I’ve just written my first press release for the new Sunday Folk concert series. It might have been a bit ordinary, but luckily I was at the Turn Up conference in Nambour on Wednesday night, and of course I attended the session on preparing PR for media. Times have changed since I was a journalist myself, and anyway I was more used to reading press releases than writing them. So I’m very glad to have had that stark reminder of what to aim for – short, relevant sentences, a heading that captures the essence of the piece, a photo of a usable size – that is a 2:3 dimension ratio, usually landscape and sent as a small JPEG file.
Turn Up is a wonderful event, and as a Nambour-based musician I am grateful that it was right on my doorstep, though I’d be happy to travel for it. It was great to see musicians of all ages and stages of their careers connecting over the six hours, all gaining insights from the industry experts. Keynote speaker Dennis Dunstan brought a glimpse of the high life to the event with stories from his 17 years of being the manager for Fleetwood Mac. His advice for emerging musicians was pretty straight forward though; write good songs (or if you can’t, realise that and find them from somewhere else), get really good at playing live, and build a following in your home town before you try to take on the world. Dennis was cautionary of the TV show route to stardom, not least because those who are crowned ‘winners’ at the end of the series then have to get on and entertain large crowds for up to two hours. That’s what being a succesful musician is all about. And if your route to stardom is singing a couple of cover songs really well, then that’s probably not the best preparation.
With the information from Turn Up still going round my head, and my newly written press release ready to send out, I checked my inbox and found an offer of a gig that I had been chasing for my band for quite a while. We’d been given a date, informed of payment, it could have been a done deal. Except…some warning bells went off in my head because of something I’d learned at the last Turn Up event. Someone on the panel advised bands to be careful which shows they promote heavily to their fans. Basically, you need to spread out your marketing, and put more effort into the shows that are going to bring you the best rewards. Not necessarily the best paid gigs, but certainly the highest profile ones, and the ones that will see you move on to bigger and better venues if you can be successful there. Sound advice, and when I noticed the date of the gig we’d been offered, and saw that it was just a couple of days before the first ever Sunday Folk concert, I knew I couldn’t give it my full marketing attention. So, we have negotiated a new date and everyone is happy.
So thanks Turn Up, for providing this platform for Sunshine Coast musicians. It’s great to feel part of such a vibrant working musicians’ network, and these nuggets of information I’m taking home are like gold!