Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Ups, Downs, Joys and Knocks and Plenty of Good stuff to Come


So much seems to have happened since I last got my fingers working on the keyboard, some of it good, some of it bad.

It had to happen, didn’t it?   No sooner had the ink dried on my last Blog and the “rant” about the local Band issue brought to a head by The Trades Management than everything was again thrown into the mixing pot by a fantastic show put on by Ian Huddleston, Live at The Trades which attracted a paying audience of well over 130 (inc. guest lists) and also helped us prove the market for a mixed genre show involving music and the spoken word.  

Credit to Ian for being brave enough to mix up the music with Ben Renwick representing the acoustic scene; Polybius provide an amazing set of high class electonicana  music; while Be The Revolution produced an amazing set launching their new EP which is now available on Amazon HERE  Rarer still there were people dancing.  

Spoken word was provided by Wayne Dyson, the Northern Poet, was making his debut as a performing poet.  Judging by the response to his offerings it will not be his last.  A really polished reading of some super writing.    And I hope it will not be long before son of Rotherham The Buddhist Punk is back in Rotherham to provide us with another reading of his great material. 

An unusual evening, a great success and five very different Rotherham acts demonstrating the depth of talent we have.    

So why the extra interest in this show of local talent to previous attempts to mount shows with local talent?   Answer –  each of the acts worked hard to promote the event along with RAE.   And why do tickets have to be sold?  Because the bands want paying and the infrastructure from sound to posters have to be paid for – of which sound is by far the biggest expense.  

And of course last Saturday we were treated to another amazing show from our local Metal legends ODS Saxon.    It was a great night with The Monte Carlo Safe Crackers coming out of retirement for a one off special, all more than ably supported by the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonigan – all the way from Barnsley.  

BSSVD have played Rotherham many times, and did comment that they had not realised that so many people lived in Rotherham.  A couple of cold lonely nights in The Bridge spring to mind. 

Our final Live at The Trades for October had us rocking to the music of the “Boss” through Rotherham’s very own Bruce Springsteen, Steve and the East Street Band, making their second visit.   There was a super turn out for the Band with people coming in from as far away as Mansfield to be part of the night.   The East Street Band is an established act travelling the Region performing their numbers. 

I’ve a lot of respect for Steve who is Department Head at our local College, as he is always looking for ways to provide students with real performance experience, and three of the Band members are either current or former students. 

Thanks to all the Bands above and all those who came out to support them. 

Not all good though.  

So tell me please – when was the last time that you went shopping in Tesco and discovered to your delight that they were advertising in their main window goods from Sainsbury and Aldi?  Never?  Well I think that would be a close approximate.

RAE prides itself upon being open to all organisations and we’ll post posters for most events, even those that are publicising dates that clash with our own. 

All we ask in return is that people should help us promote our events to their client base and co-operate by avoiding the promotion of similar genres upon dates we have already published.

You can imagine my surprise when this week Mick and I have had to take a heap of abuse from a Promoter and his cohorts for 1) Agreeing to put his event posters up – yes you read correctly, AGREEING, that in addition to the listing of his events on our Web Sites.  2). Simply requesting that we should avoid putting similar events on the same date, given that the venues were only 20 meters apart, in the interest of strengthening audiences for both venues.  

I also made reference to the complete “co-incidental” / “accidental” booking of events to Christmas which sees this Promoter’s events clashing with Live at The Trades nights, including a Friday which is not a normal date for LATT.   Strangely this Promoter apparently had not seen our published Autumn / Winter programme that we had published in June well before he decided to enter the Promotions arena again. 

However, his reply to my quite reasonable request was to throw his toys out of the pram. 

Respect and co-operation has to work both ways. 

We are not into a “mine is bigger than yours” argument at RAE, as our programme for Winter / Spring already demonstrates RAE has it’s own agenda for Live at The Trades and Slamfest where in addition to promoting some of the very best Bands playing out of Rotherham / South Yorkshire and providing the music lovers of Rotherham with some top class Nationally recognised Bands bringing the best of their genre to the Town. 

