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  1. #1

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    Default 10 years of Polkfest....what's next?

    We talked about this a lot this weekend and I've been thinking about it a lot after and I think that this is a conversation to have now.
    Polkfest, IMO, is an incredible phenomenon in that it started and has largely remained a grass roots event. SOOO many good times that shall not be repeated here on the forum (it's like Vegas). Laughs and memories. That said, the cool thing is that it is a grass roots event that has been, primarily, a social function as opposed to a trade show. Not to say that we haven't been on the vanguard of Polk products in the past....Polkfest attendees have been the first to hear and see numerous Polk products. Polk, historically, has been VERY supportive of the whole Polkfest concept.

    Those days, I'm afraid, have ended. This is not a knock on Polk. Times change. Matt Polk is gone. Al and Paul are gone. The folks at Polk now aren't invested in it the way it was in the past. Again, this isn't an anti-Polk rant. Polkfest is just not on their radar anymore....there are reasons for that and we can discuss those but the fact remains that PF just isn't a priority.

    So, for Polkfest to continue.....it needs support from the forum. I would HATE to see it die but really, I've gone to the well too often. I'd be more than willing to host every year but I just don't think that (and this isn't an oh woe is me...stroke my ego thing) making a yearly pilgrimage to North Charleston SC is the answer. It just isn't for a number of reasons which I should have seen prior to this.

    The point is, Polkfest HAS to be OUR thing. WE have to support it, nurture it....make it an event that we support, like and attend on it's own merit. Not because it gives us an 'in' or family connection to Polk....because those days and the people at Polk who cultivated that are gone. So, my question to the forum....and this is a conversation that needs to take place....is what's next??

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  2. #2

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    Wow, good question. I have never been able to make one and hope there is a way for it to continue.

  3. #3

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    ...and that is the $64K question....and this isn't a knock on anyone but folks like to seiee the posts and pictures from PF but without actual participation, it's all academic.

    I don't mean to sound pessimistic but if the status quo remains....I seriously doubt there will be PolkFest next year....let alone 5 years down the road.


    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

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    I would love to host one except I live in a 1 bedroom apt.

  5. #5

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    I have to agree with you Troy, especially since the "last" Fest at HQ in '12 seemed to be so lightly attended (and I am only making a comparison to '08), it just seems like the downward trend has continued. It could be the economy, could be that people have simply moved on for whatever reasons? Let's face it, many senior members don't even peek into the Forum much anymore, let alone actively participate. Not knocking anyone here, just pointing out what seems to be obvious. It's all good, time and place for everything, I get it.

    Personally, I would love to host, or even co-host, a PolkFest, but the logistics of where I live would almost guarantee failure, or at the very least embarrassment due to lack of attendance. I mean the closest airport to me is about 30 miles away, and there just aren't enough ways to get out here easily! The price I pay for being surrounded by H2O, I guess...

    I hope someone else steps up, it would be a shame to have a year where there was no PolkFest at all.
    So, are you willing to put forth a little effort or are you happy sitting in your skeptical poo pile?


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    A very valid question, and one that I think would be best discussed while this years Polkfest is still fresh in everyone's memory.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  7. #7

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    I do too....I mean, I don't want it to sound like I'm bitching. I'm not.

    I really don't think that hosting is the issue but what is driving PF has to change. The Polk (as in the company) connection is circling the drain. If WE want to continue being a grassroots event, it has to start with the membership stepping up and supporting it as it is....a simple gathering of folks with a common interest. Period.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by TroyD View Post
    We talked about this a lot this weekend and I've been thinking about it a lot after and I think that this is a conversation to have now.
    Polkfest, IMO, is an incredible phenomenon in that it started and has largely remained a grass roots event. SOOO many good times that shall not be repeated here on the forum (it's like Vegas). Laughs and memories. That said, the cool thing is that it is a grass roots event that has been, primarily, a social function as opposed to a trade show. Not to say that we haven't been on the vanguard of Polk products in the past....Polkfest attendees have been the first to hear and see numerous Polk products. Polk, historically, has been VERY supportive of the whole Polkfest concept.

