Pickathon 2017

Pickathon 2017
Pickathon

Here’s my note to Pickathon: (General Questions info@pickathon.com) – regarding the noise levels at this past weekend’s festival – and some commentary from friends on FB. FYI – Trade Up Music in Portland sells a variety of earplugs. 

“Hey there, I had some great moments this year at Pickathon. I go to a lot of festivals – and I often write about them. Unfortunately, I am really upset about the sound level for most of the music this weekend.

I had to leave the venue early each evening and seek refuge somewhere else because things just got too loud. As someone who has attended a lot of festivals – I get it – loud music = fun, and freedom. But the incessant level of 11 at Pickathon was not fun for me. I’m 56, I’m getting tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and I’m also a big fan of great, live music. I think you probably had some really good acts this weekend, and I certainly got my fill of some of them at the Woods stage. But once the levels went up there, I was out of luck.

Here’s an article I wrote on the topic a few years back. If I’m to return to Pickathon, I’ll need some reassurance that the head cheeses have thought this through and make an effort to change things.

This was my first time back to Pickathon in 10 years (or so) – I think I was there for the first one at Pendarvis Farm. I really enjoyed so much about the festival – I’ll be writing a review which I will share with you if you’re interested. But the noise level made my appreciation sort of moot, because I couldn’t stay around. Thanks for listening. Please include a question about sound volume level when you ask people about their experience.

Mine – overall was awesome, except for the sound level. (fyi, think of the children – the levels they’re being exposed to is not safe…)

 Comments

Jaci LaVon Roe My mama has some hearing loss. She just went to some live music she was looking forward to and it was blasted too loud. She couldn’t even make out the words of the singer. It does not need to be so loud and for me it’s not fun and free when it’s like that, it hurts the senses. People need to give feedback about this because it’s a common complaint.

Albert Kaufman Thank you. It’s like they take a delicious ice cream cone and pour dirt on it.

Jaci LaVon Roe Yep. I’ve had that experience too, but certainly for people who already have some damage or loss, they/we still deserve to actually Hear and Enjoy the artists performance, especially paying good money for it. Mutual support needed.

Kristi Hart Excellent point, Albert. I notice this every time I go to a movie theater… as soon as it starts, I wish I’d rented a movie at home instead. Thanks for speaking up! I will join you in adding my comments on this topic to event feedback.

Albert Kaufman sadly, I think Eclipse will be more of the same and I think I’m going to sell my ticket.

Kristi Hart Albert Kaufman  you’re probably right. Maybe worth mentioning to the organizers/Symbiosis, to ask if they’ve considered volume levels in their planning?

James Hanley I have to wear earplugs at shows these days.

Eileen Snow Not to oversimplify the issue or problem….. What about using some earplugs that take the sound level to a level that works for you? I see a ton of live music, and various friends use them and tell me they come in all configurations to make one comfortable and able to fully enjoy. Highly recommend keeping a pair that works for you tucked I to your pocket! It’s a good way to be sure you don’t have to leave if things get too loud….

Albert Kaufman Yes. for me – great solution. For the slew of kids/teenagers/people with no clue… it’s not a great solution. And, we’d just all do a lot better to actually hear the music with the right volume.

Eileen Snow I hear you (figuratively)— but also want to impress that sometimes, I want to feel the power in really loud acoustics. Maybe the solution is some sort of warning about the dcb level to be expected at certain shows (fair warning), so that we can all be informed and choose to participate or not (or use earplugs or not)? Not sure that would take care of the younger set who think their hearing is invincible…..

Erin Townsend The problem there is that when you’re up the hill camping above Woods Stage, it’s still too loud at your campground, or when you’re eating at the wonderful food court, it’s still too loud there from Main Stage. No escape. You can’t just choose not to attend the show.

Erin Townsend Great suggestion, nonetheless, it just may not apply in this case.

Albert Kaufman Erin: General Questions info@pickathon.com When emailing “info” please be patient with a reply. We’re a small staff and we receive a high volume of email every day.

Mike Meyer Cranking up old time music in the wilderness makes no sense to me. Alot of other Pickathon things don’t resonate with me either. I find way better acts, more of a community ethos, all for less $ at other events throughout the summer…

Albert Kaufman wow, if you’re saying that then … I’m really worried. And, add me to your newsletter, please.

