Saturday, November 03, 2007

Gigbeth Opening Ceremony Digbeth High Street Thursday 1st November 2007

I'd be interested in hearing what the rest of the audience thought of this...both of them. I jest, but only just. Where the hell was everyone? Judging by the size of the makeshift arena the organisers were expecting far more people to turn up than the 100 or so that did. Arriving there at 7.45 (and expecting the whole shebang to be in full swing) we found instead that there were soundchecks and all sorts of major technical hitches going on. I heard one guy on stage say "Shouldn't we have checked this yesterday?". Well, yes, you should've done. Could we not have had some music to listen to at least while we all waited? Would it not have been possible to have entertained the crowd in some way? How about a screen next to the stage showing some local band videos? Or just some bloody music from somewhere. It was supposed to be the bloody launch of a bloody music festival. Aaaaagggghhhhhh!!!! It was left to Nizlopi to climb down from the stage to play 'unplugged' at the front of the small crowd. Good on 'em. Things finally got going at 8.20, with Nizlopi 'plugged'. The 'lopi are always a treat and I loved it when they were joined by the lead singer of the next band Achanak (although his mic didn't work at first). It's only by reading the BiNS site that I'm now aware that this was one of the main points of the night, getting one band to jam with the next so that the whole evening formed one long session. Nice idea. Just the kind of thing that could make Gigbeth as diverse as it claims to be. Quite ambitious though, particularly given the technical tsunami that threatened to engulf everything. Achanak played a few lively Bhangra tracks (why don't we see more local Bhangra bands in places like the Academy?) before making way for jazz legend in the making Soweto Kinch. Again he was only allowed to play a few tracks, happily this included the anti-bling anthem 'So' together with some quality backing from the Nizlopi double bass player. Having see Mr Hudson and the Library recently (and fearing that the sound gremlins would muck up their set too) we wandered off into the night. I can't help thinking that the whole evening was a bit of a wasted opportunity. Not only on the part of the organisers, but the people of Birmingham too. It would have all been so much better with a decent crowd, a sound system that worked and just a bit more thought. Moan over.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I went along too and the crowd was as small as you say yet the mail says there were 3000 there??

Bounder said...

200 max, in fact a lot at Gigbeth has had a smaller than expected crowd.

The Baron said...

Yes, it's a real shame. I love the idea behind Gigbeth and I'm sure many people put a lot of effort into it all. Why isn't it taking off like The Great Escape has in Brighton? Okay, I know Digbeth ain't Brighton but for the grand opening to attract so few people...well, in my mind, it kind of set the tone for the whole event and raised some serious questions. Personally, for what it's worth, I think it all tried to get too big too quickly. There seemed to be an awful lot going on, but just too few people willing to take a punt. Might it work better as a couple of all dayers at just 2 key venues until it gets a bit more established? Perhaps some are put off by the location? I love Digbeth, but it's not the most inviting of places to out of towners. Maybe the festival should be more like the one in Brighton and use venues across the City? I'd like the organisers (and press for that matter) to come clean at the end of it all and tell us the real figures, the highs and the lows, the successes and failures...then canvas opionions from those of us who went, so that next year we can make the most of what is, after all is said and done, still a great opportunity for the City.

newfolder said...

I'm new to Birmingham and picked up a copy of the Gigbeth brochure/promo from the floor of the Bullring on Thursday. I'd heard it mentioned in a couple of places and was interested in going but it didn't excite me enough to go to any of the events I'm afraid.