    Those days, I'm afraid, have ended. This is not a knock on Polk. Times change. Matt Polk is gone. Al and Paul are gone. The folks at Polk now aren't invested in it the way it was in the past. Again, this isn't an anti-Polk rant. Polkfest is just not on their radar anymore....there are reasons for that and we can discuss those but the fact remains that PF just isn't a priority.

    So, for Polkfest to continue.....it needs support from the forum. I would HATE to see it die but really, I've gone to the well too often. I'd be more than willing to host every year but I just don't think that (and this isn't an oh woe is me...stroke my ego thing) making a yearly pilgrimage to North Charleston SC is the answer. It just isn't for a number of reasons which I should have seen prior to this.

    The point is, Polkfest HAS to be OUR thing. WE have to support it, nurture it....make it an event that we support, like and attend on it's own merit. Not because it gives us an 'in' or family connection to Polk....because those days and the people at Polk who cultivated that are gone. So, my question to the forum....and this is a conversation that needs to take place....is what's next??

    BDT
    I think this has been in the air for a while now. I suspected as much two years ago? Too many changes back at Polk HQs. Too many new faces (not a bad thing, people do retire and move on). Also, a lot of our older members (no I don't necessarily mean that in terms of absolute age because I'm probably as old as Reeltrouble1 [Ted], and a number of others, but not as old in terms of Polk years. Ted, Mark, Al, Russman, and so many others were the backbone of PFests. Having at least ONE member with Polk Audio was a significant link between what is HERE and what is THERE. But from what I gather that's over (I called that one, too!).

    And what of the commitment to the Githens center? I understand Polks recent turn. But are they also turning away from that because that too, was fueled by forum membership and the overlap with Polk staff?

    In fact, I've been thinking about this a lot, lately, especially since this last Polk Fest which I was bummed about missing--I even have relatives in S.C. that I could have touched base with coming or going. What I've been thinking about "forums" in general is when will they cease to "exist"? When will companies like Polk migrate their forums to "another" site where THEY don't have to MANAGE them? Don't think that's a good idea for Polk? Think again. I am an academic whose, rather WELL OFF liberal arts college decided to migrate our e-mail accounts to google so that they did NOT have to SUPPORT that with their own staff and resources. Why wouldn't entities like Polk Audio migrate their forum space to something like Facebook, etc.? Or even stop support for the forum entirely? The question is, is the writing on the wall?

    I know this is not meant to rag on Polk. But, honestly, Polk has a "business" model and that model is in flux. The anchor has been pulled up and the ship is sailing, boys and girls.

    That said. I agree, that "we" need to step up and keep this whole thing going. I've only been to a couple of get togethers here, but they do leave a lasting bond.

    Part of the problem is geographic and time bound. If you're out on the West Coast you have to really come far to get to something on the East Coast and vice versa. Then there is the dead center, Midwest, and the guys in Texas (there is a fair representation down there). While Fests have bounced around, mostly up and down the East, there hasn't been a lot of action further West.
    I have no solution for the problems of logistics and, of course, Polk Audio is in Baltimore so that had a pull of its own.

    Well, enough, because now I'm just rambling. Others can chime in here because the floor is "open"!

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  9. #9

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    I think that everyone has been seeing this coming for awhile.....the question is what to do about it.

    I admit, I don't participate in the forums as much for a number of reasons....but, think about it. 10 years ago, this was our social media. If not cutting edge, it was at least mainstrieam. Now with Facebook, ****ter, pinnointerest etc etc.....forums are going the way of the buffalo.

    I say, eff 'em. I'm going to Polkfest. I don't care if I'm the only one.....I think it's important enough to not let die.

    I hope that others feel the same.

    BDT

    P.S. Re the Githens center....that never had anything to do with Polk. That was an idea that was the brainchild of the Polkfest attendees.
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  10. #10

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    When is the last time any major improvements came from polks bread and butter? Yeah, they redesigned the flagship, but then they put hefty price tags on them and put them out of reach for most of their clientele. If you don't have products new folks can be excited about, the forum just isn't going to grow. Many members probably disappeared for the same reason. I realize they also redid the monitor line, but this still feels like yet another generation of the same old monitors.

    I started out in the auto side. Seen that forum lately? It's sickening how dead it is. The same issue exists here - there is nothing new and exciting in their line. They chopped the best mobile product line they ever made and haven't done anything to even try and recapture the magic the SR infused in Polk.

