Interviews on Gig Promotion

by John Briginshaw

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Contributing this project, I thought it would be useful to outline the experiences of two different people with experience of promoting gigs in Brighton. One as a promoter exclusively, the latter as a promoter/performer.  Originally this piece was to be centred around the metal scene or perceived lack thereof in Brighton, but later this discussion became broader in its leanings given the participants at hand. 

My first participant was Andy Rossiter, Events manager lecturer at BIMM Brighton and independent promoter of shows around Brighton. 

Q: What would you say are the main benefits of having Brighton as a city to promote live music? 

 

Generally I think the population of Brighton are people who enjoy going out and engaging with culture, including live music. Given its size it punches above its weight for many genres of music and gets bigger crowds than other, much larger cities. As a result it's less difficult to convince audiences to come to shows. It also is located close-ish to the ferries to Europe, so works well routing wise for Paris, Brussels etc. All of this also means that artists want to play the city, which makes it much easier to bring them to Brighton.

Q: In your opinion, would you say Brighton caters to a specific kind of music above others? I.e. Jazz, metal, folk etc. 

I can only speak from personal experience, but the live electronica scene is pretty poor. Metal can often struggle too. I work primarily in the experimental end of indie / folk / rock which is covered heavily by the likes for BBC Radio 6, Pitchfork, Resident etc, which helps bring in audiences.

 

Q: Would you say Brighton's live music scene is directly impacted by its demographic? (which is to say loosely that it is a city of vibrancy with regard to the different types of people circulating within it). 

Not sure I understand this question, but I guess I covered it a bit in the first question. Brighton is essentially a creative party town, so there is a lot of culture being made and as a result a lot of people move here to engage in culture. This creates a circular model where the creatives are well supported locally, meaning more of them get well known, meaning more people move to Brighton to create or consume culture. That said, it is a small place, so if you end up putting on a show on a busy night you can find yourself coming unstuck.

 

Q: Are there any negatives that have presented themselves to you, specifically related to Brighton, when you have promoted gigs? 

Well, it may sound funny but it's coastal so your catchment area is half that of a city surrounded by land. It's also a very competitive market, with a lot of live music promoters all vying for the same artists, venues and audiences. It's also an increasingly expensive place to live which means that when the economy is in the dumps like it is at the moment people can struggle to afford to go to shows as regularly as they would like.

 

Q: How does Brighton compare to other cities, in your experience regarding promoting gigs? 

I can only really compare it to Southampton, but I promoted there a long time ago and my experiences may not hold up these days. What I would say is that the infrastructure for live music is good, with a lot of bands, venues, promoters, printers, poster distributors, reps, box office staff etc you can make use of which can't be said for every town / city.

My Second participant was Felix Clement, frontman, accordionist, manager and promoter of Brighton based folk/trad group ‘The Captains Beard’

Q: What would you say are the main benefits of having Brighton as a city to promote live music? 

Brighton is a large city with a population that almost doubles at the weekend so there’s definitely a decent turnover of different people visiting who can be reached by your music.

 

Q: In your opinion, would you say Brighton caters to a specific kind of music above others? I.e. Jazz, metal, folk etc. 

At the moment there’s a lot of low effort tock music with oblique lyrics. I tend to use the Hope and Ruin as a decent venue to gauge what’s popular in Brighton at the moment. 

 

Q: Would you say Brighton's live music scene is directly impacted by its demographic? (which is to say loosely that it is a city of vibrancy with regard to the different types of people circulating within it). 

I’d say the music scene caters to students. So students are the main demographic that influences the music scene here.

 

Q: Are there any negatives that have presented themselves to you, specifically related to Brighton, when you have promoted gigs? 

Finally... 

Yes, I play traditional folk music which doesn’t have a scene in Brighton. We’ve been playing for 10 years and we’re Brighton based. If we play in Lewes, Eastbourne, Hastings, or even somewhere far away like Weymouth, we will sell out no problem. Probably because of the older demographic in those places. But in Brighton, our hometown, we will struggle to sell out.

 

Q: How does Brighton compare to other cities, in your experience regarding promoting gigs? 

 

There’s a lot going on here so you’re competing with many other events. That can make it difficult.