Music Camps at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2017

by AlanRowoth on August 2, 2017

Here are the results of our survey for 2017

Camp Name: The Big Orange Tarp
Grid location: M18
Website: http://BigOrangeTarp.org
Organisation: Big Orange Tarp/Grassy Hill
Contact name: Alan Rowoth
Contact email: BigOrangeTarp@gmail.com
Established: 1992
Nights and times you play: Wed-Sunday nights when the festival stage is dark
Music focus: Professional touring artists, especially Emerging Artist Showcasers
Format: mostly ITR performances with occasional pop ins
Target Audience: Venue operators and house concerts, media, avid listeners
Capacity: 60-100 Bring your own chairs
Cover music: mostly original music, most performers have recordings available
Do you accept artist submissions? no
Notes: kid friendly, alcohol tolerated, not encouraged. No glass.
Most Wanted, Showcasers, main stage artists, special guests
Open circle every night after the feature performers. We often see the sunrise.
6 piece house band. all acoustic.

Camp Name Pirate Camp
Grid location M-10
Contact Name Stuart Kabak
Email  stubak911@aol.com
Established 1999
Nights & times to play Wed thru Saturday nite when main stage is off
Music Focus Mostly pro level artists
Format Mostly ITR Originals
Alcohol None served…prefer you leave yours home
Notes Large protective canopy, real stage and lighting, camaraderie to write home about, breakfast and dinner provided to Pirate Camp residents
Artist submissions? Yes*
Target audience People who love great songs performed by great artists
Capacity 30 chairs provided under canopy Room for over 100 around stage

Camp Name: Camp Stupid Americans
Grid location: N3
Website: http://www.philhenryband.com
Organisation:
Contact name: Phil Henry
Contact email: phil@windrant.com
Established: 2000
Nights and times you play: Friday after Mainstage close
Music focus: Songwriters
format: Open song circle
Target Audience:
Capacity: 30
Cover music: Sure, though we love originals!
Do you accept submissions?
Notes: Bringing a chair is encouraged!

Camp Name: The Budgiedome
Grid location: g22
Website: budgiedome.org
Organisation: The Budgiedome
Contact name: musician contact Gordon Nash
Contact email: gordon@budgiedome.org
Established: 2000
Nights and times you play: Thursday night song circle after the Lounge Stage, featured performers Friday and Saturday after main stage followed by open mic
Music focus: emerging artists and new artists
format: Thursday night song circle. Friday night and Saturday night featured performers in short sets followed by open mic
Target Audience: avid listeners
Capacity: 60+ seating, bring a chair
Cover music: we prefer originals.
Do you accept submissions? Yes, electronic only.
Notes: Wandering Minstrels Adopted

Camp Name: Happytown (Dave Carter Song Circle) (this year at the Lounge Camp)
Grid location: near the back corner of 10-acre
Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/246313732526780 (for this year)
Organisation:
Contact name: Beth DeSombre
Contact email: beth@bethdesombre.com
Established: 2002
Nights and times you play: Saturday late night
Music focus: All Dave Carter songs, all the time
format: in-the-round — newcomers and brief visitors can play as soon as they arrive
Target Audience: those who love Dave Carter’s songs and
Capacity: 30-40
Cover music: Dave Carter songs
Do you accept submissions? Everyone welcomed
Notes: Come to play, sing, or just listen. (You can request songs, too!)

Camp Name: Nite Owl Campfire Song Swap
Grid location: Performer parking lot (just across troll bridge from security trailer)
Website: http://falconridgefolk.com/
Organisation: Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
Contact name: Terry Kitchen
Contact email: terrykit@aol.com
Established: 1992
Nights and times you play: Fri & Sat nites midnite-3 AM
Music focus: singers, songwriters, poets, storytellers
format: open song circle
Target Audience: all
Capacity: 50
Cover music: fine, but original encouraged
Do you accept submissions? none needed, just show up!
Notes: This is a festival-sponsored open song swap, everybody gets a turn.

Camp Name: Acoustic Live in NYC booth
Grid location: M26
Website: acousticlive.com
Organization: Acoustic Live in NYC
Contact name: Richard Cuccaro
Contact email: riccco@earthlink.net
Established: 1999
Nights and times you play: Afternoons Fri-Sat 2-4 Sun 12-2
Music focus: Singer/songwriter
format: showcase / 15-minute set
Target Audience: Avid listeners
Capacity: 20-30 bring own chairs
Cover music: mostly originals
Do you accept submissions? by invitation mostly; recommendations welcome

Camp Name: The Lounge Camp
Grid Location: H11
Website: http://theloungestage.com
Organization: Tribal Mischief
Contact Name: Ethan & Jake Pesky
Contact Email: ethan@peskyjnixon.com or jake@peskyjnixon.com
Established: 2008
Nights and time you play: Thursday night in the Dance Stage, Saturday night from 10 – 2 for the Dave Carter Tribute.
Music Focus: Kindness
format: Formated scheduling
Capacity: ????
Cover music: Sure
Not really
Notes: Bring a Chair, don’t steal others, enjoy the fire pit and/or the tent!
Usually in attendance but on hiatus for 2017:


