Jamboree update

As most of you probably know, there’s a big, outdoor music festival taking place here in Ypsi this weekend. It’s being called the Jamboree, and, as luck would have it, I had an opportunity to sit down with festival director Don Sicheneder and ask him a few questions this evening. Here’s our interview:


MARK: So, how are advance ticket sales? Did you have a goal in mind, and, if so, have you reached it?

DON: We did have a goal in mind. Our plan was to sell at least 20% of our break-even number. We knew from our research that advance ticket sales are down nationally, although attendance has not seen a large reduction. I think that people like to wait until the day of, which is great by us. Anytime you are planning an outdoor event, the weather plays a factor. As long as the community comes out and sees what a great festival we have put together, and mother nature cooperates, it doesn’t matter at all when the tickets are sold. At any rate, we are working hard to increase the number of advance sales and feel that we will reach our goal. They can be purchased at a reduced rate at the event site, under the “tickets” link.

MARK: So, how about the lineup? Is it now complete, or are you still adding bands?

DON: The lineup is complete. We have accumulated the finest in Michigan talent. When Erik Dotzauer and I first began this, we made a list of all of the bands that would be our dream list. I am happy to say that we have sealed up most all of them. I play in Dragon Wagon, which is a bluegrass band. The original idea was to keep it a bluegrass/roots music festival because of the popularity and family-friendly nature of the music. But, once we started adding bands to our list, we expanded the concept to be more and more open. We added a number of styles of music, while maintaining a family-friendly feel. I don’t care what type of music you are into – the lineup we have has something for everyone.

The one thing we were missing was a national act. Luckily, we were able to have “That 1 Guy” join us from Las Vegas. I am so excited to have him be a part of the Jamboree. We wanted an act that represents the artistic and diverse Ypsilanti area. I feel he is the perfect fit, and will be sure to amaze and insipire with his one man band approach and immense talent. It will be great to see how people react to him. My guess is that there will be many jaws on the ground wondering how in the world he is doing what he does.

MARK: How does it break down between the days, or is there any difference in lineup at all? I’m wondering, for instance, if one day is more bluegrass, or rock and roll, than another? Have you tried to put complimentary bands together? Does it build to some kind of climax?

DON: Absolutely. There is method to our madness! The Friday lineup is exactly what you want to hear after a long work week. We have guitar and vocal great Laith Al-Saadi playing at 5pm, moving to local surf rock guys, Tokyo Sexwhale, to one of my favorites, Black Jake and the Carnies, then International phenoms, and great Ypsilanti supporters, The October Babies who bring a ton of energy and finally finishing the night with The Ragbirds and then Matt Jones. Friday be ready to dance and leave exhausted. As Toko from the October Babies says…”we like to bounce!” And so will the kids. I cannot wait to see The Ragbirds at the Jamboree.

Saturday we have amazing flow to the lineup. You will experience a lot of the Roots/Bluegrass music during the day, perfect for sipping cool drinks, showing the kids to the Community Records Kids Tent, and enjoying what will hopefully be a beautiful day. Some of the acts I am really looking forward to are The Afternoon Round, The Bearded Ladies, Orpheum Bell and Wayward Roots. Then, in my opinion, something special happens. May Erlewine (formally Daisy May) and Seth Bernard will play for us with Dick Siegel as their guest. May has one of the most true voices I have ever heard. When Erik Dotzauer and I started planning the Jamboree, she was at the top of the list, and she’s the first person we got a commitment from. They will be going on around 5:15. After May and Seth warm everyone’s hearts, the night will move towards a little different feel. The crowd will awaken and people will really start moving. Hullabaloo, Dragon Wagon and Back 40 will get everyone ready for That 1 Guy who plays the crowd like the “magic pipe” he invented. When people don’t think they can possibly dance any more, regional favorites and great friends, The Macpodz will take the stage at 10:30 to finish the night. I am really looking forward to the Podz….. stay tuned, they may have a couple of special guests!

MARK: So, if you don’t mind my asking, why didn’t you decide to reinsert “Ypsitucky” into the event’s title when it became clear that City Council wasn’t going to return control of the parks to the Depot Town DDA?

DON: This festival was called Ypsitucky?

I don’t mind at all. When we first set out to do the Jamboree, we felt that Ypsitucky was a great way to label the event. The very day that Erik and I dreamed up the Festival, that was the name. It wasnt some closed door diabolicle plan that some made it out to be. For the past 15 years I have been involved in the area and always held endearment around the term. Clearly there were a few people that didnt feel the same. I never thought that it would have gone as far as it did, and be such a talking point. I was at the City Council meeting when the contract to take care of the parks was pulled. In the agenda for that meeting, it clearly stated that the Council was voting on whether or not to ask the CDC to change the name, nothing about the contract. Brian Robb thought is was great to say hey, lets just pull the contract! Somehow Council was swayed to do so. I still wonder what his motivations were.

