Tap talent so it may grow

2010-09-10 12:36

When I first moved to Joburg, one of the big novelties for me was that I could go socialise and party most days of the week at night clubs, restaurants, bars and lounges.

There was a variety of these catering to every need and preference. Some weeks I would go to a poetry open mic session on a Monday, a drum and bass party on a Tuesday, drinks on a Wednesday, reggae/ragga night on a Thursday, hip-hop on a Friday, a rave on a Saturday, and afternoon jazz lounge on a Sunday.

One of my favourite spots was 206 in Orange Grove, which was generally always full because more than 50% of their clientele were regulars who went there every week.

The other was Foundations in Rosebank, which also had a loyal clientele who ensured that the dance floor was always packed.

In addition to these venues, there were yearly events that drew what felt were thousands – the anticipation bubbling through the city like the acid water that is said to be beneath it.

Jazz on the Lake, Joy of Jazz, the Mother raves, Arts Alive and the Urban Voices Poetry Festival – they all seemed to make their presence felt throughout Jozi, generating a buzz in the lead up to the actual events.

I don’t know whether it is the change in my lifestyle or a general trend, but the attention and hype around some of these events seems to have fizzled out over the last few years.

For the musician today, a large portion of their earnings come from live performances rather than mere record sales.

Gigging on a regular basis ensures that they are able to put food on their tables while royalties are generally paid out twice a year.

So if we aren’t attending the shows, they don’t get booked. And if they don’t get booked, they can’t live.

I have moaned about the lack of live shows and venues in the city before but, the simple truth is, if we as music lovers do not vote with our feet and pockets for more shows, the options will continue to dwindle.

And, when these avenues dwindle, an entire industry also slowly dies and the talented will look for other ways to survive.

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