===================================
Camp Name: GFP (George Fox Pavilion)
Grid location: H10
Website: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=gfp%20-%20falcon%20ridge%20folk%20festival
Contact name: John Rozett
Contact email: rozettj@gmail.com
Established: 2000
Nights and times you play: Wed-Sat nights when the festival stage is dark except Sat. night when play begins after Dave Carter Song Circle
Music focus:Anyone, pro or amateur
Format: open song circle
Target Audience: anyone
Capacity: Open. Bring your own chairs
Cover music: mostly original music but covers acceptable.
Do you accept artist submissions? no. open.
Notes: alcohol tolerated
Open circle every night after the main stage closes. Fire set up for whomever wants to gather.Self-supervised

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The Big Orange Tarp at Falcon Ridge 2017

by AlanRowoth on August 1, 2017

After our well received return to Falcon Ridge last year, I am even more excited for 2017. I’m delighted to report that Grassy Hill is again the official sponsor of the Big Orange Tarp. I am so grateful for their support and the invaluable assistance of the entire BOT team including Sally Johnson, Jeff Miller, Sandie Reilly, Scott and Paula Moore. With the exception of our cellist extraordinaire, Dirje Childs, who has other obligations this August, the entire BOT house band is returning: George Wurzbach (keyboards), Eric Lee (Violin, Mandolin, Guitar), Mark Dann (Bass) and David Glaser (Guitar, anything with strings). I’m pumped that Annie Wenz will be joining us on Percussion this year. I just added cellist Matthew Thornton.  As always, I’m sure there will be surprise guests as well.

The Tarp features music every night from Wednesday thru Sunday night. On Wednesday and Sunday we start around dusk. On Friday and Saturday nights we begin after the MainStage ends and our feature program consists primarily of Artists from the Falcon Ridge Most Wanted and the Grassy Hill Emerging Songwriter Showcase, sprinkled with a handful of mainstage artists and other special guests. On Thursday night, we start up when the Lounge Stage ends. Our Thursday feature this year will include the Most Wanted artists and a group rom the 2017 Philadelphia Songwriters Project contest, as well as special guests. We do an Open Circle every night after our feature rounds, where anyone is welcome to sit with us and share their songs. We encourage everyone to stop by and participate or listen.Unlike some of the other camp music sites, I never publish a full, timed schedule ahead of the festival because our format is very organic. I program the strongest music I can find and we try to avoid dead air as much as possible. Come sit with us, you won’t be disappointed.

This year’s Most Wanted artists are Bettman & Halpin, Kirsten Maxwell, and Kipyn Martin. This year’s Grassy Hill Emerging Artist Showcase includes: Alice HoweAly TadrosBruce Michael MillerCaroline CotterChristine SweeneyClint AlphinEmily MureFrances Luke AccordHadley KennaryHeather Aubrey LloydIzzy HeltaiJames HearneJohn John BrownJosh HartyLetitia VanSantLisa BastoniMonica RizzioNo Good SisterOrdinary ElephantRenee WahlRobinson TreacherRyanhoodShawn TaylorThe End Of America. Ambassadors from the Philadelphia Songwriters Project include The Whispering Tree, Emily Drinker, and John Sonntag. Rod Macdonald, Annie Wenz, and several other mainstage artists will join us during the festival.

Here is just a taste for you:
















Falcon Ridge 2017 Music Camps survey

by AlanRowoth on July 14, 2017

People keep asking me questions I don’t know the answer to about the music camps in the campground for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Rather than guess, I thought I had better crowdsource the answers. If you are doing a music camp at Falcon Ridge and want people to know about it, please fill out this form and locate the camp (approximately) on the map grid above. A week or so before the festival, I will compile these answers into a single posting and maybe even try to generate some sort of infographic if I am not swamped with other stuff. Thanks. Please only fill out the form if it’s your camp. But other general campground music observations are welcome. Please complete the form and reply to this blog post or email to BigOrangeTarp@gmail.com

Camp Name:
Grid location:
Website:
Organisation:
Contact name:
Contact email:
Established:
Nights and times you play:
Music focus:
format:
Target Audience:
Capacity:
Cover music:
Do you accept submissions?
Notes:

———here is a sample entry——-

Camp Name: The Big Orange Tarp
Grid location: M18
Website: http://BigOrangeTarp.org
Organisation: Big Orange Tarp/Grassy Hill
Contact name: Alan Rowoth
Contact email: BigOrangeTarp@gmail.com
Established: 1992
Nights and times you play: Wed-Sunday nights when the festival stage is dark
Music focus: Professional touring artists, especially Emerging Artist Showcasers
Format: mostly ITR performances with occasional pop ins
Target Audience: Venue operators and house concerts, media, avid listeners
Capacity: 60-100 Bring your own chairs
Cover music: mostly original music, most performers have recordings available
Do you accept artist submissions? no
Notes: kid friendly, alcohol tolerated, not encouraged. No glass.
Most Wanted, Showcasers, main stage artists, special guests
Open circle every night after the feature performers. We often see the sunrise.
6 piece house band. all acoustic.

