Rock Concert or Literary Festival?

We are just wondering if the joy of quietly reading a book or having a quiet conversation about an idea found in a book has been lost in our Bookstock Literary Festival?

Books vendors and publishers with booths on the Village Green have had trouble hearing and or talking to potential customers today due to the din of over- amplified music from bands playing LOUDLY all afternoon.

It is about writing, books, ideas. This is an event whose participants do not need more stimulation than the written word and the ideas or imagery conveyed by the written word.

We have long lost the library as a place for books and quiet reading of books. Where is a person to go if not a literary festival to find others who share an appreciation of the sound of silence?

Not every event needs a band. As one participant suggested who was having trouble having a conversation this afternoon: a little acoustic music as background? Sure. The amped up amp? No way.

What we had today was a din emanating from the Green that crowded out the beauty of a place, a park perfect for browsing and thinking about books and for a quiet read.

Less is often more and that applies to “festival” music. Those who wanted festival music this weekend are in Newport at the Folk Festival.

Those who love books and writers are here and we suspect they are just fine without outside stimulation from that they are enjoying at various talks.

Perhaps we might consider adjusting our welcoming mayhem to the audience and tone it down so we can hear ourselves THINK?

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Erica Bizaoui on July 27, 2013 at 19:53

    I’ve gone to Bookstock for four years in a row. This years music was the best yet. I love seeing Woodstock hopping and the music around the food tent makes for a very festive summery feel.


  2. Posted by Kevin Maher on July 28, 2013 at 06:07

    I could hear the late afternoon rock band all the way up on Swain Street. They were LOUD! I thought the bluegrass group “Sweetgrass” was more appropriate.


  3. Posted by Bob Pear on July 28, 2013 at 11:44

    A recent revision to our Village noise ordinances now allows all “outside musical performances” and extended the time for those performances, (as well as “normal noises that are part of everyday life”), until 11 PM on Friday and Saturdays. Previously, this required a variance which required that the neighbors be notified and gave them the opportunity to express their concerns. The Voice of the Public has been silenced by this ordinance revision.

    Unfortunately, it seems the quiet character of our New England Village that many of us cherish is being eroded and will become a distant memory. There seems to be little concern in our community about preserving this public tranquility, so-

    Party Down, Party Town!


  4. Perhaps a congratulatory message is in order here, and a thank you to all who created and worked hard to offer an inspiring, interesting and diverse event that many, many people enjoyed..

    There is so much silence, so much of the time in and around the Woodstock Green, I’m sure that the businesses, including restaurants, welcomed the influx of visitors. Just saying………..


  5. Posted by Molly on July 28, 2013 at 14:12

    While a congratulatory message is in order, the loudness of the music was a MAJOR
    distraction I heard from many. However, “Sweetgrass” provided the appropriate style of music for this wonderful event.


    • Posted by Kevin Maher on July 28, 2013 at 15:13

      Kudos to that.


    • Posted by ed on July 28, 2013 at 22:44

      it must be absolutely great to be so completely sure of what’s “appropriate style” in every single, possible situation… (and, what’s the “appropriate style” for every single person who attends a public event held on public property, open to the public….)

      maybe we all should disregard the messy fact every single one of us has a different idea of what’s an “appropriate style.”

      next time why don’t we all just let you decide what’s “appropriate style” for the rest of us. it will just make it so much simpler and more pleasant for you; and, besides, who really cares what anyone else may think about it….



      ps. really, do you think “bluegrass” is the most “appropriate style” for a “Literary Festival?” when i think of “bluegrass:” bib overalls, hay bales and banjoes come to mind….

      in that context; i just don’t see the strong connection between “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “Finnegan’s Wake…”

      but then again, maybe i just don’t know what’s really “appropriate…”


  6. Posted by dancingivory on July 30, 2013 at 14:51

    This so reminds me of the people who complain about an issue to everyone but the person with whom the issue is involved. Ron Miller at Shiretown books or Peter Rousmaniere would have gladly heard your feedback I’m sure. I agree that the music was too loud to have a conversation; I’m sure that the caveat wasn’t given when the musicians were hired. Given the number of tasks it takes to put this ever-growing festival together, it is one fault in a hundred excellent tasks carried out by many, many volunteers. There were evaluation forms given at every lecture/workshop that provided space for such a complaint. I’m sure that your complaint will be taken to heart and you won’t hear loud music ever again at Bookstock.

