This is an article about the first annual Freedom Fest that happened in 1997 and reported in the Novemeber 1998 issue of Big Time Music Trade Magazine.
       Maine Vocals did it again.  Boosting a 1st annual event to aid musicians in having a venue to perform at, while selling 500 tickets to the general public.  This event was held in Vienna, at Richard "Nitro" Nystrom's farm.  This site has the capacity to hold 2,500 -
3,000 people.  Don Christian of Maine Vocals predicted that next years event will draw 1,000 plus individuals to attend.  While Freedom Fest may not attract the potential music industry big shots present, it has the potential to, depending on how next years Hempstock does.  If the bands who perform at Hempstock attract the attention of music industry people, they might attend Freedom
Fest to take a second look at these same bands.  To ensure a confirmation,  Totally different material needs to be performed at Freedom Fest, by the bands who performed at Hempstock.  This is needed because not only would bands be seen as, "one trick ponies," if they repeated the same material at both show; but the enthusiasm of the crowd would be considerably less since they already saw the same show weeks before.  Freedom Fest can and will provide larger audience in the future  if the town of Vienna's parking ban was lifted.  Freedom Fest could also provide larger audience members in the future if people knew before hand that they would not listen to the same list of songs that they heard at Hempstock, but at a different location.  Granted creating original songs that can compete on the national level is no small task.  Then again, I don't ask musicians:  " Do you think Maine can become the next music Mecca, "  if I didn't think that the resourcefulness of our local bands didn't have it took to do this.  Maine Vocals provides the land and the equipment, the musicians market their manufactured product, and the music industry scouts are the customers.  I don't dread that our that our musicians don't have the ambition to try their very best at these dual tasks before next summer.

                     If the bands don't take this challenge to heart, then all future opportunities of this state becoming a music Mecca will vanish.  The objective is to have people there to listen to the bands, not party with great background music.  People will always show up at Maine Vocals events, but the kind of people there won't always be music industry scouts if my words fall on deaf ears.  This is not to say that the music at Freedom Fest was bad.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The situation at Freedom Fest was the competition.  There were a lot of people who came into Vienna from out of state.  People said they liked Freedom Fest better than Hempstock for a reason, people were a lot more friendlier to each other.  When this is competing with bands, there ends up being less people watching the bands.  If the music was ground breaking, as in premiering new material to the public, then chances are, this won't happen.  A trained ear, who is taking a second look at the bands at Freedom Fest won't be there to meet the extremely friendly people at the show, they are there to compare the two shows and watch the audiences reaction.  The thing was that the acoustics were so good, that people didn't have to be in front of the stage to hear the music.  There is a parking ban in Vienna that can stunt the growth of Freedom Fest.  It might be beneficial for the town to lift the parking ban, to give the people a chance to see how nice of a place Vienna is and the great view of the mountain range on Richard Nystroms Farm.  Granted the music industry does listen to tapes and C.D.'s before they sign bands up; but they also have to watch a band perform live and chances are they would choose one of these events with more people than a smaller club.

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