Last week I had the great pleasure of being asked to go to Folk Alliance International in Kansas City to promote Hands up for Trad‘s latest project FolkWaves (see our last post for more details). The aim of the trip was to raise the profile of the project, encouraging radio stations and presenters to sign up for the service. The Conference was like none I had ever been to before, taking place between two hotels with seminars, trade fairs and receptions during the day, official showcases in the evening and then late evening bedrooms and suites being used on three floors of one hotel for showcase gigs between 10pm-3am. There were hundreds of acts playing in tiny spaces acoustically to bigger suites with PAs and lights – I’ve never seen so many double basses in one place in my life!
Although I travelled alone to the conference and knew only a couple of people I’d met before who were also attending, it wasn’t long before I made some new pals….in fact right at the start of the first reception, a lovely lady came straight over to me and said Fiona Dalgetty (Feis Rois in Dingwall) said I’d to find you! The lady was Una McAlinden from the National Celtic Festival and Folk Alliance Australia. Our world is very small and even smaller when you work in music. These connections continued as I went along to the various seminars and showcases, meeting agent and managers of musicians I’d worked with through the Glow Arts gigs or Celtic Connections – even bumping into some musicians that had just played at the festival.
The showcases were overwhelming with so much music to see – there was only one representative from Scotland who I didn’t even manage to catch because the programme was so full. However I did come home with a bag full of new CDs and favourites that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks. But to get started here a fantastic young band called Oh Pep! – they got my attention straight away before I had even heard a note (or realised they were a band). When I arrive in my hotel room on the 25th Floor I looked out of the window to admire the view and snow (it was -13 degrees celsius when I arrived) and they had come up with this bit of nifty advertising.
Tomorrow sees us celebrate a year to the day from when we got our keys to Glow Arts HQ at BAaD and two years since I left my full-time role at Creative Scotland. It has been a really busy year with many challenges for the business and personally, however overall it has been a great success and I would like to thank everyone who has supported each of the projects, new directions and call out for helps. We will be having a little celebration at the newly named ‘The Braw Wee Emporium‘ on Sunday 1st March 2-5pm – All welcome some refreshments here but feel free to bring your own too and come for a visit, get the tour.
Here is to another year of creative stuff!