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Backstage in June
just made it ... with the help of the sound of the sea and some good festival vibes
I am listening to …
Anna Phoebe’s By the Sea (Anna is a violinist and composer working on cross-genre solo and collaborative projects).
Imagine sitting on a pier somewhere in a northern fishing village, late at night on one of these never-ending summer days, with a calm sea and a gentle breeze.
I am reading …
Devotion by Hannah Kent. I loved her first book Burial Rites, and this one does not disappoint. Kent is a beautiful storyteller and sets scenes just right. She draws you into the world of 19th-century Old Lutherans in Northern Germany who are suffering persecution, just as easily as taking you along on their voyage to Australia, sharing the hardship on board an overcrowded vessel.
The main character, Hanne, is a 15 year old girl on the cusp of having to enter the harsh realities of becoming a woman. Hanne has always felt out of place and more of an observer until she meets Thea, and discovers friendship and more.
I am looking at …
classical music album covers and I like where it's heading. More and more covers are now so imaginative, and often striking. The artwork does play an important part in connecting with the audience, old friends, and newcomers. It has to look equally good on screen, mobile, or CD sleeve. Recognition and attraction to make you stop scrolling make visuals important.
First impressions are everything in a highly competitive market. If the audience connects with the artwork, they already have an emotional appreciation of the album before even listening to it. It adds to how an audience forms an opinion of the musician, ensemble, and their programme choices and interpretation.
The classical music scene is still way behind other genres, but check out Manchester Collective’s newest album; we might be getting somewhere.
A cover should be striking, clear, witty, memorable, tell a story, make you look twice or curious, capture the identity of the music, reflect the personality of the artists - maybe not all at the same time, but one can try ;-)
Have a look at these examples below. Do they catch your eye and imagination? Are you keen to find out more?
I am thinking about …
a few music websites I came across recently:
a concert hall adds a booking fee of £4. Why show it? Why not absorb it? (Especially as this particular venue has an in-house booking system). It reminds me of booking a holiday home in which they bill you separately for sheets and cleaning.
an ensemble homepage immediately asks for a donation, followed by outdated news from the previous year. It takes a while to get to the diary (they have a concert scheduled on the day I check their site) or find out what the ensemble is actually all about. Money is tight, but a proper introduction goes a long way in helping to get donations.
a revamped int. festive website, introduced with much fanfare is somewhat underwhelming (especially shocking is the obvious use of some stock photos). But good-looking websites do not have to be expensive anymore, so budget restrains are really no excuse.
They also have not included a team page. But we all know how much team effort (and goodwill) is needed to run these festivals. Don’t hide the team!
a small but perfectly formed and dare I say charming music festival in the countryside: however, transport links, taxi numbers and programme lengths etc. are not included on their website, which makes it just that extra bit more difficult for outsiders to plan ahead (though the locals might just want to keep the festival for themselves anyway ;-)
All of these are easy fixes. Get some users (old and new) to look over your site from time to time. Their brains are on this journey for the first time, so they are paying more attention to the details, and not anticipating the final destination.
and I like …
to stumble across last minute concert opportunities. I found this one recently on Instagram (and added a comment):
Father and Son have a recording coming out soon. I need to keep you posted about that if you like to listen to some smashing Geminiani and more.
Thanks so much for reading, see you in July
PS There is a lot of reading, listening, research and travel involved in my line of work; I stumble across many interesting things and ideas I can't just leave behind so I decided to write about them and share with you.