Calling All Local Acts.

Our colleagues over at The Stinger magazine have just announced a great opportunity for two separate local acts.

This involves grants they have been given by the Hastings Foreshore Trust which will enable The Stinger to help two lucky applicants.

Here’s what they told us:

One of the primary aspirations of The Stinger Magazine is to help deserving, hard-working local acts, by mentoring fledgling music projects through the initial development and recording process and promoting more established acts outside of the region and across the UK and Europe.
We are therefore delighted to announce that The Hastings Foreshore Trust have kindly awarded us a grant in order to support two unsigned local music acts. This fund will be split into equal parts in order to support two separate acts at different stages of development.

Core Development Fund: The exact nature of the support to be provided will depend on the needs of the act that is chosen, but in principle this will include: the recording, mixing and mastering of at least one song under the guidance of a professional producer; assistance in producing a music video in order to promote the song(s); the production of an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) and general support and advice with branding, website and social media development.

Concert & Touring Fund: The second half of the fund will be used to support a more established local act with a proven track record in live performance. The chosen band will be helped to coordinate and promote a series of UK and possibly (northern) Europe live dates. We will assist with the scheduling, promotion and logistic costs (travel, accommodation and general expenses), and provide an experienced tour manager.

In order to be chosen, you will need to prove that as well as being talented, you are ambitious and determined, which will need to be fully demonstrated during the application process, in order to satisfy the Submissions Panel and The Hastings Foreshore Trust, that the money has been wisely spent.

Applications for the grants close at midnight on 6th January 2015 and the ‘winners’ will be announced in the next issue of The Stinger magazine, due in mid January

Full details about the grants and how you can apply can be found here:

http://www.thestinger.org.uk/mentoring

Best of luck with your application.

Hastings Fat Tuesday 2014

It’s very nearly time for another one of those highlights of the Hastings year, Fat Tuesday.

It all kicks off tomorrow, Friday 28th, and details of events across the whole five days can be found on the official website: http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2014/

There is plenty to enjoy over the course of the celebrations, but one of the best aspects of Hastings Fat Tuesday is the opportunity it gives for local original musicians to showcase their talents to a wider audience. Fat Tuesday brings visitors from far and wide to Hastings. After all, everyone likes a party don’t they?

So, I thought I’d highlight some of the events, within the five days of celebrations, that help to showcase that original musical talent.

Friday evening brings the official Launch Party at The Jenny Lind, with The Cajun Dawgs sharing their authentic Cajun and Zydeco sounds, straight from the deep south of the UK.

There’s just time to catch your breath, and shake off that hangover, before The Unplugged Tour on Saturday afternoon between 1 and 6pm. 30 acts, performing 150 gigs, across several venues in Hastings Old Town.

This is only the second year of The Unplugged Tour, but it’s one of the events that I’m looking forward to the most. Many of our best local acts will be performing acoustic versions of their songs, quite possibly for the first time. So it’s a great opportunity to see those bands in a different light and often out of their comfort zone too.

Sunday afternoon see’s the return of SXSE at The Union Bar: https://www.facebook.com/events/261077317383850/

This showcase features 8 local bands aiming to claim the final slot on Tuesday nights Fat Tuesday Tour. I’m lucky enough to be one of the judges for this and it promises to be a great afternoon.

Monday gives you a chance to catch your breath a little with Slim Monday at the Brass Monkey. Performing on the night will be the appropriately named King Size Slim, and if he’s anywhere near as good as the last time I saw him play, this is another gig not to be missed.

Tuesday evening brings us to the highlight and climax of the whole Hastings Fat Tuesday celebrations with the Fat Tuesday Tour itself. 8 venues, and 16 bands playing 3 gigs each.

2013 set a benchmark with Skunk Anansie playing to excited crowds at the Dragon Bar, Lord Nelson and The Carlisle. So, 2014 has a lot to live up to, but I’ve no doubt that the levels of excitement and quality of music will be just as good.

See the official Fat Tuesday programme within the first issue of The Stinger magazine for full details of all the events.

Overall, Hastings Fat Tuesday 2014 will feature over 250 performances, by 65 artists, across 25 different venues. Now that’s quite some party!

