Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Saturday, May 25, 2013
As FloydFest organizers continued working toward the 12th version of their nationally recognized event last week, they were hit with a jolt.
Carol “Rio” Semione, who had been the event’s artist relations coordinator from the beginning, died unexpectedly and apparently of a heart attack at her home in Floyd County last weekend. She was 60.
Semione moved to Floyd County 36 years ago. She and FloydFest co-founder Kris Hodges were friends for 22 of those years. To Hodges, losing her is “immeasurable.”
They met playing music together at the old-school Floyd County commune Travianna Farm. Both Semione and Hodges were percussionists with big love for African music.
“Rio and I were somewhat schooled from the idea that you could remain an artist and bring art to the world in a dignified, sustainable and important way,” Hodges wrote in an e-mail from a business trip in New York City last week .
As artist relations coordinator, Semione was a liason between festival bosses and FloydFest performers, supervising hospitality. And she came to the job with plenty of experience. She had also been events planner at The Sun Music Hall and Cultural Arts Center and had booked and promoted shows at The Pine Tavern in those venues’ previous iterations.
Festival co-founder Erika Johnson said by e-mail last week that Semione’s mantra was “artists are royalty, treat them as such.”
A piece of Semione’s art — a hand-drawn black-and-white design — won a contest to be part of the very first festival.
“Her artistic touches were part of the earliest success of FloydFest, and continued throughout the years, in hand-drawn signs and banners she would do for us,” Johnson wrote.
Among her other talents was pumpkin-carving. Check out this Roanoke.com soundslide from 2006 — tinyurl.com/nesfrh4 — with her describing her process and life in her county.
Kellee Barbour, who had assisted Semione at several FloydFests, will be the new artist relations coordinator.
Visit blogs.roanoke.com/cutnscratch/?p=16398 to read more of what Johnson, Hodges and festival communications director Linda DeVito had to say about their friend and colleague.
Not Bad Company
Folks headed to Roanoke Festival in the Park’s Festival 2013 today might have the idea that they are going to see English rock ’n’ rollers Bad Company onstage at River’s Edge Sports Complex.
What they are going to see is Brian Howe, who from 1986-95 was Bad Company’s lead singer, after Paul Rodgers left the act. Howe did have success with the band, singing on the hits “Holy Water” and “If You Needed Somebody” over the course of five albums with the band.
These days, though, Howe is fronting his own act, while Bad Company has reteamed with Rodgers and is gearing up for its 40th anniversary tour, which begins June 15.
But at Festival’s Facebook page, under a status titled “Festival 2013 Performers,” the lead photo is of an old Bad Company logo, with this poorly written caption: “Bad Company, former lead singer Brian Howe, comes for Saturday, May 25th, presented by Cox Communications!” Elsewhere on the same page, the show is listed this way: “Bad Company featuring Brian Howe.”
At new festival organizer Downtown Roanoke Inc.’s page, listed performers include, again, “Bad Company, former lead singer Brian Howe.”
This has caused some confusion . On the Facebook page, a spat arose when one person brought up the discrepancy, That thread ended with one participant asking if anyone knows what time the Bad Company show starts.
At first blush, it seems like poor communication skills on new festival organizer Downtown Roanoke Inc.’s part. But it’s not all DRI’s doing.
Howe’s web page is titled “Bad Company former lead singer Brian Howe.” And Skip Brown, long a member of Festival in the Park’s board and a key part of its production, said that by contract, Festival is obligated to bill Howe’s show that way. The set, scheduled for 8 p.m., will feature only Bad Company songs, Brown said.
But DRI, which administers the Facebook page, could have done a much better job of explaining exactly what was going on. At the very least, it could have done without the listing “Bad Company featuring Brian Howe.”
I realize that Downtown Roanoke Inc. is relatively new to the Festival in the Park game. It can’t even use that name, because former organizer EventZone holds some legal right to it .
But mixed messages cause grumbles. A reader e-mailed a tip about the discrepancy to our user feedback address, with this kicker: “This is like paying to see ‘The Beatles’ and seeing a guy that sat in with them instead.”
That’s not really fair, given Howe’s long history with the band. But it reminds me, 1964 The Tribute is back at the festival on Monday, paying homage to the Fab Four.
Weather JournalBreather before next wintry system