The Pierless Music Gig Guide

Regretfully, the Pierless Music Gig Guide will be closing up shop on New Years Eve 2015.

There are a number of reasons for this, one of them being that maintaining any type of Gig Guide is a thankless task. There are also many other Hastings based Gig Guides ‘competing’ for your attention.

A Gig Guide is only as good as the information provided and then listed within it. As hard as you may try, getting that info is not easy, as anyone who runs one of these services will tell you.

Some venues and promoters are good at providing gig info, but many are not, therefore no online Gig Guide is ever complete and definitive.

With that in mind The Stinger magazine have created a crowd sourced web based Gig Guide, called Gig Stinger, which is now ready for launch. You can access that Gig Guide via the link at the bottom of this post.

The idea behind Gig Stinger is that anyone, be they a band, venue, promoter or fan, can upload gig and event information to the site. This gig info will then be available for all to see, via an interactive map.

Suppliers of gig and event info will need to create a, free, account which will then enable them to upload that info. Those persons can then include extra info about their band, venue, event or gig, including social media links, photo’s etc.

Gig Stinger is already ‘live’, so why not have a look and create an account? It can be accessed via your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

We are intending to create a ‘User Guide’ to help anyone who may need it, but hopefully Gig Stinger isn’t too hard to use. We have already created ‘pages’ for a few local venues, but you are free to create your own, or add to those, once you are signed up.

There will be a submission process, to try to stop spurious info being uploaded.

The idea behind Gig Stinger is that the onus is put onto the band/act, venue, promoter etc to upload info about their own events and gigs, and promote them, this cuts out the ‘middle man’.

If Gig Stinger is not a success that will be because people haven’t uploaded and supplied information about their events. We will not be doing that on your behalf.

If Gig Stinger is a success, we already have ideas about how it can be expanded for other, non musical, events, and even for towns/cities further afield too.

So………………..

Thanks for your support for the Pierless Music Gig Guide over the past few years, it is much appreciated.

The Pierless Music website will remain, although at present I’m not sure how much new content will be uploaded to it, as The Stinger magazine will take preference.

For future gigs please visit Gig Stinger: http://www.thestinger.org.uk/gigs#.VnVKb_mLTIU

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Play at the Big Green Cardigan Festival 2015

Does your band, or act, fancy playing at a local festival in September? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then read on.

The Big Green Cardigan Festival, which takes place on the weekend of 4-6th September, are looking for original local acts to grace their stage.

Here’s what they told us:

“The Big Green Cardigan are proudly announcing the launch of a competition for up and coming and under the radar musicians, bands and performers to play at their festival in East Sussex, this September.

Entries are welcome and encouraged from all areas of the community, but emphasis will be on supporting local talent.

The competition opens on Monday 1st June and runs for two weeks.

To enter – bands and musicians simply post your music, or performance, to the Festivals Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TBGCardigan, sharing a Soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com), or YouTube (www.youtube.com) link to one of your songs.Then, please invite your friends to like and share those links.

The Festival are looking for original material please, rather than cover versions. 

The general public can also nominate acts, and provided the performer/band in question is happy to participate, they will be included in the competition!
 
All entrants need to be free the weekend of the 4th, 5th, 6th September 2015.

Small print:

Entrants are to travel to and from the festival site themselves; the winning entry will obtain tickets for the entire festival weekend plus a performance slot.They will also win a ‘rider’ courtesy of Langham Brewery; a case of their award winning ales.

All applicants must be over the age of 18.

Winning disabled applicants will also win an adult ticket to support or supervise their participation (discounts will also be available for additional adults and family members).

The winning entrant will be chosen by the festival organisers.”

The Big Green Cardigan Festival is held at a site on Hawkhurst Road, Cripps Corner, E Sussex, TN32 5SA.

More info can be found on the Festivals website: www.biggreencardigan.com

Entries close on Monday, 15th June 2015.

Pierless Music – What’s In A Name?

If I had a pound for every time somebody has asked me what we’re going to call this site once Hastings Pier has fully risen from the ashes, I’d probably be able to buy you all a drink.

The logic being that once the Pier has re-opened, Hastings will no longer be a pierless town, which is a fair point. I must add that the vast majoirty of the questioners have asked this in a serious manner.

