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rowan

Seaton Park Festival? Any info

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First up, congrats to the organisers for:-

a) managing to keep this under wraps for as long as they have;

b) securing some extremely good acts for a debut festival; and

c) managing to persuade the useless individuals at Aberdeen City Council to get this off the gound.

I'll definitely be parting ways with my 90 at payday for tickets.

:up:

However, I do have a real concern about the local band aspect and how this is going to operate. The whole Northern Lights event is a great opportunity for the varied scope of Aberdeen/North-East bands to be brought to the fore.

I'm not in a band (nor have I been) but I understand that there is going to be "showcase" events at Tunnels/Drummonds for local bands to then be selected? How are bands going to be selected from these showcases?

Is there not the real danger that this is going to be the usual sham of a showcase/battle of the bands type scenario? Especially, given that the showcases are being run/organised by the same people who represent/promote certain bands in Aberdeen who will have a singificant interest in their artists being those selected? I'm advised that at least one of the bands who are on the list of represented artists are definitely playing the festival already. Will be interesting to see if they are included in the showcase line-ups......

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If a band has already been confirmed for the festival, why would they play the "audition" (I use that term loosely, just can't think of a better one)?

The people involved in booking the bands thus far have been Jamesy, Ross and Hen; these three guys are probably the most prominent music promoters in Aberdeen. They have their collective finger on the pulse and are in a good position to judge which bands warrant a place at the festival. I suspect that a limited number of spots will be allocated to the best bands in the city (in terms of profile and actual quality, in their opinion), and then they will award the remaining slots to the most impressive applicants, based on their performance at the showcase. This is how most, if not all, festivals determine their local/smaller acts lineup, and seems very fair and reasonable.

BTW this is my take on it, and might be miles away from the truth!

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Guest Gladstone
First up, congrats to the organisers for:-

a) managing to keep this under wraps for as long as they have;

b) securing some extremely good acts for a debut festival; and

c) managing to persuade the useless individuals at Aberdeen City Council to get this off the gound.

I'll definitely be parting ways with my 90 at payday for tickets.

:up:

However, I do have a real concern about the local band aspect and how this is going to operate. The whole Northern Lights event is a great opportunity for the varied scope of Aberdeen/North-East bands to be brought to the fore.

I'm not in a band (nor have I been) but I understand that there is going to be "showcase" events at Tunnels/Drummonds for local bands to then be selected? How are bands going to be selected from these showcases?

Is there not the real danger that this is going to be the usual sham of a showcase/battle of the bands type scenario? Especially, given that the showcases are being run/organised by the same people who represent/promote certain bands in Aberdeen who will have a singificant interest in their artists being those selected? I'm advised that at least one of the bands who are on the list of represented artists are definitely playing the festival already. Will be interesting to see if they are included in the showcase line-ups......

To be honest, I have no idea how the bands will be selected, but I've got past caring how people do this. They have absolutely no obligation to anyone to put on any local bands. The fact that they are going to is a bonus. It's their money, time and effort that goes into it, so the line up should be 100% up to them in my opinion.

A lot of us have romantic notions of showcasing the array of local talent (which there most definitely is in and around Aberdeen), but all playing at a festival like this for a completely unknown local band is, is normally a good gig to play. The Wizard does a cracking job of putting on some unsigned local artists, and the stages are normally all well attended, but I really don't think that it boosts their fanbase much if at all because the festival goer is normally someone just out to have a good weekend and enjoy some good tunes, regardless of who it is that's playing them. I would say that hardly any would actually seek out the band and buy their CD, go their next gig etc. It might be slightly different at this festival because it is actually in Aberdeen and said local band will probably play gigs in Aberdeen (rather than New Deer like the Wizard Festival!), but I'd be surprised if the festival goer even remembers the band's name, even if they did really enjoy their set.

This doesn't mean that the organisers shouldn't put on local bands, because I personally love seeing local bands, and others do as well, but I wouldn't get too worked up about the selection process. They have 100% discretion in how the bands are selected, and knowing the guys who are involved in organising the event, they will pick good local bands.

From what I have read it won't be battle of the bands, which is the only way I can really see that you can take the organisers out of the selection process - i.e. by letting "fans" decide or an "independent panel" choose. But, in my opinion that's a shit way of selecting anything - it normally just turns out that the band with the most mates gets through. Other than that, the "showcase" gigs at the Tunnels/Drummonds wherever are probably more for promotion of the festival than for selecting the bands, but it also gives the organisers the chance to watch the bands in a live setting and see what the crowd reaction etc is. As I said above though, they can do it however they want.

