Growth of the Creative Music Micro-Festival

Source: Irish Times.

The recent rush of people to part with their hard-earned money for Ed Sheeran tickets was viewed with a mixture of scorn and envy (mostly the latter) by Ireland’s small band of “art music” promoters. While commercial promoters can rely on large venues and festival audiences, promoters of what might be termed “creative” or “outsider” music (think jazz, contemporary, avant-garde, improv, electronica and dozens of other compound micro-genres) might have to dig deep just to find a hundred listeners for music they think is just as worthy of attention.

But rather than curse the darkness, these art promoters – typically small, non-profit organisations run by fiercely committed individuals – are lighting new candles. They know branding and marketing have a role to play in art music, but rather than promoting individual artists, whose names and resumés are frequently unknown outside a small circle of fans, these enterprising promoters are creating new contexts and narratives which give curious listeners a way in to the music. In particular, the last decade has seen the emergence of the “micro-festival”, clusters of performances drawn together under a single identity that connect with audiences in a more tangible way.