JUKEBUS SESSIONS: Micro-Indie Concerts On The Road

Jukebus is an innovative project that consists of micro concerts performed by independent bands and singers inside public buses during a normal trip for the duration of one song. The concept is to change the conditions of the common users bringing them a unique and up-close, musical experience.  Furthermore, the concerts have an added value, which is the element of surprise. The concerts are not announced although social network followers may have some clues about them.

Valencia is the city with more musicians per capita within the Iberian Peninsula. It has several music conservatories and houses the prestigious Berklee College of Music within the City of Arts and Sciences. The blend of local regional music like flamenco and international genres such as classical, jazz, pop and rock produces a unique music environment.

The funders and producers of this project, Ricardo Boluda and Johnny Kutnowki were inspired by the “Black Cab” sessions in London, and “A Trolley Show” in San Diego. In the city of Valencia, this project is supported by the EMT (municipal transportation company) and bandness.com, which is an emerging online music platform. These combined efforts try to achieve two objectives: to help promote new artists and involve this beautiful city as a co-protagonist of a ride.

The concept is pretty simple. At any bus stop a group of musicians get on the bus followed by the crewmembers with video cameras. This is also remarkable because all the concerts are recorded and streamed on line through jukebus tv channel. It has created an interactive connection between users, fans, and social media followers who can relive, comment and like any concert. Take a look at this video “The lake song”-short version- by Red Buffalo, a Valencian indie-folk band:

These micro-concerts are mainly created for young people and therefore social media plays a very important role in its success. Bandness.com, the online platform supporter of Jukebus, was created by Quique Belenguer in order to promote indie bands and establish a better way to relate with music fans. Presently it has more than 1,000 bands in its catalogue. Jukebus is the company in charge of developing the social media, recording, and streaming of the micro concerts. Click the links and keep in touch by Facebook, Twitter, youtube/jukebustv.

The other main partner of the project is EMT.  Its goal is to enforce a fresh-young-dynamic image within the population related with the service it provides. But there is also a social objective; to promote new music taking advantage of the big number of musicians in the city.  Alberto Mendoza, EMT’s CEO, expressed the following during the project’s kick off:

“The bands selected will perform only original compositions in order to please all bus users.”

I think this is a great idea and huge opportunity to bring out new bands and performers. The music industry is changing everyday and it is becoming more difficult to be signed by a record label. New music needs and deserves to be heard. It feels so good to watch entities not related with music such as EMT collaborating with media companies in order to help indie artist and promote their music. Well done!

SOFAR: living rooms for emerging artists

SOFAR “songs for rooms” is an amazing creative project that has been promoting a hundreds of music performers thanks to its secrets and intimate living room gigs, in more than 50 countries all over the world.

This innovative project was co-founded by Rafe Offer, David Alexander and Rocky Star in London in 2009. The main objective was to help their musician friends to increase their fans base showing their projects to a larger audience. But I think they never thought that this gigs would expand across boarders becoming viral thanks to social media enabling worldwide music lovers  discover new music.

Many people in big cities like  London, New York, Barcelona, Singapore, Melbourne, Buenos Aires, Mexico among others are becoming part of this movement helping indie music. All the concerts are filmed and the videos are uploading to the youtube channel or other platforms. Actually some of the concerts are broadcast live via Internet. This situation produces international exposure for all the music performers. Take a blink of the magic environment of one concert while enjoying this beautiful song of The Staves….”Winter trees”

There are some specific issues that make SOFAR concerts a unique experience. The date and the venue for the next gig are revealed just two days before it will take place. The line up remains in secret until the reunion officially starts. Therefore, it means that many people go to enjoy the experience of discover new music. In addition, to become part of one these gigs you must be registered into your local Sofarsounds going into the main web site sofarsounds.com  Then you would receive an invitation for the gig you must confirm your attendance. There are also some rules while performances are in process. Every body must be seated quiet, and cell phones must be in silence mode.

