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 Post subject: Events and Promotion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:42 pm 
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How does the forest values and mission play out during the organisation and management of events and the way artists could possibly be further supported through the promotion of the events.

What part do forest events play in the forest set up, and as part of the wider Edinburgh scene, and how can this be developed to provide more opportunity and support for everyone involved...

These are the questions that will be dealt with on this thread, and everyone is entitled to an comment obviously.. we should try to keep it objective orientated.. we must remember that no one person is entirely responsible for forest events (correct me if i am wrong), and therefore it is not anyones fault if there are areas that could be addressed.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:43 pm 
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Chakan, you do definately bring up some good points (the ones i can understand that is :D ), but you must admit that the Forest is a wonderfully unique place, and often the spontaniousness and crazyness forms from the fact that the place is not run by managers and owners or people with long term wisdom and knowledge gained from previous management experience or degrees in event management or business.
However by making (although brief) visits to some of the working groups I can see that people do often have the skill and maturity to confront some very important business issues without panicking and running away, and if they do need help with things, due to the Forest been a place where all sorts of people hang around, there always seems to be people of experience to talk to, whther it be on legal matters, technical and money matters. The Forest business plan works. Maybe not in the same way as other business do there business plan but again, thats the beauty. it allows for people to grow and learn as well as allowing a more freeflowing way of doing things.
Saying that, there are areas that could do with improvement, including sound engineers, but throwing money at problems is not something the Forest has really ever done (sorry about the generalisation), and I believe using common sense and a bit ingenuity we can overcome these problems. How about speaking directly to the sound engineers at Uni wanting a bit of live practice? In fact there is a thread listing engineers we can contact, but this does definately need expanding and to be used more often.
Sometimes getting things done can be a struggle but they do get done thanks to the lovely hardcore vollies (of which I am undoubtedly not one of...sorry).
Streamlining the way things are done would be great, but we must always remember that the Forest is not like other places, and intense practices and strict business plans would hinder more people than it would help. This doesn't mean they are wrong, it just means they are nye impossible to implement in a place run the way the Forest is.
Anyways, i better do a bit of work, your taxes are paying my wages after all. hehe.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:02 pm 
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I am also at work, but i do intend to delve into this in a bit of depth as soon as i have a moment... its exactly the comments you made which i would like to explore in the context of the events and promotion issues...

I understand what you are saying, but i have had many conversations with people about some of the issues i will bring up, i don't know why but some people are a little timid in coming forward about this type of thing, within a "lets solve it" context. But due to my personality e.g. i can take a few hits without falling down, i may as well as discuss them and see what people think, as i am sure as i have as much to learn about how people feel about these issues as anyone else... But the discussion does need to be had, for my own insight as well as anyone else who may have an interest in exploring promotions and events diaspora.. as well as possibly how values play out in the context of artistic objectives...

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:26 pm 
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be careful with that business talk though...I find it a bit ridiculous to be honest.
Say what you want in your own voice not the way that business people speak...business people need to lightn up, and when I hear them talk their talk, i just wanna tell them to cut the crap. This isn't an insult but if we want to get a good conversation going which is accessable to lots of people, then I think people would appreciate a more open and formal discussion.

...or maybe I just don't understand what you're saying coz I is fick :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:07 pm 
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In terms of sound engineers ---- to be honest, the answer is simple and it is the same answer for every aspect of the forest that has "a problem".

It just takes one person to initiate something beyond discussion, someone who is loyal to one thing, who will stick to it and ensure it gets done week by week thereby setting up the necessary systems to ensre that the program can work within the forest.

for example: say chakhan is super passionate about sound engineering. First thing, he'll need to know what we've done in the past:

- we had a year of jewl and esk kids coming in to do gigs but that has fallen through the cracks now (sadly) but I keep pestering them to come back. They say that they had a good time in the past and we still see some of the original crew but ...

- we had contacts of SE folk on the bb and in the back of the events book. Problem there - they never got contacted.

