Prodigy, as in "prodigy": Olivia Bennett seems like a good kid caught in an ugly, ugly adult world, but a prodigy? ("Paint by Numbers," by Andrea Grimes, September 30.) I think of all the talented people I've come across in my life who can't afford the luxury of spending five hours a day dedicated to their craft, who don't have parents to shell out money and pamper and homeschool them. So, does prodigy mean coddled rich kid, or is the Dallas Observer just having a slow news week?

Andria Delgado

A little less face time: Regarding the article on young artist Olivia Bennett: It was an enjoyable story, but couldn't we have seen more images from her work, her studio, etc., instead of a cover and three pages containing essentially the same head shot? I didn't see enough of her work featured in the article to get an idea of her style. Fine, she's attractive, we get the idea...now tell photographer Mark Graham to move on!

Dave Riley

Not So Radiant*

You missed the point: I am writing in response to Sarah Hepola's Across the Bar column in the October 7 issue.

Over the past six years, the New Music Festival has had two primary goals: 1) to celebrate and showcase new music from emerging artists in the North Texas area and the Southwest region; and 2) to encourage metroplex music fans to support North Texas artists and Deep Ellum businesses. So when I read your column last night, I couldn't help but feel that you may have missed the entire point of the festival. Please allow me to clarify a few things.

You said, "But with 230 bands listed on the festival lineup--and not a headliner among them--only a few showcases generated much excitement." And you said, "Where were the bands that would have pulled in the crowds and gotten people talking about the festival?" Granted, unlike the more corporate music festivals scattered around the U.S., our festival does not book the East and West Coast bands that are climbing the national radio and sales charts, and we book very few that might be sent here at the request of their major record labels. Instead, our event celebrates and showcases EMERGING artists--the unsigned artists--who are natives to North Texas and the Southwest and who deserve some extra exposure, attention and publicity. So you and/or the Dallas Observer may not consider bands like The Chemistry Set, DownLo, DV8, Fair to Midland, Greatness in Tragedy, Mermaid Purse, One Up, Somsara, SouthFM, Supercell, Tree Wave and The Vanished to be "headliners," but all of their showcases, and dozens of others, were packed wall-to-wall with sweaty, screaming fans. And it's your prerogative if you (personally) don't consider these local bands to be exciting, but the several thousand music fans who attended the festival will certainly disagree with you that "only a few showcases generated much excitement."

You also said, "...the North Texas New Music Festival did feel like any other weekend in Deep Ellum...It wasn't special or much different." Again you've missed the point--music fans have never before been able to see more than 200 bands performing in Deep Ellum in a 72-hour period for $10 or less. Our festival may not have been "special" to you, but it certainly was NOT like any other weekend in Deep Ellum.

Teresa Hale
Executive Director
The Sixth Annual New Music Festival

No bait, no switch: Sarah [Hepola], I want to set the facts straight about Radiant* and the New Music Festival's "old bait and switch." Radiant* was confirmed by their manager Troy to perform at the festival. We had several discussions with Troy about what day, stage and time slot he wanted for them. Six days prior to the start of the festival, Troy canceled them, stating that they were tied up in the studio. It sounds like Troy never confirmed the show with the band members before speaking with us.

I can't understand why you chose Radiant* to be the feature of your New Music Festival coverage. You have cancellations when you're dealing with 230 bands. I can name at least 15 other bands that were on the schedule at one time or another that didn't play.

And the suggestion that we pulled "the old bait and switch"? Unbelievable. Radiant* is a really good band, which is why we wanted them to play, but their draw is 150 to 200 people at best. That's a generous number. Ask any local talent buyer. The idea that we were trying to mislead their "huge following" to get them to the festival is ridiculous. We were trying to help them, which is what the New Music Festival is all about--trying to bring more exposure to area bands. How many other weekends are major-label A&R reps running around Deep Ellum looking for bands to sign? Like most years past, there are bands now talking with labels and possibly getting signed from this year's festival.

I took a lot of flak from Deep Ellum clubs and bands by having you on this year's industry panels. I defended you. I told everyone you were the new writer and we're trying to build the bridge, trying to make things better. Everyone told me you printed malicious rumors and never checked your facts. And that's exactly what happened.

By the way, I appreciate your being on the panel, I enjoyed meeting you, and I thought you did a good job. Seeing the panels, I thought it would have been obvious that our goal is to help our local music scene. (You know, the one you make your living writing about.) Which is all the more reason I don't understand why you threw us under the bus.

Dale Brock
Music Director
New Music Festival
Sarah Hepola responds: In an e-mail, Radiant*'s former co-manager Troy Ostenson said, "I never confirmed the [Radiant*] show with Teresa [Hale] or anyone else."


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