Aug 18,19,20 tickets

Category Archives: Workshops

On the Road Survival with Samantha Martin

Travel can be exhausting and for touring musicians everyday travel struggles come with the added pressure to perform at your best every time you take to the stage. Five Time Maple Blues Award Nominee and Grey Bruce musical export Samantha Martin will return to Owen Sound on July 16th to share the tips and strategies that touring musicians use to keep themselves at the top of their game while on tour. The workshop is the seventh in Summerfolk’s Music Biz Tune Up workshop series helping local performers develop the business skills they’ll need to make the most of their musical careers.

Sam MartinSamantha Martin has deep family roots on the Bruce Peninsula and she spent a formative musical period in Owen Sound. Now, she fronts an in-demand band (Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar) and tours from coast, to coast, to coast in Canada as well as in Europe and the USA. With so much time on the road, Samantha has built up an arsenal of tricks to stay healthy and happy. “The more planning ahead of time you do – means when the unexpected happens (and it always does) you are in a position problem solve with the least amount of stress”, she said. The interactive workshop will allow participants to ask questions and learn from Samantha’s stories first hand.

Summerfolk is presenting Music Biz Tune Up workshops every month to help local musicians of all genres develop the business skills they need without having to leave the area to develop. The On the Road Survival workshop will run from 1-3pm at the SuiteSpots building at 1051 2nd Ave East, Owen Sound. Participants can register online at Summerfolk.org/musicbiztuneup or at the door on the day of the workshop. Registration is $20.

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Those magic moments

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I could fill a book with the magical moments I’ve had at festivals. As a performer, I had the opportunity to sit in with some of my musical heroes in workshops and sessions with the chance to sit on stage with them and get a close look at what they do. If things were really comfortable, I got to play a tune with them.

As an audience member, I have seen spur of the moment collaborations on workshop stages that have electrified me. I’ve felt the thrill of knowing that what I saw on stage would never happen again quite the same way. It defies audio recording and video recording.

Obviously, that synergy comes about by having the right mix of artists at the festival. So, how do you book and program a festival?As the artistic director, there is a lot that has to happen before magic touches an audience.

We open performer applications in early October and close them in February, receiving between three and four hundred for the festival. I have to look further than the outright applications, though. I also choose from artists that are touring in August, as well as those I want to bring in because I think our patrons will enjoy them. Selections continue with audience favourites, suggestions from social media and a dozen or so wish lists that people give me

I have about 40 slots to fill and from that I have to have some bands that can play formal dance sets — contra, step dancing and square dancing, for example. I need some singer-songwriters, some late night dance bands and some traditional acts. I need good storytellers and masterful instrumentalists.

Also needed are some performers with broad name recognition and most important, some bands that you’ve never heard of. One thing that Summerfolk audiences love above all else is making a discovery.

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I end up with a working list that I have made for myself to guide the booking. If I were to show you the list I started with and the final roster you’d see quite a difference.

I present offers to artists and they accept, reject or negotiate them. Of course, some artists say yes right away. There can be any number of reasons why a performer doesn’t accept an offer. The weekend may be booked already. The offer might not meet expectations. Some time may be needed to see if other work can be found around the Summerfolk weekend — a big consideration if a band is coming from a great distance.

We aim to have the roster completed by the end of March. By that time, we have collected high-resolution photos of the artists, bios and video links needed for publicity. We start getting the bands’ technical riders for the technical director who begins mapping out what we need for sound, stage, and lights.

 

Once I have every performer confirmed and can account for their travel times, I start scheduling the festival. There are forty acts and almost all of them will get their own concert slot.

There are eighteen time slots available on the Amphitheatre stage and fourteen in the evening in the Down by the Bay tent. There are roughly sixty slots to fill on the six daytime stages.

There are workshops that are no-brainers. You have to have a blues jam. Songs from a Hat has become a staple. If there are enough Celtic bands for a ceilidh, you’d best have one. There should be a workshop geared to children.

We ask for suggestions from the performers. How else would I have known that Matt Epp does some songs in Turkish or that Mayhemingways have a dancing chicken puppet? We also have the band lists—handy if you want to do a workshop that might involve a specialty instrument.

But above all, I look for combinations of personalities that might work well together. In looking over the lists, are there performers who have already played together or appeared at several festivals together this summer? I look for performers from the same town or from the same region thinking they might already have some common repertoire.

I’m taking those things and a hundred others into consideration when filling the schedule. Even if I have done all that right, it still needs one more essential element — a great audience.

Performers are not going to go out on limb in an unrehearsed jam unless they feel comfortable. The audiences at Summerfolk make the performers comfortable. They are willing to walk out on the tightrope with the performer. Almost all the people who have played the festival have remarked on how extraordinary the Summerfolk audience is — attentive, interactive and supportive.

The forty-second edition of Summerfolk happens August 17, 18, 19, 20 at Kelso Beach Park in Owen Sound. Schedules will be appearing on the website later next week. Information can be found at summerfolk.org or by phoning 519-371-2995.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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