Confessions of a Band Manager

Bec H And Hubs have themselves a flock (hmm, is it a ‘flock’ or ‘herd’?) of goats, and have named one of them after me. ‘Oh’, you may be thinking, ‘isn’t that nice?!’ As did I, until I was told he reminded them of me because he was always the last one through the gate…

‘Bec C, the tardy goat’… Funny now, isn’t it? Let me just pick myself up from the floor…

Fortunately, I consider myself reasonably well apprised of my various faults (numerous as they are) and unfortunately one of them is – sigh – tardiness. I’m not proud of it. I am one of those people who needs to be told a fake early arrival time if I’m going to get there in time. I just really don’t know where time goes! It slips through my fingers like jelly – I just can’t get a grip on it – one minute I’m running right on time, then WHAMO – I’ve missed the whole wedding! (yes, this did happen once… only once. Unfortunately I couldn’t even hide up the back because I arrived just as everyone started pouring out from the church)…

Which brings me to this blog entry, as I am very sorry I am posting this so late. Big apologies to our 17 followers (if you are still hanging in there… hello? Hello? HELLO??) but, well, where does time go?? But like all notorious late people, I want you to know that I have an excuse. And Bec H assures me it’s a good one. I have been very busy and utterly distracted by ‘other things’.

I appear to have become, you see, a band manager. This job description makes me laugh, as I really have no idea what I am doing. But ‘Dougall’ is a profesional muso, who writes and plays music, and I seem to have found myself in this role by default. And whilst city shows are out of my league, (more on that later) when it comes to organising shows in regional areas I’m actually quite good. I know , I know – who would have ever guessed we were anything more than incredibly capable farmers on our hill??!! (cough, splutter, choke).

So here I am on the other side of having organised 3 shows over 2 weekends, out of Sydney, for 12 performers and our soundo. Dougall has quite a big band, which certainly makes life interesting. I have discovered that dealing with musicians is like dealing with an entirely different species of life form – ask them a direct question, even something simple, like – ‘what time are you available from’ – and the response might be – ‘I had eggs for breakfast’. OK – that’s slightly exaggerated, but only a little. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for musicians (after all, I married one), but when they talk about left and right sides of the brain, you might as well dismiss it – musos pretty much have a different brain altogether.

Anyway, the last show we put on was in our local hall. And why not – country hall shows are fantastic – the atmosphere is so friendly, enthusiastic and contagious, why bother with stadiums? (apart from the profit margin due to extra seating of course. I can see that that would have its advantages). Every one loves going to shows in country halls – the audience, and the performers. The only problem is, more often than not the facilities are a little… limited. Take the stage size. With 12 performers, it’s difficult to fit everyone on the stage. So then you have to build another one.

So Saturday afternoon, having thrown my boys into the arms of their visiting grandparents I found myself directing the assembly of a stage from milk crates (thank you o-friendly neighbour, for pilfering gathering all 70 of them over the past few weeks on my behalf), wooden crates, ply board, and cable ties.
I really had to pause and reflect on the moment – I mean, what do I know about building a stage from milk crates??

Staging on the Run

Here is a list of things to consider if you ever want to put on your own show:

  • How do you sell tickets to the public?
  • How much will they be happy to pay, considering you’re bringing 13 professional musos out of Sydney?
  • How do you tell the public about it, without taking out expensive ads you can’t afford?
  • How can you write a creative media release when you can’t even summon the energy to create a soup?
  • How do you organise seating? Rows? Tables? Or both and hope for the best?
  • How do you you feed the band before the show, when there are no takeaway joints around? Don’t forget to cook for the vegetarians too!
  • How do you add atmosphere to the hall’s facade?
  • How do you set up? Pack away?
  • How do you organise a cleaner for 11pm at night?
  • Being in the country far from their beds, where is everyone going to sleep? …you guessed it…
  • Do I have enough beds? Pillows? Blankets? Who snores?
  • What will everyone eat for breakfast?
  • What will I do with my little children while I am doing all of this?
  • How do I make it up to all the people who I call up to help me?

Oh… sorry… the list became all about me.

Anyway, 200 people later, the night was, I believe, a success. And I guess that’s why I do it – there’s something strangely satisfying organising something like that, locally. Everyone’s in such a good mood, and as one friend said ‘putting on shows like this brings communities together, otherwise we would just be a bunch of people living next door to each other’.

But strangely, to do the same in Sydney is another matter altogether, even though they have a much bigger population to draw an audience from. Why? Too much to choose from? Entertainment apathy? Community isolation?
Ah, the big questions. Just don’t ask me to answer them.
I really just wanted you to know why I am so late.

Packed to the Rafters

This entry was posted in Life in a small community, Music by Bec C. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bec C

I made the tree-change move from Sydney to my husband 'Dougal's' old family property on the mid-north coast several years ago, but only since the birth of my first son have I really lived here. In between raising 2 young sons, I am trying my hand at sustainable farm management... 'Trying' being the important word. Whilst the ability to pat my steers gives me much satisfaction, I love the fact that every morning I awake to space and open sky... even if it is 5am.

3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Band Manager

  1. I love the bit about the milk crates. And the bit about the goat who is always last out of the gate…

  2. Fair excuse indeed Bec. I enjoyed reading this while waiting for the goats to finish their breakfast, Bec C (the goat) last again. Wonder if he doubles as the goats’ herd manager?

    • I have no doubt BecC the Goat doubles as the goats herd/flock manager – that’s the reason he’s always last through the gate. He’s busy doing a last minute check nothing has been left behind.

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