Greetings Manc Review readers.
Survive the summertime. Music venues at this time of year go through a very tough time coping with the drop in attendance figures, open air music festivals and the media limelight they receive are only a part of the many factors that draw away regular crowds from indoor stages during the Summer. This column is my gift to all those who for whatever reason avoid the culture of music festivals.
Many normal or would-be gig goers between the age of 16-24 are College or University music students who once relieved from their educational confines until the next term in September have an entire quarter of a year of free time to alleviate stress or forward their career. Of course for some begins the initial shock from completing their music degree only to discover that there are no actual jobs in music unless you are self employed. Jaws drop when their music industry teacher concludes their final year with “Goodbye, that’s all I can teach you, see you at the Wilkinsons checkout” followed by “Don’t even think about becoming a fucking music teacher otherwise I’ll fight you in the carpark”.
Suddenly the only trips to venues made by music students are one’s enquiring if there are any jobs available, music business or management students with BA (Hons) suddenly get a cold wiff of career reality shoved in their normally smitten pale faces when the band they hoped to continue managing after completing University has split up due to musical differences, or in layman’s terms; the alarming discovery that wedding bands are a more reliable and profitable source of income than their current Kaiser Chiefs inspired original indie act. Facebook during the Summer transforms into a continuous news feed stream of band retirement announcements, the funniest of which for me was seeing “We Will Never Surrender have disbanded”.
Those who do find part time jobs in music, normally at venues or clubs, often find that the once massive road of opportunity has successfully narrowed or obliterated their social life and now despite working in the music industry the bulk of their evenings consist of being tied to weekly set hours spent working indoors during late shifts whilst remaining sober in order to become a responsible employee. All of this is demanding on your socialite ways or extremely limiting and awkward if you ever decide to try and become Batman at the same time. Due to ungodly hours and lifestyle the only real windows of escapism revealing what the rest of the music scene is doing around them is in their free time which obviously revolves around their tri-daily masturbating sessions.
The once arguably insightful and informative media outlets (newspapers and radio) become polluted throughout the summer with over-saturated music festival news because organisers are also paying them lots of cash for advertising which is generated from advance ticket sales, all the profit made from the previous year, booming sales of horse meat and a loan from Satan, leaving anyone without tickets to WankBuryStock to feel detached, bewildered, forced to appreciate the company they keep, or even resort to reading the monthly rantings of a music columnist such as me who to them is possibly either a lifeline or an annoying opinionated know it all.
Not all bands perform at music festivals during the Summer, many use it as an opportunity to go on tour, escape their mundane town or city, ordering their fanbase to follow them like heat-seeking missiles as they jettison up and down the motorway crammed inside a white van on a search for new fans like a wishful thinking Star Trek away team, which when you sit down and actually think about the shift in demographics during this season is almost an insane suicide mission because every other town and city has their bands doing the exact same thing, meaning that by the time any touring band reaches a new city the inhabitants have fucked off along with their local bands who are probably all arriving at the out of town band’s hometown wondering “Where the fuck is everyone?”. Meanwhile everyone else is in ibiza avoiding date rape drinks, stuffing themselves with legal alleged highs in a wigwam at Glastonbury, stuck in a summer job paying off their student loan or lay at home wanking over the thought of watching Simon Cowell sucking off a dog on ITV. This is your summer and it’s all your fault.
Have a great summer.
Nick J.Townsend is the vocalist and guitarist for British band WEAK13. An experienced underground musician, music promoter and zine columnist. He is also a TV supporting Actor and has appeared in shows such as Shameless (ch4), Hustle (bbc) and Young Dracula (bbc).