Music

Farm Funk Follow-Up

By Marcus Pan

Farm Funk Fest TicketWhile I didn’t get to sit down with everyone, I was able to get a few of those involved with the Farm Funk Festival to take a seat and rant a bit. In that ensuing crowd, I have received numerous comments about Michael Jones of Better Mousetrap Productions, the organizer for this event that fell through. As of the time of this writing, however, I still haven’t found a chance to sit down with Jones and discuss any of the events or let him give me his side of the story as he has been quite busy with preparing his upcoming Water Festival in New Brunswick, NJ. This article is not intended to smear Jones, nor is it intended to highlight the others involved. This article is the discussions I’ve had with various parties, and if those parties want to speak out against Jones, Better Mousetrap, GI-Joe or Kingdom Come, it is their choice to do so. I am only recording this information.

Population VI
My first meeting was with Craig Sansig of Population VI, conducted at a local diner where I gorged myself on hamburgers and mozzarella sticks. Pop. VI was responsible for on-site set-up of the event grounds, preparing stages, security issues and a slew of other things related to grounds and population control. Sansig was there with me that fateful Friday, indeed he was one of those helping with stage-building. It is his honest opinion that, “we were ready for the event to happen.” I think he would have handled everything just fine, from what I’ve seen of his competency and abilities.

Sansig was unable to say much, as he is consulting with legal counsel about the event and its repercussions. His lawyer pretty much gave him a “gag rule,” so that there aren’t any further ramifications on his pending case. The details of the case weren’t discussed either. I care not for courts…I care for people. However, Sansig did say on behalf of Population VI and Jump For Joy, “I would like to apologize about the festival.” That was the most I could get out of him. He did throw a bit of foreshadowing our way by mentioning that, “This is not my last event.”

Wishbone
At the same meeting where I met with Sansig, he brought along Jason Lakata of the band Wishbone. These guys of Wishbone were the ones that started the entire Farm Funk Festival idea two or three years ago. So it seemed only natural that I speak with Lakata on some things concerning the event. He was there that Friday morning as well, though he wasn’t able to help as much as he liked because of a recent back injury. He spent much of the time speaking out against Better Mousetrap; rather vehemently I might add. And he had brought along ammunition; Legends No. 68, in which was the original “To Build a Better Mousetrap” article that stemmed from the interview I held with Michael Jones before the event took place.

Lakata was there all the years of Farm Funk. After all, Wishbone was not only on the bill for all the events, they were organizers of the events. Lakata pointed out a lot of instances wrong in what Jones told me at the aforementioned interview. Some he pointed out may have been miscommunicated, others he believes were lies. Either way, Lakata says that Jones “Hyped up previous involvement with Farm Funk Festival ’96.” He claims that Jones’ statement that “Burgundy and the Mother Sound” not playing was incorrect. Burgundy played, says Lakata, and the Mother Sound did not. They were separate bands, though this could have been a miscommunication on my part during the interview. In addition, he told me that Jones did not pull people from the audience to keep the entertainment going as the ’96 event was far from being out of entertainment. He is also rather upset by Jones’ portraying of the word “Funk” in the title of the event being associated with “dirt, mud, etc.” Says Lakata, “He was not there for the founding and had no idea about the name. The ‘funk’ in the name was to mean ‘have a funky time.’” To sum up his feelings for Jones and Better Mousetrap, Lakata stated: “He is definitely a teacher (referring to the point in the past interview where Jones stated that he doesn’t consider himself a promoter, but a teacher). He taught us all a lesson. I’m tired of his badmouthing and slandering and want to expose him. Doing business with Michael Jones can prove harmful.”

Jump For Joy
Heading up the Kontest ’97 series was Steve Wisbeski of Jump For Joy. Wisbeski’s original job at the festival was to put together his BMX contest course and handle his riding side of the event. However, he eventually found himself with the tasks of helping to erect stages, being on the site Friday morning to direct set up activities and even erected the half-pipe for Earth Core who wanted everything handed to them and their riders on a silver platter so to speak. How he got this involved seems to have simply been a matter of initiative, as Wisbeski is a strong personality and was able to handle everything going on that Friday morning. Then, as you can tell, Steve was the one hit the hardest with investments in the event.

My meeting with Wisbeski was actually a phone call over which he told me virtually the same thing that Sansig did; he could not speak as much as he liked pursuant to his legal counsel (who happens to be the same lawyer dealing with Population VI). However, I was able to gather that the Kontest ’97 series as well as Jump For Joy will continue unhindered. Wisbeski himself recently won a freestyle contest in Hackensack NJ just this past week. Expect to hear from him later, as I will be covering some upcoming Jump For Joy events and sitting down with him to discuss his Kontest ’97 brainchild. I have plans in the near future of getting together with him and a few of his better local riders at a closed practice course for an interview. I’ll even bring a camera to capture some memorable jumps.

Mean Little Man Productions
Chris Eissing wasn’t able to say much other than the fact that there’s going to be more news coming. He’s been talking with the same lawyer currently dealing with the cases of Population VI and Jump For Joy. It is obvious from his web site (http://www.zenweb.com/mlm) that he “ain’t happy right now,” but that’s all I was able to get out of him. Although he has made a joke of his media efforts, claiming he performed his duties “too well.” He’s ready to do something similar again as much as the rest of the guys, though, only this time without Michael Jones. He has stated that he “publically severs all ties, both personal and professional” with Better Mousetrap and is no longer a member of Octave Unity.