Cheap Ways to Help Make Your Band Successful

Posted in DJ's, Event Holding, Music

Whether you play in front of your friends or crowds of thousands of adoring fans, there are certain steps that your band must take in order to be taken seriously. It is no secret that making it as a band is hard and there are thousands of bands that for whatever reason fail to break into the commercial market. Now there is no sure fire way to ensure that your band is going to be successful but there are certain steps that you really should take to give it the best chance of succeeding.

First and foremost you must take it seriously; if you are really hoping for a successful music career then you must treat your band and band duties as work and act accordingly. Designated practice sessions are vital to ensuring that your ability both as an individual and as a band continue to improve, treat these practice times as though you were at work and you will find that you become far more productive. If you take your work seriously then it is far more likely that people will take you seriously and are more likely to invest in you. There are many places out there dedicated to spotting new talent such as the BBC, why not look here for more information on getting your music some attention.

Secondly is to build a real band identity, cover versions are great to start with and can really help you to see what direction you want to take, after a while though you need to start creating your own material. If you have a similar mindset and ability as the rest of your band then this process will happen very naturally and will be incredibly rewarding.  Once you have perfected a few tracks then it is worth putting together a CD of your sound to distribute among friends and family, ask them to be honest and you will receive useful feedback. If you are unsure of how to go about making a CD then click here for a link to a company that can help you.

Arguably the most important step is to arrange gigs for your band to showcase your talent to the public, there is nothing like a drunken pub crowd to let you know if you are substandard. The impact of these gigs is helped by having the right sort of equipment; the right lighting can change it from an open-mic night to a real gig experience for your audience. If you want to be taken seriously but perhaps cannot afford the expensive equipment needed then fear not as you can always rent this equipment, follow this link for a specialist supplier of lighting and DJ equipment.

So if you want to start out in a band or are just stuck in a rut with your band then why not follow these simple steps to really change the fortune of your musical career.

Top 5 essentials for the summer’s festivals

Posted in Festivals

FestivalWith the British summer in full swing and each weekend offering another selection of large and small festivals across the country, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a few days’ holiday and get back to nature. Here is a top 5 list of the must have summer festival essentials:

1. Ticket – As obvious as it sounds many people can fall at the first hurdle and fail to get a ticket to their favourite festival. Tickets usually go on sale during the autumn and winter months and depending on demand can sell out within hours.  Use well known ticketing sights such as See Tickets to see what’s on and to avoid purchasing fraudulent tickets.

2. Tent – The majority of festivals including camping for the weekend, meaning you need to invest in a good tent. Have a listen to this BBC Radio 4 show  talking about the rise in popularity of the pop up tent and how they have revolutionised the festival experience. The ease and speed of carrying and putting up a pop up tent lets festival goers spend less time struggling with heavy bags, guide ropes and tent pegs and more time enjoying the weekend. Companies like Cinch Pop Up Tents have great examples of the latest lightweight pop up tents for you to have a look at. In addition to the tent, try and source some form of deck chair or stool so you can avoid sitting in puddles and mud if the weather decides to try and spoil your fun.

3. Food and Drink – Even though every festival will have a good range of food and drink stalls onsite, their price and quality can differ a lot. To save a bit of money, make sure you pack a bit of food in your bag for mornings and night time when you’re most likely to get a little peckish. Biscuits, crisps, sausage rolls and other such picnic foods are perfect for festivals, requiring no effort and staying fresh throughout the weekend. Avoid anything that needs cooking and food that goes off quickly as these will begin to frustrate you and smell over time. Most festivals have restrictions on glass bottles so to avoid having your alcohol confiscated make sure you dispense everything into plastic bottles before arriving.

4. Wellies – As beautiful as the weather may seem conditions can rapidly change at a festival, going from a dust bowl to a swamp in a matter of hours. Invest in a good pair of wellies to tackle the unpredictable weather and they may just be the difference between happiness and misery. Make sure your wellies, and all other footwear, are comfortable and fit nicely, as four days of constant wear in uncomfortable shoes can have fairly nasty consequences. Take a look at some great festival wellies from companies such as Welly Warehouse and pick a pair to travel with you to every future festival.

