Tag Archives: Music Festival

Band Basics: How to get booked, level 1.

11 Oct
I deal with a ton of messages and emails from artists or agents looking to get booked at places. Most of them suck balls, and not in a fun way. (Coz that might be more useful than the application they sent)
**Skip to the bottom if you’re too lazy to read all the points**
Now, I’m not saying every artist should be a marketing genius, or that every agent/manager should be amazing at what they do. But common sense is worth more than a degree in entertainment management or whatever qualification it is that people waste their money on.
If you want to be considered for an event/venue, try the following few basics. Logically, there’s a bit more to doing things properly, but if you just start with these points, you’re better than 80% of your peers/competitors:
1. Write a coherent message. Seriously, just freaking read what you wrote afterwards. Imagine this is a job application. Or the first time you’re meeting your lover’s parentals.
stupidpeople2. Keep it short and sweet. I have not met a single venue owner/booking manager who have ever read an entire band’s bio in an initial mail. Nobody gives a shit where the drummer’s grandma was born or that the pianist started playing on a plastic banjo at the age of 2. That’s the type of shit fans MIGHT read once they already like the band/artist.
3. Info that’s needed: Who you are/who you represent. Short summary of artist bio “Kosie is a country singer from Vereeniging, who plays a lot of sokkie covers and some catchy originals. He can either perform solo with his ukelele and backtracks, or with his 3 piece band called Kosie’s Koeksisters.” Then briefly mention if you are open to playing door deals, or if your intent is to charge a fixed fee for your performance. I realise that not everybody feels comfortable doing this. But it makes my life much easier when I know what you want. Don’t feel obliged to give a set fee yet, as you don’t want to lose a potential booking because you got greedy in your mail. Also, just the fact that you have to apply for a spot, means that you are probably not worth that amount yet.
3b. You might mention a few notable venues/events that are relevant to the one you’re contacting. And for the love of fuck, your artist didn’t “share a stage with Francois van Coke” if he played at 10:00 and Fokof headlined at 23:00.
3c. CONTACT INFO. Cell and email. Basics, but often forgotten.
4. Links, not attachments. Links to Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Only attachment should be a photo worked into the message.
5. Do your research. It’s all good that you’re trying to get your music(ian) into as many places as possible, but at least open the event or venue’s page before you message them. II just received yet another request this morning for an Afrikaans sokkie-poppie to play at a rock venue. Seriously?
5b. Research will help you to sound more intelligent. If there’s a detailed mention in the event description informing you who to mail for artist applications, and you send a message (or worse, post on the FB event) asking that very question, I will laugh at you (and hate you at the same time). Again, it’s not only me. Ask anyone that has to deal with that level of lazy stupidity from 40 bands per day for a week after an event is announced.
5c. When should you approach a festival? Generally when they announce that artist submissions are open. Not a freaking week before the event, or if it’s annual, give at least a month after the event before bugging organisers about the next one.
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Bonus point: Build relationship with the relevant people. This point, much like the others, actually deserves a post of its own. But for now, just realise that networking is important, and you’re more likely to get booked if you have had a beer/tequila/conversation with the decision maker in question.
Again, there’s a bit more to the game than just the mentioned points, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
TL;DR?
Just remember this
  • Common sense.
  • Keep it short, info relevant and links to what’s more.
  • Do your research.
  • Network.
If you think this post might help bands be better, please share it.
Also, please do give feedback/input if you have any. There’s a lot more that can be added to what I said, so feel free to do it.
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Top Oppikoppi Tips nobody bothers to give you, even though they should

2 Aug

OK WhisperingTake wet wipes. Hydrate. Sunscreen. Pace yourself. Pack warm…
An Oppikoppi Tips List nowadays kinda writes itself. Sadly, it’s becoming a tad redundant. Anyone with Google can find the last few years’ posts, and let’s face it, the list kinda stays the same.

There are however, some pointers nobody seems to talk about. Until now

So here we go, my contribution to the growing number of festival tip lists:

OK phone1. Clean your phone before you leave home.
You’re gonna want take drunk selfies and blurry pics of the bands, in spite of the fact that all those other lists tell you to lock your phone in the car and forget about it. So make sure you have enough space for all the shaky videos and incriminating visual evidence of your friends’ debauchery.
OK marker


2. Make your mark

Take a permanent marker. Mark your stuff. Like a tent, bag, chair, and whatever might be lost that you would prefer to be found again. This even works for friends, but not livers or dignity.

 

 
OK bald3. Shave your head, wish you were dead.
For some reason, the Art of Bald is seen as a powerful force (which it might very well be). Group identity, individual freedom of expression or silent solidarity with a chemo-friend… all good ideas. Except when heading to a place where you will spend 40% of your awake time, in scorching sunlight.
You will also lose your hat, even though your permanent marker is on it.
So unless you habitually wax your leathery cranium, don’t impulsively do it pre-Koppi.

OK common sense4. Make Common Sense Great Again
Do you really, really need to be told to pack a tent, toothbrush and water? If you do, please don’t go to Koppi. You will die even before you get there, possibly by sticking your fingers into the Northam KFC’s wall socket simply coz there was no sign telling you not to.
So when you get to Koppi, please use whatever’s left of your enjoyably euthanised cerebellum, and think before you do things. That way, you won’t end up with an ex, tottie-vrot, or an axe in your leg. And yes, all those are things that have happened to stupid people.

