Should the U.S. Government Subsidize Accordion Festivals?

A group of accordion fanatics in Texas aren't happy with Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake.

This coming weekend is the International Accordion Festival in San Antonio, Texas. The Festival is subsidized by the National Endowment of the Arts, an independent agency of the federal government pegged with dishing out cash in the form grants to support the arts.

Last year, the NEA gave the Accordion Festival $35,000. Thanks to Congressman Flake, the festival only received $30,000 in government coin this year.

As Gwen Rivera, the festival's director, told New Times yesterday, the festival -- which has a budget of $150,000 -- is feeling the cuts.

See our story on the festival here.

She credits Flake with the cuts to her budget after he grilled Rocco Landesman, chairman of the NEA, during a U.S. House Appropriations sub-committee meeting earlier this year. Flake wanted to know why -- given the current realities of the U.S. economy -- the NEA should give funds to certain groups that, according to him, are "a bit tough to justify."

Flake specifically singled out the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the International Accordion Festival.

"Those kind of grants lend themselves to ridicule," Flake said at the time.

If you ask us, that's because the federal government spending taxpayer money on things like accordions and mimes is ridiculous -- but we want to know what you think: should the federal government subsidize an accordion festival?

Cast your vote below.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King