Peter Has Band Advice, Festival News, and a Remarkable Young Film-Maker

Summer is finally here….almost. Summer in Canada means barbeques, backyards, balconies, beaches, bathing suits, baseball, beer and badminton. (Enough with the alliteration, already. Get on with it. Ed.)

Summer in Canada also means that the days are growing longer. Gone are the dreary months of only seeing that pale yellow orb in the sky on weekends and sick days. Life moves outdoors as much as possible as we frequent patios, campgrounds and parks, squeezing every possible second of fun that we can out of this fleeting season, for we know that the leaves that shade us in July will need to be raked up and disposed of properly in October. (Mother Nature always bats last.)

Summer in Canada, and more germanely for this column, in Ontario, means festival time as well, and even more germanely to this column, music festival time. The wide spectrum of music which we are blessed with is being celebrated in a variety of locations across the province. Naturally most of these will be held over weekends, but some will be held during the week, as the summer is always a popular time for Canadians to take vacation.

If you’re interested in attending any of these festivals, you have the perfect research tool at your fingertips, in fact, you’re looking right at it. A simple internet “search”, using filters ranging from location to genre of music, will pay dividends. Let’s take a look at a few of these upcoming events, but before we do, let me give the class a few of my thoughts on festivals.

1)If possible, buy a wristband for admission. This truly is a “win win” situation, as not only does it give the festival a little more financial stability, not to mention concrete data for everything from publicity, i.e. “…we sold 20% more wristbands this year…” to planning on a venue basis to forecasting on a programming basis.  Measurable data is immeasurably valuable to a festival planning team.

And you, the attendee, you benefit too. It’s certainly cheaper than paying individual admissions to the various stages, saves you the annoyance of dipping into your pocket every time you do so and also lends you marvellous “tactical flexibility”. Are you not enjoying the band you’re seeing right now? (And yes, it can happen, though not very often.) Well, just move seamlessly to another part of the festival. Does a friend text you and tell you that they’re seeing an amazing band “The Hopping Hobbits” a) at another stage? Well, you too can just slide over and see them. You have the freedom to do that, because you had the foresight to buy a wristband. As an aside, if you compare the price of a festival long wristband to the average ticket price of one event at a “big box venue”, you might be very surprised at how much you can save.

2) There’s an old saying; “Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted”. Having found a suitable festival, look into such things as parking, accommodations food services etc.. Don’t stop there, though. Check the lineup. There will (usually) be some well known “heavy hitter” groups. There will also be a number of lesser, though very good, groups. Take the time to go to some of these lesser known bands’ b) pages. Don’t be afraid to go outside your musical comfort zone, either. Watch one or two of their videos, see what you think of them. If you like them, make a note of it. If you don’t like them, check out another band. It’s a great way to spend an hour or so and be able to do some planning of your own.

Here’s a note to bands, as I’ve noted in previous columns. Make sure that your page reflects not only your music, but your current lineup. Make sure that your videos reflect your music as well. 35 second videos about your band’s misadventures at a drive through are funny in their own way, but they don’t promote your music, which should be the driving force behind your page, after all. Include at least two full music videos, at least one of which is from a live show. Great way to show how you interact, not only with the audience, but as a band. Sort of “an audition in a file”, useful not only to potential concertgoers, but to potential concert bookers too. Make a video like this. Looks good, sounds good, shows the music, the band, and the vibe.

Have your whole band “buy into” your page and have someone monitor it so timely responses are possible. You have to build your fanbase one person at a time. Sounds like a lot of hard work, and it is, but then you get to make music, and that’s the fun part. c)

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On to a couple of upcoming festivals now.

The “Roxodus” festival will be held from July 11-14, at the Edenvale Airport. (Yesterday was the deadline to have your wristband mailed to you, by the way.) As the poster shows, there will be some big name bands there d). However, there are also some “up and coming” musicians who will be performing. The festival page gives you much more exhaustive coverage of what will be going on over those four days than I could possibly cram into this column, so give it careful study, if you’re so inclined. I would like to mention two of the “up and coming” musicians whom I have had the pleasure to see live.