And possibly the best thing about all the events I’ve mentioned here, is that they’re all absolutely free.

We’ve never really needed an excuse to party in Hastings, but if one was ever needed, Fat Tuesday is a far better one than most.

Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday everyone. See you there.

Rockfest – A Postscript

Not long ago I wrote a post here about Rockfest, organised by the Hastings Musical Festival: http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/hastings-music-festival-2014-rockfest/

Well, there is some good news to report.

The Rockfest is now fully subscribed with local bands. In fact there’s now a waiting list, in case of any withdrawals.

Also, the potential problem of a lack of backline equipment, for the bands use, has also been resolved. The good people of the Contemporary Music School, in St Leonards (http://www.makingmusicians.com/), have stepped in and agreed to supply the equipment needed.

So why not come along from 6pm on the evening of Friday 21st March, at the White Rock Theatre, to watch and listen to Rockfest.

As mentioned before, I’ll be the compere for Rockfest and I look forward to seeing you there.

Analyse This

Some of you may well have seen the story doing the rounds on the Internet recently concerning the rock band Iron Maiden and how they supposedly used data to help plan their world tours. While the story wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, it does show how bands can now use all that data flying around in cyberspace to their own advantage.

The company mentioned in the original article is called Music Metric (http://musicmetric.com/). What they do, for a fee, is collect the many billions of musical interactions across the Internet. The sources of that information include social media, illegal file sharing sites, music streaming services, etc.

Music Metric then analyse all of that data providing a band, record company, or even a fan of a particular artist with a snapshot of how an act is performing online, right across the world.

You can then delve deeper into that collected data to see where your music is being streamed the most, where your music is being illegally downloaded the most, and also where you’re being talked about the most, even down to the age, gender and location of your fans.

The original article suggested that Iron Maiden had used this information to select countries where it might be best for them to tour next time around, especially those countries where their music maybe wasn’t being bought, but illegally downloaded.

The thought being that maybe they could then get those people to a gig and sell them merchandise, etc. That way the band would be making money from gig tickets and merchandise, even if they couldn’t persuade the fans to buy their music. And who knows, they might even convert them to doing that, as well?

Iron Maiden have never admitted to doing this, and why let the possible truth get in the way of a good story eh? However, as mentioned before, it does help to highlight how any band can now utilise all of that online data for their own purposes and maybe ultimately profit from it too.

We all know that sales of CD’s and music generally isn’t what it was. Most bands nowadays struggle to earn a decent living from making music in this digital age. You’ve no doubt read about how bands only make real money these days from playing live and selling t-shirts. So at least there is now a way that artists can be that little bit smarter when it comes to targeting fans in the future.

Even if you don’t, or can’t afford to use a service like Music Metric, any artist can use the data from their fans social media activities, digital and CD sales, and streaming services for their own ends.

Most social media sites, YouTube and dedicated band sites, etc have some form of analytics service built into their pages, especially if you run those pages yourself.
Yes, it takes a bit of time, which is after all why a service such as Music Metric exists in the first place. But, maybe now is the time to dig a little deeper yourself and use that, often, free info for your own benefit?

If it’s good enough for Iron Maiden (allegedly), surely it’s got to be good enough for you too? Regardless of the popularity of your band.

Ultimately, can you afford not to give it a try? It might just be the thing that gives your band the edge over all the others out there.

 

SXSE Sunday

As part of this year’s Fat Tuesday festivities, SXSE will be making a comeback.

Some of you may remember SXSE (South by South East) taking place at The Carlisle a couple of years ago, I know I do. Well, the organisers have decided to revive the event for 2014, but with a few changes.

SXSE Sunday will take place at The Union Bar (Formerly The Tubman) on Sunday 2nd March between approx 1 and 7pm. As with the previous event, bands/acts will be showcasing their talents in front of a panel of respected judges. But this time around the ‘prize’ is a coveted slot on the official Fat Tuesday tour on the evening of Tuesday 4th March.

More details about SXSE Sunday itself and how your act can apply to play can be found here. There is an application form to be filled in online:

http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/sxse/

Bands applying will be asked to perform a 20 minute set of original material on the day. They must also be available to play three 20 minute sets, at three different venues, on Fat Tuesday itself.