Hastings Pier has certainly changed, for the better, since we started this Pierless Music site back in October 2012.

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that I have changed the main image for the website. I took this new photo recently, after noticing that all those old original buildings at the end of the Pier had now gone.

If you compare this new photo with the one I took back in late 2010, you can see how much has changed.

So, to go back to that original question, what are we going to call this site once Hastings Pier re-opens? Well, the site will be called………… fanfare please………… Pierless Music.

Yes, we’re keeping the name the same and there is more than one reason why.

- Firstly: What would you then call the site? Piered Music?, Pier Music? etc etc.

- Secondly: The aims of this site will remain the same as they’ve been since day one. Namely trying to help promote, encourage and celebrate original local music from the Hastings area. So, why the need to change our name?

- And thirdly: It’s what we’re known as and we’d have to change our website, Twitter and email details to reflect any new name. That would only confuse people, including ourselves, so why do that? And, as I’ve pointed out to some of those who have asked, keeping our name reinforces the fact that this site existed before Hastings Pier was rebuilt.

That third point above also raises another issue that is relevant to local bands/acts and indeed Pierless Music itself. You are a brand, whether you like it or not, and your name is a part of that. It’s the way that most people/fans know you. It’s what set’s you apart from all other bands out there, so why mess with your name?

After all, if you did change it you’d effectively have to start all over again. That’s why some successful bands are still touring, under their original name, when the band of today contains none of the members that you remember and who played on those records you bought. Without that name, nobody would go and see them, as they’d just be a tribute act. You could argue that that’s what they are anyway, but that’s a topic for another day.

(I wrote a post for this site, some time ago now, about your band/act being a brand. You can read that here: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/andy-gunton-2/brand/)

So this was all a long winded way of saying that Pierless Music will remain Pierless Music for as long as this website exists.

Thanks for asking though.

(PS: Do you think we should keep the new photo, or go back to the original one?)

Communication Breakdown

This is a guest post by Jeff Thompson. Jeff is the man behind the Off Axis gig swapping idea that we’ve mentioned on Pierless Music and in The Stinger magazine in the past.

We read this post, agreed with all that Jeff had written and thought it was well worth sharing with you. Thanks to Jeff for letting us do that.

If you are a musician, or a band, looking for gigs and trying to move forward with your music ‘career’, you should read this and act on what is written here.

Hopefully it won’t apply to you, but you may well learn something anyway.

“Next week Off Axis (http://unconventionhub.org/off-axis) heads to Hastings for our first show on the south coast, which we’re really excited about. Once again we have some fantastic artists working together to make opportunities for one another. Things are coming together great, and as ever, we’re spending a lot of our time talking to bands from all across the country.

For this post I wanted to write a little something about my observations recently as I think there could be one or two useful pointers for artists at a particular stage in their career. Over the last year or so that we’ve been communicating with bands there’s something that’s really struck me – how difficult it can be to get in touch with some bands (and this certainly doesn’t apply to ALL bands, but I’m surprised how many it does include).

Anyone who works in the industry will know the struggles of trying to get through to booking agents, festivals, radio producers and so on – it can seem a relentless job getting hold of some people. Of course, people in those roles are usually inundated, and hence getting through to them on email may be a real struggle – your email is just one of hundreds they might receive that day, and if it’s not immediately relevant it could quite easily find itself in the trash without ever being properly read.

What we’re finding with artists though is they fall into two very distinct categories when it comes to communication – i.e. good and not so good. It’s worth pointing out that we’re working with a certain level of artist here – they’re usually experienced, have a good following, and are certainly passionate about what they do. I’ve done a few panels recently (I also run music conferences) about the distinction between being amateur and professional, and when music is more than just a hobby, but at the same time is some way from being a ‘job’. It’s an interesting debate in the music industry – there can be a huge gap between the need (and desire) to commit as much time and effort to making music required to pursue a career (or some level of ‘success;), and indeed the time when that commitment produces any kind of financial return. That in itself I believe has always been the case, the juggling of work commitments and mid week long distance gigs, sneaking out early without the boss noticing in order to make soundcheck, coordinating annual leave to book some studio time – these are things that all bands go through.

