FAQ

Your one stop shop for all Elsie Fest 2017 questions. That I can answer. I’m still just a fan and don’t have inside information, but I do pay attention, and I will update this as frequently as I can (given that I have a day job and a family and stuff) to try and set everyone’s mind at ease and make sure we have the best possible information. If you have additional questions, please ask in the comments or tweet them to me @elsiepod. Here we go:

1. When is Elsie Fest this year?

October 8, 2017, with a currently published time of 5-10PM.

2. Where is Elsie Fest this year?

Summerstage, Central Park, New York City

3. Where do I buy tickets?

Tickets are available via Ticketfly. You can link to Ticketfly via the Elsie Fest website.

4. How much will tickets cost me?

General Admission is $59.99

Bleacher Pass is $84.99 Bleacher Passes are SOLD OUT

Fees are $9.27 per ticket on Ticketfly.

5. Are there seats at the venue?

There are some. Summerstage is primarily a lawn seating venue, which means everybody brings a blanket and finds a seat on the ground. There are bleachers, but the passes for them are sold out.

Here’s a Google Street View of the venue.

I have arthritis/use a wheelchair/just can’t sit on the ground. What do I do?

I wish I had a good answer here. Hopefully, Elsie Fest and/or Summerstage will be forthcoming about this information when tickets actually go on sale. If they are not, my best advice is to ask for what you need. Reach out to Elsie Fest and Summerstage and say that you need a seat (or a place you can see from your wheelchair) (or whatever accommodation you may need) and ask what they will do to accommodate you. Under the ADA, they have to accommodate you if you have a medical need.*

6. Will there be VIP?

There is no VIP seating.

So far, one Meet & Greet has been announced with Lea Michele.

7. Who will be performing?

Announced performers are:

Darren Criss, Lea Michele, Alan Cumming

Special Guests: Ingrid Michaelson, Norm Lewis, & Jeremy Jordan

More guests TBA!

What? No Computer Games?!

I know. I thought so, too.

8. Will I be able to meet Darren Criss at Elsie Fest?

Probably not, unless you’re quick and can afford to pay for a meet and greet. Last year, these packages went on sale a few weeks after the regular tickets, and the meet and greets with Darren sold out very quickly. (Definitely within a day, some say within an hour.)

As of now, only the Lea Michele meet and greet has been posted. The official notification regarding a Darren Criss M&G is “undecided.”

9. Can I bring a dog to Elsie Fest?

Sadly, no.

10. I heard some other people were going to be at Elsie Fest. Are they maybe some of the “More Guests TBA?”

Maybe. But I wouldn’t buy tickets based on that thought. You never know who might show up at Elsie Fest–there have been unannounced surprise guests both years. But if you’re buying a ticket because you hope that a rumored guest will show up, you will probably be disappointed.

Falsely rumored guests include Audra McDonald, Dove Cameron, and Corey Cott. As far as I know, none of them will be performing at Elsie Fest this year.

Another rumor has cropped up: Brendan Urie. This was based on a tweet from @ElsieFest inviting him to perform. As far as I know, it was just something thrown out there by whomever was on the account at the time and there’s no reason to think Brendan even saw it. Don’t buy tickets based on this rumor.

11. Is Elsie Fest going to sell out?

It might. There’s no way to know how many tickets have been sold. However, the venue is large, and a sell-out would mean probably a 50% increase in audience over last year. Given increased advertising, more prominent guests, and a better location and date, it’s possible this will happen, but probably not before your next paycheck arrives.

12. When will additional guests be announced?

Probably not any time soon. While I have no way of knowing who has been invited or what kind of negotiations are going on behind the scenes, they have made it clear that Darren is the person who arranges the talent at Elsie Fest. Darren has been very publicly busy with publicity (not to mention shooting American Crime Story) this week, so I find it hard to imagine he’s been working hard on finding additional guests.

There will be more guests. Some will be announced before Elsie Fest, others will be surprise guests (if the past two years are a guide.) But I doubt this is a priority for them right now. (Or, you know, they might suddenly announce Jeremy Jordan the day after I write this. Like I said–they’ll come as they come. Buy tickets based on what’s been announced, don’t hold your breath, and enjoy watching it unfold.)

13. I have nobody to sit with at Elsie Fest. May I sit with you?

Of course! I haven’t finalized my plans yet, but I will be setting up some kind of Elsie Cast space (you know, like two or three blankets) and I will let you know how to find me. I’ll be passing out stickers and trying to interview as many fans as I can during the day. I’ll also be getting contact info for people who have good Elsie Fest stories and want to do a full episode interview. And all strays are welcome to hang out with us.

14. I wish there was a way to get familiar with the music of all of these artists before Elsie Fest.

I made myself a Spotify playlist for that purpose that I’m happy to share. It’s over 11 hours of music by all the announced artists. I listen to it on random, like a radio station, though there are entire albums in there that might be fun to listen to in order. Enjoy!

15. I was hoping to take pictures/video at Elsie Fest, but the website for Summerstage says no cameras are allowed! What do I do?

The official policy says “Professional gear including video cameras or cameras with lens 100mm and over are not permitted.” Your phone or digital camera should be fine. They don’t want people taking professional-quality photos so that they can keep control of publicity.

16. Can I bring food and/or a water bottle?

Yes, but no coolers or alcohol. Beer, wine, soft drinks, and food are sold within the venue. There is also a water fountain to refill your water bottle. (Much better than last year. I think I spent $60 just on water for me and my kid.)


*I’m sure I don’t have to say this, because Elsie Fest fans are awesome, but please don’t abuse this. People with disabilities actually need accommodations, and I want to live in a world where they get them with minimal fuss. When people abuse these policies, everyone’s life gets worse. So advocate for yourself if you need it, and everyone else, just sit on the damn ground or don’t come.

