The mission of Twangfest is to preserve and promote the unique tradition and culture of Americana music. Twangfest works toward this goal primarily by organizing an annual multiple-day event that encourages, promotes and supports the development, performance and enjoyment of Americana music outside the profit-oriented institutional framework of the recording industry.
II. What is Americana Music?
Americana is a unique musical form, blending traditional and contemporary elements of American folk and popular music into new combinations that rearticulate older forms such as Western Swing, Rhythm and Blues, Appalachian mountain music, bluegrass, honky-tonk, polka, and rockabilly in terms of present-day social and artistic concerns. Primarily supported by grassroots initiatives and the efforts of its practitioners, Americana is a recognized and influential genre of contemporary popular music, although not one that is central to the profit-motivated categories generally promoted by the recording industry.
The primary goal of Twangfest is to plan for and oversee an annual multiple-day nonprofit festival of Americana music featuring approximately fifteen acts. The festival is held each June in St. Louis, MO. A secondary goal is to produce online and traditional media that documents the artists who perform at and associate themselves with the festival. Finally, Twangfest produces and maintains a Web site, and participates in appropriate online discussions promoting Americana music and Twangfest itself to wider audiences. The annual festival and CD recording are the culmination of year-round organizational, research and fund-raising activities by a dedicated and ever-growing number of volunteers. These activities include the following:
- Reviewing applications from interested amateur artists who wish to perform at the festival
- Contacting and negotiating with professional artists invited to perform at the festival
- Overseeing details concerning the venue, onsite equipment, and scheduling of individual acts
- Design and production of materials promoting the festival, including press kits, T-shirts, stickers, and so on
- Promoting the event via radio and print outlets both locally in St. Louis and nationally
- Coordinating ancillary events surrounding the festival, such as free radio and in-store performances, a picnic for festival-goers, a bowling tournament for festival-goers, etc.
- Year-round fundraising from individual donors and businesses to provide adequate funds for the event
- Communicating year-round news and information concerning the event to the Internet, to the general public via a Web site and print, and to other online groups as appropriate (online discussion groups devoted to bluegrass, hillbilly music, etc.)
- Organizing hotel and motel accommodations for artists performing at the festival
- Creating online and traditional media (audio, video, photography) drawn from the festival
As a result of Twangfest, more people will learn about the history and nature of Americana music, how this musical form draws from earlier American music traditions and how Americana influences other musical traditions (country, rock and roll, pop, and so on).
More people will be encouraged to create music in the Americana genre, which further preserves the style and promotes it to a larger audience.
Because Twangfest and all its activities are carried out by an all-volunteer organization, more people will have the opportunity to learn about the business of organizing a music festival and creating online and traditional media. In this manner, volunteers will gain experience that they can utilize in their further professional or artistic development.