Applying to play may not guarantee a place on SXSE Sunday, as acts will be pre-judged to ensure that only the best, or most suitable, get to play. Bands/acts will be informed on Friday 14th February as to whether they’ve been invited to play. So, get those entries in today. Don’t miss out.

As mentioned on the Fat Tuesday/SXSE website, this event is all tied up with the new Hastings Fat Tuesday charity, which I am a part of. The charity has been set up to help support, encourage, promote and nurture original local musical talent.

To quote the website “The Fat Tuesday team are developing mentor opportunities, which will be offered to local bands/performers that demonstrate potential and whose members are driven towards careers in the music industry. These offers, grants and opportunities will be discussed on an individual bespoke basis, depending on the specific requirements of the band/performer in question. But in principle they might include: recording and mastering of demo tracks with introductions to a choice of producers and engineers; promotional video production; song writing workshops; business advice; brand development; assistance with equipment; touring and regular performance opportunities both locally and further afield.”

Acts playing at SXSE Sunday are under no obligation to get involved with the Hastings Fat Tuesday charity, but it would be a great opportunity for you to showcase your talent and potential.

It would be good to see you there on the day, whether as a performer or as a spectator. So put that date in your diary, Sunday 2nd March, 1 to 7pm at The Union Bar, Hastings.

Hastings Musical Festival 2014 – RockFest

Bands and backline wanted.

Are you in a band and would you like to play on the main stage at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings, with a full PA system and under the theatre’s stage lighting?

If so, read on:

On the evening of Friday 21st March, the Hastings Musical Festival’s very own RockFest takes place. This will be its 6th year and they’d like you to take part.

RockFest is a competition for amateur bands from the local area. There are two categories – Bands age 16 and under (One member can be over 16) and Bands aged 16 and over (One member can be under 16).

Top prize is £100 and this year there is no entry fee to pay, it’s free!

Rules are as follows:

Amateur bands only – a maximum of 3 songs – a minimum of 3 players – Original material encouraged – No offensive lyrics.

Also, each band will get a soundcheck before they perform – a full backline will be provided, but guitarists should bring their own leads – drummers can bring their own pedals and cymbals if they wish – keyboard players would need to bring their own keyboard.

The competition will be judged professionally by Paul Roberts, who has judged the RockFest categories for several years now and who is widely experienced.

If this sounds interesting to you, and seeing as it’s free to enter why shouldn’t it, you can enter via the Festivals website at: http://www.hastingsmusicalfestival.co.uk/

If you need further info please contact Brenda Bailey at: john4brenda@btinternet.com or phone Brenda on: 01424 430923.

Help Needed:

As mentioned above, a full backline is to be provided for RockFest, but as yet the Hastings Musical Festival have no-one to provide it. Unfortunately their usual supplier can’t provide the equipment needed this year.

So, can you help? Can you either supply free of charge, or hire the Hastings Musical Festival the following equipment on Friday 21st March 2014:

2 x guitar amps and cabs –  1 x bass amp and cab – full drum kit including pedals and cymbals – 1 x amp for keyboard?

If so, please contact Brenda Bailey via the details above.

I shall be compering the RockFest once again this year and it would be good to see some great local bands there on the night.

Fat Tuesday

Christmas is now a distant memory and spring is still some way over the hill. It’s still chilly, but the people of Hastings and St Leonards have something to look forward to with the approach of the annual Hastings Fat Tuesday Festival!

This is the fourth year of the New Orleans Mardi Gras themed event and it promises to be bigger and better than ever – with music, umbrella parades, food and drink events all included over the festival period running from Friday 8th to Tuesday 12th of February.

Dressing up in true Mardi Gras fashion is the order of the day – masks, face paint, fancy dress or colourful clothes – anything goes really.

Fat Tuesday has become one of Hastings most anticipated annual events. Attracting people from far and wide and recruiting enthusiastic volunteers whose valiant efforts raise awareness and also money for local charities.

Hastings Fat Tuesday has evolved over previous years into 2013′s five day programme of events, running from Friday 8th through till Tuesday 12 February.

