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NEAR-Fest Archives - Message Boards and Posting from Previous Events. => NEAR-Fest III May 2008 => Topic started by: W1RC on May 05, 2008, 11:06:47 AM

Title: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: W1RC on May 05, 2008, 11:06:47 AM
Now that we're all back home, warm and dry, it's time for the traditional NEAR-Fest "post mortum".  This is the place we solicit your feedback, comments, etc, etc. What did you like?  What didn't you like?  Suggestions for future NEAR-Fests?  Tell us.

This is not a discussion group in which any of the joint chiefs will participate.  However we do read every post so feel free to post anything that you think would be of interest to us.

It will help make NEAR-Fest IV better.

73,

MisterMike and Friends
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: ab1dd on May 05, 2008, 12:45:58 PM
Hi Mike and Crew,

Not a lot not to like. I think most everything ran smooth. There were a few minor gotchas with traffic flow in the morning, but not unsurmountable. Kinda got overloaded about 0800 or so.
Weather: Although the weather wasn't perfect, our group had a good time. It is spring in New England. Come ready for a little rain and cool temps.
I didn't hear any complaints as I walked around (with the volunteer badge visible.

Carl
AB1DD
 
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: K1WIZ on May 05, 2008, 02:29:49 PM
There are 2 things that come to mind for consideration:

1) Define and mark off a safe "no camping zone" around the entertainment building so the Jamz can go on as long as the band is willing to play without being silenced by nearby campers - who should have known better than to camp there in the first place.

2) Many suggested to us to have visible sign-age posted throughout the grounds that lists the frequencies of, and informs people of local broadcasts being carried at the fest.  Or at least the 2 or 3 major stations which carry programs of interest.  I would also recommend these signs also be placed outside the gates of the grounds so that those waiting in line can hear opening announcements which carry much of this information as well.  For some reason, many people who approached us at the stage did not even know we were even broadcasting on 95.1FM and therefore announcements broadcast over the radio went largely unheard.  Adding Tim's PA greatly helped to solve this problem.  I plan on bringing a dual output MIC preamp so that one MIC can rule them all and then 2 mics won't be needed get stuff on the air and on the radio. 

3) NearFest Mgt should provide a hard copy list of all commercial vendors who donate prizes so that they could have been announced much sooner.  Now that there is a network that is available to the Mgt team, these can be emailed instead as they will end up on the Broadcast computer screen once they are received and can be announced accordingly.  I think this alone can put to rest, a lot of the tail chasing that goes on, and get important up to the minute info to attendees sooner.

4) This is more of a suggestion to benefit attendees:  You might consider carrying a little transistor radio in your shirt pocket and tune to one of the 3 major broadcast stations as you roam about the grounds - even the PA is not heard easily by everyone in all areas, and this makes it possible for you to be kept informed and entertained no matter where on (or off) the grounds you may roam.  This would be the best solution to keeping in touch with what's going on with up to the minute coverage of events.

That's just my .02 worth, hope it helps.

Overall, great time, regardless of the weather and my family really enjoyed it.  Really enjoyed the Jam too, and would like to see more musicians get involved.
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Nat on May 05, 2008, 03:40:59 PM
Hi Mr Mike,

We all had a great time in our little corner of the Deerfield universe. The weather was ahem, normal.

The security fellow initially had a huge fit over our small charcoal fire pit. "NO OPEN FIRES!!" was his answer to any attempts at reason. He never came back though to review what we had so all went well.

If there was ever a wish, I miss the nice bathrooms and water at Hopkinton!

Thanks for a great event and we'll see you in the fall! ;D

73

Nat
N1BNC
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: ceMental on May 05, 2008, 04:34:06 PM
As expected we had a great time.  Thank you for keeping this tradition of a New England radio festival alive.   ;D
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: KB1PRV on May 05, 2008, 10:37:41 PM
Mr Mike,

I hung out with an old friend, made some new friends, bought some gear, attended an R-390a workshop, passed the general exam, and had a great time; I couldn
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Bri on May 06, 2008, 12:34:40 AM
Having been in direct contact with the campers who voiced their rights regarding the late jam hours...
I have to agree with them; To the point that there was no general notice or flyer handed out before hand.
I did put a notice up on the forum the night before. It wasn't enough notice. Sorry about that...my bad.

Even in this day and age not everyone has internet access (hmm, maybe that's where radio comes in) Not everyone reads the forum.
That said, I would love there to be some warning WAY before hand via internet/ham radio/flyers/smoke signal/sign language/etc stating "if you value sleep and your hearing do not camp within 40 feet of this building"

All in all, I had a great time, I bought a few trinkets, sold a few, met some great guys and played and sang.
It's what it's all about if you ask me.