- we have never paid anyone to sound engineer (though I am not against it).

So, we've tried two ways of getting engineer's in chakan would see and he'd look at what went wrong with Jewl and Esk - (they didn't check the bb - maybe it was a bit too informal and so it led to confusion etc) so he could call the manager there and say listen - I'm in charge. I'm going to send you 3 events per week. every monday by 2pm. I'll meet your sound engineers here 1 hour before the gig and make sure they know what is up. Everything will be cool. Please end us people.

Also - chakan could assemble a database of willing engineers whom we can call on a weekly basis. So, every sunday afternoon, chakan might want to call the dozen or so people he has on his list and match them up with an event. This could be done every week and up to a month or two in advance so that the work load would not be too daunting and you wouldn't have to struggle to find people at the last minute necessarily.

After these two things have been tried and tried well ought we consider paying people. Paying people is not 100% the issue however. Someone will still need to manage things - decide who gets paid for what gigs. Does Glasgow Jimmy need £40 worth of Sound Engineer? Probably not - but who deals with these issues and administers payment? Who decides what Sound Engineer to use?

Frankly, in my opinion, the first two options are quite easy and simply old school. Call people - ask them to help. It;s how we did the kitchen rota for years when people weren't so used to volunteering and we didn't have so much foot traffic. But the thing with getting on top of sound engineers at Forest means someone has to commit to DOING It. It's another weekly task. It can be done. it should be done but it will not happen via magic web portals or anything. It's going to be mundane rudimentary work and in 6 months it will be natural. But it needs a dedicated person or two to be consistent.

in my opinion.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:49 pm 
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Is Pockets still helping with sound? It seemed to be going a lot more smoothly before the holidays, with his help.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Ok well thanks for the information Ryan.... this is really useful....

Ok, i think the first thing that could possibly be done to alleviate this situation is a meeting which will be broadcast to every possible source of sound engineers that currently exists, including through peoples contact lists... to do this the nature and mission of the meeting will need to be very clear... Including the benefits of getting involved, which will probably need to be discussed by people already at the forest... are there any benefits?
This meeting will need to be open and programmed well in advance, and the incumbent engineers and people who know about this type of thing e.g. Chris , Nik and possibly a couple of others could talk about ways of finding the necessary people with the necessary skills., as well as give insights into past experiences... I know you do have the open meetings which are loosely based around this issue e.g. events and promotions working group, but I’m thinking this issue is way too important for it to be embedded into a general working group meeting.. as I’m not sure someone just interested in the engineering issue will want to turn up to a overall meeting for events and promotions... or possibly maybe the engineering aspect of the meeting can be the first thing on the agenda and thus people who need to get away for the rest of the meeting can....

At the moment it seems that what you are saying is no one wants to take responsibility due to other commitments, like organising enough money for food and rent, plus they may be producing music and working with a band or whatever. This is where the unique issues surrounding engineers lifestyles may be having an impact on how this issue is being (or not) being resolved. Maybe the type of person who is an engineer or planning to be needs a specific type of solution, that the general volunteer package at the forest does not currently offer.. this include several things which we may be aware of, but have not addressed.. e.g. “movement and motives”; why would an engineer make a commitment like this, which is way beyond the normal volunteer commitment which i believe is slightly more relaxed and organic, and are these motives being addressed whilst communicating the “opportunity”..


In terms of the monetary aspect, even though I am not suggesting that this is a motive, but it certainly would help to create a professional tier of events management... what i am suggesting is that one or two people are made responsible for the sound and other technical set up, including projectors and lights... these guys will be in-house and could possibly be paid a nominal figure say £120 for one or two if they are splitting the work.. These guys can help out whoever turns up with the band, possibly making suggestions on ways one can upgrade the equipment if and when it becomes necessary, where to find the necessary equipment round the forest and generally know the quirks of the kit and the equipment... I know this may set a bad precedent, but i think its a swings and roundabout situation. Because you cannot have any volunteer doing this work, and because its so specialised, and because you can really only have up to 3 people looking after this area, this situation may have certain attributes which require a unique solution (as mentioned above)... e.g. a nominal payment... the increase in the food and drink sales only need to be around 250 at most a week to cover this, which having bands that are finicky about their sound play more often in the forest will certainly do.... you could always start the engineers on £60 a week total, and the more reliable the sound gets, create a transition say over a period of 6 weeks, to a total of £120 for the week.. which will work out about £25 a night on average, if you take into consideration the forest has no live music for at least 2 nights a week, But again this may change if the sound becomes more reliable in any case.

