Next week I get to be in Manchester at the 100th Unconvention. I am proud to say I was there for the first one, hosting a panel about live music and I’m doing that again next week!
There’s a video kicking about of that first one, and I’m in it (#proud). I am (we are ALL) way thinner than now (#lessproud) and what I do notice is how excited and driven we all are about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. This felt/feels just right.
In ten years since then, Spotify has come along, and I feel a bit like the word DIY has turned into something of a soundbite rather than an approach. And I feel a bit like the BIG machine has adopted a lot of the exciting bits of what we were doing and discussing. Such that there is a renewed need for a re-invigorated DIY/Independent approach and debate.
Given Brexit and Trump have we (as a music community but also creative arts industry) perhaps become a bit complacent? I feel very angry that ART came under fire in the discussions ahead of the referendum, and yet it is ever clearer to me that the ART I love and work for is catering perhaps for not all of the population, and many think it’s just not for them. So I feel like that is a kind of failure.
Why are we doing this? What is the ultimate purpose? Is it just to be financially successful, famous, be “the main man/woman”? Are we trying really to make a difference?
The video from Uncon1 shows a number of people who’ve gone on to do *really* well and also a number who’ve stopped, or changed what they do, and are now doing well with that.
There’s talk about downloads, not streaming. Some of the tech has dated but not the prevailing attitude. Then, it was about being DIY and Indie. What should it be about NOW? What about those who attend this 100th edition? Who will make a good fist of what they are doing now, change up and do something different, or stop altogether?
I’d like to try and push that along and suggest we ask WHY we’re DIY and Indie, and HOW we can take this good practise and the message to further spread the word that what we do, the artists we work with, the events we organise, are brilliant, for everyone, and to perhaps make a dent in that portion of the population we seem not to be reaching. We have to do more I think.