Bri
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: N1ZZN on May 06, 2008, 02:13:53 AM
I was actually quite surprised with how sound proof that building was, it seemed to block the sound quite well! There's definitely not a better place around to hold the jam session. Hopefully people will know next time not to sleep so close to it, if they did notice a problem.
Title: NEAR-Fest III Feedback; Tom W1TP; Key collecting/history.
Post by: dmarkell on May 06, 2008, 02:24:07 AM
Fascinating presentation by Tom Perera, w1tp, on Morse code history and key collecting.

Please invite him again, and try for similar presentations at future Near-Fests.

If you missed Tom this May, be sure to catch him sometime, somewhere !

Incredible!

Dennis N1IMW
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Randy on May 06, 2008, 04:15:33 AM
  As a Thursday night camper my only complaint was that there probably should have been a porta-potty in the camping area or at least a walk through gate left open to the fairgrounds to allow restroom access...
  Was also a little curious as to all the bikes and scooters running around. I thought they were outlawed this year? Will they be allowed next time?
  I was also impressed at the offer to allow anyone who passed their exams and upgrades free admission in the fall by Mr.Mike ....
 And again THANK YOU for all your efforts to continue to have a GREAT Hamfest !!!!
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: w1sj on May 06, 2008, 06:38:56 AM
Dryer, warmer wx would have been nice.  Please work on this for the fall.

There needs to be a better site directory. The web site is good, but many do not look at it.
I got inundated by E-mails asking about the VE session, which I had to pass on to Bruce.
Even during the fest, many stopped by the class to ask where the VE session was.

Suggestion: Big sign at Flagpole at entrance, spelling out where everything is (i.e. Exams to the right, Commercial Buildings straight ahead, Jam Session to the left.) The sign can include a list of all the local radio stations and repeates. A list of vendors might be nice, but that's starting to be a chore..

Otherwise, it was great!

Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: ab1dd on May 06, 2008, 09:23:17 AM
RE the late night jam...
I was camped right across the road from the jam site. I could hear the music, but it wasn't a problem. If the music was real bad, I would have said something. But, it was good.
The jam needs to be made more aware to those who don't get the word. Signs around the building would be good. I knew the jam was going to take place, and chose to camp where I did. I will probably do the same in the fall.

Carl
AB1DD
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Todd, KA1KAQ on May 06, 2008, 02:36:46 PM
1) Define and mark off a safe "no camping zone" around the entertainment building so the Jamz can go on as long as the band is willing to play without being silenced by nearby campers - who should have known better than to camp there in the first place.

Actually, no. Many of the folks who park there did so in the 80s/90s as well. Keep in mind that this event is a hamfest, and the majority of the attendees aren't there for a jam session. Back in the days of the original Deerfield, someone may have dragged along an acoustic guitar, harmonica, etc and played in the AM Corral or such, but there was no real organized 'electric' jam until much later at Rochester. There we actually had a building to use, at least for a few events.

We discussed this at great length before the first NEAR-Fest event, because we wanted to incorporate what has become somewhat of a tradition to us in the last decade. In the process, we took into account all attendees and came up with a 'shut down' time for the jam session to provide quiet hours for everyone else to get some sleep. The last thing we want is to annoy the majority to please the few - in any situation. We need to remain considerate of all and keep in mind that this is a public event, not a personal party.

Also be aware that the primary use of the Entertainment Building is Workshops and Forums. So long as they can take place without issue (meaning, no mess or problems encountered Saturday morning), the two uses should be able to co-exist fine.

There needs to be a better site directory. The web site is good, but many do not look at it.
I got inundated by E-mails asking about the VE session, which I had to pass on to Bruce.
Even during the fest, many stopped by the class to ask where the VE session was.

Believe it or not, we discussed this after last October and thought it was taken care of. Obviously, it was not. Partly because it was spread over a couple different people. It impacted everything from the exams to forums/workshops to on site broadcasters.

We had a meeting Saturday afternoon to hash out some of these bugs, October should be much smoother. Rather than using the flagpole location (since it's located at one extreme of the grounds), we plan to use the Relaxation Grove as the main focal point, since it acts as an intersection of sorts as for the main paths through the fairground and is where the announcements and door prizes are handled. We'll also be using signs to indicate where the Forums/Workshops and Exam buildings are located, in conjunction with a map printed on the back of a program/sked handed out at the gate to all who enter. Hopefully this combined with our pre-fest publicity will solve the problems we encountered. And yes - we will have the site broadcasting info printed on these programs as well.


Fascinating presentation by Tom Perera, w1tp, on Morse code history and key collecting.

Please invite him again, and try for similar presentations at future Near-Fests.

If you missed Tom this May, be sure to catch him sometime, somewhere !

Incredible!

