First, thanks for all the good wishes and recommendations for cold and throat remedies. I think they are working and I hope that the voice will be up to my Showcase today at 4 pm. I took some great advice from a good friend in south Florida who responded to my diary posting yesterday. A shining star of last year’s Florida Folk Festival and a veteran of many of these Folk Alliance events (I’m sure everyone now knows who she is), she said get to bed at a reasonable time and get some sleep - it’ll all still be there tomorrow. She was right - I feel much better today! The second day of the conference (really the first “official day”) was a getting acclimated day for most. You can see artists trying to find their “rhythm” in the common area on the second floor of the hotel in the area around what is called “Performance Alley.” This is a series of a dozen or more meeting rooms where the official showcases of the conference take place in the evening and where many seminars, workshops and meetings are scheduled during the day. The area is plastered, and I mean PLASTERED, with posters from artists promoting their showcases, albums, etc. Even though I felt I was a little late in getting some of my materials posted, I now see that I was kind of at the end of the front of the pack. With the enormous amount of material that has now been posted I doubt that anyone reads or takes note of any of it. A poster has to be pretty distinctive to catch anyone’s eye. The first day in the Exhibit Hall was a little slow, but we’ve been told to expect the crowds on Friday and Saturday. I’m having a little trouble turning on my “sales” persona and reaching out to people as the pass by my booth. If they show interest in my materials then I’m right on it, but I probably need to get more proactive today to pull in those who are breezing by too quickly. I have a fold out display board on an easel behind my table with pictures, posters, showcase schedule, press quotes, etc. on it. On my table I have my Truths & Lies CD displayed along with the video of my Octagon Arts performance (opening for Michael Smith) and a promo CD of studio rough cuts from my new CD project to be released later this year. I’ve got two CD players ready to go with headphones qued up to songs I want folks to hear. I also have print materials (a “one sheet” with press quotes, etc. and contact information), a printout of my SonicBids press kit, postcards with my showcase schedule, a jar with individual bags of homemade chex mix (thanks Mom), business cards, etc. It looks pretty good! There was a special reception for Folk DJ’s in the afternoon. I was lucky to get to be one of the sponsors for the reception so I got to put CD’s etc. on a table at the entrance for the DJ’s to pick up and was recognized as a sponsor during the program (a little sucking up never hurts). The reception was like “speed dating” - Hi, how are you, what is your station’s call sign, what type of folk music do you like to play, can I give / send you a CD, nice to meet you, NEXT!! I gave away a lot of CD’s (20 or so) but really spent time with a few DJ’s that I found interesting to talk to - probably not the “recommended” approach, but I enjoyed it more. I saw some great writers and performances yesterday and ran into more old friends and acquaintances. I’ve finally met, face to face, many of my artist MySpace friends from all over the country - very cool! Good news for the Leu Gardens series. I’ve been selectively passing out a little flyer I made up for the series to artists I think would be a good fit. I think that David LaMotte is going to commit to play the series in December this year, and there is sincere interest so far from GREAT artists like Johnsmith, Tom Kimmel, Chuck Brodsky, Small Potatoes (they’ve been there before), Dierdre McCalla, The Dalzeils and more! There’s a pretty good Florida contingent here - so far I’ve bumped into Glorira Holloway, Cathy DeWitt, Michael Stock, Randy Wynne, David & Leni Engels and Rich Pietrzak. I know there’s more and I’ll see them over the next couple of days. Well, time to get back at it! I’m rarin’ to go! Doug