Getting the most out of Live.me and live streaming alternatives

by AlanRowoth on May 16, 2017

Rob Lytle - Audio checkRob Lytle – Audio Check

Streaming Video seems to be the focus of all the social media services. In a world of short attention spans and a pathological fear of reading, Live video is the most effective way to engage and grow your audience. Although Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all offer live streaming, you may want to examine some more video specific alternatives. I found quite a few including Live.me, Concert Window, YouNow, LiveStream, Twitch, Busker, and Twitter’s Periscope. For the purpose of this post, I chose to focus on Live.me, since it seemed to be an industry leader. The service claims over 600 million active users,  has recently generated an additional $60 million dollars in investor cash, and has handed out a couple million dollars in payouts to live streamers since launch. They celebrated their one year anniversary in April 2017. There were more metrics available since Tubefilter tracks the top 50 Live.me broadcasters. For instance, veteran broadcaster Kristina Plisko has over 623,000 fans and has amassed over 46 million “diamonds” thru the Live.me tipping system, worth about $230,000. (This may be a little misleading, the most successful broadcasters might reinvest as much as half of their payout in tipping other broadcasters, supporting the community, and raising their visibility within the system.  Still the payout clearly beats Spotify and Apple Music) Kristina added over 3700 fans last week.) The services all have their individual cultures and oddities. I really like Concert Window, but they seem to rely mostly on you supplying your audience thru social media advertising. Live.me is like a big open air bazaar where thousands of people are wandering about, 24 hours a day. All they have to do is swipe up to see the next thing. It seems like there is a lot more opportunity for serendipity there.

Have I piqued your interest? I know this is a bit mysterious to many of you.  Here are some tips to smooth your entry into this brave new world. The first thing that may surprise you is that you can’t stream from your computer. You need an iPhone, iPad, or Android device to become a broadcaster. (Although streams may be viewable thru a web browser on your computer…). The Apps are free and there are no mandatory fees. Participation in tipping is strictly voluntary (and surprisingly well embraced by the users.) tips come in the form of gifts bought with Live.me coins. These gifts can cost the tipper anything from a few cents to $200 or so for a Dream Castle. I see Castles drop with amazing regularity.  Where the users get that kind of money, I don’t know.  There are various opportunities to earn free coins from the system and other users.

To get started, you must first download the App and set up your user Profile.  Use a name consistent with your branding.  My Live.me name is BigOrangeTarp.org, my blogsite.  Most performers use the name their act is billed under on a marquee. You get a space of about 50 characters in your profile to include your Twitter/Instagram/Facebook or website info.  Make the most of this. if you have multiple devices, you may want to set up a secondary account or two. Mine is Alan Rowoth. This way I can gift, like, share, and otherwise boost my own streams

Don’t start broadcasting immediately.  Watch some streams first to learn the terminology and etiquette.  Read a couple of tutorials like this and this and maybe even this. Don’t pass up chances for free coins and experience.  You get experience and sometimes coins just for logging in each day. Popular live casts may feature multiple coin drops for viewers  (Don’t be a “coin thot“, always gift back a portion to the broadcaster.  These gifts help you and the broadcaster “Level up” within the system.)  The first time each day that you share another broadcasters stream to Facebook or another social site, live.me gives you five coins. You can watch up to 3 advertisers 30 second videos each day to earn more free coins. Thru various mechanisms, I have earned as many as 100 free coins in a day. If you have money to invest, live.me has various coin purchase plans. I bought 720 coins for about $10.

Live.me is a community. People will appreciate you if you are kind and generous. Broadcasts start slow and can build to 10,000 viewers or more. Being one of the first people into a broadcaster and dropping a small gift is one of the best way to make a good impression on a broadcaster who may boost your broadcasts, ask their followers to follow you, come to your broadcast to reciprocate your gifts, or even ask you to “Beam” into their stream and become part of their broadcast thru a Picture-in-Picture option. These are among the most powerful shortcuts to a large following. People who participate in the community can make friend fast. Rude and selfish streamers may never make much headway.

When you do start to stream, pay attention to the tech.  Make sure you have decent lighting and an appropriate background. For god’s sake, use some sort of mount for your iPhone. The most common mistake on Live.me is phones propped up against a pillow or something falling over. I see this happen multiple times per day  it’s so annoying! Pay attention to audio quality, especially if you are streaming music. Telephone microphones aren’t optimized for music. You can buy various addon mics for $50 or more that plug directly into your phone.  I took it a step further and bought a lightning audio interface that allows me to use professional recording microphones, optimized for the best placement, or even directly insert your guitar or keyboard signal (or mixer output) directly into the audio stream. Poor sound is a common problem in amateur videos, don’t let it be a problem for you. Currently I use a Roland Duo Capture EX Audio interface with an Apple USB camera adapter, an MXL990 stereo condenser microphone, and a cool little TP-link wifi controllable light bulb.