OK camping5. Read the lists, ignore the shit
You thought I was dissing all the lists and such? Not at all. They are good guides and will help you enjoy your Oppikoppi experience. It’s just that, well… let’s be honest, nobody packs ALL that crap to go to Koppi. I know maybe 3 people who will get close to doing so, and they are the ones who will feed you rusks in the morning coz you didn’t pack it.
So decide what type of Koppi you want to have.
Camping in the bush, and ‘oh there are bands too’? Go all out camping, you know, like you probably do at least once a month anyway.
Barely spending time at your tent coz you’re EVERYWHERE else having a jol? Fuck it. You can drastically scale your convoy’s cargo carrying requirements down if you take a thicker wallet.

There you go, yet another list.
What do you think should be on this list? And be warned, I will mock you relentlessly if you say something that is on a million other lists.


For a decent list of things to take, here’s 33 things you need for Oppikoppi: A stage manager’s perspective as seen on Running Wolf’s Rant.

If you’re bored, here are my previous Oppikoppi Posts

If you see me in the dust, let’s have a tequila! #RockWithCuervo

Share to care, coz it rhymes.

Oppi

P.M.D.S. [Mr King’s Mieliepop Post]

16 Apr

I have a hollow feeling in my heart. It is a feeling I’ve only experienced once or twice in my life, but never before to this extent. I know what this feeling is called, but I still don’t know how to get rid of it. People who have never experienced this feeling will go out of their way to convince you that it’s not real, or that it is all in your mind…

I am suffering from Post Festival Depression. More specifically, Post Mieliepop Depression.

I went to Mieliepop 2016 with my own set of expectations, based on what I’d heard from others, and what I’d read and seen online. None of that could prepare me for what I was about to experience. This was by far one of the best weekends of my near-26-years of existence.

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The drive to Lothair, in Mpumalanga, had turned into an epic road trip for two, after we had to make two U-turns (forgetting your own bed is a definite no-no for a festival). I had the privilege of sharing my ride with Christo Baas de Beer, a festival veteran who knows the roads like the back of his hand. There were sing-alongs to Phantom of the Opera, random videos being made, and one very serious discussion regarding going back to Delmas and saving a beautiful girl from spending the rest of her life there.

Admittedly, the best part of the drive was when we got to the gates of the Tolderia Resort, where we would spend the weekend. Upon arrival we were greeted by a couple of guys who had the immensely tough job of working the gate at the festival, without leaving their posts other than going to sleep for four hours. We got our wristbands and directions to our camp, the road to which was very well laid out, with clear indications of the best places to drive in order to avoid any nasty surprises.

When we got to our camp we were greeted by familiar faces; friends who had arrived before us and had set up camp already. Baas and I quickly got our tents pitched and settled in for our first beers of the weekend, watching the campsite on the other side of the river slowly filling up with eager festival goers.  There were already floating devices of every imaginable shape and size in the river, supporting jovial individuals, not yet sunburnt and still relatively sober.

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Close by, there was the Sun Bear Yoga tent, where peace and tranquillity was the order of the day. I have never seen anyone as relaxed as the individuals who were in that tent. Personally, I wanted to try the paddle board yoga, but after seeing how these yogi managed to contort their bodies on flat ground, I knew I had absolutely no chance of staying afloat on a paddle board while trying to touch my nose with my left pinky toe.

After a couple of drinks, and the resting of tired bones from the trip, we headed out for a bit of a walk-around. The food stalls outside our camp were amazing. Every flavour that you could imagine was represented at Mieliepop. From the Vegetarian stand at the Willow Tree Stage to the meat-packed sandwiches for which Braai Boy has become so well-known at Park Acoustics, there was something for everyone. The main bar was also well placed, next to the food stalls but still close enough to both stages to be able to navigate your way to either one without hassle.

From the main bar it was a straight shot through to the Main Stage, where the magic happened throughout the weekend. Unfortunately I missed the first three bands to play, so the first act I got to see there was Gerald Clark, whom I hadn’t seen before. The band owned the stage, marking the beginning of an epic weekend of music.

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One of my favourite acts for the weekend was The Shabeen. They came all the way from Cape Town to deliver their quirky style of music in such a way that they were almost having a conversation with their audience at the Willow Tree Stage. As I was sitting on the stoep at the Media House, I watched these guys performing, and thought to myself that this is what made South Africa great; we had musicians from Cape Town entertaining an audience from Gauteng in Mpumalanga.

As a matter of fact, the whole of Sunday’s line-up was what I had been waiting for since I saw the bands that were performing. Adele Nqeto‘s cover of Gangsta’s Paradise was my personal favourite moment of the festival. She put a completely new spin on a classic and made the song her own. After Adele, there was The Lectric Monks on the main stage. The love I have for this band is impossible to describe. The first piece I wrote on this site was for their first live show at Rafters in Pretoria, and they have grown immensely since then.

The rest of the afternoon and into the evening we were treated to amazing artists like Coelacanth, George Town, Blomtrein, Albert Frost, The Black Cat Bones, Art Snakes and of course The Oh So Serious. George Town served as quite a pleasant surprise. I did not expect to see someone play a washboard at the festival! Another band that impressed was Art Snakes. If their style is anything to go by, South African music is heading in the right direction.

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Special mention goes to Mr Cat & the Jackal for the way they closed the main stage for the festival. They have an amazing sound that captivates anyone who is close enough to hear, while also being some of the most humble musicians that you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.

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Mieliepop is an amazing experience, even for those who do not necessarily like going to festivals for fear of dust and dodgy showers. Tolderia Resort is a beautiful green valley, completely equipped with warm showers and proper ablution facilities. There are swimming pools and a river/dam to cool down in when the days get too hot. There was some mud, but with some careful navigation it was never a problem. All in all the best festival weekend I have had in a very long time. Well done to the new management for keeping the festival clean, safe and awesome!

 

Written by: Michael King

Photos courtesy of Henno Kruger Photography

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