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1999 Lowell Folk Festival

FYI, The Lowell Folk Festival is this weekend.  100,000 + expected.
1987 was the first of three National Folk Festivals.  In 1990, the
National moved on to plant elsewhere and the Lowell Folk Festival took
off.  I've read that it is now the nation's largest folk festival of
its type.

Should be another interesting weekend of local Lowell area radio
listening.  If you're coming, don't forget the radio/headphones and
spare batteries!  If last year is like this one, this it should
'sound' like this:

WGBH (89.7 Boston) and Dick Pleasants will likely host the Saturday
afternoon Boardinghouse Park stage program as well as broadcast live.
Dick does a great job with the stage announce duties (while plugging
the calls to the goers, of course.)  As I noted last year, the downer
to that is other stations who may be there grabbing board audio for
their purposes, e.g., WJUL (91.5 Lowell/UMass) or MediaOne, have to
deal with another set of calls to them.  One hopes that they could
"split feed" or "mix minus" Dick's stage mic from the feed to other
stations versus one feed fits all.  WGBH's coverage has been limited
to Sat. afternoon only.  Akin to TV dropping mic flags at

WJUL (my alma mater!) in years past, has been the most prevalent in
terms of three day multi-siting, largely due to the potential vastness
of their volunteer staff and technical capacities.  The result will
depend largely upon staffing resources.  Many a summer, relying purely
upon alumnus members did the show go on.  As with college radio, part
of the fun is finding out what actually happens.  Probably the only
station to be all three days, the full deal.

WLLH (1400 Lowell//Lawrence).  Should be interesting to see what Mega
has planned given the swap to SP 24/7.  Hope they do go for it, in a
big way, bringing the ethnic blast to 1150 Boston, as well.

WCCM (800 Lawrence).  This could be their first ever appearance at the
festival.  It would be more surprising if they were absent,
particularly in light of the kW Costa Eagle property's recent gestures
towards developing some sort of a Lowell presence and their Lowell
Spinners coverage.  Bob Ellis and Frank Messina (now WCCM, then WLLH)
had been highly visible in past WLLH festival broadcasts.

WCAP (980 Lowell).  Planning all day/eve Sat & Sun. live from the JFK
Plaza (at City Hall).  Sticking with one location this year.  I will
be anchoring the Sunday leg of the event (around 1 pm til finish).
(Drop by - they'll be lots of downtime during performances.)  In the
past, the station had remote teams at the JFK Plaza as well as
Boardinghouse Park.  With so much duplication of coverage at
Boardinghouse, that was an obvious problem.  Tossing from site to site
was only clear on paper.  To the average listener trying to keep track
of who/what, it actually detracted, IMO.  Plus, JFK seems to be where
the ethnic food tents, bigger acts, dancing, etc. seems to be.  And if
your behavior gets out of line, the LPD lockup is just a few knee
draggin' feet away (not from personal experience, of course. <g>

There are many other great stage locations you can visit, esp. Market
Street Stage and Market Mills Courtyard that feature a more intimate,
likely more acoustic, less hyped environment (my bias).  I've had some
say they'd listen to different stations in the headphones as they
checked out exhibits, etc. or during breaks at other stages. I
wouldn't try that without a license.

Here's to clean feeds & a clear hops for all.  Time to get some
...Duck Tape (of course).

Bill O'Neill