Even more crucial than the tech is your narrative, your personna. As with any musical endeavor, the quality of the songs and the performance are fundamentally important, but that isn’t all you need to succeed in Live.me  it is a one-to-many performance that feels like one-to-one. The best broadcasters feel like they are performing for you. In a great livecast, the “4th wall” comes down and the viewer feels like they are with you. You don’t need to lay bare the most intimate details of your private life, but you have to at least seem sincere and genuine in your interactions with the audience.  They will appreciate your honesty and kindness. Smile and be funny if it fits your persona. Look nice. Be courteous and grateful for their participation. They love to hear their names  if you can shout them out for gifting, liking, sharing, or following your stream without disrupting your performance, by all means do it. Learn who your “regulars” are and acknowledge them.  Higher level broadcasters can establish a “family” with a shared direct messaging forum. Read your direct messages in the system and respond if it seems appropriate..Engage your audience. Ask their opinion on things, find out where they are from, look for synergies that bind them to you. Social sharing is key. An active group of dedicated fans will be a huge help in growing your following. Your meta-story is important. Are you the seasoned veteran of a dozen years on the road? Are you the fledgling musician just trying to break into the big bad world of the professional music business? Are you a Faith-based performer who realized this is their true calling? Think of this as an elevator pitch style synopsis that fans can use to describe you to their friends. Why do you need them? Why do they need you?

Don’t be shy about asking fans to follow, like, and share your broadcast. Some broadcasters can be annoyingly insistent when they ask followers for gifts. Some are very successful at this. It’s hard to focus on this without seeming like an ass. I find a laid back approach to this more palatable, but by all means be appreciative for even small gifts, likes, shares, and follows. Ask followers to follow your top gifters. (And follow the top gifters of successful livecasters. I suspect that 90% of live.me gifts emanate from less than 10% of viewers. Follow and befriend the people who shower those gifts)  The amount and type of engagement (as well as the length) of your broadcasts, new followers added, gifts received, and valid (not gibberish spam) comments all contribute to the experience “score” that live.me awards each of your broadcasts. This experience raises your broadcaster level and increases the chance that your broadcast will be “featured”, resulting in a lot more traffic. Broadcasts at least 30-60 minutes long score better, having a good cover photo for your broadcasts also helps. It helps to be consistent  the most successful broadcasters invest an hour or more at least 4 times a week. It takes a while to build up some things, but once things start to snowball… I’ve seen broadcasters get to 1000 views in less than 5 minutes

There are some crazy, disruptive trolls lurking anywhere people congregate on the internet..You can designate a couple of your most loyal fans as “Admins” to help protect you from the worst of the riff raff.  Admins can temporarily block disruptive or disrespectful visitors, so you don’t have to handle that stuff in real time. Most followers are proud to be selected for this duty. Broadcasters can permanently block trolls from visiting your broadcasts. Don’t let anyone bully you or harsh your mellow.

At this point, I believe that quality original music is still underrepresented on Live.me. There is a lot of room to stake your claim to a broader audience, but I suspect that 2 or 3 years from now, there will be a plethora of choices for listeners. The early bird gets the worm. If you join the Live.me community be sure to follow both my accounts (BigOrangeTarp.org and Alan Rowoth) Let me know that you are there and I’ll check out and help to boost your broadcasts. If a bunch of us do that, there will be good synergies. I’m also happy to field any questions you have about how things work.

Have fun, I hope to see you there!

 

Big Orange Tarp SERFA showcases

by AlanRowoth on May 15, 2017

i’m very pleased to be presenting 2 hours of Big Orange Tarp showcasing at next week’s SERFA conference. If the wifi is strong I hope to stream these showcases for free on Concert Window. Click on the artist name to view their website.

Fri May 19th Rm 226 at 11:00pm edt. – Free Show
11-11:30 Al Petteway, Bruce Michael Miller, Rebecca Folsom
11:30-midnight Robin Greenstein, Kerry Grombacher, Blackwater Trio

If the wifi is strong, will probably also broadcast
Rm 226 Saturday May 20
11-11:30 John Smith, Zoe Mulford, Mare Wakefield & Nomad
11:30-midnight The Levins, Rod Abernethy, Mare Wakefield & Nomad

Here are a couple of videos to whet your appetite.  The last three were shot by JB Nuttle of World One Video. I’ll be presenting a workshop with JB called “Videos – How and Why” on Saturday from 1:45-3pm in Rm 230.  I will also talk a bit about live streaming and showing off an inexpensive iOS rig for easy livecasting. There will be a handout called “Getting the most from Live.me.”

 

 

 

Live.me Experiment

by AlanRowoth on April 4, 2017

I’ve been lurking on the Live.me streaming site for several weeks and plan to stream some occasional Q&A sessions about social media and the music business in general. Apparently, if you join the site from an invite that I send we both get a bonus in site currency. Let me know if you are interested and I will shoot you an invite. If you are already on Live.me follow BigOrangeTarp.org to be notified when I go live. If you have any questions you want me to address, you can email them to BigOrangeTarp@gmail.com

I think that brilliant young artists streaming their musical performances would be much more popular, but I am interested to see if I can make new friends this way and draw some of them into our existing community. Wish me luck!