Last update: August 7th at 11:40am Eastern

23: Mardie Baldo, Gleek Goddess

First up: news!

You all know by now that Julie James will be on the podcast July 31st. Well, we already did the interview, and Julie texted Darren for us to get an Elsie update. He was cagey, of course, but he said they have a date and location and they’ll be announcing as soon as the lineup is finalized.

To which my reply is, as always, “Please just give us a date!!!” People want to book flights and hotels and otherwise plan their Septembers. You can release a Save the Date without having the lineup finalized. We, the fans of Elsie Fest, would really like that!

Listen to the episode here: https://elsiecast.podbean.com/e/23-mardie-baldo-gleek-goddess/

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There is a great story behind this picture.

My guest is Mardie Baldo, long time fangirl and enthusiastic Glee/Harry Potter/Darren Criss/Star Kid/Broadway/Computer Games fan. (Also if a Glee alum is in a thing, she probably likes that, too.) Mardie tells me how she got into loving musicals and into fandom, how she discovered Darren, and her beautiful story of meeting Darren a few times and how that helped her husband through his last days.

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Mardie with her husband, Jim, and some other guy

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Mardie is holding the photo collage she made to remember Jim’s time with Darren.

Then we chat about Mardie’s dream cast for the next Elsie Fest, and wonder who will be the first Glee alum to make it to Elsie.

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Mardie Baldo and Todrick Hall

All that, plus my reviews of Matthew McConaghey vs. the Devil and Come From Away.


Coming up on the podcast:

July 31: Julie James

August 13: Joaquin Sedillo, AD for Glee

August 27: Getting Ready for Elsie Fest

Getting the message

If you follow me on Twitter (@elsiepod) you might have noticed I’m a wee bit excited about the Bandstand cast recording, which came out today. I’ve been listening to it and I’m on my third time around.bandstand-cover-new4

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about Bandstand quite a bit lately, since my last episode was an interview with Got Your 6 about their work with Bandstand. On that episode, Matt said that music helps the vets in the play heal from the traumatic events of the war. And that’s true, but in listening, I’m hearing a more complex message than what Matt and I talked about.

Listening to “Breathe,” I realized that it’s not exactly the music that heals. It’s making music. The distinction is small, I suppose, but my emphasis is on the work of making art. Because it’s not the music, per se, that helps them heal. Lots of people do use music to heal, of course. They listen. They dance. They use it as an escape or listen to lyrics that help them unlock emotions they can’t otherwise reach. And then there’s music therapy, which is another wonderful thing.

But Bandstand is about musicians. Musicians who set a goal and work toward it. Who have to learn to work together in order to succeed. Who spend their days practicing instruments, writing songs, and improving their technique and skills.

That’s meaningful work.

Similarly, in Groundhog Day [mild spoilers in this paragraph and the next one], Phil begins to find his way out of his loop by learning to play the piano. There’s not much he can do in his ever-repeating day that will have a lasting effect. He can’t build anything (it will be gone in the morning.) He can’t work on relationships with other people (they won’t remember the next day.) He can’t leave Punxatawney, and he can’t even build his body. What he can do is change his mental capacity.

Learning to pay the piano is the first real challenge Phil sets himself, and the first meaningful work he finds. In practicing and studying piano, Phil begins to grow as a human being, and it is that growth which eventually leads to his salvation.

Meaningful work.

Making art is meaningful work. Working toward a goal, developing relationships with co-workers, creating something that wasn’t there before. These things have been shown to help with all kinds of mental illness. They also help with recovering from trauma and adjusting to a new environment.

In Bandstand, the members of the Donny Nova Band learn to focus only on their work while they’re playing. “Breathe through the instrument, breathe through the end of the phrase/ And as everyone plays, it gets easier” Donny sings. He means to live in the moment. Concentrate on the work that needs to be done. Connect with the people in the room on the level needed to do what you’re doing. Exist. Eventually, you develop new habits of living–healthier habits that involve making something good with a group of people you can rely on.

And in doing this, your brain retrains itself. It learns that you can rely on the people around you. That you’re safe. That you’ll get regular rewards from succeeding, from meeting goals, from connecting with other people in a healthy way. And you get better.

I’m not knocking therapy or discounting the importance of medication. And I definitely think we should do more for our modern war vets who need help.

However, I am noticing a message rippling through Broadway right now about the importance of making art not only to get your message out (though that’s important too) but also because art heals (Bandstand, Groundhog Day.) Art brings people together (Cats, Dear Evan Hansen.) Working to help others improves your own life (Groundhog Day, Come From Away.) Work helps you develop and preserve your identity (Waitress, Sweat, Banstand.) And anything that gets in the way of creative expression is dangerous (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1984.)

It’s a theme. I’m getting the message, Broadway. And I agree with it.

Make more art.


Coming up on the podcast:

7/3: New York Musical Festival

7/17: Mardie Baldo: Gleek Goddess

7/31: Julie James (looking good) or Dean O’Connell (he’ll be on eventually either way)

News! Well, news-ish!

A little while ago, Ricky Rollins, one of the producers of Elsie Fest, tweeted the following:

It’s not really news, but it is confirmation that Elsie Fest is going to happen and we can expect an announcement relatively soon. So news-ish, but it’s something!

And I have to think all of our tweets and asks and hashtags brought this to his attention, so thank you for asking!

I’ll keep you posted as best I can.

Meanwhile, you can listen to the podcast here: https://elsiecast.podbean.com


Coming up on the podcast:

June 19: Got Your 6

July 3: New York Musical Festival

July 17: Mardie Baldo: Gleek Goddess