A new historical, music documentary that explores The National Barn Dance and its role in shaping American music and popular culture. Read more
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About this project
Narrated by Garrison Keillor, THE HAYLOFT GANG: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL BARN DANCE tells the story of a changing America, through the lens of one of the nation's most popular country music radio shows during the 1930s and 40s: The National Barn Dance.
National Barn Dance Cast circa 1937, courtesy of Kevin Parks
Broadcast every Saturday night on WLS-AM out of Chicago, the variety show unified rural Americans with its nostalgic brand of traditional folk music and country humor, and helped define an identity for a struggling generation. From its first broadcast in 1924 to its last in 1960, The National Barn Dance served as a touchstone for rural citizens unsure of the future, or homesick transplants confronting the city.
In finding and serving this newfound audience, The National Barn Dance was a marketing pioneer, making millions for sponsors like Alka Seltzer. Moreover, it launched national superstars such as Gene Autry, Patsy Montana, Bradley Kincaid, Andy Williams, George Gobel, Pat Buttram, and Lulu Belle & Scotty.
Patsy Montana signing autographs, courtesy of Michael Montana
A Note From the Filmmaker
After more than seven years of hard work, THE HAYLOFT GANG is nearly complete. We are however left with some significant costs for final post production and the initial distribution of the program. We need your help. If you recognize the importance and value in telling the story of The National Barn Dance, please help support the completion of this crucial film.
Our Kickstarter Goal is to raise $25,000. This money will allow us to complete our final post- production and distribution to PBS. These fees include, engineering labor, technical evaluation, closed captioning, final color correction and sound mix, mastering to HD and delivery to PBS. If we can raise more, that would be fabulous! Our hope from the beginning has always been to make the film available to audiences beyond public television. This would include use in the classroom, a series of public screenings and discussions, and home video. We also know there is a European market that is hungry for programming about American roots music. Unfortunately, the staggering costs of clearing and licensing music rights, prevents us from seeking other avenues of distribution at this time. If our Kickstarter campaign is a success, we hope it will provide the catalyst to make The Hayloft Gang available to much wider and diverse audiences.
Thank you for you support,
Stephen Parry, Producer
We have had several people ask this question. Unfortunately, with The Kickstarter campaign we cannot accept checks. Payments have to be made on the Kickstarter site with Amazon payments. If we accept a check, it will not be applied toward our funding goal on Kickstarter. Right now, we need to build as much momentum and synergy as possible. It's important that everything we get goes through Kickstarter. It is All or Nothing funding.
If it is a real hassle, perhaps someone could make the donation on your behalf on Kickstarter through Amazon payments.
You receive our gratitude and sincere appreciation for helping us to complete The Hayloft Gang. PLUS a thank you and credit on The Hayloft Gang website.
You will receive ALL of the above PLUS: You will receive special access to exclusive member only content, including music and video from the documentary.
You will receive ALL of the above PLUS: You will receive a series of unique Hayloft Gang post cards. (*For international orders, please add $10 US to your pledge for the cost of shipping.)
You will receive ALL of the above PLUS: you will receive a custom made audio CD with music from the documentary, with detailed liner notes on the songs from the Producer. (*For international orders, please add $10 US to your pledge for the cost of shipping.)
2 backers Limited (13 left of 15)
You will receive ALL of the above PLUS: you will receive an autographed copy of the companion book of essays, signed by the contributors to the book, "The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance," from the University of Illinois Press. (*For international orders, please add $10 US to your pledge for the cost of shipping.)
You will receive ALL of the above PLUS: You will receive a Day with the Producer: A screening of The Hayloft Gang in Chicago, IL. Includes access to the extensive archives from the project, compiled from 8 years of research. A chance to hear the music, see the hundreds of great photos, rare film clips and interviews that did not make the final cut, plus learn everything you ever wanted to know about the National Barn Dance and more. A free lunch/ dinner is included. (Travel/Accommodations Not Included) (*For international orders, please add $10 US to your pledge for the cost of shipping.)
- (35 days)