If you are already streaming on Live.me, Busker, or a similar app, please us know how it has been going in the comments.

 

FAI2017 Rm 552 Big Orange Tarp showcase

by AlanRowoth on February 10, 2017

Official showcasers Annie Oakley

Folk Alliance 2017 – Kansas City, MO
Alan Rowoth Presents the Big Orange Tarp
In the Access Film Music Blue Room
Room number 552

Thursday night
11:30pm Heather Mae, Low Lily, Sharon Goldman
12:00am Lisa Aschmann, Greg Greenway, Bill Nash
12:30am Darden Smith, Chick Morgan, The Mari Black Celtic Band

Friday night
11:30pm Annika Bennett, Mel Parsons, Joe Jencks
12:00am Billy Crockett, Jeff Black, Ben Bedford
12:30am George Wurzbach, David Glaser, Alyssa Dann

Saturday night
11:30pm Lisa Aschmann, Annie Oakley, RJ Cowdery
12:00am George Wurzbach, Vance Gilbert, Caroline Cotter
12:30am Freddy & Francine, Billy Crockett, Radoslav Lorković

(Click on the artist names to visit their websites.There’s good stuff lurking under every link I put into this blog post.) I am thrilled to present you yet again with an outstanding artist showcase for 2017. A lot of the usual suspects were unable to attend this year, leaving me with a little more space to present some folks who haven’t played my showcases before. Though I will sorely miss Rachael Kilgour, Kate Copeland, The Sea The Sea, Connor Garvey, James Lee Stanley, and others; you won’t be disappointed with what I have in store for you.

Thursday night opens with Heather Mae and Low Lily, both audience favorites in last year’s Falcon Ridge/Grassy Hill Emerging Artist showcase. Sharon Goldman‘s new record KOL ISHA (A Woman’s Voice) is a brilliant, spiritual work with a modern feminist perspective. Gregg Greenway is best known as 1/3 of Brother Sun, but a very strong and accomplished solo performer as well. Bill Nash has partnered with me on the Big Orange Tarp in Colorado for nearly 20 years. A wonderful songwriter and instructor at the Planet Bluegrass Song School, he has inspired and taught countless songwriters to hone their craft. Nashville based Lisa Aschmann is the queen of my iPod, the most prolific songwriter I know. She has had hundreds of songs recorded by various artists in nearly every musical genre. Her book 1000 Songwriting Ideas has served as a handbook for countless songwriters. Lisa is doing a workshop at the conference on Friday morning called Getting Placed on how to get your songs used in movies and television, so I twisted her arm to come play for us. Don’t miss Lisa in a rare live performance. After that I feature Darden Smith, an artist I have followed for many years. I am thrilled to finally be able to showcase him. In addition to his fine body of work, Darden started the Songwriting with Soldiers Retreat. He still serves as Creative Director. I can’t say enough about this wonderful program. I met Chick Morgan last fall at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance. She is smart, sassy, and one of a kind. A former singer, I rarely book instrumental acts in my showcases, but I had to have the Mari Black Celtic Band. An incredible mulitgenre instrumentalist, Mari brings a unique sense of humor and charisma to the stage. An educator, She also does a great YouTube series for fiddlers.

On Friday night, I start with Annika Bennett, featured last year as a Falcon Ridge Most Wanted audience pick, New Zealand’s globetrotting Mel Parsons, and Joe Jencks, another 1/3 of Brother Sun and a well known activist songwriter who has done much for workers and human rights. Next comes my long time friend Jeff Black, simply one of the best songwriters you will ever hear. Jeff is ITR with Ben Bedford, a brilliant song painter with some of the most evocative lyrics I have ever heard and Billy Crockett from Wimberley, TX. Billy and his wife Dodee are the team behind the Blue Rock Artist Ranch and recording studio. It’s the best place I know to record your music and the standard by which all other Concert Window broadcasters are judged. Billy rose to stardom in a two decade long career in Contemporary Christian Music before broadening his listener base with a series of Classical and Songwriter recordings, the latest of which is entitled Rabbit Hole. Billy is a Renaissance Man. A world class player and songwriter. Do not miss him at FAI this year. At 12:30am, I feature George Wurzbach (best known for his work with Modern Man). George is putting the finishing touches on his first solo record in quite some time, Curious George, which will feature a couple of cowrites with songwriting legend Tom Paxton. I am super excited for this release. George’s last solo record was nominated for a grammy and generated a lot of covers by other artists. I expect this one to do even better. He is a long time favorite of mine and a founding member of the Big Orange Tarp house band. George is ITR with David Glaser, another member of the BOT band, a highly sought after sideman who plays anything with strings, and a fine songwriter in his own right with several solo albums to his credit. His most recent is entitled Caffiene and Nicotine. Rounding out that group is precocious high schooler Alyssa Dann, attending on a NERFA young artist scholarship. She is very new to this and knocked it out of the park for us in our NERFA showcase in November. We are thrilled to feature her again in her first FAI performance.

