Behind the Scenes Again

I spent this weekend at a competition in Knoxville. It was full of twelve hour days, multiple events, and a ton of people of all ages who all needed some attending to at various points throughout. And it went great. As always, there were a few hiccups here and there; one of the food trucks sold out of food too fast, phones couldn’t get a signal in the main hall, and the rain impacted a lot of plans. But through it all a small team of paid event staff and a ton of volunteers made it all work so well that we all had a great time.

It got me thinking on the ride back about how much work it is to keep any scene running and how there’s always some folk who assume work is being done for pay. Over the years I’ve had multiple people accuse me of running this here blog so I can get paid by bands to create good press for them. If you’ve ever read any of my blog, you’d know that a) I’ve never made a dime off this thing that hasn’t gone straight back into web hosting costs and b) the idea that this blog would make or break a band is laughable. Near on fifteen years here and I’d be happy to know if anyone was reading, much less taking it somewhat seriously.

But I also read the Flagpole article about Athens GA Live Music’s youtube channel. And then there’s Mike White’s incredible photos documenting our live music scene since 2005ish give or take. There’s also folks who are doing their own thing mostly unknown to anyone else like T. Patton Biddle’s collection of board recordings from bands and years far gone by. They don’t often get the sort of press that someone like Henry Owings does with his amazing efforts to preserve music culture. Not to mention all the folks at UGA Library who continue to work (underpaid!) on capturing what they can of local flavor while folks are around.

In the non-history department, we’ve got the promoters and venue owners and light techs and sound engineers, managers, and band spouses that are all trying to keep things going as best they can. I’ve been in that boat many a time and I will remind you that no one is hanging out at a back alley venue in Alabama at 3 a.m. selling t-shirts to drunken dudes unless they really believe in what they’re doing. Or getting paid really well and I’m telling you that most likely they are not getting paid at all. It takes a lot of people to put on a show so perhaps spare them a thought or two as we head into a busy Spring season.

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