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The Golden Link Blog

2021 Turtle Hill Festival Planning
By Val Fowler
Posted on 4/16/2021 12:11 PM

And we thought that last year’s Festival was complicated!


The Festival Committee, under the able leadership of Betty Smits, and along with the Board began last November to talk about the 50th Annual Turtle Hill Festival. Unlike last year, when we were certain that our options were to have (1) a virtual festival or (2) no festival, this year has been complicated by (my keyboard is whispering ominously now) “The PANDEMIC.”

CDC guidelines are now changing almost daily. Other folk venues have decided on a variety of festivals. Some will be live, some virtual; some indoors and some outdoors; the one common denominator is that most of the weekend festivals will be shorter. Hosting a live festival indoors is complicated by incorporating a 6-foot to 12-foot distance requirement, and appropriate protocols to follow (temperature taking, instant tests on site, requiring proof of vaccination). An outside festival is complicated by weather concerns and pandemic-safety concerns. Each member voiced a desire to have a live festival. Still almost half the committee are conflicted by that desire. And by the question:


Who will each decision potentially exclude?

A completely live festival will exclude members and friends who are location-bound, infirm, or as far away as Sydney Australia, British Columbia, San Francisco, and Austin, Texas. A live festival will certainly exclude those who in September are still uncomfortable being in a live gathering. A virtual festival (as 2020) might exclude those who are aching to have a lived festival. The major complication is . . . 
we don’t know what the future will bring.

The committee decided that we will provide some form of a live festival in such a way as to include as many as possible, and not exclude. There is more to be nailed down, because [return to the above highlighted section]

We do know—this is very ; helpful in a time of uncertainty—Golden Link is healthy; our history shows that the club has weathered previous times of crisis and uncertainty and came through stronger; we have been true to our purpose; people have grown in various musical ways; and our reputation in the music world is one of respect. 

We have kept the music going! We are keeping it going! Who would have thought last April that a year later our calendar would still include weekly sing-arounds, monthly concerts, workshops, and participation with other folk groups in folk music offerings? As a friend of mine used to say, “It’s the same . . . only different.” Friends, please know that the healthiest of organizations, leadership groups, and people are open to their particular community being and becoming the same . . . only different. They are flexible, resilient, and (to borrow a basketball term) know how to pivot when necessary.

Please make plans to be present for the upcoming Musical Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Golden Link on May 23. You can find information elsewhere in this newsletter and on the GL Website. Don’t forget the Tuesday sing arounds (the link is on the front page of the website: Check out the next workshop with Stewart Marcus—sea shanties.

In 1816-1817 our area experienced the Year Without a Summer. In mid-August 1816, Syracuse and Albany received over 20 inches of snow. Every month from May 2016 through mid -fall 2017 there was measurable snow every month. In Western New York the economic hardship was universal. During that calamitous year more than 20 new worship communities began, new business ventures opened, and the record of people helping people is inspiring, if also amazing. We can and will get through this time, and it will be and has been a positive thing to be resilient enough to move through the future as the same … only different. Sort of makes the complications a bit easier to bear. doesn’t it?

As a leader who admittedly is occasionally one of the complications, while maintaining humor and hope,