Although SOFAR was not created to make profit of it, therefore gigs are for free. Even though to produce the gigs and share it to the social networks some places are asking for some financial aid. Budgets to produce the  audio and video material, rent for the technological equipment, edition of music and film,  as well as payment for the crew are often expensive. Some local SOFAR´s producers do found raising based on a suggested donation going from $5 to $15 US dollars. But there are other channels of funding, for instance the producers of SOFAR Mexico are using the web site idea.me to involve the assistances in supporting collaboration. In other places producers of music industry are becoming sponsors of the gigs. Mainly because this events are a platform where they discover new music that often broke or publish for commercials, TV shows and films.

Sofar is expanding not only territorial but as a brand. Coming soon we will have “SOFAR plus” which consist in large audience concerts . There will be also the release of albums which collected the music played all over the world. In addition events like “one day festival” in N.Y. on May 2013 was a festival with more than twelve hours of music. It was created in an art space where musicians, poets, painters, dancers and photographers created a perfect blend of art and joy.

I personally find SOFAR as a new opportunity for the entire emerging artist that was searching new channels to release their music. Even more projects like SOFAR are changing the way we used to hear live music, the way producers discover music projects and how music lovers share and consume music.

Kenting Music Festival- Spring Scream

Once a year, an epic adventure of art and audio aspiration hits the island and drags everyone to the Kenting Light house for amazing vacation of music and arts and life.

The music festival will be detailedly introduced at the below statement, participants of this major event are not restricted by age or ethnicity. Music lovers fly halfway across the globe just to support local performers in Taiwan. Music bands take advantage of this opportunity to release, promote and exchange their works, and at the same time exhibit their individual styles and affluent creativity. Each year, the organizers invite many foreign composers and independent bands in Taiwan to perform. Artists may also register to perform at the event, making the Spring Scream Festival more universal, diverse and radiant.

Since the first Spring Scream in 1995 up until today, 17 years have passed, making this the longest running major music festival in the history of Taiwan.  Spring Scream is also the largest scale and most widely known international music and arts festival in Taiwan, setting new records time and time again.  With over 200 domestic and international bands performing over the course of a 4 day festival, to this day no one else can compete.  Spring Scream’s roots are planted deep in the heart of Taiwan, and it is praised as an established cultural asset to the region.
Innovation promotes diversity in the local creative music and performance arts scene.
Through support and encouragement, an opportunity to perform and participate, and through independent promotion and a mutual exchange of ideas, Taiwan’s local performers, bands, artists, and a multitude of dedicated fans are challenged to expose their abundant creativity, utilizing the festival to let themselves shine.
Competitions are hosted by the festival for short films, art films, documentaries, and animation. There is a stage dedicated to the broadcasting of music or art films, short films and animations. Various arts and crafts booths are set up for installation art, graffiti, action art, and handcraft market, as well as booths for self-created brands, food and cuisine, sports and leisure, self-designed clothing, handmade products, creative markets, and custom art clothing.

These ideas originate from the event’s founders and their love for art and music. Not only does the event provide a stage for local music bands and artists to perform, many foreign individuals and bands are also given the opportunity to participate in this arts and music feast. Furthermore, music enthusiasts are exposed to a wide range of music genres. This unique southern Taiwan music hall attracts thousands of people each year.

Music lovers from all corners of the earth, embrace the natural environment, share, support each other, create harmony in the surrounding community, encourage and engage in environmental protection, protect those less fortunate and support women and children rights groups, care for homeless animals, and show compassion for community public welfare movements!

[  Origin ]

Spring Scream started small in 1995 by Wade and Jimi… “It’s just gotten bigger and better.”  Last year of the Rabbit 2011 should see over 200 performers on 7 stages.  Emphasis is on music, but we strive to make it a place where art meets life and artists live together in nature for a couple days.If we could go back in time to 1995, Kenting was still a simple and innocent place.  It was the 6th year of the Golden Melody Awards, the best male singer was Jonny Yin, best female singer was Stella.  The best Taiwanese singer was Jacky Wu.Back then, Taiwanese society thought the words “independent band” sounded strange, and had no idea what a “music festival” was.

By 1999, the number of bands applying to play at Spring Scream had increased to over 100 bands.  Nearby restaurants had unlimited business, and other separate festivals using the same name started popping up.  You could say, people started to get mixed up about which was the original Spring Scream Music festival.

Any Berklee Student or their band wanna participate on it?! Just book a ticket to Taiwan for Spring 2013!