Got a friendly email about this pre-Ike, but then it got swept to the side by all the storm winds & having no electricity at the house & yadda, yadda. Sorry about that, you guys! I swear I meant to post about it earlier on...
At any rate, the deal is that the three guys (Matthew Wettergreen, Ian Wells, & Philip Beck) who do the Revelry Report show on KTRU (6-7PM on Fridays) are organizing an event they're calling Bandcamp, which is meant to be a conference of sorts on the myriad problems/difficulties facing local musicians/bands and the H-town scene as a whole, with the end goal of, y'know, actually fucking doing something about it. The guys are planning discussions on all kinds of scene-/music-related stuff, workshops on promoting your band, instructional stuff on making the most of your studio time, and general meeting and greeting of (hopefully) everybody and anybody involved in this mess.
I know, I know -- this has been done before, with the get-togethers Ian Varley used to do (that've since passed on to Gina over at SugarHill), and probably other similar things besides that I can't dredge up out of my memory, but I'm extremely impressed with the Revelry guys' focus on actual, real results from this. Discussions about what's wrong and what's not are great, but I think it's going to be very useful for a lot of musicians to check out the workshops on booking, promoting, merchandising, etc. -- hell, I would've killed to go to something like that back when I was in a band.
Plus, at the end of the whole shebang, the goal is to pull together a set of recommendations, questions, and what-have-you to take to the city and see if things can be improved. These guys correctly recognize that in other major metropolitan areas with burgeoning scenes (Austin, S.F., Portland, etc., etc.), the cities themselves are just as big a booster as any local mag or blog, if not moreso. In all-business Houston, though, the definition of "The Arts" seems to generally end at the theatrical and visual, with only opera and classical music (and maybe country) being included in the pile. That's got to change if our diverse, multi-tentacled H-town scene is ever to get real recognition elsewhere. Thinking about it, hell, I can't believe it hasn't been taken to the City Council before now. (Maybe it has? I dunno...)
Hrm. I feel like I'm probably forgetting something, so I'm going to go ahead and plug in the manifesto the guys sent me, just to cover all the bases:
In the wake of these articles by multiple writers in Houston about the general dissarray of the Houston Music Scene we want to hold an open discussion/forum/conference to address some of the root problems. We'd like to open up discussion about the state of the Houston music scene and take steps towards rebooting and re-energizing the Houston music scene by teaching bands how to tour, merchandise, promote themselves on and offline, obtain licensing deals, etc. We're going to attempt to address all the things that go into running a successful band by inviting Houston bands that have expertise with one or more of these facets as well as inviting experts from around the nation to fly in. Another thing that we'd like to address is getting national awareness of the Houston music scene to those who don't pay attention because currently it's just a sleeping giant but we can all change that. The final goal is to begin a dialogue with the City of Houston on how they can provide more aid or support for musicians, similar to cities like Austin. Dan Workman (of Sugar Hill Studios) is on a City of Houston committee that addresses these specific questions and is going to go back to them with directives and suggestions.
And now, the ever-crucial details: Sunday, October 19th (it was originally scheduled for last month, but that damn Ike guy screwed things up there, too...), 12PM-5PM, at the Caroline Collective on the outskirts of downtown (4820 Caroline, to be precise). Oh, and it's free; all you've gotta do is register on the Bandcamp wiki site. (You can also check out who all else is registered & see the possible sessions there, too.)
Now, obviously, this ain't gonna work a bit if nobody shows up. So, if you A) give a damn at all about the continued survival and/or hopeful progression upwards of the Houston music scene, B) are fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out how to promote your band on your own w/no guidance, or C) just want to hang with the bright musical lights of this city, you need to just fucking go. Seriously. What've you got to lose, a couple hours on a Sunday? Houston is absolutely poised to become well-known nationally and beyond, and if those of us involved can figure out what we can do to push it forwards, I'd say it's well worth the time spent.
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