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September 22, 2020

Think small and make something happen!

Girl with magnifying glassI haven’t written a blog post for well over a month now – mostly I’ve had my head down in two grant applications. As an agent in the commercial sector, we haven’t relied on grants before – so it has been a major learning curve. I’ll let you know if we are successful.

There has been the odd ray of sunshine; A socially distanced festival here, a live streamed show there and a few garden gigs along the way. As we leap energetically over the autumn equinox, many of these options will become inevitably curtailed as the weather changes. Nevertheless a small slew of innovative venues and promoters have come forward with socially distanced indoor gig opportunities. At the same time the advice from Boris changes from day to day…

The amazing folk at Music Venue Trust have come up with an interactive map to let folk like us know who is doing what and where. Thanks guys!

“There has been the odd ray of sunshine; A socially distanced festival here, a live streamed show there and a few garden gigs along the way.”

Right now, focussing on 2021 festivals is not a great use of time. As agents, we need to take opportunities where we can – act and react at short notice to make events happen. Hey, if we have to reschedule – well we’re used to that! However, if they happen, then it’s a few quid in the bank, but more than that, it provides us all with a sense of self-worth.

Frankly we can deal with festival options early next year when the shit shakes down. I’m sure that’s what a lot of festivals themselves will be doing anyway. I mean – if you want to book one of our acts for summer 2021, then we are listening. However that’s not our focus right now.

I’m fully aware of the arguments for doing nothing and kicking the can. I know what is possible and what isn’t. I know the cost of touring, the cost of salaries and overheads. I understand the cost in time and money of being too ambitious in the face uncertainty. Some will use these arguments to say that now is the time to do nothing. Well, for the record, I don’t hold that view. Most every person, let alone every band, started small and grew – so if it means going back to your roots in some way – then do that.

I read an article today in The Guardian (Thanks Rob) where a survey by The Musicians’ Union found that 34% of musicians “are considering abandoning the industry completely”. Let’s face it an opportunity to perform now, is not just going to be a (meagre) financial reward. It could also be a reason to hang on in there. Being able to perform now is a chance to re-assert that self-worth. As an agent I feel the same – if I can make something happen for one of my acts, then I’m also making it happen for myself – and that helps.

So, there’s lots of things to take care of right now, lots of people – a wide, wide industry of people and businesses to consider. However most importantly – make performances happen now, however small – if for no other reason than to make us all feel better about ourselves.

What do you think? Is it worth the effort? It has to be right, right?

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