It’s not that we feel under pressure.  We know what went wrong with the Summer programme at The Trades and it won’t happen again and we’ll also aware of the problems we caused ourselves with a few of our promotions that failed to make the mark, this too will not happen again.   As said in the last Blog that is not to say we are deserting our local Band base, far from it as we are looking for suitable alternative venues in Rotherham  from where we can Promote the new cutting edge Bands who are seeking to build their fan base and get their music heard.

Our only interest is to build a strong vibrant live music environment across the Borough.  

Competition is good though, it keeps you on your toes and sharp and RAE Live at The Trades are in no way frightened by it, and if evidence is required RAE are in fact competing with itself on 22nd November when on the night Badness are playing Live at The Trades, we are also supporting Diamond Velocity at The Old Market Galley with their semi acoustic promotion.    

RAE does this and a lot more in Rotherham, including the Street Art Festival – Acoustic Rotherham and Slamfest mainly supported by a %  cut of Ticket sales and the Bank of Mick and Dick.  We take nothing from the Bands we Promote.  Neither do we rely upon Breweries / Landlords to subsidise or cover the cost of our Promotions unless in Free music pubs.   Of course the Free Music Pub event is always far easier to sell than a pay event, especially in South Yorkshire where because of the WMC market where Free music was and for those remaining, a stable method of selling beer. 

If it wasn’t clear before then I hope it is now. To keep in touch with everything that RAE is involved in go to our extensive Web Site HERE

When you put events on there always knockers, for some no matter what you do is wrong.   However, what upsets Mick and myself is the behind the hand stuff that goes on.  It always gets back to us.   What I say to these people is that if you have a problem with us come and talk to us, both Mick and I are always prepared to listen, doesn’t mean we’ll agree with you, but we will listen and put our side of the argument or provide proofs that you require.  

We can’t be friends with all – it’s a fact, you cannot create things without stepping on a few toes or upsetting people. 

I really hope that if the knockers have something positive to offer that they will come along to the Slamfest Open Meeting this Thursday at 8:00pm in The RAE Drop In Centre, where we will be discussing plans for 2014.   We need people to help Manage the Event, especially those with some experience. 

It was our week for it.  Another part of the Arts decided to have a go, this time we got a full public apology.   Again the allegations were based upon urban myth perpetuated by people who should know better, and we got a full apology that was accepted in wholly and we’ve even had a man hug on it.  So I will say again, and I know I cannot be loved by all, eggs have to be broken to make cakes, but if you have a problem with me or RAE or even with our main event Slamfest, come and talk to me.  Don’t let it fester or believe the rumour mill. 

But there has also been some excellent talk.  Once things were sorted I popped along to Lee’s (Bouncing Numbers) meeting at the Cornlaw Rhymer last Monday.   From the meeting it was suggested that we should start to find out what the feasibility of taking on the full lease for the Old Market Gallery might be.  RAE will be right behind this initiative and will provide help wherever we can. 

It’s interesting that in the same week that seeking finance for the Old Market Gallery was discussed Gallery Town – the people who put up the huge facsimiles’ of Master paintings and some local artists around Town, have advertised for what is essentially a fund raiser.   A coincidence?  This is full of problems for me.  I appreciate that Gallery Town has helped with the past two Busking events by adding the Urban Piano project and expanding activities this year to create a Street Arts Festival, BUT, if they have the money available to fund a full time role to raise funds then I think that it might be more usefully used to raise money for arts projects across the Borough and in full Partnership the all the other Arts organisations in Rotherham: indeed why not lead on the Old Market Gallery project? 

I have one other concern.  Gallery Town are the only organisation that has the financial clout to make this sort of appointment – and given it’s current funding source maybe has a duty to think about it’s impact upon other Arts Organisations. 

