Last week I had the unique joy of participating in my first "Music Festival", specifically the Keene Music Festival in the college town of Keene, New Hampshire. Looking back now from the distance of a few days, I have to say the experience really was extraordinary, unlike any gig I've had previously. As an emerging artist, I've done gigs at coffeehouses, restaurants, pubs, and the like as well playing outdoors, "busking" on the Boston Common. In many ways, a music festival from the standpoint of the artist is really a combination of the audience of a coffeehouse and the impromptu ambience of outdoor busking. People may walk by, but they are there intentionally to listen to different artists, unlike busking where their presence is an creature of happenstance. And I could tell the audience was there intentionally because the weather was decidedly less than perfect. Yet, there they were, standing in a dripping rain, just to listen and appreciate my music. Both children and older adults alike stood and listened to my music. I sold CD's and collected some names on my email list. It was simply wonderful.
It's worth mentioning that I got this festival gig by playing a small restaurant in Keene earlier in August of this year, when again by happenstance, the director of the festival happened to be in attendance, heard me play and then decided to have me play at the festival! Happy serendipity indeed! Which makes me realize again that going after a particular gig is more a function of having the right person actually hear you perform in person more than anything else. Yes, I've talked about this issue in my blogposts of the past, but it came back to me in full force after the Keene Music Festival: I would never have gotten the gig unless the decision maker was physically present to see me perform. No hyped-up electronic press kit from ReverbNation or Sonicbids.com was going to get me a really good gig like this festival by itself. If you plan on being a gigging performing artist, venues and presenters must listen to you in person to hear and see for themselves just how good you really are. No virtual proxy will be a satisfactory substitute where the emerging artist is concerned.
Food for thought.
Yours in DADGAD