When was the last time you received a postcard? A few days ago, I opened my mailbox to a surprise from my long-time friend Brandy who found some artistic local postcards at a pharmacy stating that I needed to visit the establishment to load up upon my next visit. While texting and online messaging has been our primary communication over the years, she did this because of my habit of sending postcards for every out-of-town visit in the past several years.
Junk mail sucks, but postcards are memorable. I first started collecting and sending after reading a section of music industry networking book years ago that mentioned sending corny old postcards from thrift stores to people in order to get attention. It worked. It’s a practice I continue to use today. In February 2017, my girlfriend Kayla sent me a link that Red Frog Events posted about accepting fan mail knowing some artists would appreciate getting a postcard from yours truly. That’s when I decided to undertake the prodigious task of sending a postcard to every single artist playing at Firefly this year.
The project started using my personal binder of postcards I have collected over the years along with a few box sets I had laying around. Postcards were selected based on several factors. Rather than blowing through my entire collection, I decided to match the postcards to the artists by their band name, certain song titles, where they were from, and other elements. In some cases, the postcards are very random. First, I used the poster Firefly distributed several months ago with the line-up. To gain more information, I listened to each artist and added them via some form of social media. I found that some artists I had nothing to say other than “Welcome to Firefly”, but others there is a source of engagement. The music industry can be very thankless. I’m a DJ, trust me. So it’s nice to receive a postcard.
Several assumptions have been made for this project. The first is that the artist actually visits the green room where the postcards will be located according to the article from Red Frog Events. Some artists may not visit the tent/green room. Next is that they find it and read it! Festivals can be very hectic and although some of the postcards require immediate response, some may wait to read it on the tour bus. The last assumption is that they respond for the ones that ask questions or have another level of engagement. While doing research, I found that with some of the acts I went to school with certain band members, had mutual connections, etc.
At first, I considered mailing each postcard but knew this would be somewhat of a financial burden and I would not know if each postcard reached its destination point to Red Frog Event’s office. I reached out to staff at the company that gave the okay to send all postcards in one box. The staff was extremely helpful in answering all questions related to the project, especially Christaine Pheil. Luckily, I ran into her during the festival this year!
To start the process, I went from the bottom of the poster on up. Many of the bands on the bottom were ones that I had never heard of and it was great to research them to learn a little more. I even reached out to certain ones to see if they had played in Delaware before. The first few postcards were written when I did not have other box sets which is why some themes repeat. Here is a complete list of all postcard sets that I used:
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art Museum Favorites: 100 Postcards
- Postcards from the New Yorker: One Hundred Covers from Ten Decades
- Bibliophilia: 100 Literary Postcards
- Cookery Postcards from Penguin: 100 Cookbook Covers in One Box
- The Art of Instruction: Postcards: 100 Postcards of Vintage Educational Charts
- Women in Science: 100 Postcards
- Stars and Swipes: 30 Postcards of Awkward Americana
- DreamHigh 128pcs Collectable Vintage Postcards Bulk Pack
- Marimekko: 100 Postcards
- The Fuck You Postcard Pack
- The You Suck Postcard Pack
- Animal Box: 100 Postcards by 10 Artists
- Nan Goldin: Postcard Box
- Postcards from Vogue: 100 Iconic Covers
- Postcards from Penguin: One Hundred Book Covers in One Box
- Feel A Sin Coming On Postcard Pack
- Awkward Family Postcards
- Washington Zoo Postcard Pack
- Various Delaware and Maryland modern postcards found at stores (was only in Dover twice in 2017 and couldn’t stop for more postcards!)
- Select vintage postcards found at local thrift stores
The entire process took several months to complete and the package was mailed in late-May. I will keep the site updated with any engagement updates that happen with the artists.
Please comment and share this project. If you are one of the artists I wrote to, I would love to hear a response from you. Hell, even send me a postcard!
-Adam Dutch Durham
P.O. Box 3091
Ocean City, MD 21843
modulationstudios (at) gmail.com