Our goals and focus for this great event were overshadowed by the controversy. We really have something special here where everyone is invited. I would never want to create an event or party where someone doesn’t feel like they should come because of a name. Our plan was to attract people to the great city of Ypsilanti because of the edgy name, not turn away our own. We were getting personally attacked, which I have thick skin and can take it, but at what cost? In the end, it was the right thing to do. It actually allowed us to focus on putting on a great event, not defending why we want to do a non-profit fund raiser for the Parks and capital improvements for the area.

I felt that we were damned if we do, damned if we dont. People will call it whatever they want. Ypsitucky will be well represented there due to the fact that I feel the vast majority of people in the area who are the ones who would actually attend a music festival, are huge supporters. I say bring your anti-ypsitucky shirts, bring your Pro-Ypsitucky shirts, just come and see what this is really about. The greatest lineup of regional music, art, childrens activites and food that I have ever seen or been a part of.

I do have to say one thing. I have noticed many barriers being broken and cross towners really starting to work together. In some ways maybe the passion that came from each side brought some people closer together? We are all in this with each other. Not just Depot Town, not Downtown, not Ypsitucky, but Ypsilanti.

MARK: So, are there still opportunities if people want to get involved as volunteers, or in some other way? Do you need people to wear sandwich boards around the UM and EMU campuses, or something like that?

DON: Absolutely! We are a little short on Saturday night. We are also looking for any addional RN or EMTs to man the First Aid Tent. if anyone is interested, please email andyypsilanti@hotmail.com. We are open to sandwich boards, wagging signs for $5 pizzas or body painting the Jamboree logo on you and streaking restaurants and campus. We still have plenty of flyers that will be going out and could use all the help we can get. Connect with Andy and he will help. Thanks for asking.

MARK: One last thing… I’m wondering what the reception has been like online and in the media. Are you getting any traction with AnnArbor.com, or other groups? Will it be in the Current? Are people spreading the word on Facebook? And, speaking of viral marketing, will you be posting video clips and the like during the day on Friday, in hopes that it might draw people in on Saturday?

DON: The reception has been great. We have been so fortunate to have the support of the community, businesses, publications and radio. Ann Arbor’s 107.1 has been instrumental in the promotion. They have a great station with great music and are really committed to making The Jamboree a success. Kevin Ransom from www.Annarbor.com and I did an interview and it was published this weekend along with www.a3radio.com, WCBN and many others.

We live in an online world with Facebook, twitter and myspace. We have been active on all sites and hope that it will turn to some ticket sales. Like anything, you can always do more but with our budget, I feel we have done a nice job promoting.

MARK: Oh, and will there be a beer vendor?

Don: Oh yes…that could be the best part. Rene and Matt Greff from the Corner Brewery / Arbor Brewing Company will have their beer there along with Frog Island Brewery and Rave Distributors. We will be sourcing everything we can from Michigan companies featuring Fago soda, Better Made Chips, locally grown produce and Koegle hot dogs. It should be one heck of a time.

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22 Comments

  1. Posted September 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Yippee! I have my advance ticket for Saturday, bought today at Cafe Luwak.

  2. Posted September 1, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Cool. I didn’t know that you could get tickets there. Thanks for letting the rest of us know.

  3. Eleven Larry Twelve
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Was My Dear Disco originally on the bill as well?

  4. Joe
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Don is right. Brain Robb has to much power. And it doesn’t help that people like Linda French and Dave Curtis and the rest of downtown is whispering in his ear. Boycott them and watch their support for him dry up.

  5. tim
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait, this is going to be some weekend! I’m still in search of some volunteers to help with the recycling program for Saturday as well, if anyone is interested just contact Andy.

    Can we please not overlook an extremely important statement Don made:

    “We are all in this with each other. Not just Depot Town, not Downtown, not Ypsitucky, but Ypsilanti.”

    Why is this so hard to understand/agree on? Wait, nevermind, I don’t want to know the answer to that because he said…she said…boo fucking hoo. I wanted to make stickers like the COEXIST ones that were made up of Depot Town, Downtown, Township, W Cross, Normal Park…all areas of YPSILANTI, but…I can’t so that’s a freebie for any creatives out there!