If you fancy applying for the job, go HERE  

Talking of the Old Market Gallery we are involved in helping Sylwia and Diamond Velocity mount their very special Concert at The Old Market Gallery on 22nd November.   Tickets are limited strictly to 100 for this semi acoustic Concert that will be filmed and recorded live by their Record Company.   It promises to be a feast of musical and visual rock and roll.   You can get tickets  from the Diamond Velocity site HERE  You can also reserve and place an order for tickets at the RAE Drop In Centre on Wellgate.  Tickets are only £5 and include a free download of the evening’s music.  This is going to be a great night, with Gav Roberts as host and loads of surprises. 

Live at The Trades takes a little two break before coming back for a very busy November,  check out the full programme HERE   Tickets on sale at The Drop In Centre,  The Trades or On Line HERE

Just after I had published the last Blog came the sad news that “The Rock” was leaving it’s home at the Wesley Hall, Maltby, and moving to an eventual resting place at The Ukrainian Centre in Doncaster.   Apparently the Club can no longer be sustained by the poor audience levels at Maltby.  For those who don’t know, The Rock was a top quality Music Club offering the best of Folk and Roots music, but audiences of 40 – 60 even with ticket prices of £10+ meant that the Club was simply not able to continue.    

More sad news.  The Chairman of the Rotherham Culture Group (Diversity Festival) will be leaving us from the AGM at the end of November.  Sameer has been a tireless worker in many capacities on the Rotherham Arts scene and his transfer to Manchester leaves Rotherham that little bit poorer.  I’m sure that we’ll be able to twist his arm, cross his palm with silver to come and make a noise with his drums come the Rotherham Show in 2014.

Unfortunately it times with the loss of Hamid to the Group due to special projects at RCAT and Nameer who has been the Groups Treasurer for many years due to a lack of time.  So it’ll be all change at the AGM.  The date of the AGM will be publicised soon. 

Rotherham Culture Group Meetings will now start at 5:00pm normally on the first Monday of the Month.

But better News of the Braithwell Club that has found a new home at THE SHEPPY,  GRANGE LANE, MALTBY   ROTHERHAM S66  7DN   John says that he will be testing the water for a couple of months before deciding if the Club has a future.    The Club runs the first Tuesday of each month.

One of the massive draw backs of this damned condition that I have is that a). I can’t drive to get out to open mics etc and b).  not having the energy to get out let alone be able to concentrate enough play my guitar for longer than two or three minutes.   This means I’m not getting to see the emerging acoustic and folk talent out there – which means booking acts for Acoustic Rotherham etc, is getting harder and harder.    The next ACOUSTIC ROTHERHAM is due on the 27th October.  2:30 – 5:30 pm.    Anyone wanting to play? please hold your hands up and volunteer by Emailing me HERE.  Or if someone who attends a lot of Acoustic events would like to act as a scout for Acoustic Rotherham please get in touch via the Email HERE

I also have guest spot at the monthly Titans Acoustic Warm Down hosted by Swansong Acoustic, on the same date 27th October from 8:00pm going free.  Volunteer quick. 

There’s plenty going on in and around Rotherham over the next couple of weeks and you can keep up to date by book marking the listings page HERE or find the events HERE   Just to say watch out for what might be one of Rotherham’s finest playing at The Bridge next week, Tom Killner – and judging by what he has recently been saying on his Facebook timeline this could be a rare appearance as he is planning to take his Band out and about on the road.  

Get Creative our crafting partners have published their fantastic programme of Workshops running up to Christmas - you can find the full programme HERE on The Drop In Centre pages.

Stop Press :  Carnival of Thieves CD Launch + an incredible support line up  and Lena Lovich added to Live at The Trades programme for 2014.   On line Tickets will soon be available.   Watch the Facebook page for more details. 

We’ve just heard that the Son’s El Roacho gig at The Titans Club on Friday has had to be postponed because a Band member has an injury.   They have been re-booked for the 31st January. 

But time to go………. Probably said more than enough.

Whatever you are doing this week have great fun, support your local artists and venues and Keep it LIVE.