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What does an artist get out of Showcase Scotland’s Trade Fair?

What does an artist get out of Showcase Scotland’s Trade Fair?

Guest blog by Findlay Napier
Is 10 am too early in the morning to begin drinking whisky? Almost every stand in the Fruitmarket has a bottle of the amber nectar proudly displayed next to a pile of flyers, CDs and posters. It’s a little uncomfortable selling yourself. Maybe the liquor helps.

 

Guest blog by Findlay Napier

Is 10 am too early in the morning to begin drinking whisky? Almost every stand in the Fruitmarket has a bottle of the amber nectar proudly displayed next to a pile of flyers, CDs and posters. It’s a little uncomfortable selling yourself. Maybe the liquor helps. I can see shifty glances passing between rival acts. Skerryvore face Manran across one of the miniature streets hoping to draw the festival finishing slot from an unsuspecting festival organizer.

findlaynapierMy primary objective this year was to spread the word about two projects I am running that are coming to fruition this year. I wanted to get some festival slots for my new duo Sherburn & Napier and as a solo act. I was also looking for opportunities to teach songwriting.

Mostly I just wanted folk to know that I’m still here, still working and still coming up with interesting ideas. Is it worth while? I think it is. It costs a lot of money to travel to showcase fairs. There are hotel rooms, food, printing costs, travel… the list goes on. This is one of the biggest shows in the world right on our doorstep. Pretty much everyone you need to talk to will pass your stall, stop for a chat then move on. The wild card element is in who the partner country is. Last year was year of England and this year was year of Australia and India. (I believe next year it will be New Zealand.) This could potentially open a whole new market for your work as these delegates tend not to pick the act of the moment but the acts that really suit their own festival or agency.

However without a live show over the Showcase week, without a shiny new CD to wave about and without an big agent or manager to do your smooth talking for you it can be hard to get noticed. Last year our home made sausage rolls drew us more attention than the masses of printed material and the boxes of CDs we gave away. That’s a depressing statement… maybe we’re in the wrong business…

This is the fourth time I’ve taken a stall at The Showcase Scotland trade fair. Every year without fail it has delivered more than enough work cover the outgoings. But it’s not just the financial gain. It’s the new ideas, the conversations with other stall holders and getting a view of the what 2014’s musical landscape will look like. And yes, dramming at 10am is acceptable only at trade fairs, wakes and if you haven’t been to bed.

Findlay Napier is a singer, songwriter and guitarist, working solo, with Chris Sherburn and with his band, the Bar Room Mountaineers.