    See you all this weekend, don’t forget Chris Bathgate on Saturday and Matt Jones closing out Friday!!

  6. LB
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I hate to be divisive but Joe hit the perverbial nail. The loudest, like the squeekiest, get the juice. Why listen when you know you’re being played?

  7. Ypsiosaurus Wrecks
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Brian Robb is a tub of lard and a 2nd rate bully – his girlfriend Pete Murdoch isn’t much better….

  8. Posted September 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Super duper sweet.

  9. dan
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    There’s no point complaining about who butt-raped who, people; we’re all in this cellblock together. Just shut up and take it. Bitch.

  10. Posted September 2, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    A brief response to the comment left by Joe – the two people you mentioned have been supportive and helpful towards making the Jamboree a success. Linda has been marketing and selling tickets for us at Sidetrack and David made a donation for the event. I’m past talking about the politics, so I’ll just leave it at that.

  11. Eleven Larry Twelve
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    No boycotts. No name calling. If you don’t like the guy, don’t vote for him. Or, better yet, run against him.

    FWIW when I see someone resort to petty name calling, it signals to me that they aren’t intelligent enough to lay out a well reasoned argument.

  12. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    First, thanks to all of our volunteers for committing to the Jamboree. We have had a truly amazing response from everyone in the community and I can’t thank all of you enough. However, I still need to fill several positions Saturday from 3-11:30. The shifts are set up 3-7 and 7-11:30, but we will take any time you can give us during those hours. If you would be able to pick up another shift or just add a little time, please let me know. Also, please pass this request along to any one you think might want to work on Saturday.

    Thanks again for all of your time and effort. We couldn’t be doing any of this with out you.

    Andrew J. Clock

    Jamboree Volunteer Coordinator

    andyypsilanti@hotmail.com

  13. Posted September 3, 2009 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Hi All,

    To Echo Erik’s comment, Both Linda French and Dave Curtis have been HUGE supporters. I do have to blame Dave for the headache I had on Tuesday though… ; ) I have many plans to work with them to help promote the area, music and the talent we have here in the future. They have done nothing but nice, great things for The Jamboree, Myself and Dragon Wagon and I cant thank them enough.

    I do not know Brian personally, and I am sure that he is a good guy. I was only a witness to the Council meeting and didnt understand his shift of focus and agenda that happend.

    What a cool event we are having. The stages are being set up, the beer is on ice and the musicians are warming up. Hope to see you all there, stop by and say hi! Friday from 4-12, Sat from 12-12 in Riverside Park.

    Don Sicheneder
    The Jamboree

  14. Steven
    Posted September 3, 2009 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    When all the Ypsitucky stuff went down, there were several in community who said that, if only the organizers would change the name, they’d not only buy tickets to the event, but they’d help sell tickets. I’m curious to know how many tickets Gary Clark, for instance, sold.

  15. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 3, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Any one who volunteers for Saturday 3-11:30pm can berate me for the obnoxious things I say here on MM.com as much as they want. But you have to work the whole 3-11:30 to earn the right to really yell at me. Seriously though, I still need volunteers, especialy 7-11:30 Saturday. See you at Corner in a bit…

  16. Sandee
    Posted September 3, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Missed you at the Corner but I signed up with Merrill while I was there. I’m looking forward to some great music, good food, and a terrific festival. The band tonight was awesome!

  17. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Really, no one wants to take me up on my offer?

  18. Steven
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    What offer, Andy? To volunteer Saturday night? You still need people?

  19. Posted September 4, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Day one was a successful start-from-scratch day one, I thought. I hope enough people come this year so they can do it again next year with more steam built up. Including some urban camping in the parks would be really fun, so long as there are places for fire.

    Was there a decibel limit after a certain time of night, or was that my imagination?

  20. Posted September 5, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Rereading my post, it smacks of criticism, which was not my intent. Let me rephrase: I loved day one of the Ypsitucky Jamboree, and I hope we do it again next year.

  21. Posted September 6, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, Steven, I just talked with Gary Clark and he did help promote the event by making posters and putting them up in Chelsea, Canton, etc. I don’t know, however, if the same is true of others who said they they would help.

  22. Sylvia
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Gary Clark made his own posters to promote the event? I’d love to see what he came up with. We should all be so crafty! Make your own posters and promote Ypsi in Canton and Chelsea.

    Lay off Brian Robb. He’s just a tool with no people skills who is holding onto the dream of becoming George Steinbrenner and practicing by screwing everyone within a thin signal.

    Gary Clark made his own posters? Good god of holy shit.

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