall River it is a state park and a state endorsed free event which hosted the Kids World event. In fact Summerfest has a series of free shows, it just so happens that last weekend, it did something different.It did something unique and it is sad that your ideals are so flawed and public.

PJ said...

Kids: Er, backstory: that's my particular idiom. (I am aware of your 3:46 PM search for "kids world festival fall river" and subsequent exit. Speaks volumes.) This site averages (according to sitemeter) 26 hits a day. And most of them are looking for pictures of Alyson Hannigan (and one guy from Turkey who keeps looking for god-knows-what). Except for yesterday. Yesterday I saw people coming from Facebook to see the pages tagged "you're kidding right". Supporters of the Kids World Festival have expressed themselves here, and some in clearly inappropriate ways.

Which only reminds me that my hometown is passionate and often inconsonant. But that's why we have what we have here. Because we'll try. It's the official motto of the city of my birth. That sentiment has shaped me and pulled me through some rough seas.

Obviously, many of you who have commented on this entry have never heard of this website. The Impossible Journal (formerly H.M.S. Impossible, for reasons known only to Fall River) is my online journal or diary -- which does not in any way adhere to any protocol pertaining to radio shows, newspapers, or news organization's site. (Those who know me, know that I have been a journalist and that I know what it's like. It's NOT LIKE THIS.) I hope that you continue to drop by.

I do take cheap jabs at cheap work. I also make fun of celebrities on their birthdays, invent lots of historical inaccuracies, guess about weather stuff, and reminisce about growing up here. Sailing and swimming the Sakonnet and Taunton Rivers, biking to shop at PaperBack BookSmith in the Harbor Mall, working in the Tower Mill, learning at Bishop Connolly and Tiverton public schools. (Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to confuse any search engines seeking nusery schools in Devonshire).

And I note here, because I have been NOT HERE too, how the rest of the world is different from Fall River and Tiverton and Dartmouth and New Bedford. Not always better. And certainly not always more coherent.

But for me, the rest of the world is never as forgiveable.

Thank you kids, for registering your concerns. Please have a grown-up e-mail me sometime. Thank you to my regular visitors for putting up with what has been, after five years, a silly welcome anomaly. Thank you Anonymous 9:18 for the "dingoes ate me baby" line. That was funny. Shamrock: Keep the grace. Others, please refer to the anonymous who asked, "What The Sam Hill?"

Remain unafraid.