Off the back of that debate, another thing we’ve been talking about at recent events is the need to for a common understanding on the ambitions and commitment of band members. Being in a band (as opposed to a solo artist) is a curious position to be in. Each individual member will have his or her own understanding of what being committed means – and if there’s too much variation in that understanding then problems occur – after all, a band is only as strong as it’s weakest link, especially when it comes to taking opportunities. If three of the band are prepared to get out of work early to make that last minute gig offer in London, but the drummer can’t do it because he’s going to the football that night then tensions will occur. Of course, it will happen from time to time, and it can’t be avoided on occasions, but on the whole everyone needs to be in sync. It’s fine if everyone wants to be in a band because they enjoy playing once in a while, and gigs are organised sporadically, and months in advance. If that is clear to everyone, and everyone is happy with that then that is great, and of course in some ways it will determine the progress of the band. On the other hand if you have a band that has decided they are going to put everything in to making things happen – then that is a different commitment and again everyone has to understand and agree to that. Bands (and it can change at different stages of their lifespan) might be either at the ‘hobbyist’ (for want of a better word), or ‘going for it’ (for want of a better phrase) end of the spectrum. Both are great places to be, so long as all of the individual members are agreed on where they’re at.

And of course, back to the point about the definition of amateur versus professional – it’s too simplistic to think that you’re ‘amateur’ until you’re getting paid to do something – the truth is, in order to succeed you need to be ‘professional’ a long time (many years in most cases) before it becomes something you do ‘for a living’. The bands I work with (I also run a label) are as professional and committed, perhaps even more so, than many bigger artists – being a professional musician is determined by your mindset rather than your bank balance.

All of this brings me back to where I started. The bands we are working with on Off Axis are indeed the ones with the professional mindsets and an understanding of their collective commitment and goals. And yet, at times, there still seems to be an issue with communication. I wanted to point out this isn’t just my experience with Off Axis, I also booked bands to play at large events (with crowds in the many thousands), and at other events where there are good fees on offer, and the same issues arise.

Usually I contact bands using the email address on their website or Facebook ‘about’ section. Invariably the address is along the lines of ‘bookings@ourbandname.com’ or ‘bookings@bandname.hotmail.co.uk’. Now that in itself makes sense, again we’ve done many a panel at conferences about the need to portray a professional image, and how davybigbelly82@gmail.com doesn’t always give the right impression to promoters or labels. BUT – the only point of giving the bookings@bandname.hotmail.co.uk address is if you check it regularly! I saw a presentation recently about ‘deadly sins’ of social media where having things like a redundant Twitter account, or a ‘Latest News’ section on a bands website where the last entry was a year ago can be very damaging. Basically, if you’re not going to use something then don’t have it. This is kind of the same thing. Yes, there’s a paradox here – a ‘professional’ email address is a good thing, but it’s useless if it is not actually used. My believe is that in many cases it is because bands are expecting to be proactive rather than reactive – they are expecting to have to chase gigs themselves, rather than getting offers out of the blue sent to them. It may be that they are only expecting to use that address at certain times. Even still, if you set up an account like that, and then display it as your point of contact then this is where opportunities (expected or not) will be directed – and of course it isn’t too tricky to set up on your phone or email software, even if it’s only to receive the occasional message.

As I said at the beginning, there seem to be two kinds of bands. The ones that respond promptly and the ones who don’t. It’s not too tricky to work out who get the most opportunities. I was talking recently to a friend who worked for a national radio station about this very thing and she said she found it the same. She would find a contact online for a band, usually for a fairly last minute, but significant opportunity, and often wouldn’t even get a reply, or if she did it would be a week later, and of course those kinds of opportunities go elsewhere pretty swiftly.

