Last week Liverpool Acoustic received an email from a local musician requesting a headline slot at a Liverpool Acoustic Live event in the next couple of months. We politely explained that we were already fully booked for April and May and couldn’t ‘just squeeze him in’, and that our headline acts were all booked through to November. He seemed a little miffed.
So, in an attempt to de-mystify the situation (we’ve had other critics too) Liverpool Acoustic Live’s co-organiser, Graham Holland, explains how the event is put together, what the booking policy is, and why we can’t help everyone.
The most recent Liverpool Acoustic Live event took place last Friday 23rd March at the View Two Gallery on Mathew Street. You’d probably think I’m biased if I say it was a fantastic night of live music, and you’d be right. But you don’t have to take my word for it – you just have to glance at the facebook pages of the musicians who played to see how much they enjoyed it. The opinion is shared by Roxanne de Bastion in her blog post about her trip to Liverpool, and the reviewer from Fatea magazine was equally impressed too when he wrote his review. And there can’t be too many events which have featured a random stranger from the audience joining the main act on harmonica, or have been sketched by a local artist (in this case, Jim Fleming).
|The finale from 23rd March 2012 © David Munn davidmunn.co.uk|
As I said, not everyone is going to be able to get a booking at Liverpool Acoustic Live, and short of turning it into a weekly event, or booking more acts with shorter sets (neither of which we want to do), there’s not a lot we can do about that. Personally, I blame the enormous pool of talent on the local acoustic scene for making the job so much harder! Some people criticise the event having never actually been to it themselves – we tend to just ignore them. Amazingly, some people are jealous when their muso friends are booked before they’ve been booked – we suggest they get over it and support their musician friends by being happy for them and (here’s a radical idea) actually coming along to the gig to support them. Surely even the most cynical, seasoned musician wouldn’t begrudge the likes of 15 year old Dominic Dunn 15 minutes in the spotlight, would they?
So if you’re a local musician and are wondering why we’ve not booked you yet then please understand it’s nothing personal, and it could even be that you haven’t actually asked yet!
Graham Holland is the owner and editor of the Liverpool Acoustic website, and runs Liverpool Acoustic’s live music events with local musician Stuart Todd. In real life he’s an e-learning teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator, has been producing podcasts on a regular basis since July 2006, and runs a number of websites for other organisations.
LIVERPOOL ACOUSTIC LIVE – BOOKING POLICY
- We like variety and will book any genre or type of music so long as (a) we like it, (b) we think it’s good enough, and (c) it has a prominent acoustic element to it.
- We won’t book anyone unless we’ve heard their music first, either live, online, or on CD.
- We tend not to book anyone unless they have at least one online presence (website, facebook, myspace, bandcamp, soundcloud, reverbnation, etc.) as it’s considerably harder to promote a musician otherwise.
- We promise to listen to the music of everyone who asks for a slot. If one of us likes it we’ll add you to the list of artists to consider. However, this isn’t a first-come, first served waiting list, and we don’t book people in the order they apply. Instead, for each event we carefully choose acts to create a varied, balanced and complimentary lineup of top-class acoustic music.
- We try to keep one slot at each event reserved for an out-of-town act, which means the list of these acts to be considered is even longer. We tend to book these slots many months in advance, and often to coincide with pre-arranged tours.
- With so many musicians, and a limited number of spaces to fill, the reality is that most people who apply won’t get a slot. We’re really sorry, but there’s nothing we can do about this. Please be assured, though, it’s not a reflection on your music or your ability as a musician.
- After we’ve covered our costs, the remaining money from tickets and door entries is divided between the artists, taking into account length of set, distance travelled, and any pre-arranged minimum fee or percentage.
- The View Two Gallery is a small venue, and with our set ticket price the amount of money we can pay out-of-town acts is limited. We will pay you as much as we can, but we can’t fund hotels or provide accommodation. If you’re looking for more than £100 as a minimum then this probably isn’t the event for you (unless you’re a big name and can guarantee a large turn-out!).
- Liverpool Acoustic will promote the event using the website, facebook, twitter, posters, flyers, and local media contacts on our events mailing list. In order to help us do this we ask artists to provide a biography, publicity photos, links to websites, and an mp3 of one of their songs to play on the Liverpool Acoustic Spotlight audio show (and other related shows).
- Artists are expected to fully utilise their website, profiles, mailing lists, etc, to do their bit to promote the gig and the sale of advance online tickets alongside the efforts already in place from Liverpool Acoustic.