Narrated by Garrison Keillor, The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance is a one – hour documentary that tells the story of a changing America, through the lens of one of early radio's most popular and influential programs. The film’s lively soundtrack features over 70 songs, spanning from the mid 1920s to the Great Depression, through World War II. The radio show was a melting pot of Americana music; listeners could hear everything from mountain string bands and polka trios, to folk balladeers and cowboy crooners. The Hayloft Gang premiered on PBS, fall of 2011.
According to Producer/Director Stephen Parry, “Our goal has always been to bring The Hayloft Gang to audiences beyond public television. The film needs to be seen in schools and available in libraries, as well as accessible to the general public. We’re grateful to have received some prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, ITVS and other donors, but with recent cutbacks in arts funding, this just hasn't been enough. Our production budget only covers the costs to license and clear the music rights for a limited PBS broadcast.”
The Hayloft Gang is launching a new campaign with USA Projects to raise the funds needed for clearance and licensing of the DVD and digital media rights for the film. USA Projects is a nonprofit grant making and advocacy organization dedicated to accomplished artists working in the United States. Using USA Projects unique, online funding platform, the campaign will run through December 31, 2012.
The funding goal is $20,000. All donations made through USA Projects are tax deductible and eligible for matching funds. Proceeds to the project will be used to pay for music clearance and licensing for The Hayloft Gang. Supporters can choose from some great rewards including; a unique set of Hayloft Gang postcards, a CD of songs from the film’s soundtrack, The Hayloft Gang DVD signed by the crew, an autographed copy of the companion book to the film, or “A Day with the Producer” spent viewing and listening to the rare and extensive project archives… plus other cool rewards!
For rural listeners unsure of the future, or homesick transplants confronting the city, The National Barn Dance served as a touchstone, from its first broadcast in 1924 to its last in 1960. Preceding the success of the Grand Ole’ Opry, in Nashville, by nearly two decades, The National Barn Dance made Chicago the capital of country music prior to World War II. The radio program was a marketing pioneer, making millions for network sponsors like Alka Seltzer. Moreover, it launched national superstars like Gene Autry, Patsy Montana, Lulu Belle and Scotty, Andy Williams, George Gobel and Pat Buttram.
The Hayloft Gang weaves rare performance footage and never before seen, home movies, with first hand accounts from performers and fans of the radio show. Interviews with preeminent historians, folklorists, and media experts reveal historical and cultural perspectives on the story. A wall-to-wall soundtrack of traditional American folk and country music, suggests the experience of listening to the live radio show.
To support and learn more about the project and to make a donation - visit http://www.usaprojects.org/project/the_hayloft_gang and you may view these film websites
Filmmaker Stephen Parry is passionate about producing documentary media that explores American music, popular culture and history. Parry's interest in American roots music led him to create The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance. Nearly a decade in the making, The Hayloft Gang was nominated for a 2012 Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for “Outstanding Achievement for Documentary Programs – Historical.
USA Projects is an online community where people can connect with, learn about, and support America’s greatest artists and their next creative breakthroughs. Through the USA Fellows program and the expanded reach of USA Projects, USA continues the work of advocating for living artists and providing a community where they can connect with the public and each other.