Anyway, the way it usually goes with these kinds of emails is I send some information about an opportunity to the bookings@myband type address. I wait a few days (thinking the band are probably just ringing round to check availability – that always has to happen). Then nothing. Then, I’ll try following up on the bands Facebook (I don’t imagine many promoters would bother). Often this works, and as a result of course, Facebook is now often my first (although not preferred) port of call. The response on Facebook will often be along the lines of, ‘wow, this sounds great, we’ll check our email’, or ‘wow, this sounds great, can you resend the info to my davybigbelly82@gmail.com address’. Sometimes a message to the bands Facebook also doesn’t solicit a response – usually the last post on there is weeks old. In this case, I’ll try and find the personal Facebook of one of the band members (I imagine even less promoters would go to that effort), and usually that gets a response – again along the lines of ‘wow, this sounds great! Sorry, I haven’t checked the bands email in a while, can you resend the info to my davybigbelly82@gmail.com address’. You get the idea. In fact sometimes that doesn’t work (after all Facebook isn’t the keeper of all human communication yet) and I have to track down a band that I know have played with the band recently to see if they have a number. Phone numbers almost always work for getting an immediate response. People seem to act on a text or a phone call in a way they don’t to an email or Facebook message.

As a result, we’re tentatively looking into introducing SMS into Off Axis (although it incurs overheads we’d rather avoid), but for now, and a much better solution, we’re asking the artists we’re working with to give us email addresses they actually use and check (sounds obvious, but there’s a learning curve there). We would rather have the davybigbelly82@gmail.com address, over the ‘band account’ that’s gathering dust on a server somewhere.

When bands register they get this message:

Email Address (IMPORTANT PLEASE READ) The Off Axis site will send you notifications via email. Please provide an email address that is checked regularly to ensure you can respond to gig requests promptly – only use your ‘gigs@bandname.com’ type address if it is one that is checked on a regular basis – otherwise please supply an appropriate personal / work address.

As I say, it seems simple enough, but it’s vital for what we’re doing.

Anyway, what’s the moral of this story?

Well, if you’re a musician you may have read numerous ideas about how to find ‘success’ in music. Of course, that discussion starts with a definition of ‘success in music’ – that’s another blog post – but on the whole they cover things like, first and foremost be brilliant, write great songs, be unique, build relationships and networks (I wrote a blog recently about networking), find your super fans, and all these kinds of ideas. I want to add two more points to that list:

1) Successful bands have a common understanding of their commitment and goals

2) They answer emails in good time

And of course the flipside of all this is there are certain bands who are brilliant at responding to stuff. They often reply to emails within minutes (often just to say, thanks for the opportunity, I’ll just check with the rest of the guys tonight and let you know tomorrow – that kind of thing) – but that simple level of communication is priceless. I have a list of bands in my head (and the friend from the radio station said the same) that I know will get back to me promptly, and whether they realise it or not that fact alone has led to me offering them countless opportunities.

So check those accounts, you may have been offered a ton of gigs and radio sessions that you knew nothing about.

And if you want to drop me a line about this blog you can get me at jeff@unconventionhub.org – I promise a prompt response!

Jeff Thompson”

This post originally appeared on The Hub and we thank them for allowing us to share it. Find The Hub at: http://thehubuk.com/

It’s Here

The all new Pierless Music Gig Guide has arrived and can be found here:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/calendar/

Thanks to all of those who have already sent in their gig details. But, as you can see, we are still missing many more.

If we don’t know about your gig, we can’t include it in our Gig Guide. So please help us by telling your friends, band members and local venues about us, thanks.

To submit your gig, whether you are a band, venue or promoter, send the gig details to: gigs@pierlessmusic.co.uk

We have been having a few issues with how the Gig Guide displays, so please bear with us if things don’t look quite as they should.

Happy New Year and here’s to an exciting 2014.

Photo courtesy of Nastassja Kaschevsky – Movietex.

The Pierless Music Gig Guide

We’re coming back in 2014!

As some of you may already know, the online UA Gig Guide is shutting down on 31st December 2013. This will, once again, create a big hole for the many local gig goers that rely on a decent Gig Guide to help them choose their evenings entertainment.

So, we’ve decided to try and fill that hole. But we need your help.

If you are a venue, a band/artist, or a promoter, we need you to tell us about your gig/event. After all if we don’t know about your gig, we can’t include it.

Please email your gig details to: gigs@pierlessmusic.co.uk

We will be listing gigs from 1st January 2014 and going live later this month. So, the sooner we have your info, the sooner we can include it ready for the launch.

The new Pierless Music Gig Guide is part of a wider project that we’ll be helping to launch in 2014. Details of which we’ll be telling you about in due course.