5. Essential Kit – The final piece of advice is to have a bag of essential care products to provide some necessary comfort and hygiene for the festival. The most important of these is sun cream, as you will spend considerable time in direct sunlight with no assurance of shade during the hottest times of the day. A decent hat and sunglasses will also help you avoid suffering at the hands of the sun and getting sunstroke. Baby wipes can double up as wash wipes and toilet roll, keeping you clean and fresh even if the weather decides to turn. Finally paracetamol may well prove to be your best friend the morning after a night of festivities, as a headache will not make you feel ready for another day of music and merriment.

Whether you are a festival veteran or a first timer these simple tips will help you cover all the essentials, allowing you to make the most of your weekend and enjoy the event. The best advice is to know your limits and look after your body. If you start to feel the heat take an hour or so to regenerate and keep well hydrated and this way you can keep going for the whole weekend.

The Spotify Debate: Building Your Band with Digital Downloads

Posted in Music

Some conversations simply never go away: as video killed the radio star, so too have downloads made trawling through the racks in a record store a rare occurrence. Digital music is here to stay but the question is how and where to source it. Thom Yorke and long-time collaborator, Nigel Godrich have refused to include this year’s Amok album on the popular Spotify service and have also removed Radiohead’s back catalogue. Their beef is that the service pays a pittance per stream of a song and artists are losing out. Their move away from the site is a protest vote. You can read more about the debate on the Guardian website, www.guardian.co.uk/music/shortcuts/2013/jul/15/spotify-musicians-money-thom-yorke.

The merits and demerits of Spotify are difficult to quantify. For music fans, it can be a great resource as it allows you to try before you buy a new album whilst the ‘similar artists’ function can be a great way of finding new music. The collection is somewhat greater than that of your local record store although you might miss the cardigan and beard that record store owners invariably sported. Being able to take a virtual tour through musical history is appealing though. Whether through Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes, YouTube or Amazon, you can build up a vast network of musical knowledge and preferences and organise your libraries of music in the way you wish.

The argument is that bands receive next to nothing in exchange for their work. For a stream on Spotify, bands can expect to receive a fraction of a penny per track. You can see in The Guardian an estimate of revenue bands can receive from various endeavours, http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/shortcuts/2013/jul/15/spotify-musicians-money-thom-yorke?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487 : compare a fraction of a penny for a stream on Spotify to the thousands of pounds bands can make from allowing their music to be used in an advertising campaign.

Many believe that downloads and albums are better considered as sales pitches for live gigs, given that the latter makes bands more money. Nonetheless, there are several added functions with digital downloads and many new ways to use them. Not only does adding a digital download to a CD or vinyl release add value and convenience for the customer but they also allow bands to generate mailing lists and online contacts as individuals often have to register to access the tracks. Key Production have come up with a few more great ways of using digital downloads. If you look at their website, www.keyproduction.co.uk/services/mp3-download, you can see how you can register with them and they will give you special access codes and a URL link for downloads which you can apply as a sticker to anything you like! This could be merchandise at a gig, a business card or even used in a guerrilla marketing strategy.

When trying to build the reputation of your band, it is important to think holistically about how to show off the things you do best! Longevity is more than likely a greater aim than riches. Great gigs will be spoken about for years to come and with sites like SoundHalo, http://soundhalo.com/ you can have them immortalised and available for fans to download and keep.

By harnessing these new ways of using digital technology, bands can build and maintain a profile based on the things they wish to be known for, whether that’s great studio recordings or stellar live performances. It is for every artist to decide for themselves which mediums to utilise; Spotify is one of many options and arguably, this potential to choose is one of the best things about digital culture.

Family Friendly Festivals

Posted in Festivals

Festivals for FamiliesKids are getting off school now for the summer term and it is no joke that keeping children entertained over the summer is a busy business. A great way to fulfil a full weekend or few days is to whisk them off to a family friendly festival that will benefit everyone, both you and your kids. Family friendly festivals are fantastic and most provide family camping that is a decision that you must decide before you leave.

A camping trip and a festival in one can combine the perfect holiday, but if camping isn’t your thing, and certainly not your kids, it’s best to avoid the festivals that require long distance travelling where you would need to stay over. If you love camping then great! Check out some of these affordable festivals to get you started:

These are few of hundreds of festivals out there but these provide weekend camping and the opportunity of a full holiday. Festivals like these are designed to be cheap and cheerful, and they can be as inexpensive as you wish!  We’ve put together some fantastic tips to keep your festival experience exciting, fun and within your budget.

