My Three Favorite Lines from StinkFest 2009

"Dreams are important, but dreams woven of thinner fabric that requires actual work." - Kevin Salem, Little Monster Records

"Everybody remember to be happy for other people's success." - Audra Tsanos

"Y'all are weird. But that's OK." - Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

When you fly cross-country for an event and the total amount of time from the moment you walk out your front door to the moment you walk back through it is less than 50 hours, it is clear that your weekend will not be one of sober reflection. And it's true that StinkFest 2009 was not such a weekend for me. I was actually not in an airport or public transportation for about 29 of those hours. Luckily -- or unluckily, depending on your perspective -- I only lost 6 of those hours to sleep (no sleep 'til Brooklyn, indeed).

So while I want to tell a fuller story about the day in Brooklyn and may still do so at some point (I took a bunch of notes), I'm going to leave it at those 3 quotes above, which I think encapsulate the day just about perfectly.

Kevin Salem's quote, from the panel on TV, books, and other media, gets to the heart of what it means to be a musician these days, but especially one for families -- you have to work your tail off. It is not an easy thing, being a musician, because there are so many things you need to think about besides just the music. Hopefully the four panels made that point clear to musicians (many of whom probably were already crystal clear on that point).

Audra's quote, at the end of a barn-burner of a set, highlights the collaborative vibe that was part of the room and has been part of the genre's revival. There's room for a lot of success in the genre -- it's definitely not a zero-sum game and in fact it will require artists working together in order to generate the viability so many are hoping for.

And finally, Skidoo's quote was meant in love. He meant that here was a crowd of folks so into music for kids and families that they (like he) were devoting a portion of their careers to it, even though the genre has been (and pretty much still is) marginalized. He said it just before launching into "Gotta Be Me," a massive winner of a song celebrating the importance of originality and uniqueness, qualities which all the folks on my panel -- the one on promotion -- couldn't say enough good words for.

To all the folks I met in Brooklyn, I'm glad I got a chance to do so, regardless of whether I've exchanged lots of e-mails with you or were meeting you for the first time. Despite my "e-mailing more than once is stalking" comment, I really do want to hear from you if you have questions or comments or whatever. There were a lot of conversations, and not enough time to have them.

To all the folks I didn't meet in Brooklyn, don't be shy introducing yourself. (Contact e-mail's to the left.) As I said, there were a lot of conversations, and not enough time to have them.

To Bill, Stephanie, and Tor, thanks for putting on a high-quality day of info and entertainment. You've got a lot of work cut out for to make KindieFest (the renamed StinkFest) even better in its next iteration. (After monitoring the KindieFest website for the last week, I'm glad it'll get updated much more soon...)

Finally, to those of you not in attendance and wanting to know what the hullabaloo was all about, I do plan on at least posting pictures and videos. There are lots of pictures and videos already posted to Facebook and YouTube, so if you need to see what the whole thing looked like right away, head there.