First, Barrie’s own The Noolands. I first saw them at Toronto’s legendary “Horseshoe Tavern”. They’re a fine band and pleased to be playing the same stage as “Aerosmith”. Here is one of their latest songs, (“The Noolands”, not “Aerosmith”), “Nine to Five”. As with any band I mention in my column, your ears will thank you.

Lyric Dubee is also local to the Barrie area. He impressed me a great deal when I first saw him perform. Like any good, dedicated musician, he is writing, releasing and performing, getting his message out there. He just completed a stint in Bermuda, and he too, is playing at “Roxodus”. One of his recent releases is titled “Shoulda Went Home”.

The final festival I’m going to mention this week is the famous “Mariposa Folk Festival”. This will run from July 5-7 at Tudhope Memorial Park in Orillia, my old stomping grounds in more ways than one. (I grew up on Franklin Street in Orillia during the fall, winter and spring. During the summer, I grew up at Moose Beach! Great times, great people, great memories!)

This festival has been running for over 50 years, and offers you exposure to song and dance and other feel good stuff that you would probably not be able to do outdoors at Tudhope Park on January 6, (at least not wearing shorts, a t shirt and flip flops). If you’re interested, take a look at this festival’s most informative Facebook page. It looks like it will be a great festival. The only down side which I can see is that my DBAWIS cohort Pat Blythe will be there with her keen eye for photographic composition. As her column comes out the day before mine, once again she’ll set the bar very high. ( Eerily, her latest column appeared in my inbox just as I was putting this baby to bed!)

So there you go, there’s a start for you. Lots of great outdoor music to see in Ontario this summer, and it ain’t all in Toronto. I hope you can out to one or more of these festivals, but at least, I hope you can take the time to listen to some of this great contemporary music which is blossoming all around us.

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One of my goals in writing this column is to introduce you to creative, talented people in different disciplines of the arts.  I feel that these people are well worth looking into, whether they are a musician or, as in my last example this week, a filmmaker.

Ava Young is my dear girlfriend Lois’ great niece. She has also won several awards for her work.

Having graduated from the Etobicoke School of the Arts, Ava is currently studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is working this summer here in Toronto in the film industry. She has made a number of films and has a You Tube channel where they can be seen.

I have posted one of her films below. You can find her other videos on her You Tube Channel by clicking here. Her father had posted this one, “Sunsets”, on Facebook, effusive in his praise, and I thought “Ah, typical parental, paternal hyperbole.” Boy, was I wrong!

It’s a short film, just over 7 minutes, so she doesn’t have a lot of time for character or plot development, but she does a masterful job with the time she does have, and the cast is great. We hear snippets of conversation between two friends, but it’s not garden variety “generation Y-bother” e) blather about celebrities or advances in nail polish technology. I found the film made me think about a number of things, such as how little time we have, and how precious both time and true friendship are.. I must confess that my eyes were damp when I finished watching it the first time. And the second.

To be honest, it took me a few seconds to “get” what she was doling with her camera work, but everything fell into place once I realized what she was trying to “say”. She shows excellent promise and will only get better with experience. She had been interviewed by someone who had seen this short at a film festival and also been impressed. I contacted them about quoting from their article but did not hear back by my deadline. Suffice it to say that Ava projects in the interview as a self assured, self reliant young filmmaker and feminist . She has tremendous potential and the drive to realize it.

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So that’s it for this week. As I often say, “This is a troubled world, but there are troubadours out there with a message for us, if we take the time to listen.”

Have a great summer, see you soon.

  1. a) Name of a fictitious group which I coined at the request of our long suffering legal department.
  2. b) Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re unknowns just because you’ve never of them, by the way.
  3. c) Some of this is based on video of a interview with Matt Groopie, an extremely talented and hardworking musician/booker. Matt was interviewed at Cherry Cola’s Rock N Rolla Cabaret and Lounge in Toronto by Hartley Pickens of See Rock Live Magazine.
  4. d) Strangely enough, I didn’t become interested in “Aerosmith” until my 50s. Is that TMI?
  5. e) Term I coined after an unfortunate experience with people who should have known better.
=PJM=

2 Responses to “Peter Has Band Advice, Festival News, and a Remarkable Young Film-Maker”

  1. Great info! Nicely done. Love the video.

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