How would you suggest the local bands are selected?

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I'm not in a band (nor have I been) but I understand that there is going to be "showcase" events at Tunnels/Drummonds for local bands to then be selected? How are bands going to be selected from these showcases?

Is there not the real danger that this is going to be the usual sham of a showcase/battle of the bands type scenario? Especially, given that the showcases are being run/organised by the same people who represent/promote certain bands in Aberdeen who will have a singificant interest in their artists being those selected? I'm advised that at least one of the bands who are on the list of represented artists are definitely playing the festival already. Will be interesting to see if they are included in the showcase line-ups......

This set up worked for T-Break, as an example, for a number of years and providing it is a 'panel' of judges making the call rather than being linked to crowd reaction and/or ticket sales I don't see there being a problem - it's akin to submitting demos for review, no?

Secondly, I see nothing wrong in a band or artist being selected to play based on merit (i.e. bypassing 'showcases') if the organisers believe they're good enough. Just because a band is local doesn't mean that they should be treated any differently to a band from London or Manchester (providing they're good enough, obviously - campaign for Shutterspeed to play, anyone?).

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Guest Gladstone
This set up worked for T-Break, as an example, for a number of years and providing it is a 'panel' of judges making the call rather than being linked to crowd reaction and/or ticket sales I don't see there being a problem - it's akin to submitting demos for review, no?

Secondly, I see nothing wrong in a band or artist being selected to play based on merit (i.e. bypassing 'showcases') if the organisers believe they're good enough. Just because a band is local doesn't mean that they should be treated any differently to a band from London or Manchester (providing they're good enough, obviously - campaign for Shutterspeed to play, anyone?).

Good point. There are a few bands in Aberdeen that have been doing the rounds for years, and have put in a LOT of hard work in the past few years and would be deserving of getting straight into the line up (if it was up to me). The Little Kicks springs to mind, or Indian Red Lopez, Weather Barn etc. And Deportees should be in with a shout too, just for being ace. They've been around for less time, so it's difficult to compare their effort with the likes of the Little Kicks, but then it obviously shouldn't just be about effort - musical merit above all else should win the day.

A very extreme example, but nobody would tell X-Certs that they had to audition at a showcase before they could play the festival, seeing as they are (kind of) from Aberdeen.

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I can only really echo the sentiments of Christy, AEW and Gladstone.

No idea how else the promoters can go about this?

We (State Road Ten) will be sticking ourselves forwards for the showcases but we're acutely aware of the fact that we've done very little since our initial gig last year which has been through our own choice. We've really now been focussing on recording our debut EP, getting things sorted for our own launch night at the Lemon Tree and building a wee tour off the back of the EP as well.

Like I say though, we're acutely aware that we are, "nobodies" in the Aberdeen music scene at present. I can fully understand why certain artists (such as those listed by Gladstone) would, potentially, be selected to play the festival without the need for going through the audition process.

All round, it looks extremely promising for the festival as a whole. We'd love to be involved but we'll take our chances on the showcase. We've got a ton of other things to look forward to already this year, the festival itself would simply be the cherry on top of the icing of the cake.

Oh, and kudos to the organisers for the work they've stuck in this far!

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Pretty ridiculous to suggest the bands in Aberdeen who deserve to be considered for this are the ones who have been around longest. It could be said that the bands who have been around longer may be better prepared to give a good show of themselves but it's really going to be down to personal contacts with a couple of token 'competition winners'. Given past history and associations it's fair to assume certain bands will walk onto the bill regardless.

The local band element hasn't even hit my radar in connection with this to be honest, if I'm at a loose end I might decide to go and check some bands out but to be I'm more interested to check out bands I couldn't see in Drummonds/Tunnels/Moorings/etc, even if I'm not a huge fan.

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Guest Gladstone
Pretty ridiculous to suggest the bands in Aberdeen who deserve to be considered for this are the ones who have been around longest. It could be said that the bands who have been around longer may be better prepared to give a good show of themselves but it's really going to be down to personal contacts with a couple of token 'competition winners'. Given past history and associations it's fair to assume certain bands will walk onto the bill regardless.