    I try to keep out of these topics, but Polk is definitely not what it used to be. It appears their focus has shifted heavily from speakers to headphones and gadgets. While getting into these markets is fine, it really seems to have put their "Speaker Company" title in serious jeopardy. The entire brain has changed up there and Polkfest is just one of many indicators.
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  11. #11

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    I see where you're coming from Troy. I don't think it's that much gloom and doom. I do get the feeling that people really only go for the HQ stuff or to get an "in" and it's really way more than that to a Polkfest. Not just in the putting one on aspect but in what goes on. When someone says they are coming and then bails, it's talked about. That's not a knock on George either. I fully understand not wanting to trek down in a monsoon. It makes an impact when people aren't there though. I would have loved to have gone this year but too many commitments in a 3 week time frame with PF smack in the middle.

    The Polkfests have routinely been attended by what is referred to as "the insiders" or "the forum elite" or whatever other malarkey that it's been called. They are none of that, they are just friends that live far away from each other. The only reason they seem "cliquish" is because they have met and hung out in person. Not because it's some super secret club. Meeting in person, putting a face with a name, seeing mannerisms and such completes the picture and gives you a different perspective you just don't get from words on a screen. It's only in the past 3 or 4 years that I've seen that change in the reasons people go and it's not always for the better. The '08 Polkfest was such a huge deal that many more were interested. Subsequent years the attendance got bigger and bigger. Lou's house was packed full of people for 2 straight days.

    But like what Harry said, the participation has been down. I think the dynamics of the forum have been the culprit behind that. Lots of people are at each others throats and it's not about cable debates or about 200 watts per channel or whether Yamaha stuff sucks or not. Things get political and personal so quick anymore. It's not enjoyable to be around. I think if more people got together, face to face, they'd be less likely to be total douches to each other on the forums. You don't hear about these meetings. George used to have stories almost every week of grabbing a slice with someone.

    The animosity is palpable and I think that's why attendance was so far down.

    I've considered hosting in the past but like Dave, I don't have the room. Well, I do now but I don't know if I'd have the basement space ready in time. Well, I'll have the bar done and it might just be a big open area still this time next year but that's not necessarily a bad thing for a Polkfest. It's a viable option for me though and since I'm, like Lou, in NJ and fairly centrally located from multiple major metropolitan areas, it's easy to get to with plenty of facilities and resources nearby. Also, only about 15 minutes from George. He wouldn't even need a hotel room.

    Anyway, like Constantine, rambling too much.

    I think there are issues and it's not the lack of support from Polk Audio. When this started out there wasn't any support from Polk Audio. Why should it be any different now? Maybe if people lightened up a bit, got back to nerding about hobbies and laid off all the bickering BS, Polkfest might be a more positive thing.

    Which they are. I mean hell, the last Polkfest I went to, I kept telling my friend Steve about this contact I had at Polk Audio named Al. He thought it was just some guy who worked in the shipping department or something. At the last HQ PF Al came up and said Hi and I introduced him to Steve and told him "This is the Al I keep telling you about." About 7 hours later we were in one of Al's favorite haunts telling lies and drinking beers with Al. A VP for one of the largest speaker manufacturers in the world. My friend asked me how I met Al. I told him straight up, Polkfests. I also saved his bacon in a sense at Lou's in 2010 'cause I was the only one with a cellphone signal and the only one who thought to bring tools with him and we were putzing with the LSiM prototype crossovers with Polk's engineering department on the phone.

    You don't get stories like that sitting on an Internet forum getting threads shut down pissing and moaning about politics. You also don't get to meet guys like Al or Micah or Ken or Stu for that matter. You also don't get to walk in to HQ and shove Patrick from behind and say "Yo, buddy, watch where' you're goin'!" or talk shop with the Polk installers that used to go to car shows or listen to Stu wax philosophical about how much of a pain a certain crossover network was or watch Antny blow the drivers on Lou's Amazings or marvel at the fact that Russ can sleep in his car, with the windows closed and you can STILL hear the snoring 100 feet away.

