Gigs and ducks

I already mentioned it in my previous blog…gigs…
It’s probably one of the most challenging things to get sorted if you’re a musician.
We book all of the gigs ourselves, both in Ireland/Northern Ireland and The Netherlands. There’s a big difference between booking gigs in Ireland/Northern Ireland and The Netherlands though.

Booking gigs in The Netherlands goes pretty well so far. Sure it’s a lot of work and you’ll have to search for venues who do pay artists to play, but so far we’ve been able to get paid gigs sorted. It’s simply necessary. If you’re a touring artist, you’ll have to get expenses covered. It takes a lot of time, effort and phone calls to find the good opportunities though.
Robb always comes over with the band. So when booking gigs we just have to try to get as much of the expenses covered as we can and besides that we have to be creative. Booking hotels is much more expensive than booking an accommodation for a week or 10 days. You can’t cut on flights, but it is helpful to book early, because prices for flights are always going up fast around 8 weeks before the departure date. Renting a car instead of a van is also helpful to keep the costs as low as possible. I live in The Netherlands, so I’m always driving too. But it’s not only that. We’ve been very lucky with the instruments and equipment so far, which we’ve been able to lend from very generous and kind people over here. Besides that, we’re always trying to avoid big expenses when we’re travelling. Taking food and drinks with us, so we don’t have to eat at restaurants etc. and some venues are very welcoming and take care of us all very well by providing us with food and drinks.

The first tour was the hardest one to get sorted. No experience at all and no idea where to look. There wasn’t much to wish for, we were happy to get paid gigs. During that tour there was a variety of venues, from music bars to a chapel. With the 2nd tour things went a lot easier. We found good venues and were able to book better gigs than we had during the first tour. Again a variety of venues and it was fun to do. With the third tour we’ve found a lot of new venues and some venues wanted Robb and the band to perform there again. Good venues for songwriters to perform at, and again every venue is different. We’re already looking forward to that tour!

Booking gigs in Ireland/Northern Ireland is a completely different story though. Sure booking gigs in The Netherlands isn’t an easy thing to do, but with some effort and finding the right venues, we’ve been able to book gigs.
In Ireland/Northern Ireland that seems like an impossible thing to do. You either play for free or pay for a venue yourself to do a gig, hoping that there’ll be enough audience to break even. What’s even worse is that there are more and more festivals making artists pay when they want to apply. That is just really wrong.
One of the reasons why things are so different might be because of the amount of talented bands and singer/songwriters in Northern Ireland. There seems to be much more ‘competition’ than there is in The Netherlands. Music simply is much more part of the culture in Ireland/Northern Ireland than it is over here.
There are many more differences though. In Northern Ireland/Ireland the support for local music seems to be very good. There really are numerous radio stations, including the big stations, who pay attention to new music and besides that there are some really good organisations promoting local music in Northern Ireland.
Sure there are some organisations like that in The Netherlands too, but those organisations seem to be very inaccessible. What does happen is that there is a growing amount of initiatives from people (music lovers)/organisations supporting unknown talent (from The Netherlands and abroad) by hosting gigs. Radio stations are a different story though. There are some good shows that play unknown music, but you won’t hear it on the big radio stations. And besides that…most radio stations (not all of them!! There are some exceptions!!) are always behind over here. When a certain band/artist breaks through in the UK it often takes at least 6 months to a year before radio world in The Netherlands wakes up 😉

These are just some differences between music world in The Netherlands and Ireland/Northern Ireland. And I’m sure things are different in every other country as well.
This blog may seem like a very negative story, but it’s just how the way things are and something every artist has to deal with. There’s nothing negative about it, it’s even quite positive, cause that means that we (and every other artist/band!) will have to be creative and see it as a challenge to make things work and come up with different ideas to spread the word and reach the audience that will like the music. Don’t put energy in the negative things happening, instead of that, find your own way and be you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Every single artist/band is unique and what works for others doesn’t mean that it will work for you too. Be creative, push a few boundaries, take a helping hand when offered, be thankful for the people who support you and stick to your goal.

Something totally off topic to end this blog with…
In one of my previous blogs I wrote about the unexpected visitors we had last week. Mr. and Mrs. Duck who came for a swim in our pond. They were back yesterday!!
Seems that they liked it…maybe the food supply wasn’t bad after all 😉
I sat outside for a while, watched them and gave them some bread. They stayed for a couple of hours before leaving. I wouldn’t be surprised if they become regular visitors from now on.
IMG_1064 IMG_1081

I shared this song, To Be A Fool, in a previous blog, but I’m sharing it again, cause it’s about the things I wrote about in this blog. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and stick to your goal.
Have a listen!

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