Author: Cornish, Rick

The Process

It was about seven years ago that the process for selecting FDF bands began to see substantial changes. The leadership of the Association sought to find a system of creating line-ups that would yield the best shows possible for the least amount of money. It sought a way to more strategically determine which acts would fill the greatest number of seats. The old system, ratings numbers applied to formulas, majority votes on the board, etc., with virtually no provisions for fine tuning line ups or taking advantage of 'deals' that would pop up at the last minute, was absolutely democratic but very, very inflexible. Can you imagine Larry Baker or Don Tucker (Huck Finn) or the promoters of Bean Blossom selecting all of their talent 'by committee'? That's pretty much what the CBA was doing.

In 2005, after many, many discussions and committee recommendations and lots of discussion on the CBA Message Board, a new process for selecting Fathers Day Talents was adopted by the Association's leadership. With only minor tweaks, it's worked pretty well four the past four years. Here's the process.....

Adopted May, 2005

A committee of three people, hereafter referred to at the Talent Advisory Group, will bring to the full CBA board of directors recommendations for all bands to be hired at the annual Fathers Day Festival, with the exception of the Emerging Artist Band, which will continue to be recommended by the IBMA Team. The full board of directors of the California Bluegrass Association will continue, as it has in the past, to make the final selection of all talent hired for the Fathers Day Festival.

Selection Criteria and Input
The Talent Advisory Group will consider a broad range of criteria and input in developing its recommendations, including but not limited to:

• Direction, goals and priorities for the festival line-up reconfirmed each year by the full board of directors;

• The numeric results from a committee 10 to 15 CBA members who will meet and rate bands submitting for the California Showcase. (This committee, which will be called the California Showcase Committee, will follow the same “blind” selection process as has been used in years past.)

• First hand observation of acts, most notably at the annual IBMA Trade Show and Fan Fest;

• Packets received throughout the year from bands throughout the U.S. and the world; and

• Any other input collection process considered of value by the Talent Advisory Group (e.g., a process similar to that used in the past to solicit first and second choice headliner line-ups from the board; an informal survey down among members on the web site or in the Breakdown, etc.)

Headliners—The full board of directors will develop/reconfirm its direction, goals and priorities for the Fathers Day Festival line-up each year in the August-September timeframe to give to the Talent Advisory Group.

The Talent Advisory Group will bring to the full board its recommendation for headliner bands (formerly known as “specially featured” band) in the October to December timeframe for the festival a year and a half hence. (For example, the committee would bring its recommended headliners for the 2011 festival to the board of directors in December of 2009.)

Featured Bands--The Talent Advisory Group will bring to the full board its recommendation for featured bands to the November meeting prior to the Festival. (For example, the Talent Advisory Group would bring its recommended featured bands for the 2010 festival to the board of directors in November of 2009.)

California Showcase—Membership of the California Showcase Committee will be recommended to the board by the committee chairperson in September. The California Showcase Committee will meet in early November and immediately provide the results of the process to the Talent Advisory Group. The Talent Advisory Group will bring to the full board its recommended five California Showcase Bands at the November meeting prior to the festival.

Emerging Artist—The IBMA Liaison will bring to the full board the IBMA Team’s recommendation for Emerging Artist at the November meeting prior to the festival.

Talent Advisory Group Appointments—The board will make Talent Advisory Group appointments at the October Membership meeting each year for the following year. (That is, a Talent Advisory Group member appointed in 2007 would take part in selecting bands for the 2008 and 2009 festivals.)

California Showcase Committee Chair Appointment—The board will make this appointment at the October Membership meeting each year for the following year.

Talent Advisory Group Membership
Qualifications for sitting on the Talent Advisory Group are:

• Ability to do the job

• Demonstrated knowledge of bluegrass, old time and gospel music and the bands that play this music both nationally and regionally

• Membership in the Association.

One Talent Advisory Group member will rotate off the group each year; hence, after the first three years of the process, each Talent Advisory Group member will be appointed to a three-year term. (The order in which the first three members rotate off the group will be mutually determined by the members.)

What's not mentioned here is the process for selecting Vern's bands. The board decided to leave that up to the Coordinator of the Vern's stage, Dave Zimmerman, and to be totally honest, we've heard no complaints. The fewer the cooks, the better the soufle.

Posted:  9/17/2009

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