Hastings Fat Tuesday aims to provide something for everyone. From a tongue in cheek “Cardi Gras” Cake Sale organised by the local Women’s  Institute,  “Unplugged” music  sessions in various local bars and restaurants, an Afro/Caribbean Party Night, a Grande Mardi Gras Ball and a colourful Umbrella Parade through the Town Centre which finishes with more live music and a street BBQ at the America Ground.

All of this builds up to the main event of Hastings Fat Tuesday itself, which this year falls on the 12th of February. This year 8 local venues squeeze in 16 bands, who each play 20 minutes sets in 3 of the venues. So each venue hosts 6 gigs between 8pm and at 11/11.30pm. This is then followed by the now legendary After Show Party at the Brass Monkey, with another great live act and DJ’s running through till 3AM.

The musical mayhem is built throughout the evening as those 16 bands criss-cross the town to get to their next gig. On the way passing groups of people moving onto their next venue to catch the band of their choice.

This year is set to be bigger and better than ever with more events, more locations, more bands and three incredibly exciting performances from a very special mystery guest!

Full details of all events including an online ticket office and information on other “fringe” events planned for the festival period can be found on the festival website: www.hastingsfatuesday.co.uk Info can also be found on the Pierless Music Gig Guide, including the full line up for the main Fat Tuesday gigs.

To see what’s in store, take a look at this video of the 2011 event:

Traditionally occurring on Shrove Tuesday, “Fat Tuesday” (English for Mardi Gras) is a day of serious partying in some parts of the world, as people let their hair down before observing the restrictions of Lent which starts on the following day, Ash Wednesday.

As with many early spring and Easter customs Mardi Gras has ancient roots, including the pagan Roman customs of Lupercalia and Saturnalia. Tied into the lunar calendar, the date marks the turning of the year from winter to spring – another reason to celebrate.

I’ll see you there.

(Written using the official Fat Tuesday press release)

Blog Post – HMV and all that.

I decided to record an audio blog post about the potential demise of HMV.

I also talk about how lessons can be learned by this by other shops, businesses and even musicians.

Let us know what you think.

This post can also be found under ‘Blog Posts – Andy Gunton’, for future reference.

A New Crypt?

Well, here is some potentially good news for all music lovers in Hastings.

The Crypt, that much missed music venue in the town centre, is getting a new lease of life. That’s the plan anyway, but the owners need your help.

The old Crypt premises is now owned by the people behind the ‘electric stag’, which was formerly ‘The Street’.

They are planning on re-opening The Crypt, under a new name, and have applied for the appropriate licences to make this happen. It is hoped that a decision will be made by Hastings Borough Council before the end of the year.

To help with this licence application the owners are asking for music fans to sign an online petition to help demonstrate support for this new venue.

Here’s what they have posted on their website (www.electricstag.com):

The electric stag needs your help…

If you love music and think that Hastings needs a new late night venue then please keep reading….

Here at the electric stag we have had an amazing few months welcoming you all into the new bar in Robertson Street. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support. Many of you have been asking what is happening with the old Crypt premises so we know that you miss it as much as we do.

The venue will be a new club hosting live music, renowned DJs and exciting new club nights. We can’t reveal it’s name just yet but we can reveal that with your help it will be open by early next year.

We want to bring a much needed boost to Hastings night life, and we have been working around the clock quite literally to lovingly restore the much loved venue. Now we can’t wait to share the dance floor with you, but we need your help. Please vote YES to a new club in Hastings, join the campaign, spread the word to your friends. It’s simple just click on the link below and vote YES.”

I’ve already voted and urge you all to do the same.

Hastings has been crying out for a venue such as this since The Crypt closed its doors in early 2011. As you are probably aware, here at Pierless Music we are very keen on helping to promote and support original local talent and this will, hopefully, provide a great future avenue for that.

You can find the petition at: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/yestonewvenue

Blog Post – Young Talent

We all know that we have plenty of young musical talent in the Hastings area. But, how do we encourage them to pursue their musical dreams?

I’ve written a new blog post discussing this problem. You can read it here:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/blog-posts/andy-gunton-2/young-talent/

Let us know what you think.

Andy