I couldn’t resist bringing Lisa Aschmann for one more round on Saturday Night. I think that it’s harder to find great songs at Folk Alliance than it is to find great performers. Lisa is a treasure trove. Lisa isn’t showcasing to book live gigs, but I am showcasing her in the hopes that performers who need stronger material for their next release might discover her music and let it propel their artist careers to the next level. She’s playing with long time favorite RJ Cowdery, who is a friend from Song School and an alum of Blue Rock. Great songs and a great performer, I hope everyone knows her by now. Rounding out that group is Oklahoma based Annie Oakley. Founded by teenage twins Sophia and Grace Babb, this group is taking the southwest by storm. Official showcasers this year, they are sure to generate a lot of buzz. Miss them at your peril. The next round features an encore performance by George Wurzbach, ITR with Caroline Cotter, who probably logged more miles touring this year than anyone I know. She’s a pro. I had initially set them up with The Sea The Sea, who I have been a huge fan of since they formed several years ago. They had to cancel and, at the 11th hour, my friend Vance Gilbert bailed me out and took the slot. Vance is one of an elite group of performers who are known and respected by virtually everyone in our community. A frequent festival headliner and radio favorite, he’s been on my showcase wishlist for many years. I typically don’t ask him because I’m not sure how many new fans I can reach for him. But he’s a bucket list artist for me and I could not be happier to feature him in this year’s showcase. My grand finale this year features my absolute favorite duo, Los Angeles based Freddy and Francine. Humans just don’t sing this well, and to have two of the best singers on the planet on stage together blows my mind every time I see them. Incredibly dynamic and charismatic, music doesn’t get to be more fun than this. If you haven’t heard them, run, don’t walk to room 552 to check them out. It’s hard to fill a round with artists who stand up in that company. So I asked back Billy Crockett (who stands up in any company) and Radislav Lorkovic. Rad doesn’t do a lot of solo touring. He’s busy year round on the road with fine artists like Ronny Cox, Susan Werner, Ellis Paul, Shawn Mullins, Greg Brown, Richard Shindell, Odetta and others. He’s also a long time member of the Falcon Ridge house band. He’s world class. Not actively pursuing a solo tour, this might be Rad’s only solo showcase this year.

And that’s my showcase for FAI 2017. I tried to work in Kirsten Maxwell, FreeboMai Bloomfield, Mouths of Babes, Jellyman’s Daughter, John Bunzli, Dave Gunning, and Dan Navarro. For a variety of reasons, I couldn’t get them into my rounds, but all are playing at the conference and well worthy for you to seek out and listen to them. I’d like to dedicate this year’s showcase to my long time friend and sometimes collaborator, the phenomenal Greg Trooper who we lost this year. He is simply irreplaceable. My heart still hurts every day.

Big Orange Tarp NERFA 2016 Twain Room

by AlanRowoth on November 10, 2016

img_6030Alan Rowoth & Sally Johnson Present: The Big Orange Tarp
Sponsored by Grassy Hill
Twain Room

NERFA 2016 Showcase Lineup

Friday night

11:45-12:30a Fox Run (Neale Eckstein w/Stephanie Corby, David Glaser, Ali Handel, Shannon Hawley, Dan Navarro, Eric Schwartz, and Bethel Steele)
12:30-1a Eric Schwartz, Cliff Eberhardt, Louise Mosrie
1a-1:30a Rachael Kilgour, Kate Copeland, Uncle Bonsai
1:30-2a Kirsten Maxwell, Jacob Johnson, Shannon Hawley
2-2:30a Mike Agranoff, Antonio Andrade, Marc Berger
2:30 Open Circle

Saturday afternoon
11:00-11:45 Jeremy Aaron, Amy Soucy, Austin MacRae
11:45-12:45 Cricket Blue, Jim Bizer & Jan Krist, Pepper and Sassafras, Robin Greenstein
1:30-2:15 Kipyn Martin, Allison Shapira, Meg Braun
2:15-3:00 The Everly Set, Boxcar Lilies, Heather Mae
3:00-4:00 Kate Copeland, Jim Trick, Freebo, Dan Pelletier
4:00-5:00 Uncle Bonsai, Cliff Eberhardt, Louise Mosrie, Rachael Kilgour

Saturday night
11:45-12:15a Matt Nakoa, Kate Copeland, Rosie and the Riveters
12:15-12:45 Dan Navarro, Jim Trick, Connor Garvey
12:45-12:55 The Everly Set
12:55-1:15 Joan & Joni: Allison Shapira & Kipyn Martin
1:15-1:45 Eric Lee, Emily Mure, Will Pfrang
1:45-2:05 Eric Schwartz – solo
2:05-3:00 David Glaser, Dan Pelletier, George Wurzbach
featuring special guests Alyssa Dann & Hugh McGowan
3:00a Open Circle

Sally and I have been doing the NERFA showcases almost since NERFA began 24 years ago. We have some old friends that we love to feature, but we are always combing the planet for great new talent to present. This year we are presenting 19 new acts we have never showcased at NERFA before, Many of them are NERFA first timers. But all of them are acts that we have seen perform live before and feel strongly about. We would love it if you could check out all of them. I will attach a handful of videos. They may take a minute or so to load. See you at the hotel!!