Albert Kaufman And, any ideas on how to get these festival organizers to listen on this issue would be appreciated. I wish they’d all travel to the Vancouver Folk Music Festival to see how it can be done.

Marian Spadone Thanks, Albert. This is important and it’s kind of stunning to me how sound pollution and subsequent hearing loss aren’t more of a topic of awareness. I use earplugs at the movies these days almost all the time, and haven’t been to a concert in a while, partly because of this. (though I do use earplugs when hearing music too…) Even concerts billed as ‘acoustic’ are amplified. weird…

Megan Ruby Richards I was just researching a good pair of acoustic ear plugs to bring to symbiosis eclipse 
currently hear ringing in my ears, I can’t remember when that started! 

Albert Kaufman oh, I’m so sorry. I’m 56! I know it’s probably not age dependent, but tinnitus so far sucks sucks sucks. take care of those ears, dear. Sanderson Safety Supply Co is a good place to go for ear protection.

Mike Oxborrow Albert Kaufman Music stores stock them!

Aaron Overstreet I bring Isolator brand earplugs with me everywhere. They retain the quality of the music and don’t make it muddy like foam plugs.

Albert Kaufman cool. Thank you. I suspect I need to get some of these quick.

Matthew Mathis “Thanks for listening”! 
Anne Jones Sorry pickathon sounds like a yawn o Rama to me. 
Albert Kaufman It could have been a lot better (for me, at least) if the sound had been less oppressive. And, there’s lots of variety out here…

Dandelion Mae I agree with you Albert! I have hearing loss and struggle with the same issues. It’s just not enjoyable. The thing that gets me about it though is that even if you don’t have hearing issues, noise at that volume isn’t good for your ears; it’s just not.

Carolyn Stuart let’s include ALL amplified music events!!( if you need the vibration just ask someone to shake you?)
Hank Payne I’m sharing this because it is something that is affecting many of us. Its not just the “super bass car audio” any more. Audio intrusions and pollution comes from everywhere these days.

Howard Patterson My theory is that the music is so loud because the sound engineers have been turning it up to eleven for so long that they are significantly hearing impaired, and don’t understand how loud it actually is.

Albert Kaufman you’re onto something. that’s why I love me a live marching band!

Eric Fair-Layman I think it’s peer pressure

Lisa Wittenberg Hillyard Sound meters are now available for free on our phones. The decibel number of 85 is the level where professional conversations can happen about turning down the volume.

Noise cancelling headphones are available now. I am waiting for noise cancelling ear buds.

Albert Kaufman yeah – all well and good for the informed, but kids, teens, and most adults aren’t going to know what to do about this issue – at least I’m not seeing a huge awareness around it…

Albert Kaufman hello festival producers!!!

Albert Kaufman General Questions info@pickathon.com When emailing “info” please be patient with a reply. We’re a small staff and we receive a high volume of email every day.

Diyo McIlhatton A friend saw Ed Sheeran at Moda center the other night. He said it was very loud too.

Jack Baikoff I got myself a pair of special earplugs that are designed to not distort the music. They are somewhat pricey but are well worth it.

Eric Fair-Layman What kind?

Eric Fair-Layman I agree Albert although I am so used to it I didn’t think about it. Thanks for bringing this up. I also agree that it is a great festival otherwise.

Erin Townsend Thank you, Albert– i didnt go this year after volunteering the last 6. last year i left in a terrible mood Sunday night from anxiety caused by over stumilation that afternoon. There is now nowhere to get away to for a moment and escape the noise. when Ty Segall played mainstage last year on Sunday afternoon it was so loud i could still hear it from the Galaxy Barn beer garden. i could hear both bands at once and couldn’t focus on anything. people kept looking at me like i was crazy but it was TOO LOUD.

Albert Kaufman Agreed. General Questions info@pickathon.com When emailing “info” please be patient with a reply. We’re a small staff and we receive a high volume of email every day.

 

8.24.17 – I’ve shared my concerns with Pickathon and they seem to have heard me. I’ve also picked up some ear protection at Trade Up Music which I brought to the Beloved Festival and that seemed to make a difference.

