1/17/10 – Brenda Conklin

Community discord disturbs harmony of N.H. music fest

RE “ORCHESTRATING a victory in N.H.: Fans of popular music festival prevail against changes’’ (Metro, Jan. 11): As manager of the New Hampshire Music Festival 35 years ago, I lived, breathed, played, and worked for the cause with such proud identity that even my license plate read “NHMF.’’ The community of musicians, board members, audience, publicists, donors, and fund-raisers all worked together, played together, and encouraged each other’s helpful efforts.

The full festival community is the joint custodian of the legacy created by our predecessors. We honor their memory to the point of feeling an instinctive promise to preserve what meant so much to so many.

A nonprofit organization must do well by doing good, because good will is a vital asset. Good relations are all about people – people being honest and sincere, and treating each other with respect. Historically, the festival has paid poor wages and provided spartan living conditions; yet excellent musicians have returned summer after summer because of the music and the people. Management has tarnished the festival’s good name. Instead of musicians across the country thinking of the festival as an idyllic setting for music-making, they now associate it with charges of unfair labor practices before the National Labor Relations Board.

The festival needs to bring back the community involvement and administrative leadership that the organization enjoyed in the past and deserves in the future.

Brenda Conklin
Waterville Valley, N.H.