The buy local bandwagon is huge and we are seeing more and more markets pop up around Wairarapa. I don’t personally shop at all of the markets but it is healthy and uplifting to see lots of my business friends off to sell their wares.
It’s a shame the same can’t be said for Wairarapa music. You can talk to any musician, especially a writing musician and they will lament about how difficult it is to get people out to watch friends and neighbours perform live and original music. If our music was a shoe, or a bottle of drink or perhaps a vegetable, we could create a hometown buzz about it and showcase the sound at a market.
No one seems to see any value in music in the buy local products campaign, preferring instead to go out and listen to a tribute or covers band, where the music is most likely conceived offshore.
Local music is like local history, it has a sense of place, it is influenced by the local writer and musician, it is full of references to what makes that person who they are. What makes people so averse to trying out new local music? It doesn’t seem to be the same for products.
You could say that we don’t market ourselves correctly, well, that isn’t true really. Spank spend money on advertising, posters, we do a large amount by word of mouth, we do interviews with the local paper. In fact when we have an event coming up I do more advertising for that than I would for my business.
I listen to local radio that features a local presenter at breakfast time but there is no local music on the show. I enjoy the Up With People radio show, I enjoy Mark’s stories about the songs but more often than not it’s all music from elsewhere.
Where can we feature local songwriters? Perhaps this is a job for newsnet.live.
Our society seems to have lost the value of supporting local music. With the invention of Spotify and iTunes people tune to what they know, they don’t seem to want to take a risk on the unknown. Recording albums has become merely a vanity project, setting up gigs is becoming that way too. What has happened to people going out to discover the beauty and diversity of the local music scene.
Wairararpa had two finalists at the 2016 Battle of the Bands in Manawatu, two regional finalists at college level at Smokefree Rockquest in Manawatu, a finalist at college level at Smokefree Rockquest in Wellington, and our Masterton Intermediate School band, Adrenaline Rush, were last year just the latest MIS band to win the Intermediate schools’ Battle of the Bands.
We have a thriving undercurrent of talented young musicians who go out of the area to play because there is no demand. Yet when an old favourite stalwart of the scene or a Wellington band come over, everyone buys tickets and goes out to watch because it is safe. A thriving and growing music scene needs support. When a music event is happening in your area acknowledge it, research it and perhaps spend $10 and a few hours of your time appreciating it. You might find a hidden gem.
Music is an art form, it is meant to challenge you. Stop playing safe and buy local. Local music is a local product.