 

Burning Man 2014

Burning Man 2014

 dusty playa
Hi there, It’s probably best to convey my 14th Burning Man to you now while it’s fresh rather than wait till the 11th, so, here goes.

After a Spring and Summer where I wasn’t doubting for a second that I’d be attending this year’s Burning Man, I suddenly got a very strong NO from the universe with about a week to go before the event. I earnestly talked to friends about the 500 reasons I didn’t want to attend; and it literally felt like there were that many reasons and more not to go. I may compile those reasons at some point, but to continue the story, I had a visit from Mr. Yes and that turned me around on the Thursday before the weekend we were to leave for the playa.

Mr. Yes? Why, yes!  One night, I turned off my phone, put it down, hopped on my bike, and started riding southeast from my house. During that ride I had the idea that I could adjust my course and visit a massage place that I’d heard about on 82nd and Division – a walk-in place. Well, that course adjustment and my subsequent excellent full-body massage for $20 reminded me of some of what I love about Burning Man – the opportunity to change course at will for something that caught my fancy. Sonad (“Spinning on a Dime“) as my friend, Abigail, pointed out! So, after my Mr. Yes visit, I decided that building my business could wait; that Eecole had arranged the most amazing transport/living situation I’d ever experienced at Burning Man; and that I could travel to Burning Man with my favorite person in the world, Eecole. Best friend, partner of almost 9 years – why would I not want to do this?

The Egg
The Egg

So, away we went!  Trailer (we called it the egg) lent to us by our friends, Dwight and Nicole; massage table; tons of food; clothes; bikes – we got going on Saturday. First up was an overnight at Summer Lake Hot Springs (one of my favorite places on the planet) where we pulled in by the lake/pond and had our first night of sleep in the Egg. Delightful. Quiet. The next day we cruised to Burning Man, spent 3 hours in line and another hour trying to figure out where to park ourselves. Then, we hopped on our bikes and cruised the playa for a couple hours and arrived. That night we also stopped by to visit our Portland friends Bob, Sam, and Ted who brought their amazing art car – Pipes of Passion (NSFW), to the playa. We had thought about camping with them, but their neighborhood was full of art cars/noise – so, instead, we plopped ourselves down in the quiet burbs of K & 7:50.  This is also one of my favorite areas to camp over the years as it’s a great place to watch the sunset – as it’s almost all the way out on the Western edge of things – facing some dear mountains. 

Playa sunsets rock  

Early Monday morning we heard the crashing sounds of thunder and lightening! 3-4 times – and then, Rain!!!! If you know anything about the Black Rock Desert, you know that rain can make the surface very clompy – and make it impossible to move about – especially with vehicles. We rushed outside, and brought in some of the things that could get damaged, and then went back to sleep. When we woke again and looked outside it was cool, and damp. We couldn’t easily leave, so just slept some more 🙂  But for thousands of Burners, this was a very hard time – many theme camps couldn’t keep building their infrastructure – art projects were stalled; and thousands of people were halted at the entryway to the playa – where a small lake had formed. Many had to wait in their vehicles for 24 hours until they were given permission to come in! Those who were along the road coming in were advised to travel back to Reno and try again the next day!

Burning Man Is Closed 2014 Part 1
Burning Man Is Closed 2014 Part 1

One result of the rain and the fact that Monday arrival didn’t happen was that the playa was quieter than I’ve experienced it since my first year in 2000 (after the rain that year :)(see above video). It also meant that the streets were not filled with cars trying to park; ports-potties were easily accessible and clean from the day before. It was really noticeable difference. We spent the morning setting up camp and then the rest of the day tooling about the open playa and enjoying the art and car-empty streets. This led me to think that it might be a good idea for Burning Man to try staggering the entrance, on purpose.  2 days on, 1 day off, would really make a big difference.

