The next venture is gradually taking shape for me. This is the one advantage of being unemployed, I am finally having time to explore the roads I would actually like to be travelling on. This particular venture see’s me donning my newest hat, that of concert promoter. Perhaps Impresario would be a good title for a business card? Essentially I have taken on the running of an existing and reasonably successful regular gig – “Teenage Kicks” down at The Furnace venue in Swindon.
This is a bit of a different night to the normal fare, as it focuses its attention on promoting the music of young artists, offering them somewhere to hone their craft in a live setting. Often under-age acts struggle to find commercial venues in which to showcase their talents due to a combination of licensing laws, landlords own policies and a reluctance to take a chance on a young and inexperienced act. All very understandable situations of course, but also ones that stifle the life-blood of a local music scene. Taking on-board lessons learnt during my time in sales I know you need to have a “pipeline” of talent flowing to preserve the future of a music scene. If all the young acts become disillusioned now and give-up, in a few years time all that will be left playing the local area will be old, veteran acts playing what they have always played. The scene will become stale, losing any kind of vitality and relevance to the contemporary time. And eventually, these will tire of playing the same songs at the same venues to the same few punters and drift away leaving nothing behind but a few old recordings, pictures and memories. A through-put of artists at different stages of their musical lives is needed to keep things healthy and developing, and to stay current and relevant.
So, what I am trying to do is preserve this pipeline, by giving the artists, and their peers who will be their audience the chance to get bitten by the live music bug. Attempt to keep them away from the bland, boring and frankly pointless nonsense of mainstream musical trends and inspire interest in creative, artistic expression through music in all it’s possible forms. So, in what will be viewed as a break from the perceived or assumed standpoint of both the venue and Teenage Kicks itself, but in line with the venues own current musical plan I am keeping the musical policy as open and broad as possible. I would like to involve any kinds of school or college age acts, not just metal and rock ones, but hip-hop, acoustic, funk, blues, folk, electronica, indie. Anything essentially, as long as it is original and performed live. I would even look at creative, interesting DJ’s who do more than just mix a few records together. Perhaps they use a live vocalist or percussion? Or are really ground-breaking with a set of up to the minute tunes that they produce themselves? I would love to find truly original and unique acts, that break new ground and have their own individual voice. I am particularly interested in seeing live hip-hop, dance and electronica kinds of acts to mix in around the indie, rock and metal that is already there.
The rules will be simple, acts need to be over 14, predominantly under 18, play mainly original material, and be good at it. They will be expected to be involved in marketing and selling tickets to their own peer group and will stand a chance of making some money themselves. They will gain valuable experience in performing, working with sound engineers and venues and promoters as well as marketing themselves.
My first show was a Halloween fancy dress special. I inherited the line up so simply ran the night but all went well, featured acts were metallers Without Consequence and Beyond The Break and pop-punkers Days On Juno and Post 12. And already also in place is a Christmas show with an excellent line-up of Tides Of Change, Sasquatch Walk, With Felix and The Weekend Effect. A planned metal show the following night is being rearranged for an alternative date. So it is into the new year that I can really make my mark on things and, having made a start on the Internet presence of the night, and following a surprise interview on BBC Wiltshire Introducing, I am now in the process of working out where my talent pool is to be found. So, contacting all the schools and colleges in the area is on the agenda, as is the local press to add to the word-of-mouth the internet offers. Exciting times ahead. And if you know of any young artist in the North Wiltshire / Swindon area please ask them to get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see what I can do!