Has anyone put these general renumeration issues to general feedback, the possibility that more paid people are required in specific roles, if the forest is to progress.. i mean you have the people there, but they have to obviously cover commitments.. I know that alot of people probably have had at least some thoughts about this (other nominally paid positions for specific technical & management roles), but has there been an open discussion that anyone can reference for me (if possible).

In any case the sound issue is very important for the hundreds of artists that use the venue, and if properly addressed may help many more artists explore the possibilities of a life in art more effectively and thus provide a community service which really is required, alot more than is currently available...

What is the community service: Live good quality practice to an amenable and interesting crowd, who have not paid to get in but are very happy to enjoy peoples music and offer constructive feedback and help...

this may not only help the artists and the forest organisation but also the other live venues and general music scene around Edinburgh, by offering a staging place where the artists can build a crowd and progress to bigger venues around Edinburgh... of course coming back to support the forest when required.. The same thrust can be applied for possible UK tours...

Of course the increased music programme by more experienced bands will also have an impact on closing times and therefore on the night managers, as in alot of cases the better the live music, the more people turn up, the later the forest stays open.. but with the increased revenue and positive impact on the cafe environment that this type of thing will have, i'm sure the (expanding retinue of) night managers won't mind specifically if they have enough volunteers available for the night... in my experience the more interesting the content is at the forest, the more people do not mind volunteering...


:!:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:59 pm 
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We have discussed paying more people a million times. Aside from the general ethos of the place (being volunteer organised and run is a big part of what makes us unique and why people give their time so freely), we don't have the money to just keep paying people. 120 quid/week is not really a nominal figure for us. And personally, I am much more interested in seeing how much we can do with the model we have than 'professionalising.'

There is also an issue of what jobs are 'worthy' of payment if we can only pay for some things. The general principle has tended to be that if it is directly related to income - our ability to keep paying rent and keep the space open - then there is a good case to be made for some sort of payment. Right now we are looking for a treasurer and are offering nominal compensation. If there are extra funds kicking about, I'd say that the treasurer is the top priority. We can't stay open if we don't do our books, pay our bills, etc.

Of course we all want a better sound engineering system, but it has to be more about work on the ground than throwing money at it. You are wrong in saying that we can easily make 250 quid more (enough to cover the sound engineers) if we have 'finicky' bands to play - the assumption being that all good, bigger drawing bands won't otherwise deal with us? We make most of our money off of food during the day time. Not much food gets sold at night, especially when there is no room to sit down! There is a maximum number of people we can fit in the space and a maximum amount of money to be made from corkage. In fact, when the place is packed out it is more difficult to make sure everyone is paying corkage.

This isn't to say I don't think we should be aiming for great, full, events, but the issue is bigger than crunching some numbers and throwing some money at things. We are different than all that, and I hope we will remain so.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:02 pm 
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Yes Shannon i DO understand what you are saying about which people it will be important to pay and which not... the question is, is how we might we induce engineers and the like to get involved and take responsibility...
I can come up with several ideas, but to initially explore the idea in its entirety, I'll need last years breakdown of the incomings and outgoings (the one that was on the wall in the hall) I will then create an illustration on how one might promote both the values of the forest as well as create an incentive for engineers and other people who may or may not be willing to take responsibility for elements of forest business, (ok i know i'm not supposed to say business), without effecting the integrity of the forest's values... this is possible!!! of course you can disagree, but that's all part of the discussion...