Burning Man 2014 Walks on the Playa
Burning Man 2014 Walks on the Playa

Burning Man this year was different from other years in many ways. For the past couple years there have been a huge influx of 1st-timers (virgins). Just like any activity, it’s useful to know the “rules” and Burning Man sends all ticket-holders a beautifully-written Survival Guide (after all you’re entering some very harsh conditions – hot during the day, cold at night – possible storms…) that really should be required reading by all. By now, I could probably write the guide in my sleep; but for those who have never read it and show up at Burning Man it’s very easy to hurt yourself, hurt others or make big mistakes. Note: leave your car keys, passports, valuables at your camp – don’t take your phone to a rave 🙂

Playastan Crossroads!

On the plus side the event has continued to attract beautiful, interesting, gigantic pieces of art (and incredible thinkers, dreamers, revolutionaries, and the curious). And there’s nothing like plying the playa by bike and seeing specs in the distance suddenly turn into art before your eyes. And the backdrop of the Black Rock Desert is the greatest gallery that could be imagined – dusty or not. This year was not a huge dust year. It was a big heat year, though. Traveling around during the day I felt my back getting fried at times. Luckily, there are great camps like Northwest Mist, which provide a respite from the heat and light.

This year’s PO9

One of the things that guided me this year was my understanding of how to use mail at Burning Man as a guide. I’m overdue to write up the history of the Postal System at Burning Man. If you’ve been reading my thoughts over the years, you know I’ve been involved in this “theme camp” since 2002. This year I decided to retire, and instead used the Burner Map appto locate my friends and create cards to lead me to them. Each day I’d pull out some cards and travel to the camps listed – sending myself as post, in a way. I visited people I am friends with on FB, only, and people I work with. I got to visit Carrie Katz, who I lived with on Kibbutz Urim in 1979 and hadn’t seen since! That was certainly a highlight. She’s become a professional songwriter and is also out there changing the world like me!

Burning Man - the Man
Photo by Eecole

I had a hard year. I often say “this is my last year” or “I’m not going“, but this time, I really think I’m done. Though Burning Man is an incredible experience, I may have gotten what I need from the event after 14 years of going and it’s probably time for me to move on. It also can just be incredibly challenging to go, set up one’s camp, participate intensely and endure the conditions. This year felt harder on my body than year’s past. Maybe I’m just getting older 🙂

That said, wow – the lessons one can learn from going are quite incredible. I often say to people it’s like getting a graduate education in a week. Part of my excitement about the number of virgins going is that I hope they will learn some of what is offered and not just waste their time there. You can often learn lessons so quickly at Burning Man. Also, with a collection of so many smart people; artists; musicians; makers; you learn so many interesting references that it can take you a year just to follow up on all of the great ones. And, it can be super fun. And funny.  And sexy. And smart. And uplifting.

Being a part of a gifting economy for a week – I don’t know anywhere else on the planet where one can experience that.  Do you?

El Pulpo and Mini Pulpo
El Pulpo!

We left before the Burning of the Man. It’s something I’ve been doing for the last 3 visits to the playa. It leads to not having any lines on the way out and for some beautiful sunsets on the way North. This year we stopped overnight in the Modoc National Forest which I’d been wanting to do for years. Though we were a bit fried, we did not swerve for bunnies (which is one way people die leaving the event each year) – sorry, Mr. Bunny. We also did not swerve for a skunk. Sorry, Mr. Skunk. 

On the second day heading back to Portland, we overnighted outside of Sisters, Oregon and woke up to see the sunrise at the 3 Sisters Wilderness area – see these pictures – it was one of the most beautiful mornings and this lava bed area is worth a visit.

Dee Observatory near Sisters, OR

Dee Observatory near Sisters, OR

Today we finally finished cleaning the Egg and returned it. 

I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to make this pilgrimage each year. It’s such a luxury. If you have never been, you might want to try it, sometime 🙂  Tickets go on sale in the Spring. Also, there are a lot of ways to travel to Burning Man as a volunteer.

I’ll probably be writing a lot more about Burning Man 2014 because I think the event is at a crossroads. I’d love to see it continue to retain some of its greatness, but I think it can only do that if the people who come get a little more educated about what it is before arriving.  And, the numbers of people are also causing some challenges – this year there were about 70K people which stresses various systems. When I first went in 2000, we were 20K!

If you went to Burning Man this year, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts, and if you have any feedback about my reflections, please write back! Happy decompressing!

