60487714_331289560889406_5618553556656193536_nFor the last few weeks I have been working for an events company. Although they have a background in sports talks they were putting together a “Back to the 80’s” event at Old Town Bowl, the idea being that as the 80’s revival vibe is pretty much covered by synth bands and established local cover acts, delivering a series of artists doing 80’s songs but in slightly different ways might be a different take on things. And so 80:Three, a conventional pop cover band, Emily-Jane Sheppard performing a tailor made solo set, Sonore String Quartet and Ghetto Blasters brass to headline were hired in to offer something leaning to the more unusual.

At the point of me working with the company things were well underway, or so it seemed and my role was promotion and social media, that sort of thing. It quickly became clear that there were many, many holes in the arrangements so far made, including them not having secured a PA, a task which was dropped on my desk with less than a week to go. Glastonbury week, when every PA company in the South West was hiring out and working at that not so small event.

But I managed to get them a PA, though the company was short of crew. I then managed to hire a sound engineer and between the two of us became the technical wing of the event…let me tell you putting in a 15 hour day and setting up and decanting (I’m sure that’s the word) a festival size rig really came as a shock to my out of shape body.

But it all worked, the bands all came and went…perfectly to time, the stalls all reported reasonable takings, the Bowl had a reasonable but slightly smaller than expected crowd and the event seemed like a great success. A visit from the council inspectors even left us with a warm and positive glow. Then as we were packing up and ushering people out…the complaints started. People moaned that they couldn’t bring picnics in whilst saying that here should have been more food options as well. The beer at £4.00 a pint was too expensive, the music, though delivering what was advertised was not what people want. Some said that nothing interesting ever happens in Swindon but this was too different. One person even said that they hoped that we lose so much money that we don’t get to put anything else on. A nice thing to say to people putting their first event on and learning steeply with every hour that passed. I think her wish has come true.

Then the real clincher came from an unexpected direction. On the Tuesday after the event I was told that I was being let go as (having plugged all of the holes in their event and worked my day off to help staff it) I was an “unnecessary expense.” A bit of a blow, especially after a few months earlier being told that the Swindon Advertiser was dropping my music what’s on column of 9 years for being ” no longer compatible with the on-line direction that the paper is going in*.” To lose one job in 6 months is careless enough but to loose two….

So between the organisers and the punters attitudes and lack of gratitudes, this story probably goes some way to explaining why there isn’t much out of the ordinary going on in Swindon. It also explains why most of my efforts these days go to writing about and promoting bands in the Minneapolis and Berlin, New York and London (in that order) rather than worry about anything happening in my own post code.

* it was replaced with a column cut and pasted from bands own event descriptions.

 

 

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