I'm just trying to get the chat going on how it might be improved.... and obviously your right throwing money at ideas does not necessarily work, but it sure makes the kitchen run alot better than it would if no one was responsible.. its definitely worth exploring,!! It should not be too difficult to come up with a transparent mission that can explain the importance of a higher tier of management being paid a nominal figure without destroying the ethics of the forest... after all the main kitchen managers are paid.. and your right, the food sells better in the day, but its the art that gets the people in at night, so the forest in a manner is run in 2 parts, daytime restaurant and night time arts venue but this is not reflected in division of responsibility or Critical staff ethos.

As importantly the forest might then be in stronger position financially and ethically to colonise (excuse the term) more space in the medium and long term... a more professionally run night program will have a positive effect on the financial performance which will allow for more grants, which means more workshops, more experiments, more artists, more events, more fun, more experience..

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 Post subject: on the same note
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:19 pm 
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We must all remember the forest in itself is a experiment in the human experience and how we might challenge the normal way of doing things to create an environment of change, to make things better... better than they would be otherwise i suppose...

But in this process of change our ideas of how values play out in the wider world is also important... Many people in Edinburgh, literally thousands over the course of the last few years have come through the forest, developed friendships, creative partnerships and all sorts of things (myself included)... All of these people who have positive experiences of the forest are a resource, a human resource who may now have developed their skills and now have important insights which may help the forest grow, how do we reach out to these people...

I know it’s not just a question of throwing money at things, however i do believe it is a question of how you use the resources around you to create a better space, not just in the forest but in the country and the world as a whole (i hope i do not sound to lofty now)... maybe if we are able to resolve the issues in the forest, it'll be easier to reach out using the forest as a platform (like with the tours).

Even this discussion is a useful resource for any person looking to create a similar organisation around the country, but to really do this better every option cannot be left unturned even if it means questioning some of the pillars of the founding principles, after all isn't that how we have evolved and continue to evolve... because if things cannot change then how can we adapt to a changing environment... and how do people with these values which we hold so dear challenge the ideas around them, if they cannot even challenge the idea of themselves..

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:51 pm 
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We must all remember the forest in itself is a experiment in the human experience and how we might challenge the normal way of doing things to create an environment of change, to make things better


The normal thing to do would be to entice people with money!!!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:52 pm 
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By all means, discuss away. I was merely throwing my opinion into the ring.

I don't have the time to go into it too much at the moment, but if we're talking money (and yes, the reality is Forest must have a business side - I even go to the meetings) we are not going to see an increase in revenue by monetarily rewarding sound engineers. There are some ideas and values that can be rehashed, but I don't think 'free space' is one of them. The only way to significantly increase takings at night (the time the sound engineers would almost always be used), would be to charge a cover or to sell booze all year. I cannot imagine that most people involved in Forest would support either of those things. Selling booze would probably be passed more easily, but there are licensing problems with that.

This is not to say that there is absolutely no way to provide money for something if it is not going to increase revenue, only that there are a lot of things that could be done better, or at least more quickly and efficiently, if we had more cash to do them with. In my opinion, sound engineering is not at the top of the list of things-to-throw-money-at-if-we-have-money-to-throw.

Number crunching from last year won't be possible until the new treasurer thing gets sorted. That's at the top of my spend-money-if-necessary list.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:57 pm 
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On the treasurer side of things.
Is it worth sending an email to the college/uni Accountant lecturers to see if any 3rd/4th year students want some experience?
If so I can try and get the contact details through my work, but you'll have to send me all the info

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:11 am 
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Yes, that sounds like a very good idea. PM beev for details. Or there might be a copy of the poster somewhere around here... Yes, it's on the front page of the website. However, maybe we want something slightly more formal if we're trying to get accounting lecturers to send it out?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:19 am 
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yeah, probably a bit more formal. Info on forest, and business side of things in relative detail I guess...It needs to be good enough for them to read out in the lecture hall!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:37 am 
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They might be able to just send it around on their email lists. I'm not sure if Neil might have already done this? Definitely get in touch with him.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:00 am 
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yes a bookkeeper must be at the top of the list.....