OK, enough about Burning Man! I’m home, back in Portland!  I’ll be speaking this coming Wednesday, September 10th, at the Alberta Rose Theatre as part of a marketing mega-event from 9-12 – come on out or tell your friends who are small business people to come! I also have a free class I’m doing with Heather Fulton, on September 24th about the use of Social Media – details below.

Also, a while back I learned about the Garcia Birthday Band (GBB) and thought they’d be fun to dance to in a ballroom.  Join me this coming Friday for the first (and I hope first of many!) time the GBB will be playing at the Village Ballroom!

I hope all is going well in your world and that you’re enjoying yourself and nurturing yourself.

Sincerely,

 

Albert Kaufman

“Nutmeg Alfredo” (my playa name)

 

Gray
Albert Kaufman

Upcoming Events

Social Media Marketing for Small Business Success

Wednesday September 24, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT

Come learn about social media from local expert, Albert Kaufman. This presentation is a guide for small businesses or nonprofits who have been using social media marketing, but need some tips to take them to an intermediate level and/or add new channels to their marketing efforts. Heather Fulton, Social Media Worldwide, will also be speaking – see link above for more information about Heather! 

Uptown Billiards – Coffee and drink service available. Also, so many people responded positively to the idea of having lunch together after class – that we’re definitely on!  

Heather Fulton

Happy Hanukkah!

It’s December 11th, 2012 and time for another edition of The Eleven, my monthly newsletter where I share my thinking with you. As the year winds down I’m reflecting back on what an incredible year it has been.  If you’re not familiar with my writing, please visit my website at http://albertideation.com and check out a few of the articles. My most popular ones have probably been on how to make parties go better for everyone, my thoughts on cellphones, and opening our minds to feedback.

Most recently I’ve been pleased with my Facebook and email marketing classes. These gatherings have given me a chance to share what I’ve learned over the past couple of years with small businesspeople who sincerely appreciate what I’m sharing. I watch as people take the information and run with it – adding people to their email lists; adding fans to their fan pages; and taking steps to put their important messages out into the world. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of repeat customers and referrals and I’m grateful for those of you who are sending your friends my way. I’m also being asked by the folks at Constant Contact to become part of their Authorized Local Experts team which means I’ll be putting on workshops for them soon. I like to teach and I love showing people how to promote their work – so this is a great fit for me.
Boom Box
Also in the paid realm, I’ve had a chance to work with the Boombox Network – an organization that helps their clients reach babyboomers. I wrote an article called Speaking up about Hearing Loss. I learned a lot about hearing loss and my article talks about my history with sound and some helpful links for people who might be facing hearing loss. My previous article was on Cranium Crunches – tools to help with one’s memory. These have been my first paid writing assignments in decades.
Personally, I’ve been finding myself drawn back once again into the supportive fold of the RC (Re-evaluation Counseling) community. I’m part of a few support groups (Jewish, Men’s) and an on-going class. I’ve been using co-counseling for over 20 years to help me keep my thinking sharp. It works and I’m so lucky there is a strong community of co-counselors in Portland.
Eecole
Eecole is finishing up a massage degree – she takes her practical test in Salem on Wednesday. When she passes she’ll be a licensed massage therapist and a nutritionist – world, watch out!
And then there’s the election. I’m still feeling pleased that the direction of the country seems to be more progressive than it was previously. I believe the only chance we have to continue to exist on the planet (along with any remaining non-human species) is if we make some tough choices in the next few years. Choices around size of the human population are bound to arise as we continue to put more carbon than ever into the atmosphere. Whether we stop the shipping of coal from Montana and Wyoming through the Pacific Northwest on its way to China is also up there in importance. I’m reconsidering all of the time I put into things like trying to end the distribution of phonebooks, my sunflower project, and even the tree plantings that I help organize as they pale in comparison with the scope of the problem that burning coal presents.
Albert
Yep, that’s what I look like these days! I’m on a kick to lose some weight and lower my cholesterol – so far, it’s working 🙂  I’ve purchased an urban rebounder (one of those mini trampolines) and I’m bouncing on it every day while I watch inspiring TED Talks sent to me by friends. I welcome your submissions! My main New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to be outside more – so, if you ever want to take a walk or do other exercise together outside (The Birthday Garden is a great place to work up a sweat): walking, biking, throwing a frisbee, please let me know.
Support: I have a lot of interesting projects going on at all times, and I know others who do. I’m pretty well-connected and love to network – try me 🙂  If you have any extra time or an inclination to support what I do in the world, please get in touch. I’d love to be collaborating more and having a bigger impact.
Happy Hannukah – even if you’re not Jewish I encourage you to take a moment and light some candles. It’s dark out there and the candles will sooth you and make you smile.
happy hannukah
                         May there be peace in the world
Have a great Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years and Merry Megglemoose!
Yours,
Albert Kaufman
PS – I love sending and receiving mail. If you’d like a holiday card, please respond with your postal address.

