What Has Happened To The Concord Music Scene

Table ScrapsA few years back, Concord was the new hot spot for local music talent. There was a community, there was love, there was selflessness, there was help… it was awesome. Has this all changed? Has it died? Has it gone the way of the dodo bird and fled for warmer waters? Maybe. Can it be saved? I think so. Will it take work? It will. Can you do it? You can. We can. We must.

A few years ago we had very little infrastructure to support local music in Concord. A couple of venues and a couple of festivals that is it. Then it grew. It seemed that every week there was a new and exciting band to discover. New studios opened for bands where they could record. New venues opened and more avenues for music to be heard were appearing. It blew up! It was great. Am I saying that there are no good bands out there anymore? Of course not, there are tons of good bands. You can still find bands on every corner playing tunes but it has changed. The love is gone and has been replaced by greed. Greed from promoters, greed from clubs, greed from bands and greed from even me.

Anytime you have something where money can be made, people appear from the shadows to exploit that item and make their share. More and more festivals started to exploit bands. Some of these festivals making bands pay to play, or not paying the bands at all, while every other aspect of the production took home their golden coins. Venues, promoters, bookers… they all did the same. When you set up a pyramid where the bands are on top of importance but receive the bottom of the payment, everyone becomes disenfranchised. This generates more bands that simply want to fight for their share. They no longer want to help other bands but get their win.

Music should not be a contest with a winner and a loser, it is art. In the past few months I have read bands bashing other bands for sucking and studios bashing other studios for sucking or other festivals pointing a sucking finger at others. Some might say that my own writing has caused this hate and issues. It probably has. In fact, I did say that some disparaging things about festivals that were not run well. Is this bashing the festival or the people? No… it is simply a fact that some things did not work the way they were planned. They over spent on staging and lighting and bands didn't get what they . This is something that is done by a lot of the festivals. Some other festivals claim poverty while still taking a fat check home for themselves.

Exploitation. The root of the evil that is at the bottom of our scene but at the top of the pyramid. How can we fix this? Cut it out! That is how. A decade or more ago I use to play in a band in Boston every week or so. It was terrible. Why? Because the other bands would rather spit in your face than help you out. If your guitar string broke and you don’t have a replacement, the next band instead of offering you a string, would force you off the stage so they could have more time for themselves. There was no love. If you look at Boston, club after club has closed. The Abbey is gone, Skybar is gone, and these were staples of the local music scene in Boston. Don’t let Concord go the way of Boston. Fight for our venues, fight for our bands… ADVOCATE!

We are not at a bad place where we cannot return. We can be saved. We have the infrastructure still in place. We have not lost our chance. How do we return? Help. You help, that is how we rise like the phoenix. Be the change you want to see. Are you a musician? Start helping other bands, give opening slots to bands, offer up booking help, and don’t try to screw your opening act out of their share of the earnings because “you deserve more than them.” Are you a venue? Start booking original acts at a fair wage, book more than the same acts over and over, actually care about the music and not the money. Are you a festival? Pay your bands, don’t claim poverty when you and the sound/stage/lights/security are paid their share. Are you a studio? Don’t claim to be better than the rest, don’t bash. Are you a fan? Go to a show, tell a friend about a show, show up to a show, show your support and love.

We have a boat. We are in it together. The boat has a few holes. Let’s try and patch those holes together. Our other option is to try and make the hole under other people bigger so they sink. If we take that method though, we all sink in the end. Loose lips sink ships, the person who helps row the boat, seldom has time to rock it.

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