Acoustic Rotherham Hiring Fairs was the brain child of The Rawmarsh Mashers, and
like all good ideas, pinched from others, mainly the now defunct monthly Hiring Fair
Fed up with two or three song sets at Open Mics, Sessions and Folk Clubs we needed
a stage where we could develop our ideas and Test them on an unsuspecting public.
More importantly we discovered on our travels that we were not the only Act to be
frustrated by singing what seemed to be the same songs to the same people every week
as we toured around our favourite haunts. We discovered a huge body of talent,
from singer song writers to full bands all looking for an opportunity to showcase
their potential in a longer set format.
On what was a bright October Sunday afternoon in 2008 the first Acoustic Rotherham
Hiring Fair was held at The Monkwood, Rawmarsh, and following it’s success, it has
become a solid quarterly date, and remains popular with Artists.
Our home is now at The Queens or Crown, Rawmarsh, depending upon which Pub is available.
This because of a stand we had to take a couple of years ago when it was discovered
that the then Land Lord was entertaining meetings of the BNP , something which as
firm socialists we could not over look.
Over one hundred and ten different Acts have now performed on an Acoustic Rotherham
The Hiring Fairs are open to everyone, no matter what standing, we always encourage
new and emerging talent to appear, especially young people.
JMUCREATE.COM, already the home of the rawmarshmashers.com became the base for acousticrotherham.com.
And the Web Site just grew and grew, responding to the information that Artists
and interested people wanted, from additional information resources to a full listing
David Kidman’s Review service also allows artists to have their work Reviewed and
have it published on the Acoustic Rotherham Web Site and “Folk Roundabout” the quarterly
The Web Site has gone from strength to strength in terms of popularity with the musicians
and others of South Yorkshire. Our readership makes us one of the most read sites
of our genre in the UK. Only the big glossy sites, like Spiral Earth, are ahead
of us according to Alexia the International site tracking Organisation.
Our weekly all encompassing News Blog now has a regular readership in excess of 200
via the various places it is published.
Acoustic Rotherham has been involved in a number of initiatives to take Acoustic
Music out to new audiences. We’ve toyed with Working Men’s Clubs, even running
a Folk Club in one for a short period of time, a concept that while introducing the
un-inducted to the modern scene did not really did not hold.
We’ve also promoted various evenings of music with a variety of Partners, more latterly
at The Rotherham Open Arts Festival.
Of major importance to Acoustic Rotherham is our tie in with The Myke Barritt Music
Trust, founded in memory of my partner in crime as a Rawmarsh Masher, but known throughout
South Yorkshire for his considerable musical talent and a player for many Bands or
as a floor spot / session player. Hence JMUCREATE also now hosts mykebarritttrust.com.
In many respects the aims of Acoustic Rotherham and The Myke Barritt Music Trust
overlap and moving forward we can expect several Partnership events.
And it’s to moving forward that we now turn, for having established Acoustic Rotherham
firmly at the centre of Acoustic and Folk Music in South Yorkshire we now have to
consider how best to develop our considerable knowledge base.
FACING THE FUTURE
We face challenging times in all genre of live music. The decimation of our traditional
Public House haunts by cheap Supermarket supplied alcohol and the smoking ban combined
with the ever increasing cost of even a simple evening out, petrol, taxi or bus mean
that opportunities to play in many Towns is disappearing.
Couple this to the general fall in our living standards and squeeze on disposable
income and it’s little wonder that sessions, Folk Clubs and basic Gigs all report
a drop in audience numbers.
What applies to Live Music applies to all the Arts, dance, visual (fine and photography)
movie making, literature, Poetry and theatre.
Let’s first start with music. We plan to continue our Acoustic Rotherham Music Sessions,
however throughout 2012 we will be opening the sessions up to non-acoustic Acts.
Original Rock Bands will be welcome to play by application and invitation. We’ll
still be seeking to hold a balance – so in affect what we’re saying is, no matter
what genre of music you come through you’ll be welcome at Acoustic Rotherham.
We’ll also welcome any visual artist who may want to display their work. Again,
by application and follow up invitation. While clearly for an afternoon event it
will be hard to hang work I’m sure that given creative talent we can find a way whereby
your art can be viewed.
Following the normal application criteria we’ll also have room for performance poets
to demonstrate their work.
In other words we’ll be seeking to widen our remit.
It’s the Acoustic Rotherham view that if audiences are to be improved across all
Arts then we have to expand our horizons. Preaching and playing to the converted
is no longer enough. Our Music sessions and Folk Clubs may all be nice cosy places
where we feel comfortable but if we are serious in wanting to induct new blood to
our audiences then we need to open our doors and let the fresh air in.
With this in mind Acoustic Rotherham is now involved with the Rotherham Arts Strategy
Committee, and other Arts organisations in Rotherham. Exciting things are planned,
but it’s a case of watch this space.
The above represents the next steps we will be taking while also seeking to continue
our work promoting local artists and music.
People may laugh when the words Rotherham and Art are used in the same sentence,
but the fact is we have amazing talent in depth across the entire Art Genres and
all deserve to be treated seriously and encouraged to develop their skills further.
All the above reflects our commitment to making the Arts accessible to everyone.
Involvement in the Arts can allow individuals and Communities to come together,
discover their talents and develop positively and if ever there was time when this
is is necessary it is now, when our political and social institutions are failing
This all takes money. And while some of the Events already being planned for 2012
will gather in Grants etc, that cannot be the end of the story. We need to be outreaching
to Rotherham Commerce to help the Arts in Rotherham, including music, too often home
based Rotherham talent Is overlooked in favour of out of Town artists taking money
out of the local Art economy. Worse the home talent is often viewed as a cheap or
free alternative to actually paying someone the value of their talent.
Up to now Acoustic Rotherham has functioned direct from my own pocket, and while
all acts appearing at our events are not paid even expenses, the Web Site and time
etc. do cost. A labour of love yes, but one that is becoming harder to upkeep financially.
So we’ll be looking to make Acoustic Rotherham a Social Enterprise during 2012 which
should make it easier for us to find money to reward our Artists.
In the meantime though, we do live off donations and people using our Amizon Store
and links to purchase CDs etc. Remember even if the item is not listed in the Acoustic
Rotherham Shop either using the link or using the full Amizon Search Engine will
earn Acoustic Rotherham a commission.
You can donate following the Link below.
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