Speak Up About Hearing Loss

From the Beloved Music and Art Festival - Teaching the next generation :)

From the Beloved Music and Art Festival – Teaching the next generation 🙂

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of sound. I grew up in a musical household – one that featured many instruments and much music making. We’d often have people pass through offering house concerts – something I continue to promote and host as an adult. And, if we weren’t playing music ourselves my home had a huge record collection that I listened to as a young person, teenager and then young adult. The music was mostly folk music but there was some Allman Brothers and blues in there, too. At 15 I started playing the guitar, continued listening to recorded music and eventually found my way to large-scale concerts featuring people like Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead, and others.  These were some mighty large and LOUD shows and after the music ended my ears would continue to ring long into the night. At around this age I first became aware of the issue of people losing their hearing.

This attraction to large-scale concerts, music festivals and music, in general, eventually led me to Burning Man where the music is pretty much non-stop – comes from stationary “sound camps” and roams the playa (as the Black Rock Desert is known) via art cars pretty much 24-7.  I’ve been to Burning Man 12 times – and each time the “music” seems to get a little louder – sometimes to the point of shaking the ground even when it’s happening a mile away. Though the Burning Man organization has created some rules to limit the deafening levels of sound at the event, it still seems that the experience is marred by the abundance of loud music – usually playing over other loud music – repeat and stir.

Now I love attending Burning Man and other events. But when there is so little attempt to treat sound as a possibly harmful element, one has to wonder whether  a safe environment is being created or thought about.  Knowing that hearing loss is a growing problem in the world which affects our quality of life, I do what I can to comment back to event organizers that I have a concern about the issue.

This is also an issue affecting folks who travel to more mainstream events such as professional sports. The other night I attended a Portland Trailblazers game with a friend and was surprised to see earplugs being sold for $1 a pair at stands outside of the main hall.  I didn’t have to wonder why this might be the case long because as the game began I listened as the DJ used the sound system to bludgeon both the audience and the teams playing with ultra-loud announcements and encouragement for us all to cheer.  This went on throughout the night and I wondered to myself what the effect of this might be on the players who play the game night after night. I suspect their game is also interrupted by the intensity of the sound system, but that’s just another bad side effect of music/commentary being turned up too high.

As much as I worry about my own hearing loss, I’ve been saddened over the years by relatives’ loss of hearing. You may struggle as I do with a relative who’s lost all or some of their hearing. Many people use hearing aids, but many don’t – and it’s challenging to figure out how to help. One way is to suggest that your friend or relative find an audiologist.  Here’s a website that can provide that information.

I hope I never lose my hearing and I’m taking more and more precautions with time to protect myself and those who I know from this and other environmental effects (leaf-blowers, car alarms, lawn-mowers) that exist in our modern world.  If you agree with me that sometimes the music/noise at an event is too loud, please feel free to speak up. Often DJs who are spinning their music have been doing it so long that they are a bit hard of hearing, too – and thus, don’t really have a sense of just how loud things are. I know that often this turns up as a way too loud bass thrumming sound. Please say something!

Things won’t change unless we stand up and speak out.  Thanks for caring enough to take a stand on hearing loss issues.

Here‘s a great, short PSA video about Hearing Loss. And, feel free to share this posting with friends and family – hopefully, it will lead someone to get the help they need.

Speak Up About Hearing Loss

Click here to find an audiologist

I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf ASHA.org and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own. Truley 🙂

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