Thanks, Dennis - glad you enjoyed it. How about that $10K+ pre-Civil War key he found there on Friday?

Tom also puts on a great forum about the German Enigma machine and code breaking from WWII. He presented this forum last fall, and I was amazed at the information and knowledge Tom shared with us. He might want to take a 'fest off this October, but if he wants to provide a forum, we'll certainly accommodate him.

I hung out with an old friend, made some new friends, bought some gear, attended an R-390a workshop, passed the general exam, and had a great time; I couldn
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Randy on May 06, 2008, 04:47:14 PM
 I also noticed that there werent as many announcements being made. Either I just wasn't tuned in to hearing them or there was a lack of them to hear... The person who was doing the info on the radio was great as well as playing great music , but unless you are going to pipe the radio over the PA system there seemed to be a lack of information in general... Nothing like hearing that loud booming voice coming over the PA telling you where and when the exams might be held or where an ATM might be located or if you need help moving that boatanchor ECT... Might have helped for the lack of signage as well......   But again great job on the radio station 95.1  it certainly helped us get in the gate on time....
Title: Near-Fest pictures
Post by: Bri on May 06, 2008, 11:35:28 PM
I have a few pics of Fest III I'd like to upload.
s there a folder to do that?


Bri
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: W1COP on May 07, 2008, 01:57:32 AM
   First thank you to all for your hard work and efforts. The motel was excellent and convienent, cudos for the good rates. Of course
the weather could have been better, "BUT", what could we do about it,,,,I as many from My neck of the woods headed out early on Saturday (11:30) as the rain was just about to start....
   A big gripe already noted was the P.A., I  gave up even trying to stay in the general area as there was so much to see,as well
as all the folks to say hi to and chat with.... Nice seeing and chating with you Mr. Mike!
   And the classes should have been held somewhere else than in a commercial vending area, poor choice....
   The Main gate area has always been a problem no matter where or by any group,including "Hosstraders", separation of
pedestrian traffic, and vehicluar traffic at this venue would be a plus...
    I hope those who stuck it out were rewarded with a prize, because they earned it I still say that the late draw time is a
turn off. I've mentioned it to a few folks up this way who said "Most of the tranactions and purchases and made by noon
and holding everyone to possibly benefit the commercial vendors, does'nt cut it for those who have some distance to travel
and not wishing to stay a second night."
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: capvan on May 07, 2008, 04:33:52 PM
Too many dogs and too many scooters. I saw a LOT of perfectly healthy people zipping around on their wheels. I thought both were going to be limited or banned.
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: K1WIZ on May 07, 2008, 09:00:24 PM
I also noticed that there werent as many announcements being made. Either I just wasn't tuned in to hearing them or there was a lack of them to hear... The person who was doing the info on the radio was great as well as playing great music , but unless you are going to pipe the radio over the PA system there seemed to be a lack of information in general... Nothing like hearing that loud booming voice coming over the PA telling you where and when the exams might be held or where an ATM might be located or if you need help moving that boatanchor ECT... Might have helped for the lack of signage as well......   But again great job on the radio station 95.1  it certainly helped us get in the gate on time....

Randy,

Thanks for your comments!  We enjoyed helping out and entertaining the many visitors of the fest.  Certainly there was some trouble getting the PA together and it did make a HUGE difference in getting some words out.  On the radio we tried a new mix of tuneage that seemed to get awesome results, and we'll bring that back in October as well.  We'll also air the Jam live again as we did this time. 

We worked out a system where general announcements and releases can be emailed directly on our screens from the Command Trailer and we'll likely employ that again as well.  In october, I'll be bringing a dual output Mic preamp so we can use a single mic to feed announcements thru the PA as well as the radio on 95.1FM, though without getting program music coming out of the PA horn!   So that way the PA horns will be peacefully silent unless there is something important that needs attention, and yet visitors can still keep a small transistor radio in their pocket to keep updated on the latest if they are in a building or in the far reaches of the grounds.

BTW, we'd like to see some people do their own shows on 95.1FM!!!  it'd be tons of fun and would make the programming more interactive and provide a richer listening experience.

See you in the fall!
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: N1ZZN on May 08, 2008, 03:15:08 AM
We worked out a system where general announcements and releases can be emailed directly on our screens from the Command Trailer and we'll likely employ that again as well. 

I wish someone had told me this was going on. I remember this was discussed back a few months ago, but I just thought it was something being considered, but never actually happened...
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: K1WIZ on May 08, 2008, 12:50:22 PM
We worked out a system where general announcements and releases can be emailed directly on our screens from the Command Trailer and we'll likely employ that again as well. 

I wish someone had told me this was going on. I remember this was discussed back a few months ago, but I just thought it was something being considered, but never actually happened...