    I’m disappointed that the festival wasn’t lauded. It would take me pages and pages to write all that I loved about Boodstock.

    Having quietness in libraries is a thing of the past. Our library is vibrant with stimulating activity for people of every age and passion. Silence is for a room in your home.

    I appreciate the time and effort it takes to write this blog, Julia, but you don’t have me on this one.


    • Sherry

      We appreciate the input and point of view. Looked everywhere for someone to speak to about the noise, even asked the band directly if they could turn their amps down. Even asked vendors but we couldn’t hear what each other was saying. Felt badly for all the folks trying to emphasize the written and spoken word in their talks.

      Fact is we have a noise pollution issue in our community and the WEB opinion was one of many on a theme. This is not the first time we have written about disturbances of the peace. There was nothing new in our defense of maintaining ordinance supported peace in the Village.

      We never said “boo” about all the talks nor those who worked to get them organized. Every opinion , even every news item, is simply a snippet. The post was never meant to be the definitive review of anything. There are far better places to get the coverage you sought. For example: Newspapers! Which are perfect for the longer form format and detailed review which you seek.

      WEB’s experience was an attempt to participate in Bookstock but then turned away by organizers who didn’t seem to appreciate that one can have a festival of the mind without a band.

      On another point, we are glad someone outright admitted the library is no longer a place for reading books. Thank you. We haven’t been in since we were told quiet readers are not welcome and that we should go elsewhere. WEB’s college professor parents and teaching grandparents would all be appalled.

      As to quietly reading at home? That’s the point. Cant read quietly at home because of noise from parties,bands festivals leaf blowers, trucks and so forth.

      As Mr. Pear wrote, only a handful of people seem to care. Some of us who pay taxes and make other contributions cant afford fancy homes on several acres in the woods. We live HERE in this Village. And we are more and more being bullied into accepting festival or wedding or high decibel lawn noise as the normal way of life.

      This has turned into a quaint New England Village with virtually no peace and quiet left. There used to be even five or ten years ago in the many Village rentals in which this Bird has lived.

      To the future, we are aware that Bookstock organizers will be more considerate in their entertainment selections next year for which we would be most grateful.

      But, a reminder that in addition to news which we are happy to provide this is a personal opinion blog. It is the opinion of one person (who stands by her opinion) and will continue to write on topics of importance to her. It is very simple, if you don’t agree, move on.

      Except for a teeny handful of people who financially support WEB’s journalistic efforts and having a place for community public discourse, the majority who read this blog aren’t even paying for it. Unhappy with WEB point of view? Write your own blog!

      We are pretty sure hundreds of people who attended Bookstock can figure out whether it was a festival worth their while. We are sure it was – despite calling attention to itself in an unfortunate way.

      It is perfectly fine to take issue with anything written here. We support discussion of all issues in these comment areas. But let’s be very clear: Our post was about an ISSUE and never meant to be a report on all the events. We will continue to make note of issues which we believe to be important to the present and future of this community whether the general public considers them nit-picky or not.



      • Posted by Sherry on July 30, 2013 at 20:46

        Points taken.

        After I sent my reply it occurred to me that the reading room in the library has always been quiet when I read there, but perhaps that wasn’t your experience.


  7. Posted by Sherry on July 30, 2013 at 14:53

    I am NOT “dancing ivory”. I don’t know where that came from. I am Sherry Belisle.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: