I'm just going to attach this note to a rock and toss it over the wall here. Maybe someone will notice it. Maybe it will even be read.
Hi. I'm one of the barbarian bluegrass players on the other side of the wall. I've been looking at your gated neighborhood my entire professional life, and it looks very nice from the outside.
A guy that I respect a lot also happens to be a member of your community. He and his band come outside the gates all the time to play for the masses out here, and we love them. I'm actually in another band that plays the same circuit out here in the world, and we have a great time. I've never really worried about whether or not I would be able to afford a house in your neighborhood because as far as I'm concerned, we've got it all out here. I just assumed that you guys would rather not mix with the riff raff (I say that with fondness) and that's fine. You're welcome to, but you shouldn't have to.
Please forgive me if I've got some of the facts wrong here, I've never actually been inside your neighborhood. But some things I've heard lately have surprised me. There are apparently some empty houses in there, and the number of houses that are being filled with new residents is not keeping pace with the number of houses that are coming up on the market. Some of those houses have been vacant for a while now? The tax base is dwindling, lawns aren't being kept and the neighborhood committee is starting to worry that this decline is accelerating. The idea of opening the gates has been proposed. To make the community inclusive rather than exclusive. To relax some of the requirements for membership. This guy I'm talking about is one of the most articulate proponents of this idea.
He has rightly figured that we make a lot more hay out here than you guys are able to in there. It's just supply and demand - there's more of both out here. The tax base you need to keep the neighborhood thriving is right outside the gate.
You all are more than welcome out here. That's the entire point of out here. We take everybody. There's plenty of land and having it worked rather than lay fallow only makes it that much more more fertile for the rest of us, which leads to more fans enjoying the fruits of bluegrass, which brings more young bands into the fold. A virtuous cycle.
I'm just not so sure about us coming in there.
I have 2 young kids and they're loud and a lot of times their toys get left in the yard, and admittedly it doesn't look that great but we live on some land where you can't really see the house from the road. Sometimes the grass gets a little shaggy. I still have part of a tree down from that hurricane, but I'll get to it.
If I move in there, then either I'm going to have to hire someone to keep my grass in line with the neighborhood covenant or I'm going to get dirty looks from my neighbors. Now, I refuse to pay someone else to mow my lawn, and you most certainly shouldn't have to be aggravated every time you look outside your window. Part of the reason you live in that neighborhood is because everyone there keeps their grass a certain way, and I can appreciate that as much as you can.
If the new committee does away with that covenant then it might make it easier for me to be who I am, but what about all the people that have lived in that neighborhood for a long time because they like it the way it is?
Where are they going to be able to go?Chris Pandolfi IBMA Keynote 2011 Something about Bluegrass