The local band element hasn't even hit my radar in connection with this to be honest, if I'm at a loose end I might decide to go and check some bands out but to be I'm more interested to check out bands I couldn't see in Drummonds/Tunnels/Moorings/etc, even if I'm not a huge fan.

That's not really what I meant, and I think it was obvious by the names I listed, such as The Little Kicks and Indian Red Lopez. Little Kicks have been going for ages, but it's more because of what they've done/achieved in that time - they've consistently played great gigs, supported some great acts, and released some great songs. IRL have been on the go for less time, but their output has been brilliant and they have worked really hard, played some great gigs, etc etc.

Fuck me, The Underkills have been about for 6 years, but I wouldn't suggest for a second that we should walk onto the bill at a festival like this because of that - we've done some decent things, but nowt like the aforementioned bands.

My main point was that the organisers can pick whoever they want. If they think a brand new band merits a place on the line up, then that's up to them. Or if they want the Little Kicks to go through the showcase, then they can ask them to.

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That's not really what I meant, and I think it was obvious by the names I listed, such as The Little Kicks and Indian Red Lopez. Little Kicks have been going for ages, but it's more because of what they've done/achieved in that time - they've consistently played great gigs, supported some great acts, and released some great songs. IRL have been on the go for less time, but their output has been brilliant and they have worked really hard, played some great gigs, etc etc.

Fuck me, The Underkills have been about for 6 years, but I wouldn't suggest for a second that we should walk onto the bill at a festival like this because of that - we've done some decent things, but nowt like the aforementioned bands.

My main point was that the organisers can pick whoever they want. If they think a brand new band merits a place on the line up, then that's up to them. Or if they want the Little Kicks to go through the showcase, then they can ask them to.

There are bands who will walk onto the bill purely because of members and contacts, whether they are 'good' or not is down to personal opinion.

A showcase will just lead to bitching and accusations of bias, better just to choose bands they want to put on and be done with it.

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Surely the criteria for choosing bands whether local or not should be

A) The promoter thinks they will attract a crowd

B) They play music that fits the scope of the festival

C) nothing else

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There are bands who will walk onto the bill purely because of members and contacts, whether they are 'good' or not is down to personal opinion.

A showcase will just lead to bitching and accusations of bias, better just to choose bands they want to put on and be done with it.

There will be bitching and accusations of bias with or without the showcases. However, as mentioned before, at least the showcases will allow some bands to impress and get booked.

There are some bands who deserve to play this festival and more who don't. The criteria, I presume, will be profile of the band and their quality. These bands will be booked outright, or so I would expect. The city's best bands with a strong profile would be a good addition to the bill, and Jamesy, Ross and Hen are in a better position to judge than most. However, there is a level playing field for plenty of other bands to impress via the showcases. Presumably the judges will be reputable and will have no agenda, beyond trying to make their project (ie. the festival) a success.

I doubt that 'length of time a band has existed' will be given much credence in terms of criteria; what they have achieved probably will.

This seems very fair and reasonable, imo. I see it as a freeroll for bands; what's the worst that could happen? You get rejected? Big deal, so will most of the prospective acts. The upside is far greater than the down.

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I kind of expected this so...

Whilst I am organising the showcases, this is mainly in a booking capacity - ie I have compiled a list of the bands that have emailed me so far & have allocated a slot to each band.

I am more than aware of my interests in certain local bands and whilst I obviously want them to get on this, id say its probably working against me more than anything.

None of the bands with exception of Turning 13, who I represent as booking agent have so far applied for the showcases and I have had very little to do with any of them getting on the line up (if indeed any of them do)

I am actively staying clear of this as much as possible, but I wouldnt be doing the job the bands pay me for if i didnt enquire about possibilities.

The showcases will be judged and decided by other people, not me. I know the local scene well so will have opinions on the bands that play the showcases, but be assured it will be totally 100% fair.

There are already more than 40 bands confirmed in showcases so by no means can all get on the festival and by no means will everyone playing the showcases be good enough/deserve a place either.

I cant see a fairer way of doing it - if we decided on bands without doing showcases then people would complain anyway. At least people get a chance this way.

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Guest idol_wild
Surely the criteria for choosing bands whether local or not should be

A) The promoter thinks they will attract a crowd

B) They play music that fits the scope of the festival

C) nothing else

I'm not sure if you're being serious here or not?

Personally, if this is all a booker or promoter is interested in, then they're doing it for the wrong reasons.