In terms of the corkage, i believe the prices have already increased as you now charge by the mililitre (instead of the bottle) namely because lots of people were bringing in huge bottles of beer, which server 2-3 people which was obviously losing revenue...

Do you have a budget for promoting forest artists that support the venue through playing lots of gigs there? or is there just the grant?

Might it be possible for the engineers to help out with the bands on forest records? Bands who need to gig outside the forest to raise awareness, this might might help to develop a more rounded role for the engineers that help out at the venue... and is it possible to be able to include this in the forest engineer opportunity package?

I know you it may be difficult for you make the equation good sound = good experience by bands that play = more bands taking up empty slots = alot more revenue... but it does exist, hence why nearly all music venues invest in sound... i know you are a volunteer organisation with very specific unique attributes, but that does not mean you are immune to normal variables... better program = more people = more revenue... and engineers will help to develop this... I'm obviously not saying that this is the most important thing, but in terms of events and promo its one of the most important and equal to the need for alot more information about the monthly program, which i will get on to in my next post so that we do not bore ourselves to death by repeating comments posted above in this thread.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:19 pm 
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you mean we're not bored to death already?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:22 pm 
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:lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:38 pm 
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Ho ho ho...

Ok I will try to liven it up a little if you like.... as soon as i have more serious events matters out of the way...

lol

8)

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 Post subject: www.iam-digital.com
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 10:45 pm 
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Ok I thought people might be interested to the extension of my Forest Movements and Motives night... which is called I AM Digital...

Basically this is the result of many things i have done at the forest and have since done when i am not there as much...

In any case I will platforming 2 of the Forest's Favourites Asazi Space Funk Explosion and Zorras as well as other content from around Europe as well as Scotland and England... It would be nice to see some the more creative folk down here... see below for details:

TITLE OF EVENT: I AM DIGITAL - The Voodoo Session

TYPE OF EVENT: CLUB / ARTS Event


DATE: Saturday 31st May 2008
TIME: 9pm-1am
Venue: The Voodoo Rooms, 19a West Register St, Edinburgh, EH2 2AA http://www.thevoodoorooms.co.uk
Event Website: http://www.iam-digital.com
Enquiries TEL: 01316677363 or 07877835295
Email: chakan@iam-digital.com

After the successful event in February 08 I AM presents a night of international exposition, collaboration, and performance produced with emerging and established artists from Scotland, South Africa, England, Germany, Canada, Venezuela, Cuba, Belgium, France & Spain, the collaborations of which were in many cases instigated in Scotland. The "innovative" program of digital art, dance performance and live music aims to promote discovery, discussion and relaxation with like-minded people in an informal environment.

The night encompasses the work of emerging and established artists and bands, providing an innovative platform for exposition, performance and audience interaction (because in fact people are art). I AM develops with the participants (the audience and artists alike) an atmosphere of collaborative creativity, and the opportunity to enjoy good music and dance.

Program:

MUSIC & DANCE SHORTS 9pm-9.40pm
"This is not a body" Retina Dance. (Belgium)
"Trench" Sabine Klaus. (Germany)

DANCE PERFORMANCE & DIALOUGUE 9.40pm –10.05 pm
Rites" (an extract) - Anthony Missen & Kevin Turner.

MUSIC, TIME BASED MEDIA & ANIMATION 10.10-10.25pm* -
"Human Cosmic"- Monica Fernandez (Spain)
"This is not a body" Brian Hartley (Scotland)
"2008" Damien Cupyers (France)
"Hit me Baby" Rachel Maclean (Scotland)

LIVE BANDS 10.30pm-Midnight
Zorras - Poetry Fusion (Canada and Venezuela)
Yudnara J + Lilly - singer/percussionist/composer (Venezuela)
Asazi Space Funk Explosion - Afro-Celt dance floor tribal rhythms – (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Scotland, England)

DJ Midnight – 1am
DJ Ricky Ried (Hanover99 & DigitalNYE)

You can find attached to this post a photographic preview of the event, examples of the print promotional. View http://www.iam-digital.com/events.php, where you will also be able to link to extensive artists profiles.