In the meantime, for more info on what we need from you and what we intend to include, please see:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/calendar/about-the-pierless-music-gig-guide/

Please help spread the word about the upcoming Pierless Music Gig Guide. Together we can make it a success.

Thanks.

Make Your Band A Brand!

A while ago I wrote a blog post for this Pierless Music site called ‘B(r)and’, in which I talked about the need for a band to start to think of themselves as a brand, or a business.

It’s one of those topics that musicians probably don’t even think about or realise might apply to them, especially when they are first starting out. But it does and reading the post will hopefully make you realise why.

Well, I have recently been asked to update that post for use on another music related website. Something I was happy to do.

Here’s the result: http://www.epikmusicvideos.com/blog/79-make-your-band-a-brand.html

Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Blog Post – Music Video Making

This is a very timely guest post I think.

As you may have noticed, here at Pierless Music we’ve been featuring quite a few new local music videos recently. So, it seemed like the right time to feature a post all about video making and some of the myths and realities about it. And one written by somebody who deals with music video making on a day to day basis too.

The post was written by Tai Campbell from EPiK Music Videos in London: http://www.epikmusicvideos.com

You can find the post, ‘Music Video Making – Myths and Realities‘, here:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/epik/music-video-making-myths-and-realities/

If you’re in a local band and are thinking about making a video to help showcase one of your songs, there is some great advice within that post.

And this is the kind of video that EPik Music Videos can help you with:

Thanks to Tai for sending us that post. If you want to send in your own, please contact us and we’ll give it a read.

Deja Vu all over again

Just when you thought the whole local band reunion thing was over, along comes another gig featuring some old favourites.

Mumm-Ra (more about them later) and Youngplan started it all off with their gigs at Flairz in October 2012. Then The Candys decided to tread the boards one more time at the Brass Monkey in December and very good they were too.

Now, it’s the turn of Mookie, Star Scream (ok they never split up, they just don’t play locally) and The Crayons. They’ve even managed to rope in Sam Little, from such bands as Fleeing From Finales, to play an acoustic set.

The big reunion takes place at the Brass Monkey on Friday, 8th March and they’ve even got a Facebook Event page for you to visit to get more details:

https://www.facebook.com/events/413639695389385

Personally, i’ve never been a huge fan of band reunions. Maybe the cynic in me just ends up questioning the motives behind it all? But, i really don’t think that’s the case with these recent local band reunions. After all, it’s not as if they’re doing it for the money is it?

I intend to be at the Brass Monkey on March 8th to see these bands once again. After all, i’ve played all of them on Hastings Rock at some time in the past. So, it will be good to get reaquainted with their music.

Now back to Mumm-Ra.

Something seems to be stirring within the Mumm-Ra camp, as they’ve been posting cryptic Tweets recently. These Tweets lead you towards a new band website, which you can find here: http://www.mumm-ra.net/

When you get there, all you see is the wording “Summer 2013″. Hmm… all very mysterious.

Watch this space for more developments.

 

The Keane Trail

Whilst i know that many people who read this may not be fans of the band Keane, even if they do come from within the Pierless Music catchment area. It can’t be denied that they do appear to have a genuine love of the area and have even mentioned several local places in their songs.

I suppose the most famous example would be the track ‘Sovereign Light Cafe’ from their recent No.1 album ‘Strangeland’. If you’ve not seen the video, it’s well worth watching, as it was actually filmed in Bexhill: (Pre video advert warning!)

Well, to celebrate the local Keane connection, 1066 Country Marketing and the Battle Marketing Group have created the ‘Keane Trail’. It’s a website, built with the help of the band, that explains how local places have both influenced and been referenced in Keane’s songs: http://www.keanetrail.org.uk/

I’m guessing that the aim of the website is as a kind of online tourist brochure for the Hastings, Battle and Bexhill area.

Many bands are very quick to get out of their local town as fast as possible and even to knock it in interviews etc. That is especially true of bands from a small town. So, it’s good to see a successful band speak up for their local area and to celebrate some of the good things about it.

Who knows, it might even bring some musical tourists to the area who may then see and hear for themselves the many musical riches that we have here.

And maybe it might even encourage some of you to explore and celebrate your local area just a little bit more as well?