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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Call to Arms

I have heard it stated by many an ex-student that the key skills gained and so desperately needed throughout the course of their degree are the multi-tasking abilities of the entrepreneur. These skills are most notably put to use in the aftermath of their degrees, as they clutch at every straw that glances in their direction, and the lessons learnt encourage them to apply themselves to a myriad of projects. Such projects are frequently self-funded ones that require more hours than people know they have, but they keep the outcome in sight, because they will hopefully one day reap what they now sow.

...But none of this would ever work without (and please forgive me the use of a cheesy term) “teamwork”.

One such self-funded project that lies close to my own heart is the beginning of a small festival that has grown out of our adolescent tendencies. The concept of this festival began many years before its potential was even recognised by one of the key organisers, who started it purely for the reason 'of making something happen'. Hindsight, being the sweet music that it is, reminds us that such causes are possibly what we spent our teenage years preparing for: a copious mix of music and high enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that is not all that is needed to make a festival happen.

The first year of the festival was a largely makeshift affair that greatly exceeded even our wildest expectations, demonstrating what can be achieved when we put our minds to something. The sheer enthusiastic effort that emerged from those involved demonstrated the scale of a multi-skilled collective, willing and able to work towards producing a great event. However, a great deal of growing up and acknowledgement of how little we previously knew has occurred in recent years. Initiative and enthusiasm, being such virtuous traits, caused us to kick-start such programmes into action, but they are also required by all those involved in maintaining momentum within the group. These traits are even more fervently needed when disappointment or failure arrives on our doorstep. Therefore, we have to remind ourselves of what is so frequently stated by our superiors, that we must learn from our mistakes. Which we do. We stand up again, remember why this is so important, and remind ourselves that we can achieve anything if we are determined enough.

Some would say this is bloody-mindedness but, if that is what works, then so be it. ??

This year finds the festival propelling itself towards its third year, initiating even more interest by word of mouth and evoking more ideas that slowly expand upon the original festival. But, essentially, it maintains its core intention of 'making something happen', while simultaneously encouraging interest in little-known music. However, as with many annual events, the proof of the pudding may be in the eating and the outcome of 2010's event may tell us whether it's time to start taking ourselves more seriously and to develop future events further. Do we up the stakes thus pushing events beyond the realms of word of mouth...?

Festivals such as these create good opportunities for unknown bands that, although possessing great musical talent, are provided with little opportunity to prove their worth. One very positive aspect that duly epitomises opportunities given to young people by such projects was when an unplanned appearance of one local band attending the festival, later featured on a prime-time Radio One slot, thus spreading word of the event. This impromptu occurence created new opportunities through association, demonstrating that, on occasions such as these, no one ever quite knows what might develop from them. One lesson that has certainly been learnt is that, although no one can ever quite prepare enough, that is most definitely where part of the magic lies.

By Bex Case

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