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:08 am 
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...Image

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 Post subject: whats next!
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:23 pm 
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Hi this is a final reminder for the I AM digital night, this Saturday.. Please see event details at the bottom of this email, but in the meantime check out the latest news, apologies for the long email but its been a very busy month and nearly everything in this mail is relevant to you or people you know, so feel free to forward this email on!!!!

We plan on holding IAM Monthly same scale events from July and 2 larger events during September/October with another planned for London at around this time. We are currently making a call out for highly impactful time based media artists, short film, animation, contemporary dancers, Live bands whether organizations or individuals to get involved in the program, so if you know anyone who has the talent (not necessarily from Edinburgh or the UK) and relevant material to platform, please come down to the event and give me feedback on the format and how you or they might be able to get involved. V.important!!!!

As part of our outreach campaign we have begun to set up a network of 100+ Edinburgh based independent leaning fashion shops, edgy art galleries/exhibitions, hang out joints like coffee shops, and licensed venues that have a distinctly creative environment and either support artists or are heavily frequented by creative types. You may have already seen some of the evidence of this network from the extended promotion of the IAM event in the outlets. This network of outlets (and others like them) will be placed online and be supported with creative content that enhances the online impact of the outlet network as well as defines what the online guide is all about “artistic content which challenges the use of space” not only during events but now also in outlets of many kinds and through an online guide that is accessible to visitors and other interested parties.. Supporting the outlets that support creativity… This will help us to create the type of network which will support the nature of the creative endeavors we are currently involved in and have planned, as well as make it easier for people who live in Edinburgh or are visiting to find, visit, shop or just hang out with like minded people in great environments which in some cases may have a commercial leaning, but not the type that negatively impacts on the creative landscape. Several outlets have already expressed an interest to show artists work in their establishments, live, static and moveable and this should only help to extend the reach and opportunity of the collaborative format we have begun developing at the event.

As mentioned the guide will be placed only online and we intend to work with as many print publications as are interested to expand the opportunity for everyone involved, as well as present Edinburgh to the outside world to be as “cool” and collaborative as possible, and to this end have already begun developing the promotion of the format, the content and contributors outside of all borders. If you are interested, or know anyone interested in getting involved, writers, photographers, illustrators, artists, fashionistas and outlets owners please come down to the event to have a chat with me e.g. find a way to introduce yourself and / or send me an email. Honestly I am a nice guy who has lots of time for talented people who know what they are talking about. I will of course be very interested to get the right types of people involved within a relatively short timeframe.

On another note we have been asked by good friends in Barcelona to look out for band management, bands, and promoters to get involved in a huge online collaboration which will lead to placing multimedia assets online (as well as doing events) to support music downloads on platforms like Itunes, Napstar, and Nokia (as well as another 180+ other download portals.) More news about this collaboration with Lacupula music will be available soon and on request.

Ok below you will see information about the event, and there will also a be a select after party immediately afterwards, and on the Sunday a beach party with several other groups… More information on the night

The Weekend Program

The EVENT: I AM DIGITAL - The Voodoo Session

DATE: Saturday 31st May 2008
TIME: 9pm-1am
Venue: The Voodoo Rooms, 19a West Register St, Edinburgh, EH2 2AA http://www.thevoodoorooms.co.uk
Event Website: http://www.iam-digital.com
Enquiries TEL: 07877835295
Email: [url]chakan@colabinternational.com[/url]

However for extensive details and timings please visit http://www.iam-digital.com/events.php, where you will also be able to link to extensive artists profiles.

If you need any more information about anything at all please contact me on my mobile or sms me....

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