OWTK Kindie Music News

Thoughts on Kindiefest 2012

In years past, I covered Kindiefest somewhat extensively upon returning home from Brooklyn. Not this time. I took very few photos, almost no video, and interviewed not a single soul, not formally anyhow (Dave Loftin from the Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl had the great idea of conducting and recording gorilla style chats with conference attendees that would be a mix of the absurd and the serious – but those never came to fruition for a variety of reasons).  Instead, I mingled, laughed, theorized, debated, and tried to soak up some of the happy energy in the room over the course of my two days there (I chose not to attend the public festival on Sunday as I had plans to be in Manhattan for much of the day).

Since I have zero intention of sharing with you the exact tone or the content of any of the conversations during Kindiefest, this could end up being an extremely listless list post.  That said, here were my highlights from the party that was, in no particular order:

  • Spending time with Jeff Giles (of Dadnabbit, Popdose, Rotten Tomatoes and on and on) talking music, writing, and hatching at least one very inappropriate yet extremely hilarious idea.
  • Spending time with Dave Loftin (of the Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl) talking about the state of kindie music, ways we can raise awareness of the musical goodness available to families in the 21st century, and trying, along with Giles, to convince him to rock a superhero cape and mask during a dramatic entrance for his panel discussion.
  • Spending time with Stefan Shepherd (of Zooglobble) – albeit too little time (damn day jobs) – discussing process, writing, the world of family music, and hatching at least one very inappropriate yet extremely hilarious idea.
  • Listening to informed panelists discussing their process, their endeavors, their hopes and dreams, and delivering tiny bits of wisdom on a variety of topics to attendees.
  • Seeing the fellas from Recess Monkey sitting in on every single panel and taking notes the whole time.  Even guys that could be considered an established, successful brand of a band still have a hunger to learn and be inspired by their peers. Let that be a lesson to those who either didn’t show, didn’t stay for the whole thing, or stayed outside while knowledge was being dispensed inside.
  • Discussing kindie’s lily white problem on and off stage with Dan Zanes, Shawana “Shine” Kemp, and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.  The issue is, as most are, a complex bundle of factors existing both inside and out of the home. There are solutions or at the very least the genesis of a single one floating around in the air but I’m not certain anyone could put their finger on it this weekend.  Exclusion, however, is not one of the struggles we as a community face. There are hugs and cheers and help waiting for anyone willing to walk through Littlefield’s door and become an active part of what we are all trying to do – that is to give modern families something of substance in their media library.  Any inference to the contrary is counterproductive and hurtful (at least to me). My mailbox is generally overflowing with Caucasians.  I can’t stress enough how ready I am for that to change. Are there racist assholes involved in kindie music? Yeah, probably, but they are the true minority.
  • Listening to a diverse lineup of musicians during the industry showcase: from the Bjork-meets-Teletubbies enchantment of Elska, to the honest Americana of Alastair Moock, and the Kindiefest debuts of the Uncle Devin Show from D.C. (welcome to the party, fellas!) and the graceful Lori Henriques .  Not to mention Renee & Jeremy Gustafer Babypants Cookie Jar Zanes Hullabaloo.
  • Watching Recess Monkey’s live on-air Tuneiversity session on Sirius XM Radio’s Kids Place Live, with Okee Dokee Brothers, Shine and the Moonbeams, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Molly Ledford (of Lunch Money), Lori Henriques, The Jimmies, Caspar Babypants, and most wonderful of all (sorry everyone else) Todd & Hazel McHatton performing “I Think I’m A Bunny”.  Even if you heard it live on Friday afternoon, you likely have no idea just how wonderful that particular performance was, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
  • Playing hopscotch (horribly, I must add) with Hazel McHatton and Christina Refford’s (from CoolMomPicks.com) adorable daughter who’s name I do remember (a minor accomplishment for me) but won’t use because I’m not sure if she spreads that around the interwebs and I don’t now if she too rocks an animal moniker (a la Bear et Mouse).
  • The thing Mindy Thomas from Kids Place Live said during the State of Kindie panel discussion.  If you were there, then you can probably figure out which thing I’m referring to.

Todd McHatton's I Think I'm A Bunny Doodle on the wall of Sirius XM's NYC studio.

There were likely more memorable moments from the weekend but I’m still super sleepy and groggy (and I don’t even partake in the adult beverages!) and thus this is all I have to offer.  If we met and we chatted and we laughed and I didn’t mention it here, fear not for I have not forgotten.  Okay, maybe I have RIGHT NOW but it’ll come back to me sometime soon.  I’m sure of it.  Pretty sure.

Oh, oh!  I remembered more in the shower just now (just why will make sense in a moment).  More personal Kindiefest ’12 Highlights, all fresh & clean clean:

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