Wanted to see Windfall at Oak Grove Pavilion tonight but other matters got in the way and I wasn’t able to get there. Missed Scott Perry’s performance there last weekend as well. For a small county, the schedule gets crowded way too easily.
While I always enjoy the Windfall’s music, I also wanted to see if a mistake from the week before had been corrected, a mistake that filled my email and voice mail boxes with complaints about what some saw as overt commercialism they felt was out of place at the popular Zion Lutheran Church facility.
Seems a sponsor who paid for the appearance by Scott’s group last weekend somehow obtained permission to place, on stage, a banner advertising his business. It was a first for Oak Grove and, according to one church official, a last.
Floyd residents tend to reactive negatively to overt commercialism and the on-stage banner was, many felt, over the top. They complained to the church, they complained to other musicians and a lot of those complaints found their way to me.
"What’s next? Sponsor logos on the musical instruments?" The email came from a prominent local musician.
Carter Holliday, a Floyd artist who serves on the committee that handles the Oak Grove event, says he wasn’t aware of the offending banner until it was too late to take it down last Saturday night.
"It was the first time it happened," Holliday said. "It will be the last time as well."
The furor over the banner highlights what can happen when a someone moves into Floyd County and doesn’t learn how things are done here before launching a business. The first rule any salesman is taught is "that you’ve got to learn the territory." That’s especially true in a rural area like Floyd.
Hard-sell doesn’t work here. Residents shun those with high pressure techniques. They cringe at people who hand out business cards like candy. Those who use such tactics quickly find themselves out of business.
A popular local musician tells a tawdry tale of questionable business practices by one newcomer. If someone comes to town and pisses off someone who is well known and well liked word gets around fast.
It’s best to learn how an area like Floyd County works before jumping in with both feet and end up with those feet in your mouth. Good word of mouth can help a newcomer get started but when the words turn bad, they can kill any chance for success.