    There's more to it than just a bunch of people sitting around and getting poofaced.
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    It appears their focus has shifted heavily from speakers to headphones and gadgets. While getting into these markets is fine, it really seems to have put their "Speaker Company" title in serious jeopardy.
    Well it's a guarantee that the speaker market shifted to head-fi and gadgets. Russ and I talked about this a bit, as he is in retail audio sales, and my distributors save seen a major decline. It is a trend that hopefully will transpire to future sales of speakers as this bunch gets older. In the distribution market the decline is reflective of the housing market...think of audio equipment and theater as furniture and look at that market, it's horrible.

    As for gatherings, I don't have much to say. If it was not for the RMAF this year Russ and I would have attended.

    I do enjoy our gathering at LSAF, fellow Polkies grab some rooms of our own, set up our gear and play music for 2 days, along with having the opportunity to listen to others commercial and DIY gear.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstas View Post
    .......or marvel at the fact that Russ can sleep in his car, with the windows closed and you can STILL hear the snoring 100 feet away.
    And thanks for the heads up
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  14. #14

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    We don't need Polk Audio to have a Polkfest, much like you don't need General Motors to have a Chevrolet weekend at Carlisle. We do, however, need a group of people with a common obsession. In my opinion, especially in regard to the majority of the members I consider to be the core of this forum as I've grown to know it, our obsession is changing. Broadening may be a better way to put it. I feel as if we've changed from being a group of people who have Polk speakers and enjoy listening to them to a group of people who have met each other through having Polk speakers. If I were a business I wouldn't be supporting us, either. No knock on Polk at all.

    What the next step is, though, is what we need to figure out.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

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    Distance has been the thing for me, not that anyone is clamouring to see my ugly mug anyway. I am all for hosting something at my home, if we can put together a West-Coast thing, I could even arrange for some very high end gear to be brought in for demo, as there are a few audiophile stores left here in Los Angeles.

    I think having a regional PF setup would work, with the hope of there being a national meet every couple years.
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  16. #16

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    Polkfest doesn't need Polk support (but it helps) but need member support, and right now its dead. Would putting PolkFest together with another party help?

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  17. #17

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    John, we already do this in Dallas, even though I'm the one who usually hosts lately. I thought about a designated weekend for simultaneous satellite get togethers, but I see issue there when one wants to travel to a different locale. I'm actually thinking of hosting another one sometime in January because its been too long since I've seen some of the guys.

    It seems that nobody ever really announces gatherings anymore, and its a damn pity.
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    It seems that nobody ever really announces gatherings anymore, and its a damn pity.
    Agreed. Was just thinking about this exact thing as we put our boys to bed. Really difficult to hold a nation wide event without having much success getting local guys together. We were doing ok out here in the Baltimore area for awhile, and it was great. Seems to have lost traction the last couple years.

    You guys in Texas seem tight, as do the guys in the RAS. Still, don't see much traffic in this subforum from any group lately.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  19. #19

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    We've done a couple GTG's up here in Seattle. Probably not a "fest" per se but pretty fun. I think we're due for another...
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  20. #20

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    Has Polkfest always been on the Eastcoast? Might get new faces if moved around a little more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSkip View Post
    John, we already do this in Dallas, even though I'm the one who usually hosts lately. I thought about a designated weekend for simultaneous satellite get togethers, but I see issue there when one wants to travel to a different locale. I'm actually thinking of hosting another one sometime in January because its been too long since I've seen some of the guys.

    It seems that nobody ever really announces gatherings anymore, and its a damn pity.
    Like many here, since I rent, I have issues with lots of folks coming over, namely I dont have the room for it.

    With that said however I am somewhat seeking a time/place for a get together sometime next year here in Indy. Working on a venue of some sort that is within my super cheap budget (free )

    I am hoping to get some of the folks here in Indiana (trav0810, bored184, nikolas182, etc) and anyone else interested is more than welcome to show up. My goal is to have a cookout, some gear to listen to, and just talk and BS.

    Whenever the planning actually starts I will get a thread going.

    That said last time the Midwest get-together ended up with just John, myself and Jeff.

    Skip, one of these days I will be getting down to LSAF. When that time comes I plan to bring a little bit of stuff with me (computer loaded with FLAC and maybe my DAC).

