I’d like to continue working off last weeks topic about creating a sustainable career as a musician. I think that community is king, and everything comes back to connection. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat we are able to connect with one another in ways that have been impossible for all of human history. Artists and entrepreneurs alike are foolish not to use the godly tools the internet provides. (I’m still jumping on the train myself) We used to sell newspapers on the side of city streets, calling out to passerby hoping someone would take interest. Now, we have targeted marketing which can reach specific audiences based on their income, gender, buying patterns, hobbies, location, etc. Through the use of hashtags, and other social media tools we can push our art, message, advertisement, or business ideas to specific groups of people all over the world. Of course, there are questions of morality in some of the methods regarding privacy, and that is a whole other conversation in itself.
Although I am very interested in social media as serious way to spread my music, I haven’t quite immersed myself in it enough to write about it in depth. For now, I want to talk about connection without internet tools
I was recently at a folk festival called the Winter Hoot. The Hoot takes place every February at the Ashokan Center in New York’s Catskill Mountains on a beautiful old farm. The event is put together by Ruthy Ungar, and Mike Meranda of the incredible Folk/Americana band The Mammals, (with the help of many others, and a handful of volunteers). Musical acts play in various buildings on the property. Attendees can stay overnight with fellow music lovers, eat food from local vendors, swing dance, jam with other musicians, and walk through the hills and past the waterfall in the valley. Sounds like a dream, right?
(Winter Hoot 2018)
In this setting, fans are not just paying for music, they are paying for community. Once this is established, the music itself is lifted to a place of higher meaning. It becomes the social glue that brings people together. It seemed that everyone I met had either been there the year before, or were so happy they found it this year and couldn’t wait until the next. This shows some serious loyalty towards the festival.
Maybe we need to reimagine what the actual job title of an artist is. It used to be that (musical) artists must write, record, perform, sell and repeat. This is still true, but now there is even more to do. With modern recording technology and no monetary barriers to recording music, anyone can do it. Perhaps a career in music is more like a career in community outreach among fellow artists, business’s and listeners. Music must be a beacon for society, not only in connecting fans to the artist, but fans to each other as well!
For my own career, I’m really interested in house concerts, and would like to begin planning a series of shows around the capital district where I play my music in your homes among good company and food. If anyone is interested, just shoot me a message!
Thanks for giving your time,
P.S If the Winter Hoot peaked your interest there is a Summer Hoot as well in August, hope to see ya there!