A number of people stopped me and others on the Festival Committee to thank us for our efforts in putting the Festival together. I would like to extend those thanks to all who volunteered their time, whether as performers or ticket sellers or table wipers or instrument checkers, etc., as well as to everyone who simply came to take part in the Festival with such good cheer. It takes all of us together to make it happen.
By the time you read this, we will be starting to plan for next year's Festival. We will have sorted through the evaluation forms which were turned in, and taken note of the compliments, criticisms, and suggestions. It's not too late to give us your opinions. I look forward to hearing from you.
-- Nancy Hanssen
Ample research has shown that at some level of sound volume, the hearing of humans will be damaged permanently. There are regulations published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which limit the decibel levels to which people may be exposed in the work place.
Some investigation on the part of dancers and others has shown that the OSHA limits are exceeded at some dances, thus putting the dancers, callers, and musicians at risk for permanent hearing damage. It seems to me that this ought to be a matter of considerable concern to all members of the dance community.
Once hearing damage from excessive sound volume has occurred, it is not reversible. Even if the listener does not think there is a problem, damage may be happening.
Sound levels are measured in decibels (db). The OSHA limits for exposure times over an 8-hour period are:
|Sound Level||Maximum Exposure
||97 db||3 hours or less
||100 db||2 hours or less
||102 db||90 minutes or less
||105 db||60 minutes or less
||110 db||30 minutes or less
||115 db||15 minutes or less
The Bosworths quote several professionals in the dance field, including Bob Mills (NJ), Eric Arnold (MI), Paul Stamler (MO), and David Kaynor (MA), as recommending a maximum level of 90 db for a dance. If some dancers complain of inadequate sound at 90 db, it may well be that their hearing has already been impaired, as is the case with many people who have grown up in the era of rock concerts. It seems inappropriate to jeopardize the hearing of those who don't have this problem to satisfy those who do.
Ideally, a decibel meter would be a part of every sound system kit. The biggest benefit of a decibel meter is that it provides an objective standard. If some people at a dance want the volume higher, there would be an impersonal basis for resisting.
If a dance is a very small one in terms of normal attendance, it may not be practical to purchase a decibel meter. On the other hand, there should be very little reason for excessively loud sound at a small dance.
Human inertia being what it is, it may be reasonably expected that very little will be done to make changes unless there is a significant chorus of concern that lets dance organizers know that many people are aware of the problem and care about it.
I urge all who are concerned about their hearing to make their feelings known wherever possible. Tell your dance organizers; tell the sound system operator at dances; write to dance publications such as this one; and become part of the solution. It's your hearing!
-- Steve Langford, South Windsor, Connecticut
While it is hard to know exactly how many people actually attend the Festival, the total number of tickets purchased was 4,736. In addition to this figure, there were approx. 1500 performers (wow!), and 312 volunteers (thank you all, come back next year, encourage friends to volunteer too).
For those interested in more details, the minutes from the post-Festival board meeting will be in the next issue of the News. See you all next year!
-- Angel Roman
Here is the schedule:
Cost is $450 per week, $225 Labor Day Weekend, including all taxes. Work scholarships are available. For full brochure or to register, contact Rae Nemovicher, 150 North Court, Roslyn Heights, NY 11577; phone (516) 621-6273. After July 17, contact Rae at Mainewoods Dance Camp, 559 Route 85, Raymond, Maine 04071; phone (207)655-2633.
George Fogg is paid by CDS, and NEFFA pays CDS $75 per month. George feels that closer to 50% of his time is NEFFA-related, and that NEFFA should be paying more its fair share. A motion was made to increase NEFFA's contribution towards office help expense to 50% level. It was stated that although CDS has not discussed this issue, it would be unlikely that they'd refuse the financial assistance. Dan recalled that the current reimbursement scheme was derived from actual time sheets that George collected over a period of a few weeks. At the time, we rounded up the percentage of NEFFA's contribution in acknowledgment of the heavy NEFFA load in the time before the Festival. Dan suggested that we do more research, perhaps a new log. Dan was willing to make any future change retroactive to this day, if a change were warranted. The motion was tabled.
