From The Editors
Alex Bieler has a plan, and we're stirring up conversation. Welcome to the May 30 issue of the Erie Reader.
Alex Bieler has a plan. "We're all going to quit our jobs and go on a three-month adventure, driving from music festival to music festival to seek some of the best shows in the world," Alex writes in this issue's cover story. "Shows will be as far as Manchester, Tenn. to as close as downtown Erie. We will not tire, we will not give up, and we will have the time of our lives."
Or, Alex suggests, we can just pick and choose the festivals from his expansive list that interest us the most and attend them. That'll be fine with him too.
Whether we can all agree to quit our jobs for three months and take a tour with Alex and Ol' Big Sexy or pick and choose only a few festivals, we can all agree on something else: There's something special about summer, especially in Erie. While there's plenty to do around these parts in fall, winter, and spring, Erie comes alive with the breath of summer, and live music plays a crucial role in sustaining that pulse. And Erie's unique position means we're not all that far from great shows in this neck of the woods, including All Good Music Festival, Great Blue Heron Music Festival, and Jamboree in the Hills, just to name a few. And in our own backyard, we have the likes of The Gathering at Chaffee's.
While we can all likely agree on the joy found in the sounds of summer, a recent article posted on our website divided readers and elicited some heated exchanges. Cory Vaillancourt wrote "UPFRONT: The Shepherd and The Sheep," a piece where he discussed Bishop Trautman and the Diocese of Erie's decision to file a lawsuit against the federal government after the Obama Administration announced that all employers, including religious groups, would be required to include contraception in their employee's health-care coverage. If you followed the story online, you saw the outpour of comments both agreeing and disagreeing with Cory's notions. Even Rick Santorum stopped by ErieReader.com to comment. And some guy named Rod Mackswell, who often comments on our site, took to this story too.
Whether you agree with Cory's assertions, something important happened because of this post: people voiced their opinions -- and at length, since as it turns out, the Internets still isn't out of space, especially at ErieReader.com. And, people kept visiting the site to keep the conversation going.
Rewind to our last print issue. Did you notice something missing, dear Reader readers? That's right; we pulled "Outside Voices," because our conversation turned one-sided, leaving only us at the table. After the controversial UPFRONT, we had too many comments to fit them all in Outside Voices. While some publications may fear losing readers after posting some controversial, we believe that rather than losing readers, our readers will take advantage of the space provided to share their thoughts -- agreements or disagreements -- in an effort to further the conversation because you remain an integral part of what we're doing here.
Keeping with that notion, this week's UPFRONT is a response to some of the comments and questions we received. Agree with this article? Write us a response. Disagree with this article? Write us a response. Our goal has always been to provide entertaining thought-provoking pieces that you, our readers, feel called to engage with, regardless of whether you agree. We hope you'll find at least one article in this issue that moves you deeply enough to care to share your voice with us.