The bottom line is, a booker or promoter should book a band because they like their music. Bottom line. This applies to festivals, gigs, childrens parties, bar mitzvahs, and weddings; local and non-local.

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I'm not sure if you're being serious here or not?

Personally, if this is all a booker or promoter is interested in, then they're doing it for the wrong reasons.

The bottom line is, a booker or promoter should book a band because they like their music. Bottom line. This applies to festivals, gigs, childrens parties, bar mitzvahs, and weddings; local and non-local.

When it comes to a festival like this, i'm serious.

scenario: I'm the promoter. I'm responsible for putting on this massive event, recouping the costs of setting the whole thing up through ticket sales. Do I a) put on only bands/artists I like or b) ones I think will bring a crowd and make me money? My tastes aren't even that far underground and I would struggle to think of enough bands that tick both boxes.

I'm sure if the promoters of this event plumped purely for option a we'd be seeing a completely different line-up.

Yes, i'm sure they do it because they love music and I think these guys do an awesome job in Aberdeen but they're not idiots. At some point you've got to compromise and marry personal taste with business sense. That point being a massive open air festival in Aberdeen with 90 quid ticket prices.

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Guest idol_wild
When it comes to a festival like this, i'm serious.

scenario: I'm the promoter. I'm responsible for putting on this massive event, recouping the costs of setting the whole thing up through ticket sales. Do I a) put on only bands/artists I like or b) ones I think will bring a crowd and make me money? My tastes aren't even that far underground and I would struggle to think of enough bands that tick both boxes.

I'm sure if the promoters of this event plumped purely for option a we'd be seeing a completely different line-up.

Yes, i'm sure they do it because they love music and I think these guys do an awesome job in Aberdeen but they're not idiots. At some point you've got to compromise and marry personal taste with business sense. That point being a massive open air festival in Aberdeen with 90 quid ticket prices.

You initially suggested that the quality of music shouldn't even be a consideration, though. I think it has to be. That's the absolute point of putting on gigs and festivals, in my opinion.

PS - before I get accused and jumped on for being negative or whatever, I'm not relating my last two posts to this specific festival, or any specific festival. I was just a bit taken aback by ca_gere's post.

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You initially suggested that the quality of music shouldn't even be a consideration, though. I think it has to be. That's the absolute point of putting on gigs and festivals, in my opinion.

PS - before I get accused and jumped on for being negative or whatever, I'm not relating my last two posts to this specific festival, or any specific festival. I was just a bit taken aback by ca_gere's post.

nah, I said the 'scope of the festival' i.e. choose bands that play the kind of music that aligns with the promoters' vision.

put it this way:

Free at the Dee - doesn't matter who comes to play. Any old michelle mcmanus or whoever is popular at the time. As long as people show up.

This festival - Decent enough bands, some less good (in the opinion of who's booking) but popular, some really good but less popular. A good mix basically to cover a lot of tastes and still maintain the credibility.

A niche festival where big crowds aren't expected - then it really matters what the quality is like and what the promoter's tastes are.

Am i alone in thinking this? i.e. to get crowds promoters must surely sacrifice personal taste to a certain extent. I dunno the first thing about it so tell me if im wrong.

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Guest idol_wild
nah, I said the 'scope of the festival' i.e. choose bands that play the kind of music that aligns with the promoters' vision.

put it this way:

Free at the Dee - doesn't matter who comes to play. Any old michelle mcmanus or whoever is popular at the time. As long as people show up.

This festival - Decent enough bands, some less good (in the opinion of who's booking) but popular, some really good but less popular. A good mix basically to cover a lot of tastes and still maintain the credibility.

A niche festival where big crowds aren't expected - then it really matters what the quality is like and what the promoter's tastes are.

Am i alone in thinking this? i.e. to get crowds promoters must surely sacrifice personal taste to a certain extent. I dunno the first thing about it so tell me if im wrong.

I'd suggest most will share your view and agree 100%, and I do to an extent since you explained a bit more. Your initial statement just caught my attention, is all.

I'm just an old fuddy-duddy. :up:

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Guest Tam o' Shantie

One thing i've seen very little about is opportunities if any for local DJs? As a representative of a forward thinking, diverse, creative and very hard working club night at origin (Acid Thunder) I would jump at the chance for a showcase some of what we're doing, even if we were able to nab a few half-hour sets over the course of the festival.