Ralph has expense forms and tax-exempt forms. Don't pay tax!
The Program committee is thinking about the following:
Bob circulated a revised booth fees proposal. There were some issues with this, and Shelagh was charged with redrafting it. She came up with the following motion: "Fee assessment will be based on room/activity, based on the estimated costs to provide the needed facilities for that room/activity. Thus, there will be a single, but separate fee assessed for the Folk Bazaar, the Crafts room and the Cafeteria. The fee differential is based on the different needs of each area. The Folk Bazaar requires only tables, chairs and a divider curtain; the Crafts room requires tables, chairs and electrical wiring; the Food booths require tables, chairs, multiple cable electrical wiring, and matrons. In general, the booth fees will be no lower than the previous year's booth fees." This motion passed.
Dan suggested that some procedure to assist Inca Son in getting sound levels set would be helpful. Perhaps even schedule a 15-minute unprogrammed slot before their slot.
Performers that may be impacted by overflowing dance performances need to be specially contacted and handled. Ralph cited a continual problem: a performer who exceeded their time slot. Do we keep track of these people? Larry suggested that performers could "powwow" to address local timing anomalies. Janet will attempt to emphasize NEFFA's policy to performers in future mailings.
There will be no Morris contingency plan this year.
The Program Book deadline is very early April.
Larry will print the early-admission stickers again. The booth fees were reviewed. Ralph questioned the differential fees for the Crafts vs. the Bazaar considering it is just an ancient choice which placed them in their respective areas. The Crafts room was deemed to be a preferential area. The difference is also so minor not to pose a problem.
People should maintain an accounting of complementary ticket distribution. Robert said that when we had parking less under control, free ticket distribution to neighbors was done. Leslie feels that distribution to neighbors is an inexpensive goodwill investment. Door to door distribution was done in the past. Bob will find out how this has been handled in the past.
The insurance bill is the same this year; the split will continue last year.
The Family Dance lost around $800 this year (less than recent year's loss).
Ralph is unsure about membership policy. What is the membership year? The membership figures (the post-Festival number in 1995 is greater than the number now) are confusing. Shelagh Ellman-Pearl said that, going forward, the household memberships will only designate the number of voting adults.
Some people who received a form acknowledging contributions to the Ralph Page Memorial Fund were offended by the brusque and cold nature of the form. Ralph mentioned that RSCDS has a good model of a contribution acknowledgment form.
Ralph presented a letter from the CDS Board requesting that NEFFA pay 50% of George Fogg's salary. A motion was passed to do just that. The letter from Jean Farrington, CDS President, also expressed CDS's regret to forgo having a food booth at NEFFA this year. Nancy said that Jean said a few weeks ago that it was difficult getting volunteers to staff the CDS booth.
Ralph requested that check requests be given to him in advance of the Festival.
The Green Mountain Volunteers want to make special arrangements to rehearse. Bob presented some possible guidelines, but a straw vote was strongly against having a policy.
A proposal to have a foot massage workshop was intriguing. We think its a great idea, but its hard to classify. We think it might be good for the Activity Room. (Linda doesn't want to have to organize it for this year.) Concerns about licensing and cleanliness prompted us to reach the consensus: next year!
Final rental amounts are needed in two weeks. I always rent extra tables and chairs.
Board member parking for those who need it was arranged. Bob presented the pager-holder list for approval.
Qualified assistants are still being sought.
Any leads on acoustical curtains would be appreciated.
A pickup truck is needed for scaffold transportation.
Michael reviewed the budget, with no major changes from previous years. The need of tape decks was discussed.
If you'd like to attend a future meeting of the NEFFA Exec Board, please contact NEFFA Secretary Dan Pearl at 508-229-2854.
Copyright © 1996 New England Folk Festival Association