We believe in our community and in local and regional music and art. We really hope you’ll help us to support local music and art.
I’ve been in the odd position recently of talking to lots of folks about our local music scene; newspapers, local businesses and organizations, and college students doing research papers. A lot of folks are looking at what’s going on with music in our area; and what we can do to make it better. In all cases, I seem to end up making the same point. There is a lot of amazing talent around here. I’ve had the honor of seeing some wickedly talented folks perform; and feel blessed to be able to help them have a place to share their songs. We are crazy blessed with talent.
There’s been a lot of press recently about the “Go Local” movement. It has to do with the idea that money spent locally in small businesses has a much greater economic impact than money spent at a national chain business. Granted, there are times when you have no option than to go to a national chain to get what you need. Generally though, your dollar has a much greater impact on the community when you spend it locally. The same applies for music as well.
Much of what we know of as popular music is really a “chain store” version of the art form. Currently, there are three major record labels that control most of what you hear on the radio and elsewhere. There are, as well, a number of companies that could be considered regional or specialty chains. And then, there’s the homegrown stuff. When you take it down to the fundamentals, a lot of the difference in these three levels has to do with the “slickness” of the production and packaging; more so than the quality of the songs. This may not be true for all cases, but if you listen with an open ear, it’s far more common than you’d imagine.
Again, much like going to a local merchant, when you buy local music (either by purchasing a recording, or going to a local establishment to hear a local performer and have some food or refreshments) more of your money stays local. “Chain store” music has a lot of overhead; recording executives, lawyers, accountants, agents, managers, and the like. Each of these folks gets a nice cut of every dollar you spend on their product. Often, the artists even have to give up ownership of their songs in order to be able to get their stuff out on a national level.
Also, nationally distributed music tends to be produced based on factors that have more to do with generating revenue than creating art. Local music is done by folks who are passionate about creating, and tends to be done for the love of performing; or in some cases (such as me) the compulsive need to create. When you buy local music, most of that money goes to the performer, who then uses it for food, rent, instruments, and tools to make more music.
The computer revolution has made it possible for just about anyone who is really motivated to learn how to create projects that are every bit as good as what comes from large retailers. All it really needs is for you to make the decision to “go local” with your musical dollars. So, take a chance and go check out some local folks. Buy their CDs or downloads. Go to their shows, and/or have dinner or beverages where they are playing. Buy their merch; and get your friends to do the same. Share their music. This also goes for you musical types too! We all need to be supporting each other by going to each other’s shows, buying each other’s CDs and the like. We also need to support those businesses that book local original artists, as well as supporting the artists themselves.
In the long run, it’s all about community. Community is not about national or international businesses; it’s about what’s happening right around here. This is a truth on a lot of different levels. Keene Music Festival is all about creating community through music. We believe in the idea that there is nothing better than homegrown art.
We believe in our community and in local and regional music and art. We really hope you’ll come out to our events, go to the other great events in the area, tell everyone you know about them, and help us to support local music and art. So, take a chance and go buy some of them good, locally grown tunes. If you don’t know where to look, then drop me a line and I’ll hook you up.
Yours in the Music,
Kevin Dremel for the Keene Music Festival