Preparing to Spring

When we began the beta testing process in December, we knew that this process would stretch over the winter with an “opening” in the spring. The beta period established a test on three levels: online, offline, and in the studio.

The online level is, obviously, the one you have been looking at for the past three months. The user pool has grown from only our most intimate friends to casual acquaintances to I-know-I-haven’t-been-in-touch-for-last-seven-years-but-look-at-this! to festival and artist colleagues to thousands in countries all around the world. From each category, we have received feedback, advice, ideas for the site. Most important, festivals and artists have started to add to the site.

Offline, we have been developing the infrastructure of the site. These are the kinds of things that make it look the way it does, work the way it does, and provide platforms for new possibilities. (For example, soon you’ll see our new photo slideshow available on festival pages.)

The third level has been testing how well we all work through this process here in the studio. In some ways, this has been the most fun — coming together to work through easy and those more challenging issues. Sure, it wasn’t a great day when one colleague put me into the same category as one of the twentieth century’s most grotesque tyrants. (Coincidentally, my son was studying the tyrant’s life that week in school so he was able to provide his class with a modern day equivalent. Imagine my pride.) Or, when a huge storm was making the studio building shake so hard we took a vote on whether to keep working or evacuate immediately. (Worker bees won. Building survived. Although I did notice that Ann has pretty much kept her coat on since - ready for a quick exit.) With each challenge, we have learned how to collaborate and work towards the center: the web site you experience.

We know the site will continue to develop, continue to adapt, continue to transform. From each level of the beta testing we are getting ready and looking forward to continuing this process of creation.

So when will the beta testing end?

Our studio is in the southwest corner of the state of Vermont - a state known for its beautiful mountains (yes, they are green in the summer), rural lifestyle, multicolored leaves in the fall, maple syrup — and really long winters!

- Bill Reichblum

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