Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Biting The Hand That Feeds

Long Division festival tries to do many things. One of the most important is attempting to raise the profile of local bands; ones we all know deserve wider recognition of their awesomeness. Equally important, I feel, is instilling a sense of comradeship amongst said bands. Rhubarb Bomb has always tried to be positive in its approach to the matters that plight local bands and to encourage collaboration as opposed to every man or woman for themselves. In a place like Wakefield, I think it’s an essential thing.

Which is why I feel awkward typing this. What will follow is not meant as a vindictive attack and I don’t wish it to sound bitter. But it will alienate a certain group of people by drawing a line in the sand between ‘our’ way and their way. I’m not saying one is better than the other. But I am saying that I am not willing to work with people who chose to act in such stupid and selfish and rather pathetic ways, especially ones that stand against the core aims of Long Division.

On the Saturday of Long Division, it came to my attention that one of the bands that performed for us, that received payment for said performance and also a beer rider decided it was fine for them to travel around the backstage areas of other venues and steal the riders of headlining bands. That band is called Vinyl Party. As best I know it was three members of that band. There were various reports from around the day and obviously I cannot provide absolute proof on everything that occurred. But one occurrence took place at the Theatre, which I was running, and that event is beyond doubt.

I was pretty shocked. The monetary value is, I guess, relatively small. I don’t want the cash back or anything – I’m sure it goes without saying this isn’t about the cash. It baffled me on many levels. It still does. Maybe I’m old now and this is Rock N Roll and I’m being really boring and straight. Well if I am, fine, I can happily live with that. Maybe there will be festivals and fanzines that think that is great. But not Long Division and not Rhubarb Bomb.

I find it so confusing. Because it wasn’t a cheeky grab and run of a beer left on a bar. The theatre had a door code which they somehow got through. The dressing room was through a labyrinth of doors and corridors. So it was pre-meditated (without wanting to sound too serious). But the point is; it wasn’t just some fooling around, a quick thoughtless act.

Beyond stealing from the festival that has paid for you to play, I don’t get the stupidity of stealing from a festival that is organised and run by a) One of the only full time promoters in Wakefield who works at one of the only venues that consistently puts on live music and b) a fanzine that, whilst still being a fanzine, does quite a lot of stuff. Obviously they will now never play The Hop, or Long Division or anything connected with Rhubarb Bomb.

Which is kinda how I talked myself round to writing this. Because I don’t want other people to have the piss taken out of them in the same way that I have. It takes a lot of effort to put something like Long Division together. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you because you have a brain, but they clearly don’t see. The absolute majority of the reward for doing so is in the festival itself. The day, the buzz, the excitement, the pride. This happening didn’t spoil any of that for me. I had a great day. But that band, and anyone else who may conduct themselves in a similar way need rooting out and destroying. I hope they are ashamed of themselves but they’ll probably just laugh at me and think I’m a stuck up nobhead. That’s fine – I can live with that. We just see things in a different way.

And as I pointed out on the Long Division Facebook page recently in relation to bands pulling out of events; bands should work hard on building good relationships with promoters. Most of these people do it for the love and work their arses off for you. Show em some respect. Vinyl Party have stuck up the ultimate two fingers to not just the promoters of Long Division, but every band that played the event and pretty much all of Wakefield. Cheers lads.

So all I can do is make other people who see things like I do aware of what they are like. Sadly for them, after the huge camaraderie of Long Division and the friendly nature of all the bands, venues, punters, volunteers, press and guests, I think A LOT of people are like me and they are in an absolute minority. GOOD.

Vinyl Party: If I have done you a disservice in anyway, please respond.

Dean Freeman

1 comment:

  1. I agree, and, don't blame the name and shame. It was completely out of order. Although I cannot personally apologise, due to not being the person who "stole", I can, as best I can, apologise for my bandmates actions. The focus being 4 bottles of San miguel, that was (almost) stolen from the theatre. I'm not sure how backstage acces to the theatre occurred, but I can assure you, we did not have "pre-meditations" and it was a cheeky snatch and run. Believe this if you may. We're not all nobheads. I for one, do feel ashamed and embarrassed with my bandmates behaviour, which has lead to the band dispersing, this is a step too far. Thanks for having us over the years, you do not deserve this commotion.

    Representative of Vinyl Party