Letter writer: Shindig rules needs revamp

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I found the excuses for disallowing adult dancing in the area in front of the stage [at Shindig on the Green] to be very lame and, as an acquaintance aptly described it, “snarky” [“Safety is First Concern at Shindig,” July 20, Xpress]. That those responsible for decisions regarding “safety” are intimidated by the prospects of requiring parents to appropriately monitor their children is extremely troubling in that those in attendance have no real security! Especially in a time in U.S. history, not since before the Revolution, when we are confronted by very serious terrorism, undetectable by government authority, until after the fact!

The musicians, the source of the Shindig activities, receive no  financial compensation, while the donations support the organization and the only  folks making money are the vendors.

Tables at the front of the stage for the sale of CDs available from the musicians, announcing their names after each set, would solve the stair-safety problem and also provide some fair compensation and respect to them. This is a culture-sharing opportunity, as listening to the music traveling home will keep visitors connected to their experience here. Sharing with their friends will encourage more visitors from their home regions to visit Western North Carolina. This would also eliminate obstacles to the audience enjoying the music with active-dancing participation.

The vendors are the same vendors every year. Selling tasty but high-cholesterol, fatty foods, while not providing nonmeat and lactose-free food choices, creates discrimination against food needs for other consumers and those lactose-intolerant. In these tough economic times, it would seem more appropriate to select vendors by lottery, giving all the wonderful food offerings available in Asheville an opportunity to benefit from sales to the crowd, serving on a rotating system, not a monopoly.

Forcing the audience to comply with unrealistic concert requirements is out of step with the true heart of the Appalachian community. This region was settled by fiercely independent, family-oriented people escaping Northern Puritanism, with its regulations and restrictions. Their music reflects that freedom through spontaneous and fun dancing.

Clogging is not just an art form, it a physically active expression that everyone deserves the freedom to explore, not just performers. It is more lively, and the steps easily copied, not as isolating as other more studied, regimented dancing styles. Flatfooting, solo dancing, is the earliest form of truly American dance and should also be observed and enjoyed by all! And think of the pleasure for couples waltzing in the warm summer night, to the romantic Appalachian violin styles of our region’s most highly acclaimed Bobby Hicks and Roger Howell!

The “free” concert required money from only those who used the municipal parking garage ($5/car event fee), but everyone else enjoyed it for free? Can we call that discriminating extortion?

Music, created by musicians, [should] … be shared — not for exploitation to benefit a few, but to enrich all. Food vendors’ [products should] … be enjoyed by all, not to benefit a few. Respect [should be given] for an inclusive, uniquely American culture for everyone’s entertainment. Sounds like Asheville to me.

— Cheryl Shepley


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2 thoughts on “Letter writer: Shindig rules needs revamp

  1. Lulz

    LOL, quote: “This region was settled by fiercely independent, family-oriented people escaping Northern Puritanism, with its regulations and restrictions. Their music reflects that freedom through spontaneous and fun dancing.”

    LOL, you don’t see the irony that the area has been settled by the same from places like NY, California, and Illinois that bring about the same stupidity that created what they left? It’s why their influence in local politics has made the area a haven for regulations and city driven political influence that only serves the interest of the few and well connected.

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