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.

 

Opening Our Minds to Feedback!

Ready for Opening?

We all hear various types of input about ourselves all day long and all our lives long.  It comes in various forms: criticism, complements, advice, warnings, kidding, hints, etc.  And, many of us give these out like party favors to our friends and family. I finally realized something earlier this Summer when I tried to get my Relative 1 to wear some new shoes.  I had suggested in a variety of ways that his life would improve if he changed his shoes.  I sent him websites, I told him why I like my shoes and how they make walking more enjoyable, etc.  Nada.  I have run into the same response as I’ve tried to encourage my Relative 2 to feed her kids differently – a big NO sign has been written in the sky as in “don’t tell me how to feed my kids, I got it”.  I’m dating one of the best nutritionists in the world and over the course of years I’ve learned more about food and diet than I did in my previous decades of life.  But trying to encourage my relatives to change their behaviors has been unsuccessful to say the least.  So, I had a realization that if a person is not ready to hear feedback in some form, they’re not going to be able to take the information in – whether it’s useful or not, a big wall goes up, and the information is batted back like a baseball sent into the bleachers!

So, the idea I want to share with you is this. Rather than have this experience, how do we all open our minds to be able to hear what is useful that is coming our way?  Rather than deflect, how do we open up our receptors wider when compliments, criticism, feedback of some sort is coming towards us?  Because sometimes there are hidden gems in the dust.  Anytime someone tries to tell us something about ourselves it should be looked at as a gift.  And, interestingly, we often have trouble receiving physical gifts, as well.  My 11 years of attending Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert, and participating in the gifting economy there have taught me a lot about how to give and receive gifts with grace.  And, perhaps there’s a tie-in there, I’m not sure yet.

It seems to me that what’s key here is teaching one another and practicing how to open our minds and our awareness to the messages we’re receiving.  Opening up and letting in.  Breathing in the message, taking it in.  And before we can hear that we need to be doing something differently, or that our toenails need clipping, we have to have our minds open to feedback in general.

So, I want to work with people at this meta-level of receiving information easily.  Does this practice sound like something you’ve heard of before?  Is there already a theory out there that’s been developed that sounds like this?  I’m asking because if not it seems like something that we’d all do well to learn, and learn quickly.  And, if there is something out there like this (and thanks to Susan Cerf for sharing her version of this with me, and article which I’m encouraging her to write…) I’d love to know more about it.

Some have suggested to me that instead of saying “no” to a person’s feedback we can ask “why?”.  And, instead of me telling you that your shoes need tying, I might ask you “are your untied shoes causing a problem for you?”  And, that’s possibly a short-term solution.  But our ability to open our minds to every type of message that’s coming towards us and  figuring out what’s useful and integrating it seems key to me.

Thanks for listening, and I’m ready for your feedback.

11.11.11 – I added a continuation to this idea to my e-letter, The Eleven.  Further comments welcome.

I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately.  Partly because I live in a very rich community environment (many of us refer to it as the Portland bubble) which benefits me greatly, and partly because of how the world is turning these days, I thought I’d share some lessons learned along the way regarding community building.

more 11.11

I think one aspect of community that’s important to its success is communication. The ability of community members (you and me) to be able to hear feedback, accept/hear what’s useful in the information and act/move on it is key. The better we get at giving and receiving feedback to one another the better our relationships will be and the faster we’ll mature. To me, feedback shows that someone cares about someone else. Our society does not really do feedback very well – and because of that, we all generally don’t take to it very well.  In an article I wrote a while back I wrote about how we need to get better at opening our minds.  I think it’s worth a read. (the comments are also very good)

Since then I’ve had some further thoughts about feedback. Here’s a way to handle feedback that gets your hackles up – to be able to more easily parse what’s useful and what’s not within the information.  Imagine that when you give a person feedback (positive or negative) that you are speaking to the 20 million other people who do things that way. That’s a way for both the giver and receiver to depersonalize the experience some so that the triggering of old hurts does not automatically happen.  example: passenger says to driver: “you’re following the car in front of you too closely, please slow down you’re making me uncomfortable”.  So, the driver in this case is like 20 million other drivers who do this thus making 20 million passengers uncomfortable. That said, the driver can either decide to acknowledge the issue, ignore it, or tease out what they feel is useful without taking the criticism of their driving personally. And it goes the other way, too.

When you are the recipient of feedback, imagine that you are one of 20 million people hear it.  Example: Someone compliments your work on a particular issue. Well, they’re complimenting 20 million people who’ve decided to take actions on that or some other issue – you’re in good company.

How does this help build community? Well, it’s one facet in our getting better and better at getting in close with each other and helping one another mature!  And, according to a good friend and amazing therapist, much of her work is about helping people mature because “when they’ve matured, they no longer need therapy”.

So, here’s to improving our communication skills and learning to give and receive feedback well. Of course this is just one area in the communication area and is just one part of building strong communities. These topics are a lot of what I right about so, stick around and perhaps something will appeal to you enough to try it out.  Let me know how it goes!

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