They played real good for free

Last night I went to an "open mike" session - where musicians meet at a pub or a club and play their songs. For free. (KT Tunstall started out just like this, and many others).

There were about eight acts, gathered in a tiny pub in Scotland, with players from all over the United Kingdom and beyond; one group performed traditional Swedish Folk songs, another sang in Portuguese. Someone else did a pitch perfect a-cappella folk ballad.

The standard was astonishing. We sat there listening to act after act of committed, original performances from people who had turned up to play for the love of it. It cost me the price of a few pints of beer. There were no nightmare parking scenarios and no crushes.

I see a lot of these events and I come into contact with musicians on all levels of the business. It appalls me that there is so much talent out there and so much apathy among the general public here in Scotland. Nobody wants to take a chance on an unknown performer.

So why pay fifty quid to see a sixties has-been well past their sell-by date, when you may chance upon some stellar talent. Look around? Open your ears. They play real good for free.

And ditch the bloody television while you are at it!


subrosa said...

Live music such as this was common back in the 60s and 70s. Until recently Dougie MacLean used to have 'open mike' at the Tay Hotel, Dunkeld until he sold it. Mainly Scottish folk there but still a super atmosphere and some expert players.

Publicity is the problem I'm told by a local folk group here. It's expensive to advertise and they rely on pub customers to pass the word.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

That's what we find, Rosa.

In a very small way, I promote and manage accoustic acts. The prevalent thinking is that you beef up your database. Geting bums on seats is the problem, not talent.

if you are interested.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

I'll play if you have some money WW;-)

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Welcome, Conan. I always keep an open mind! I am a big Jethro Tull fan as it happens, and know some of the original members, and one in particular who I am proud to call a friend.

Conan the Librarian™ said...


Fist time I've said/typed THAT for a long time.

But no other word seems to fit, somehow ;-)