NERFA 2016 – Alan Rowoth & Sally Johnson Present: The Big Orange Tarp

by AlanRowoth on October 24, 2016

img_0547Alan Rowoth & Sally Johnson Present: The Big Orange Tarp
Sponsored by Grassy Hill
NERFA 2016 – Twain Room

Friday Night
11:45-12:30a Fox Run (Neale Eckstein w/Stephanie Corby, David Glaser, Ali Handal, Shannon Hawley, Dan Navarro, Eric Schwartz, and Bethel Steele)
12:30-1a Eric Schwartz, Cliff Eberhardt, Louise Mosrie
1a-1:30a Rachael Kilgour, Kate Copeland, Uncle Bonsai
1:30-2a Kirsten Maxwell, Jacob Johnson, Shannon Hawley
2-2:30a Mike Agranoff, Antonio Andrade, Marc Berger
2:30 Open Circle

Saturday afternoon
11:00-11:45 Jeremy Aaron, Amy Soucy, Austin MacRae
11:45-12:45 Cricket Blue, Jim Bizer & Jan Krist, Pepper and Sassafras, Robin Greenstein
1:30-2:15 Meg Braun, Joan & Joni: Allison Shapira & Kipyn Martin
2:15-3:00 The Everly Set, Boxcar Lilies, Heather Mae
3:00-4:00 Kate Copeland, Jim Trick, Freebo, Dan Pelletier
4:00-5:00 Uncle Bonsai, Louise Mosrie, Rachael Kilgour

Saturday night
11:45-12:15a Matt Nakoa, Kate Copeland, Rosie and the Riveters
12:15-12:45 Dan Navarro, Jim Trick, Connor Garvey
12:45-1:15 The Everly Set
12:55-1:15 Joan & Joni: Allison Shapira & Kipyn Martin
1:15-1:45 Eric Lee, Emily Mure, Will Pfrang
1:45-2:05 Eric Schwartz – solo
2:05-3:00 David Glaser, Dan Pelletier, George Wurzbach
featuring special guests Alyssa Dann & Hugh McGowan
3:00a Open Circle

Sally and I are super excited about the new venue and our lineup for 2016. We are also grateful to Grassy Hill for their support of our work thruout the year. I was trying to embed videos for all of our performers, but the page was so large it was overrunning the buffer on my iPad, so I have decided to split the announcement into several posts. The artist names all link to their websites or music.

In this opening post I want to shine a little spotlight on our conference opener. A special 45 minute feature, highlighting the Fox Run Studio and house concert hosted by Neale Eckstein and his wife Laurie. Their home in Sudbury, MA has become an incubator and hotbed of collaboration for songwriting, recording, and generating videos. It is a great example of what artists in collaboration can create together. The seven artists showcasing with Neale are the tip of the iceberg.

Neale Eckstein

Stephanie Corby

David Glaser

Ali Handel

Shannon Hawley

Dan Navarro

Eric Schwartz

Bethel Steele

Videos – How and Why

by AlanRowoth on October 10, 2016

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In his 1964 book, Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan famously proclaimed “The Medium is the Message.” Fifty two years later, the digital age is In full swing.

In 2016, social media is all about video. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, and the 800 pound Gorilla YouTube all want your content. 20% of American adults read at a fifth grade level or less. The overall average reading level is 9th grade. Many people avoid reading anything longer than a paragraph. Attention spans get shorter every year. As the amount of information on the Internet multiplies geometrically, Engagement ratios for photo/video content far surpass text. As metric tracking improves, it is clear that video is the best way to go viral. The services all know it, so they are pushing all of you to grow their audience.

In the 1980’s, MTV set the standard for music videos unreachably high. Pat Benetar, U2, and other major label artists would create videos costing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Michael Jackson’s Scream video reportedly cost over 7 million dollars to produce. But flash forward 30 years and that’s been turned on its ear. The major labels are largely irrelevant. An iPhone is a better movie camera than you could buy for $100,000 in 1985. Your laptop or iPad can be a professional recording studio. For less than $5000, you can create an arsenal of tools to make videos that look and sound great.

But why should you? Music lovers are buried in an avalanche of music and media. The low cost of entry has proliferated opportunities. It has never been harder to break thru the noise floor and get your music heard.

And then there are the four major enemies of the touring musician: travel, food, lodging, and time. My four piece band in high school often got $300-500 a gig, back when $500 was worth $2000 in today’s dollars. Now that’s a good gig for musicians with 40 years of experience under their belts.

