Plum gigs hard tack public 1
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Plum gigs hard tack public 1

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Musician Jenn Butterworth's presentation to Trad Talk, the Traditional Music Forum conference, Dundee, Scotland, 26 March, 2011

Musician Jenn Butterworth's presentation to Trad Talk, the Traditional Music Forum conference, Dundee, Scotland, 26 March, 2011

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  • We spent a lot of time rehearsing new sets, and although the work was coming in, it wasn’t enough to sustain us financially. We didn’t have so much of a problem with this as we were all studying at University and had reasonable amounts of time available to put the work in.
  • It takes time to command higher fees Get out and build a reputation
  • This is an insight into ONE of the MANY approaches to self employment as a musician. I make sure that each month I am making enough money to break even. I’m not in a regular working band, so any gigs I get have to be over and above the work I already have to survive.

Transcript

  • 1. Plum Gigs vs. Hard Tack The ecology of gigging in the Scottish Folk Scene
  • 2. The launch of a new folk band
      • Helping to establish a profile
        • Awards
        • Hype – press / social media
      • Album
        • Necessary as a promotional tool
        • Some bands can’t make the CD without the gigs, but can’t get the gigs without the CD
      • Using a large event as a springboard
        • You can make successful links with promoters to secure gigs for the following year.
        • Having a recording and promotional material can help to use the gig to it’s full potential.
  • 3. Developing a successful folk band
    • The development from ‘new band’ into ‘established band’
      • Second album
        • Striving to be better than the first, to show development
      • Fees
        • Acceptable fees, knowing what the going rate is
        • Trio meant the fees stretched further
        • We regularly shared family rooms and travelled in 1 car
      • More aware of promotion required
        • Hired an agent
        • Attending Showcase Scotland
      • Continuing relationships with promoters
        • Created a set list book with notes about what we played, the venue and the promoter / others involved
  • 4. The Diversity of Gigs pros and cons
    • Celtic Connections
      • Fantastic opportunity to try out new ideas / projects
      • New ideas can’t always be taken out of the festival and on the road as few festival/concerts have a comparable size of audience and therefore financing.
    • Edinburgh Fringe
      • Interesting to be involved in a vibrant festival
      • Great opportunity to potentially reach new listeners from all over the world
      • A lot of competition with so many events, and with costs such as publicity and venue hire. It can be difficult to make money - most shows make a loss.
    • Folk Clubs
      • The chance to develop an audience from the grass roots level
      • Not great fees, supply of sound equipment can be difficult
    • TV & Radio
      • Infrequent but very useful
      • Reaching a wide audience immediately
        • Make the most of the opportunity, i.e. ensure your website is up to date
  • 5. A Multi-faceted Career
  • 6. Issues faced by the gigging musician; A few questions
    • What are the options in finding a good balance between keeping the diary free for gigs whilst still maintaining a financially sustainable working life?
    • How do you continue to progress as a musician both individually and as part of an ensemble?
    • How do you work successfully with an agent or a promoter to ensure the development of your audience?