My pal, Bobby Hicks, told me that I was a folksinger. A Florida folksinger. He was too. One of the great ones. He and his buddy, Pete Gallagher, finagled me onto the bill at the Florida Folk Festival one year. I think they payed me a hundred bucks. Out of that I had to get up to the Suwannee River, feed myself and get a motel room for a couple of nights. I had a swell time.
The following year I received an invitation to come back. Of course I responded that I would be there with bells on. They wrote me right back to say that they couldn't pay me since I had been payed the previous year. I declined the invitation when I checked around and found that this was not a rule that applied to all folksingers.
As I checked a bit more I was surprised to find that the promoters were paying Emmylou Harris fifty thousand dollars for her appearance. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Emmylou Harris. I mean she was born in Birmingham in 1947 and she sings like an angel. My displeasure had more to do with the idea that the folks who had calculated that I should not receive a hundred bucks two years in a row had made a decision to spend that much money on a performer who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. I'm just guessing that the folks who tow little carts up to sell pronto pups make a little money, too.
I just heard that Arlo Guthrie was given forty thousand bucks to perform this year. Now, I don't want to make Arlo mad, either by sounding like I'm indulging in a little class warfare here or by letting the cat out of the bag that the Florida taxpayers gave Emmylou more than they gave him.
I remain somewhat indignant that someone representing the State Of Florida through something called the Florida Folk Festival puts together budgets that seem to reward lots of folks; just not Florida folksingers.
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