“A New Hope” music festival is taking place on the 17th-19th June at the Carlton Tavern in Handbridge. One of the organisers Daniel Schott , of Chester music website Schottslist.com spoke about the event and the music scene in general
Schott, who is also the steward for the Chester culture blog and a regular contributor to community radio station Flipside radio said that the festival will be free for anyone to attend and that none of the musicians are getting paid. Acts announced so far include The Daymons, Def Neon, The Jigsaws and Andy Hignett , Vil, Chester soul club , Bean rule and Mesh Harp with more to be announced soon. Schott says that all the acts have approached him to play.
“What I don’t enjoy is when landlords are running a charity act and they think “lets get some cheap labour in”.. What I am doing is getting a load of musicians together and having some fun together. Debbie and Gordon will be welcoming everyone in , and I will be supplying all the food.” He says that the music scene, which has often been criticised is “thriving” and that “there are at least 25 good musical acts in Chester, artists you haven’t heard of. Its doesn’t have to be popular to be good. Just because we haven’t got Madonna rocking up at the racecourse , or Elton John at The Lock Keeper…” Schott is unable to pick out any favourite acts. “Its a bt funny, its like saying name your favourite child. I have a particular soft spot for Shem Sharples and Bean Rule, who’s a pianist from Handbridge. Young Harry (Vil), mate, you’ve got ya Campfire (social) you’ve got ya Glendale family, you’ve got ya Thor Browns…”
According to Schott, the main threat in Chester is ignorance, a view that was echoed by musician Noel Parsons who wandered in off the street. “Its really good. I think you have a lot of people out here who are doing really good things, its a good community. ” Is the modern world of legal downloads ,illegal downloads and YouTube changing the nature and value of music ? Noel says that “It depends on your generation .Kids these days are so much more digital. But someone my age might say “I’d love that on vinyl” ”
Schott: “We live in a post internet age musically. It means that amateurs like myself can sit at home , grab a file off the internet, chop it up, throw it through a processor, people can do a lot more nowadays. Recently I bought a friend some vinyl as a present . Its in your hand, its a piece of vinyl… ” Can local bands make a living out of performing ? “You have to look at other areas” he replies “things like merchandising. The single sells the album, the album sells the tour, and you make your money off the T shirts and the tickets.”
Terry Wornast who will be supplying the PA for the event works with local acts and also Krazy House in Liverpool. “I have a couple of engineers that work for me and they have just come through LIPA, and 95% of their stuff is digital. I like going buying a CD to physically have it. I don’t download my music. A lot of the younger generation aren’t quite like that. The bands that we get now, most of them its all to do with the digital stuff.
“The bands, 70% of them dont bring merchandise. That’s a big mistake on their part, if you have 700 people in a venue, you need some T shirts. If you make a couple of quid each time that can pay for your fuel and your studio time. The money you get for your gig will pay for you to get there and back. The money from T shirts is also your way of promoting yourself.
On the subject of bands not getting paid, Noel Parsons concluded that : “As a musician myself , it tends to raise my hankles. I enjoy playing music, but its the age old argument, if you turn up to the music and you’re told there weren’t enough people so you’re not getting paid. If its bar staff and its a quiet night, you still pay your bar staff. ”
Schott encourages music fans to come and enjoy the free event with his “plucky rebels. “There’s loads going on. Chester’s culture is thriving!” he says defiantly
A New Hope music festival is the Carlton Tavern Handbridge 17-19th June.