Jeff, In one of our IM conversations, I told you we would have internet access and would likely use the network to pickup this kind of info.  Like I said to you this time, and it still stands for October: If you want a hookup, just come by and we'll get you hooked up.  See you in October.   ;)

Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: W1JS on May 08, 2008, 09:23:31 PM
 :)

Great fest, Mr. Mike and crew! 

I arrived mid afternoon Friday and was pleasantly surprised at how many people were there.  Definitely more than the same time of day in October 2007.  I was disappointed that some of the commercial vendors who were there in October were not there this May. 

Definitely a good job all around.  Already looking forward to October 2008!

73,
W1JS
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Adam KB1MRJ on May 09, 2008, 04:18:05 AM
Great NEARFest III!!  Hope everyone enjoyed 95.1 and the vinyl!! I will be lugging all those records (and more) back up in October, as it was a real hoot watching those turntables go round and round, and hearing the great classic rock that mainstream radio has seemingly almost given up on!!! Another shout-out to my new 'jamz' brothers; I bet NEARFest IV's jam session will kick even more tail! ;D
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: K1WIZ on May 09, 2008, 01:08:59 PM
I heard via a reliable source that one of the commercial buildings were left in a real mess and this caused problems for NearFest Management.  I was unhappy to hear this news as it meant that enjoyment of future fests was/is in jeopardy! 

I discussed with this source that I think NearFest would be best served if, like the hambands, it was self-policed.  I know we self-policed each other @ NF1 and we were vigilant of any rulebreakers or rampant litterers that we came out smelling like a rose, and the fairgrounds committee was very pleased to have us all there.  I know many people enjoy going to this festival, and the NF team puts in a LOT of work to make it happen for us twice a year.  I know Paul does an exhaustive job with trying to keep an eye out for violators as described above, but he is only one man and as such can't keep an eye on everybody.  I propose that we all keep an eye out for each other and self-police, so that this event is continued to be enjoyed by all.  I also agree with another gentleman who posted in here that several people were seen (and seemingly quite healthy and capable) using personal transportation devices (scooters, motorized vehicles, etc) when it was made crystal clear that these were not allowed.  It's clear that these people did not care to comply with the rules that were set, and again has potential for putting this event in jeopardy!

I am willing to do my part, and I'm hoping others will jump on board with me and help give these guys who do this for us twice a year, a much needed hand. 

Let's help NF Management out so they don't have to chase their tails and waste effort on micro-managing these issues - they need to be able to focus on the quality of the event, rather than making sure people are being respectful of the grounds or others.

Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Nat on May 09, 2008, 07:35:43 PM
Mr Mike,

Lets turn the tables around for a sec, were there any complaints from the Deerfield Fair Grounds Association?

If we want to be self policing, this may be useful material.

Great time was had Mike, thanks for your hard work! The team too!!!

73

Nat
N1BNC
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: W1RC on May 09, 2008, 08:54:27 PM
.....were there any complaints from the Deerfield Fair Grounds Association?
Yes there are several issues that need to be addressed.  They are concerning fire safety and smoking in one of the commercial buildings.  My Board contact does not sound happy. 

I have been asked to meet with the board to discuss these issues.  That's all I can say at this time.

73,

MisterMike
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: n1iwv on May 10, 2008, 02:53:49 PM
Gasoline powered vehicles at the FEST.
To my knowledge, the only two gas powered vehicles running around the fair site was me and security
This year we used a gas powered golf cart to get around and security used a yellow ATV
This mode of transport (golf cart) will be used by Near-Fest staff in future events.
It's fast, efficient and reduces the stress on these old bones.
No other personalized gas vehicles will be allowed.
As far as electric scooters, well sometimes physical health problems do not manifest themselves externally.
Heart problems is just one example.
So while we frown of electric scooter in general, we do understand that they are needed by some people to get around.

Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Nat on July 25, 2008, 12:52:39 PM
Are the problems in question from #3 resolved? What can we do to help?
Title: Re: NEAR-Fest III - Feedback Please
Post by: Todd, KA1KAQ on July 25, 2008, 06:38:34 PM
We can let Mike handle the issues with the fairgrounds committee while we continue to do our part to remain in good stead with them. Keeping trash off the grounds and in the containers, discouraging the kind of behavior that could get us tossed, reminding folks that their actions reflect on all of us if the situation arises, leavng non-radio JUNK like monitors and stuffed animals at home, things like this make the difference at the end of the day. We've done well at controlling the junk so far, with only a few incidents to handle. And very, very few people have caused problems.

But it only takes one.

Just because someone isn't a part of the official NEAR-Fest team doesn't mean they're not a part of NEAR-Fest. The best thing everyone can do is conduct themselves like they appreciate being there and want to continue to return. Simple.  :)