BBQ

This may not be allowed in some festivals but enquire before you set off to make sure. If you are permitted to BBQ onsite then you are on to a winner! Brining along a small BBQ and your own food will save you a fortune. Disposable BBQ’s are fantastic and to keep the kids entertained, check out Partycare which provide party supplies with their favourite characters or football team on, so that they will be able to drag themselves away from the fantastic entertainment that the festival is providing. In such a busy weekend the kids and you, will be surprised how tired and hungry you will become from all the entertainment and excitement.  Disposable options for cutlery, plates, cups and the BBQ itself, allows for minimal rubbish when going home and your load will become lighter as the weekend progresses.

Tents

Tents come in various sizes and shapes these days. If you have small children opt for all in one room tents so you can keep a close eye on them. If your children are slightly older get a tent with more than one compartment and allow them the independence of having their own room. Cheap tents and camping equipment are easy to come by nowadays, with great discount offers on sites such as Argos, therefore there is no need to worry about the expense. Also investing in a decent tent means you can use it in the future providing fantastic memories and great family holidays. There is always the option of leaving the tent behind if you choose not to keep it therefore the low costly ones will be of the best benefit.

Ear Plugs

This might seem like an odd buy but earplugs will be one of the most beneficial things to have! Don’t forget it will not just be your family or families at these festivals, and they can get quite noisy at night time. www.allearplugs.com have a range of earplugs available and despite being cheap, they are as effective, and for the value of the weekend, don’t splash out too much as you are more than likely to throw them away or certainly lose some. Buy multiple packs and choose a kids option for the children as they will be stronger and smaller for their smaller ears! A good night’s sleep for both you and your children will be in order as it will be a busy weekend, and without the sleep, you will never manage to get through it. Remember, you are not 18 years old anymore and the partying will take its toll!

If you want more information and a full listing for kid friendly, festivals check out the Guardians Top 10.

A Very Cornish Festival

Posted in Event Holding, Festivals, Music, Music Tickets

Boardmasters 2013 is the ultimate summer festival situated in the stunning Cornwall itself. Most of us are suffering horribly from the current economic state of the UK and quite frankly it isn’t fixing itself anytime soon. Thanks to this little dilemma I can’t get away on holiday this year as every penny has to be spent wisely and then I came across this fantastic festival in Cornwall. In the grand scale of things, as festivals go, this one is a lot cheaper, and in my personal opinion, has much more to offer.

Music festivals are brilliant for a smelly weekend, bad camping and one big booze up, but sometimes it would be nice to attend a festival that is much more chilled out, AND you won’t need to shower five times on your return home. You get a taste of the culture that Cornwall is so full off and you get the live music scene as well headlining this year some outstanding acts such as Ben Howard, The Vaccines and Basement Jaxx, few amongst many. The tickets range from £99 to £129 which is nothing in comparison to most festivals.

But why is it so good? Well there are different events throughout the day such as surfing and BMX and skateboarding events. There is literally something for everyone to be interested in and that is what a festival, in my eyes, should deliver. There is nothing worse than going to a festival that in the end has absolutely nothing good about. Boardmasters has some pretty outstanding reviews on Bring The Noise, a popular site that reviews many different festivals, so if you are unsure check it out and it will certainly make your mind up!

Cornwall is full of culture, history and brilliant things to do, so it is an opportunity to make a brilliant holiday out of the festival. If camping isn’t your style then get a few friends together and rent yourself a cottage or apartment. They’re self-catered which gives you the freedom of what you get to eat and bring with you. Check out Duchy Holidays who have a range of cottages and apartments available in the Cornwall area. You can choose your accommodation to suit you, so it can be as close or as far away from the festival itself, just in case you wish to remove yourself from all the madness.

surfer

While you’re there you may as well stay an extra day and taste some of the fantastic local sourced food available and chill out on the beautiful beaches. There is a stack to do in Cornwall and there is a tonne of information available on Visit Cornwall to get your brain thinking on different kinds of things to do. But honestly, the list is endless! Just remember, you don’t need to be jetting off half way round the world for some decent weather and beaches, you will be surprised how much the good old UK has to offer once you look into it!