    If there is anything I can do regarding helping along a future PolkFest I am in.

    I havent even attempted to go as its my wife's birthday during that time frame (also same timeframe as CarverFest in NC), and there are no ways I can frame the question about going to Polkfest that doenst end up with my balls in a vice or missing entirely...
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    I have been to four Polkfests and loved meeting the people and having conversations about music, politics or whatever. These are great times and some of the members who have been around a long time have moved on. Social Media has taken a toll on Forum participation and audio gatherings. Polkfest does not have to be a big event to be successfull. Ten, fifteen people is probably a good meeting.

    The even has typically been held at somebody's house. In comparison, Carverfest has been held at a resort of sorts. I'd like to hear people's ideas about a gathering similiar to Carverfest?

    I think another factor is that the early 'Fests were embelished on the Forums to be out of control drunk fests, which was not entirely the case. I think some people are concerned about hosting an event like this in their home with all the tall tales of drunken behavior, puking in bushes and pissing in yards. Moving to a third party venue might be something to try. Having a Fest in conjunction with an event like the Capital Audio Show in the DC Metro area might be worth consideration.

    Now is the time to float some ideas. Otherwise Polkfest as we know it might be a thing of the past.
    Carl

  23. #23

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    I would think of somehow of combining Carverfest with Polkfest would be a good idea as a whole. They are both audio in nature so why not?

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    It's 100% the economy for me. I've been so busy that I can't take any time off. been working 80 to 100 hours a week the past two years.


    Quote Originally Posted by polrbehr View Post
    It could be the economy,
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  25. #25

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    Let's have the PolkFest cruise! I think I can take off time in late February.


    Yes, it was in NJ 3 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    Has Polkfest always been on the Eastcoast? Might get new faces if moved around a little more.
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL's
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    My Polk SDA SRS 1.2TL's http://www.LASAREATH.com/


    It All Started here: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath2

    Part Deux: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath3

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  26. #26

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    I read Troy's post this morning (yes, I was awake that early....I have no idea why) and I've been thinking about the matter all day.

    It's true that times have changed and not for the better, IMO. A lot of good members have left the forum, core members that helped make the forum what it is today. Some simply moved on in life, others left because they were made to not feel welcome here, which is a damn shame. Matt, Al, Paul and Micah have left Polk. They are the ones that nutured and understood how important it is to support the forum and it's members. You can't pay money for the good will and word of mouth advertising Polk got over the years. It's a shame the current owners don't see the value in the "we're all family" attitude.

    Ok, I got at least some of that that off my chest.

    As for what to do now, I'm really not sure. It's not something I'm good at. I've been to Carverfest, which started out as a 3 day event, IIRC and has now become a 2 week event for a lot of folks. It's a completely different type of event with some making it their yearly vacation. For me, 2 or 3 days is about all I can handle for a number of reasons. I don't think that format is the answer for future Polkfests, but what do I know.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  27. #27

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    Let's rent a 14 room mansion on the beach in Puerto Rico.

    I also can not do 2 weeks, not even 7 days. Thursday to Monday or Tuesday is feasible for me.
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL's
    With new Exotic wood, Sonicaps, Mills & RDO198's - Born on 4-24-1989 and Signed by Matthew Polk!!!!


    My Polk SDA SRS 1.2TL's http://www.LASAREATH.com/


    It All Started here: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath2

    Part Deux: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath3

    Car Stereo---->http://www.salsleaf.com/leaf_stereo/index.htm<---- NEW for 2013

  28. #28

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    If you guys really wanted to do something like that, you need to come down to LSAF. Rooms are cheap, systems are welcome, and you get to hear many more systems. This event becomes a polk gathering in its own right, where we had 5 polkies get rooms for the weekend and many more attend the show. It's a thurs through sun event and is so home-brewed that you can't help but have a good time.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  29. #29

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    my two cents-- make it a three day event if possible. I would be more inclined to travel/arrange things so that we can attend. Jesse is correct--some folks (I'm one of them) take advantage of the discounts and vacation at Carverfest, we did this year FWIW.
    Thanks
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  30. #30

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    I think a three day is my limit also. And saying that Polkfest as we know needs to change with the times.

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