It's been a hard lesson in life. You know, accepting others' music tastes. For the longest time, I felt that my preference was the only one that mattered. I knew of the best and most important; others should have felt honored if I bestowed on them a mixed tape or CD of some of the greats.
My tastes are rather eclectic - I will go from Led Zeppelin to Mozart with ease. There are areas that I don't delve into so often - twangy country, heavy metal and rap being some of the genres I generally avoid.
In the past few years, I have begun to accept that my own personal viewpoints on the subject are not the end all; that, in fact, some (or many) people may think I have poor taste in music.
And that is OK.
Music is personal.
If I hand a person a CD full of Radiohead-inspired lullabies for their baby, and they don't want their child to listen to it, that is fine. And in the same token, if someone tries to persuade me to listen to a group of cowboys crooning, and it just doesn't jive with me, it's not the end of the world.
I have had the honor of serving on Webster City's RAGBRAI Entertainment Committee. Our four members have met regularly for the past couple months trying to plan for a day's worth of entertainment that will take place in the city on July 24.
And whether you believe it or not, it hasn't been an easy task. You can't just say, "Hey, I like this band. Let's book them!" No, there are many hoops to jump through, guidelines to obey and contracts to sign. There are agents, managers and various committees to consult with; decisions can't be made overnight.
How much can we spend - what is too little and what is too much? What will bring people into the community? What will the people of Webster City want to listen to? How about the riders on RAGBRAI, what would they want?
With hundreds of questions to ponder, we also realized that it wasn't about our own personal tastes in music. It was about the riders and community members.
We haven't taken the process lightly - nor have we ignored the general public.
Throughout our planning, we have kept these two questions in mind: What is best for Webster City? What is best for our community?
After much deliberation, we decided on our headlining and opening bands. And while we are personally excited about our choices, again, the decisions were made with a focus on the bikers coming to town and the residents of Webster City.
It has been a pleasure to work with people who are dedicated to the community and want to showcase Webster City in a positive light - particularly after the many heartaches we have experienced in our community in the past couple of years.
I realize that there will always be naysayers in a community of our size and people who think that we didn't do enough. I'm sorry that is the case, and I hope that those people will try to put in as much effort into making RAGBRAI a success as the volunteers that have been working relentlessly on the project.
We hope that many people are excited about our choices; it is also our hope that people are excited about RAGBRAI, in general, coming to our town for a day of excitement and fun.
I just want to assure people that we have spent a lot of time in thought and discussion before making our decisions.
Again, music is personal.
I am excited to make our announcement today regarding our headlining band. I think that their music will add definite appeal and bring people into our community. People who may want to come back to shop at our local businesses and visit area attractions.
Let's continue to revel in the excitement of RAGBRAI - which has given us a definite reason to celebrate.