The success of any modern music group depends on their fan base and mailing list. Growing those is the only sure way to a sustainable career. So what is a better investment for you, driving 5 hours to play to a bar where 50 people might come out to see you, or creating a video or concert window performance that will generate half the income, but grow your fan base more effectively and cost you 80% less. (And leave you with an extra day to write a song or rock your baby)

Don’t get me wrong. I love live performance and I hope it never goes away. But on the low end of the scale touring can be very unprofitable. It doesn’t cost Bruce Springsteen any more to drive to DC than it does you. And, even if he flies first class to LA, his airplane doesn’t get there any faster than yours. Once you start drawing bigger crowds and selling more merch, that’s when touring starts to become affordable.

So what’s an up and coming performer supposed to do? Press is good. You can get some good mileage out of winning song contests and live showcase events. Music discovery through services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora can gain you fans. Despite the horribly low pay rate for musicians using these services, I think they provide valuable and important exposure opportunities to new audiences.

But nothing captures the attention of fans like videos. Ignore these at your peril. There are so many types of video you can use.

Restless Nights

Restless Nights

Back when the physical medium of music defined the product, it was the product. You would get a 12″ square slab of graphics and lyrics that you could hold in your hands and read while Karla Bonoff sang the story of your life. But in the new millennium, much music is formless, existing only in the digital domain. Driven in part by the transition of television from a story driven medium to a character driven medium, the product is no longer “Restless Nights”, the product is you. Audiences are used to intimate access to performers, They have been keeping up with the Kardashians and the Osbournes for so long, they expect to know details about the artists they emotionally invest in.

This is good and bad. It’s intrusive, to be sure, although a media savvy person can sculpt their online persona. The good news is that, effective branding carries over from project to project. As you build audience loyalty, it can be increasingly easy to crowdfund new projects and snowball your mailing list success. Katy Perry (@KatyPerry) has over 93 million twitter fans. It’s not hard to monetize that audience.

So, what are your options? Simplest are talking head videos. Open up your smartphone app and just start talking. If you are smart enough, pretty enough, odd enough, inspiring enough, or funny enough; you can make a lot of friends. There are videogamers who make thousands of dollars playing on twitch.tv  

Here’s a talking head piece featuring Dan Pelletier.

Not much more difficult are lyric and pictorial videos. Load your song into the laptop and then slather it with photos or textify the lyrics so people can read along. Lyric videos can double the exposure of your song if used in conjunction with performance videos.

Here are 2 Cheryl Wheeler lyric videos

And a couple of pictorial videos

Story videos are essentially what made MTV compelling before they discovered that they could attract more viewers by just showing pretty people without the music, especially in embarrassing or sexually suggestive situations. These types of music videos are the hardest and most expensive to produce as they often involve location shooting, sets, costumes, computer animation or special effects. If you have enough time and skill, these can still be affordable and realized on a small personal computer, but they can be a huge time sink. If you enjoy that creative process, have at it.

Here are a few tips for a no budget music video

And this brings us to my favorite music video, the live performance.

There’s nothing so compelling for me as watching a great performer deliver a song. Marveling at their musicianship. Seeing the emotions run across their face. Feeling the excitement of reliving that moment with them. It’s Magic.There are technical elements that must be paid attention to, of course. Camera placement and lighting. The physical setting of the shoot. And, perhaps most importantly, sound quality.

Audio has always been the red headed stepchild of video. Producers and cinematographers obsess over the visual image and they argue that it is a visual medium. I believe that, because it’s music, that the audio should receive equal or greater attention. My number one criticism of the videos that people send to me is that the large majority of them sound just Horrendous. I would rather have to see a microphone in the shot than listen to a recording done down a well. (While you’re down there, could you look for Timmy? Lassie is still upset.)

Pick a location free of sonic and visual distractions. Light it in and effective and interesting way. And spend time getting the audio right. If there are a number of musicians and instruments, you may want to multitrack the audio and mix it after the fact. When doing this, I like as much isolation between the tracks as possible. Multi tracking also allows you to do dynamic or ambience processing afterwards. If you do it in protools you have access to autotune and other plugins. All the general rules for making records apply to your videos as well.

You can do it all in realtime with a single camera or shoot with multiple cameras. You can shoot “B roll” of a second performance with audience reaction, different views, or supplemental material. Apple iMovie can assemble a beautiful finished movie for you with professional looking titles and video effects. Even more professional looking results can be generated with Final Cut, Sony Vegas, or Adobe Premier. If you are serious about this, you can get amazing dedicated DSLR or video camera at bargain prices. To interface these to your computer, you may need a box like the Black Magic Intensity.

here is an interesting article with some editing tips.

And here is another

You can shoot on location

Or in front of a neutral backdrop

At a gig

From a showcase

Or even from a recording studio

Once you have the video, what do you do with it?

Share the hell out it it on social media.  Enjoy this side-by-side feature comparison of the seven major social video players — YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and Tumblr.

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It’s important to note that live videos can be an essential booking tool. Presenters know how powerful punch ins an other studio tools are in recording today’s music  they want to see you actually perform a song. They want insight into your charisma and stage presence. Many showcases and contests require videos for entry  it’s good to have something to show them

For more information on using the internet effectively, view my handout Your Internet in 2016