Also, since club Origin probably has very little money for a buy-in or sponsorship type thing, I can't see anything happening for us unless there is some scope for local DJing talent being given an opportunity to play like the local bands are!

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This festival looks like a great thing to happen to Aberdeen and im glad to see that people are supporting it. Kudos to those all responsible for making it happen- must take a lot of work and effort.

Whether you like the line up or not - which i firmly DO - it helps put Aberdeen on the map in a big way this Summer which will have knock on effects for touring bands/ agents radars im sure. Im really glad to see all the majority of posts being positive comments.

As for Little Kicks getting preferential treatment - i can assure you it doesn't happen.

We only ever get to play if we suit musically, have been asked to play or have asked ourselves and on the rare occasion they can they'll fit us on the bill. Weve been admittedly quite lucky in our time with some slots coming our way but i dont think i have to defend that so i wont.

Fortunately for us were pretty commercial, pretty reliable, dont play Aberdeen too often and usually try to promote all our shows as much as possible to bring a crowd- so maybe for those reasons we get asked quite a lot to play but thats the path we choose to follow so ach weel.

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This festival looks like a great thing to happen to Aberdeen and im glad to see that people are supporting it. Kudos to those all responsible for making it happen- must take a lot of work and effort.

Whether you like the line up or not - which i firmly DO - it helps put Aberdeen on the map in a big way this Summer which will have knock on effects for touring bands/ agents radars im sure. Im really glad to see all the majority of posts being positive comments.

As for Little Kicks getting preferential treatment - i can assure you it doesn't happen.

We only ever get to play if we suit musically, have been asked to play or have asked ourselves and on the rare occasion they can they'll fit us on the bill. Weve been admittedly quite lucky in our time with some slots coming our way but i dont think i have to defend that so i wont.

Fortunately for us were pretty commercial, pretty reliable, dont play Aberdeen too often and usually try to promote all our shows as much as possible to bring a crowd- so maybe for those reasons we get asked quite a lot to play but thats the path we choose to follow so ach weel.

No one is accusing The Little Kicks of getting preferential treatment.

I think there has only been one comment suggesting that the 'higher profile' Aberdeen bands will get favoured, but the fact remains that they should get favoured. These bands tend to be good and have a national profile, all of which is good for the festival.

No need to justify yourselves imo.

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Fair enough- maybe didnt word that last post the best way-wasn't meant to sound snipey.

I just always get a little defensive in these situations when our name is mentioned and am always keen to set record straight.

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This thread has been funny. It's almost like everyone is expecting some sort of negative backlash but in actual fact, everyone is in agreement. This is a GOOD THING to be happening in aberdeen.

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Guest Gladstone

Aye, Steven - it was me that mentioned the Little Kicks, and I was not suggesting preferential treatment of any sort, just that a band like the Little Kicks might by-pass "auditions" because they deserve to. I think everyone would agree on that!

I think someone else suggested that some bands will get preferential treatment because of who they know etc. but I don't think that was aimed at the Little Kicks at all. I don't know who it was aimed at, it was probably someone having the obligatory dig at Ross Calder because he has the audacity to represent bands and put on loads of brilliant local gigs and sometimes give support slots to the bands he represents. I mean, how dare he?? What a bastard.

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I'm actually quite impressed at the lack of negativity in this thread. Well done Aberdeen music - for once :p

Well done to Jamesy and Jim and all at Drummonds / Tunnels for making this a reality.

See you in the beer tent!

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Aye, Steven - it was me that mentioned the Little Kicks, and I was not suggesting preferential treatment of any sort, just that a band like the Little Kicks might by-pass "auditions" because they deserve to. I think everyone would agree on that!

I think someone else suggested that some bands will get preferential treatment because of who they know etc. but I don't think that was aimed at the Little Kicks at all. I don't know who it was aimed at, it was probably someone having the obligatory dig at Ross Calder because he has the audacity to represent bands and put on loads of brilliant local gigs and sometimes give support slots to the bands he represents. I mean, how dare he?? What a bastard.

My comments were nothing to do with Ross as I have no idea which bands he is involved with on a personal level.

My point was that I disagreed with the suggestion that any of the bands mentioned represent the 'best' of Aberdeen's music scene by dint of perceived 'contribution'. If we follow the logic of longevity etc, best get that Pallas band on the bill as they have probably 'achieved' more than any of the other bands put together on paper. They could update that annoying banner ad.

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